Chilean Dog

Chilean Dog at The Lunch Box
The cool owner of this cool little hot dog spot near UNLV was inspired by a student from Chile to create this tasty masterpiece, an interesting combination of spicy, creamy and savory. The Lunch Box guy gets his buns from the local Great Buns Bakery, and it's a fresh taste with a soft-but-firm-enough texture, just the right vessel to carry the all-beef Vienna Frank to your mouth. Things get crazy when the toppings come into play: yellow mustard and spicy mayo, fresh slices of tomato and avocado, and a sweet-and-sour, crunchy sauerkraut. I don't know if this is how they do dogs in Chile, but I'm glad they're doing them here. Next time we hit The Lunch Box, we'll sample a Tokyo Dog and a scratch-made Belgian chocolate chip waffle ice cream sandwich.



The Manhattan at Johnny McGuire's
The subs at Johnny McGuire's continue to impress, buoyed powerfully by fresh baked rolls. This sandwich, the Manhattan, was ordered on a wheat roll, and it was just as chewy and delicious as the white ones. With toppings of corned beef, Swiss cheese, purple cabbage coleslaw, tomato, onions and green peppers with Thousand Island dressing, the Manhattan feels like it should have been a hot sandwich with the veggies tossed on at the end. But warmed up, it might have been closer to the shop's version of a Reuben.

Tamago Burger

Tamago Burger at Fukuburger
We can't think of a more perfectly decadent topping for a juicy burger than a rich, oozy fried egg, the yolk mingling with the fatty juices from the beef. Actually, that sounds kinda gross described that way, huh? But we all know it's delicious. The Fukuburger version of the egg burger, like everything else on the menu of this Asian-inspired Vegas food truck, takes things to another level.

The Tamago Burger has the signature Fuku patty -- a wonderfully moist, juicy beef burger marinated in sake, mirin and yuzu, then grilled and finished with a slightly sweet glaze -- with our friend the fried egg, crispy onion strings, a dash of teryiaki and furikake and Fuku's special sauce, a Japanese spin on mayo. Besides the creativity, the most amazing feat is Fuku's tendency to cook each burger perfectly medium, which captializes on the bold flavors of those crazy toppings.


The Original Double 'n Cheese

The Original Double 'n Cheese at Steak 'n Shake
Let's not argue. The Steak 'n Shake in Las Vegas is still a Steak 'n Shake, okay? If this is not the steakburger you remember from your Midwest roots, it's not because we're in Vegas. It's because times have changed and so have fast food outlets, even if when they first opened, there was no such thing as fast food.

This is a damn good cheeseburger, with all the traditional fixings. Veggies are fresh, everything is in proportion, and the meat is juicy and delicious. Vegas-wise, it's very close to a much newer franchise, Smashburger, which also is new to Vegas. It's also pretty close, stylistically, to the In-N-Out double-double. This is a classic, and very satisfying.


Whitefish Salad

Whitefish Salad Sandwich at Bagel Cafe
Writing this mini-review of this sandwich, in all seriousness, is making me angry right now because it makes me want to eat this bitch right now. I don't know if you can make a more perfect sandwich. I love you, Bagel Cafe. I love you and I am in love with you.

So I choose their homemade rye for this sandwich, not toasted even though it might hold together better if was toasted. But with soft bread, the rich, creamy, smoky whitefish salad will spill out every few bites, and I like that because I'm going to eat it all anyway and it doesn't matter if I have to use a fork to finish my sandwich. Fresh lettuce, red onion and ripe tomatoes are a wonderful complement but there's no stealing the spotlight from the fish, so moist with some celery and onion tossed in for a satisfying mini-crunch. There are few delicatessens of Bagel Cafe's category in Las Vegas but nothing that offers as much variety on the menu, and they make damn near everything themselves. So, yeah, there is no competition.


The Rising Sun

The Rising Sun at Holsteins
 A brand new, fancy-ass casino resort opens on the Las Vegas Strip, and what do we do? Head straight for the sandwich, of course. Would you expect anything less? The only restaurant in the shiny new Cosmopolitan with already established Vegas ties is Holsteins Shakes and Buns, a burger palace from the makers of the decent LBS joint at the Red Rock Resort. But as you must do when you hit the Strip, these guys stepped their game up. The Holsteins menu is impressive, even stacked up against the never-ending cavalcade of fancy gourmet hamburger restaurants lining Las Vegas Boulevard. Interesting appetizers and cute sample-size mini-burgers and mini-dogs abound, and the selection of full-sized burgers is diverse and tempting.

I opted for one of the Asian-influenced burgers, the Rising Sun, which boasts Kobe beef with a teriyake glaze, a sprinklin' of furikake (dried ground fishy flakes with sesame and seaweed), thin strings of crispy fried yam, a slab of tempura avocado, and a spicy mayonnaise sauce. Took a bite, wow. I have enjoyed some great Asian burgers in town recently, from Bachi Burger to Fukuburger, and this one is right up there with the best. The meat is simply outstanding, juicy and beefy-fabulous and cooked perfectly medium, and complemented nicely by the sharp if slightly-too-sweet glaze. I couldn't detect the nori furikake and didn't pick up anything but a little saucy texture from the mayo, but that's because the flavor of the beef and the nice crispy texture of the yam frites is all you need. The avocado lends a nice, creamy touch, but this baby is all about the cow. It's a very impressive burger. In fact, it's good enough to merit a return to Holsteins, which is a substantial statement considering all the delicious food waiting to be eaten at the Cosmopolitan.


Christy Special

Christy Special at B&B's Pickle Barrel
Every college town should have a Pickle Barrel nearby, a laidback spot with a chalkboard full of great food, a bar, and a giant, somewhat unsanitary bin of grab-your-own pickles from which to snare a salty delight. Getting used to the veggie friendly style of Fort Collins, I opted for a meat-free experiment on my first visit to this beloved shop, and munched down on the Christy Special. Among the grilled mushrooms and onions, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and avocado, and tangy vinaigrette, please note the mound of melted havarti cheese. Havarti really ought to appear on more sandwiches, as its smooth, creamy, almost buttery Danish goodness stands up well against sharp dressings and pickled or vinegary vegetables. I don't know who this is Christy is, or why she likes havarti cheese so much, but I appreciate her good taste.

Banana-Nutella Sandwiches

Banana-Nutella Sandwiches at Firefly
Ladies and gentlemen, we now present one of the greatest dessert sandwiches of all time. Coming to you from Las Vegas' most loved, most popular, most cool neighborhood restaurant (Firefly), these are banana-nutella sandwiches. They are perfectly sized little bites of grilled bread filled with everyone's favorite choco-hazelnut spread and warm, gooey banana, topped with more nutella, strawberries and powdered sugar, and served with nutella cream dipping sauce (which is really just more nutella). So simple. So rich. So awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the first sweet treat to the allsandwich A+ list.

The Mogul

The Mogul at Avogadro's Number
This comfy college-area bar and live music spot in Fort Collins reminds me a lot of what I imagine (but cannot remember) my family sandwich shop back home in Eugene, Oregon, was like. I like it, and I like the food a lot, even if it is kinda hippy-style and they serve tempeh burgers and crazy stuff like that. But there is meat on the menu, and plenty of it on the mogul, a soft sub roll stacked with sliced and grilled bird and loads of veggies coated in melted Swiss. The Mogul has quite the hot-and-cool vibe going, with sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions and bell peppers, and then the juxtaposition of lettuce, tomato, creamy dijon mustard and a solid house dressing. Like the other bites I've sampled at Avo's, this sandwich is fresh and delicious.


Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe

Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe at Chik-Fil-A
They don't have Chik-Fil-A in Vegas. I don't know why. But I know we should have it, because everybody tells me we should have it. I couldn't understand why people seem to go apeshit for a fast-food fried chicken sandwich, how something so simple could be so good it would inspire such a rabid following. So now I have tasted it. It's pretty good. But that's all.

This Chik-Fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe was consumed in the lovely burg of Loveland, Colorado, where I spent my holiday vacation. There is a lot of fast food in this small town, and Chik-Fil-A seems to be just another joint to grab a quick bite. So the details: it's a boneless chicken breast, of course, hand-breaded and cooked in peanut oil, served on a buttered bun with lettuce, tomato, dill pickle chips and pepper jack cheese. That cheese lends a nice little kick, but the flavorful, sometimes crunchy coating is the real treat in this bite. It's much better than the seasonings you'll find at KFC or other fast food chicken outlets, and much more crispy with more spicy flavor than the spicy chicken at Wendy's.

The chicken is juicy and, as wifey puts it, "without any weird parts." It's a great chicken sandwich, actually, good enough that even though I can't get it back home in Vegas, I will wish for it next time I pull into a drive-through window and consider some fried bird on a bun.

Kobe (Not Bryant) Burger

The Kobe (Not Bryant) Burger at Steiner's Nevada Style Pub
Kobe Bryant is named after Japan's Kobe beef. So it is kinda stupid to (sorta) name your Kobe burger after Laker Kobe. But the people at Steiner's are not concerned with their menu making sense. They are, more appropriately, focused on feeding me beer and above-average bar food. This burger falls under that category.

I'm sure the beef isn't Japanese. It's described as "beer-fed, hand-massaged and sake-brushed beef," but I'm sure it's American Wagyu beef. Whatever. It's tasty. Is it a lot better than the average burger at Steiner's, which goes on special Wednesday nights for $5? No, it's just a slight upgrade. But they'll actually cook it the way you want, the buns are fresh, and it'll hit the spot. The Kobe burger comes armed with Maui onions, aged white cheddar, heirloom tomato and crisp lettuce, and it's served on a sourdough bun. It's a more-than-respectable bar burger.