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A New Sandwich

*Runs in at full tilt, Guido Jr chasing him with a fine Italian Salame.  Panting.*

Okay.  Okay.  Guido Jr. has convinced me to update.  I told him I didn’t want to.  I was feeling sorry for myself because I only had 8 people comment on my little de-lurking experiment.  I suppose Sam is right and that I could update more often, that would probably help.  BTW, the good book I use is sometimes THE Good Book (in different versions and paraphrases) and sometimes it is just the book of Herb.  A big thanks to you guys that did/do comment.

Anyhow, Guido has shown me the error of my blogging ways and I have seen the light. One of these entries will be about how the Blog Police and the Blog mafia are all in cahoots.  But not this entry.  I don’t like getting smacked with a Salame, no matter how high quality and tasty it is.  And I don’t want my wittle hobby horse to have anything happen to him, either.

Anyway, we had enough of a break for lunch yesterday that we were able to go and sit down to eat.  Usually it is fast food or 7-11 specials, but every once in a while we get a chance like this.  Now a lot of times, due to where we are in town, we wind going to one of the big chain restaurants, and their food is just fine.  Predictable from franchise to franchise, you can order what you know you like and it is fairly similar.  But that is not my favorite experience.

I love Mom & Pop diners.  They are truly the finest eating in the land as a general rule of thumb.  If they have a meatloaf special, you know you are going to get a treat, even though the meatloaf is different at each place.  Same with open-faced sandwiches. Roast beef on white bread with mashed potatoes smothered in dark brown gravy.  There are a number of both chains and Mom & Pops here in Colorado Springs and, as with everything else, some are better than others and a lot of times it just depends on who is working.

We were downtown near the old courthouse, which is now the Pioneer’s Museum, by the CSHP doctor’s office.  The name of the place is Detz Café and it is at 211 E Cucharras.  We were there at a busy time of the day, but the service was still adequate. The thing that caught our attention, however, was a menu item.  After you have looked at all different menus from all over, items kind of run into a sort of sameness, so I was surprised when Margaret said, “I think I’ll try this Grilled Swiss & Black Olive sandwich.”  Yeah, really, a grilled Swiss & black olive sandwich; I had never heard of that before and I have been a few places in my time.

She ordered that on wheat with a cup of soup and I ordered the more standard, typical-greasy-spoon-fare, grilled ham & Swiss on rye.  When the food came we quartered the sandwiches as we are often wont to do for sharing and cross-tasting (a process quite unlike cross-dressing), and sure enough, piled in the center of the sandwich and throughout was a copious amount of sliced black olives melted into the Swiss cheese.  It looked like about a third of a can or so, maybe a little more, I’m not a real good judge of measurements like that; I just know that there appeared to be approximately one boatload full.  The real test was about to take place now.  Neither of us ever having seen or heard of such a sandwich, but yet it sounding at least intriguing, we both took a bite at the same time.

Well, let me tell you fellers and gals that it was great.  Fantastic.  Wonderful.  I have never had anything quite like it.  If you want to try something new and unusual, try that, except I would have had it on rye instead.

Now, before you make travel plans, even those who live in the Springs, let alone in other states and countries, I would not say to make a special trip to go to this diner unless you really, really, really like trying new places and want to have this sandwich and can’t make it at home.  While I do plan to go to this place again, maybe on an off-time when I can see the true quality of service they offer (Not that it was bad, it just…was, that’s all) and I will absolutely order this sandwich again from there.  It was great.  The coffee was good and fresh and strong as well.  The restaurant that had been there before, actually it was two restaurants ago, had really great breakfasts, but the coffee tasted like poorly brewed, weak tea, strained through a tube sock, and a good cup of coffee is essential to diner dining in my book.  Anyway, the coffee was good when we could get some (they were busy) but one thing lacked.

People who eat out a lot may have noticed a trend toward the retro fashion, restaurants wanting to make you feel like you are getting that 50’s — 60’s dining experience.  I can tell you how to figure out how good they really are at it.  Besides the coffee and refillings of the coffee there is another item that is essential to an authentic diner experience.  Soda fountains, diners and the ice cream shop that Carter and I used to hang out at all had one thing in common: the malt.  Properly called a malted milk, it’s NOT a shake, which is mere ice cream and milk.  A malt is made with generous amounts of malt powder added to the milk and ice cream.  It is properly made in a stainless steel cup that attaches to a special blender.  Scoop a bunch of ice cream in, pour in some milk and spoon heaping amounts of malt powder in.  Then it is blended and the stainless steel becomes cold to the touch.  The waitress bring the frozen cup along with a glass (or two, if you are sharing with someone), a straw (or two) and pours the drink into the glass, LEAVING THE STAINLESS STEEL MIXING CUP BEHIND so you can clean out every last drop.  If your “malt” is not made and served in this way, then you have not had the real soda fountain/malt shop/ice cream shop/diner experience.  The restaurant either doesn’t have anyone there who is old enough to remember how to do it or they are trying to cut corners, taking advantage of the retro fashion.

I’m not sure what it was in this case.  I asked the gal if they served real malts or just shakes, and she told me malts.  Having had the amazing sandwich and good coffee, if somewhat mediocre service, I thought I would give it a try.  What a bummer.  I should have left a good experience alone.  The malt came (I order vanilla malts so I can taste the malt) in a regular sized glass, topped with whipped cream, which was a nice touch, and a straw.  Not even a “here ya go, hon.” Bland.  Like a shake with a little malt sprinkled in.  No malt texture and almost no malt taste.  Icky.  When we checked out she said, “How was that malt?” I actually said, “I’ve had better, but it wasn’t the worst I ever had.”  I left the requisite (In America) 15% tip and we left.  Since it was so busy and since I have never seen a grilled swiss & black olive sandwich anywhere else, I will probably go back and give them another try, but I won’t recommend anyone go out of their way, unless they absolutely have to try this sandwich and I certainly will not EVER order a Vanilla malted there again.

The Good Book says, “Feed me with food convenient for me”




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