Category Archives: The List

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

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to Zingerman’s of course!!!!

We know the suspense has been killing you. It’s been two whole weeks since a fresh post. Midterms have come and gone, back to back Vegas and Indiana weekends have destroyed our livers, and in the process our sense of humor has gotten pretty bad (re: joke above).

Well, we wanted to keep the suspense brewing for a sandwich-packed entry including our very first pick for best sandwich (only in the chicken category, folks. What did you think – that TdZ was over?!)

With all of the visitors in town for last week’s epic Indiana game, we knew we still had to maintain our responsibility to the blog. Yes, it is important for the visitors to experience the glory of the classics. But it was our duty to go above and beyond and show our out-of-towners that Zingerman’s has hella more to offer beyond Tarbs.

Still curious about that chicken? Offended by our horrible jokes? Too bad. You’ll have to read on to find out.

Trip 3: Thursday 10/17/13

Mel : 57 Nic’s Opportunity – Zingerman’s handmade fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced pepperoni, oven-dried tomato spread, oregano, & balsamic vinaigrette on grilled Sicilian sesame semolina. Of all the sandwiches we’ve tried so far, this one brings us back to the good ol’ days of grilled cheese and mozzarella sticks – minus the grease. There was an abundance of flavor between the tomato spread and pepperoni and we fell in love with the sesame semolina. Think of it as a Challah 2.0 with all the softness plus a much needed crunch. Definitely not your typical deli sandwich but we loved it all the while.

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

Tour de Zing Rating: 8/10. Would we order again? Yes

Karly: 43 S. Muno’s Montreal Reuben – Hot Montréal smoked meat, Switzerland Swiss cheese, Brinery sauerkraut & Russian dressing on grilled rye bread. We hate to say it, but this sandwich was missing something. Meat? Check. Cheese? Yup. Kraut and Russian? It’s all there. Something about the combination of the montréal meat with the traditional reuben fixings didn’t work as well as our other favorite reubens. Sadly, we will admit that it fell a bit flat. Good thing we have plenty of other reubens to resort to (sandwich rebound? We’ll take it).

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

Tour de Zing Rating: 6.5/10. Would we order again? Not over Binny’s!

Ashley – 7. Kelly’s Ménage à Turkey – Smoked turkey breast, Zingerman’s Creamery Manchester cheese (our version of a double-cream camembert), oven-roasted onions & Dijon mustard on grilled farm bread. Haters gonna hate, so sandwich lovers are gonna dispute over a fan favorite. Let’s just say no one can argue that the grilled farm bread is a neutral party here. So who are the axis powers and who are the allies to our Switzerland metaphor? We’d have to say the onions and turkey were the good guys, while the Manchester cheese and mustard were too controversial for our own good.

Tour de Zing Rating: 7/10. Would we order again? Sometime in the future.

Tour de Zing Rating: 7/10. Would we order again? Sometime in the future.

Trip 4: Wednesday 10/23/13

To celebrate the end of our exhausting journalism midterm, Jen, Mel and our friends Samantha and Matt basically ran out of North Quad towards the deli. For all of you who still have midterms left: nothing like the thought of bread & oil samples to get you through those multiple choice questions (pick C! It’s always C!)

50 Where is Deveaux, Anyways? Montréal smoked meat, Switzerland Swiss cheese, Russian dressing & homemade coleslaw on Jewish rye bread. The montréal smoked meat struck again and this time we were ready for it. Still, we just can’t put a name to the taste. It has the smokiness of pork, the texture of corned beef, and the brine of pastrami. We’re not scientists here but somehow this hybrid of flavors come together in the form of montréal smoked meat – and we love it. Aside from the meat, our favorite aspect of the sandwich was by far the coleslaw. The slaw perfectly balances the intense flavors of the meat – a compliment not even the finest sauerkraut could provide.

TdZ Rating: 8.5/10. Would we order again? Absolutely.

Tour de Zing Rating: 8.5/10. Would we order again? Absolutely.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The #tdz declared winner for best chicken goes to…

76 Thad’s “Yes I Can!” – Grilled Amish chicken breast, Wisconsin muenster cheese, roasted red pepper sauce & lettuce on grilled sourdough bread. Words will simply not do this sandwich justice. Jen and Mel, who longtime feared chicken as the most lackluster meat, were blown away by Thad’s. The star of the show was hands down the obscure roasted red pepper sauce. The lack of information Zingerman’s provides as to the contents of the sauce makes it even more mysteriously wonderful. While we figured that it is a mayo based sauce, there must be some magical combination of spices that adds to the experience. What could it possibly be? More on that later as we will probably order this sandwich again within the next 3-5 business days.

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

Tour de Zing Rating: 9.5/10. Would we order again?Immediately

“Yes, Thad! Yes we can declare this sandwich best chicken at the deli!”

Clear eyes, full stomachs, can’t lose,

The TdZ Team

All Roads Lead to the Deli

First off, we are floored by the outpouring of support, jealousy and outright praise we have received from our fans! We are sorry you didn’t think of it first.

Another week gone by, another seven sandwiches crossed off our list. You must be asking yourself: “Are we graduating early or something?! At this rate you’ll be done by December!!” Yes, we are moving at a pretty remarkable pace. But that just gives us more room to explore the cheeses, magic brownies, and plethora of oils & spreads!

*Editor’s note: On Sunday night, do not expect there to be challah. At such high demand, this bread was off the shelves by the time we arrived. Unrelated, there was also a paella party occurring. And if you want to avoid the Disney World-esque lines of Saturday lunching, we recommend heading over on Sunday nights. They practically forced samples down our throat but, hey, we’re not complaining.

Trip 2: Sunday 09/15/2013

Mel: 00 D-$’s Cuban Conundrum – Cuban-style pulled pork, Arkansas peppered ham, Switzerland Swiss cheese, old-fashioned dill pickles, mayo & hot mustard on a grilled paesano roll. As you might recall, Mel is in it for the pickles. But this sandwich was more than just the pickles. Words will never do justice to that first bite. Sauce was everywhere – the combination of mayo, mustard & BBQ sauce was inspiring. People, this is one hell of a spicy & feisty sandwich. Thank god the paesano roll was so neutral. It definitely tamed this sandwich down a notch. Plus, it acted like a baseball glove to the home-run worthy baseball pitch that is the combination of meat, cheese and saucy heaven.

Tour de Zing Rating: 9/10. Would we order again? Yes.

Tour de Zing Rating: 9/10. Would we order again? Yes.

 Jen: 48 Binny’s Brooklyn Reuben – Zingerman’s pastrami (instead of the classic corned beef), real Switzerland Swiss cheese, Brinery sauerkraut & Russian dressing on grilled pumpernickel bread. Word on the street is that this is the best sandwich on the menu. While we cannot yet confirm this rumor as TdZ is still very much underway, this sandwich is definitely tops. Most of us were previous corned beef fans but were pleasantly surprised by how delicious the pastrami was. It really did add a different dimension to the reuben and we loved the peppery taste. Even Jen, who used to substitute coleslaw for kraut, says she wouldn’t have this sandwich any other way. And thank you, pumpernickel bread, for showing us that there’s more to reubens than meets the rye. (punny!!!)

Tour de Zing Rating: 10/10. Would we order again? Self-explanatory

Tour de Zing Rating: 10/10. Would we order again? Self-explanatory

Jessie: 88 Peter’s Peppered Pick – All-natural turkey, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing, Arkansas peppered bacon on grilled farm bread. We know you’re out there, BLT lovers. We found your sandwich. This was a nice take on your classic turkey sandwich. Simply put, bacon and ranch are a perfect combination and Zingerman’s knows it. The farm bread was a nice base and didn’t overwhelm the other flavors, especially the unbelievable turkey. And ever the lactose, Jessie decided to add Vermont cheddar into the mix. We can’t say we’re disappointed.

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Tour de Zing Rating: 8/10. Would we order again? Yes

Karly: 15 Bill’s 2 Over Prime – Hot Brisket, turkey, Vermont cheddar, lettuce, tomato and yellow mustard on challah. Similar to Jessie’s sandwich, we thought this was a classic that could be ordered over and over again. Something about the beef and the turkey seemed like a Zingerman’s take on comfort food. While they were unfortunately out of challah for the night, bakehouse white bread gladly took its place. Karly also ordered it grilled as to not violate thy ten commandments. If you’re a mustard fan, you will like this sandwich.

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Tour de Zing Rating: 7/10. Would we order again? Yes

Tour de Zing Rating: 7/10. Would we order again? Yes

Ashley: 46 Stan’s Canadian Hotfoot – Montréal smoked meat served warm, Switzerland Swiss cheese, hot mustard & New Mexico green chiles on Jewish rye bread. As a friend of our’s dad is the namesake of this sandwich, we were thrilled to see if it lived up to the hype. Adam Richman (of Man vs. Food fame) would consider this sandwich a scorcher. Beware of those green chiles. Ashley’s face said it all: this sandwich is HOT. And while we were all hesitant to try the Montreal smoked meat, we agreed it tasted something like a blend of corned beef and roast beef. Feeling adventurous? Stan’s got you covered.

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Tour de Zing Rating: 7/10. Would we order it again? Yes

Emma: 96 Reina’s on a Roll – Housemade meatballs made with beef & pork, pomodoro sauce & melted provolone on a Bakehouse hoagie. Man, those meatballs. Perfect tenderness and blend of pork and beef that had us wanting more. And that sauce! Simple yet complemented the cheese so well. This leads us to our biggest predicament yet: the Bakehouse hoagie. The bread was, like all Zingerman’s baked goods, delicious. However, it was meek in comparison to the allmighty meatballs. The sauce soaked right through it. We would have called in a hot dog bun to the rescue, or even (shall we say it) a paesano roll.

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Tour de Zing Rating: 6/10. Would we order this again? If you’re not feeling a deli sandwich, yes.

Lauren: 94 Amazing Grace’s Family Shroom – Grilled portobello mushrooms, carrot top spread, fresh cucumber on grilled sourdough bread. The standout is the carrot top spread, hands down. This sandwich tastes like Fall: Thanksgiving, squash, leaves, you know. The cucumber adds a much needed bite.

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Lauren’s Tour de Zing Rating: 9/10. Would she order again? Yes.

Amanda: 73 Tarbs Tenacious Tenure – All-natural turkey breast, fresh avocado spread, Wisconsin muenster cheese, tomato & plenty of Zingerman’s Russian dressing on grilled farm bread. Had to be included in the post as an honorary repeat offender.

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Lizzy: 123 TNT Cowboy Reuben – Hand-pulled, BBQ-sauced beef brisket topped with coleslaw and provolone cheese, served on a grilled paesano roll. Yee-haw! Look out for a post dedicated to this famous sandwich coming soon!

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Thoughts on the next visit: We think we’re moving at a pretty solid pace. Soon we should be able to venture into salads, gefilte fish & even blintzes. Are you a sour cream or blueberry compote kind of blintzer? Stay tuned as #tourdezing continues…

Clear eyes, full stomachs, can’t lose,

The TdZ Team

The Journey Begins

Welcome sandwich lovers! Thanks for joining us as we embark on the most thrilling and delicious ride through the one and only Zingerman’s Deli. It may be dangerously caloric, ridiculously expensive, and incredibly risky, but isn’t this the kind of dumb stuff 20 somethings are meant to do?

There’s no turning back now. You are officially on #tourdezing.

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09/06/2013. Our first trip to the deli as “sandwich connoisseurs” was nerve-racking. What are we going to order? How are we going to attack this massive list? Do we try the pork? Old or new pickle!?!?

This was no ordinary meal time. This time, we meant business.

Our approach to day one was to be strategic. As Jen’s brother was in town for the Notre Dame game, we had quite a crew at the deli. We decided to each get a sandwich from a different category and rotate bites down the line. Here’s how it all went down.

Karly: 28 Randy’s Routine – Zingerman’s smoked whitefish salad, scallion cream cheese & tomato on pumpernickel bread. Although Karly got served the wrong sandwich – 17 Helen’s Have Another –  this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we killed two fish with one stone. The number 17 is actually the same sandwich as 28 but with smoked salmon instead of whitefish. Both sandwiches were good but some of the team thought the fish was overpowered by cream cheese. Still, this is a perfect sandwich for those cream cheese and smoked fish lovers.

Tour de zing rating: 6/10. Would we order again? Maybe for Sunday brunch.

Tour de zing rating: 6/10. Would we order again? Yes, for Sunday brunch.

Jen: 34 Diana’s Different Drummer  Beef brisket served warm, Russian dressing, coleslaw & fresh horseradish on Jewish rye bread. This sandwich was an overall winner, however, Jen wished there was more horseradish. While it can’t hold up to the the holy TNT, it’s still a tasty sandwich.

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Tour de zing rating: 8/10. Would we order again? Yes.

Mel: 74 Dave’s Open Road  Grilled Amish chicken breast, applewood-smoked bacon, Wisconsin muenster cheese, Zingerman’s ranch dressing & lettuce on grilled challah bread. Fresh off the bat: we loved the ranch. None of us usually go for chicken so we were pleasantly surprised with how it tasted. And how could you ever go wrong with bacon? While Mel is partial to crunchier bread, most of the group liked the grilled challah.

Tour de zing rating: 7.5/10. Would we order again? If you're a chicken aficionado - yes!

Tour de zing rating: 7.5/10. Would we order again? If you’re a chicken aficionado – yes!

Emma:  204 Jen’s Pimento Party  Pimento cheese (Southern cheese spread with Vermont cheddar, mayo & pimentos), Arkansas peppered bacon & tomato on grilled country wheat bread. This sandwich was definitely the surprise of the bunch. The bacon had a nice crunch and the cheese was a revelation. This is definitely not an everyday sandwich, my friends. Enjoy responsibly.

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Tour de zing rating: 8/10. Would we order again? Yes.

Tour de zing rating: 8/10. Would we order again? Yes.

Jessie: Sandwich of the month [Aubrey’s Milk & Honey] – Thinly sliced hot sopressata salami is paired with Zingerman’s Creamery Fresh Goat Cheese, then drizzled with honey on grilled Bakehouse Rustic Italian bread. Although Jessie only complicated our attempt at narrowing down the sandwich list, we are happy she did! One server even told us they are considering making it a permanent staple.

Tour de zing rating: 9/10. Would we order again? If this stuck around, hell yeah.

Tour de zing rating: 9/10. Would we order again? If this stuck around, we’d be thrilled.

Lauren: 5 Rodgers Big Picnic – Oven-roasted asparagus, grilled marinated portabello mushrooms, Vermont cheddar cheese & Dijon vinaigrette on grilled farm bread. Even the non-vegetarians gave Lauren a hand on her pick. Thanks, Lauren, for loving this sandwich so much that you are BOUND to order it every time!!

Lauren's Tour de zing rating: 10/10. Would she order again? Yes. (*photo taken from Zingerman's website)

Lauren’s Tour de zing rating: 10/10. Would she order again? Yes

Three other friends joined us on our inaugural tour de zing visit. And thankfully each of them ordered classics that we couldn’t wait to steal a bite from: the Zingerman’s reuben, JVW’s Detroit Street BBQ, and the TNT Cowboy Reuben. Emma also ordered jalapeno peaches as a side dish, and Mel tried Puck’s diet black cherry soda. Adventurous? We think so.

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Thoughts on the next visit: it’s definitely time to start venturing deep into pork territory. We plan on trying at least two from the pork menu and perhaps a pastrami. Maybe number 7, Kelly’s Menage a Turkey, will also make an appearance. Letters have poured in from our followers begging us to try this beloved sandwich. We hear you, fans! We’ll get there!

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts featuring a how-to guide on choosing your pickle, which samples to try from the dessert case, and whether a $12 brownie is really worth it.

Clear eyes, full stomachs, can’t lose,

The TdZ Team