It was an afternoon fit for sandwich enthusiasts last weekend, as Jeff Mauro joined nearly 20 restaurants for a Sandwich Showdown at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Food Network’s own Sandwich King hosted the deliciously competitive event, which pitted sandwich maker versus sandwich maker in a battle of between-bread creations. While classic deli sandwiches made an appearance at this all-you-can-eat extravaganza, the dressed-up sandwiches — those that combined toasted, buttered bread, beefy cuts of meat, gourmet cheese and more — stole the show.
While planning for Thanksgiving dinner probably hasn’t even begun for most of us, event sponsor Whole Foods Market embraced Turkey Day leftovers with its Thanksgiving panini. Tender fresh turkey, smooth potatoes, sweet-tart cranberry sauce and more traditional staples were layered on herbed bread, grilled until crunchy and topped with a light sage drizzle.
In a showing of timeless comfort, Little Muenster cooked up a classic pairing: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Stuffed with richly decadent Taleggio cheese and finely chopped mushrooms, and served with cheese-topped tomato soup, these weren’t the everyday sandwiches from your childhood.
The Sandwich King brought his best brisket to the tasting, offering attendees a soft buttered roll filled with succulent braised beef, gooey melted cheese and bright, crunchy cabbage. While most other vendors offered mere two-bite portions of their plates du jour, Jeff handed out full-size sandwiches surely fit for a king.
At the end of the afternoon, the vote for the sandwich superstar was in the hands of the other winners of the day, the hundreds of guests who chowed down on the seemingly endless variety of sweet and savory creations. After a fierce competition, they crowned Marble Lane the 2012 Sandwich Showdown Champion. The New York-based eatery dished out Kobe Beef Patty Melts that consisted of not one but two juicy Kobe patties, soft and sweet caramelized onions, tender mushrooms, and a duo of white and yellow cheddar cheeses between thin-cut triangles of bread that, while buttery, were still deliciously crispy. Not only did Marble Lane snag sandwich-bragging rights for the next year, but the restaurant also won $5,000 for their charity of choice and the right to create a sandwich to be featured at Whole Foods Markets in New York City.
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Photos courtesy of Alex Geana Photography