The Hungry Man Eats

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Starbucks Ham & New York Cheddar Sandwich


Once more unto the breach! I have had success with Starbucks sandwich selections before, their the BLT Chicken Salad Sandwich,and their Egg Salad Sandwich, so I decided to sample their Ham and New York Cheddar Sandwich to see if it was worth my time and money.

Whereas the first two sandwiches were salad style sandwiches that would require additional prep work before even reaching the point where the filling would meet the bread, a ham and cheese sandwich requires little more than assembling your ingredients between two slices of bread. This can be an endeavor fraught with difficulty, and a thoughtless distribution of the ingredients could be all the difference between a transcendent mingling of the ingredients in your mouth and the culinary equivalent of having your tongue slapped by a scorned lover. Even matters as simple as the layering of ingredients in your sandwich can make or break your sandwich. I don’t know about you, but when I have a sandwich, I prefer to have my cheese layer on top of my meat layer. It’s just always been my preference, I think it is because I prefer the meat to be the first thing I taste in a bite followed by the cheese as the secondary flavor along with the other ingredients. I remember this one time where I got a sandwich that had the cheese layer on the bottom and the meat layer on top, I was very worried about how my sandwich was possibly ruined. I looked at how difficult it might be to take the sandwich apart and get the meat and cheese layers in their proper sequence, when I suddenly realized my problem. The poor befuddled clerk and given me my sandwich upside down! Oh how I laughed! I turned the sandwich over, wondered how the poor clerk had managed such a silly blunder and enjoyed my sandwich. Note in the picture above the sandwich half on the left is in its proper upright position, but the sandwich half on the right is askew (must have come that way from the sandwich factory).

Well enough of that tomfoolery, how was the Ham and New York Cheddar Sandwich?

They describe it as: “This sandwich brings out the ham in Gotham, the apple mustard from the Big Apple. But the featured attraction here is the New York Cheddar cheese, soft but oh-so-sharp. It’s all a nod to one of the world’s great cities between two tasty slices of cider wheat bread.”

The flowery words stand in great contrast to the pedestrian everydayness of the sandwich. The ham a very basic baked ham that had no smokiness, no honeyed overtones and was a minor flavor contributor to the sandwich that bears this ingredients name. The New York Cheddar cheese only really brought forth its cheddaryness when I tore off a corner of it and sampled it in isolation. The apple mustard was where the flavor was and I was left wanting more of it, it was the flavor highlight. The arugula was good too, the stereotypical pepperiness of it came through and played well with the other ingredients. The wheat bread more than succeeded in doing its job of keeping the sandwiches innards from escaping and making a mess, and was fresh too. The arugula distribution within the sandwich was something that made me laugh, and then sadly chuckle as I rearranged it properly, see the pic below…


I paid $5.99 for this sandwich, and was unimpressed. When you have an everyday style sandwich made in mass quantities for a retailer like this, you will get an everyday unexciting sandwich as a result. What you should do is march on over to your nearest grocery store, buy the variety ham that sounds good to you, buy the variety cheddar cheese that also sounds good to you, a mustard of your choice and some fresh lettuce too and a loaf of bread to hold it all and then make a weeks’ worth of sandwiches from the aforementioned ingredients and enjoy a more flavorful and far cheaper experience.

If you are out at Starbucks and find yourself craving a ham and cheese sandwich, do yourself a favor and grab a BLT Chicken Salad Sandwich instead or order one of their breakfast sandwiches with ham as an alternative.

I Hop, You Hop, We All Hop For IHOP! Sandwiches That Is…

Ham and Cheese Griddle Melt

When you think of IHOP the first thing that usually comes to mind is pancakes, French toast or maybe a Belgian waffle or even crepes. But not breakfast sandwiches, most other places known for their breakfasts have had some sort of variety of breakfast sandwiches on their menu for many years. Earlier this year though, IHOP made a major addition to their menu with their Griddle Melt series of sandwiches. They were initially available as a special add on to the menu and then at some point this fall they were added permanently to the menu. I have seen 4 of the sandwiches since they started offering them, unfortunately only three of them are available on the menu at present. I will tell you why I think that is unfortunate in a bit…

The four sandwiches are, with IHOP’s own description below:

  • The Bacon and White Cheddar Melt (shown below): “This hand-crafted breakfast Griddle Melt is layered with bacon, fresh spinach & green onions in a classic omelette, then topped with melted White Cheddar and fire-roasted tomato spread on grilled artisan sourdough bread.”
  • The Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Cheese Griddle Melt: “That’s this new, hand-crafted breakfast Griddle Melt with sautéed spinach and onion in a fluffy omelette, layered with roasted red peppers and melted Provolone, Parmesan and Pepper Jack cheeses on grilled sourdough artisan bread.”
  • The Ham and Egg Griddle Melt: (shown at the top of the page) “This Griddle Melt takes traditional ham and cheese to a whole new level! Grilled artisan sourdough bread is stuffed with a fluffy omelette, sliced ham and melted Swiss and American cheeses.”
  • The Western Griddle Melt: “This new hand-crafted breakfast Griddle Melt is layered with smoked ham, sautéed peppers and onions in a classic omelette, then topped with sliced ham and melted cheese on grilled artisan sourdough bread.”

Bacon and Swiss Griddle Melt

Although still listed online, the Western Griddle Melt is no longer being offered on their menu, perhaps it is still being offered somewhere out there in some fortunate IHOP, but alas it is not on the menu at the IHOP I frequent. That’s a shame because it was my favorite, I have tried all but the Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Cheese Griddle Melt, and the Bacon and White Cheddar Griddle Melt (which replaced the Western Griddle Melt) sounds like a tastier option that it actually is.

My thoughts on each:

  • The Bacon and White Cheddar Melt: The first few bites were good, but the flavor profile got old quickly. Like most red blooded people, I like bacon, but I got really tired of the taste of bacon by the time I polished off this sandwich, the cheddar cheese was not as good of a compliment to the other ingredients as American cheese might have been. The veggies didn’t really work either, I could not detect the green onions, the spinach was ok, but the “fire roasted tomato sauce” tasted more like a blah topping from an off brand TV dinner veal parmesana. The main taste sensation I got was one of salty bitterness (salty bacon and the bitter sharpness of the cheese and tomato sauce). Can’t really recommend this one, even for the bacon lovers out there. The picture was amusing though as the sandwich halves were held together with pink plastic swords making me feel strangely like more and less of a man at the same time…
  • The Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Cheese Griddle Melt: I didn’t try this one but my dad has. He liked it as it was not as massive as the others and had a good blend of cheese and veggies. I promise to try it the next time I get a sandwich from IHOP.
  • The Ham and Egg Griddle Melt: A fine combination (though I swear the egg used to have diced ham in it) The grilled and buttered sourdough bread really shines with these fillings, I often make a variation on this at home on the weekends with a ham egg and cheese sandwich on whatever bread is around. Worth getting from IHOP if you are in a breakfast sandwich kind of mood.
  • The Western Griddle Melt: The best of the bunch, get it if you can still find it. The sautéed peppers, onion and ham in the egg give this sandwich its excellent flavor and it also comes with the extra ham layer that the ham and egg version above has. This was also the most massive of the Griddle Melts offered (perhaps a reason why they no longer offer it?) and the seasonal fruit is the recommended side instead of the hash browns just so you can eat it all.

One very small word of caution, regardless of the time of day, there is a chance that one of these Griddle Melts may also come out with an unexpected addition not mentioned above, a dill pickle spear, welcome with most sandwiches, but not so much at 8:00 in the morning. Consider yourself forewarned.

 So if IHOP is the destination of choice and the pancakes, waffles, etc… just aren’t striking your fancy, grab a Griddle Melt instead.

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