Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hello, Sweden!

The following showed up on our Feedjit:

Märsta, Stockholms Lan arrived from on "The Cleveland Sandwich Board" by searching for the cleveland show I'll probably go with the new sodapop because the other one might have blood in it.

Stockholm - we hope you find what you're looking for.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hippies v. Yuppies

Dave’s Cosmic Subs
1842 Coventry Road
Cleveland Hts, OH 44118
(216) 320-0330

Congin's Italian Drive Thru
18812 Nottingham Rd.
Cleveland, Ohio 44110
(216) 481-4585

By Beau Cadiyo

Dave’s Cosmic Subs is a sub chain that conspicuously associates itself with the 1960s, or at least popular misconceptions of the 1960s. I have nothing new to add to recent attacks on the ’60s, or on the infantile, self-centered, vain, materialistic, hypocritical baby-boomer generation, other than to add that, for the most part, I agree with the widespread condemnation of what they short-sightedly forced upon the world. The ’60s marked the beginning of a long decline of American society that now, with the retirement of these “flower children”, is hopefully reaching its trough. I have no tolerance for those who romanticize this period, or who argue that they were halcyon years; their selective memory, or mis-memory, fills me with the same distaste I feel for 1939 Germany. Everything in Dave’s Cosmic Subs (DCS), from the paintings and record sleeves on the walls to the stylized logo, feels like an opportunistic attempt to link it to tie-dye, the Beatles, peace, love and rock’n’roll. (For an idea of what it looks like, check out the cult-like images of the DCS leader on their website.) The girl who took my order fit in perfectly: she stood behind the counter, took orders, chatted with us in a high-pitched voice and seemed very, very high. She served no other function.

Frank Hoxha told me that the first and only sandwich she got at DCS was horrible; it was made with very, very old bread and completely tasteless filling. I thought she was being unnecessarily critical, but the Tuna Melt that I got was close. Sure, it looked impressive, all tightly wrapped and put in a paper bag for takeout. In reality, though, it was packed high with tasteless, watery lettuce, pink tomatoes, pungent onions, gummy tuna that stuck to my teeth, and what they said was cheddar cheese but, due to its total lack of flavor, I suspected was American. The bread was overly toasted, a few steps shy of crouton status, and when I bit in, it crumbled into tiny pieces. Like the ’60s, the sandwich offered so much promise but, when tested, it didn’t deliver. In the end, it fell apart in my hands and I was forced to scrape it off the wax-paper wrapping, piece by tiny, crappy piece.

I’m not a huge fan of the ’80s, either, but I have nothing against people who spent their youth in acid-washed jeans, corner-tied crop tops, neon and scrunchies. I think most people just feel pity for how those young adults looked; it will take a lot of time for people to be able to face the fact that they once thought high-rise jeans were sexy. Most of the criticisms of the 1980s, really, are criticisms of the youth of the 1960s; it was those youth who came into power during the '80s, taking control of banks, the military, business and government (and who, of course, speculated wildly on stocks in the 1990s and real estate in the 2000s during their prime earning years, destroying their own retirement funds).

Congin’s, according to the girl who took my order, was founded at some point between 1982 and 1984. They wisely decided not to erect a memorial to the Great Communicator or establish a shrine to Gordon Gekko; instead, there’s a ragged child’s drawing on which is written, “When I grow up I want to be a pizza lady.” The girl who took my order was stocky and strong, bordering on butch; after she handed me my change, she made herself useful by loading boxes and racks in the back room, moving with the wide stance that comes from a lifetime of sports and self-assurance.

When I ordered the eggplant parmigiana sub at Congin’s, I expected to be out the door in maybe five minutes. Instead, I waited for 18 minutes before they handed me a brown paper bag with a Styrofoam container inside. (I’m pretty sure the reason it took so long was that they were cooking the eggplant fresh.) Famished, I pulled the container out as soon as I got in my car and lifted the sandwich up for my first, glorious bite, only to jerk my hand away in pain. It was hot – far too hot to touch, and far, far too hot to eat. Seven more minutes passed before I could even taste it.

When I could, the sandwich was heavy with oil, the eggplant was perfectly tender, and the breading was crisp and almost grainy. My mother hates marinara sauce with too much sugar, preferring to allow the tomato flavor to dominate; Corbin’s delicious marinara would have met with her approval. The cheese stretched out from my mouth in long strings before I started shearing it off with my teeth. The bread was moist and dense and, while it didn’t bear grill marks, appeared to have been crushed down in the toaster. The sandwich was also thin enough to allow me to bite into it without stretching my mouth wide open – an unusual trait in our thickness-obsessed times, when sandwiches seem to be made according to some sort of wager about how long it will take for customers to band together and revolt at being served constructions that look more like skyscrapers than lunchtime sustenance. (I hear Dubai is making dubious progress in this field.)

It took me five minutes to eat the first half; by the time I reached the second half, it had cooled down to the perfect temperature. Then it hit me: this is an intelligently managed drive-thru restaurant (Congin’s does not offer seating), fine-tuned for people eating at home. They deliberately serve the food too hot, so that it cools down on the ten-minute drive home.

Having come of age in the 1990s and early 2000s, the writers of the Cleveland Sandwich Board are in a unique position to accurately and objectively judge what our predecessors in Sandwich Science™ have left us. We are truly thankful for our rightful place as the real “Greatest Generation,” and we are also thankful for our finely developed sense of taste, our brilliantly creative writing, our top-notch editing, our prime health, rugged good looks, enduring style, animal magnetism, vital sexuality and the immense choice of sandwiches which face us at every turn. Some of them – like Congin’s – are good. Some of them – like Dave’s Cosmic Sucks, as Frank Hoxha calls it – are bad. What we can all agree on, however, is that members of these lesser generations have at least tried to create something of substance, however slight.

The 1970s, though - what a waste.

Dave's Cosmic Subs Coventry on Urbanspoon

Congin's Italian Drive Thru on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Sandwich of Art-Making™

There have been advances in the realm of Sandwich Science™ of which you could not even dream. I know. I dreamt it.

But that's not what this post is about. Every day, in every rounded corner of the globe, people are practicing the art of sandwich-making. However, few dare to practice the sandwich of art-making. Someone in Lakewood is doing just that. I would recommend clicking through to this link, as it is a CraigsList link and is thus subject to removal at any point by the creator, by CraigsList before its time is due, or by CraigsList when its time is not due. They are fickle.

Keep eating (sandwiches, not dog food).


(Thanks to Frank Patton for sending me the link.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


777 Starkweather Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 622-7773

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Is an ok, absurdly overpriced sandwich worth a friendship?

I recently had the following Facebook exchange:

Frank W. wrote:
Have you been the Lucky's?
My cousin KYW is the Chef.
Try a ruben. Guy Fieri loved it.
They were on DDD so they are a bit crowded.
I'd love to fly out there to try one but maybe in the fall.
He's a great chef!

Beau Cadiyo wrote:
Lucky's in Tremont?

Frank W. wrote:
I'd try to review again. the review was not so nice.
They were on DDD just for their Ruben.

Beau Cadiyo wrote:
Yeah - I think I've been there seven times, and none of them have been stellar. The problem (?) is that we have so many great restaurants here.
Lucky's gets a lot of attention - when is your cousin working there next?
Oh, and isn't that woman Heather the chef?
AND neither my girlfriend or my best friend will go there - it puts a dent in any attempts! I'll see if someone else wants to re-review it...

Frank W. wrote:
I would try again...they sounded really over whelmed.
Heather is the owner, my cousin is the head chef. Please give it another chance.
let me know when you go so I can tell my cousin KW.

Beau Cadiyo wrote:
Ooh, negative - we try not to do those reviews, and if we did, we'd have to tell everyone that we were possibly biased or treated preferentially because of it!

Frank W. wrote:
Not preferentially treated - just meeting the Chef. That's it. No comps...
You really aren't into second chances are you?
Have you ever thought that blogs like yours could negatively influences businesses? Like how yelp does.


The exchange probably would have continued constructively, except that she then blocked me on both Facebook and Twitter. It’s sad, really. I didn’t feel like my original review was that bad, really, and I’m not sure why she took it so personally. Perhaps she expects that reviews should be Pollyanna-happy, glossing over the bad and focusing solely on the good. I prefer to be honest rather than just praise everything to the sky and not tell potential customers that everything is great when it isn’t. There are distinct benefits to businesses to this approach: this sort of honest criticism can help them improve, and can even help them stay in business if they correct their flaws.

I was going to write the whole thing off, but the next morning I saw a hilarious tweet: "Food Network, why are you in Cleveland so much? You are ruining all our restaurants!" Something about the sentiment of the tweet made me decide to review Lucky's again, and get the Reuben she suggested I get, and to see if Guy Fieri's visit actually may have "ruined" Lucky's.

I really tried to like it. That’s the full disclosure I’ll give right here. Because I tried to like it, I was excessively jovial with the woman behind the counter. I effusively admired the way that they put my order in a black box and then put the box in a giant paper bag, far too large for it; in other places it would be considered an offensive waste of resources, but here the counter woman feigned offense and said, “we make it pretty.” I paid, and tipped on the take-out, and went straight to my car to open this rather nice black box. Inside I found a small scoop of very, very delicious potato salad, a flaccid pickle (it tasted homemade, but drooped limply like it was store-bought), a slice of orange, a partial slice of pineapple, half of a badly bruised strawberry, and the sandwich.

Overall, it was pretty darn good, too, even if everything came in very small portions. The three spoonfuls of potato salad I had were downright delicious and may be the best tiny serving of potato salad I’ve ever had. The fruit was sweet and ripe. The only standard I have to compare the Reuben to is the Reuben at Slyman’s, a beautiful, delicious monster with 66 layers of corned beef stacked perhaps two inches high. Lucky’s Reuben was nowhere near as high; it had two slices of corned beef, perhaps a third of an inch total, with melted cheese, a touch of sauerkraut, and two slices of bread, thoroughly soaked in butter. The small cup of Thousand Island was nice for dipping, and went well with everything else. All in all, it was a nice little package, and a nice little sandwich.

The problem I had was that it was absurdly and unreasonably expensive, and I couldn’t figure out what might justify the cost. My demi-meal cost $13.75, not including tax; if I’d eaten in, it would have been $14.82, as the woman behind the counter pointed out. This was only for the corned beef sandwich – I didn’t ask for sides, starters, for a triple-foam no fat soy caffeine-free organic chai latte. To me, $13.75/14.82 is too much to be paying for a sandwich that I’d put down as “nice” and subsequently not think much about after that, except for this entry.

So, FW, I gave them an eighth chance at your behest, and I tried to like it. In truth, it was ok – it was just absurdly overpriced, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never return. I’m not going to chalk it up to Guy Fieri “ruining” it, although I’m pretty sure he doesn’t pay for his meals. If they drop the prices to a level equivalent to what customers actually receive then I’d consider returning again ($6.95 would be reasonable). Luckily, I didn’t have the same experience as my girlfriend or best friend or Franks Gaspartos and McGarvey had; they all got exceptionally rude service, they didn’t think the food was worth the price or the trip, they didn’t really like the restaurant as a whole and none of them will go back. Come to think of it, of the seven - er, eight - times I’ve been to Lucky’s, I’ve never been there twice with the same person. I’m going to have to ask around about that.

One last thing, Frank W.: if you ever want to add me back on Facebook or follow me on Twitter again, you know what to do.

Lucky's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 7, 2010

From Afar: Strike City Lanes

1170 Highway 99 N
Eugene, Oregon 97204

by Yuri “Grinder” McCarver

Let me tell you about the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.

Claiming that something is “the best” sounds as perfunctory as stating that you are “great” when someone asks, “how are you doing?” But I am not hyperbolizing or being polite. The best hamburger I’ve ever eaten was at Strike City Lanes in Eugene, Oregon.

I was not planning on consuming the most fantastic burger in human history that night. I was attending a conference with my powerful yet fishy colleagues. This line of work can attract introverted personas, so the Association of Powerful Fishy Professionals has a traditional bowling social on the first night of their conference to lubricate the camaraderie necessary for earnest information exchanges. They also have beer - in this case, an open bar featuring pristine drafts from the Oakshire Brewery.

I selected a Line Dry Rye and set to knocking down pins. I hadn’t bowled in years, but the beer was crisp and wholesome as a bushel of wheat berries, it conquered several weeks worth of workaday cortisol and facilitated my communion with my old school bowling game, which is to say that I did not have two consecutive gutter balls. After two strikes and a spare, Yuri was bowling with brio.

In expectation of discus-like sat-on burgers and freebase frying oil chicken strips, Frank Chane, the fishy yet powerful professional that I had driven to Strike City Lanes with, and I had decided to grab grub elsewhere afterward. As I contemplated my third Line Dry Rye, however, I sensed that my beery stomach could no longer support my bowling. Other Powerful Fishy Professionals had ordered food, and I was intrigued by the vibrancy of the grilled chicken sandwiches and burgers that passed me by. My toes wiggled in my bowling shoes. I felt the collective wisdom of the hundred sweaty feet that had adorned their soles enter my heels and ride the qi meridian straight to my brain.

I ordered the “Maude”: a grass fed beef patty with cremini mushrooms and Gouda cheese along with lettuce and tomatoes on a toasted ciabatta roll. Hold the aioli.

Serendipity is the crux of a singular experience. To be surprised is to have no expectations and to have no expectations is to take in something not in terms of what it should be, or what you think it will be, but only as it is. And so it was for me on that star-crossed night. Also, by the time my Maude arrived I had the drunken munchies.

The Maude that appeared on the waitress’ tray could have been peeled off of a Juan Sanchez Cotan still life. A warm ciabatta roll supported a layer of green lettuce that was almost breathing chlorophyll. Stop Light red tomatoes alerted my eyes to a round layer of thick, dark beef dotted with cremini mushrooms. The whole procession was covered by a tan expanse of Gouda cheese, before being swirled with ketchup and crowned by the second half of the ciabatta roll.

To consume this hamburger was to be absorbed by a Pink Floyd composition from the experimental pre-Darkside of Moon albums Atom Heart Mother or Ummagumma: the instant my incisors broached the bread and pierced the patty all of my senses reoriented themselves to the deep boeuf flavor. This wasn’t just fat and salt; it was unfettered profound beefiness. Royal Bovinity. Before I could fully fathom this beef-o-rama it partnered with the mushrooms to form an umami fugue; suddenly, a crisp and moist garden of lettuce and tomato cut through the fine bovineness, and then became a foil that reinforced its prominence. Ketchup tweeted its tangy birdsong through the Gouda’s earthy rush of creamy casein while the ciabatta role crunched within my ears. I chewed, swallowed, and swashed my mouth with another gullup of the Dry Line Rye from my plastic flagon.

I looked up. I was in Strike City Lanes. It had only lasted a few seconds, but having awakened from my tête-à-tête with Maude the world was now calm and new. The world was somehow both bigger and smaller. The world was a joyous place where quiet, powerful Fishy Professionals remove their work armor and high five, whoop and holler in outrageous bowling alleys. And there was still so much Maude to masticate!

My bowling acumen declined as Maude owned my senses, but no matter. The experience was indelible: the night I ate the best hamburger ever at Strike City Lanes in Eugene, Oregon surrounded by Powerful Fishy Professionals drowning their daily grind in Oakshire beer.

Strike City Lanes on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

B-Spot - The Franchise

Symon just announced that he's looking for a Strongsville location for yet another B-Spot. Looks like we totally called it:

"This, I realized, was the true Symon franchise; Lola is patronized by businesspeople, Lolita by older hipsters. Neither can be copied and then exported with ease. B-Spot is the version that he can replicate and take to every mall in America if he wants to."

The Cleveland Sandwich Board gets it totally right once again. (Cue Mac Davis song.)


Cleveland Clinic
9500 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106

by Beau Cadiyo

I’d purchased a second-hand bicycle whilst at university in Cardiff, and was cycling to rowing circuits one wet afternoon in early April. I stopped at a light at Park Place next to a thirtysomething woman in a small two-door car. I looked over, she looked back and it was established to my satisfaction that we were racing.

When the amber light signaled the turn to green, we were off. I held an early advantage, seeing as she had to shift into gear, and as my legs pounded, the sun reflected off the wet pavement. Too late I realized I was almost on top of a pothole, which had filled with rain and disappeared into the rest of the pavement. I pulled up the front tire, but my wheel was not properly connected to the fork – the wheel continued forward, dropping into the puddle and then veering off to the side, as my bicycle reared up, then crashed down. I was able to say “oh shit” as the pavement rushed toward my face, before my body rolled over the bars spectacularly and my field of vision spun from the black of the ground to the blue-grey of the sky.

Luckily, my competitor was a nurse; she stopped immediately and called an ambulance. My mother had given me my helmet, of which we found only 13 pieces. Most of the skin on my lower face had come off, my upper lip was pierced and my bottom front teeth had been ground down somehow. Twenty minutes later I walked into the first emergency room I’d ever visited.

They saw me immediately, which I felt was simply basic courtesy. The nurse who examined me said that my helmet had saved my life; she didn’t have to mention that it hadn’t saved my face. The nurse who stitched up my lip asked if I would grow a moustache to conceal the scar. Then a young, slender dental student with bright blue eyes came to put cement on my teeth; a short while later, I was shagging her in my friend Frank’s bed.

When I was deemed as fixed-up as I could be, they gave me some painkillers and antibiotics and suggested that I put Vaseline on the scars to help them heal. At the front desk, I pulled out my wallet.

The nurse looked confused, as if she wasn’t sure I was in my right mind after my ordeal. “You don’t have to pay for medical care here. It’s paid for by taxes,” she explained, as if to a child. What if I was American and wasn’t paying taxes? She turned to look at the nurse next to her, who shrugged. “Just consider it a gift, from our country to yours,” she said, and smiled hesitantly.

My next trip to the emergency room came nine years later. I’d developed a hard pain in my forehead, which was joined by a rash and then elephantine swelling around my face. I went to my insurance company’s website to find a local doctor. Of the top 15 listings, only three numbers actually went through to doctor’s offices, and two of those were duplicates. Of the two, only one could see me within a week. They said that rather than waiting for an appointment, I should go to the hospital, which I did, after talking to a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic who gave me some names to drop. Most doctors left at 4:30 or 5 p.m., he said, and if I was to have any hope of seeing the good ones, I’d need to persuade them to see me quickly.

I entered the waiting room behind a slender young woman who was screaming and holding her stomach. After I’d checked in at the processing desk I went to the waiting room; there were perhaps 100 people packed into it, most sitting down, a few children running between legs. The woman’s screams pierced the air – “God, I’ll stop doing it, make the pain stop and I’ll stop doing it.” Everyone tried to ignore her.

I was called back to the check-in desk for a more detailed interview and was quick to drop the names of the doctors. The nurse shrugged, making it clear he was unimpressed, and sent me back to the waiting room. Another nurse came out to give the screaming woman some painkillers. I suddenly realized that 90% of the people in the waiting room were black.

I was called soon after, leapfrogging almost everyone else in the room. I was shown to a private room – well, a curtain around a bed – and I waited.

And waited. After about 30 minutes, I saw a doctor, who fired a few quick questions at me and spat out a diagnosis: I had shingles. He looked in my ears and nose, and after checking that I had insurance, he suggested I get a chest x-ray just to be safe. Two and a half hours later, I was escorted to the x-ray room by two young, non-communicative nurses; another hour and a half was spent waiting for the results.

A nurse appeared at last to tell me that everything was fine, to give me my prescriptions and to validate my parking ticket (otherwise, parking was $20). In the payment room I presented my insurance card and paid the $100 co-pay. The exit took me back through the first waiting room. It was still full. As I walked through, I could tell the patients thought I was a doctor, and resented my leaving early while they suffered.

I returned a short while later with Frank Hoxha to eat in their food court, which is part-cafeteria but with a McDonald’s and a Starbucks attached. Before I went, I Googled “Healthiest sandwich at McDonalds.” The first site that popped up listed the Grilled Chicken Sandwich as the healthier choice of sandwiches, so I resolved to get that. After all, if a McDonald’s was allowed to open inside one of the top hospitals in the world, surely it would be required to serve only the “healthiest” options from its famously unhealthy menu.

In the end, it was indistinguishable from any other McD’s that you might see anywhere else in America, except that the majority of the people waiting for food (six of nine of us) were in hospital uniforms. All of the hospital workers were overweight, and three of them ordered Filet O'Fish sandwiches (380 calories, 18g of fat, 40 mg of cholesterol, 640 mg of sodium) with large fries (500 calories, 25g of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 350 mg of sodium). I got the Grilled Chicken Sandwich (420 calories, 10g of fat, 70mg of cholesterol, 1190mg of sodium) as a meal (i.e., with fries and a drink). The total should have come to $5.80. However, I asked for orange juice (180 calories, no fat or cholesterol, 5mg of sodium) instead of soda (health content variable). One might think that ordering juice, which should be the healthier option, particularly inside the walls of a world-famous hospital, would be rewarded, but instead it was punished: my total was bumped up to $6.90. I paid 19% more to eat “better.” It was, of course, not really “better” in any quantifiable sense. I was not given orange “juice” – it was sugar, water and orange coloring, without even a semblance of pulp added for authenticity. It tasted like flat orange soda.

My sandwich was similarly disappointing; the chicken was, at least, chicken, but it was old and slippery. The bun was slimy; the tomato slipped out, and when I took a bite of it separately, it was entirely devoid of taste. The mayonnaise was the most flavorful thing in the sandwich. The fries were, of course, McDonald’s French fries; they were an incredible vehicle for the ketchup.

I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out why McDonald’s might be allowed to peddle their wares in a temple of health like the Cleveland Clinic. I suspect the reason is that the Clinic – which might be expected to show people how to get and stay healthy – is just another business looking to maximize profit. While the CEO of the Clinic made some waves a few years ago, the fact that the people paying for McDonald’s on the ground floor today might be the same people paying for bariatric surgery on the fifth floor in ten years is apparently not cause for much more hand-wringing in the Clinic’s boardroom.

It looks like the owner of the McDonald’s franchise has about four years left on their lease with the Clinic. I’m not sure how much time is left, but I hope the Clinic declines to renew it. America’s health-care system is already a travesty without an internationally respected hospital tacitly endorsing McDonald’s. This is especially true now, with the Republicans blocking any improvements to America’s health care system, even as heart disease blocks the arteries of their leaders. The Clinic doesn’t need to be sending the message to vulnerable patients that McDonald’s is good enough for the Clinic, so it’s good enough for them.

McDonalds on Urbanspoon