Modify this Modmarket

This was my first trip to ModMarket over at Denver West.  At first thought, I was heading into a MUZAK store, since their logos are almost identical.  However, when I walked in the front door, I saw immediately that this was a different place. It was hip, chic, and smelled pretty good. They had about 10000000 menus posted on the front door, big tv screens, and had handouts.  There was a decent line, so I got to take my time thinking about what I wanted.

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Is Stuffin Muffin Enough in Stuff?

The Norman Rockwell, by Absurdly Good Stuffin Muffins: 192 grams of stuffing, turkey, cranberries, pecans, (and apparently Bacon I have found out afterwords) and I am sure a bunch of butter in muffin form.

This had all the right ingredients to be a great sandwich (minus the Bacon… I don’t think I heard them say that there was the swine in this one, so maybe the day I had it didn’t have it? Anyway, now I know…) It had the sustenance, the textures, the balance of flavors, and surely the structural integrity. This thing was a muffin, made out of stuffing, and filled with things most people eat at a turkey dinner. I know a thing or two about Turkey Sandwiches and would like to think that I am fully aware of how to craft such a delicacy. It was dense. 192 grams (weighed on a calibrated scale of course), and the size of my fist. Due to the stuffing outside, it maintained it consistency and texture, and did not collapse or fail when toasted, bit into, or torn apart. This muffin dinner was a meal in itself, as any given sandwich should be. It needed a little bit of salt, but that came easily. it is difficult to make something for the masses and have everyone’s flavor pallets fully satisfied. I would have preferred to have a little bit of gravy with it, or maybe even a slathering of fresh cranberry sauce on the top, but then we run into the issues with portability and ease of eatability. It was handy, it was convenient, and it was flavorful; all of the things that a sandwich should be.
But it was most definitely not a sandwich. That much is the honest truth.

This is a muffin, not a sandwich, so why am I blogging about it? Am I guest Blogging for The Best Muffin Blog? Or did I forget what a sandwich was since I haven’t blogged for so long? Has the summer heat gotten to me?

I think the answer is somewhere in the middle, on a more theoretical level. Maybe a little bit Foodlophical*? Why should I discriminate against a muffin, when it has mostly the same basic ingredients as a sandwich? There may be people that might actually classify a muffin of this caliber as a sandwich. I mean, if an empanada is a sandwich by my standards, why can’t I say a muffin is?

I keep thinking of the Bill Cosby Standup about Chocoloate Cake. And how perspectives can be so different for some people. In the standup routine, Bill is told by his wife to go make breakfast for the kids, which he does not want to do. He goes downstairs and starts to get breakfast ingredients ready, when his 4 year old comes down stairs and says she wants chocolate cake.

“My brain looks up the chocolate cake recipe. Eggs, Milk, Wheat. Nutrition”

So he cuts the chocolate cake, and pours a glass of Grapefruit Juice. His other kids come downstairs and all want chocolate cake for breakfast as well. His wife comes downstairs, and sees that the kids are having chocolate cake for breakfast and has a kiniption, and sends Bill back to bed.

I agree with the four year old, and am all for chocolate cake for breakfast, but I also know that Chocolate Cake is most definitely not a breakfast food. This is taking the last remaining strain of convention and beating it like the eggs were beaten while making that cake. This is how I feel about a muffin posing as a sandwich. Don’t get me wrong here, Nobody is every saying that it was a sandwich, and as far as i know, these guys have no intention of doing so. I am just pointing out that perspectives can vary from one person to the next. I stand upon princples when it comes to sandwiches, and I have a lot of rules that help uphold those standards.

I have seen often that people have very few core motivations to do what they do. They base their opinions on either faith or investigation, and it is not very often that they will base their ideology on both. I have been a strong believer in the rules of sandwiches, which must contain above all others, layers, bread-like outsides, sustenance, and sauces. There are some fuzzy lines, that people often question, but I will tell you that there are 2 main reasons why these muffins will never be sandwiches in my book. They don’t have true layers, and they don’t have sauces. The other reason is the intent. They have no intent of being sandwiches. Just like the chocolate cake has no intent of being a breakfast food, but it shares similarities, a muffin should never have any crazy idea of being a sandwich.

That being said, I highly recommend you give one of these a shot if you see them around at a farmers market. They use good ingredients, including love of the muffin, and are fun guys.

Las Tortas is freaking AWESOME!!!!!

In an effort to make my friend’s head explode, i am trying to see if I can get two blogs done in 2 days. It has been a while, but since my wife and lovely child are gone for a few days, I am really trying to buckle down.

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The Original Sandwich

As it is passover, you might think it is a little bit odd that i am writing a sandwich blog. I mean, I can’t bread, or anything with leavening. One would think that this is a sandwich eater’s version of hell, but the idea of hell has a little debate in the Jewish tradition. I personally think of Passover (Pesach) as one of the greatest times in history…

So lets have a little history lesson…. in around 1400 bce the jews were slaves in Egypt. There were a bunch of plagues and after the 10th one, the Pharoah decided to let the Jews go. Off they went into the hot hot desert, but due to the time constraints, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise. They had to bake their bread on their backs, called it matzah, and went off to go wander around in the desert for about 40 years.

So what does this have to do with sandwiches? The original sandwich was a direct result of passover. Fact. Hillel said make a sandwich, by taking the pascal lamb, the maror (reminder of bitter tears of slavery), the bitter herbs, and the charoset (a sweet mixture of apples, honey, nuts and wine: representing the mortar used to build the pyramids). You put them together between the Matzah pieces and you make a sandwich.

Ok, so it sounds like what some might call a sandwich, but where are the sauces? The juices of the lamb, the wine, and the juices from the apples come together to make a sauce. In fact, you have 3 natural sauces that mix together to create the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and hot.

Makings of a Matzah Sandwich

The original Hillel Sandwich

In this particular sandwich, I made 2 versions…. the first of which i did not take a picture of. It was cold lamb, thinly sliced, with a glob of horseradish, some parsley, and some charoset. I put it on matzah, and it was very dry. It was not the best sandwich I had ever had for sure.

In the sandwich pictured, I put the lamb au jus, made of soy, worchestershire, garic, and a little wine. I then steamed the spinach with garlic, minced up some fresh horseradish, and made a fresh batch of charoset with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg, and added a sprig of fresh rosemary. The jus soaked in just enough to the matzah to make it not as crunchy, and the meat was super tender. I was really impressed. I realized this year that the only thing that would have made this sandwich better would have been freshly made matzah, that was just a little bit chewy.

La Shana Haba’ah la sandwich 🙂

This is a Mannwich for you Mr. and Mrs. Mann: BBQ on cornbread

So the whole reason I was in CT in the first place was to go to a wedding. The last time I saw the two getting married, they were riding their bikes across the country and needed a place to crash, and a tent that didn’t suck. Well, those were two things that I was able to provide for them, and their wedding was a lot of fun…

But I am not going to talk about the actual wedding, I am going to talk about the food… and the fact that the groom commented on the fact that I should be making a sandwich at his wedding.
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Chicken Sandwich with sweet potato fries and a thai “bbq” sauce

After a nice long bikeride with the dog and a couple of friends, a sandwich is not really what everyone thinks about, but when you drive by one of your favorite bbq places, which happens to be a smoke house and brew-pub, you really have no excuse not to go in. Especially when you are waiting for other people.

I was riding my bike in Nederland the other day, home of the Frozen Dead Guy Days, and also Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewpub. It is normally one of our traditions to go in after a ride and grab a brew and some bbq. they have a great selection of sauces, which makes for all sorts of good sandwiches, but they really only have 3 options as far as what to put on the sandwich. Pork, Chicken, and Beef Brisket. They do however have a lot of beers, some really good sweet potato fries and garlic mashed potatoes, and of course… bbq sandwiches. They do use really good rolls, that are almost like a sourdough, but not quite as sour. Needless to say, I was not going to complain about going to the smokehouse to get something to eat. A lot of the time I end up going with the platter, which is more meat and less sandwich, but for the sake of the sandwich blog and its readers, i opted for the chicken bbq sandwich.

Well. I should have gone for the brisket. I mean, the sandwich was good and all, but the reality is, the sandwich was nothing without the sauce. They had a good bread, and they had a good sauce, but the chicken was a little too dry for my taste. The elements of the sandwich were there, and i was really hoping for something fantastic, but I had to overpower the dry chicken taste with the sauce. I added the sweet potatoes on top, and had to put down two layers of the thai sauce to get good coverage. I could have probably spiced it up a little bit with some lettuce or tomato, which doesn’t normally go on a bbq sandwich, but it would go on a chicken sandwich.

I think if I were making the sandwich, I wouldn’t call it a chicken bbq sandwich, because it wasn’t bbq-e enough for me. If it is a bbq chicken sandwich, then the chicken should probably be simmering in bbq sauce. You can’t really do that if you have 6 sauces to choose from, unless you make a LOT of chicken. That is a lot of waste…..

But back to the sauces….. the sauces that they have are really quite interesting. you can get them as a taster with fries, so you can try out a couple of them. They have the traditional Texas, which is the tomato based, the Sweet Carolina Mustard, which has a little sweet/spicy kick to it, the memphis vinegar, the thai, which is a mix of sweet basil, hot sauce, vinegar and some other stuff, they have an atomic, which is hot and then they have the XXX, which rumor has it nobody has ever finished a meal with that on it…

I think the next time I go back, i am going to get a bbq brisket sandwich, with garlic mashed taters, on cornbread… with the traditional texas sauce, and a dab of XXX mixed in…. What do you think you would get?