Grilled Cheese Battle

12 04 2012

A couple of years ago I tasted a bunch of breakfast sandwiches from trucks on campus and deemed a winner. With the nice spring weather coming soon and two new grilled cheese trucks near my office, I’ve decided to start a grilled cheese battle. Here’s the matrix (a possible 10 points per category):

Overall appearance
Overall taste
Size
Greasiness
Cheese (quality and quantity)
Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer)
Price
Extras
Service and timing
Accuracy of order
Total score: Possible 100

Stay tuned.

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Suzi’s breakfast sandwich

4 08 2009

I think I am officially all breakfast sandwiched out. They’ve lost their charm. They’ve all started running together.

I met a little girl recently named Skye whose mother owned a small market. This little girl was friendly and talkative and I learned that when her aunt comes to visit her every year for a week, she gets to eat those cereals that come in small boxes (you know–the sugary chocolatey ones). But, she said, “I only get to eat that cereal when I am being spoiled by my aunt.” I said to her, “Well if you got to eat them every day they wouldn’t be as special, right?” She took a good 10 seconds to think about that until she answered, “Yes they would!” Cheeky Cutie.

Well, because I have eaten a breakfast sandwich every week for the past 11 weeks, they definitely aren’t as special to me as they were when I started working where food trucks lined every street. (And I highly doubt that Skye would have kept the same feelings towards the special cereal if she got to eat it year-round. Sorry, Skye.)

Suzi's 001

Suzi's 002

I went to Suzi’s this morning and decided that this sandwich was all about ratios being wrong. It tasted OK, but the egg to bacon, cheese, and bread ratio was not. I opened the foil and was scared of the egginess. I did not want to eat this sandwich.

Suzi's 003

Suzi's 005

Suzi's 008

The egg was overwhelming before I even tried it.  And how could you get proper tuckage with that much egg?  The attempt to tuck was a valiant one and even successful on one side.  Despite the overwhelming quantity, the egg was cooked fine and I liked the consistency: soft and even a bit flaky.  It was not salty enough for me, though, but I would probably eat a salt lick if it was put in front of me.

Suzi's 011

Suzi's 018

The white bread was toasted completely differently on each side.  I preferred the crunchy dark brown side as the lighter side was too mushy.  And I don’t think it was buttered at all, which made it a bit dry. I know I just said that it was mushy and dry.  But it was.

(As you can see in the photo below, I actually pulled out some of the egg.)Suzi's 012

 The bacon was nice and chewy with a smoky flavor, but I wanted more!   The bacon and ketchup were cooked into the egg just the way I like it.

Suzi's 019

Scoring:

Overall appearance: 5

Meat: 6

Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 6

Greasiness: 5

Cheese (quality and quantity): 5

Condiments (quality and quantity.): 5

Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 5

Price: 7 ($2.75)

Accuracy of order: 10

Overall taste: 7

Total score: 61 (tied with Adriatic Grill

Suzi’s is across from the Anderson Hall vendor strip on N. 12th St.





Adriatic Grill Breakfast Sandwich

23 07 2009

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Adriatic Grill sounds all fancy shmancy. You don’t usually find fancy shmancy on campus so I was excited to try something they served. It’s probably the cleanest food vendor on campus but the sandwich tasted really bad. All look and no substance is Adriatic Grill.

I ordered a bacon egg and cheese (big surprise) on wheat toast (wheat just escaped my lips today. Should have been white but I went with the slip.) I asked for salt/pepper/ketchup but got the damn ketchup in a packet, not on the sandwich. I have said this so many times before: it is almost breakfast sandwich suicide to give the ketchup on the side. In packets. And Hunt’s! Who likes Hunt’s ketchup? Post a comment if I am crazy and you love Hunt’s.

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This might be one of the most perfect-looking sandwiches I’ve tried so far, complete with the cut in half, but the perfection ended there and I only received this superficial shell of a sandwich.

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Eggs: spongy, dry, tasteless. Tuckage was great, though:

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Bacon: cut in little bits but this works better if ketchup is applied to keep the bits from falling out. Not much taste but the texture was a bit like jerky.

Cheese: couldn’t taste it until half way through the sandwich and the taste was average.  The cheese was liquid while eating the first half but hardened up by the second half. A hardened, solid, glob. Look! Pathetic!

IMG_0038

And hey you North Philadelphians, Temple students, and staff: I am running out of vendors. Let me know where I should go next!

Scoring:

Overall appearance: 10

Meat: 6

Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 7

Greasiness: 5

Cheese (quality and quantity): 5

Condiments (quality and quantity.): 2

Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 5

Price: 7 ($2.75)

Accuracy of order: 8

Overall taste: 6

Total score: 61

Adriatic Grill is along the Anderson Hall vendor strip on N. 12th St.





Ali’s Breakfast Sandwich

14 07 2009

There’s construction everywhere on campus. It’s like a maze. So I found my way to the most accessible eating establishments: Anderson Row. I had already tried a breakfast sandwich from Richie’s a few weeks ago. Today I stepped up to Ali’s place right next door.

Ali's 001

For those of you who haven’t been following closely, my goal this summer is to find the best breakfast sandwich in North Philly (or at least within the Temple University campus radius). I’ve has some good and I’ve had a lot of bad. So far I’ve learned that the Carbohydrate Delivery System is one of the most important aspects of the sandwich, as well as the egg tuckage and taste. If you skimp on bacon, I may never forgive you. And I have a rubric that I use to rate each sandwich. I am giddy with anticipation for who will deserve the top spot of Best Breakfast Sandwich in North Philadelphia.

On to today’s contestant: a turkey bacon (no pork served here) egg and cheese on wheat toast with salt/pepper/ketchup from Ali’s Middle Eastern:

Ali's 002

This is one of the top contenders. The sandwich looked yummy when I unwrapped the foil and it was cut in half (points!). I wasn’t even that hungry this morning and I couldn’t wait to dig in. There were two main areas that disappointed me, which I will get out of the way first: the egg tuckage and a slightly soggy piece of toast. The rest of it was so Ab Fab I can’t even stand it. The bacon and cheese were cooked in the egg so it wouldn’t slide out. The flavors all melded together well so that it tasted like a breakfast sandwich, and not like a bagel with egg, or just a cheese sandwich with a bit of bacon thrown in.  I couldn’t even tell that I was eating turkey bacon and it was quite a generous portion–at least two full pieces, maybe even three.  I could have used a bit more cheese, but the flavor was good and it wasn’t oozing out all over the place. 

This sandwich was just great.  I can’t wait to see where its score places it in my current standings. Scroll down to see!

Ali's 004

Ali's 005

Ali's 006

Ali's 008

Ali's 009

Ali's 011

Ali's 012

Ali's 014

Overall appearance: 9

Meat: 10

Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 8

Greasiness: 8

Cheese (quality and quantity): 8

Condiments (quality and quantity.): 8

Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 7

Price: 7 ($3.00 is a bit much for toast but understandable for the turkey bacon)

Accuracy of order: 10

Overall taste: 9

Total score: 84

That’s 2nd place!





Eppy’s Breakfast Sandwich

9 07 2009

Today I continued my tour down Montgomery Avenue to Eppy’s parked right outside of the Student Center.  Maybe it was because I had such high hopes for Eppy’s (best chicken fingers and grilled cheese on campus) that this might have been the worst breakfast sandwich so far. Let’s see how it scores.

 

Eppy's 001

Quick recap:

At first glance it looked OK. Nothing great, nothing unappetizing.  The first bite was doughy and dry and I knew right away I was in trouble.  When I could taste the fillings, which wasn’t often because of the horrible bagel, the peppered bacon had a nice thickness and the cheese was really nice, creamy, tasted like cheese. 

But the stinginess of the bacon turned me off.  One piece?! Really.

And the egg was gross.  So incredibly gross that I felt nauseas for most of the day after eating that egg.  It tasted like it had been cooked on a skillet that hadn’t been cleaned in a few days.  The egg tasted like burnt oil, chicken batter, steak sandwich–all a few days old. It tasted like Oscar’s Tavern smells. I am shuddering at the thought of this egg.  The tuckage was fine, but I hardly noticed past the taste.

Let’s get back to the bagel, briefly. It was dry. It cracked in half like a bagel really shouldn’t do because of the dryness.  It was hardly toasted, unlike my request. I just did not like this sandwich-eating experience.

Eppy's 003

Eppy's 004

Eppy's 006

Eppy's 011

Eppy's 007

Eppy's 008

Eppy's 009

I may still go to Eppy’s, if I am on the south side of campus, and get some chicken fingers or cheese fries.   But never again will I subject myself to a breakfast sandwich here.

Scoring:

Overall appearance: 6

Meat: 4

Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 1

Greasiness: 7

Cheese (quality and quantity): 9

Condiments (quality and quantity.): 7

Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 3

Price: 6 ($2.85)

Accuracy of order: 9

Overall taste: 4

Total score: 56





Sexy Green Truck Breakfast Sandwich

30 06 2009

This competition is getting tough. I have discovered some very simple rules to even getting your breakfast sandwich considered: 1. You must serve eggs and 2. You must be open. Yesterday I briefly stopped at the Bagel Hut on Montgomery and their breakfast sandwiches had only meat and cheese. No egg. No thanks. Then I remembered that my student worker told me that Starbucks has actually started serving very yummy breakfast sandwiches with multi-grain muffins, egg whites, and turkey bacon for $3. I was intrigued so I swung by the Starbucks on campus. It was closed at 7:45 am. Fail!

That’s OK. I had a third backup: The Sexy Green Truck that I frequent for lunch. The Sexy Green Truck started last year as an alternative to the ho-hum greasy fatty foods that most other trucks make. The SGT, although not vegetarian, boasts all local and organic ingredients. And this makes me happy. Even the eggs are happy!

sexy green truck 001

sexy green truck 002

I ordered my usual bacon egg and cheese, but because I can feel the past few weeks of sandwich in the pit of my stomach and dimples in my thighs, I chose a “healthier” Carbohydrate Delivery System: white toast.  That may have been the mistake that gave this sandwich its score. But it was cut in half!  Right on.sexy green truck 003

The overall flavor was fresh and tasty–and happy.  It really did taste happy. Like something your momma could make. I wish that the toast had been lightly buttered on the inside because it was a bit dry.sexy green truck 004

sexy green truck 005

Look at that egg tuckage!  A perfect 10! sexy green truck 006

sexy green truck 007

The bacon was the best: a bit charred, salty, slightly crispy, slightly chewy–perfect! Like it was cut right from the pig that morning.sexy green truck 008

The cheese: great quality, great taste, but not quite enough quantity. The happy eggs were fluffy and gently browned.sexy green truck 009

sexy green truck 011

The fillings went all the way through.  By my last bite, I had just as much egg and bacon and cheese as my first.sexy green truck 013

One last thought on salt pepper ketchup–they didn’t mention it, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t get it, and I didn’t need it.

Scoring:

Overall appearance: 9

Meat: 10

Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 10

Greasiness: 7

Cheese (quality and quantity): 7

Condiments (quality and quantity.): 7

Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 4

Price: 8 ($2.75 for happy eggs is good)

Accuracy of order: 10

Overall taste: 9

Total score: 81





Ernie’s Breakfast Sandwich

25 06 2009

I had been neglecting the South Side of campus because of its inconvenient proximity to my office, so today I ventured beyond the Bell Tower to one of the many trucks parked on Montgomery Ave. between Broad and 12th streets. Ernie’s truck has been around for so many years and could be one of the most well-known mobile establishments on campus.

truck

truck

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Cut in half and lookin’ good! This sandwich was so intimidating.
huge

The croissant was too soft and sweet for a sandwich, but I’m sure I would have loved it on its own with some jam. It also needed to be toasted (but I failed to specifically ask for that).
eddie's breakfast

sandwich

The egg tuckage was, well, unnecessary. . This is going to be a difficult sandwich to score. There was no egg esacping from the edges (good) but only because the croissant was so huge (bad).sandwich

eddie's

The egg was fluffy but not too thick and cooked very well but the taste didn’t really excite me too much.egg

The bacon was very odd. When I first started eating it was chewy and tasteless. By the time I got to the second half, it tasted burned and crispy. Mysterious. It also was not anchored down very well and placed in the sandwich as whole slices, which made it hard to bite.

inside

inside

The ketchup was way too sweet–it almost tasted like a salsa–and there was not enough salt and pepper for my salt-tooth.eddie's

I know, the natural nature of the croissant is that one side is twice as thick as the other side. Not the sandwich’s fault, I just didn’t like it that way.eddie's

The sandwich had the right amount of cheese with a nice gooey consistency but it was, like the bacon and egg, pretty much tasteless and also only in the center of the sandwich. eddie

There was way too much “just egg” around the edges.eddie's

So when I got to the end, I had no interest in finishing it (or room in my belly).done

Unfortunately, the overall taste didn’t quite do it for me and I have a feeling that it was all of the croissant’s fault for being too tasty and fluffy and greasy. I doubt, though, that a different Carbohydrate Delivery System would have masked the tastelessness of all the ingredients.

Overall appearance: 9

Meat: 6

Egg (quality, quantity, and tuckage): 7

Greasiness: 7

Cheese (quality and quantity): 7

Condiments (quality and quantity.): 5

Carbohydrate Delivery System (credit: Matt Palmer): 7

Price: 5 ($3.00 is a bit much)

Accuracy of order: 10

Overall taste: 6

Total score: 69