Saturday, November 22, 2008

Smalley's Jerk Chicken Sandwich

I enjoyed my meal so much the first time I went to Smalley's that I had to go back just 2 weeks later. Actually, my brother and sister-in-law were in town and my parents were heading back to Stillwater, so I jumped at the chance to enjoy another meal at Smalley's and was thrilled that I could do it with my family.

It was a very cold and windy day down by the water, so after some serious retail therapy for my mom and sister-in-law we rushed into the warmth of Smalley's and plopped down right next to their huge fireplace. The room was pretty sparse, which is too bad, but I didn't mind because I knew I was in for a treat. We all deliberated for a bit and I settled in on the Jerk Chicken sandwich (please note my picture is of the pulled chicken sandwich). Smalley's specializes in smoking their meats with authentic pimento wood, so I figured they could make a mean jerk sandwich. I was not disappointed.

The huge sandwich came out and was adorned with an awesome pirate brand. The roll was soft and able to keep the heft of the sandwich in check while absorbing the Jamaican seasoning. The jerk rub was bold and had the perfect mix of the smoke and a nice spicy finish. The flavors were simply harmonious, and the chicken was nice and juicy - not even a hint of dry out. The sandwich had a good piece of crunchy lettuce and a thick slice of tomato to help smooth out the bold jerk spices. The kicker for me and what really helped make the sandwich great was the homemade spiced pickles. It's little touches like that that can really elevate a sandwich to rock star status. The extra vinegar and heat supplied by the potent pickles was a nice way to add onto the already intense flavors.

Sandwich rating: Killer. There's no way I'll go back to Stillwater without going there, and I can see the frequency of my trips increasing based on the quality of the food at Smalley's alone. They added all the little extras that makes for a great little (huge, actually) sandwich.

Happy Eating,


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Byerly's Caprese Chicken Sandwich

I attended a good friends wedding last night so I woke up a bit groggy and really hungry. I decided to do the right thing and headed to church to atone, but soon after I was on my way to the grocery store to pick up some necessities for the week and grab something for lunch. I had a serious case of the lazies, so I decided I would just grab a sandwich from Byerly's little panini stand. I rolled through the options and saw the country club which I know is good, but is a total gut bomb, and I needed to be gentle with my tummy after a solid night of beer.

I noticed they had a muffuletta. Jackpot! I asked the guy behind the counter about it, and he described it as more of a salami sandwich with "Bysal" (OK,I think he meant basil) oil and olive tapenade. No mortadella and no olive salad = no muffuletta. I scanned one last time and settled on the chicken caprese sandwich. I figured that was pretty simple. I got it heated up and hit the road to enjoy the sandwich from the confines of my favorite couch. I opened up the sandwich and quickly realized it wasn't exactly what I thought it was. The chicken was generous and tasty, but the caprese triumvirate was reduced to a few mushy tomatoes, a very thin slice of what likely was mozzarella and some of their self lauded "Bysal" oil. The sandwich would have been much improved if they stuck to the traditions of caprese and used fresh basil, but I continued regardless. The bread was a bit much, and diluted the flavors in the sandwich with it's abundance, but a nice layer of caramelized onions helped balance out the dryness of the roll.

Sandwich Rating: Good, not great. I know they have better sandwiches in the case, but I thought this was a lay-up. I usually never go to Byerly's unless they have something I can't get at Linden Hill's Co-op or Clancey's. Regardless, I might grab a sandwich there again if in a pinch and already there, but certainly wouldn't go out of the way and would not get this particular one, either.

As always, let me know if you have any suggestions. I'm always looking for a good new sandwich to try.

Happy Eating,