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15 Sandwiches Everyone Should Try Once

Sandwiches have come a long way since the Earl of Sandwich allegedly asked his cook to make him a meal he could hold in one hand. These days, building a sandwich is more of an art form than a convenience—so don't miss these 15 masterpieces.

1. CHEESESTEAK // PAT’S KING OF STEAKS

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No sandwich is as synonymous with a city as the cheesesteak is with Philadelphia. There’s certainly no shortage of cheesesteak joints in town, but the two main competitors, Pat’s and Geno’s, are located directly across from one another; people declare their loyalty as ardently as they back a baseball team. But Pat’s came first, the result of an experiment by hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri back in 1930, so it's worth your time. (Then go across the way and try Geno's, too.)

2. BEEF ON WECK // SCHWABL'S

Location: West Seneca, New York

If you don’t frequent western New York much, you may be unfamiliar with beef on weck—roast beef on a kummelweck roll. The origins of the highly regional sandwich aren’t entirely clear, though one story claims that a local pub owner created it hoping the salty roll would inspire his patrons to order more drinks. Schwabl’s hand-carved roast beef is some of the best—just be sure to save room for an extra beer to wash it down.

3. HOT BROWN // BROWN HOTEL

Location: Louisville, Kentucky


Shadle via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

During the 1920s, the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, held a nightly dinner dance. Rather than serve hungry guests the typical ham and eggs breakfast after they had jitterbugged well into the morning, Chef Fred Schmidt decided to concoct something new. His creation was an open-faced sandwich, topped with turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce. The revelers devoured it, and the Hot Brown quickly became a regional specialty. Though there are plenty of places that make this messily delicious sandwich, especially in Kentucky, there’s nothing like the original.

4. BROCCOLI CLASSIC // NO. 7 SUB

Location: New York, New York

Not a fan of broccoli, you say? You will be after you try the broccoli sub at No. 7, which is made with seasoned steamed broccoli, fried shallots, ricotta salata, and served on toasted bread with mayo and pickled lychees.

5. CLASSIC OLD TIMER // KREMA NUT COMPANY

Location: Columbus, Ohio

You can get a classic peanut butter and jelly at Krema Nut Company, of course, and even a peanut butter and banana. But it’s the Classic Old Timer, a thick sandwich layered with housemade crunchy peanut butter, strawberry preserves, and slices of strawberries that will make your taste buds sing. Hurry though: they partially close down during the busy season between November 23 and December 28 each year, when they stop serving sandwiches and shakes (but nuts, chocolate, and gifts remain available).

6. LOBSTER ROLL // NEPTUNE OYSTER

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

stu_spivack via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster has Serious Eats rethinking ordering the New England staple sandwich from anywhere else. Their Maine Lobster Roll comes hot with butter, or cold with mayo; both come on a delectable brioche bun.

7. PORCHETTA // SALUMI ARTISAN CURED MEATS

Location: Seattle, Washington

Dining on the Porchetta sandwich at Salumi is, according to some who have tasted it, the closest you’ll get to having an out-of-body experience. Armandino and Marilyn Batali (yes, the parents to famous Chef Mario) opened the salumeria and restaurant in 1999, a retirement dream for the two that has been listed amongst other notable must-try restaurants for Seattle. "I’m never ordering a Porchetta sandwich elsewhere. One bite and I was in heaven," declared one Trip Advisor convert.

8. THE YARDBIRD // SLOWS BAR BQ

Location: Detroit, Michigan

This chicken sandwich topped with mustard sauce, mushrooms, cheddar cheese, and crispy bacon has got a lot of people clucking—even Adam Richman, host of Best Sandwich in America, whose rave reviews landed the Slows sandwich a spot in the final round of the show.

9. MONTE CRISTO // BLUE BAYOU

Location: Anaheim, California

Michael Saechang, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

You'll need Disneyland park admission to sample this French toast-inspired sandwich, but there are plenty of connoisseurs that will tell you it's a small price to pay for the tasty combination of ham, turkey, and Swiss on egg bread. After the sandwich is assembled, it's dunked in egg, fried until golden brown, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with blackberry or raspberry preserves. Disneyland gets the credit for popularizing this sweet-and-savory sandwich back in the 1960s—guests asked for the recipe so often that the restaurant printed cards to hand out to requesters.

10. CANTEEN // CANTEEN LUNCH IN THE ALLEY

Location: Ottumwa, Iowa

Fans of Roseanne no doubt remember when the title character decided to open her own business, a lunch counter called "The Lanford Lunch Box." The hole-in-the-wall eatery was inspired by Canteen Lunch in the Alley, a Depression Era joint famous for its "loose meat" sandwiches, called "Canteens." There are only 16 stools available, so it’s often standing room only.

11. GRILLED CHEESE // BOUCHON BAKERY

Location: New York, New York

This isn’t your mother’s grilled cheese-and-Campbell’s (though that’s a hard one to beat). The gooey combo of gruyere and fontina cheeses on crisp, buttery pain au lait bread (with tomato soup) at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery has enchanted many New Yorkers in need of comfort food.

12. BREADED PORK TENDERLOIN // NICK’S KITCHEN

Location: Huntington, Indiana

If you love a good breaded pork tenderloin that’s comically larger than the tiny bun it’s wedged between, you have Nick’s Kitchen to thank. Though you can get a good tenderloin any number of places in the Midwest, Nick’s Kitchen still uses their original recipe, the same one founder Nick Freienstein used when he opened his restaurant in 1908.

13. ALMOST FAMOUS // PRIMANTI BROTHERS

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This hearty sandwich—a stack of grilled meat (there’s a variety available) accompanied by coleslaw, French fries, ripe tomato, and a fried egg nestled in soft Italian bread—is a Pittsburgh classic. Primanti Brothers and their Almost Famous have been featured on a number of TV shows, including Best Sandwich in America, among others, so maybe it’s time to change the name. (For the record, a lot of people just call the sandwiches "Primantis.")

14. DEEP FRIED FLUFFERNUTTER // BLACK MARKET LIQUOR BAR

Location: Studio City, California

This one is technically on the dessert menu at Black Market Liquor Bar, but hey, a sandwich is a sandwich. It takes your classic childhood fluffernutter—peanut butter and marshmallow creme—and dunks it in a deep fat fryer. For a grown-up twist, Black Market Liquor adds bananas to theirs and puts it on brioche rather than white bread.

15. THE PILGRIM // MIKE’S CITY DINER

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

The Pilgrim at Mike's City Diner is everything you love about Thanksgiving on a sandwich: roasted turkey, cranberries, and stuffing, on a sesame seed bun, served with or without gravy. All of the deliciousness; none of the family drama. What’s not to like?

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Courtesy New District
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Say ‘Cheers’ to the Holidays With This 24-Bottle Wine Advent Calendar
Original image
Courtesy New District

This year, eschew your one-tiny-chocolate-a-day Advent calendar and count down to Christmas the boozy way. An article on the Georgia Straight tipped us off to New District’s annual wine Advent calendars, featuring 24 full-size bottles.

Each bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine is hand-picked by the company’s wine director, with selections from nine different countries. Should you be super picky, you can even order yourself a custom calendar, though that will likely add to the already-high price point. The basic 24-bottle order costs $999 (in Canadian dollars), and if you want to upgrade from cardboard boxes to pine, that will run you $100 more.

If you can’t quite handle 24 bottles (or $999), the company is introducing a 12-bottle version this year, too. For $500, you get 12 reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines from various unnamed “elite wine regions.”

With both products, each bottle is numbered, so you know exactly what you should be drinking every day if you really want to be a stickler for the Advent schedule. Whether you opt for 12 or 24 bottles, the price works out to about $42 per bottle, which is somewhere in between the “I buy all my wines based on what’s on sale at Trader Joe’s” level and “I am a master sommelier” status.

If you want to drink yourself through the holiday season, act now. To make sure you receive your shipment before December 1, you’ll need to order by November 20. Get it here.

[h/t the Georgia Straight]

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Wally Gobetz, flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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A Brief History of the Pickleback Shot
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Wally Gobetz, flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It's sour. It's briny. For some, it's nauseating. For others, a godsend.

It's the pickleback shot, an unusual combination of drinking whiskey and pickle brine that has quickly become a bartending staple. Case in point? Kelly Lewis, manager of New York City's popular Crocodile Lounge, estimates she sells at least 100 pickleback shots every week.

Pickleback loyalists may swear by it, but how did this peculiar pairing make its way into cocktail culture? On today's National Pickle Day, we hit the liquor history books to find out.

PICKLEBACK HISTORY, AS WE KNOW IT

As internet legend has it, Reggie Cunningham, a former employee of Brooklyn dive bar Bushwick Country Club, invented the shot in March 2006. He was half bartending, half nursing a hangover with McClure's pickles, when a customer challenged him to join her in doing a shot of Old Crow bourbon whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice as a chaser. As he nostalgically tells YouTube channel Awesome Dreams, "the rest is history."

Cunningham went on to introduce the pairing to more and more customers, and the demand grew so much that he decided to charge an extra dollar per shot, just for the addition of pickle brine. After that, the mixture spread like wildfire, with bars across the world from New York to California and China to Amsterdam adding "pickleback" to their menus.

THE PICKLEBACK'S UNCLEAR ORIGIN

Two shot glasses topped with small pickles.

Neil Conway, flickr // CC BY 2.0

Sure, Cunningham may have named it the pickleback shot, but after reviewing mixed reports, it appears pickle juice as a chaser is hardly novel. In Texas, for example, pickle brine was paired with tequila well before Cunningham's discovery, according to Men’s Journal. And in Russia, pickles have long been used to follow vodka shots, according to an NPR report on traditional Russian cuisine.

Unfortunately, no true, Britannica-approved record of the pickleback's origin exists, like so many do for other popular drinks, from the Manhattan to the Gin Rickey; it's internet hearsay—and in this case, Cunningham's tale is on top.

SO, WHY PICKLES?

Not sold yet? Sure, a pickle's most common companion is a sandwich, but the salty snack and its brine have terrific taste-masking powers.

"People who don't like the taste of whiskey love taking picklebacks because they completely cut the taste, which makes the shots very easy to drink," Lewis told Mental Floss. "Plus, they add a bit of salt, which blends nicely with the smooth flavor of Jameson."

Beyond taste masking, pickle juice is also a commonly used hangover cure, with the idea being that the salty brine will replenish electrolytes and reduce cramping. In fact, after a famed NFL "pickle juice game" in 2000, during which the Philadelphia Eagles destroyed the Dallas Cowboys in 109 degree weather (with the Eagles crediting their trainer for recommending they drink the sour juice throughout the game), studies have seemed to confirm that drinks with a vinegary base like pickle juice can help reduce or relieve muscle cramping.

WAYS TO PARTAKE

While core pickleback ingredients always involve, well, pickles, each bar tends to have a signature style. For example, Lewis swears by Crocodile Lounge's mix of pickle brine and Jameson; it pairs perfectly with the bar's free savory pizza served with each drink.

For Cunningham, the "Pickleback OG," it's Old Crow and brine from McClure's pickles. And on the more daring side, rather than doing a chaser shot of pickle juice, Café Sam of Pittsburgh mixes jalapeños, homemade pickle juice, and gin together for a "hot and sour martini."

If pickles and whiskey aren't up your alley, you can still get in on the pickle-liquor movement with one of the newer adaptations, including a "beet pickleback" or—gulp!—the pickled-egg and Jägermeister shot, also known as an Eggermeister.

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