Tag Archives: sandwich

Lunch @ Panera Bread

15 Oct

I am sandwich lover… I could live off sandwiches my whole life. That should be no secret to you guys…

My sister is always raving about . Florida is full of them. She’s always bragging about how good the bread is, how delicious the sandwiches are. But I am a picky person… picky in the sense that if I do not see exactly what I like or crave that moment on the menu, I think places should make an effort to please me as best they can.

I have become a master of navigating thru a restaurant’s menu and identifying what is it exactly that I can and want to eat. And my former experiences with Panera Bread were not positive. I can’t pin point now what it was… but I remember looking at the menu over and over and over again trying to figure out how to build a sandwich that would hit the spot. Because of that impression, I would drive past Panera Bread places without thinking too much into them.

But recently I was driving from Orlando to Miami and we needed to eat something before we left on our 4 hour drive south. I tried several places I was more interested in eating but fate would have it that the best place suitable was Panera Bread, so we decided to give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised to find on their menus these Sandwich and Salad combos. They also have soups, but I never trust soups at restaurants, even if they say they’re vegetarian. Besides, it was hot outside and my stomach preferred the cold bit of a salad to the warmth of a soup. Besides I always feel I am not being that naughty when I eat lots of bread and cheese if somehow it’s paired with a large and abundant salad.

I was pleasantly surprised to see they had 2 vegetarian sandwich options on their menu… This is what we ordered:

 Caprese Panini with Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil pressed in a baguette with a Greek Salad

Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread with a Garden Salad

The salads were extremely generous and the ½ sandwiches were just enough to fill us up. The lunches tasted fresh and hearty at the same time. I liked it so much to the point of starting to crave the same thing the next day and the next day. That to me is the sign of a good meal… when you are willing to have the same thing every day for a few days straight.

So to my vegetarian friends… if you’re ever in a pinch to select something for lunch, give Panera Bread a try. I may not have been blown away the first time I tried them, but it paid off to give them another try. People and places always deserve second chances… no??

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Sandwich Roll-Call

30 Jun

It’s summer and let’s get real… it’s hot outside and I am not cooking a lot these days.

I am still eating… but a lot of sandwiches. I am a sandwich lover and I’m not afraid to admit it. Here’s a recap of my favorite sandwiches from my kitchens and the kitchens around me:

Veggie Cuban Sandwich

This is my staple sandwich every time I visit a Cuban panadería. A few weeks ago I got to meet President Obama because I had a craving for this sandwich and scheduled a meeting at Kasalta do I could work and eat simultaneously.

veggie-cuban-sandwich

 

President Obama as he arrived at Kasalta Bakery in Ocean Park, Puerto Rico on June 14, 2011.

Tostón Sandwich

My friend Tania taught me how to make these… not something to eat every day, but DELICIOUS!!!

sand-toston-copy.jpg

 

Avocado and Tomato Sandwich

This was a sandwich I have eaten for 5 days straight until I was out of the ingredients… I am not kidding you!!!

 

TunoFish Sandwich

When I was hospitalized a few years ago, all I wanted after I got out of the hospital was to eat this sandwich… on criollo bread. Yum!!!

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Hummus Sandwich

This combination of hummus and grain mustard is unusual, but so freking delicious.  Do not critizice until you’ve tried it.

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Veggie Party Sandwiches

This is my staple at kids birthday parties… and I just got a request for an adult birthday party too. They’re just delicious at any age group…

 

Asparagus Party Sandwiches

These are a bit of a pain to make, but the rewards are so gratifying…

sand-esparragos-3

What are your favorite sandwiches???  Please share…  I am always looking for inspiration from you.

Mexico – Beautiful and Delicious – Part 2

10 Sep

More on my series of installments on the cuisine of Mexico, more specifically to Guadalajara, where I got to spend a few days now in August.  You can read my first post here.

I was in Guadalajara on business and my friend and colleague Salvador López Solerssi was not only my trade show and store-check guide, but in many ways my culinary guide as well.  I promised him I would include his full name so it would be easy for him to Google himself and find this post without the link…

Salvador was very taken with the fact I write this blog and was super eager to show me all the culinary delicacies Guadalajara has to offer…

We first went to lunch after having walked the trade show a few times over… I was starving!!!!  Look at what we had for lunch:  Queso Fundido, Guacamole and Chips, Fried Quesadillas and for dessert, Crepas with Cajeta.  Everything was excellent, but this was the first time I’ve had Fried Quesadillas or Quesadillas Fritas, as stated in the menu…  I had a sampler of these with one filled with strips of jalapeño peppers and cheese, another one with mushrooms and cheese and the last one filled with zucchini blossoms and cheese.  Superb!!!!  These come like little “pastelillos” of fried, but never greasy, tortilla and the cheese just oozes out of them when you cut them open.  My mouth waters just writing about them.

Guacamole     

Guacamole 

Queso Fundido

    Queso Fundido

  

 

Quedadillas Fritas

Quesadillas Fritas

  

Flor de Calabaza/Zucchini blossoms    

  Quesadillas - Flor Calabaza  

 

Rajitas Jalapeños

Quesadilla Frita - Jalapenos

 

Crepas de Cajeta

         Crepas con Cajeta - MX

I don’t have to tell that after that lunch, dinner was pretty much out of the question…  I had to take a nap, just like the ones you take after Thanksgiving lunch/dinner.  I was full, but happy as a toad.

Another Guadalajaran delicacy is a Torta Ahogada– a sandwich made with shredded pork or beef and dunked in a spicy tomato sauce.  I guess this would be considered the Mexican version of a Reuben.   The thing… we needed to find a place where we could order a vegetarian version because no one in the street would dare make me a vegetarian torta ahogada.  So Salvador took me to a tourist trap… but a super fun one at that, with mariachis and everything.  The only place in all Guadalajara I was received with hand sanitizer… typical, to please tourists’ panics. 

We ordered a Torta Ahogada with panela cheese and sautéed mushrooms.  Salvador prepared the sauce for me… it was tomato based, a bit of the spicy version and lime juice.  You then take your sandwich, made in a special salty crusty bread, and you dunk it in the sauce and eat away.  I really, really liked it. Maybe because I am a sandwich girl… but the stuff was very, very tasty.  Not the stuff you want to order on a date… just so you gals know.

Torta Ahogada Veggie      Salsa - Torta Ahogada     

Dunking - Torta Ahogada 2   

We also ordered Breaded Panela Cheese in a Green Sauce.  It was presented in a molcajete, a stone version of a pilón or mortar and pestle.  It was delicious too… imagine offering fried breaded cheese to me, the cheese lover.  The sauce was a cilantro and tomatillo based broth.  You cut a piece and eat it inside a tortilla.  How else??

Panela Empanado

Then, one our way to do more store-checks, Salvador wanted to show me the typical breakfast of Guadalajara – Tacos al Vapor or Steamed Tacos.  I saw that the hotel breakfast offered tortillas, refried beans and the like for breakfast…  but, I stuck with the fresh fruits, cottage cheese and whole grain toasts, craving the more typical fare from home.  But Salvador insisted I needed to try the local version of these tacos filled with mashed potato.  They are sold in these street carts and you order as many tacos as you want… you then dress them with a tomato/onion salsa, some “pique” and eat away.  They’re light and delicious.  Not heavy at all.  I ordered only one at first, but had to have another one, because they were so tasty.  With a side of freshly squeezed orange juice – I wished the hotel breakfast was this tasty every morning…

Taco al Vapor

Carrito - Tacos Vapor

That’s Salvador, right there next to the tacos al vapor cart… enjoying his tacos.  I want to thank him soooooooo much for embracing my search for great vegetarian Mexican food in Guadalajara.  I am certain, than when I return, we will be enjoying more and more delicious food all over town…  ¡¡BUEN PROVECHO!!

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich

16 Feb

If you make the recipe before – Potato and Fried Eggplant Pastelon – and you have leftover fried eggplant, what do you do with it?????

Make an eggplant sandwich!!!!!   But what would make the ultimate eggplant sandwich – an Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich!!!!

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EGGPLANT PARMESAN SANDWICH

Whole wheat hoagie bread bun 
2-3 fried eggplant slices – check out this recipe on how to batter and fry the eggplant
2-3 fresh mozzarella cheese slices
Grated Parmesan cheese
Tomato slices
3-4 Lettuce leaves
Egg-less mayonnaise 
  1. Spread the mayonnaise on both bread halves.
  2. Stack the fried eggplant slices, sprinkle some grated Parmesan, mozzarella slices on the bottom half.
  3. Place in a toaster oven or broiler for a few minutes for the cheese to melt a little.
  4. Add the tomatoes and lettuce.  Top with remaining bread slice…  (like I need to tell you how to build a sandwich, huh?)
  5. Press sandwich for all the ingredients to come together.

This is how I made this sandwich when I was veeeeeeery hungry the other day.  But now thinking about it, it would really make it an Eggplant Parm sandwich if I had added a bit of tomato sauce before adding the cheeses.  In this case, the tomato and lettuce would be optional.

Hummus Sandwich

19 Nov

This is my favorite sandwich right now by far…  It all started with a hummus sandwich I order at a bagel place near my work.  And you can add a few extras… and because I love grain mustard so much, I started ordering the hummus sandwich with grain mustard, and take it from me, it gives it a really nice kick.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I make my own hummus, and the recipe will follow.  But just in case you want to try this and are strapped for time, just take some store-bought hummus, brighten the flavor with some squirts of lime juice and call it a day.

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HUMMUS SANDWICH

1 can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans – I still have not been able to figure out how to make the garbanzo beans from scratch
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
juice of one lime
about 1/2 cup of olive oil – enough to make the mixture as creamy as possible
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of paprika
 
Whole -wheat bread – choose your favorite, pita, baguette, bagel, it will work with any
Whole-grain  mustard
Tomatoes
Lettuce or any other greens – optional

 For the hummus:

  1. Rinse the garbanzo beans. 
  2. Place garbanzo beans, cheese, garlic, lime juice salt, pepper, paprika and some of the olive oil in a food processor.
  3. Pulse until the mixture is creamy.  If the mixture is not as creamy as it should be, keep adding olive oil in small increments until you reach a smooth texture.

The Parmesan replaces the tahini sauce… because I can’t bear to buy a huge jar of tahini just to make hummus.  I need to be more versatile with the limited refrigerator space I have.  And the lime juice gives it a nice kick… I does not taste like the typical Middle Eastern restaurant hummus, it tastes better!!! 

To assemble the sandwich:

  1. Toast the bread
  2. Smear hummus on one side and mustard on the other.
  3. Add tomato and lettuce.

Enjoy…  I hope you like it as much as I do.

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