Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spain: Chelsea

Avenguda. Paral-lel, 172 bis
08015 – Barcelona - Espanya
93 325 34 47

by Beau Cadiyo

A few hours later, I was at Franco’s family’s weekly lunch. When I’d first met Franco, his family had a large garage near Placa Espanya which they’d used for giant weekly gatherings of their entire extended family. The city had used some version of eminent domain to seize the land, then built a small park and a large apartment building where the garage had been. The family intelligently purchased a far grander space with the compensation money they’d received. After five hours of eating, drinking, cigars and an startlingly Machiavellian version of Uno, we left and did what Franco does very well: we hung out.

I was hungry later – very hungry. Around 11 we went to Chelsea, a hamburger bar that advertises itself as being extremely American. When I lived in Barcelona, to be fashion meant to wear shirts with meaningless English phrases on them. My favorite was the five-year-old whose parents thought he should ride the metro with a shirt splashed with “Man rides 15¢ only.” Chelsea seemed to be cashing in on the idea that to be stereotypically American is cool: the walls were lined with phones from which to order extra dishes (I guess they think we’re too fat and lazy to flag down a waiter) and posters of MLK’s Dream speech, JFK’s picture with the quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you…” and 2Pac declaring that “Only God can judge me.”

We talked. I was struck by the similarity of Franco’s relationship to Maria and my relationship with Frank. When we told stories, the other had inevitably had almost the same exact experience. We compared notes on what we liked, what we didn’t like, what we fought about, what kept us together until we weren’t together anymore, and mostly the things we discovered about the girls and about ourselves. Everything was flooding back to me, but in Castellano; I found myself slipping into the common patterns of Spanish speech, and Franco used the opportunity to practice his English. “You know,” he said at one point, “my family has very much concern for me because they say I don’t speak English and you don’t speak Spanish. But you – you speak your Spanish,”

“- yes, but as one Indian -”

“and I speak my English. It is perhaps not so good as you, but they don’t understand that we, we have a language. It is the language Franco-Beau.”

“The thing most important is the communication. With the communication, the languages and the words are not important, they are not important,” I responded.

The Top Bacon was better than I expected: a burger as good or better than most places in the US, and thus far superior than what I would have normally expected from a Spanish place trying to be American. The meat was dense and cooked through completely, which was the only disappointment. While the lack of pink might have been frowned upon in upscale American burger joints, the meat here was very tasty and very moist, as if they’d ground bacon or pork into it. On top was an egg, fried just a bit too much so the yolk was solid, stacked on strips of delicious Iberian bacon and a cheese which was probably meant to imitate American cheese but failed in that it was actually very good. The end result was better than most American places because of the high quality of the ingredients. In addition, the blatant Americanness of the place meant that all Americans stayed away – they were all looking for “authentic” restaurants – and Catalans crowded the tables, young strumpets and urchins rubbing elbows with five of the surliest cops I’ve ever seen.

Franco went to sleep when we went back to his apartment, his television blaring a Catalan news network down the hall. I stood on the balcony for a few minutes, breathing in the air. It was dusty from construction, and a near-full moon was rising above the buildings to the left. I realized that I had no idea in what direction it was coming from. Unlike London or Cardiff, Barcelona is more or less a grid, and it’s easy to orient oneself internally once one knows where, say, Tibidabo is. I had not seen it above the buildings since I’d arrived, so I was lost.

I went back inside and sat on the couch. There wasn’t any heat in the apartment, so I was in my jeans and leather jacket. I was also on Cleveland time, so it was roughly 7 p.m. for me. The last time I toured a former haunt I used it to my full advantage, forcing myself up in the morning and then staying out late at night with ease, napping only occasionally and putting espresso into my veins with an IV drip. Getting back to Cleveland time at the end was easy because I wasn’t really off of it. I was hoping to do the same again, but I started thinking about how I’d only gotten six hours of sleep in the previous 68, and didn’t have anything, really, to keep me up, and I nodded off.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spain: Bartolo

Carrer de Entença y Avinguda de Mistral
Barcelona, Espanya

by Beau Cadiyo

(Read Part I here.)

I landed on Saturday. Franco and his cousin, Marta, were at the airport to meet me; I recognized them immediately, even though Franco had shorter hair and Marta was older and prettier. We dropped my bags at his apartment and went around the corner to a bar, where everything was familiar: a long counter with plates of tapas, smoke rising from the glowing tips of cigarettes, an espresso machine, Barça half-heartedly destroying some other team 4-0 on the television in the back.

“Madrid is make shit in their pants,” Franco said. Madrid v. Barcelona, the biggest game of the year, was a week away, and the Catalans were in fine form.

Franco chatted with the barmaid and then we ordered. What did I want? There was no choice: a Spanish omelette sandwich and some fried potatoes.

Rather, a bocadillo de tortilla de patata and patatas bravas. She took the order, as well as an order from Franco for a cigarette, and we pulled tables up right in front of the screen to watch the game. Franco was preoccupied; it turned out that he had a problem, this one named Maria. As I learned about her, the food came: pig’s ears, croquetas, olives, the bravas and my bocadillo.

A tortilla de patata is, at its core, nothing more than a few common elements of a breakfast thrown together. Thinly sliced potatoes are first fried in olive oil in a small pan. Usually a sliced onion is thrown in and also browned. Then, a couple of eggs are beaten and added, and then you wait. When the eggs are brown on the bottom, you put a plate over the whole thing and flip it, so that the tortilla ends up runny-side down on the plate. You put the pan back on the burner and slide the tortilla back into the pan so that the uncooked side browns, too. It’s a delicate process and a rough one all at the same time. To make a bocadillo, a baguette is sliced length-wise. A tomato is cut in half and the innards are rubbed into the bread. Sometimes garlic is also rubbed in. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle some salt on, slice the tortilla into pie-shaped wedges and assemble your sandwich.

There are some who cook the tortilla all the way through, but the general consensus is that the eggs should be browned on the outside and runny in the middle. The tortilla at Bartolo would have satisfied the majority: the potatoes were soft, the eggs both brown and runny. The bread was crispy on the outside and smoothly soft on the inside; while I’d been promised tomato, I found scant reference to it. The bravas were unremarkable – fried potato wedges, the likes of which one could find in the frozen food section of WalMart, with aioli and a mildly spicy sauce on top. I was hungry for Spanish food, though, and I polished off the bocadillo, two plates of the bravas, two plates of croquetas, one pig ear (washed down with half a beer) and more olives.

“It is not possible to get this food in Cleveland,” I said, thinking of Marbella.

“You do not have good food in Cleveland?”

“No - there is good food, there is very good food. The food in Cleveland is fantastic, is incredible. But there is not food like this food. There is food that has the face of Spanish food but” Barça scored again and the matter was dropped before I could talk gibberish. Seven to nothing. It looked like they were trying to avoid blowing this other team out, but they were so good that they couldn’t avoid scoring more goals.

After the game, Marta and her boyfriend Josep took me to a theater at the very end of the L2 metro to see a Serbian/Catalan rockabilly band sing songs in English. It was technically a theater and not a club, so there was no alcohol and no smoking. We went to a tiny bar around the corner to drink Four Roses with the bass player, a friend of Josep’s who had a beautiful pompadour and a girlfriend who knew English. Then we took the metro back into the city, met up with Franco at the bar where he works, and I got more drunk than I’ve been in years; at 4 a.m., when he finished, we went to a gay club with some girls he knew. Neither of us got anywhere with them, and on the Vespa ride home sunlight had begun to stream through the streets. I’d slept for three of the previous 44 hours and I wanted to go to bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010


by Beau Cadiyo

I remember the first time I saw her.

It was December 24, 2004, and I’d spent the evening with my friend Franco Betriu’s family. The Christmas Eve tradition in Barcelona is to eat dinner – a late, late dinner – and then the parents go to sleep while the children go out and party. I was gladly winging for Franco in a bar in Gracia, talking to an uncommonly underweight blonde, which is normally absolutely my type. What she lacked in personality she made up for in undemanding conversation and visible ribs. Then Francesca came in. She was a ball of fire and I was captivated. A few other girls were there, too, but I found myself gravitating to her; also, she spoke English. Franco ended up with the blonde and I got Francesca’s number. I sent her a few text messages, but only got short responses so gave up.

In April, I went out with Franco; he’d just gotten his first car and we were set to go to a fair to celebrate the month of April. We randomly picked up Francesca and another girl who I can’t remember, and again I found myself infatuated. This time, though, it was mutual. I remember almost nothing about the evening other than that I knew I wanted to spend every second I could with her, and at the end of the night, after drinking and dancing and cheering little girls parading in fancy April dresses, when she wanted to go on the Ferris Wheel and nobody else did, I went up with her, despite my paralyzing fear of heights. I just didn’t look down – I looked at her. I don’t think anyone was surprised when we got off and were holding hands. A few days later, we went to a movie – apparently it was Bride and Prejudice – and then walked down Passeig de Gracia, past the closed shops, through Placa Catalunya and then around…some other streets.

To quote my review of Marbella, “I’ve said “I love you” to a lot of girls in my life, but I’ve never meant it as much as when I said it to her, for the first and last time, before walking onto my plane.”

Like all things, this restaurant review begins with a girl.

(Read Part II here.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kravitz Delicatessen

3135 Belmont Ave.
Youngstown, Ohio 44505
(330) 759-7889

by Beau Cadiyo

I watched a television show on rail travel recently, and I’m now convinced that the key to Cleveland’s prosperity in the future is an extensive monorail system. I call it the Lake to Lorain Line, or LLL for short. The LLL will go from Painesville to Lorain, as the main line, and will have various branches shooting out of downtown – through Lakewood, to Lyndhurst and any other suburbs beginning with the letter “L.” It could be a regular monorail, but I think it would be cost-effective and intelligent to build it like the Wuppertal Schwebebahn, particularly if it had shatterproof glass bottoms so you could look down while it’s traveling. The main line would naturally follow I-90; during rush hour, it would shoot at 40 miles per hour past the creeping cars and drop off its passengers inside downtown buildings, including Key Tower and Tower City and the Galleria and on W. 6th and E. 4th and Public Square and Playhouse Square, and it would go over the bridge with blue lights leading to Detroit, then up Detroit. There would be stops every few neighborhoods, but because it would go so fast it would still have major advantages over cars. It would also cost $1. We’d work out a deal with the manufacturing company that if they build it for free, they can keep the revenue from it for the first 10 years. It would be run by computers from a central station in a remote location, where a few guys in pristine uniforms would monitor everything. If food is served, Mia Bella, Lolita and the Greenhouse Tavern would get first dibs.

I’d like it if the line extended to Youngstown. Growing up, I heard the name “Youngstown” in various contexts, but it never meant anything to me. Actually, since I was in SoCal, nothing beyond Vegas meant much to me. It was thus neither positive nor negative; like “sand” or “paper,” it was a word assigned to something that existed as an abstract idea, and that was all. Then I saw Richard Pryor’s sketch about working in a mafia nightclub, and suddenly Youngstown had significance – it was the home of a mafia family, and the mafia was outdated, or of a prior generation, and could be really, really funny. I wanted to take people in Youngstown out to dinner in the hopes that they’d stop me from paying, and maybe tell the chef to put a little struzzi on top of whatever we ate. I like fried food.

I learned that I would be going to Youngstown to meet with a client. At the last minute, I sent a Facebook message to Frank Crooke, a law school friend. Shortly after graduating, she’d married, and we’d lost touch. We reconnected in Kravitz’s deli. The building felt old, like the waitresses had been there for tens of years and never saw any reason to go elsewhere; the booths showed wear, as did the materials used to prepare and display the baked goods and deli selections, but that was, in my mind, a good thing. In animate and inanimate objects, character is attained by use and age. Thus, an old wooden table with stains, or a leather briefcase worn at the edges, has more to offer than a disposable untouched plastic table top or a new satchel purchased for the season’s fashion.

As we settled into our booth, the only diners at 11:40 a.m., I remembered how good Frank was with people – I felt like she was really interested in talking to me, which is a rarity among pretty girls. Frank isn’t just pretty, she’s gorgeous; in law school she was known as the Unicorn, as she was both ethereally beautiful and uncommonly elusive.

The waitress was attentive, and soon we were sharing soups, an egg sandwich, a tuna sandwich and potato salad. Everything was as one might expect – while it wasn’t gourmet, it was hearty. The bread was not too light and not too heavy; the egg salad was creamy; the tuna was mashed to perfection; the potatoes were cubed to just the right size, and if you don’t know what that is, you will never know. The soup, too, was outstanding – cabbage, hearty, hot, with good tooth.

After lunch, we stood on the curb under an overhang, talking. Further down the strip mall, two men hustled out of a door and into a car. As they were backing out, two waiters ran out of the restaurant and stopped them, yelling that they had to pay. “Dine and dash!” Frank cried, and I gawked as the men slinked back inside, looking both guilty and resentful and self-justifying, as if they had the right to eat for free and it was society which needed to adjust to their needs and actions. “Stupid,” Frank muttered as she hid behind me to avoid them seeing her. “They parked facing the curb. If they’d parked nose-out, they could have just jumped in their car and taken off. Backing up takes way more time. They weren’t thinking.”

I’m pretty sure she meant to imply what I was imagining: how perfect it would have been if they’d bolted out the door at just the right time, jumped onto a Schwebebahn and were whisked away…

Kravitz Delicatessen Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 1, 2010

From Afar: Tesco Lasagna Sandwich

Islington Green Metro
25-29 Islington Green
N1 8DU
0845 6779864

by Beau Cadiyo

One Saturday morning I took a walk with Des Ayuno and Frank Ely. We stopped at a cash machine outside the Islington Tesco when I realized I had to go inside.

“Where’s he going?” I heard Frank ask behind me.
“He's going to get a lasagna sandwich,” Des replied.
“A what?”

I marched in and looked up and down the aisles, giving each a token glance without seeing the sandwich cooler. Finally, I asked a clerk, who pointed me back to the front of the store, which I'd vigorously strode past and thus missed completely. He followed the labels with his finger, and we'd almost given up when he said, “Ah there, we have, two left.”

At 11 a.m. on a Saturday, they'd almost sold out.

I grabbed one and held it for a minute, jittery with anticipation. £2.20. A triangular plastic package with a cellophane window, and, inside, white bread bookending two layers of pasta, cheese, sauce and ground meat. What kind of meat? A true pilgrim would never ask.

When I got outside, Des and Frank were still waiting to take out money. They saw my prize and Frank – a gourmet chef – shook his head. Des leaned in to look at it the way one might look at a harmless animal secure in a cage, but shrank away when it was brought marginally closer to her face.

I have learned when living abroad that it's sometimes best to play into English stereotypes of American behavior. It's a subtle but effective form of manipulation. If you defy their expectations (i.e., with nuanced insight and intelligent sophistication), they feel they can't let down their guard around you, whereas if you act as they expect of the oafish American abroad, they feel validated and are less wary. This is entirely true even of people who should know better – like Frank, whom I’ve known for nearly three years, and Des, whom I’ve known for 15. Thus, I became the aggressive, pushy American stereotype. I ignored their protestations of disgust, ripped the cellophane open, pulled out half the sandwich and thrust it upon Des. Then I pulled out the other half for myself.

It worked. Despite her natural inclinations to the contrary, in the face of American pushiness, Des took a bite while Frank watched. Then she offered him a bite. Something about her face – perhaps its surprising equanimity, the continued chewing, the lack of total repulsion – made him take a bite without even a perfunctory shrug. As he was chewing, Des grabbed it back to take another bite, and then Frank did the same. Then Des finished it off.

There was no talking. We were all shocked: it wasn't actually bad. I wouldn't call it good – to me, the processed white bread and noodles were too carb-heavy and the texture didn't sit right in my mouth – but it actually sort of worked. There was enough sauce on it that the bread did not dry out, and Frank particularly praised the béchamel. I think Des was just surprised that it didn’t make her want to vomit, and kept eating out of a kind of clinical curiosity – to see if she'd have some violent, negative reaction to it at some point.

I finished my half at 11:10 a.m. - exactly three hours after I’d walked my flag to the Tube and 24 hours before I'd have to get on it myself, to head to Heathrow. Over the course of the day we got gloriously drunk, ate oysters and pork belly and fish and lager bread and watched a documentary about the life and death of Arthur Russell until 3 a.m. My duties as transatlantic diplomat complete, I got five hours of sleep, packed and came back to the US, satisfied that I'd represented my country well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lava Lounge

1307 Auburn Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 589-9112

by Beau Cadiyo

When we got to the bar, Frank Callahan was sitting with her back to the door, drinking coffee and reading The Jungle Book. Frank Mathoslah immediately proclaimed

The Son of Man goes forth to war,
A golden crown to gain;
His blood-red banner streams from far —
Who can follow in his train?

while I put down my briefcase and walked to the back, past two couples on dates, possible future couples and a hipster girl smiling at her MacBook Pro screen. When I passed the kitchen, Kipling’s couplets still ringing in my ears, I thought: These are the people I want to know.

The first time I’d seen the Lava Lounge was with my ex, back at the beginning of the summer. We’d been eating at Bac’s, on the patio, and afterward we walked past and decided to check it out. The patio in the back – small, cozy and well lit – was the feature that made me want to return, and the general vibe of being a little more than just a neighborhood bar. Its off-center location put it ahead of Prosperity in my mind, too; Prosperity, pushed onto Lincoln Park, is for hipsters going out of their way to call attention to themselves, while Lava seems like it’s for people looking to talk and have a good time, not be seen and be scene.

We sat down to play Bananagrams, which Des Ayuno told me about and which may be the best game ever invented.

The only sandwich on their happy hour menu is a $5 cheeseburger. I ordered and a minute later realized that the barmaid hadn’t asked me how I wanted it cooked. It was the first time in ages that I hadn’t been asked, and I started to doubt my choice. After all, as Scarlet says, “If they don’t ask you how you want your meat cooked it means they don’t trust their meat – and you shouldn’t, either.”

It came out more well done than I’ve had in ages – dark brown all the way through. As I bit in, my mind was filled with images of filler, of cartilage ground into patties, of rats falling into grinding machines. If this was reality, I wouldn’t have known; the patties were huge and generously portioned and good tasting and textured. The red onion jam added a certain tanginess; the gruyere cheese added creaminess and something to hold onto other elements. The ketchup I added made everything slippery, and I had to consume the filling together without finishing the bread.

This may have been the best thing to happen. The bread at Lava Lounge is phenomenal. It was light, toasted, and perfectly flavored with garlic. It crunched between my teeth and then turned into a chewy, doughy delight. I dipped it in the burger juice on my plate, then in the ketchup, and finally in the garlic aioli that came with my side of pommes frites. I wanted another burger without the meat.

Two others in our group got burgers, and then a third; then we played a question game, then wrote. When we were done the bar had suddenly been populated by middle-aged, professional-looking women and a few small groups of diners and a sole single man sitting at the corner, enjoying his drink. We paid up and walked out into a crisp fall night. It was an evening of food, games, writing and friends – something unimaginable until recently.

Later, Frank wrote me:

So this is the lounge of lava,
Where we've gone for half our lives;
And those who know it prosper,
And those who go there are wise.

These are the people I want to know. And they hang out at the Lava Lounge.

Lava Lounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ireland Alert

If you live in, work in or are planning on visiting Ireland, beware of pre-packed sandwiches. A new report says that a significant portion of them are stored at incorrect temperatures, which can result in food poisoning.

Stay vigilant, Sandwich Scientists™.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

KFC Advertising: The Sandwich Scientists™ weigh in

If you’ve been paying attention to recent developments in Sandwich Science™, you may know that KFC has been paying college girls to advertise their Double Down bunless sandwiches on their butts. Naturally, this has raised a stink among radical feminist clerics.

These unchic sheiks need to get some knowledge:
  1. Sex sells. It always has and it always will. It's an irrefutable fact of human nature. If you want to condemn this, then why not condemn Victoria’s Secret for printing “PINK,” Juicy for placing “Juicy” and every college in the country for putting their own logo on sweat pants or yoga pants bottoms - it's the same type of advertising and is only worn by women. But wait: how do I know that companies are doing this? Because I, like 99% of heterosexual males, check out a lot of butts around the world, and I’ve noticed this sort of advertising from Cleveland to Calcutta and San Diego to Singapore. Hell, butts themselves are advertisements of sexual virility. No freedom-loving American should demand that they be permanently obscured by form-concealing fabric.
  2. Humans – yes, men included – are sexual beings. Pretending that we are not, or that our sexual urges should be repressed, denied or ignored, is so 1809. The puritanical, sex-negative, repressed cat-people who wish to push their offensive agenda on the rest of the world, dictating what women should or should not be able to wear, should be tonguepunched in their fartboxes.
  3. We’re going to be looking at these womens' butts regardless of whether KFC is advertising on them or not. Instead of being condemned, KFC should be applauded for allowing women to make money in inventive ways. Denying women the opportunity to do this, or implying, as some have, that these women are incapable of making intelligent decisions about work or their bodies, is sexist in the extreme. Next they’ll be arguing that these women cannot make intelligent decisions about pregnancy, finances and driving.
  4. KFC should also be applauded for encouraging these girls to keep fit. Obesity is an epidemic in America. I can guarantee you that these jobs are awarded on merit, and, in this case, merit is a hot ass. I would be willing to bet a significant amount of money that the people complaining are actually those who would not be able to obtain these jobs and, if they were able to, they would be collecting paychecks from KFC in a heartbeat.

The Spoof is usually stupid. However, they had a good counter-headline to the people complaining: Wienerschnitzel Pays College Men for Ad Space on Crotches. It speaks for itself and, if this were true, you certainly wouldn’t be hearing complaints about the objectification of men. Indeed, liberal thought would mandate that this be celebrated among intellectual crowds and masses alike.

Stop setting double standards; let women work.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Congratulations Mia Bella

Congratulations to Mia Bella for winning awards for Best Food and Best Restaurant at the Taste of Little Italy last weekend. I'm assuming the judges all had sandwiches?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ingenuity Fest



-Dim and Den Sum
-McCormicks & Schmicks
-Gypsy Beans Cafe
-Bunny's Mediterranean Cuisine
-Lake Erie Fish and Chips
-Antonelli's Italian Specialities
-Quaker Corporation
-Simply Elegant Catering
-Pfile Concessions
-Pizza Bogo
-MiMos Hand Crafted Ice Cream




Wednesday, September 8, 2010


29425 Chagrin Blvd
Beachwood, OH 44122
(216) 464-9939

by Beau Cadiyo

It was my last night in Barcelona, and all I wanted was patatas bravas from Bar Tomás.

Well, I wanted other things, too, but those were all but guaranteed. The problem was the bravas. My girlfriend, Francesca, and I had arrived in Sarriá at sunset, and Bar Tomás was already closing down – being a family institution, they kept their own hours sometimes, and this was one of those times. Bravas, or fried potatoes topped with a garlic/mayonnaise sauce and a dash of hot sauce, are a national dish in Spain. Bar Tomás was regularly acknowledged as the best place in the peninsula to get them, and their doors were closing, the customers heading home, the waiters wiping tables and sweeping under chairs.

They would have to wait, though, for my beautiful and determined French/Spanish novia. She slipped in through the door and confronted the barman; all I could see was her big blonde hair and, when she turned to indicate me, the smile that I’d first noticed months earlier – the fullness in the middle and the upturned ends moving into perfectly symmetrical dimples. The barman looked out at me, looked back at her, listened again to her Daisy Buchanan voice and a few moments later she poked her head out of the door, smiling, and blew me a kiss. We ate on a bench just up the street, and when we were done we went on a long, hand-holding, glance-darting, bittersweet walk through the hills above the city. She pointed out an acacia tree and we broke off a green, low-hanging twig. She took one end and I took the other and we snapped it in two, making simultaneous wishes and tucking our pieces away. I don’t think I was the only one who wished that they would someday be reunited.

The next morning, she used her tricks and connections to get a fake stewardess boarding pass which let her into the terminal. I’ve said “I love you” to a lot of girls in my life, but I’ve never meant it as much as when I said it to her, for the first and last time, before walking onto my plane.

I was reminded of Francesca when I threw out my wallet recently – a gift from another ex – and started using the wallet I’d had that night in Sarriá. Tucked inside the billfold was the sprig of acacia. I found a stash of coupons the very next day; one was for Marbella, and I figured that maybe it was a sign that I should try some Spanish food in the US.

Within three minutes of sitting down, I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea. When asked if they had bravas, the waiter didn’t understand what I was saying. Patatas bravas? Bravas? Patatas? Anyways, no, he’d never heard of them. Un bocadillo de tortilla de patata? No, sorry, he had no tortillas, and he started to look uncomfortable. Well then, the hamburger is good? He crinkled his nose and pursed his lips. The tilapia sandwich is better. The tilapia, please, y thank you.

After an excellent cabbage soup starter, it went downhill from there. This wasn’t the Spanish food I ate in Spain. Aside from the bravas, most of my restaurant-bought meals consisted of potatoes, bread, eggs, ham and vegetables. I certainly never had a fried fish sandwich, much less tilapia, from Pans & Co. or any neighborhood bar. A burger? Certainly never at a real Spanish establishment. Tilapia? Nothing about tilapia is particularly Spanish. A deep-fried fish sandwich? Never – maybe tuna in oil, but not anything else.

These aberrations could possibly have been forgiven if the fish had been exceptionally good. Possibly. The bread had a good crust and a soft marrow. However, the fish was dry and gummed to my teeth; the breading, meanwhile, was soaked with oil, which pooled on the plate. The tomatoes on top were green and hard, and the fish sauce in a ramekin on the side wasn’t enough to spread across one side of the bun. A huge pile of chips filled the rest of the plate. The only chips I had in Spain were Doritos, and while these were tasty, I would have preferred a side more stereotypically Spanish. The coffee was weak, about on par with Denny’s. A mix of excellence and detritus, it wasn’t Spanish food – it was American, and it was only barely passable.

I’ll fortunately be going back to Barcelona in November. In just three months I’ll be walking through Gracia and stopping by the ham shop up the street from DiR. I’ll take the metro to Entenca and stop for a bocadillo de tortilla de patata in Pans & Co. and then, across the street, get a better one at the bar run by the older couple and their single, middle-aged, overweight and sexually frustrated daughter. I’ll take the street car to Villa Olimpica and stop for a café solo at the restaurant two blocks down from my old apartment. And I’ll jump on the Ferrocarril to Sarriá, walk through the side streets and once again open the big wood-and-glass doors to Bar Tomás.

And, needless to say, someone will be waiting for me there.

Marbella on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guess who's back?

Folks -

I apologize a trillion times for the absence. I promise that if it happens again, I will apologize a trillion times again. An epic review is in the works; I can't say what restaurant is being reviewed, but let me tell you, you'll know more about me and a certain past relationship than you did before reading this new piece de resistance, unless you're the girl I'm writing about, in which case you know how amazing and special I still think you are.

Second, I'm not sure what this means, but it could use some serious academic review.

Third, and last, you've no doubt been hearing about the Denny's cheese stick sandwich. I've been ruminating on this for quite some time and I think it's time to stop - stop both the ruminating, which is taking away from my productive time, and stop using extreme sandwiches as publicity stunts.

Sure, this has gone on for ages - it goes back at least as long as the Nathan's hot dog eating contests. But since the KFC Double Down, places are coming out with extreme sandwiches at an increasing and sickening rate, all for a cheap news bite and to get some attention, and the mainstream media is lining up, mouths open, ready to suck down whatever hot mess these places are shooting out of their sandwichmakers.

I, for one, am sick of it. It's time to stop exploiting sandwiches for cheap personal gain. Please join me by writing on the Denny's Facebook Wall and telling them that enough is enough - they need to leave those poor sandwiches alone and go back to making absurdly sweet key lime pie, amazing curly fries and bottomless cups of coffee.

Who's with me?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From Afar: Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery, Los Angeles, California

1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-8279

By Sandwich Koufax

“How far will you drive for a sandwich?” It’s a question we don’t get asked very often (by my count, I’ve never been asked), but it’s got to be one of life’s most important questions. And now I’m asking you. How far will you drive for a sandwich? How many hours (or days) will you journey? What kind of personal growth are you willing to experience for two slices of bread and some meat? As it turns out, my answer was about twenty minutes.

Los Angeles is a food lovers paradise. Not only can one find any type of cuisine, one can also find multiple options for that cuisine. If you don’t like the fried crickets at the place on Sunset, you can try them in Santa Monica, and the place in Silverlake will roast them with cockroaches if you ask them right. This creates an endless and healthy amount of debate. But if you survey any food lover in Los Angeles about their favorite sandwich most will list Bay Cities Deli at the top. If it’s not in the top slot it’s almost certain that it will be in their top three (Larchmont Deli and Portos tend to be the other top choices).

Unfortunately, the other thing about Los Angeles - and trust me, I hate to give strength to the cliché - is that it is sprawling. The beach is seventeen miles away, but it could easily take me an hour and it will never take less then twenty-five minutes. About five years ago I committed to living in Los Feliz, the first neighborhood I’ve ever lived in that felt like home. I barely use my car on the weekends (the first thing to ever happen in my life which made me think that miracles do exist) and I’m even starting to be on first name basis with local vendors. My neighborhood is a paradise and I rarely regret living here. However, when I made the choice to live here, I was also choosing to live a minimum of twenty-five minutes away from the best sandwich in Los Angeles. And so it had been approximately five years since the last time I made it all the way to Lincoln Ave and ate a Godmother sandwich from the counter at Bay Cities Deli, proof that my maximum travel time for a sandwich was about twenty minutes.

Fortunately, I recently had a meeting on the westside, within blocks of Bay Cities Deli, and I was able to convince my writing partner that it was our only option for lunch. It had been a long time, but it all came rushing back the minute I saw the simple red sign shining like a beacon. The experience is half the battle at Bay Cities. Not just a deli, Bay Cities is also a small grocery store with narrow aisles. I know they sell various sundries, but I couldn’t give you any specifics, because the first thing you do upon entering is brave the crush of humanity crowding around the deli counter. Bay Cities is busy enough that when we took our number, 83 they were currently serving customer 93 (hyperbole, but I’ve been as many as 40 digits away on the weekend). The number of customers also forces you to be ready; the fifteen or so employees working the 30 foot counter have no patience for the slow or weak, and if you’re not ready for them, they will move on without mercy. When our number finally came I ordered my usual (or what would be my usual if I had been to Bay Cities in the last half decade), the Godmother Sandwich: genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto, provolone, with the works, no onions, no pickles and spicy peppers.

The Godmother is the type of sandwich that is going to get messy on you. Fortunately it comes wrapped in heavy duty butcher paper, so the oils, toppings and various chunks of sandwich that get squeezed out as you attempt to tear your way through the tough and deliciously crusty bread get trapped in a nice stew that you can reference at various points in the sandwich. Feel like you could use some more peppers? There they are, collected in the butcher paper. Want some more dressing on your next bite? Just dip the sandwich in the pool in the paper. This is a sandwich you need a napkin for, so make sure to ask for it when you pay at the register. But it’s also a sandwich that makes you reconsider your answer to life’s most important question. As I slaughtered this sandwich (and it was a slaughter) I was kicking myself for letting time and distance separate me from something I already knew was so good. It’s not like Bay Cities was a place I’d been “meaning to try.” It was a place I had been meaning to go back to, but I let the traffic on the 10 keep me away, and that was not something I was comfortable with.

The Godmother sandwich has been written about a lot, but I’ll do my part and say that it might be the best sandwich I’ve ever had and it is without a doubt the best “Italian” style sandwich I’ve ever had in my belly. Everything about it is pitch-perfect. The bread is delicious and the hard crust will cut the roof of your mouth if you’re not careful. The meats are of impeccable quality and the five (FIVE!) different types complement each other well. The spicy Italian peppers are not overwhelming and the condiments add flavor without overwhelming anything else. This sandwich is the King and now that I’ve been reminded of what sandwich wears the crown in Los Angeles I have a new answer to life’s most important question. How far will I drive for a sandwich? How far is Bay Cities Deli?

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Afar: No Name Delicatessen, Columbia, South Carolina

2042 Marion Street
Columbia, SC 29201

By Don Archebaub

I’ve been an avid reader of the Cleveland Sandwich Board since I met Beau at the wedding of a mutual friend. We’ve stayed in touch, and knowing my love of food, he encouraged me to try my hand at reviewing some of my experiences shoving chow down my gullet. While I am extremely outspoken with my opinion on any topic, I’ve never fancied myself a writer of any skill, and the idea of committing my personal thoughts on a subject so dear to my heart and arteries was nothing short of intimidating. I’ve finally decided that there are some places in this town that truly deserve an honest assessment of the sandwiches they produce. So, here goes.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the No Name Deli is how busy it was. The dining room was completely filled, there were two lines backed up close to the door, and there was constant movement of people between the different areas of the store. I wasn’t sure where the line formed and what the process was, and within seconds of walking in, more customers streamed in behind me. These people were obviously regulars and knew exactly what to do; sensing my confusion they quickly walked around me to the stack of trays and began making their way through the line to get their lunches. I took this opportunity to watch the process and learn how this place works.

I fell in line behind a group of people who were obviously co-workers in a nearby office. I noticed an old menu board on the wall that, aside from the prices, has probably not changed in over 20 years. There is nothing unusual about the offerings: ham sandwich, salami, turkey, pimento cheese, etc. As I slid my tray down the line, I grabbed a cup and filled it up with diet coke from the ancient soda fountain, slid past the self-serve refrigerator with a hand written sign offering the best banana pudding you would ever eat, and got ready to tell my order to one of the numerous young people moving in a chaotic ballet of sandwiches and side dishes.

The teenager behind the counter shouted “NEXT ORDER!” and immediately began looking at me impatiently. “Chicken breast sandwich, on wheat!” I said loudly. In less than a minute the line had moved down numerous spots and it seemed like I was rushing past the sandwich line as a flurry of workers put together sandwiches, bowls of soup, sides of pasta, and deli pickles. As I quickly moved closer to the cash register I was asked by a different teenager, “you want fries or pasta salad?” Again I hesitated. I started looking around and see movement all around me; yet again I am stalling the well oiled machine. “Pasta salad” I manage to mumble out. “LettuceTomatoMayoHoneyMustard?” she asks in a single breath. “Uhm…sure.” I replied before I had even understood what it was I was being asked. The line kept moving and suddenly I was standing next to the cash register with an empty tray. I started to tell the guy I got a chicken sandwich, but before it is out of my mouth he says “Number Two with pasta and a soda, $7.70 please.” His fingers then began dancing over the buttons; he knew the price before the register did. Clearly the man had sold a sandwich or two in his day. Seemingly out of nowhere a plate appeared with a large sandwich and a heaping pile of pasta salad and was placed on the counter in front of me. I took my change, grabbed my plate and found a small table in the dining room next to an elderly couple.

I took a look at my sandwich and immediately realized how sloppy it looks. Chicken hung out irregularly around the parts of the large rectangular bun. After my first bite, any concerns about the presentation disappeared. The bun was a large wheat bun with a slightly sweet taste, toasted to be firm enough to hold a large piece of chicken without falling apart within the first few bites. I quickly realized that the chicken was hanging out from parts of the bun because it was a real chicken breast that looked like it was grilled right there in the store, not a processed chicken patty, or neatly formed grilled and pressed breast meat creation. The bulk of the meat was juicy and easy to bite through, with a few dry areas around the periphery. The honey mustard was sweet and mild, adding flavor to the chicken but not overpowering it. The shredded lettuce fell out from the edges of the sandwich as I begin to devour my meal. I was immediately impressed with the sandwich and ate half of it in only a few bites. I realized how fast I wolfed down the first half and look around at my fellow patrons, hoping that no one noticed. I take a few bites of the pasta salad. It is your typical multi-colored rotini pasta with some veggies and what tastes like Italian dressing; it was the standard good compliment to just about any sandwich.

As I forced myself to slow down while I ate the rest of my meal, I started to people-watch. I decided that the slightly graying man working the cash register must be the owner because he kept a watchful eye on everything that is going on. Occasionally he gave out instructions to the sandwich makers and table bussing staff. He always had a slight smile on his face and didn’t look stressed out, no matter how busy the line got. There were two children walking around the dining room offering to clear away trays the moment patrons were done eating. I assumed that they were the register guy’s children from the way he kept his eye on them. The pace of the line hardly let up as I ate. Seconds after I put my napkin down on my plate, one of the children immediately came up and asked me if I was done and could he take my tray please. I nod to him and he quickly grabbed it.

I looked around and realized that if the flux capacitor in my Delorean was working, I could have had this exact same experience in 1985, or even 1995. Everything about the No Name Deli is likely the same as it has been for years. The reason for this is no doubt because there is no need to update anything. The menu is simple, straight forward, and good. The service is quick and efficient. There are no gimmicks or trendy ideas, just fresh food made and served quickly- and that puts it on my list of my favorite places in Columbia.

No Name Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 17, 2010

National Hamburger Festival

by Beau Cadiyo

This is just a quick write-up of the National Burger Festival down in Akron this weekend. To save money and stomach space, we ate only at non-chain places or places we wouldn't be able to eat at in Cleveland (Sorry Dim and Den Sum - we still want to review you!). Here's our report. If you go, let us know what you think in the comments!

Menches Brothers Restaurant
330 S Main St
Akron, OH 44308
(330) 375-1717

Menches made a big deal out of how they invented the hamburger and that they'd won a bunch of awards at the festival. We went with the Festival burger.

Meat: VERY greasy, but also juicy. Overall, it was a bit above average for what we sampled.
Toppings: The bacon was the crispiest we had that day.
Condiments: The Menches sauce was excellent. It tasted like it was mustard-based; it added a huge amount of flavor to the burger, and I was tempted to go back with some other burgers to just pour on some of the sauce.
Bread: Average - nothing special.
Overall: A decent burger.

Menches Brothers Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Main Street Burger
I'm not sure which Main Street place this is - I think it just said "Main Street Burger." Therefore I won't put any address or link through to it. We ate here partly because there was a massive man taking orders; it reminded me of Eating Cleveland's adage that one shouldn't trust skinny people to review food.

Meat: Much drier than the Menches Bros burger, to the point where Frank called it tasteless.
Toppings: Excellent pickles in every bite.
Condiments: Mustard and Ketchup were slathered on.
Bread: Average - nothing special.
Overall: This was a classic burger. I'm not sure I could recommend it over others, but it was ok.

57 E Market St
Akron, OH 44308
(330) 253-1234

The people at Crave were the most artistic-looking and the most friendly. It was great to see the two owners behind the booth, taking orders and cooking. They looked happy.

Meat: In my opinion this was probably the best overall burger we had today. The meat played a huge role - it actually tasted like meat, and was just slightly charred.
Toppings: In the four bites I had of this burger I got four distinct, different tastes: peppers, bacon, red onion and barbecue sauce. The chihuahua cheese they put on it was there, but didn't register on my tongue.
Condiments: Barbecue sauce - very good.
Bread: This was one of the two breads that stood out. Normally buns with seeds have the seeds on the top, and the bottom is just ignored and left seedless. Crave's bun had sesame seeds on top and on bottom so that the bun was covered in seeds.
Overall: Very good. Worth an award, actually.

Metro Burger
845 W Market St
Akron, OH 44303
(330) 253-8743

This burger was pretty run-of-the-mill. However, they do win the award for the most comely servers.

Meat: Generic.
Toppings: This had the most fresh vegetables of any that we tried today. For this they should be applauded.
Condiments: Average.
Bread: Average.
Overall: Average.

Steel Trolley Diner (STD)
140 E. Lincoln Way
Lisbon, Ohio 44432
(330) 424-3663

This is one of those places people go to because it's branding itself as fun and edgy - literally. They char "STD" into each bun, and their shirts say "How about something thick and creamy?" on the back. The Johnny Appleseed was creative, but not great.

Meat: Very bad. Nobody was impressed.
Toppings: This burger had apple sauce on top, which was a really great addition. The idea was excellent - all they need is better meat and they'll be great!
Condiments: Applesauce. Awesome.
Bread: Average.
Overall: This would be a winner with better meat.

Martini Brothers
1300 N state Street
Girard, OH, 44420

John Wayne Burger

This was one of the most difficult and entertaining burgers to get. The brothers - I hope they were brothers - argued with each other, were frustrated and overwhelmed, and were slammed with orders. Their stand didn't seem to be set up too well - they were constantly reaching over each other to get things. However, they put out a very high-quality product. Good luck to them!

Meat: This became the best meat we had, I believe. At this point we were a bit full, so that's saying a lot - it wasn't spiced with hunger.
Toppings: The bacon was ok; the onion rings were amazing.
Condiments: There wasn't anything special on this, but there didn't need to be - it was a good combination. They also had a burger with some sort of tomato soup reduction which I wanted to try.
Bread: They used some sort of ciabatta bread which added a lot of texture. I was really impressed, but it struck home how few other places were experimenting with bread at this festival.
Overall: Very good.

Windsor Pub

1322 E Tallmadge Ave
Akron, OH 44310
(330) 633-5211

We saw this when we went in, and saved it for last - glorious last. We shouldn't have, as it left us with a bad taste in our mouth that only Buckeye Birch Beer could take away.

Meat: Horrible. This was the biggest disappointment of the day, because the actual cooking of the meat was impressive, and the lines for Windsor were by far the longest we saw. However, the meat tasted like it had been frozen for a long time, thawed and then horribly charred.
Toppings: Dismal. The mushrooms were clearly straight out of a can and the onions were completely flavorless. The provalone cheese was about the only thing that made a positive impact.
Condiments: None. They would have helped.
Bread: The bread had a nice swirl on top but was otherwise unexceptional.
Overall: Each of us took a bite of this, the biggest burger we saw at the festival. Then, we put the remainder back on the plate and threw it away. Like models who look good but end up being boring, or actually horrible people, this looked great but wasn't worth a bite.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Frank Vardakas-Styrna, a friend of mine from high school, now lives and works in San Francisco. She was at work today when - dum dum DUM - she found herself stuck in an elevator. Looking on the bright side (as she is wont to do), she sent a message to Facebook:

"We always made jokes about getting stuck in this coffin on a string. Can't believe it actually happened. At least I have a sandwich #stuck"

She subsequently wrote:

I recommend carrying a sandwich at all times. Just in case you might be stuck in an elevator."

Folks, we've said it before and we'll say it again: be prepared. While you many not think tragedy can ever happen to you, remember Frank's words and learn from her experience. Do not let her ordeal be in vain. ALWAYS CARRY A SANDWICH.



This interesting piece just in from the New York Times. Sandwiches in a can. I think this could be on par with week-old wonderbread and store-brand PB&J. They might need to create a removable barrier between the ingredients to prevent them from making the bread soggy.

Your thoughts?


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sandwich Science™ Report

There's an outstanding new report from India which purports to show that...well, in their words:

"Based on some concrete market fundamentals, we anticipate that the sandwich segment will register one of the most impressive growths in overall fast food market of the US during our forecast period, thus becoming one of the most dominating market segments in the fast food industry.

"Our systematic and thorough research studies the US fast food market to give an insight into its various segments, including Burgers, Sandwiches, Pizza/Pasta, Mexican, Chicken, Snacks, Seafood and Asian. The comprehensive analysis of the market has identified burgers market as the highest share-holder at present, but future will see a revival of the market when other segments will also post rapid growth." (emphasis supplied)

I question a few things about the study - after all, burgers are clearly sandwiches, and sandwiches DO exist in Mexican food (tortas), chicken (chicken salad), snacks (tea sandwiches), seafood (po' boys) and Asian food (Bahn Mi anyone?). Regardless, if the zodiac sign for Sandwich hadn't been replaced by stupid Gemini (the symbol of which is clearly a sandwich), we would say that Sandwich was ascendant. Momentum is entirely on our side and resistance is futile. For those of you who didn't believe us before, you now have to argue with Sandwich Science™ AND Sandwich Statistics™.

If anyone wants a copy of this important and impressive new research, there's a link at the bottom of the article.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Michigan Alert

This just popped up on our Feedjit:

If you know anyone in/from Brighton who is opening a restaurant, and they plan on serving meat there, be very, very wary.

With your best interests in mind,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We called it.

April 12, 2010: Double Down Day. I predicted that within three months KFC would kill the Double Down, but keep the wrapper.

Well folks, the announcement apparently came today: KFC appears to be replacing the DD with a regular chicken sandwich. It is a bit ambiguous - they don't specifically say that they're taking the DD off of the menu, but it appears that that will be the natural step. Money says, though, that they're keeping that brilliant little wrapper - the greatest advance in Sandwich Science™ this year.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Quit

by Beau Cadiyo

Since the Quit I have received 1,528 e-mails, all approximately the same:

Dear Mr. Beau Cadiyo,

What would Lebron James’ exit from the Cavaliers mean to the Cleveland Sandwich Board?


Starry-Eyed Admirer

PS Your review of (restaurant) was totally right-on! I (loved/loathed) it as well, but have not the skills to put this (love/loathing) into words like you do!

The crush of requests has become too much to deal with, particularly since the last couple of posts about New York's sandwich scene and its attempts to lure LBJ to the island. It would be too time-consuming to email each individual back personally (much less oblige the one-out-of-seven emails requesting a worn, unwashed pair of briefs). I also don’t know why they think that the Cleveland Sandwich Board would be affected by LeBron James’ status with the Cavaliers – contrary to common belief, we do not actually hold controlling positions in the back office at the Q, and while Dan Gilbert is in my address book he hasn't made it to speed dial. I think, however, that these readers really mean to ask what his exit would mean to Boards, Sandwiches and the city of Cleveland in general. I will therefore post my responses here and hope each of these would-be correspondents has the opportunity to review it.

First, the easy one: Boards. A search on Google revealed this video of LeBron which purports to show him smashing a backboard. Personally, I can’t see anything indicating that this is LeBron or that he actually broke the backboard. This was also apparently back in his high-school days, and I did not find any videos of him shattering any boards in the NBA. If anyone knows of any instance of him smashing a board in the last seven years, please, do tell. Otherwise, it is fair to say that LeBron’s potential departure would not affect boards in any discernible way.

Second, what effect will Lebron leaving have on sandwiches? Here, I must rely on anecdotal evidence: LeBron was also spotted at the Winking Lizard on Coventry a few weeks ago – not horrible, but not exactly fine dining with personalized food. I think we can extrapolate from this tidbit that chefs are not going to be particularly eager to accommodate him with special sandwiches. Further, as far as I know, no Cleveland chef has made a sandwich for LeBron James in the same way that R.J. Boland’s made a Shaq Burger (hyperlink) just after his arrival. Verdict: LeBron’s possible departure will not have any discernible effect on sandwiches in our fair city.

Finally, much has already been said about the effect that his departure might have on the city of Cleveland. Most commentators believe that LeBron’s presents here is a positive and that, were he to leave, Cleveland would suffer a serious blow in morale, economically, socially – heck, the city would instantly die.

I think that LeBron leaving could actually be a positive.

Cleveland, and most of the rust-belt cities, were dependent in their heydays on manufacturing. All of our eggs were in one basket, and our economy depended on people making stuff. Then manufacturers left and 20/20 hindsight made us see that dependency upon a single industry was folly – we should have diversified when we could have. Even now, many people hope that manufacturing will return and employ Clevelanders. While there is a romantic allure to American manufacturing self-sufficiency, the reality is that returning to regional dependency on manufacturing will only further delay our emergence as a multifacteted, international economy. If we could go back in time, nobody rational would ever advise Cleveland or Detroit or Youngstown or Pittsburgh to be dependent on a single industry, regardless of what that industry was; instead, they would tell the town elders to diversify and focus on widespread wealth creation.

What does this have to do with the Cavaliers? They, too, put all of their hopes in one player and didn’t diversify. The Bleacher Report said it exceptionally well: "It is not often that a franchise and a city rely so heavily on one man...Sources have said that if James leaves the Cavs this summer as a free agent, the value of the Cavs franchise would depreciate by up to $150 million."

Having LeBron thus hurts the Cavs as a team; the others rely on him too much on both offense and defense, and the habit that they have of letting him dominate means that they are used to being submissive. When he doesn’t dominate, though, they are still submissive. What Cleveland has to do, with or without LeBron, is create a team in which each player is comfortable being individually dominant yet can play together, rather than playing to support the Alpha member. As long as he’s here, they’re going to depend on him; the cycle of dependency is well-nigh impossible to break. Boston, in contrast, has a team with individually above-average players and no single superstar.

Of course, the players LeBron is often compared to – Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant – were basically one-team players; it’s hard to imagine Kobe deciding to move, say, to Sacramento, even in the lean years. If LeBron wants to be as great as they are, he should stick it out with the Cavs and work with them as a team. If he does move, he’ll immediately realize that his new team won’t have the structure he’s used to and he’ll immediately pine to be back at the Q. Regardless, the dependence on LeBron by both the Cavaliers and Cleveland is, like our former dependence on industry, an anachronism. It’s taken a bit of work, but we now have much more than just factories to depend on. Similarly, the Cavs have some good individual players; what we need is an amazing team. Will it bring us a championship? That is unclear, but it seems to be working for Boston right now - they're up 3-2 against the Lakers (who are dependent on Kobe). As long as Cleveland relied upon manufacturing, we didn’t try to diversify or bring other ideas or industries into our city. As long as Cleveland has been dependent on LeBron, we haven’t tried to create a winning team independent of our single great player. If he stays, it would be the equivalent of having an industrial base still operating but diversifying at the same time. We would simply have to make sure that we did not squander the opportunity and build a solid team with - not around - his prodigious talents. If he leaves, then we have to make sure that our team is strong enough that when he returns, we destroy whatever team he’s on so thoroughly that he leaves the Q without shaking hands or giving interviews.

WSJ, LeBron, Sandwiches.

Is R.M. Schneiderman a malicious spreader of lies? An incompetent reporter? A formentor of social unrest through uninformed muckraking? I'm not sure - I've never met him, nor have I read much besides this article in the Wall Street Journal. I do know one thing: he's not very good at getting his facts straight here. Schneiderman writes,

"As for James himself, Iron Chef Michael Symon has said he’d cook for LeBron and his friends once a month if the Cavs star comes to New York. And Slyman’s Deli has said it would give LeBron free corned beef for life if he moves to the city."

Really? Has Rupert Murdoch turned the WSJ into a rag with the credibility of the National Enquirer, with little R.M. tagging along at his heels?

Obviously, both of these statements are wildly inaccurate, at best. First, Symon offered to make dinner if LeBron STAYS. One would be hard-pressed to understand why Symon would fly to New York to cook for LeBron out there.

Second, Slyman's - that storied Cleveland institution - said he'd get free corned beef for life if he STAYED. Such a glorious landmark would be burned to the ground if it chose to give him free corned beef for life if he left. In addition, it defies logic to think that LeBron would take Freddie up on such an offer. It IS good corned beef, but why would LBJ move to New York and then fly back to Cleveland for a Reuben every day?

Should anyone be surprised that newspapers are dying when these sorts of made-up "facts" appear in their pages? Should I be surprised that the Wall Street Journal let these things through their fact checker system? What else are they lying about???

Luckily for the truth, the Cleveland Sandwich Board is here to call these varmints out and defend the honor and dignity of our restaurateurs. This is exactly the sort of thing that could cost Schneiderman his career; lets hope, for his sake, that the WSJ corrects it immediately.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Dear LeBron: New York is waiting to kill you

Dear LeBron,

We just wanted you to know that New York City is attempting to kill you. They want you to get fat and die, and they're going to overcharge you for it. Here's the evidence.

Our advice: stick with the chicken salad sandwich at Good To Go Cafe.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mia Bella

12200 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 795-2355

By Beau Cadiyo

It's long been difficult to actually get a good sandwich in Little Italy. Presti's, of course, has superb chicken salad, but for a regular sit-down place the pickings are few and far between. Thus, when I learned that the head chef had left La Dolce Vita to start his own restaurant directly across the street, I was glad – while the Dolce food was generally good, I didn't like the restaurant itself. When I heard that the chef would be making sandwiches at his new restaurant, Mia Bella, the heavens opened, angels sang and I had a vision of a promised land of delicious leavened bread and filling.

I arrived at 8:30 p.m. on the night of their soft opening, which coincided with the Little Italy Art Walk, just as a group of four were turned away at the door. Tables all along the sidewalk were packed. I strode purposefully past a perky blonde hostess and went inside; every single table was taken, and the air was full of excited conversation. Both the interior lighting and the huge, open windows made it feel light, airy and pleasant. I walked to the very end of the bar and leaned against the only open seat in the entire restaurant, which also happened to be just above an air conditioning vent. Immediately, two women started talking to me and the bartender came over to shake my hand.

Things were looking good.

Frank arrived and suggested we go outside. I was skeptical; after all, I had a perfectly good perch in a very, very crowded restaurant - how were we supposed to get a prime table on a beautiful night when so many others were being turned away? She marched outside, spotted an empty table at the very end, said a few words to the hostess and we were seated.

We waited. Water, silverware, fresh bread and herb butter were brought out at different times, as were our menus, and eventually someone arrived to take our order. Meanwhile, people walked past – friends walked by and said hello, our water glasses were filled and refilled again, and we passed the time by ignoring our cell phones and talking.

Months ago, I received a few angry messages about my B-Spot review; the gist was that I reviewed it when B-Spot was new, and that I should have cut them some slack. The thing was, the food at B-Spot was terrible and we were charged full-price. Mia Bella, on their very first night, couldn’t have been more different. While it took a little time, when my Sopa di Pesche and Frank’s Calamari arrived, both were artfully presented in elegant four-sided, high-walled bowls. From the first bite, I was impressed. Mia Bella’s soup is fresh: everything from the fish to the vegetables to the parsley tasted as if it had been caught or picked immediately before being cooked. The thick stock swirled with oil and herbs; the warm bread they served had the harder shell and soft interior indicating that it had just come out of the oven. Frank, who normally doesn’t like any seafood, had one spoonful of my soup, then two more, then used her fork to get half of a piece of fish from the bowl; her calamari was similarly delicious, although for some reason she didn’t think it should have been served with the small triangle of bread in her bowl.

Then the sandwich arrived. It wasn’t on the dinner menu, but when I’d asked the waitress she smiled, winked and said she’d see if the chef could make me one. On such an important, busy, chaotic night, I was impressed; when I actually got the sandwich, I was floored. If this was indicative of what Mia Bella can do with a last-minute sandwich request, the rest of the previously-planned entrees must be phenomenal.

The bread was a seemingly fresh-baked flat loaf of slightly leavened bread, folded over on itself. Lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and charbroiled chicken were stuffed inside with a generous slathering of pesto. The chicken was exceptionally tender and tasted of recently applied flame; there were blackened bits, but he avoided burning it beyond what was necessary for flavor. The lettuce was crisp, but not texturally overbearing. The tomatoes tasted like actual tomatoes, not like cardboard. The red onions were arranged so that I tasted their new-cut, pungent flavor in every bite, but just a little.

The standout, though, was the pesto. At first, the newly crushed basil was the most powerful flavor, but after a few bites I realized that I’d also been tasting garlic; the olive oil played a few pleasant, lingering notes and held all of the other flavors together, as good olive oil should. I’ve never had pesto which tasted this fresh, and I’ve only rarely had a sandwich where all of the parts worked so harmoniously. Within a few bites, I had a new favorite summer sandwich.

We finished just as it started raining, so we moved inside. On the back wall, two paintings in progress – detailed murals of a castle and a bridge – were lit up with spotlights, inviting patrons to see art in progress. "Life Is Beautiful" was on the widescreen. "Take a look at this belly button! What a knot! But you can't untie it, not even with your teeth! Those racist scientists tried it. Not a chance! This is an Italian belly button!" We laughed, and Frank sipped her wine. It was 11 p.m., and people still milled about, talking, laughing and finishing their food.

Little Italy has a new, outstanding restaurant in its heart. I’d suggest letting them run for a few weeks to let the chef and the waitstaff adjust to their new digs and perfect their techniques. Then you should make reservations; Mia Bella is going to be too popular to leave getting a table up to chance. Go, enjoy the experience, and taste the real sweet life.

Mia Bella on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Metairie, Louisiana

Feedjit just showed up with this:

Metairie, Louisiana - we hope you find what you're looking for.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ask the CSB

What are your thoughts on the effects the BP oil spill might have on sandwiches?

Edward Sandwichhands:
Good luck getting a shrimp po' boy

Earl S. Wich:
Seafood from the Gulf represents 5% of US Consumption and 1/5 of the Gulf is now closed to fishing with every expectation that it will get worse. That is certainly enough to affect prices on seafood. So price increases will happen. Frank Cousteau took some underwater video of the effects of the spill and it was pretty revolting.

Believe it or not, the testing procedure for checking for contamination includes human "sniffers" who smell the fish. One expert called it "...the best oil detection tool we have available."

Plus, this has seriously cut into Sponge Bob's Crabby Patty production.

D. John Horseradish:
I'm looking forward to not having to grease my pans, as the oil should provide enough protection against burning.

On the other hand, there's nothing worse than an oily oyster.

Also, consider hurricane season. If a giant storm fed by the gulf dumps oil all over the Midwest, goodbye grains, bread, and sandwiches as we know them.

Oily bread. That would trump an oily oyster. "Oily oyster" is kind of fun to say, though. Might be a good band name!
D. John:
Oh Ed:

We've genetically engineered our plants to the point where if oil-rain comes down on our midwest wheat, it'll probably just grow like all-natural H2O.

Beau Cadiyo:
So, this could be devastating for not only oyster-based sandwiches but sandwiches in general, should the grain harvests be affected?

I was thinking about tuna fish; luckily, they're often caught in the open sea. I don't know of many other fish-based sandwiches.

I wonder what will happen with Subway's fish salad sandwich - is there even a fish ingredient in it? Should potential franchisees be looking to, say, Papa John's instead?

Cod sandwiches are really popular around here, don't think cod comes
from the Gulf though. Not sure.

What kind of fish go into the fast food fish sandwiches? I have no idea where those come from. Could be affected. The Fillet-O-Fish becomes unobtainable. Lent is ruined!

Papa John's. Fish-free pizza and proud of it!
McDonalds exploits a whitefish similar to cod that I believe is in the new zealand/australia area. As for the other fast food chains,
probably a crap shoot.

Yeah - McD's is all south Pacific sourced, although because of overfishing that could change.

D. John:
I'm surprised McD's isn't Chinese farm-grown cod.


The hurricane scenario taken about as far as it can go.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"After twelve years of doing Wait, Wait, on which I have interviewed future Presidents and Elmo himself, nothing has excited my daughters more than Sandwich Monday. "What sandwich did you eat today, Papa?" they cry as I return home on Monday evenings."

I hope that someday I am lucky enough to have daughters like them.

Also, this man threatened and robbed a sandwich shop with gasoline. Then when he was cornered by cops he set the bathroom of his hotel on fire, which forced him out. Nobody ever said a sandwich shop thief was smart.

Keep 'em coming, America.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Subway Cheese Changes

As Sam Cooke sang, "It's been a long time coming but I know a change gonna come." Subway announced it will be changing how its cheese is placed on sandwiches. Readers should make themselves aware of the new procedure and report any violators to the proper authorities - namely, us, so we can make fun of their backwards way of doing things.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

For Goodness Jakes

Public Square
130 Public Sq.
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 241-8099

by Beau Cadiyo

Public Square is great at moving people along, but terrible at holding on to them. It is an expansive, unfriendly concrete desert, and the vast majority of people pass through it trying to get from one place to another as quickly as possible, or pray for the bus to show up NOW to take them away from the Square. It doesn’t have the bars of West Ninth, the clubs of West Sixth or the award-winning restaurants of East Fourth; it offers almost no reason to stop and look around, and every reason to hurry through.

For Goodness Jake’s, a deli right on Public Square, is likewise set up not for pleasant lingering but for speedy exits. It occupies a long storefront with doors on each end, and contains a n extended deli counter and lots and lots of pop coolers, chip racks, pie displays and ice cream freezers. There is a perfunctory counter along the window, but an ice-cream cooler blocks off much of it. There are no chairs. People place their orders at one end of the counter, walk the short distance along it, grab their food and leave. Patrons are unable sit and watch the people passing by on the other side of the window, unable to linger over coffee – and unable to enjoy one of the best sandwiches in the city in the place in which it was made.

Upon unfolding the waxed paper around my Turkey Reuben, I was a little disappointed at how small it was. For the $7, I could have bought a much larger sandwich, with chips, at Jimmy John’s. But For Goodness Jake’s aims for quality, not quantity, in a finely executed balance. The thick rye bread was buttered and grilled, leaving it crunchy yet still soft on the inside. In between were masses of moist, succulent turkey, a small amount of sauerkraut to season it without overwhelming the rest, just-melted Swiss cheese and enough Thousand Island to let you know it was there without punching you in the face. It held together surprisingly well considering how moist and slippery it could have been – a result, I believe, of intelligent design and skill on the part of the sandwich makers. It also only dripped a little; the main reason I needed napkins was to wipe the butter from the bread off my hands and face.

Because the entire eating space at For Goodness Jake’s was effectively taken up by a single man in a striped shirt and tie, I had to eat my Reuben in Frank Howells’ apartment in the Park Building, a heavenly oasis above Public Square. Why should I have had to seek a safe haven elsewhere in order to enjoy such deliciousness? It’s a mystery to me. Fixing For Goodness Jake’s is a relatively simple proposition. They should get rid of some of their less appealing options (who actually eats plastic-wrapped pies?) and refashion the newly opened-up space for customers, adding small tables and bar stools. This would give it social proof, make it a much more pleasant place to patronize, and fundamentally change how people interact with the space.

Fixing Public Square is a more difficult project. Three prominent proposals are now floating around – to build a giant mound of grass, to semi-enclose it in some sort of structure, and to create a “forest” with “clearings.” Each proposal is explicitly pitched to move Public Square in the direction of Chicago’s Millennium Park. This should raise alarm bells in the minds of anyone who cares about Cleveland, since Millennium Park is useful and attractive only during the day. At night it is an empty, scary, unwelcoming wasteland. It’s also only really useful during the warmer months, as fewer people venture out into the cold of Chicago winters. It would be folly to try to emulate this in Cleveland, yet that’s what these well-meaning designers would do: each of these proposals would create a dead zone for the 10 dark hours of every day during the warm months, and 24 hours a day in the winter months. What’s more, the designers consider that an improvement. They’re flat-out wrong: if we want people to enjoy Public Square, we have to make sure it’s clean and welcoming, and making it more like Millennium Park is decidedly not the way to do that.

The best plan of action would be to privatize Public Square. That’s right – we should build on it. Let’s rezone the land so that the ground floor is taken up by restaurants and bars, and put housing on the upper floors, like at East Fourth and West Sixth. Let’s divert motor traffic around it and only allow in light rail. Heck, let’s put in a monorail or a Wuppertal Schwebebahn shooting straight down into the Flats and Tremont, turning the newly christened Private-Public Square into a sustainable, city-expanding transportation hub. Rezoning would accomplish what no current proposal can: it would increase foot traffic and lingering, and would almost certainly increase the business traffic in Tower City. It would create a sociable connection between East Fourth, West Sixth and West Ninth and, with transportation to the Flats and Tremont, would make both places more pleasantly accessible with public transportation, offering bar-hoppers and city-dwellers an easy way to move between these cultural hotspots. It would make people actually use Public Square. Next, we can turn downtown back into a real downtown and start building on those godforsaken parking lots on West Sixth.

Whatever happens, though, keep the Turkey Reubens at For Goodness Jake’s. They're delicious.

For Goodness Jakes on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 21, 2010


Des Ayuno just sent this link to me: Vote For Sandwich. I'm not fully sure I understand the intricacies of this election system, but someone surely does. Have at it, America!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

TLC Top Ten Favorite Sandwiches in America

by Edward Sandwichhands and Beau Cadiyo

Edward found an article called "America's Top 10 Favorite Sandwiches" by Echo Surina. ("Echo Surina" is one of those names that, for a girl, is pretty hot, and for a boy shows that your parents hoped you'd be gay.) Ed sent it to me expressing some skepticism about the list, and asked if the CSB should respond. He intimated that sandwich writing is not for amateurs, and when a novice enters into our world it's our job to make sure that they bring to the art of sandwich reviewing a suitable respect for Sandwich Science™. Naturally, I agreed. It's impossible to argue with truth like that.

Here is their list with our responses:

10: English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

Ed's response: If it is one of America's favorite sandwiches, why is it made with CANADIAN bacon and an ENGLISH muffin? Clearly the writers of this post are Redcoats, Benedict Arnolds, or terrorists.

Beau's response: I don't share any of Ed's reservations about our neighbor to the north or former colonial master. I did, at first, question this as a choice of "America's Favorite" sandwiches. On some reflection, however, I could accept this, considering that so many fast food stores and breakfast restaurants have this or some variation on their breakfast menus. This gets a pass.

I noticed that there was no statistical evidence supporting the claim that this is the tenth favorite sandwich in America. Who made these determinations? Or is this Echo Surina's top ten?

9: Smokey Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

Beau's response: Yeawhat? This is totally out of left field; how did this make the cut? Perhaps, again, the author is looking to fast food menus for inspiration, but here, it fails. Without some sort of statistical evidence - much less some sort of logical argument - showing that it should be on the list, it should be pulled. Merely saying that it was "inspired" by Southern eating doesn't cut it. Amateur hour and, again, I suspect Echo Surina is letting his/her own biases get in the way of proper sandwich reporting.

Ed's response: Really? I'm pretty sure the pulled pork sandwich, which did not make this list, is much more popular.

8: Hot Beef Sandwich

Ed's response: So basically, this is the same as number 9 but it doesn't have bbq sauce?

Beau's response: Ed hit the nail on the head. I don't get this one at all. It takes up space which could have been used for, say, Tuna Salad or a standard Hero.

7: Ham and Cheese Stromboli

Beau's response: Sandwiches are two slices of bread with filling. Strombolis are not two slices of bread with filling. I have no idea why Echo Surina thought that this would somehow slip through. I'd like to chalk this up to amateurishness, but this seems to be a willful attempt to stretch the definition of a sandwich to any sort of food which involves baking and filling, and anyone purporting to report on sandwiches must know better. At this point, Echo Surina should have been fired from the job and an expert should have been brought in to replace him/her. It would have cost much, much more, but the list of America's top sandwiches would have at least included only sandwiches. What's #6 going to be - a chicken pot pie?

Ed's response: A Stromboli isn't a sandwich. Why not just throw pizza, apple pie, and chicken wings on the list? Don't quit your day-job, moron.

6: Classic grilled cheese sandwich

Ed's response: I'll give them this one. I don't appreciate their suggestion that I make my grilled cheese on whole wheat bread though (even though I usually do.)

Beau's response: I will echo Ed; the grilled cheese is a classic adored far and wide. This should definitely have been on the list.

5: Grilled Reubens with Cole Slaw

Beau's Response: I'll also give them this one; Reubens are pretty good. However, before this, why not go with the more wide-spread classic - a corned beef sandwich?

Ed's Response: Reuben's are grilled with sauerkraut. SANDWICH SCIENCE™, check it.

4: Philly Cheese Steak

Ed's response: I highly doubt that the majority of Philly Cheese Steak's in this country are made with rib-eye. Steak-umm's are not rib-eye. As a matter of fact, if you visit the Steak-umm's website at, you will notice that one of the first things to appear on your screen is, "Steak-umm's Recipe Ideas! "Philly Cheese Steak" Sandwich. "

Beau's response: With the success of Philly Cheese Steak chains across the country, this should probably have been included. However, again, I'd like to see something to back this up as one of the country's favorite sandwiches, rather than just Echo Surina's. I also doubt that it goes to #4 - a fried chicken patty would come ahead of a Philly Cheese Steak any day of the week.

3: Chicken Salad Sandwich

Beau's response: This was a bit of a shocker. Sure, they're in a lot of places, but I'm not sure it warrants placement at #3. In addition, they leave out egg salad sandwiches, which I would suspect are as popular and wide-spread as chicken salad. This should have been lower on the list, and these two sandwiches should have been a tie.

Ed's response: Gross, just gross. Where is the turkey club?

Beau's further response: good point, Ed. Perhaps we shouldn't read any more.

2: Sloppy Joes

Ed's response: Back in the old times when I lived in a frat house we had a humongous cook named "Kathy." She frequently made extra-sloppy sloppy joes. The sandwich itself will always remind me of her giant arms with huge tufts of fat pouring out like molasses.

Beau's response: I haven't had one of these since my days at W. D. Hall Elementary School. In fact, I don't know of a single place outside of elementary academia which serves sloppy joe's. This might be a kid's favorite, but kids also liked pikachu and slap bracelets. Kids are stupid. So is anyone who would put a Sloppy Joe at #2 of America's Favorite Sandwiches.

1: Po' Boys

Beau's response:
When I flipped through the list and saw #2, I naturally expected that #1 would be the quintessential American sandwich: the mighty Hamburger. Thus, seeing Po' Boys, I just stared in stunned, stupefied silence. I should have known that #1 would be totally incorrect, of course, considering the other sandwiches on this list. Are Po' Boys good? Yes. Are they one of America's Favorite Sandwiches? No. Is Echo Surina deliberately trying to make a list of not the Favorite Sandwiches in America? Is she trying to impose some skewed sandwich preference paradigm on the country? Is this like the plan Kurt Vonnegut described whereby humans made aliens feel inferior? (Someone help me out with the name of the book...) Is she just trying to beef-block burgers? Put PB&J here if you really want to keep burgers off of the list. Put a BLT. Put hot dogs. A Po' Boy as America's Favorite Sandwich? Surely you're joking. I would suggest to Echo Surina that he/she visit Afghanistan wearing either a kippah or bikini (or both) and wander into the mountains before he/she submits such absurdist filth, such ridiculous drivel, to an intelligent American public he/she obviously has no respect for.

Ed's response: They don't even say WHAT KIND of Po' Boy..... What is a Po' Boy anyhow but another word for hoagie, grinder, or sub? The writers might as well have put the number one sandwich as "sandwich".

It turns out that Echo Surina is a reasonably photogenic woman, an "award-winning journalist," and she now lives in San Diego. At last count she had 190 friends on Facebook. Neither Ed nor I are on that list.

She also owns a "writing studio" called Philanthropology, which describes itself thus: "Philanthropology is a boutique writing studio specifically for individuals with a cause." A professional, award-winning writer crafted that sentence. I guess we'll have to step up our game.