ink.sack

9/16/11Everyone knows how long I’ve been waiting to go to ink. (I was just about to confirm a reservation on Sunday 9/25 but it got taken as I was clicking the button). So when Michael Voltaggio announced last month that he was opening a sandwich shop on the same block as the restaurant (opening tomorrow), I was as giddy as a schoolgirl. . However, they’re only open until 4pm from Wednesday to Sunday, and usually sell out before then. So I didn’t have a chance to make it out there until last Friday, when I decided to give myself an extended lunch (due to the somber mood at work).

PhotoThere was a line out the door, but it moved fairly quickly. I probably waited around ten minutes in line, and another ten for my order – not bad at all when the wait on opening week was in excess of an hour. When you approach the cashier, you give your name for them to write on your black lunch sack. I had wanted to order all seven sandwich on their menu (read the SE article on details of all seven), but I had heard that there was a six-sandwich maximum. However, that limit has been lifted, and they sold out of the CLT sandwich already anyways. So I ordered the six other varieties, all of them four-inch sandwiches on a mini baguette-esque roll with everything made in-house (besides the meats in the Jose Andres sandwich and the bread I believe). Yes, they’re small, but the sandwiches are priced from four to six dollars each, so ordering multiples to mix and match are encouraged.

PhotoGinger Beer ($3)

PhotoSprecher Root Beer ($3)

PhotoMaryland Crab Chips ($3)

Besides the sandwiches, they make their sides in-house as well. These chips tasted like a more oily version of kettle chips. Not sure where the crab part comes in, but I believe I tasted Old Bay seasoning, so maybe the “crab” was in reference to that. Not bad at all.

PhotoSpicy Tuna: Miso-Cured Albacore, Sriracha Mayo ($6)

I thought that this was a pretty good sandwich, but it was probably on the bottom two of the six I was able to try. The miso-cured albacore with sriracha mayo was actually on the light side in terms of flavor in my opinion, but the seaweed was a nice touch. The tomatoes weren’t necessarily though.

Photo“Reuben”: Corned Beef Tongue, Appenzeller Cheese, Kraut, Russian Dressing ($5)

I believe the beef tongue is cooked sous-vide, which gave it a nice texture. But like the spicy tuna sandwich, the flavor is on the lighter side. I wanted some of that cured meats taste you get in good deli sandwiches. And a small problem with using the same bread for all the sandwich varieties is that they’re not necessarily tailor-made for each specific combination. But still pretty good.

PhotoMaple-Pepper Turkey Melt: Camembert, Mustarda, Arugula ($5)

This was supposed to be the sandwich that got left out if I was limited to six. But it was a pleasant surprise. Turkey melt just sounds so boring, but this was anything but, due to the mostarda (an Italian condiment of candied fruit and mustard-flavored syrup). That and the Camembert (soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese – think of an awesome version of Laughing Cow) just gave this sandwich a nice balance of sweet and savory.

PhotoCold Fried Chicken: House-Made Ranch Cheese, Gindo’s Spice of Life ($4)

I really wanted to love this, but instead I just kind of like it. Arguably my least favorite of the sandwiches. The chicken is actually cooked very well – first cooked sous-vide, then fried I believe. The house-made ranch and hot sauce are nice touches. But it’s the breading that bothered me. Way too soggy in my opinion.

PhotoBanh Mi: Pork Butt, Pork Belly, Chicharrónes, Pickled Vegetables ($5)

This might have been my favorite of the day. It tasted like an actual banh mi! The chicharrones gave it a nice crunchy contrast, since the bread doesn’t provide the crisp a usual banh mi baguette provides. I can just imagine how much better this could’ve even been with some of the chicken liver mousse from the CLT sandwich.

PhotoThe Jose Andres, aka “The Spanish Godfather”: Serrano, Chorizo, Lomo, Manchego ($6)

Three nice cured Spanish meats (Serrano ham, chorizo, lomo) topped with some vinegar-y peppers and manchego cheese. This is like a very fancy version of the Italian sub at Subway, in a powerful miniature package. Can’t go wrong here with that combination.

I tried to not have too high of expectations when eating the sandwiches from ink.sack, since those expectations would’ve been unfairly carried over from my anticipation over ink. And once I was able to overcome those feelings, what was left was the experience of eating some pretty good to very good sandwiches. None of them really impressed me too much, but I did appreciate the varieties offered. And no, I didn’t finish all six sandwiches in one lunch. I’ll need to go back and try the CLT, and some of the other sides. As for any possible repeats, I think I’ll go with the banh mi, turkey melt and Jose Andres. Or I can order all seven!

Chris Hei grade: B

PhotoInk Sack
8360 Melrose Ave, Ste 107
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 651-5866

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Earl of Sandwich

9/4/11It’s always hard to review Earl of Sandwich, because the only times I’ve been here are at the break of dawn, after my palate has been compromised by drinking, partying and fatigue. This time, we went at around 3am (I think) after hitting up some clubs, and just about everyone in line had come after partying all night like us. Seeing how people are up all night in Vegas, it wouldn’t surprise me if the place was busy at 6am (they’re open twenty-four hours now). And now that it’s been a week since I’ve eaten at this sandwich shop located within Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, I can objectively write about my experience.

The Original 1762The Original 1762 – Freshly Roasted Beef, Sharp Cheddar & Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Like with some of my posts, I prefer to get a restaurant’s signature item for review to use it as a barometer of sorts. They actually gave me the Caribbean jerk chicken one by accident, but were very apologetic and gave me a fresh original sandwich. This is just your standard hot roast beef sandwich, with the requisite cheese and horseradish sauce. What puts this one above most of those sandwiches, however, is the panini-esque bread used that gives the sandwich a nice hot crunch. Sandwiches are always better toasted. Although I have to say, the bread itself is a little doughy for me.

Cannonballs!Cannonballs! – Meatballs, Mozzarella & Parmesan & Marinara Sauce

I had a couple bites of Jen’s meatball sandwich. Much better than the one I had at Deano’s Deli recently, but nothing noteworthy. Just a solid meatball sandwich, with the same bread as the original sandwich above.

Earl of Sandwich, after all the fuzzy feelings have subsided from being out all night, turns out to be just a good, but not great sandwich shop. But all I know is that I’m lucky I don’t live in Vegas, or else I would probably get fat(ter) from eating these sandwiches late night.

Chris Hei grade: B-

Earl of Sandwich
Planet Hollywood
3667 Las Vegas Blvd S, Ste 760
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 463-0259

Earl of Sandwich (Planet Hollywood) on Urbanspoon

Fat Sal’s

Finally visited Fat Sal’s in person after playing some basketball at Wooden with Han, Kevin and Kenny. I’m lucky that this place opened after I graduated from UCLA and moved out of Westwood, or else I fear I would be even fatter than I am now (and that’s pretty damn fat). I can imagine Fat Sal’s being the perfect place to hit up after a late night out, which is what Buck Fifty used to be. But Fat Sal’s, located next to where Buck Fifty used to be (it took over the shack where the crappy sub place used to be), is a lot better. The ingredients are nothing amazing (and none homemade I think), but the amount of different ingredients they manage to stuff into each sandwich and the creativity of the combinations are nothing short of amazing. It’s like listening to a good mixtape or remix.

I ordered the Fat Sal, which is a sandwich with roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries, brown gravy, and mayo on a garlic hero. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen (good thing I played three hours of basketball beforehand). It was a very good sandwich. Again, nothing sexy, but just a awesome combination of delicious junk food items all together in one messy package. It definitely hit the spot. I also got to try a bite of the Fat Greek and the Fat Anthony, two good choices as well. One thing of note: some people on Yelp have mentioned that they consider the sandwiches to be on the pricey side (the fat sandwiches are $9), but the size of these behemoths need to be taken into consideration. I would like to try some of the other fat sandwiches, as well as other items on their pretty extensive menu. Nothing I would go out of my way for, but whenever I’m in Westwood I’ll consider giving Fat Sal’s another visit (or few).

Chris Hei grade: B-

Me: Fal Sal

Kevin: Fat Texas BBQ

Kenny: Fat Greek

Han: Fat Anthony

Fat Sal’s Deli
972 Gayley Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-5070