The Meadow

 The Meadow at Eddie D's Famous Italian Sandwiches
It’s hard to pick a favorite sandwich at Eddie D’s, but The Meadow is certainly worthy of the title. The eggplant on this sandwich is sliced thin and then battered and fried, but it’s the cheese and broccoli rabe that push this delicious sandwich over the top. Thick, sharp slivers of provolone cut right through the eggplant and bread with a zing that brings taste buds to life. The broccoli rabe, stewed in a tomato-y sauce that replaces the usual marinara, brings a unique freshness to the sandwich. It’s a good eggplant marinara, with a mighty kick of flavor and character.


Spicy Baja

Spicy Baja Burger at Smashburger
Smashburger has exploded onto the already crowded Vegas burger scene, and rightfully so. These burgers taste fresh and are decidedly not fancy. Their cow is never frozen and their method is to slap a third- or half-pound ball of meat on the grill and "smash, sear and season" it right then. The result is a non-uniform shape, juicy texture and a nice griddle-char on the outside. It's quite pleasant. The franchise goes the extra mile by adding a customized burger to the menu in each different city where it opens. The Sin City Smashburger will have to be reviewed at a later date.

The Spicy Baja adds a flavorful, Tex-Mex accent to an already solid burger. Your meat is dressed in melted pepper jack cheese and mounted on a "chiptole bun," with guacamole, tomato, lettuce, chipotle menu and fresh jalapenos riding shotgun. The only spicy in this equation comes from those bright green discs, and that's plenty. My baby bro couldn't take the jalapeno heat and was wishing for the pickled version, but as usual, he's way off base. The veggies are fresh, the mayo is virtually undetectable, the guac cools things off and provides a textural counterpoint, and the cheese-and-meat combo is just right.

Some people consider Smashburger a fast-food franchise and don't think it belongs in the conversation of Vegas' best burgers. It's a casual joint, with service akin to Fatburger, so call it fast food if you want to but the stuff is good. And so far, the Spicy Baja is my favorite sandwich on the menu.


Turkey Avocado

Turkey Avocado Sandwich
Simplicity is a champion. Smoked, sliced turkey, from any store deli, on whole grain wheat bread, not toasted or anything. Insteady of nasty mayo in between, mash a ripe avocado with a little salt and lemon juice and spread away. Sliced roma tomatoes. Romaine lettuce. There might be a little garlic mustard under there, too. That's it. Simple wins.


Grilled Cheddar Panini

Grilled Cheddar Panini at 'Wichcraft
Eating this delicious, cheesy sandwich in the MGM Grand's version of Tom Colicchio's gourmet shop 'Wichcraft made me realize that grilling bread, while creating a universally desirable crispy texture, takes away most of the flavor of that bread, an especially significant loss of you're sticking something like sweet pumpernickel in a buttery panini press. So if you're using tasty high quality ingredients like pumpernickel, smoked ham and thin slices of green apple by these methods, maybe I'm not getting all those flavors in each bite. Maybe I'm just eating a grilled cheese.

That being said, this is a pretty damn good grilled cheese, though the bread appeared to be more marble rye and less pumpernickel, and the cheese may have been too smooth and creamy to be white cheddar. Tang from those apples snuck in every now and then, but ham and cheese dominated. This may be my least favorite sandwich out of all the different offerings at 'Wichcraft, which goes to show you how great this shop is.

Large Roast Beef Sandwich

Large Roast Beef Sandwich at Arby's
Is Arby's pure evil?

In honor of an impending moratorium in fast food consumption, I hereby present one of the staples of fast food sandwichdom, the "roast beef sandwich" at Arby's. Is it necessary to review and rate Arby's? Of course not. And if you're going to do it, shouldn't you do the Beef 'n Cheddar, so you can use sickening words to describe the unholy congealment of heat-lamped beef, waxy processed cheese goo and hyper sweet barbecue sauce? Yes, probably. But then I would have had to eat one of those, and this is really all I can take. The plus on this letter grade comes from simplicity: just bread and meat. It is meat, right?


Deviled Ham

Deviled Ham Sandwich
Did you know Underwood's Deviled Ham was first created in 1868? It tastes like it. I love it. Here I have smushed it across wheat bread and placed a boring leaf of lettuce on board. Never let 'em tell you fine dining cannot occur in the home.



The Double-Double at In-N-Out Burger
This is it. This is the definitive American hamburger in my book, and good luck convincing me otherwise. Two never frozen beef chuck patties, lettuce, tomato, onions, American cheese, and "spread" (You know what it is. It's good stuff.) on that slow-rising sponge dough bun. It is an iconic sandwich, a symbol of California, and since that's one of the best states, purely American. In these burger obsessed times, I refuse to become obsessed with burgers. I doubt there will be another burger added to the A+ list here at all sandwich, and if there is, it likely will be the Awful Awful of Reno, Nevada. But that'll probably be it.

The thing about the Double-Double is its success as a sandwich. Let's get back to basics for a sec ... what makes a perfect sandwich? A brilliant combination of flavors and textures made easily munchable by great bread. In-N-Out serves the best bun in the fast food world. That's not up for debate. And the ingredients here add up to something much greater than the sum of this burger's parts. Whether you prefer your onions grilled or raw, they work with/against the cheese and sauce in a sublime way. And the fact that In-N-Out has never served me wilted lettuce or a scary tomato makes all the difference. Double-Double, welcome to standard-bearer status.

Homemade Meatball

Homemade Meatball Sub at Capriotti's
Let me begin by apologizing for this photo. It is a bad portrayal of a good sandwich, and there is barely a glimpse of the tasty meatball goodness held inside this warm, soft roll. Fact is, it's a miracle I managed to take a picture of this thing, devoured at the food court at the Red Rock Resort. You see, I had been drinking by the pool all day, it was a late lunch, and I needed to get this sandwich in me, in a hurry. I promise better pictures of meatballs in the future.

Of course, intoxication can certainly affect the grading process as well. But I have had many Capriotti's meatball subs, and they are always good. There is a fair portion of meatballs, a nice amount of sauce, and plenty of melting provolone. The meatballs themselves and the sauce could benefit from some depth of flavor. But if you are craving a meatball sub and browsing easy access sandwich shops, there are few better than Capriotti's version. In a few nap-inducing seconds, this thing was tasty.