I’ve tried so many sub sandwiches through the decades and have never really enjoyed any of them. Shavings of cold cuts, cheese, and chopped bits of tomato, lettuce and such spilling out of a soggy bleached white roll just doesn’t do it for me—and spare me the mass-made meatballs. So I’ll just acknowledge that Jersey Mike’s Subs have been on the scene since 1956, and “for butter or liverwurst,” the chain’s five popular Valley locations pile fresh ingredients and excess profits on paper plates instead of endless TV pitches like the over-hyped , mediocre Subway stops. Check out JM’s Burbank location behind the always busy In-N-Out Burger at 875 N. San Fernando Road.
New in town is Tony’s Darts Away, which serves various California-raised sausage sandwiches on freshly baked buns or a lo-carb bed of organic lettuce. It’s far from all about food at the casual place. Self-anointed as “Burbank’s first bottleless beer bar,” the venture offers 30 California craft beers on tap with most pints priced at $4.50. The house red and white wines are also from “no waste” bar pumps. Yes, there really are darts on tap and targets to score on twixt sips and nibbles seven days and nightly at the pilot store for Tony’s Darts Away, located at 1710 Magnolia Blvd in Burbank.
When does a lotta grub seem like not too much? When you’re really hungry and what’s cooking is really good — if not necessarily all that good for you. It was well after lunchtime when I scanned the IHOP menu for something beyond the famous stack of pancakes with “tutti fruitti” and whipped cream toppings. The really “big” chicken fried steak with gravy caught my hungry eye. It arrived with three eggs, a pile of hash browns and a trio of buttermilk pancakes for $11.50. Yeah, it was a lot of food but, like I said, I was really hungry and there was the bottomless copper coffee carafe to wash it all down with. The meal filled two platters and it was all hot and tempting. Our efficient server even brought a bottle of sugar-free syrup to salve my conscience. I attacked with gusto but eventually had to surrender and request a take-out box for at least half of the tasty, pounded tender, sinfully fried meat. Just one egg and one less pancake would’ve made more sense — but what a fun way to over-indulge. It was (almost) too much of a good thing.
On a healthier note, many home cooks buy only skinless chicken parts. Others strip off the fatty skins before cooking but that can leave the meat too dry. Cooking the bird before removing the skin and then rubbing with desirable spices can be just the ticket. Note: those who number amongst the fortunate few with no love handles to lose or high cholesterol to count can opt to fry or roast and devour the tasty result while ignoring the calories. I’ll never snitch— I’m the same dude who ordered that “really big” chicken fried steak at IHOP.