…I exclaimed to Chuck as I surveyed the nearly jammed Beyond Bread one Saturday afternoon. Was it just because it was Saturday or because that’s the one day that the café has its acclaimed sandwich—Ernie’s Everything Reuben—on the menu?
“Beyond Bread was represented by owner-baker Shelby Collier and cooks Matt Boling and Michael Schehl, who re-created the Tucson bakery and sandwich shop's popular Everything Reuben sandwich to advance to the final round of competition. Collier…brought ingredients with him, including dough, which the trio proofed in a makeshift box and baked in a rudimentary oven set up early Saturday in front of Bally's casino on the Las Vegas strip” (azstarnet.com).
The competition was hosted by Adam Richman who stars in the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food series. “He's no stranger to food competitions. ‘There is—I kid you not—a petroleum and road kill festival and a moon pie festival,’ Richman said. ‘Then you start getting into the major leagues, where you have the real big barbecue competitions, the build-a-better burger competitions, the barbecue competitions, the recipe competitions. This is for people who take their craft seriously, but don't take themselves seriously.’ he added” (Ron Sylvester at lasvegassun.com).
The Ernie’s Everything Reuben was one dynamite sandwich with warm thin sliced corned beef piled high on Beyond Bread’s Pretzel Everything roll with Swiss cheese, vinegar slaw, and Russian dressing.
For my side, I ordered the pasta salad made with orrechiette pasta, “a distinctive Puglian type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, hence the name (orecchio, “ear”; orecchiette, “little ears”). They're
While I was devouring half of my Reuben (again we both took half of our sandwiches home to finish that evening), Chuck was chomping on Max’s Muffalotta—Beyond Bread’s version of the famous New Orleans muffaletta.
The sandwiches are great. The bread is great—especially the rye and the rustic. The pastries are great. But one more thing keeps us coming back again and again--even when we are not planning to have lunch. And that one thing is the soft pretzel.
“Just like other major cities and tourist hot spots, Philadelphia has its own unique set of delectable edibles. New York is known for bagels, Chicago for its buttery crusted deep dish pizza, and Savannah for its heavenly pralines. Philadelphia has made its way into similar culinary fame, not only for cheese steaks and water ice (characteristically known as ‘wudder ice’ by the locals), but also for the delicious, chewy, salty, ‘get-em just about everywhere in Philly,’ soft twisted pretzels.
I admit to not being a fan of the Philadelphia version of the soft pretzel. Way too doughy. Way too heavy. But these are neither of those. They have a semi-chewy quality and when heated at 350° for four minutes become both soft and crisp. As our time in Tucson comes to a close, I plan to eat out our freezer so we can take a half dozen or so “for the road.”
We really like this place. Really, really like this place. For the bread. For the sandwiches. For the pastries. For the pretzels. Is it a surprise that we give Beyond Bread 5.0 Addies?
To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.