A Sandwich to Drive For

O.K. I do write a lot about food. I mean, what’s not to like about food, that is, if it’s “good”? I consider it a real luxury to be able to eat just about any kind of food I want and at just about any time. We live in a society where the freshest ingredients are omni-available and the number and variety of restaurants (especially in good ol’ Portland) leaves little to be desired. We really do have it good here. And that’s why I’m writing about a sandwich I had over the weekend.

 This bright red sign grabbed our attention from the street. With our kids loving anything “apple,” especially juice and cider, our decision was made. image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

This bright red sign grabbed our attention from the street. With our kids loving anything “apple,” especially juice and cider, our decision was made. image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

A sandwich you say? I simple little sandwich. It’s not a full-on “entree,” it’s not really a “main dish,” so to speak. It’s just a sandwich. Well, that’s kind of how I felt about sandwiches before getting blown away in a place that, well, you might not expect to be blown away. Yep, I had just walked the Rose Garden with my family and we were seeking something to eat. We ventured down to N.W. 23rd Avenue…and it was crowded. Maybe 100 people at Salt and Straw (yikes). Where to go? After driving down a bit north and looking for parking, we decided to go for the McMenamin’s Tavern and Pool spot. We’d been here several times before, and it’s always been a relaxed spot to take kids.

 Was it McMenamin’s, or was it food heaven? I just don’t recall. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Was it McMenamin’s, or was it food heaven? I just don’t recall. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking McMenamin’s in any way. But I didn’t expect to have my socks entirely blown off by their fare either. They’ve always made great hamburgers, yummy fries, and, well, several other tasty dishes. Yet I haven’t ever put them on my 5-star radar before. Yet being totally without pre-judgement, I give every place I visit a chance at that esteemed rating, every single time. You just never know.

 As you can see, the sandwich I am talking so crazy about is not on the “regular” McMenamin’s menu. Rather, it is presently a Food Special…meaning it might not be there even while you read this. But if you’re serious about trying this sandwich (and you really should be), then just call ahead and ask if the Cider House Grilled Ham and Cheese is still available. Trust me on this one. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

As you can see, the sandwich I am talking so crazy about is not on the “regular” McMenamin’s menu. Rather, it is presently a Food Special…meaning it might not be there even while you read this. But if you’re serious about trying this sandwich (and you really should be), then just call ahead and ask if the Cider House Grilled Ham and Cheese is still available. Trust me on this one. Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

Well, after scanning the menu, I was feeling a bit cheesy, and I went for the Cider House Grilled Ham and Cheese. Yeah, I bet you’re thinking what? This guy’s talking about a grilled cheese sandwich and wasting hundreds of words while at it? Well, let me set the record straight. This grilled cheese sandwich is, to-date, the very best sandwich I have ever tasted, consumed, had, been given, etc. etc. I mean it’s that darn good. Heck, I’m about to drive down there right now!

So let’s talk in a tiny bit more detail about this most amazing food. First, the brioche bread was expertly grilled. Next, there was a definite sweetness with the beehive apple butter. Heck, the apple butter, along with the OSU Creamer cider-washed cheese, has to be the real trick here. This combo, along with McMenamin’s practiced hand at grilling, and surely the ham they were using, made this thing fit for a king or queen. If it was the last sandwich I could ever order…this would be the one.

Unfortunately I did’t get a picture of this incredible sandwich. I had eaten it before I knew I had to write about it. Painful. But the memory is there, firmly, and going nowhere soon. Hopefully you’ll get as lucky as I and get down there, catching this insanely good item before it’s no longer available. Enjoy!




Dan Meyers