Friday, June 28, 2013

Episode XIV: The Woolman Café (ATL)

I like the employee cafeteria. I may have already lost a few of my colleagues by saying that, but I do.  We do not actually run the cafeteria, a private third party does, which I think is odd because we can run an airline, an oil refinery, but a BLT is a little out of our league.
The last time I was down there I was surprised to see the sandwich bar was advertising a Turkey Rachel Reuben.  I have to say that I was skeptical.
According to Wikipedia the Rachel is, “a variation on the standard Reuben sandwich, substituting pastrami for the corned beef and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. Other recipes for the Rachel call for turkey instead of corned beef or pastrami. In some parts of the United States, especially Michigan, this turkey variant is known as a "Georgia Reuben" or "California Reuben," which sometimes uses barbecue sauce instead of Russian or Thousand Island.”
Here is the sign

Appearance – (3.9/5.0)
Green and red are not the accent colors you expect from a Reuben. I am scrolling through old posts and I don’t see any green or red coming from inside the sandwich. Sure you have pickles and ketchup on the side but look at this one. The green from the spinach – wait, I think this guy must have slipped in some spinach. That was not on the sign. Anyway, not the visual presentation I am used to for a Reuben.  It looks like a clean cut turkey sandwich. No toothpicks and I appreciate that they cut it in half.

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.0/5.0) The individual ingredients were solid and generally are at this place.  The tomatoes and spinach were fresh.  It seemed like pretty standard turkey and Swiss cheese.  The pumpernickel bread was s ok, but I prefer the taste of rye. I think all of us already know that.        

Price– (3.3/5.0) $6.19, no bueno.  I think this is the biggest complaint about the cafeteria, it is expensive.  The same company that runs the cafeteria also runs all of the vending machines so there is no escaping them. 
Je Ne Sais Quoi – (2.6/5.0) I have to admit I was intrigued when I saw this sign.  The intrigue ended after the first bite. It was a good turkey sandwich but not much more.  The magic of the Reuben is taking a whole bunch of ingredients nobody likes and putting them all together in one bite and somehow it tastes amazing.  No magic like that here.  You look at the turkey sandwich, you know what is in there and it tastes like a good turkey sandwich. End of story.
Taste – (7.9/10.0) This was not a bad tasting sandwich, it just want not a Reuben.  The fresh tomatoes really tasted good.  I have been told that is what you are supposed to do with fresh garden tomatoes, slice them up for a sandwich.  Do not even think about making them into salsa. No sir. 

Overall – (21.7/30.0)I think this is the same story from Which Wich.  If you want to attach the word “Reuben” to a sandwich that has to mean something. Toast the bread, heat up the meat, put in the effort!  This sandwich was just too far off base to call it a Reuben.  Maybe they could have gotten away with just calling it a Rachel but they chose to add Reuben on there to try and lure in unsuspecting Reuben aficionados.  I would have known better but I see this as my duty to try it and let all of you fine people know so you can make informed decisions.  All and all it was ok but next time I am going back to my Buffalo Chicken Wrap (easy on the Blue Cheese and extra hot sauce).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Episode XIII: Which Wich (ATL)

Friday at the office means getting away from my desk and going out to lunch. On this day it was Which Wich to try the No Rye Reuben.  My boss had told me about it, and even sent me a picture, but it was time for me to try it for myself. 

Appearance – (3.2/5.0)       
 As you Which Wich fans out there know, everything comes in a brown paper bag. The picture below is me helping them out a bit by taking it out and splitting it.  (On a side note, I noticed this week that all of the pictures on my phone are either of Reubens or babies.  Not sure what that says about me.) Once I got a good view of it, I realized that being a roll and not sliced bread really does change the look. It really does change the whole make-up of the sandwich or maybe it was just the way they made it.  The 1000 Island dressing was on the bottom and the sauerkraut was piled on the top, so they don’t really touch one another.  There was no overflow and don’t let that yellow spot on the foil fool you. It is not melted cheese or extra dressing; it is just the reflection of the yellow letters on the wrapper. This should all be expected, so no surprises here.

Quality Of Ingredients – (3.6/5.0)     
I was disappointed with  the ingredients.  I am a Which Wich fan and they have good ingredients, but the Reuben is its own monster.  The corned beef was mediocre.  This is a cold cuts shop, and I love cold cuts, but a really good Reuben has tender warm corned beef.  There was nothing special about the sauerkraut. It tasted like it was out of a jar and also not very hot.  The 1000 Island was probably the most disappointing.  That stuff out of a jar can taste good, but this tasted like it was out of a can and was just so-so.  The best ingredient was the wheat (no rye) bread.  It was toasty and hearty.
Price – (4.3/5.0)      
Can’t complain here. The regular 7” sub is under $6.  It is always great to see the price of a sandwich start with a 5.
Je Ne Sais Quoi – (2.2/5.0)   
 There is so little unknown about this sandwich that I don’t even know what to write here.  This sandwich is strictly the combination of ingredients and nothing more. They do not magically come together to create complex layers of flavors.  It was one 1000 Island bite then one sauerkraut bite.
Taste – (6.1/10.0)                                                  
I think the most frustrating thing about the taste of this No Rye Reuben is that it was not nearly as good as other sandwiches I have had at Which Wich. I will repeat, I am a Which Wich fan, but the No Rye Reuben is not their best effort. I mean I ate it, but I would not recommend it given so many other great options at this place.

Overall – (19.4/30.0)
Pretty low score for this one.
It seems to me that the folks at Which Wich were looking down at the sandwich bar one day and realized they almost had everything to make a Reuben.  Some summer intern probably floated the name No Rye Reuben and it stuck. I guarantee you he worked the rest of the summer, unpaid, and never saw a dime in royalties.
Reubens don’t work that way folks.  There has to be a purpose.  Arby’s had the same idea but put effort into it and did it well (See Episode X).  Which Wich needs to try harder or take the Reuben off the menu. It is disrespectful to Reubens everywhere to suggest that a Reuben can somehow be more than the sum of a few of its misinterpreted parts.
As an ambassador for the Reuben to the culinary world, I am embarrassed. If you have never had a Reuben, please do not let this be your first.  Plenty of great cold cut choices at Which Wich.  I would suggest going with one of those.

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