Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sandwich of the Month: November

History has proven that some of the coolest people in life come in pairs. Sonny & Cher. Ben & Jerry. Snooki & Jwoww. Brutus and, what was that guy’s name?  Oh yeah, Caesar.

Wait. What the hell does this have to do with anything?!

That little anecdote up there leads us to our next greatest discovery at Zingerman’s Delicatessen: Luis’ Rey Del Pollo. Thank you, Sir Julius, for inspiring someone out there to create this magical dressing.

Photo courtesy of Zingerman's website

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s website

Grilled chicken breast, caesar dressing, grana cheese,
chopped lettuce on grilled foccacia bread.

Luis’  Rey Del Pollo is Zingermans’ November Sandwich of the Month and you only have a few more days to indulge! This sandwich was inspired by an old standby that’s no longer on the menu (#86 Kathy saves the day), however, I guarantee after one bite Zing fans will be begging for a permanent comeback.

Enough with the history lesson. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Zingerman’s focaccia is one of five aspects that makes this sandwich so special. It’s a unique choice because it is not featured on any other sandwich, yet it works perfectly here. The bread is surprisingly thick, but with a fluffy consistency, the top brushed with herbs and a buttery finish.

Second, the cheese. Grana, where have you been all our lives? This shredded cheese was some of the best I have ever tasted. It had the flavor of parmesan with an intense bite. The cheese melted, literally melted, into the focaccia alongside the third best aspect of the sandwich…

The caesar dressing. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on chicken ceasar wraps as they were, once a week, a welcome surprise in my middle school lunch bag. While the caesar here brought me back to the nostalgia of cafeteria days, it made me realize that caesar dressing can taste that much better.

Fourth, the chicken. Thankfully the sandwiches of the month don’t officially count under the TdZ bucket list and ranking system, otherwise we might see some intense competition with Thad’s “Yes I Can!” No other meat would have done Luis’ justice. Perfectly sliced and served warm, the chicken soaked up all of caesar’s glory.

And finally, who can ignore the lettuce, the fifth and still very important aspect of Luis’ Rey Del Pollo. Never would I expect to say  “thank God for lettuce” on Tour de Zing. I mean, c’mon, lettuce? Such a minor performer in this greek play. But the lettuce here is no understudy. It provides a much need crunch and balances the intensity of the caesar flavor. Without it, this performance could have turned into a major Greek tragedy.

Well, sandwich lovers, less than two weeks to get your caesar on. Ready, set…

Clear eyes, full stomachs, can’t lose,

The TdZ Team

CHEESE.

THE CHEESE.

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Mid-Blog Crisis

Readers: we are at a standstill. There’s only one turkey left to try. Almost all of the chickens have been crossed off. God only knows when we’ll be done with the beef. Should we skip right to the matzoh ball soup already?!

You could say that Tour de Zing is in full sandwich swing. All hail the holy bucket list [Amen].

In the midst of our post midterms bombardment of studying, the gang got together for yet another pivotal tasting of Zingerman’s hidden gems. With Ashley’s brother in town, we knew we had to impress him with our ordering finesse and expertise. Sixty bite-sized pieces of farmhouse bread and truffle oil later, I’d say we nailed it. Did I mention they were sampling magic brownies and pecan bread? And a happy Friday to all!

Trip 4: Friday 11/08/13

Jessie: Charlie M’s Tuna – Homemade tuna salad (made with mayo, chopped red onion, celery, sea salt, black pepper & lemon juice) & Vermont cheddar on grilled rye bread. I know how I picture my tuna melts. Said cheese melts atop the creamy tuna and crunchy bread accompaniment, the warm cheese contrasting with the crisp tuna and bread. While Zingerman’s ingredients certainly deliver in quality, we can’t say that they worked in perfect harmony. The cheese was hardly melted and the tuna was a bit mayo-y for our tastes. For those of you who don’t prefer tuna melts open-faced, however, this may be perfect for you.

TdZ Rating: 7/10. Would we order again? Surely

TdZ Rating: 6.5/10. Would we order again? Surely

Jen: Gregg’s Master Recipe – Beef brisket, grilled onions & green peppers with melted provolone cheese on a soft Bakehouse bun. We know what you’re thinking. This is Zingerman’s version of a Philly cheese steak, right? Well, sort of. Think of it as a fancier version of your typically greasy hoagie. Similar to Reina’s On A Roll, the main problem for us was the bakehouse hoagie. The bun was too dry and, because there was no sauce, we felt a bit choked up by the cheese and meat. A meltier sauce (does the consistency of queso work for anyone out there? Bueller?) may have done the job. Nevertheless, you can’t argue that the sandwich was good. It just doesn’t scream “classic Zingerman’s” like, say, Binny’s Brooklyn Reuben.

TdZ Rating: 7.5/10. Would we order again? Possibly

TdZ Rating: 7/10. Would we order again? Possibly

Karly: JJ’s Pastrami Special  Zingerman’s pastrami, Switzerland Swiss cheese & oven-roasted onions on grilled Jewish rye bread. Zingerman’s pastrami is a force to be reckoned with. If we had to eat this plain, we’d happily oblige. Oh yes, it is that good. But once you’ve experienced the greatness of pastrami combined with sauerkraut, russian dressing and pumpernickel bread, it’s hard to imagine any other combination tasting better. No doubt that the onions here added a nice crunch and bite. We would have definitely preferred a slathering of yellow or spicy mustard to give it that added edge.

TdZ Rating: 7.5/10. Would we order again? Not over Binny's

TdZ Rating: 6.5/10. Would we order again? Not over Binny’s

Lizzy: The Extra Special – Maine smoked salmon & Zingerman’s smoked whitefish salad, scallion cream cheese, tomato & red onion on a toasted sesame bagel. It must be noted that Lizzy chose to order the extra special on her favorite bread, challah. While she couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into it, she admits she would have preferred it on a bagel. The challah simply did not deliver on the crunch level and a bagel would have given it a much-needed salty tang. Plus, the whitefish and lox weren’t in sync here – maybe a little more lox would have made it extra special. Moral of the story: when in doubt, don’t swap the bread. Zingerman’s has it paired like this for a reason (they’re the real sandwich masters, we’re just hopeful wannabes).

TdZ Rating: 8/10. Would we order again? Yes

TdZ Rating: 6.5/10. Would we order again? Yes

Lauren: Gemini Rocks The House – Zingerman’s own handmade fresh mozzarella, tomatoes & Italian pesto on grilled farm bread. Let us start by saying Lauren was absolutely ecstatic once we, as a group, decided to include the vegetarian sandwiches on Tour de Zing. Although she once had this sandwich Freshman year, she decided to give it another try as a more mature, experienced Senior. She could not stop plotzing over the mozzarella. And the PESTO! Oh, and the bread! Absolutely fantastic! Best sandwich EVER!!!!

TdZ Rating: 9.5/10. Would we order again? Yes

TdZ Rating: 9/10. Would we order again? Yes

Amanda: Leo’s Friendly Lion – Fresh avocado spread, spicy fire-roasted New Mexico green chiles, Wisconsin muenster cheese & tomato on grilled farm bread. Look similar to you? This sandwich is the tarbs for vegetarians. Amanda, who is known to keep a turkey in her bed because she is uncomfortably obsessed with this deli meat, was clearly disappointed that her favorite meat/companion/friend was excluded between the bread. However, taking one for the team to go “halvsies” with our veggie-lover Lauren, she agreed to go for Leo’s. Being ever-so spice cautious, Amanda and Lauren decided to play it safe and order the green chiles on the side. Duly noted considering Ashley’s face almost blew up in flames after one bite of Stan’s Canadian Hotfoot. Melissa decided to give it a go and try the pepper solo. As expected, she was barely fazed. Note to readers: if you think you have what it takes, don’t wimp out and order the sandwich as is.

TdZ Rating: 8.5/10. Would we order again? If you are a vegetarian, yes

TdZ Rating: 7.5/10. Would we order again? If you are a vegetarian, yes

Overall, this was a solid week for #tourdezing. We do note with sadness that Zingerman’s is not the time nor place for placing your order in ahead of time. Melty cheese and piping hot bread are simply not feasible when your sandwich has been waiting patiently for 20 minutes to be eaten. Hello forty minute line, you are most definitely worth it.

Be sure to look out for our next post featuring November’s Sandwich of the Month: Zingerman’s take on a chicken caesar sandwich on fresh-baked focaccia! Stay hungry, sandwich lovers.

Clear eyes, full stomachs, can’t lose,

The TdZ Team

Ode to Pimento Cheese

For our first guest post, we enlisted the help of our friend and fellow deli aficionado, Matt Slovin. Matt, who is a Managing Editor at The Michigan Daily, knows that there’s nothing like a sandwich from the Deli to keep you full during late nights working at the paper. He, like many of us at Tour de Zing, ranks the TNT Cowboy Reuben as one of his top picks. But Matt is also no stranger to the plethora of side dishes offered behind the counter. His passion for pimento cheese paired with fresh pretzel rolls, well, you’ll have to read for yourself…

– – –

Michigan in the fall is nothing like Georgia in the spring. And yet, Zingerman’s best-kept secret is the link that bonds the two, bringing a taste of The Masters to the mitten. No, not the Georgia Reuben, which my Tour de Zing friends have dissected in an earlier post, but rather the creamy, salty, spicy pimento cheese that can be found in the creamery case at the front of the deli.

It’s easy to pass over the pimento cheese spread, which seems out of place — a southern tradition that has somehow, thankfully, escaped to the north. I first discovered it while dining at the Roadhouse. There, it comes as an appetizer — a generous serving to be spread on accompanying celery sticks.  But spread it on pretzel rolls from Zingerman’s bakery for a perfect snack during the seemingly never-ending wait for your sandwiches to emerge from the kitchen.

According to Zingerman’s website, “If you’re from the south, you were probably raised on it. If you’re from anywhere else, you’ve probably never heard of it.”

Southerners may scoff at the idea of a restaurant in Michigan offering its take on their traditional side dish. But Zingerman’s deserves much praise for introducing those north of the Mason-Dixon Line to this versatile spread, which is as good on bread as it is as a veggie dip.

-Matt Slovin