99% Food, 1% Skin

Sandwich Versus

Sometimes I find it crazy that it is difficult to find simple yet good deli sandwiches around town.

It does not seem hard — good bread, good meat, fresh vegetables and fixings; but how come so many places miss the mark?

I just had a chicken salad sandwich and turkey sandwich today that was quite horrific, and I can still feel it stubbornly remain indigestible after 1.5 hour.

The sandwiches contained white bread that were not wonderful, chicken salad that was cemented with mayo; turkey sandwich with flimsy slice of turkey, and a slice of cheese.

Normally when I have deli sandwich craving, Great Harvest Bread is my spot: awesome soft whole wheat bread, with fresh veggies and meats — but I want to venture out.

Thank goodness for the existence of Delicatus and the Home Grown chain.

Right at a busy intersection in Pioneer Square, Delicatus is housed in one of the many charming historic building with very high ceiling, offers both table service or to-go; whereas Home Grown has been expanding to the current eight-store chain (and, Bellevue and Sammamish Plateau in the works) with counter-order only.

The menu at Delicatus is HUGE!

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All in all, 30 sandwiches, 6 salads and 2 soups, with many creative sandwich filling combinations.

In fact, I had DH read their menu and picked out what he wanted for to-go; to my surprise, he told me he wanted shank lamb, when his favorite braised pork was 6 items down from shank lamb.

At that point, I knew that DH had stopped reading the menu because it was too long, and just picked what sounded good mid way through the menu!

As much as I am a bigger foodie than DH, I find the menu wordy and long as well; the plus side is that there is something for everyone, and the names and some descriptions are funny!

Each sandwich at Delicatus is built to deliver a combination of flavors, meats, fixing, and down to the bread for our enjoyment.

On the contrary, Home Grown has a small menu with 9 sandwich offering, 3 salads, soup, and breakfasts; and their main focus is on sustainable ingredients.

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Ultimate question is, how do the sandwiches stack up?

Highly dependent on the order for both places.

At Delicatus, I loved my “The Californian” with moist and tender roasted chicken, smoky bacon, strong garlicky chive aioli,  fresh spinach and the floralness from pea spouts with soft rye bread.

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I believe it was the best sandwich of the three I tried that day.

My friend had “The Seattle Cure” albacore tuna bresaola, salmon lox, lemon pepper aioli, greens, tomatoes and shaved red onions on a toasted Ciabatta bread.

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The fish was extremely nice: soft, light smoke, and the Ciabatta was crisp, but I felt that the bread to fish ratio was too large — every bite had too much bread!

“The fire of 1889” contained spicy braised pork, cabbage, shaved and pickled red onion, jalapeno lemon aioli, cilantro, hot peppers on a toasted Italian roll.

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The pork was a little drier than my liking; the slaw was fresh and crunchy, and the delightful heat from all kinds of peppers was a slow and late one.

We loved the tomato-based clam and salmon chowder — excellent chewy clam, bits of salmon, every spoonful was combination of the sun and the sea; if anything, it was just on the saltier side.

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We also had their oyster chowder — a little gut bomb with predominantly cream and butter flavor, it had a nice hint of oyster flavor; I wished there was more oysters.

At Home Grown, I enjoyed my creative chicken salad tremendously.

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Lean, white meat roasted chicken was great with hint of garlic, fairly moist, combined with plump cherries providing sweetness, tartness and fruitiness; the element of surprise was much bigger than common usage of grapes or currents in chicken salad.

Baby kale was hard and bitter but in a good way as they created another dimension in flavor and texture.

There are only two kinds of bread selections: whole wheat or white, available at Home Grown; and my bread blew me away.

The oven had to be very very hot to yield a very thin layer of crispiness on the toasted bread, with 99% of the bread soft, fluffy, and warm.

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DH’s turkey, bacon and avocado was singing bacon loudly: very thick cut of bacon, fantastically smoky, paired with lean turkey, creamy avocado and garlic aioli, it was not as wow as the chicken salad, still good.

Sometimes I do wonder why are food so expensive in Greater Seattle are?

At Delicatus, deli sandwiches’ prices range from $9.50 to $14.50, and at Home Grown, $8 to $12, with half sandwich offering; even at Great Harvest, sandwiches are $7.95.

I am definitely going back to Delicatus since there are 27 more sandwiches to try, and Home Grown is a good alternative to Great Harvest as well.

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