Archive for the ‘Sandwiches’ Category

Fat Heads

June 2014

Finding a great dining location in the Cleveland area is a rather simple chore. However it is also quite a task due to the vast number of places to get fat quickly.

After I visited the Melt Bar and Grilled for my annual burger and discovering that it is no longer on the menu while it also does not grill the meat anymore, I was on the hunt to find a new favorite eatery. And I found a couple of them.

I trekked to a couple of places in Ohio City just west of downtown and Town Hall really impressed me. But the next day I found myself inside the walls of Fat Head’s Brewery and Saloon in the west suburbs of Cleveland. Maneuvering around brew masters to get to the table, Fat Head’s featured a very roomy atmosphere with plenty of space to sit and relax, play pool, test your skills at darts, try a few of their house-made craft beers or simply watch a game.

The one thing I could not figure out was what to order. I have never appreciated long, huge menus. Until now.

Burgers, ribs, wings, sandwiches, subs, pizza, out of controlness. And upon gazing at others’ plates, the helpings were massive. So I settled on Matt’s Chicken Dance, a chargrilled chicken breast coated in spicy-parm sauce, topped with an over-easy egg, sharp cheddar and hot pepper mayo. It included house-cut chips for $10.99.

Fat Heads2And what a mess it became. It started smooth but then provided a great texture from the egg and then a steamy finish with the spicy kick. Every bite proved magnificent. The chips were just alright, and I discovered the fries were a better way to go.

For adult beverages, all of their beers come with great pairing combinations. And based on the walls they have won a lot of awards for their concoctions, which I could give a damn because I do not want others to tell me what’s good. I will decide for myself if it’s legit.

My next trip to Cleveland will definitely include a return visit. And I cannot wait.

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BrocatosSpring 2014

Sometimes I wonder why I do not know the Gulf Coast of Florida better than I should. I am certainly familiar with perfect eating establishments in Pass-a-Grille and how driving back from a Tampa Bay Rays game is like receiving a wedgie for 2.5 straight hours. But that’s about it.

So when I was introduced to Brocato’s Sandwich Shop in Tampa, I immediately removed my wedgie and stretched out my belly. Located very close to downtown and in a stretch that really featured nothing exciting, the place was packed. I mean, to the point where it felt like I was in some outfield bleachers during a home-run derby.

Even though moving inside Brocato’s was next to impossible, the lively walls were decorated beyond belief, which helped me pass the time. Noticing that it advertised itself as having the “Best Devil Crabs in Town,” I elected for a ham and cheese sandwich simply because it looked phenomenal. And I got it with extra cheese and mayo.

It’s difficult to ruin a sub sandwich. I believe Firehouse subs may be the worst, and Subway never fills me up, but beside that I certainly prefer local eateries. And when my name was called at Brocato’s I snatched my bag and headed out the door to a trailer-like barn filled with tables. When I opened up my selection, I immediately became disappointed.

BrocatosMy ham and cheese sub was not located in the bag, but instead I had a devil crab, some other weird object and a messy sandwich that still looked scrumptious. I returned and stood at a counter, watching as a massive amount of employees were either playing with dough, building sandwiches or yelling out orders. It was chaos. I managed to flag down a manager who was very apologetic and said I could keep what I had, and he provided me with my sandwich and a couple bags of chips if I wanted. A great way to show hospitality amid so much organized confusion.

And the sandwich hit the spot, providing a very hearty meal that I struggled to finish. And everyone around us was inhaling their lunches as if they were pigs around a trough.

What makes a good sub is the bread itself. Sometimes the simplest can be better, and when you add on a boatload of options like ribeye steak, buffalo chicken and roast pork, there are plenty of choices at Brocato’s. Combining solid food with an interesting experience makes this a must-see place to chow down in Tampa.

If continuing on to St. Pete, might as well finish the day at Ferg’s since the one in downtown Orlando STILL isn’t open.

Pepperoni StromboliFebruary 2013

I am all in favor of making an entire meal from scratch including bread dough. However, I continue to go back to Publix to purchase a bag of refrigerated dough from the bakery for just less than $3. And this time, it was BOGO. Jackpot!

Now what? Just like trying to decide if I want to wear a sweater or polo to work, making a final decision served as a tough chore. In the mood for a mouth-watering pizza but looking for something different, I arrived at the answer and it was in the form of a stromboli.

And this meal can be as memorable and simple as you like. From steak to chicken to cheese, you can simply fill it up with whatever fancies your mouth. On this occasion, Jessica went with pizza sauce and cheese, while I stuffed my side with double pepperoni and cheese.

Either way, throw in as much ingredients as you have on hand, or as little. I usually do not like to go out and purchase anything except for the dough; using whatever rests in my kitchen to feed my need. A cheesy chicken stromboli with a pizza or marinara dipping sauce takes the cake, though.

And it really only takes about 10 minutes of prep time. Once the dough is laid out (do not make it too thin, yet not too thick since it will expand in the oven), give it some friends in the form of your favorite food items, possibly sprinkle in some oregano, then roll it up. Set it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes and brush on a little garlic butter when finished. That’s it!

What You’ll Need For a Pizza Stromboli

Bread dough

Flour

Pizza sauce

Pepperoni

Mozzarella cheese

Oregano

Butter

Garlic Powder

Stromboli PrecookedThe Steps

1)      Set oven to 400 degrees

2)      Use non-stick spray or light butter on a rectangular pan

3)      Add some flour to the bread dough and flatten it out in a  rectangular pan – it doesn’t have to fit the entire width, but stretch it to fit a good majority of the length of the pan

4)      Since the bread will expand in the oven, it will be alright if the dough is a little thin

5)      Length-wise, leave an edge free of ingredients so it will be easy to roll up

6)      Load up the dough with pepperoni – 30 should go in a single layer from one end to the other – and add as much as you like

7)      Time for the mozzarella and any other cheese you would like

8)      Add a dash of oregano

9)      Starting with the side that has ingredients, carefully roll it up with two hands

10)   Cut slits in the dough and add a little mozzarella and oregano on top (can also be done toward the end of the baking process)

11)   Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown

12)   While baking, melt some butter with garlic powder and pepper in the microwave

13)   When the Stromboli is cooked, the bread may look dry, so brush the top and sides with the garlic butter

14)   Cut into slices and serve with a side of pizza dipping sauce

 

BBQ Chicken Devoured Jan. 28, 2013

These days, discovering lovely little dishes from the internet is as simple as crushing a fun-sized Milky Way in one memorable bite. Yet the art of perfecting a personalized recipe drives me. If I actually had a decent kitchen with the ability to afford plenty of ingredients, most of my nights would produce completely awful entrées. So long as 5% of those meals registered on the not-so-gross scale, though, I’d be a happy boy.

Somehow, perfecting my chicken sandwich did not take a drastically long time. On just the second attempt, the recipe was finalized.

As I have illustrated before, it starts with the bread. Inspired by experience at my first real job, I stayed away from just buying buns and fashioned bread dough into a round baking pan before sprinkling mozzarella and oregano on top. While that was taking place, my chicken was soaking up all the flavors of barbeque sauce, red pepper, oregano and garlic in the refrigerator.

Buffalo ChickenWhen both ventured out of the oven, the aromas in the kitchen have the ability to knock one on their bum. I promptly turned the bread over, placed the chicken on top and united it with bacon, mozzarella and a little more of the red pepper BBQ sauce. After letting that get happy in the oven for a couple minutes, I folded one side of the bread on top of the chicken.

Every single time I have constructed this beauty I find myself wanting even more when finished. There are numerous taste buds bursting with each bite.

And the best part is there are several substitutions to make to change the sandwich up to fit one’s needs and desires. Marinating it in buffalo or Alfredo sauce or grilling the chicken and adding condiments, for instance, is definitely doable.

What You’ll Need for Two Sandwiches

Bread Dough (Bag of bread dough by the bakery from Publix is perfect and provides enough for two sandwiches)

3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Bacon

Barbeque Sauce (Preferably Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar)

Shredded Mozzarella

Red Pepper Flakes

Garlic Powder

Oregano

Salt

Pepper

Chicken SandwichThe Steps

1)      Use fresh chicken for best results, and clean the chicken on the cutting board.

2)      In a pan or bowl, pour in half a bottle of BBQ sauce and add oregano, garlic powder (since it’s easier) and however much red pepper you’d like, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3)      Add the chicken and poke holes in it so the sauce really gets in there while it marinates for about 20-30 minutes.

4)      While that is taking place, maneuver the bread dough into an 8-inch round baking dish. Lightly put mozzarella and oregano on top.

5)      Cook the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I like to put aluminum foil on top.

6)      You can cook the bread as well with the chicken but keep an eye on it. I start on the top rack for about 15 minutes and move it to the bottom rack until the cheese on top is golden brown.

7)      Pull both out of the oven. Flip the bread over and place 1.5 chicken breasts on one half of the sandwich. Add bacon, mozzarella and extra of the BBQ sauce mix on top and let it melt in the oven.

8)      After five minutes in the oven, fold the empty half over and cut it down the middle to make a sandwich.

9)      Wreck it.

April 28, 2012

Deep down I always enjoy my parents doing some shopping for my poor little soul. I may say to them that they should not spend their hard-earned money, yet it makes me feel a tad special when they give me some attention. I am the middle child after all.

During my father’s first trip to Florida in about five years, he and my mother took me to Super Target. The spending spree to fill Brian’s stomach had begun.

Now I always make sure to keep my kitchen stocked with lovely edibles, yet my parents completely filled it thanks to their journey through the Target aisles. Dad decided it was a neat idea to buy me a cooked, refrigerated rotisserie chicken. While he let his mouth water, I skipped over to the bakery to find a loaf of three-cheese semolina bread, which I scooped up since I had a $1 off coupon.

Five days passed before I managed to attack the chicken. However I did not want to just simply reheat it in the microwave. So I drizzled some olive oil over the bird and I popped it in the oven for 15 minutes. I then stripped away the white meat (all while nibbling at the wings). I decided to shred it up and mix half of it with Sweet Baby Ray’s – the best BBQ sauce sold in grocery stores – garlic salt, pepper and rosemary.

While the chicken got happy with its new friends, I toasted two slices of bread before adding the chicken and some Swiss cheese to the top. The combination melted together after placing a lid over the pan, and I transitioned it over to my plate to build the sandwich.

The result was out of control. Whether it was the BBQ sauce, the garlic or rosemary, each bite offered a unique texture for my taste buds. What sparked my happiness was the choice of bread. This sandwich likely would not have appealed to me this much if I simply went with a hamburger bun or something similar. A strong, flavorful bread produces interesting results. Either way, I washed it down with Labatt Blue Light and a smile formed on my face for quite some time.

After inhaling, I went back to the second half of the chicken and instead of BBQ sauce, I sprinkled it with oregano and added shaved deli ham. It was not as appetizing as my first try, yet it still paid off since every crumb was in my stomach.

What You’ll Need

Rotisserie Chicken – Already Cooked (Either Hot or Refrigerated)

Olive Oil

Three Cheese Semolina Bread

Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce

Garlic Salt

Pepper

Rosemary

Your Favourite Cheese

A Beer

The Steps

1)      If the rotisserie chicken is refrigerated, heat oven to 450 degrees. Use non-stick spray on bottom of a pot, and place chicken inside. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and heat uncovered for 15 minutes.

2)      When cooked, tear off white meat as if you’re making pulled chicken.

3)      In a bowl, mix chicken with BBQ sauce, garlic salt, pepper and rosemary.

4)      Butter both sides of the bread and toast it on the stove.

5)      When the bread has a minor crust to it, add chicken to the top of both sides, add a layer of cheese and cover so it melts.

6)      After a couple of minutes, build the sandwich.

7)      Enjoy with your favourite beer.

April 12, 2012 – National Grilled Cheese Day

Confining myself to the city limits of Orlando on National Grilled Cheese Day, I did not have the pleasure of frequenting The Melt Bar and Grilled in Cleveland, which serves up the best sandwiches in the country. Instead I let my mind do the work for me with what I had laying around in my refrigerator. So I grabbed some shaved ham from the Target deli along with prepackaged slices of American and Swiss cheese, as well as some shredded cheddar.

Always enjoying the club-style sandwich, I whipped out three slices of standard white bread, yet I knew something should be added. Scoping out my spice rack, nothing stood out until my eyes peered towards my canisters, one of which stored brown sugar. The idea was complete.

The stove was fired up to medium and my bread was buttered lightly on both sides. Eventually I sprinkled brown sugar on just one side of the outer slices and let it come to a light brown color before flipping. The brown sugar delicately filled my nostrils as it quickly formed a crunchy texture. When the bread was ready, I added American and Swiss with some of the Cheddar on top of one slice along with some ham, then duplicated that event to one more slice. As it melted, the sandwich was constructed, flipped once on the skillet so it evenly cooked and tossed over to my plate.

Depending on how much cheese and ham used, this grilled cheese can develop into a filling meal. The brown sugar bread created a sweetness delivery into the mouth before the cheese took over. It was a surprisingly great combination, and a cheery moment on one of the best days of the year.

What You’ll Need (Substitute Anything Your Heart Desires)

White Bread – Three slices

Deli Ham – Preferably shaved

American Cheese – Two slices

Swiss Cheese – Two slices

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Brown Sugar

The Steps

1)      Butter each side of the bread and put on a pan at medium heat

2)      As they are browning, sprinkle brown sugar on the top of two bread slices so they are 50 percent covered

3)      Flip the bread over when they start to get golden

4)      Once the brown sugar begins to form a layer, add all three kinds of cheeses and ham to the tops of the two brown sugared bread pieces

5)      As it begins to melt, form the sandwich and flip once to evenly heat

6)      Dominate it