October 19, 2009

Jonah gets a bad sandwich.

Jonah Goldberg says:
The other night, while eating a cold, dry semi-stale ham sandwich that I had purchased from a Wolfgang Puck Express station at  O'Hare airport, I wrote on my Twitter feed (I just can't say "I tweeted" with a straigh face. It sounds like someone is too delicate to admit they passed gas)...
Just don't "straigh" too far from the subject of your post. It's sandwiches. Sandwiches and selling out...

By the way, I think the expression "passed gas" is too delicate, so feel free to use the expression "I tweeted" next time you fart.
"Is there any top professional in any industry who has sold his soul more completely than Wolfgang Puck? he puts his name on airport crap."

I got some interesting responses. Some defend Puck on the grounds that he is in fact a great chef and "cashing in" isn't the same thing as "selling out."
I like when a celebrity chef risks his name on a fast-food franchise. He'll be motivated to make sure it's good. So Wolfgang owes Jonah a sandwich. I'm glad there are somewhat better places to eat in airports now, and I hope they get even better. Meanwhile, my experience with the Puck brand was eating here 2 nights in a row, the night before and the night after Meade and I got married on a mountain in Colorado. It was fabulous! The meals (and everything else).

Back to Jonah. He's trying to draw a distinction about good and bad cashing in, and he asks readers who is "America's number 1 sellout." But there are no comments over at The Corner, so feel free to answer that question here. And let's hear about some good sandwiches.

(Photo of an old mustard ad, which was covered in plastic and under bad fluorescent lighting at the Mustard Museum.)


Sofa King said...

Hmmm...is this as of today, or all-time? I'm thinking maybe Chef Ettore Boiardi would be the biggest sell-out in the food category.

Pastafarian said...

Maybe not the biggest or most important sell-out, but the first that springs to mind: Jeneane Garafolo doing a season of 24.

Pastafarian said...

Oh, I have a nauseating one: Remember when Jimmy Paige did that horrible bastardization of Kashmir with P-Diddly or whatever the hell his name was?

I'd like to nominate Paige in both the Music and "Of all Time" categories for that one.

MadisonMan said...

The only place I'll get a sandwich at O'Hare is at Berghoff's. So Jonah gets no pity from me for being a fool and going to Wolfgang Puck's.

Usually, though, I just get a shake at Johnny Rockets.

former law student said...

That McDonald's dude. But who even puts their names on products any more? Betty Crocker? The Green Giant? Guglielmo Progresso?

Ayn Rand was right -- companies not named for their proprietor lack pride and follow-through, and must be avoided at all costs.

t-man said...

Biggest sell out of all time, too hard. Biggest sell out of the last few months: U2's new ad for Blackberry.

David said...

The last Wolfgang Puck sandwich I had (and it will remain the last) gave me a night of cramps and vomiting that was quite spectacular. I doubt Wolfgang retains much control over the quality of the food sold under his name.

Scott M said...

So, FLS, you're cool with Wal-Mart then?

traditionalguy said...

Try corned beef sandwich on sourdough bread with lots of horseradish-mustard.Incidentally the best Franchise business today is a Subway Sandwich Shop.

Joan said...

I can't speak to Puck's airport sandwiches but I had some really terrific soup from Puck's at the Minneapolis St Paul airport last summer. Sandwiches are always iffy, you don't know how long they've been sitting around getting soggy and stale.

Selling out vs cashing in is a good distinction, I think. Emeril Lagasse has definitely cashed in, but he still has a good reputation as far as I can tell among the foodies -- either that or the producers threatened death to anyone who said anything bad about him when he was on Top Chef last year. As opposed to Rocco diSpirito, whom Tony Bourdain rags on mercilessly.

I think Sofa King's nomination wins the thread, at least in the food category.

For a great sandwich, if you're ever in Gilbert, AZ, go to Flancer's and get either the turkey with chipotle mayo, avocado and bacon, or their hot pastrami with provolone, banana peppers and brown mustard. Both come on their homemade bread and are simply divine.

SteveR said...

For me its a tie between Chef Boyardee and Sara Lee.

Ron said...

Can we come up with a social networking/canned baked bean product so we can gen Jonah to sell out and endorse it?

Let's call it "Franks 'n' Tweets" and could have little pasta Fail Whales in it...

Leather Daddy said...

BearDaddy and I once made a delicious sandwich at Dore Alley with a very fine young man in from Napa.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

The mistake here is having sandwiches there.

The pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express is excellent...

Ron said...

excuse the typos!

Quayle said...

Best sandwich in the world is called the Sloppy Joe at the Milburn (N.J.) Deli, near where I grew up.

We were in Chicago one Christmas and a FedEx box arrived with 10 Sloppy Joes of various kinds that my brother had sent.

At first I thought that the bread was going to be completely soggy from the coleslaw, but there was a full butter moisture barrier on each slide that kept them dry.

So Milburn Deli travels well.

Quayle said...

should read "...on each slice..."

holdfast said...

MadisonMan - you know how in NY chain restaurants are required to post calories on the menu? Well, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the number posted for the shake at Johnny Rockets.

Jim Hu said...

I've had no problem with the Puck stuff at O'Hare. I don't expect it to be like eating at Spago, and when it opened, I thought it was an improvement over the alternatives. I usually go to the sit-down WP in O'Hare, but I've had stuff from the express too. But if people are getting food poisoning there, I'll avoid the express in the future.

PatCA said...

Oprah's FAvorite Sandwich is great, but lately my favorite (and easier to make) sandwich is a turkey burger with Curried Mayo (mayo, chutney and curry) and a slice of red onion.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

The Hook and Ladder sub at Firehouse Subs is almost worth selling your soul for.

The best non-franchise sandwich is the pastrami on rye at Katz's.

The worst food sell-out is of course Mrs. Paul's.

The worst non-food sell out is Jimmy Carter trading his soul to the Saudis in exchange for a building in Atlanta.

class-factotum said...

I thought the polite expression for fart was "toot." Maybe that's the past participle of "tweet."

Paul Zrimsek said...

Ham, ham, the musical meat
The more you have, the more you tweet.

Chip Ahoy said...

Cold, dry semi-stale.

Sandwiches are cop out food to begin with, mostly because the bread used is usually cop out bread. I inevitably think while eating a sandwich, hamburger and hotdog included, "This would be so much more acceptable on my own bread."

Cold can be fixed with a few seconds in a microwave. Dry and semi-stale are requirements for sandwiches intended to be dipped.

Start with good bread, and it doesn't matter what it's filled with. Even that dreadfully pictured bean sandwich is delicious when the bean is hummus and the bread is fresh flat bread, which is so easy to make it's ridiculous.

For two sandwiches:

1/2 Cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 Cup approx. flour
1 pinch salt

Mix. Form into balls. Smash balls flat (or roll them) Cover and allow to rise incompletely. Fry in olive oil. Done.


* Garbanzo beans (canned or soaked and cooked)
* Onion, diced finely
* Garlic, crushed
* Tahini, one or two tablespoons, peanut butter or walnut butter, any nut butter can substitute.
* Olive oil
* Lime or lemon juice
* Some kind of heat, possibly a modicum of any curry, chile pepper, cumin, Ras-el Hanout, bahrat, whatever, just something to jazz it up.
* S/P

Process, whirrrrrrrrrr. Done.

Bang! Day idiz.

Hummus related food links:

*Coarse humus on pan bread, here

*Ham sandwich on hummus bread, here

*Hummus salad from dry beans, here

*Hummus with *gasp* bacon on celery, here.

*Hummus and mizo soup with meatballs and pene pasta, here.

But the latest thing that I haven't got enough of yet, which to me seems would be just as good steamed as baked, although my brother disagrees with that, and it's his idea after all, is meat-stuffed buns, sliders sort of on good home-made bread, that replace American style hamburger on crap foam bread. Seems all cultures come up with some kind of dumpling, ranging from pasta dough to bread dough, and containing anything at all vegetable or protein then baked, steamed, boiled, or fried, honestly, the sky is the limit.

bearing said...

My favorite sandwich is turkey with blue cheese crumbles and thin slices of Granny Smith Apple on a baguette.

My next favorite is roast beef with fresh or roasted red pepper, either horseradish or blue cheese, in a whole wheat pita.

Lettuce optional on either.

former law student said...

you're cool with Wal-Mart then?

Sam died in 1992. That would be like buying a Chrysler or a Buick after the founders had passed on.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Wow, that picture brings back memories.

My Dad's favorite sandwich (when I was a kid) was beans and onions on rye bread. I tried one when I was an early teen (motivated by the promise of a half-glass of beer as a reward) and found that I liked it as well.

I'd have one on an irregular basis. Fast forward a few years and I'm a student at UW, living in a house with seven other guys. I whip up a good beans 'n' onion on rye for lunch one Saturday. A couple of housemates see me eating it and start wondering what the hell I'm doing.

Trapped, I improvise and answer that includes an improvised explanation of how the chemicals in LSD are duplicated in the combination of beans and onions.

Ten minutes later there are four guys and someone's date chomping on beans 'n' onions on rye.

And thirty minutes later there are five people on the sofa in the living room listening to Inna Gadda Da Vidda and convinced, convinced that they are full-on stoned.

True, dat.

Chip Ahoy said...

^^^ Ha ha ha. The POWER of suggestion.

PatCA said...

If you take your roast beef and red pepper sandwich and season the bread with butter, salt, pepper and rosemary, then fry it in olive oil (or use panini machine) you have my favorite sandwich in Italy, the rosmarino.

Leland said...

I'm with Sofa King. When Disney's and Pixar make a movie about a you featuring a rat having to improve your brand; then you are indeed the biggest sell-out in the food category.

TMink said...

David wrote: "I doubt Wolfgang retains much control over the quality of the food sold under his name."

That is one of the lines between cashing in and selling out to me. If you are cashing in you maintain the quality that got you to that position in the first place. If you are selling out, you are just making a buck.

My idea of a best sandwich varies. Some days it is a home made egg salad, some days ham and cheese.


Titus said...

I am eating Carrot Chips. Carrots cut out like potato chips. Isn't that fabulous?

And vitamin water.

As always thank you.

Jeremy said...

Jonah Goldberg is nothing more than gas that was passed by his weasel, rat fink mother.

If not for mommy taping Monica...he'd be lucky to be working at a Walmart.

Jeremy said...

The Chipper Doodle: "This would be so much more acceptable on my own bread."

SO now you make bread, too?

Do you take really cool pictures of the bread...with you in the shot of course?

fivewheels said...

The selling out/cashing in distinction is a good one, but Puck still might be on the wrong side of it by TMink's standard, which seems like the right one. It's about betraying your principles for some other gain.

Along those lines, I'll say the No. 1 American sellout of all time is definitely the feminist establishment for Bill Clinton.

Titus said...

That sandwich pictured looks absolutely disgusting.

I don't eat sandwiches much.

I like egg sandiches though.

Leather Daddy said...

Jeremy - "Do you take really cool pictures of the bread...with you in the shot of course?"

Why young, Jeremy. Welcome back my sweet twink friend. As you may recall, we are always happy to take really cool pictures of our bread . . . in you in the shot of course.

Ralph L said...

I tried a can of Puck's soup several years ago. It was perfectly tasteless.

d-day said...

As canned soup goes,
this Wolfgang Puck soup
is really, really good.

Then again, I think I'd probably like the Pete's special, only without the mustard and substitute for big sweet onion rings instead of a sharp white onion.

Nichevo said...


The best sandwich is the pastrami on rye at Katz's

FTFY. Second is a tie between the corned beef and the brisket

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Fresh cracked wheat bread. Liverwurst. Cream cheese. Cracked pepper. Sliced avocado. Thinly sliced and preferably marinated red onions. Tomato. Butter lettuce. Mayo. A little Dijon Mustard.

AllenS said...

If I'm ever in a diner, I always order either a roast beef, or roast pork sandwich. That's where there is a sandwich cut in half, with a scoop of mashed potatoes in the middle, and the whole thing is covered in gravey. I have to second what Traditionalguy said about Subway. I buy the foot long Italian BMT.

Gahrie said...

Two pieces of sourdough, buttered and sprinkled with garlic salt, six or so slices of dill pickle, a round or two of red onion, some sharp cheddar and aged swiss cheese.

The best grilled cheese sandwich EVER.

rcocean said...

Nothing beats a good pastrami on rye, or a Reuben. Tough to find a good one sometimes.

rhhardin said...

It's been downhill since the Earl, sandwichwise.

rhhardin said...

Though I must say that the Millburn, Summit and New Providence NJ deli's do great sloppy joes, as of 1990, the last time I was there.

Ham, swiss, cole slaw, Russian dressing.

A slight edge to Millburn for triple decker construction, sharp knives and genuine wax paper wrapping.

Rialby said...

I was going to say Tyler Florence for doing Applebee's commercials and then I remembered that Tyler Florence sucks.

Dave TN said...

A dense whole grain bread. Garlic aioli on each slice. Avocado slices, smoked tempeh bacon and a generous helping of sprouts.

Vegan heaven.

William said...

Ayn Rand wrote a preface to the scholastic edition of Dale Carnegie's book. Julia Child had a line of full figured couture clothes, but they never sold very well back then. Bela Lugosi tried to interest funeral directors in his line of signature designer caskets, but, again, there wasn't much interest in such things back then.

Lockestep said...

Best sandwich

Oven roasted turkey
Cranberry Sauce

On a sub roll.