Mission accomplished. The eagle of freedom has been grilled, placed between two slices of bread, and eaten. God bless America and its sandwiches. Four more years...of delicious sandwiches. These colors don't run...away from good eating. USA! USA! USA! I'm an idiot.
The Austin American-Statesman threw down the gauntlet, and I picked it up and ate it. Here are my findings.
Austin American-Statesman's 10 Best Sandwiches in Austin
1. Italian Godfather, Russell's Bakery. I was skeptical when this sandwich was placed before me. It was quite handsome, fetching even, but was a mere deli-style, meat-and-cheese, mayo-dressing-mustard-lettuce-and-tomato kind of sandwich. However, once bitten into, the sandwich sent off shock waves of culinary delight that exploded all over my palate. Why was it so good? Could it be the tantalizing rosemary bread that held it all together? Methinks it could. Grade: A+
2. Egg Salad, Sweetish Hill Bakery. How could a simple egg salad sandwich be one of the contenders? It was nonsense. Or was it? Holy mother of shit, this sandwich was good. Homemade mayonnaise, fresh farm eggs, hydroponic lettuce, a little white cheddar, and homemade bread. Fuck, yeah. Grade: A
3. Oyster Po' Boy, Gene's New Orleans Style Po' Boys & Deli. Setback #1: Gene's is out of oysters. I settle for my old favorite, the shrimp po' boy. It was good, but I've had it several times. I had yet to try the oyster po' boy. I returned three days later, full of vim, vigor, and determination. Success! I ate the shit out of it, and it was good. Slathered in real mayo and deep-fried to perfection, my arteries say no but my mouth says word booty. Grade: A
4. Nicoise, Texas French Bread. This sandwich was actually good for me, a nice change (tuna, capers, red onion, lettuce, tomato, vinaigrette), and also very tasty. So far, so good, Statesman.
5. Chicken Salad, Galaxy Cafe. Nine of the ten restaurants represented on this list are close to my home. This one is practically in fucking Dallas. Completist that I am, I made the 18-mile trek to the Galaxy Cafe and waited in a hellishly long line to order. Once I ordered, though, service was fast and friendly. It was a good sandwich, but it didn't blow my mind. The first one on the list to be overrated, it was accompanied by a side soup that blew away the sandwich. The Upper Crust Bakery has a much better chicken salad sandwich, in my view (keep in mind I'm not exactly a chicken salad expert). Grade: B-
6. Philly Cheesesteak, Hog Island Italian Deli. Whooo! Yeah! Alright! This restaurant is a few blocks away from my old job, so I spent quite a few lunch hours eating here, but I'd never had the philly for whatever reason, though many of my old co-workers raved about it. They were right. Apparently, the meat and bread are actually flown in from Philadelphia daily. I now have no reason to go to Philadelphia. Thanks, Hog Island! You're the tops! Grade: A+
7. Reuben, New World Deli. Mmmph. If you want a great Reuben, go to the Avenue B Grocery (fortunately right across the street from my home). This one was decent, but a little overstuffed and dry. Grade: C+
8. Avocado Sandwich, Upper Crust Bakery. I think the guy or lady making this sandwich fucked it up. It's supposed to have red onion and vinaigrette on it, but apparently they're rationing these ingredients because only two bites had this stuff on it. Those two bites were awesome. The rest of the sandwich was bland as fuck. I may have to give it another chance, since human error affected its overall score. The chicken salad sandwich is great here, though. Grade: C-
9. Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich, Kitchen Door (Lake Austin Blvd. location). This may be the best sandwich I've ever had. Weep, you silly vegetarians. Weep. Then join Planet Sensible and Club Food Chain and eat this sandwich. Esquire magazine called this one of the ten best sandwiches in the U.S. Don't hold that against it. It's probably true. Grade: A++++++++
10. Three-Cheese Panini, 1886 Cafe in Driskill Hotel. Setback #2: Lunchtime on a Saturday. They have extended breakfast hours on the weekend, so the panini wasn't available until dinner. I ordered the Turkey BLT instead. It was awesome, but I wanted to get my panini on. Five days later, I saunter back in. Success! I had a great time, unemployed, on a Thursday, looking at a classic car parked across the street, sitting in a semi-fancy restaurant in a fancy hotel, watching the light and shadow in the cafe, drinking some tea, eating a panini, taking it easy. This is living, my friend. I loved the sandwich. It's just bread and cheese, but somehow it's incredible. Conversely, it's just bread and cheese, so why is it eleven fucking dollars? Perhaps this has something to do with the spinach salad and "tomato confit" included with the meal (I'm just a small-town Nebraska boy. I don't know from confit, but it wuz good.) Additionally, there was an insane older woman at the table in front of me throwing a ridiculous tantrum because there were three flies buzzing around the restaurant. She complained to the waitress about 12 times and gave her a status report on the flies every time she walked by. She also attempted to kill the flies by lunging across her table with her napkin and exaggeratedly swatting at one whenever it flew past. "Excuse me, miss. I killed one of the flies." "Miss, I saw another fly." "Miss, a fly landed on my spoon but fortunately I was done eating." "Miss, please do something about these flies." "Miss, flies are buzzing everywhere!" "Miss, I killed another fly!" Then, the crazy old bat ordered dessert! She was flapping her arms and carrying on so much that the flies completely ignored the other customers and concentrated solely on her. Grade, (excluding inflated price): A.
Coming soon: Why vegetarians are kind-hearted but misguided and foolish, why weekdays were better eight years ago, and odd statements from customer service workers. All that, and what happened to Edna and Troy after they got locked in Dr. Crazynut's Cave of Ominous Musk. Stick around, kids.