To the extent that I'll take whatever I can get in terms of diluting the powerful saltiness of the anchovies, No. 78 with its hard-boiled egg is marginally better than No. 77 with its pickles. Suffice it to say, however, that I will not be ordering anchovy montaditos once my tour of 100 is done.
Montaditos down: 78 Montaditos to go: 22 Next: 79 Anchovies, brie cheese, piquillo pepper and arugula
This is an anchovy sandwich. There's no sugarcoating that. And I hope I never have to taste a sugar-coated anchovy.
Was there pepinillo there? Looks more like green pepper in the picture. Doesn't matter. All I tasted was anchovies. And although I'm pretty open-minded about anchovies, unlike your stereotypical takeout-pizza orderer, anchovies should not the main ingredient on a sandwich.
Montaditos down: 77 Montaditos to go: 23 Next: 78 Anchovies, fresh tomato, hard boiled egg and mayo
The final montadito in the smoked-salmon section, with tomato added to the No. 71 template, is probably the truest to the Jewish-deli tradition. And it's good. Again, with the delightful exception of No. 75, I'm not likely to order smoked salmon on a montadito, but if you're in a bagel-and-lox mood and your dining companion insisted on this Spanish place instead of a Jewish deli, order this one.
Montaditos down: 76 Montaditos to go: 24 Next: 77 Anchovies, fresh tomato,mayo and pepinillo
Wow. That was really good. Maybe it was my high level of hunger, maybe my low expectations (approaching no expectations), probably a combination of the two.
Or maybe it was the inspired combination of ingredients. I've sighed and eye-rolled through the too-long section of the 100 Montaditos menu devoted to smoked salmon. Yeah, yeah, I know what lox and cream cheese on a white baked good tastes like. And I know where to get a better version. But then you take away the cream cheese and I'm all WTH?
The addition of blue cheese on No. 74 did little or nothing for me. But something about throwing in the crispy onion and honey mustard puts the smoked salmon and the blue cheese in just the right contexts. (I guess I have observed the surprise affinity between blue cheese and honey mustard.) This may well be a wild-card entry in the season-ending championship tournament.
Montaditos down: 75 Montaditos to go: 25 Next: 76 Smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh tomato and arugula
Wait a minute. Olive oil? That was an option all along, and yet we're seeing it for the first time here at No. 74? One could argue that every one of these montaditos, or at least those without a competing condimental spread, should have olive oil.
Having said that, I have to admit that I messed up and jotted down the wrong numbers and had to come up with the next three on the fly and failed in my quantum-theory method and ended up with two smoked-salmon sandwiches in the same lunch. I was flustered, I didn't look at the menu to confirm what I was eating, and I didn't notice any olive oil. It may have been there, but I wasn't looking for it and I didn't notice it. I noticed blue cheese. Hard to miss blue cheese. And it wasn't as weird with smoked salmon as you might think.
This is not an order I would have repeated, but I may have to repeat it in the name of journalistic integrity.
Montaditos down: 74 Montaditos to go: 26 Next: 75 Smoked salmon, blue cheese, crispy onion and honey mustard
Again I'm wondering about the editing of this menu. The piquillo pepper is not a bad addition to No. 71, but it's the only difference between this and No. 71. For the record, I like this one a little better. Precisely one slice of piquillo pepper's worth of better. Montaditos down: 73 Montaditos to go: 27 Next: 74 Smoked salmon, blue cheese, arugula and olive oil
And now for the Jewish-deli portion of the 100 Montaditos menu! Sure enough, it's a bagel with lox and cream cheese, only instead of a bagel you have some pretty decent crusty bread. Instead of onion, capers and tomato you have ... arugula. It's not bad, but I don't see many New Yorkers ordering this.
Montaditos down: 71 Montaditos to go: 29 Next: 72 Smoked salmon, hard boiled egg, lettuce and mayo
This sandwich is so odd, I couldn't even get an in-focus picture of it. Well, at least the idea is weird. I love goat cheese. Love it. The goatier the better. And so when I saw that 100 Montaditos used goat cheese on only two sandwiches and put anchovies on one of them -- the only one in the regular-bread collection -- I scratched my head. What a missed opportunity for a great ingredient.
If you don't like anchovies, there you go. If you like anchovies, you might still acknowledge their ability to overwhelm other ingredients and wonder why they would be coupled with the more delicate delicacy that is the cheese of the goat.
I can't say I disliked this montadito. There was something illicitly satisfying in enjoying two outlaw ingredients at once. Still, it would be nice if goat cheese got a chance to shine in some other sandwiches, with less-assertive partners.
Montaditos down: 70 Montaditos to go: 30 Next: 71 Smoked salmon, cream cheese and arugula
I am on record as approving of brie on 100 Montaditos montaditos, and No. 69 is no exception. Arugula, crispy onion, honey mustard and whole-grain bread probably isn't a combination I would have come up with, but it's pretty good. You could do worse for a meatless lunch.
Montaditos down: 69
Montaditos to go: 31
Next: 70 Goat cheese, fresh tomato, lettuce and anchovies
Brie may be the main ingredient here, but this is one unapologetically bacony bacon sandwich of bacon.
Did I mention there was bacon?
I have complained on a few occasions of 100 Montaditos montaditos promising bacon and delivering either scant bacon or undetectable bacon, but there is no doubt that there is bacon here. Along with the brie, my new favorite thing, it reminds me of ... something. I'll think of it someday. It's good, but it's a departure. If you like bacon, it's, I dunno, how would H. Ross Perot put it? Like a hula girl in a NASCAR pit crew on bobblehead night. Yeah, that's it. Montaditos down: 68 Montaditos to go: 32 Next: 69 Brie cheese, arugula, crispy onion and honey mustard
I know I've been carping about the omnipresence of the green bell pepper lately, but, man, this is a heck of a montadito. No. 56 turned me off somehow with the seminal ingredients manchego and chorizo alone, but No. 58 gave me strong second thoughts by adding tomato and arugula, and now No. 67, different from No. 56 solely in its use of green pepper, strikes me as a classic. Sometimes in ingredients there is an alchemy.
Montaditos down: 67 Montaditos to go: 33 Next: 68 Brie cheese, bacon and green pepper
Kind of sneaked that last ingredient in there, didn't you, 100 Montaditos?
I would have gone in another direction. The introduction of manchego cheese as a main ingredient would seem to call for less-flamboyant accompaniments, perhaps a vegetarian celebration, but there it is, anchovies, and you certainly do taste anchovies.
This part of the menu, or at least my recent quantum-physics-based orders, seem to have landed me in a deep well of green bell peppers, as in an inexpertly tossed salad, but in this case I welcome my Capsicum annuum overlords. That crispy green bite helps put the anchovies in their place.
This isn't a great montadito, but it's better than it might sound.
Montaditos down: 66 Montaditos to go: 34 Next: 67 Manchego cheese, chorizo and green pepper
If you've read all my previous posts, and of course you have, you know my history with pesto. I don't particularly care for pesto.
So I don't know if there's something that just clicks with this combination, or whether it was a particularly judicious application of said substance, or whether I'm just in a good mood, but I kind of liked the pesto on this sandwich. Creamy mozzarella with that salty ham is a natural, and the green stuff adds just the right background note.
Montaditos down: 65 Montaditos to go: 35 Next: 66 Manchego cheese, fresh tomato, green pepper and anchovies
Serrano ham and tomato could describe a Spanish sandwich even more classic than Serrano ham alone, or Serrano ham with manchego cheese. But montadito No. 64 steps back a bit from that lofty perch. There's the whole-grain bread, for one thing. Good, but not classic.
And then there's the form the tomato takes. A typical ham sandwich in Spain would include some tomato pulp, in the form of whatever sticks to the bread when the sandwich artist cuts a tomato in half and rubs it on said bread. Rub a little harder, and maybe add some garlic and olive oil*, and you have pan con tomate, tomato bread, so simple and yet one of the best things this world has to offer.
Anyway, this is close to a classic sandwich but not quite. And let's be honest: As with all the Serrano-ham sandwiches, it's good if you're in the mood for salt, not so good if you're not.
*How is olive oil not an ingredient on any of these montaditos? I'm just saying.
Montaditos down: 64 Montaditos to go: 36 Next: 65 Serrano ham, mozzarella and pesto
It's hard to get more classic than this combination. What's it doing all the way down at No. 63?
I'm often a ham-alone guy. I prefer ham alone to ham and Swiss on a baguette. I have to send back ham omelets when diner cooks automatically put Cheddar or American cheese in. But I think I like No. 63 a little better than good old No. 1. The cheese is nice in this case.
Montaditos down: 63 Montaditos to go: 47 Next: Serrano ham and fresh tomato
Spoiler confession! I had montadito No. 62 early on, back in my single-digit days. I was dining with my wife, and because of a wacky slapstick ordering mishap we got two of each sandwich we ordered. This was one of hers. (Having enjoyed No. 5, and spying that cream-cheese-and-crispy-onion combo, I pointed her to it.) Here's how my first go-round looked:
It was, and is, a very nice combination -- the smoky link with its subtle sweetness, the cream cheese with its own creamy sweetness and the onions for some salty crunch.
It's a shame cream cheese doesn't appear on more of the montaditos.
Montaditos down: 62 Montaditos to go: 38 Next: 63 Serrano ham and manchego cheese
This is one pretty montadito. I've registered my affinity for chistorra and my newfound delight with brie, and those, with the added crunch and tinny-tang-tang of green bell pepper, add up in a pretty straightforward manner.
Montadito No. 61 was, however, the first really messy montadito I've encountered. Ingredients wanted to jump out. Basque separatism?
Montaditos down: 61 Montaditos to go: 39 Next: 62 Chistorra (basque style chorizo sausage) cream cheese and crispy onion
It's hard to go wrong with chistorra (Basque-style chorizo sausage). This one is again cut, and that helps the formation of the beautiful orange grease spot. The piquillo pepper is a nice touch. Bacon? I didn't notice any bacon, but I fell down on the job and neglected to look for it. So I can't tell you whether they forgot it or whether it just blended into the background.
Montaditos down: 60 Montaditos to go: 40 Next: 61 Chistorra, brie cheese and green pepper
After the sneak preview of montadito No. 5, I was eagerly looking forward to the chistorra section of the menu. And No. 59 did not disappoint, though (menu editor?) all it is is No. 5 plus hard-boiled egg. Nothing wrong with hard-boiled egg, or No. 5, so there you go.
(This time the sausage was cut up a little, which I suppose made the coexistence with hard-boiled egg a little less slippery.)
Montaditos down: 59 Montaditos to go: 41 Next: 60 Chistorra (basque style chorizo sausage), bacon and piquillo pepper
My server, Myrelle, told me this was her favorite, and after trying No. 58 I can't fault her taste.
There's a lot going on in this montadito, and that's a nice switch from the often more simple sandwiches on the menu. These ingredient combinations form paradoxes at times, which is the only way I can explain how adding tomato and arugula can turn montadito No. 56, which I found heavy on would-be starring ingredients, into something pretty darn satisfying.
Montaditos down: 58 Montaditos to go: 42 Next: 59 Chistorra, hard boiled egg and piparra
There I was sitting at the bar at lunchtime nursing my Estrella Damm draft (it was a Friday, and Friday-Saturday is my weekend), and I looked at Stacy, my server, quizzically, and asked her, "Did they change this menu?"
She didn't think so, but I was pretty darn sure there was a "chorizo and tortilla española" offering. I was all ready, when the time came, to poke fun at 100 Montaditos for this montadito, because I was all ready to poke fun at montadito No. 57, because I was served the same montadito 50 montaditos ago. Which would make the name of this blog kind of prescient.
I kept scratching my head as I awaited my order, and finally I picked up my Samsung Galaxy S5 and called up the menu on the Web site. And I was right. See:
... by tossing in some green pepper. (The typographical error -- a lowercase opening word, when the rest of the menu caps them -- is a clue to the hasty edit.)
The revised sandwich is a good one. Chorizo and tortilla española are all-star ingredients, and the green pepper doesn't hurt anything. And, all kidding aside, the old No. 57 probably was different from No. 7, in just the way you'd expect: The tortilla was the star in No. 7, while the chorizo steps to the forefront this time.
I don't see any other ingredient changes on the new menu, but there are a couple of big structural changes. The original five are joined by Nos. 6 through 20, which used to be "Classic," to form an original 20. And, in what I suppose amounts to a subtle price increase, Nos. 21 through 40, formerly "special," join the "premium" category.
Montaditos down: 57 Montaditos to go: 43 Next: 58 Chorizo, manchego cheese, fresh tomato and arugula
The chorizo is great, and assertive. But that manchego is asserting itself as well, which is a little surprising considering how it fades into the background on some other montaditos. So I'm left unsure of what to taste, as though I'm trying to concentrate on two very pleasurable activities at once. (You know what I mean. Use your imagination.) Maybe a better analogy would be a movie pairing two screen-hogging stars. The sausage and the cheese don't clash, but they do compete.
I like this sandwich in a "What's not to like?" way; I just think its ingredients could have been put to better use separately.
Montaditos down: 56 Montaditos to go: 44 Next: 57 Chorizo and tortilla española
OK, 100 Montaditos, you're just messing with me now on this whole garlic-pork-loin business, right? Because no two manifestations of that meat are the same. I'd have sworn that this one was Serrano ham, but it wasn't salty enough. Maybe the difference in the thickness of the slicing is huge? The meat on this sandwich was almost of a "pulled" quality, perhaps sliced so thin that it disintegrated. Other garlic-pork-loin sandwiches have featured thin-sliced pork and even sort-of-thick-sliced pork.
Anyway, this one wasn't bad.
Montaditos down: 55 Montaditos to go: 45 Next: Chorizo and manchego cheese
The garlic pork loin keeps being a wild card for me. No. 54 was better than No. 53 and much better than No. 32, but it wasn't as good as No. 52. The bacon helped to amplify the bacony flavor of the pork loin, but I tasted a lot of garlic. I didn't notice brie at all.
Montaditos down: 54 Montaditos to go: 46 Next: 55 Garlic pork loin, piquillo pepper and mayo