Lemongrass chicken tacos
Nom Nom truck
Vietnamese fusion tacos, made with lemongrass chicken, daikon radish, cucumber, carrot, cilantro and some sort of chipotle sauce, on corn tortillas. It’s a very nice idea, well executed. I put a little hot sauce on it, but I think I would have preferred a little more chipotle instead. But, I will probably get it again.
Patty Melt and Fries
Palo Alto, CA
The Great Patty Melt Challenge
The bread, the bread, the bread was perfect. Yes, perfect. Crunchy until the last bits, grilled with butter, great quality rye. Wow. And the onions, sliced well, with a generous portion – the whole circle slice, actually, and grilled until soft but not burnt. But everything else about the sandwich was subpar. I asked for it medium, and it was well done. And, while the patty was seasoned nicely, I still couldn’t get over eating beef that hard. It was served with a tasteless cheddar (two slices, but not gooey). I even tried to taste the cheddar, but nada flavor. And the fries were the typical cafe fry, with that slight breaded flavor, but they were over cooked or they needed to change the oil. As for the overall experience, there were so many major factors that were bad, I’m not sure such good bread could make up for it. Good bread, though.
On a side note: my server, Susan was a doll. She even suggested another place for me to try. Good job, Joanie.
Onions: 3.5 (still a little stringy)
Patty melt with hash browns
Ann’s Coffee Shop
Menlo Park, CA
The Great Patty Melt Challenge.
This sandwich was quite different from the one I had on Saturday. The onions were nearly whole, and just barely softened, there were two slices of cheese to make it extra melty, and it was served on a dark rye, which was a little soggy. I really did not like how I had to bite through the onions. Some lady was watching me eat them rather messily and I could tell it was not a pretty sight. I had my choice of sides, but they didn’t have fries so I had hash browns. Those were ok, but probably not the best choice.
Cheese: 4 (for extra melty)
I had an incredible patty melt this weekend. This led to another patty melt craving today, so I figured that I’d make a game out of it. I am now determined to find the best patty melt in the SF Bay area, and I’m calling it “The Great Patty Melt Challenge”.
Ok, for those of you who do not know what a patty melt is, it is an ooey gooey concoction that’s a cross between a sandwich and a hamburger. It’s a cooked hamburger patty, with American cheese and grilled onions on rye bread, grilled so that the cheese melts. It’s pretty simple, but every place I go seems to make it just a little bit different. What kind of rye bread, how much cheese, the thickness of the patty and the quality of the onions all contribute to how good of experience you can have while eating it. And, by analyzing it in these terms, as well as what the restaurants serve it with by default, I will unlock the mysteries on how to make an incredible patty melt.
Scoring will be on 5 point scale for each of the individual components: patty, cheese, onions, bread, plus the side dish and the experience as a whole. The score will be averaged out, for an overall score, and will be rounded to two decimal places. In the event of a tie, whichever sandwich that has the highest experience as a whole will win.
So, follow me as I seek to find the best patty melt around. It won’t be every post, but hopefully in a few months I’ll know where to go for that crunchy, melty, meaty goodness. And, if you follow me, you will too!
Patty melt with fruit and cottage cheese
Mission district, San Francisco, CA
The Great Patty Melt Challenge
Wow, this was good. I was pleasantly surprised that this came with fruit and cottage cheese, it was not a substitution, but the sandwich itself was good. It was not too greasy, the onions were unpretentious, and it had a flat hamburger patty, which made both a smaller portion and easier to eat. Oh, and the bread had a nice crunch I like, but lacked a little sharpness in the rye. Served in a real diner, not some throwback. How hipster, how Mission, how tumblr. But oh so good.
Side: 4.5 (loved the fruit combo and the cottage cheese!)
Grilled chicken sandwich with fries and tapenade aioli
Nordstrom’s Cafe Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA
Let’s face the truth: I only come here for those fries and tapenade aioli. When the fries are fresh and salty, it’s so good. Today, they needed to change their fry oil, so the fries were a little too dark.
Pasta Alfredo with chicken, caesar-ish salad, garlic bread
Olives Cafe, Stanford
I’ve started riding my bike to work, so I had a craving for pasta (highly unusual). I was excited to find that Olives was really close to my class, so I went for their Monday pasta special. I was envisioning creamy, buttery goodness and I got not that. I mean, pasta is pasta, but they need an added richness to the sauce. On the bright side, it was $9 for the plate with a coffee (not pictured). Maybe next time I’ll try the falafel.
The Pac-10 meal w/sweet potato fries
The Axe and Palm
As you guys will come to find out – I love TAP! The Pac-10 is a beef burger with BBQ, onion rings, cheddar and bacon. The bacon is thick and hearty, and I add avocado. So.freaking.good. (the bun is usually a little dry, though).
The Italian Job The Melt Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA