Sunday, October 30, 2016

3 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Good) Awarded to Tub's Gourmet Subs for their French Dip Sandwich in Lynnwood, WA on this 30th day of October, 2016 - A true classic.

I was out shopping for a new (used) car with my brother and we found ourselves at Tub's Gourmet Sandwiches in Lynwood at lunchtime.  I had been to Tub's before, even reviewed one of their sandwiches, the Firecracker, which was so delicious.  I was excited to have their French dip.  I felt deplete to have not had it before.

Tub's is a deli-style establishment that feels pretty ma and pa, local, which is good.  It has a good feeling and vibe and I believe it has a pretty good following, large clientele, and respected brand.  

Adam and I both ordered the French dip (small size).  "Roast beef and your choice of cheese, toasted on a buttered baguette...served with hot au jus."  Sounds simple and about right.  We both opted for provolone over the other selections of cheddar and Swiss.  In hindsight, one of those other cheeses, could have made the sandwich a bit more interesting.

When we were ordering, the kid at the counter told us that I was the third "Eric" (spellings varied) to order in a row.  I forgot this fact and while drinking our waters, waiting for our order, I heard "Eric" called out.  So I rushed to the counter and reviewed the order.  I quickly realized it was not mine but was also reminded of just how delicious the Firecracker sandwich was. The other Eric agreed that the Firecracker was awesome.  We continued waiting...not too long...and eventually got our order that included sides of clam chowder.  Note that the chowder is served with a piece of bread as a side, which seems a bit strange (carb heavy) especially within the context of a sandwich.

Here is my jus and chowder.  Both in styrofoam.  LOTS of styrofoam was used in the delivery of this meal, which seems a bit sad to me.  I would think they would get with the clue on that issue by now.  Switching to another packing type would have many benefits to their brand.

Here's the French dip sandwich.  You can see quite a bit of roast beef and good, nice quality bread.  It was toasted nicely as well.

Here's my hand-model, Adam, after his first bite.  Note that I instructed him to eat the sandwich first, alone, to judge its utility.

Adam, bun-deep.

Here are my detailed tasting notes from the meal:
  • Good not great chowder with black peppery taste, thin texture. 
  • The bread was perfectly toasted and good. 
  • The overall size was generous.
  • The use of so much styrofoam was a bit over the top and ridiculous.  This might fly in Texas but I would think Washingtonians are a bit more conscious / concerned about this issue.
  • Lots of roast beef piled high but it was not HOT, which made the sandwich lose points.
  • The sandwich was good-tasting when enjoyed by itself sans jus.
  • I chose provolone cheese which was an okay choice but didn't add a lot.  I may prefer Swiss cheese for a French dip due to its deep, umami flavor. 
  • The au jus was light (nothing too special or too rich) but good 
  • The bread was very absorbent, which took up a lot of jus, causing me to re-order jus.  I watched the lady pour me a new jus out of a coffee thermos, which did not heighten the degree of perceived flavor for me.
  • The roast beef on the sandwich was plentiful and fine-tasting but cold.  Lost points here. 
  • The bread was indeed buttered and the $6.79 price tag was reasonable.
  • Overall this was a 3.5 of 5 ("pretty good"), simple, no frills except cheese.  A competent and reasonable sandwich.
  • Bread 3 of 5 - Too absorbent, perhaps too much.
  • Jus 3 of 5 - OK only but served hot, which was nice.
  • Meat - 2.5 of 5 - Fine roast beef but it was served cold, which I don't really like as a contrast to the hot jus.
  • Non-Meat Toppings (Provolone cheese) - 3 of 5 - Fine but nothing notable 
Tubs is a good sandwich shop and makes a good, solid French dip that could be improved by eco-friendly packaging, hotter (jus-dipped) roast beef, and richer jus.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

5 of 5 DeliciScore™ (From Heaven) Awarded to Nine O for their Prime Rib Dip Sandwich in Bellevue, WA on this 5th day of October, 2016 - Onion jam? Yes, please.

Here's the outside of their fancy menu.  It was nighttime and we missed happy hour so prices were high.

You'll see the Prime Rib Dip in there.  I did.  (And do).  Squint your eyes if you're having a hard time.

Prime Rib Dip.  $16.  Mamma Lil's peppers (so that's what those are called!) and onion relish (god it was great, an absolute highlight, almost requirement for a great French dip.  The French baguette was really good too.

The plated unit with the Mamma lil peppers, twisted bamboo skewers, a nice white plate and a nice white porcelain ramekin. The salad didn't look wonderful but I was generally impressed with the looks of the sandwich and the smell of the jus caught my nose in the most enjoyable of ways.

Close-up of the sandwich indeed.  Good bread.  The Prime rib was not rare in any way (medium to medium well but it was good and not too chewy or anything like that.)

I met up with my buddy Berry last night for drinks and a business conversation.  It was 6:30 and I was starving.  At first I thought I was going to get an appetizer to hold myself over for a real dinner but I realized I was just too hungry that I had to go all in.  ...And they had a French dip (Prime rib dip) on the I threw down...all in.

I told Berry about my French dip eating and reviewing hobby (habit) so I got to entertain him with the process of photographing it, reviewing it and eating it like a freak.  It was fun.  I used to be embarrassed, quite literally, of doing my French dip reviewing in front of others but now I am pretty proud of it and think it's funny.  I have fun with it and can still engage while going through the reviewing motions.  It's a fun and silly hobby.  Berry had to endure the note-taking I was doing into my phone but that was fine.

So the Prime rib dip came out while I sat there talking to Berry.  The smell of the jus immediately permeated my nose and I was stoked and simply enjoyed the aroma, adding to my conversation.  It looked really good, too, so I felt like I would be in good shape.  I tasted the sandwich, standalone, and it was very good.  The beef was medium or beyond (which scores it a points lower) but was overall good.  The onion jam flavor was very delightful and I'd never experienced it on a French dip.  It was a wonderful condiment and accompaniment.  I sipped the jus, standalone, and it was salty and rich. It was perhaps overly salty but that's what a French dip is about, right?  The salt?

The dipping was good and as I enjoyed consuming the whole sandwich, what impressed me more than anything was the crunchy toasted quality bread, the rich jus, and the extremely delicious onion jam.  Onion jam!

After I devoured the sandwich, I moved onto the salad, which was good but not really notable.  Some of the lettuce had wilted some due to its close proximity to the hot sandwich and jus. Overall, it was fine, had croutons and okay dressing but nothing too wonderful.

The presentation of the meal overall was nice with good Mamma lil's peppers on top of the twisted bamboo skewers, handsome bread and good dishes.

Raw tasting notes:

  • Smell of jus is good to start 
  • Looks good 
  • White sourdough, dense hearty looking bread 
  • Topped with a pepper on skewer I've never seen 
  • Very dense bread 
  • Nicely spicy
  • Very salty but good, rich jus
  • Onion jam excellent and spicy? 
  • Crunchy bread 
  • Good salad with some wiltedness caused by the proximity of the lettuce to the hot stuff 
  • topped with a round pickled pepper on each half of the sandwich. 
  • The onion jam was a real hit with me 
  • the bread was really dense and had some good crunch to it that could be overridden by the jus. 
  • i might even like stale, very chewy french dip bread.  The last thing you want is wonder bread. 

The scoring:

Bread: 5
Meat: 3
Non-Meat Toppings: 5 (Onion jam, yes!!!!)
Jus: 4 (A bit too salty but good)
Overall: 5 (The onion jam and great bread brought this thing home.  It was a delight to eat.)