Saturday, January 31, 2015

50 BBQ pulled pork,manchego cheese, green pepper and ali oli

I'm not going to lie to you: One "BBQ pulled pork" sandwich is pretty close to the next. Aside from that pleasant mustard surprise.* They're all good. This one was no exception. The manchego cheese was an interesting ingredient, if only because it looks so much like a pickle. I liked the manchego cheese. I also probably would have liked a nice pickle.

* I saw Pleasant Mustard Surprise open for the Guess Who in '68 in Kitchener. I was only 6, but it was amazing.

Montaditos down: 50
Montaditos to go: I don't know. What am I, some sort of math genius?????
Next: 51 BBQ pulled pork,manchego cheese, crispy onion and mustard

Friday, January 30, 2015

49 BBQ pulled pork, crispy onion and chipotle alioli

The chipotle nature of an aioli gets kind of lost in a barbecue sauce -- and so, in this case, did the crispy onion. So I tasted barbecue pork, and that's nothing to complain about. As with the meatballs, it's hard to go wrong pointing at "BBQ Pulled pork" on the 100 Montaditos menu.

Montaditos down: 49
Montaditos to go: 51
Next: 50 BBQ pulled pork,manchego cheese, green pepper and ali oli

Thursday, January 29, 2015

48 BBQ pulled pork, cheddar cheese, lettuce and mustard

I have to admit, I didn't "get" this one. I wouldn't put anything other than cole slaw on barbecue pork. Cheddar cheese? Yellow mustard? And that's not the first weird use of yellow mustard I've encountered at 100 Montaditos -- maybe them Spaniard types have a different relationship with yellow mustard than we do?

But the darn sandwich was pretty good. And then I had an epiphany: chili dog. We put yellow mustard, improbably, on chili dogs. Cheddar cheese, too, at least sometimes, sometimes, for that matter.

Against my better judgment, I really liked this sandwich.

Montaditos down: 48
Montaditos to go: 52
Next: 49 BBQ pulled pork, crispy onion and chipotle alioli

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

47 BBQ pulled pork, cream cheese, bacon and ali oli

If I had thought to sit down and handicap the 100 Montaditos menu before I started this blog (that would have been a good thought, now that I think of it), I'm sure I would have flagged montadito No. 47 as a crowd pleaser. The ingredients are a little redundant -- barbecue pork and bacon? Cream cheese and aioli? -- but they're redundant in such a way as to make darn sure that this sandwich is a crowd pleaser.

And this sandwich, it turns out, is a crowd pleaser. Or at least a me pleaser.

I'm not sure I got any bacon. I think I got aioli, but I didn't taste it. But this sweet barbecue pork together with cream cheese (both making their debuts on this blog, by the way) is a winner. Crowds will be pleased; I'm sure of it.

Montaditos down: 47
Montaditos to go: 53
Next: 48 BBQ pulled pork, cheddar cheese, lettuce and mustard

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

46 Chicken, brie cheese, green pepper and crispy onion

This may be the biggest surprise of my tasting experiment thus far. At least it's right up there with the magnificent hot dog.

I never in a million years would have singled out chicken and brie as a potentially awesome combination. But it was a pretty awesome combination. The chickeny chickeniness of the chicken and that creamy brie. The crispy onion may have helped. The green pepper? Sure, why not.

Oh, did I mention that the Spanish music was back? Did I ever mention that it went away? Sigh. Probably not. At some point after the first week or so, the traditional and appropriate soundtrack at the 100 Montaditos franchise in the Near Southeast/Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/SoCHill (South of Capitol Hill) district of the District of Columbia switched from the music you'd expect to Miami-nightclub-disco-midnight-Saturday-teenage-dream. Or something. I'm not the world's biggest fan of Spanish music, but that's what I want to hear if I have to hear music at 100 Montaditos. I can hear crap music plenty of other places. (Yes, I am old. And perhaps white.)

Montaditos down: 46
Montaditos to go: 54
Next: BBQ pulled pork, cream cheese, bacon and ali oli

Monday, January 26, 2015

45 Chicken, green pepper, fresh tomato and ali oli

Another solid performance by the chicken. Green pepper, tomato and aioli are nice partners for el pollo.

Montaditos down: 45
Montaditos to go: 55
Next: 46 Chicken, brie cheese, green pepper and crispy onion

Sunday, January 25, 2015

44 Chicken, lettuce and chipotle alioli

This montadito among 100 was pretty good. I have to chalk it up to chicken in its natural habitat. Good chicken, lettuce, mayonnaise. I didn't notice the chipotle part this time, but I have no doubt it played a role in elevating this montadito beyond blandness.

Montaditos down: 44
Montaditos to go: 56
Next: 45 Chicken, green pepper, fresh tomato and ali oli

Saturday, January 24, 2015

43 Chicken,manchego cheese, fresh tomato and mustard

This is an odd choice of ingredients. You got your chicken. We're fine so far. But with mustard? Not honey mustard or Dijon, but regular old French's-style yellow mustard? And tomato but no lettuce.

Whatevs, 100 Montaditos.

Meanwhile, this chicken is different in both quantity and quality from the chicken I had on montadito No. 42. Much better -- like the grilled stuff you'd find in fajitas -- and much more of it.

This is a weird sandwich, but it's not a bad one.

Montaditos down: 43
Montaditos to go: 57
Next: 44 Chicken, lettuce and chipotle aioli

Friday, January 23, 2015

42 Chicken, crispy onion and ali oli

I didn't get much chicken. And I'm still wondering, as with the hot dog, why chicken would qualify as "premium."

Nonetheless, this 100 Montaditos montadito has its charms. That ingredient combination, with nothing green or red to spoil the fun, approximates the salty, fatty, umami-y childhood pleasure that is Underwood Chicken Spread.

Montaditos down: 42
Montaditos to go: 58
Next: 43 Chicken,manchego cheese, fresh tomato and mustard

Thursday, January 22, 2015

41 Hot dog, ketchup and mustard

I'm not sure why the move from hamburger to hot dog puts us in the "premium" category, but there you go. We are now in the "premium" section of the menu. As far as I'm concerned we're also still in the "children's section."

Having said that, and having panned the so-called burger, I am here to praise the more-than-so-called hot dog. This is one tasty hot dog, whether it's geared toward children or not. One thumb up! (The other one is holding the hot dog.)

Tubular meat is universal, of course, and even the good old American hot dog works well cross-culturally. I have vague but fond memories of eating le hot dog on my first trip to Paris, back in the 1980s -- they reamed out a baguette with a red-hot poker and stuck in a ... red-hot. A hot dog. Le hot dog. It was bon.

(New to the menu with No. 41: Hot dog. Ketchup. Mustard. The Premium designation.)

Montaditos down: 41
Montaditos to go: 59
Next: 42 Chicken, crispy onion and ali oli

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

40 Burger, bacon, lettuce, fresh tomato and mayo

This one strikes me as dum. So dum I'm not even going to bother to type the b.

It got better on later bites, though, which brings up an interesting point about the structure of these 100 Montaditos montaditos. That's not a big hinge of bread, and so sometimes some of the ingredients get stuck in the crook. In this case, the extremely bland gray burger was all I got on the first bite, but the sandwich worked better when I could get all the ingredients together. Not great, but better.

Still, there's really no call for a hamburger montadito. Let's move on.

Montaditos down: 40
Montaditos to go: 60
Next: Hot dot, ketchup and mustard

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

39 Burger, cheddar cheese, bacon, crispy onion and chipotle alioli

We now come to an odd section of the 100 Montaditos menu that I have to conclude -- though it isn't labeled as such -- is intended as the children's menu. In fact, I'm just going to give these hamburger- and hot-dog-themed montaditos that label.

Now to the first of the two burgers. Man, that is one ugly gray nugget of beef. And the taste is pretty similar to the look. Now, if they had called this meatloaf instead of a burger, I'd buy it. And it would probably taste better. So that's the trick here: Think "burger" and you'll be disappointed. Think "meatloaf" and, well, if you like meatloaf, you might be in luck.

This, by the way, is the first appearance on the menu of chipotle aioli, or "chipotleaioli." (Why it's not "chipotle ali oil," I don't know.) The bites with this new condiment were my favorite bits of this meatloaf, er, burger.

Montaditos down: 39
Montaditos to go: 61
Next: 40 Burger, bacon, lettuce, fresh tomato and mayo

Monday, January 19, 2015

38 Mozzarella, serrano ham and green pepper

The cheese-to-ham ratio seemed out of whack on this one. If mozzarella gets top billing, it should be bigger than a cylinder broken off a fun-size Kit-Kat bar. And if the mozzarella must be that small, maybe don't layer on so, so much of that salty, chewy ham.

But the proportions got better after the leathery ham forced me to bite off a big chunk of it right away. It's hard to argue with serrano and mozzarella. That green pepper, raw bell pepper in previous appearances, seemed cooked this time. If you told me it was a piece of Anaheim chile, I wouldn't necessarily argue.

Montaditos down: 38
Montaditos to go: 62
Next: 39 Burger, cheddar cheese, bacon, crispy onion and chipotle alioli

Sunday, January 18, 2015

37 Mozzarella, pesto, piquillo pepper and arugula (whole-grain bread)

In yesterday's installment, you may recall, I dumped on pesto. As with some of the other hasty hastiness on this blog, I may have been too hasty in that hasty moment.

If anything, I thought the absence of tomato would make mozzarella and pesto even less appealing, but this montadito managed to win me over. If pesto is less than the some of its parts, the sandwich as a whole was the opposite. It had an agreeable sweetness to it. I probably won't order it again, as my refrain goes, but it won my respect.

Montaditos down: 37
Montaditos to go: 63
Next: 38 Mozzarella, serrano ham and green pepper

Saturday, January 17, 2015

36 Mozzarella, fresh tomato and pesto (whole-grain bread)

Two new ingredients today: Mozzarella and pesto. Now then.

I love basil. I could sit in your garden and eat it leaf by leaf. Olive oil? I could drink the good stuff. Glug, glug. Garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese? Check, check, check.

But I don't like pesto. Not very much, at least. How can that be? Shrug. To me, it's a jarring flavor, and usually I'm all about the jarring flavors. This one is less than the sum of its parts.

So keep that confession in mind as I tell you I didn't like this sandwich. The bread was fine. The mozzarella needed salt. The tomato needed salt. The pesto was pesto. Have I told you how I feel about pesto?

Montaditos down: 36
Montaditos to go: 64
Next: 37 Mozzarella, pesto, piquillo pepper and arugula

Friday, January 16, 2015

35 Blue cheese, arugula, crispy onion and honey mustard

Honey mustard is our new ingredient today at 100 Montaditos, and I have to admit I was skeptical about its introductory pairing. Blue cheese? With honey mustard?

But it actually kind of works. Honey mustard softens the pungency of the blue cheese, and blue cheese keeps honey mustard from being cloying. Crispy onion and arugula are rarely bad ideas. I probably wouldn't order this one again, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Montaditos down: 35
Montaditos to go: 65
Next: 36 Mozzarella, fresh tomato and pesto 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

34 Blue cheese, anchovies, lettuce and fresh tomato (whole-grain bread)

The first bite of this picky-eaters-need-not-apply 100 Montaditos sandwich started out interesting but things got very salty very fast.

I'm thinking blue cheese and anchovies should generally be kept apart, and both -- especially anchovies -- work better in supporting roles.

Montaditos down: 34
Montaditos to go: 66
Next: 35 Blue cheese, arugula, crispy onion and honey mustard

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

33 Blue cheese, bacon and arugula

Bacon? There was bacon? You know blue cheese is an assertive ingredient when you find that it can upstage bacon.

Meanwhile, I have to say that 100 Montaditos didn't wimp out on the arugula this time. I can respect that.

Montaditos down: 33
Montaditos to go: 67
Next: 34 Blue cheese, anchovies, lettuce and fresh tomato

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

32 Blue cheese, garlic pork loin and piquillo pepper

This is my first taste of 100 Montaditos' garlic pork loin, and I don't love it.

Then again, it's worth noting that BLUE CHEESE is the boldfaced, all-capped part of this sandwich, and it lives up to its billing. I see garlic pork loin, but mostly I taste BLUE CHEESE.

The subtlety of your garlic pork loin might be better served by one of your less-assertive cheeses.

Montaditos down: 32
Montaditos to go: 68
Next: 33 Blue cheese, bacon and arugula

Monday, January 12, 2015

31 Philly steak, blue cheese, green pepper and ali oli

Now, this is what I'm talking about. Two flawed ingredients add up to something ... not flawed. If I'm going to eat 100 Montaditos' take on Philly steak, I want it with blue cheese. If I'm going to eat blue cheese, I want it with beef of some sort. 100 Montaditos' take on Philly steak is beef of some sort. Insert that cool little "therefore" symbol from the proofs in logic class.

Montaditos down: 31
Montaditos to go: 69
Next: Blue cheese, garlic pork loin and piquillo pepper

Sunday, January 11, 2015

30 Philly steak, cheddar cheese, fresh tomato and lettuce

A wise amateur culinary historian named Joe H. wrote a message-board post some years back explaining the difference between the Philly cheesesteak and the popular-in-D.C. "steak and cheese." Before I read that post, I had rolled my eyes at the offer of "lettuce, tomato and mayo?" with such a sandwich. I was in Philly mode, and I wanted fried onions, hot peppers and maybe ketchup with that hot sandwich, not hamburger condiments.

So 100 Montaditos' No. 30 starts to sound like a steak-and-cheese, but once I get my mind set for those, I'm wanting mayo. Where's my mayonnaise? Without it, the effect is more along the lines of a very bland, boring cheeseburger.

Montaditos down: 30
Montaditos to go: 70
Next: 31 Philly steak, blue cheese, green pepper and ali oil

Saturday, January 10, 2015

29 Philly steak, cheddar cheese, piquillo pepper and crispy onion

The piquillo pepper is the star of this sandwich, which is odd, given that it hasn't stepped to the forefront in any of its previous appearances, and given that we're talking beef and cheddar here. (It's also not visible in the photo.)

But that's what I'm tasting first and foremost, and that's not such a bad thing.

Montaditos down: 29
Montaditos to go: 71
Next: 30 Philly steak, cheddar cheese, fresh tomato and lettuce

Friday, January 9, 2015

28 Philly steak, brie cheese and arugula

Brie? Arugula? Really? It's as though 100 Montaditos is telling Rocky Balboa to go f--- himself.

Now, I've never been a fan of brie, even in more brie-appropriate dishes. By which I mean pretty much all other dishes. So I'm prepared for a gustatory disaster in addition to the philosophical one.

But, you know, this isn't bad. The brie is full of creamy goodness -- maybe my brie experiences date back to my sort-of-picky-eater days. If I can't have Whiz or provolone or American cheese, I'll take it over the previous sandwich's cheddar. And the arugula helps alleviate that something's-missing feeling.

Still, that meat. Maybe call it something else? I'm thinking it's not even an actual cut of beef -- it seems more like the shaped-slurry kind of product you find at Arby's and in gyros. I don't hate it, but I am tempted to put quotation marks around "Philly" and "steak."

Montaditos down: 28
Montaditos to go: 72
Next: 29 Philly steak, cheddar cheese, piquillo pepper and crispy onion

Thursday, January 8, 2015

27 Philly steak and cheddar cheese

We have come to the "Philly steak" portion of the 100 Montaditos menu, and let me say this about that: Spain is a long way from Philadelphia.

The meat doesn't taste so bad -- it's not too chewy, and there's a nice black-pepper tang -- but it looks awful and the cut is all wrong. These are thick chunks of gray meat, not paper-thin slices that you watch turn from red to brown on a flat-top griddle.

The cheese is a decent cheddar (making its menu debut), but again it's not anything close to the Cheez Whiz or provolone or American that you'd be offered in Philadelphia.

And the bare-bones beef-plus-cheese combination is missing something. It tastes like something an annoyingly picky eater might order.

"That's it, sir, beef and cheese? No mayo?"
"Eew -- I hate mayonnaise."

"No hot peppers?"
"Eew. Tongue go burnie-burnie!"

"No sweet peppers?"
"Still eew."

"Not even lettuce and tomato?"
"Vegetables? What are you, my mom?"

Montaditos down: 27
Montaditos to go: 73
Next: 28 Philly steak, brie cheese and arugula

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

26 Tuna, fresh tomato, lettuce and mayo

You know how I said the 24th montadito at 100 Montaditos tasted like a good ol' "tuna-fish sandwich"? Well, looking at the menu description, you'd think this would garner that description. But not quite. It was just bland. Salt and pepper on the tomatoes would have helped. Maybe "ali oil" instead of mayonnaise? I guess what I'm saying is that No. 26 is a lot like No. 21, which it should be, since they're pretty much the same. Sometimes this menu needs an editor. If only I knew an editor.

Montaditos down: 26
Montaditos to go: 74
Next: 27 Philly steak and cheddar cheese