Remember Character Sandwich Review

New sandwich and build-your-own salad place opened up in Palo Alto so we took a shot at it. Gourmet, say the reviews.

Eh, maybe, but my wife and I found that Sprout thought it could have maybe been gourmet but that it wasn’t really that well-thought out. Stick to the build-your-owns if you go, I think we’d say.

My wife’s salad just couldn’t figure out what it was. She got the Harvest salad: lettuce, apples, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, corn, roasted bell peppers, roasted potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinaigrette. Sounds fine, but the bell peppers were mushy, the roasted vegetables were cold, and the cranberries made every fourth or fifth bite sweet. Not enough apples to make it a sweet salad, not enough warm roasted vegetables to make it a warm salad… the balance was all off.

Samesies on my sandwich.

I got the pulled pork sandwich — slow-roasted pork shoulder, pineapple BBQ sauce, blueberry preserve, cheddar cheese, mayo on a ciabatta. So I get it was supposed to be a little spicy and a little sweet with the mayo and cheese — you know that I love sweet and cheese — but it didn’t work for me. I didn’t taste the cheese. I didn’t taste anything pineapple. I barely tasted the blueberry jam. You know what I mostly tasted? BBQ sauce and pulled pork — go figure.

Not sure how to tie this up with a bow. Balance is important, but so is character, I guess. These two things were designed to have balance, but they lost their character. Was it an avant-guarde sandwich with pork in it, or was it a straight pulled pork sandwich with a twist? Was it a harvest salad or was it a sweet salad take on the harvest salad?

We want to push the sandwich discourse forward, but we also want to remember that we aren’t the first people to make sandwiches. Remember the character of your sandwich, and change things around the edges — that’s the way we can innovate on this century-old phenomenon.

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About enosarris

I write. About baseball, mostly, but also about the anthropology of sports, travel, cooking and sometimes music. But yeah, baseball mostly.
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One Response to Remember Character Sandwich Review

  1. Pete says:

    If it was called a pulled pork sandwich, i think it loses the right to be considered from the avant garde angle. If it’s to be seen as totally different, mark it as such. Considering that…I’m something of a traditionalist, especially when it comes to classic sandwich archetypes. I find cheese on a pulled pork sandwich downright horrifying, but since I’ve railed against that elsewhere (http://bit.ly/nMvdLo) I won’t dwell on it here. For the sake of argument, let’s say the pulled pork archetype is pork, lightly sauced, on white bread. That’s it. I can accept that someone might want to go outside of that, but I would caution that if you’re going to do so, you’d better have one heck of a reason. Fried onions, for example, can be justified. So considering the above sandwich, whomever constructed it reasoned that they had a good reason to add something to pork+bread. Then they further reasoned they had another good reason to add something else. Still not content, they apparently figured that they had a *third* good reason for a third addition. Chances of improving a simple pulled pork sandwich are marginal at the first addition, vanishing at the second. By the third you’re phoning the supercollider to see if they’ve spotted them yet. It’s too much. As you said, it’s poorly thought out. Given that one of the things they saw fit to add was mayonnaise, I would say “poorly thought out” is fairly charitable.

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