Thursday, November 17, 2011

It Was One of Those Days

Without boring you with “too much information,” as a result of an RV repairman arriving three hours late and a restaurant being closed for painting, we found ourselves at 4:00 p.m. not having eaten lunch. Realizing that we were not far from Beyond Bread, the Number Eleven of 851 Tucson restaurants on, this seemed to be the best and quickest alternative. We had driven past Beyond Bread on Campbell Avenue on numerous occasions and always noticed that the parking lot was full of cars. Always a good sign.

“Beyond Bread opened its doors…on February 2, 1998. The story began a few years earlier in Madison, Wisconsin…Shelby and Randie Collier began discussing where Shelby was going to take his experience in the restaurant business. A life as owner of a quiet little bakery where Shelby would rise early, bake beautiful loaves of fresh artisan bread and be home by mid-afternoon sounded terrific. So, leaving his bachelor’s degree in Psychology behind him, Shelby began his training at Madison Sourdough Bread Company, learning from Master Baker, Cameron Ramsey. Eighteen months later, Shelby and Randie moved from Madison to Tucson, Arizona…Beyond Bread opened quietly, but business started booming rapidly” (

The Colliers are good corporate citizens and, along with their involvement with multiple non-profit agencies, everyday the Community Food Bank picks up all their left-over bread and distributes it to people throughout Southern Arizona allowing customers to have the freshest product available and providing sustenance to people in need.

To me, this local eatery with three locations in Tucson is reminiscent of Panera Bread with its soup, salad, and sandwich menu, but in my opinion, Beyond Bread’s sandwich offerings show greater creativity.

Meatless salads—“From the Garden”—include: Three’s a Crowd (hummus, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, cucumber, tomato, and red onion on mixed greens) or It’s Greek To Me (feta, artichoke hearts, Greek olives, cucumber, tomato, and red onion on mixed greens). “Beyond the Garden” salads include a protein such as the Angus Man-agement (Certified Angus Beef® Roast Beef, spiced cinnamon pecans, crumbled gorgonzola, cucumbers, tomato, and red onion on mixed greens), Gobble Me Up! (turkey, spiced cinnamon pecans, dried cranberries, gorgonzola, cucumber, tomato, and red onion on mixed greens), and Larry, Moe & Curry (curry chicken, toasted almonds, cucumber, tomato, and red onion on mixed greens).

Sandwiches—hot and cold—come with a choice of kettle chips, baked chips, or carrots or as an alternative, pasta salad or fat free vinegar slaw for an additional $.50, or a small green salad or small soup for an additional $1.00. Tomato Basil and Chicken Tortilla soups are on the menu daily. On the day of our visit, the featured soup was Butternut Squash with roasted butternut squash, carrot, onions, celery, garlic, butter, ginger, salt, white pepper, chicken stock, and cream. If only we had come on a Wednesday when they serve the Green Chile & Corn Chowder with corn, red potatoes, green chiles, roasted red peppers, onions, celery, butter, garlic, salt, pepper, flour, vegetable base, cheddar, and cream.

I was all set to order one of the cold sandwiches—the Bart’s Bag with turkey, brie, lettuce, tomato, red onion, honey mustard, and mayonnaise on a Baguette. Then, as I approached the register to place my order I saw that the day’s sandwich special was the Grilled Reuben. Change of plans!!!

The moist beef was mildly seasoned with just a hint of the brining spices and had been sliced ultra thin. It was then piled on Beyond Bread’s great rye and the sandwich grilled just until the Swiss cheese had melted, the kraut warmed, and the bread developed a light crust. If you like caraway in your rye you would love this—I have never seen so much caraway in a slice of bread. If you are not fond of caraway, it might have been too much.

With my sandwich I ordered the Tomato Basil soup—a not-quite-smooth puree of red and yellow onions, celery, crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, and cream. It was a good soup, but may have suffered from an excess of celery which imparted a somewhat bitter flavor.

Chuck went to the hot sandwich side of the menu and chose Brad’s Beef with Certified Angus Beef® Roast Beef, provolone, green chiles, red onion, and Russian dressing on white. The thin-sliced beef was medium rare,
juicy, and tender. Again, the sandwich was grilled just until the ingredients were warmed and the bread crisped.

He also chose a soup, the Chicken Tortilla made with chicken, corn, onions, carrots, roasted pablanos, cilantro, garlic, butter, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, flour, tomato paste, fresh lime juice, chicken stock, and corn tortillas. In this instance, the tortillas were blended into the soup adding thickness and roasted corn flavor instead of crisp strips being served as a garnish. I would have preferred the latter.

On our way out, I stopped to buy a baguette and a loaf of white.

No. As much as Kitty Humbug pleaded, I didn’t buy the Death by Chocolate cookies.

This proved to be a good end for a day that started badly and earns a 4.0 Addie rating.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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