Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Afterparty

The Afterparty
On Sunday, my first attempt at smoking a brisket was a rousing success. Compliments galore. It was tender if not juicy, rich with smoky flavor and augmented with a crisp, black, sharp and savory crust. Overall, almost perfect.

But my favorite way to eat brisket is in a sandwich, so I put it together Sunday night. This thing, too, is almost perfect, with the delicious beef providing loads of meaty satisfaction with each bite. It's topped by a blended barbecue sauce, spicy and sweet thanks to hickory, hoisin, honey and chili oil, and a homemade coleslaw of cabbage, carrot, green onion, mustard seed, almond splinters and an apple cider vinaigrette. The almost fruity-sweet notes of the sauce and the apple-ish tang in the slaw engage in a flavorful slugfest, and then the salt balance from the beef kicks in ... it's powerful stuff. The only reason this isn't a top-ranked sandwich is the bread. Regrettably, I only had plain-old Italian white bread, and while it's suited to just about any sandwich, it's too soft for this job.


Footlong Quarter Pound Coney

Footlong Quarter Pound Coney at Sonic
Wifey thought I was going to die from eating this, but the truth is it went down relatively smooth. At about 65 calories and 25 cents per bite, is the Sonic footlong a deal? Perhaps.

It's been years since I've had a hot dog from Sonic, and the previous weiner was so grotesque (and a nice shade of gray) that I swore off these suckers. But the quality of this frank was much improved. The chili, of course, is bad news bears, and it feels a little wrong when the high school girl at the drive-through passes you an extra-long, warm and greasy package wrapped in shiny paper. But Sonic has its merits, and this might be one of them. It's hard not to agree with a giant chili dog and a chocolate shake.


The Raging Bull

The Raging Bull at Cugino's Italian Deli
Across the street from UNLV on Maryland Parkway
If Cugino's isn't the best deli and sandwich shop in the area surrounding UNLV, I will be surprised. They do everything here, pizza to pasta to homemade sausage (like these!), and they even have a quality Italian market section of the shop. But terrific sun sandwiches on fresh baked bread has gotta be pulling the students over here.

The Raging Bull is a simple sausage and peppers sandwich, with grilled bell peppers and sweet onions mounted on a pile of Cugino's own spicy sausage. Of course, you can order the same sandwich with sweet sausage, but why? Actually, this meat tube doesn't pack a lot of heat, but there are strong flavors of fennel and anise in this baby, a well-seasoned treat. The sub roll is crispy and delicious.


Barbecued Brisket

Barbecued Brisket on panini at Whole Foods
Grabbing lunch at your neighborhood Whole Foods store is always a good idea. With this sandwich, ordered from the relatively quick-serve deli area, I may have screwed up: a wide, flat, chewy, toasty panini probably isn't the most suitable foundation for a nice pile of smoked, shredded beef. But both elements sure do taste good. If your town has some truly great 'cue restaurants, you might not be impressed with the very respectable stuff getting slow-smoked at Whole Foods. But my town is Vegas, and our 'cue could be a lot better overall, and this is decent brisket. The barbecue sauce slathered about was very standard, which is to say too sweet. The fresh, hearty panini, also baked on site, is probably the best part.


The Soft Elvis

The Soft Elvis
So we're going to call this peanut butter, banana, honey and bacon on wheat bread creation The Soft Elvis because we are under the impression the King's favorite sandwich is supposed to be deep fried. Not sure if that would have improved or taken away from the wonderful salty-sweet, crunchy-yet-soft balance to be enjoyed in every bite. Perhaps a more formidable bread than this standard, kinda sweet wheat would be an improvement. But what it really needed was more bacon, as the powerful honey, gooey peanut butter and rich, smooth texture of the banana simply overwhelmed the three crispy strips of swine. Next time, the bacon will be thicker and there'll be a double layer of it ... and maybe the deep fryer will get some action. Maybe.

Homemade Turkey Sub

Homemade Turkey Sub at Capriottis
An average everyday turkey sandwich is way above average when it's from Capriotti's, because they only serve fresh, slow roasted turkey, pulled into tender, tasty shreds instead of slicing processed birdmeat onto your bread. Cap's standard turkey sub is finished with provolone cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo, oil and vinegar and a dash of dry seasonings like salt, pepper and oregano. Capriotti's may have gone corporate recently, but this sandwich is far from a Subway-style sellout.