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American Sandwichiana


Gillman
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The lobster roll of Maine and the Maritime Provinces deserves mention. It is lobster chunks and celery (maybe some other veggies) held together with a mild, creamy dressing and served on a hot dog bun. They are so ubiquitous, McDonalds serves them.

The difference between a souvlaki and a gyros is that the souvlaki meat is lamb chunks cooked on a skewer, i.e., basic shish kabob. In Greece, the gyros is slices of lamb stacked vertically on a large spit and roasted so that as the edges of the slices are sheered off, one side is seared well done, while the other is still rare. In the U.S., a huge log of pressed, chopped lamb and beef is used in a similar fashion. In Greece, the meat come off in little bite-size chunks, while the U.S. version is long, thin slices of meat.

In Chicago, you are always within sight of a gyros stand and most serve souvlaki as well.

There is a local chain here in Chicago called Ricobene's. Their specialty is the Italian Breaded Steak Sandwich. It is a rather large piece of, I believe, chuck steak, well tenderized but not ground, that is breaded and deep fried similar to chicken-fried steak. It is served on an Italian roll and topped with tomato sauce and your choice of cheese, onions, peppers, etc. The chain also has pizza, but the breaded steak sandwich is their specialty.

I have experienced french fries as a sandwich topped in several places, most notably Romania. In South Carolina, cole slaw is a typical topping for hot dogs. Yes, a topping, not a side dish.

Although the original po boy is like a sub, with cold cuts, I prefer the oyster po boy.

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Gary, this thread and the chilly temperatures here tonight (low in the teens predicted) remind me, too, of what my Mom simply called a 'hot beef sandwich' while I was growing up in snowy, SW Michigan. Sometimes also made with turkey, it is/was an open-faced concoction made of two slices of white bread laid out on a plate, topped with sliced meat, sided by mashed potatoes (yes, Dan Quayle was both right and wrong -- the 'e' is correct, though optional!), all smothered with brown gravy.

I know this isn't an entirely regional dish, as I've found it elsewhere, too. It used to be a standard in the 24-hour coffee shops in Las Vegas back when I started going out there in the early/mid-'80s.

Wouldn't mind having one right now, though.:yum:

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Tim,

Your description of the hot beef sandwich is made all the time here in Pennsylvania Dutch Country and has been for all of my 63 years and probably long before that. Yummy. I eat em all the time.

Joe :usflag:

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Gary, this thread and the chilly temperatures here tonight (low in the teens predicted) remind me, too, of what my Mom simply called a 'hot beef sandwich' while I was growing up in snowy, SW Michigan. Sometimes also made with turkey, it is/was an open-faced concoction made of two slices of white bread laid out on a plate, topped with sliced meat, sided by mashed potatoes (yes, Dan Quayle was both right and wrong -- the 'e' is correct, though optional!), all smothered with brown gravy.

I know this isn't an entirely regional dish, as I've found it elsewhere, too. It used to be a standard in the 24-hour coffee shops in Las Vegas back when I started going out there in the early/mid-'80s.

Wouldn't mind having one right now, though.:yum:

[QUOTE][/QUOTE]

yup, that is classic comfort food,... Used to be a staple at the old-time diners.

Beef or turkey, they were both great.

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Gary, this thread and the chilly temperatures here tonight (low in the teens predicted) remind me, too, of what my Mom simply called a 'hot beef sandwich' while I was growing up in snowy, SW Michigan. Sometimes also made with turkey, it is/was an open-faced concoction made of two slices of white bread laid out on a plate, topped with sliced meat, sided by mashed potatoes (yes, Dan Quayle was both right and wrong -- the 'e' is correct, though optional!), all smothered with brown gravy.

I know this isn't an entirely regional dish, as I've found it elsewhere, too. It used to be a standard in the 24-hour coffee shops in Las Vegas back when I started going out there in the early/mid-'80s.

Wouldn't mind having one right now, though.:yum:

Around here we call that a "roast beef sandie". Damn good comfort food!!

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yup, that is classic comfort food,... Used to be a staple at the old-time diners.

Beef or turkey, they were both great.

I grew up with that as well, in Louisville. Mom switched to making them with turkey after dad went on his "turkey everything" diet

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Just had dinner but getting hungry again. :)

I had one of those lobster sandwiches Chuck mentioned in Nova Scotia once, just superb.

Gary

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Thanks TBoner, that's a great evocation of the dish. (But what's the home-made recipe ?:)). Interesting that an Italian version is offered. Could this suggest the dish has Italian origins..? The name sounds Italian, sort of.

Joe, that's intriguing about a pepper and egg hero - more details please!

Gary

I don't know about the word runza, but the word bierock (same sandwich, different shape and geography) is derived from pierogi, and my understanding is this is a German-Russian food. The Italian runza, when you taste it, is pretty generically Italian: bad marinara, mozzerella, etc. I've never had a homemade Italian runza, either, so I always figured it was a gimmick to expand the menu.

Now, about the recipe. I'll say that this will get you close. However, there are a couple of key points missing. First, you want to be careful not to overwork the dough. You're not making chewy French bread, so you should knead just until smooth and then stop. Second, you want a good fat content in your beef: get chuck or something else that's 80% lean or so. You can drain a bit of fat off when the filling has finished cooking, but the fat adds a ton of flavor and coats the bits of cabbage, so that the filling becomes somewhat uniform in texture. Finally, you really want to make sure the cabbage has given up most of its moisture before you use the filling. Otherwise, you'll end up with a soggy final product.

Now, as for a couple of seasoning choices and one or two other secrets, those stay in the family, man...;)

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CrispyCritter
In Greece, the gyros is slices of lamb stacked vertically on a large spit and roasted so that as the edges of the slices are sheered off, one side is seared well done, while the other is still rare. In the U.S., a huge log of pressed, chopped lamb and beef is used in a similar fashion. In Greece, the meat come off in little bite-size chunks, while the U.S. version is long, thin slices of meat.

Interestingly, the Chicago-style gyros is popular in Britain as well - under a different name. Over there, it's known as "doner kebabs," and it is often served with hot chile sauce (or curry) instead of the cucumber-based tzatziki. I had some in a little chip shop in Edwinstowe (near Sherwood Forest) back in '99, and I almost freaked when I saw the exact same Autodoner vertical broilers and lamb/beef logs that are used in Chicago.

I order my gyros without sauce, and shake Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce on it, so the British version was just fine with me.

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I almost freaked when I saw the exact same Autodoner vertical broilers and lamb/beef logs that are used in Chicago.

I order my gyros without sauce, and shake Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce on it, so the British version was just fine with me.

That's the same machine that they use for the Grec in Paris...coolest thing ever...I so want one. I have never seen one in the States.

I went to Paris with a school group comprised mostly of Louisiana natives and many of them were complaining about the bland food, I find that amusing, as the Kentucky Hillbilly in me thinks that what they call spicy, isn't.

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CrispyCritter

Heh... the Autodoner is so common in Chicagoland that you can hardly throw a brick without hitting a restaurant that has one. ;)

In fact, the broilers are made in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village.

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Heh... the Autodoner is so common in Chicagoland that you can hardly throw a brick without hitting a restaurant that has one. ;)

In fact, the broilers are made in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village.

I always knew I needed to spend more time in the windy city:grin: Seems like I'm always in and out quickly

That's not exactly the one I saw in Paris, but close enough for me to be interested...though I think my smoke alarm would go of every time I used it:rolleyes: The ones I saw in Paris had an entire back panel that would move closer or farther away from the spit, depending on how busy the place was, the cook would speed up the process by moving it closer or slow it down by turning down the heat and sliding it farther away.

Now I just need a good excuse to regularly put 7lbs of lamb on a spit regularly to justify the purchase.:lol:

It's a race between sloths, which one will be purchased first: this or a homebrew setup?:slappin:

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CrispyCritter

The ones that I've seen (both around Chicago and in the UK) have side panels that can be moved closer in to the spit. It seems to me that they are moved in by the cook, as the meat is cut away, to make sure that the remaining meat gets cooked properly.

The broilers I've seen were fueled by natural gas; a flame at the base of the wire grid on each side is clearly visible.

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Edward_call_me_Ed
I don't know about the word runza, but the word bierock (same sandwich, different shape and geography) is derived from pierogi, and my understanding is this is a German-Russian food.

There is a part of Lincoln NE that is called the Russia Bottoms. It was a German/Russian section of town. There is a large Czech population in Nebraska, maybe that is where the word Runza comes from. Here in Japan/Hokkaido they know a sandwich that they call a Piroshiki from Russia. It sounds like a Runza, but I have never had one.

Ed

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...what my Mom simply called a 'hot beef sandwich' while I was growing up in snowy, SW Michigan. Sometimes also made with turkey, it is/was an open-faced concoction made of two slices of white bread laid out on a plate, topped with sliced meat, sided by mashed potatoes (yes, Dan Quayle was both right and wrong -- the 'e' is correct, though optional!), all smothered with brown gravy.

The open-face sandwich is a diner staple throughout the midwest. I guess I just assumed it was everywhere, but is it not common in your part of Tennessee? The typical varieties are roast beef, turkey and meat loaf.

I'm a long-time fan.

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Another item worth mentioning for novelty's sake if no other reason is the butterburger, a variation on the hamburger that could only have been invented in Wisconsin, but the chain that originated it, Culvers, has been moving into the Chicago area. It's a basic hamburger with a pat of butter melted on top.

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Edward_call_me_Ed
The open-face sandwich is a diner staple throughout the midwest. I guess I just assumed it was everywhere, but is it not common in your part of Tennessee? The typical varieties are roast beef, turkey and meat loaf.

I'm a long-time fan.

You know, the only place I have encountered open-faced sandwiches is one the pages of a bookor a magazine, and now here. I have never been served one, seen anyone eat one or even been told about eating one.

Ed

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Well, that's interesting. They are ubiquitous everyplace I've lived, which is Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. They are definitely diner fare. Maybe you just always eat in fancy places.

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The open-face sandwich is a diner staple throughout the midwest. I guess I just assumed it was everywhere, but is it not common in your part of Tennessee?..

Common, no -- but not unheard of. Biscuits are most often the 'bread' served with 'country cookin'' here, so variations of biscuits and gravy are much more prevalent.

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Edward_call_me_Ed
Well, that's interesting. They are ubiquitous everyplace I've lived, which is Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. They are definitely diner fare. Maybe you just always eat in fancy places.

Not really, but when I eat at a diner I almost always order breakfast or a burger.

Ed

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, a variation on the hamburger that could only have been invented in Wisconsin,

Here in Akron, OH we have a local chain that puts brown sugar in the meat! What people do to good beef. :lol:

I tried them two or three times but have never aquired the taste for them. They do make great shakes! Oh, and let's not forget the Phosphates.

The best thing about it is the fact that it is still the old "drive up, turn on your headlights and get car-side" service.

Swenson's

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The open-face sandwich is a diner staple throughout the Midwest. I guess I just assumed it was everywhere, but is it not common in your part of Tennessee? The typical varieties are roast beef, turkey and meat loaf.

I'm a long-time fan.

The "open faced" turkey or roast beef sandwich is a Diner staple here on Long Island. And if you don't know Long Island there is a Diner, Pizzeria, Bagel shop, Chinese Take-out, 7-11, and Taco Bell on basically EVERY street. During my wife's three pregnancies, she had me get her an "open faced" turkey sandwich from her childhood Diner almost once a week.

The Pepper and Egg hero is just what is sounds like. You sauté some peppers , onions,and garlic in Olive oil, then when they start to turn golden and soft you throw in some beaten egg's. When it's cooked you but the mixture on a hero and then eat away. There is also a Potato and egg hero next to the pepper and egg one. These are on every pizzeria menu here in NY.

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I don't know if Gary is prescient (entirely possible -- we're talking Gary Gillman here!:skep::lol:), or if he's just able to read the TV Guide, but I'm currently watching a fascinating History Channel lineup of "American Eats". Currently showing is "History on a Bun" about the advent and importance of the sandwich on American and world culture.

Besides gaining a new appreciation of the saying "...the greatest thing since sliced bread..." (pre-WWII Wonder Bread), which authored the change for virtually every ethnic food into some sort of sandwich, I've learned that New Haven/Groton sandwich makers delivering sandwiches to WWII submarine builders originated the 'sub' sandwich, a similar story about ship-building Hog Island in Pennsylvania led to the Hoagie, and a local sandwicheria's donation of sandwiches to striking New Orleans dock-workers named the Po' Boy. Especially charming is the tangential relationship of the ice cream cone, ice cream sandwich, ice cream bar and other things ice cream to the sandwich, and how the intoxicating popularity of the accidentally-created ice cream soda led to its prohbition on Sundays -- which led, in turn, to putting ice cream in a bowl to create the ice cream 'sundae'.

Other segments highlight the rise of the quintessential American hamburger and White Castle, McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken (more outlets than McDonald's in 1969!).

Last, I find it amusing (keeping in mind the ubiquitous "Made in China" labels we see) that virtually all fortune cookies with which we finish meals in Chinese restaurants are "Made in U.S.A.":cool:

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Those fortune cookies are made in U.S.A. just like chop suey was. (Yes).

Thanks, Tim. I was not aware of the History Channel series you mentioned. Glad to see its interest in the subject matter, though.

One way or another, regional North American food is penetrating the urban, always status-conscious, mentality. There is a Montreal humble food, poutine (french fries, gravy and cheese curds, mixed). It will soon be offered in a ramped-up version in a Daniel Boulud gastro-pub soon to open in Manhattan. M. Boulud is from France but is inspired by his Quebec-based partners who observed the success of this dish (and other Quebec specialties) in gentrified form in my home town of Montreal.

Eh ben - la poutine - the name derives from the English "pudding" - not strange if you know Quebec - with foie gras and raw milk cheddar? Why not. Let the New Yorkers transfix on the latest transformations of good old basic Canadian and Americans foods.

Give me the loose meat sandwich though, as it comes, and on its home turf.

Gary

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