Hot Oly Sandwich
I love it when the restaurants make it easy for me. Let’s be honest, I love all easy foods and easy people, especially when they’re hot. (Double entendre!) But seriously folks, Bandito Betty and I ran into Olympia’s fantastic 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop, where the servers were just as spicy as the sandwich I ate that day. The minute we walked in the door sarcasm was spewing from the mouths of every female sandwich maker and server alike. It. Was. Awesome.
After all the clever teasing was finished, I decided they were going to hook me up with jalapeños galore in an amazing sandwich appropriately named the “Hot Oly.” The Hot Oly gave me a naughty burn that led well into the next day, and one which I must admit was well worth the trip down to Oly-land.
Warm roast beef, white cheese, jalapeños, pepperoncinis, and sautéed onions piled high between two lightly toasted and fresh-made slices of bread. Our server, obviously aware of my quest for internal burning, suggested his homemade jalapeño bread instead of the regular white stuff. I took him up on his offer, and was thanking him profusely throughout the meal. I’ll even admit something — but make sure it doesn’t get around: I had to take off some of the jalapeños midway through the sandwich. They had gotten to me then, and they certainly had gotten to me later. Yikes. I loved every bite.
As an added bonus, I’m including a picture of our server, and resident bread maker, Tim. Here you see Tim standing next to a vast display of his “bread art,” which is lovingly made with his leftover bread dough. Eat your heart out, Renoir. — Steph DeRosa
[5th Avenue Sandwich Shop, 117 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia, 360.705.3393]
3901 S. Steele St., Tacoma, 253.473.7447
Hamburgers can be reduced to two schools of thought: “high and dry” or “hot and juicy.” You can find the latter type at Red Robin, if the Chili Chili Cheesburger is any indication. It starts with a lean plump patty that seems as big around as a small Frisbee. Gobs of chunky Red’s homemade chili chili, shredded cheddar, chipotle mayo and diced red onions piled on top, and the whole mess is open faced on what eventually becomes an extremely soggy sesame bun. Forget about picking this one up in one piece — it ain’t gonna happen. A change of clothing, or at the very least a lobster bib, is highly recommended. This slightly spicy treat is yours for $9.79.
Pick Quick Drive-In
4306 Pacific Hwy., Fife, 253.922.5599
Eastern Pierce County, it goes without saying, is the world capital of stuff with chili on it: oozing chili dogs, stinking chili burgers and chili fries hot enough to melt a plastic spoon. The odiferous tidal wave of chili reigns king at the Puyallup Fair during the late summer, but my favorite is the Pick Quick Drive-In hangover-healing speedball consisting of two thin beef patties, mild creamy chili, cheese, raw onions and a sweet bun ($4.25). Their chili double meat cheeseburger is an ugly mess — adjusting to it is like changing a diaper. And there’s no way to devour it with dignity; I’m strictly an extra in a George A. Romero flick when I chow down at this famous drive-in erected in the’40s. — Jake de Paul