Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Top 10 Sandwiches at the Hamilton Deli
Back in days of yore, Rob and I were in college together. (Rob is still there, in fact.) We did lots of fun, collegey things together--one of which was devising a grueling eating contest called the Tour de Ham Del. The Tour de Ham Del was a semester-long assault on the palette and stomach lining, whereby participants were challenged to eat each of the named sandwiches at the Hamilton Deli--Ham Del, for short--over the course of a semester. There were, at the time, 29 named sandwiches. You can read more here. Anyway, Rob won, but then they invented a new sandwich and I got to it first. Just last week, they came up with an additional sandwich, the Ben Arnold. I can only assume that Ben is short for Benedict, because it is a traitor of a sandwich. It has sundried tomatoes on it, which we all know are bullshit. Rob ate the Ben Arnold before I did, so I suppose in some bullshit universe where sundried tomatoes are allowed on sandwiches, he's the current champ.
Anyway. Here are the top 10 sandwiches at Ham Del. You won't find the fucking Ben Arnold on this list.
10. Mojo Melt
Ingredients: hot roast beef, melted american, coleslaw, russian dressing on toasted hero
Commentary: This sandwich is like a hybrid between a cheese steak and salad. In the battle between cheese steak and salad, there can be only one victor. Your stomach.
Ingredients: chicken cutlet, melted mozzarella, tomato, and our own secret sauce on a toasted hero
Commentary: Oh, Ham Del. "Secret sauce"? I just got that. Really. (Eds. note: Not really.) Leave it to Ham Del to take bad 90s jokes and put them on a sandwich.
8. Oh Barbara
Ingredients: Virginia ham, salami, pepperoni, melted muenster, lettuce, tomato on a toasted hero
Commentary: Attention--are you a fan of fatty meats?! Of course you are, you are a human being! That is basically your whole deal. This is the sandwich for you--although if you eat it more than once a month, you are basically committing suicide.
7. The Gipper
Ingredients: hot roast beef, grilled onions, melted provolone, brown gravy, on a toasted hero
Commentary: Let me tell you about gravy. I am a huge fan of it. I'm always looking for a good, new gravy recipe or a fun, new use for it. Using it on this sandwich was a brilliant idea.
6. Balboa/Cordon Bleu/Buffalo Blue
Ingredients: some combination of chicken cutlet, sauce, cheese, another cheese, and maybe ham
Commentary: These three sandwiches are all basically the same. I mean, they're not supposed to be, but if you order a Cordon Bleu, you will invariably get a sandwich that is essentially the average of these three. Some ham here, some hot sauce there. Oh well. I'm not saying this is a bad thing.
5. Monte Cristo
Ingredients: hot turkey, ham, bacon, swiss, lettuce, tomato on a toasted hero
Commentary: The Monte Cristo is a relatively canonical sandwich... like the Reuben or the Croque Monsieur. That being said, Ham Del does the canon proud with this entry.
Ingredients: hot roast beef, onions, hot peppers, bacon, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce
Commentary: This is basically the Tex-Mex with cheddar instead of American cheese. Therefore, the difference between a New York police officer and someone standing on the Texas/Mexico border is the type of cheese they are covered in. Anyway, this is a great sandwich.
Ingredients: chicken salad, bacon, lettuce, tomato on a toasted hero
Commentary: Plus one million points for inventiveness. This is a combination I had never, ever considered until Rob told me that this was his favorite Ham Del sandwich. Chicken salad, to start with, is not really my favorite meat salad. I get tuna salad... I didn't use to get chicken salad. THEN, you throw in bacon, and your mouth is like, "Wait, you're doing what to me?" But the result is sheer bliss. You grow to crave it, to need it.
Ingredients: grilled smoked turkey, melted provolone, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo on a toasted hero
Commentary: The Twister is the old stand-by of Ham Del sandwiches, and I say that with all due affection and care. It's like a cliche of a sandwich. The reason so many people order it is that it's actually wonderful. It's a taste you remember, and one you can return to lovingly after a long hiatus. Also, it's good on a wrap.
1. Let It Ride
Ingredients: chicken cutlet, melted swiss, onion rings, brown gravy on a garlic toasted hero
Commentary: The day I discovered this, I was born anew in Christ. Except Christ was a sandwich. Ew. I've already said my piece about gravy--ie, as condiments go, gravy owns--but let me close this list with a few words on onion rings. Onion rings are friggin' baller. Especially on a sandwich. When you eat an onion ring on a sandwich, you are saying to the world, "Hey. I know I'm subverting the logical consumption mechanism of this food. I don't need to eat it as a side. It can and will be a topping. I am just that hardcore. Do you want to stop me? Don't. I will defeat you."