The Obscene Jedi Master of Turkey Sandwiches

December 1, 2008

turkeysandwichreport by you.

Who is this “Neal”? And why does he love turkey sandwiches so much?

Turkey sandwiches are among my most favorite things in the whole world. In fact, prior to my resignation as President and Chairman of the Fat Pack, virtually every time I visited a diner I ordered a Turkey Club Sandwich, on whole wheat toast, with extra crispy bacon. I would consider myself a master at all forms of Turkey Sandwich construction, an authority on how all Turkey Sandwiches and their derivatives (such as the BLT, which forms the basis for any excellent Turkey Club) should be judged, and I didn’t think it was possible that somebody could be more obsessed with Turkey Sandwiches than I am. But I have discovered that I have a nemesis, and I am outclassed.

His name is Neal Stewart. I’m not sure what this guy really does for a living, or if he’s ever been subjected to a DSM-IV, but this guy is one Turkey Sandwich short of a carving station for a Hassidic wedding. He has dedicated AN ENTIRE BLOG to Turkey Sandwiches. Normally, anyone this obsessed with a single food object I would suggest seeking professional help — like my buddy Adam Kuban over at Serious Eats, who founded A Hamburger Today and Slice.  Adam by all accounts is clearly out of his mind. But compared with “Neal” he’s practically shelf stable.

Neal is funny. Neal is irreverent and foul mouthed. And he’s clearly insane. But this man knows Turkey Sandwiches.

Superbowl Tailgate Degustation Menu 2008

February 2, 2008

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So, the last time we decided to have a Super Bowl party, around this time last year, things were a little bit different. For starters, let’s just say I was not as focused on maintaining a healthier lifestyle. But most importantly, the NEW YORK GIANTS WERE NOT IN THE SUPER BOWL!

This year, we’ve made more of a commitment to eating healthier. But the Super Bowl is still the Super Bowl, and that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy yourself. The folks over at Promise Buttery Spread contacted us and wanted to know if we were going to be posting any recipes this year, and of course I said we would. As it turns out, for this Super Bowl, Promise is having blogs participate in the 2008 Cardio Kick-Off, where they have their resident cardiologist, Dr. Richard Collins, help bloggers prepare heart-healthier tailgate menus.

So without further delay, here’s our heart healthy Super Bowl Menu for 2008.

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OTB Classic: For the Love of the Muffuletta

January 27, 2008

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Central Grocery
923 Decatur Street, New Orleans

Nor-Joe Importing Co.
505 Frisco Ave
Metairie, LA 70005-4215
(504) 833-9240

The Muffuletta from Central Grocery in New Orleans, the sandwich of love.

What could be better than expressing your love for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day than by making them a giant, meat and cheese stuffed Italian cold-cut sandwich? And as far as I am concerned, nobody does it better than the city of New Orleans, with its “other” signature sandwich — the Muffuletta. Certainly, if someone were to drop one of these babies on my doorstep, even in my current health-freak and weight loss inspired state, they’d be my sweetheart for life.

One such sweetheart is author Sara Roahen, who has a love affair with the city of New Orleans. Her new book, “Gumbo Tales“, which is being released on February 5, 2008, talks about the Muffaletta in some detail:

Central Grocery on Decatur Street in New Orleans’s French Quarter.

“I admit to having favored other muffulettas in the past — the bigger ones at Nor-Joe Importing in Old Metairie, the cheaper grab-and-go ones at Zara’s Supermarket in Uptown, the ones with more olive salad at Dimartino’s across the river. But there’s no stand-in for a muffuletta from Central Grocery, because there’s no stand-in for Central Grocery. Dried fava beans in burlap sacks, fig cookies in cellophane bags, salt cod in wooden slide boxes, olive oil in gallon tins, sherry vinegar on unreachable shelves, tomatoes from San Marzano, truffle oil from Umbria, anchovies in jars, halva in cans, vacuum-packed semolina, marinated octopus, white cheeses, hanging salamis, green coffee beans…some of the grocery‘s products are so unfamiliar that walking among them transports you to a foreign place, and some of their labels are so dusty and faded the goods appear to be relics stocked by Salvatore Lupo himself.”

Do you want to make your sweetheart a Muffuletta for Valentine’s Day? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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New Orleans Dining: Domilise’s

September 29, 2007

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5240 Annunciation St.
New Orleans, LA
(504) 899-9126

I think if you want to see the real New Orleans, you have to go and eat the the blue collar type places. And there’s nothing more New Orleans and blue collar than a Po’Boy shop.

Food writer Sara Roahen in her upcoming February 2008 book Gumbo Tales talks about a specific Po’Boy that has gone extinct, the Pepper Weiner at Domilise’s. Apparently it was some type of special sausage or hot dog that was dressed in a special way, and it was beloved by many. In any case, the Schott’s Meat company in New Orleans that manufactured the Pepper Weiner has since gone out of business, and thus it now Rests in Peace.

Domilise’s, located in the Uptown section of the city near the Prytania/Upperline area off of Tchoupitoulas street, however, is still going strong, and it has been for many decades. Regarded as one of the best sandwich shops in the city, It is a true Po’Boy shop in every respect, and makes them in a very traditional fashion, using real New Orleans French bread.

Domilise’s as you can see is very much a locals hangout.

The Carte de Po’Boys.

There’s nothing more honest and satisfying than a New Orleans Po Boy. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: Havana’s Cuban Cafe (UPDATED)

June 5, 2007

Havana’s Cuban Cafe
1040 River Rd, Edgewater, NJ
(201) 886-2100

Updated: October 2009

I guess I’ve got Cuban sandwiches on the brain this week, but what can I say, I can’t stop eating them — and apparently, some more accomplished foodies than myself can’t either.

Northern New Jersey certainly has its share of Cuban restaurants, but most of them are in Union City (click here for more) or nearby West New York where most of Jersey’s Cuban population resides. However, getting into the northern part of the Hudson County area can frequently be a bit of a challenge, as there’s no highway or express route or other major thoroughfare to get there, its all local streets and parking can be a serious issue, as its one of the most dense (if not the most dense) urban areas in the entire country.

Fortunately I’ve found a great little place (with a nearby parking lot) where you can get your Cuban sandwich fix in North-Eastern Bergen County — its at Havana’s Cuban Cafe in Edgewater. And I’d have to say they are making some of the best Cubans I’ve tasted in the area.

IMG_0136 by you.

Havana’s Cuban Cafe has a small storefront on River Road in Edgewater. In 2009 they built a dining room taking over the adjoining retail space which used to be a Jamaican restaurant.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: Teaneck Kebab House

June 24, 2006

Teaneck Kebab House
253 DeGraw Ave, Teaneck, NJ
(201) 836-8571

One of the cool things about going out to dine at other restaurants, and well, getting out of the house, is noticing the other restaurants near where you’re going. Such a thing happened the other day when we went to Bistro En and noticed the Teaneck Kebab House on the other side of the street.

The native cuisine of Afghanistan is rather unknown to Northern New Jersey and not a lot of people know much about it. Like many cultures that are historically crossroads for trade routes, its flavors and foods are highly influenced by its neighbors, Persia (Iran/Iraq), Pakistan (and India), Mongolia and many of the former republics of the USSR.

Teaneck Kebab house has a beautiful dining room, but because its main entrance is closed to the street and the windows are draped, you’d have no idea. They also own the pizza place next door, which you need to enter in order to gain access to the Kebab House.

The room is filled with genuine Afghan carpets, giving it a very warm and cozy feel. Live entertainment is provided on weekends.

These are Sambosas, a type of fried meat turnover. They are puffy on the inside so you can take a small bite and fill them with chutney.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

A spicy vegetable soup with noodles.

This is the complimentary salad, which has a nice mint/yogurt dressing.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Mantoo, fresh meat dumplings with a tomato/meat sauce and yogurt. The black “dust” is dried mint, which imparts an interesting flavor to the dish. The spices used in the restaurant are sourced strictly from Afghani merchants.

This is a hot eggplant appetizer. The eggplant has a really strong and bold flavor, and resembles Turkish eggplant salad somewhat, but with a different spicing. It’s eaten with traditional Afghan bread:

Afghan Bread

This is pasta with red beans, in a tangy yogurt sauce.

Kofta Kebab (spiced ground lamb) with brown Afghan Basmati rice pilaf/pilow. The rice is washed for 24 hours before cooking. Naturally all the meat served in the restaurant is Halal.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Chapli Kebab, another spicy meat Kebab. Wonderful.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Chicken Curry, Afghan Style.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Rice for the curry.

The Pizzeria they own next door shouldn’t be overlooked — they do both deep dish and thin NY-style pizza (with Halal mozzarella cheese).

The pizza place also uses Halal meat for its Gyro sandwiches, and has a great oregano/cumin flavor to it.