Monday, October 1, 2012

Quiznos

12676 Lamplighter Square
Saint Louis, MO 63128

http://www.quiznos.com


The Place:
We had decided to try Quiznos nearly a full week ahead of time. We saw a commercial and the ensuing conversation revealed that none of us had ever tried it, or if we had, we had no recollection of it. Odd perhaps, as Quiznos are relatively ubiquitous (4000 U.S. locations), but not so much in Jefferson County.
We’d all previewed the menu and had a good idea of what to order. The main difference between Subway and Quiznos is the default style. A sandwich at Quiznos is toasted unless you specifically ask for it to not be.
This one is located in Concord, one of the hundreds of St. Louis suburbs, and one I drive through each workday since it straddles highway 21 (Tesson Ferry)  near St. Anthony’s Hospital. It’s in a shopping center that also hosts a dozen or so shops that I have no use for.
It takes about twenty to twenty five minutes to get there from our rural compound as opposed to the fifteen to twenty minutes it takes to get to Festus where most of our reviewed eateries reside.
We entered and were immediately greeted by a woman who seemed to be having a good day. It only took her a moment to qualify us.
“You never been here before?” She asked.
“No we haven’t”
This pleased her, she pointed out the mounted menus, told us what was new, and added that we should take our time and feel free to ask questions. I was already set, Angel shifted from what she’d thought she was going to get, Adam stood by quietly.
The Food:
BLT Sliders for me, French Dip (5 inch) for Angel, and a Mesquite Chicken (8 inch) for Adam. We each grabbed a bag of chips and that was it. I asked to see the size of the sliders, the lady showed me the rolls and I said I’d need two of them. “That’s the way the order comes.” She replied.
Angel settled up as I checked out the reasonable and sane drink dispenser and well appointed and neat condiment bar. Adam handed me a cup and I went straight for the unsweetened tea. It poured clear and warm, immediately melting the shallow pile of ice I’d put in the cup. I sipped it and was quite pleased. It had body, flavor and seemed fresh.
We sat and sipped for a couple of minutes. More customers passed through, most opting for to-go.
The lady engaged us a few more times, asking where we were from. “Oh, Jefferson County!” She exclaimed as if I’d said ‘Uzbekistan’. Concord is only about three miles from the Meramec River, the river that separates St. Louis County from Jefferson.
It was not long at all before our sandwiches were ready. One thing was immediately obvious, we’d be snacking later. The sandwiches were smaller than we’d imagined but not necessarily in a bad way. It was the bread that was smaller.
BLT Sliders
Subway is pretty good and we have one in Hillsboro. That’s right, Hillsboro has a Subway, a McDonalds, a Taco Bell , Hardees and Dairy Queen, but it has no public Library. That’s a problem I’m trying to help resolve by serving on the campaign committee to establish a branch of the Jefferson County Library. (subtle eh?)
Anyway, Subway to me is pretty good, and I’m certainly not unhappy when instead of cooking a meal, as a good wife should, that Angel just brings home a sub for me. I have always found them to be a bit too bready though. I like the bread, there’s just so much of it that I usually strip the stuff from inside out and leave some bread behind.
French Dip
Quiznos does not have this problem. The bread is not only more reasonably proportioned, it’s quite good and it is toasted by default. Even the slider rolls were crunchy on the outside.
The bacon was all broken up in my sliders, a nice touch. Some BLT’s put entire whole strips in their sandwiches, which often leads to dragging out an entire strip in one bite. The blend of tomato, lettuce and mayo was just right. You don’t have to put a lot of bacon on a BLT. Bacon is so strong and distinct it is often just as satisfying to have a little, spread around evenly, than try to compensate with quantity. I shy away from places that brag about how much bacon they put on sandwiches and burgers, Those places just don’t know how to treat bacon properly.
Mesquite Chicken
“That indeed is toasty.” Adam declared spontaneously. Which is probably the longest spontaneous comment Adam has made in the three years we've been doing these things. (yes, three years and over 150 reviews!)
This prompted Angel to make an assessment as well about her French dip, served with steamy au jus. “Everything’s better with au jus.”
Adam responded as if on cue: “Bless you.” (get it? ‘au jus’ sounds like achoo!). This is always funny.
I was thoroughly enjoying my sliders and chips. Adam finished his sandwich rather quickly and shared his ‘Sun Chips’ with his mother. They discussed them for a moment while I ignored the irrelevant conversation. I’m rather a purist about chips, plain, ruffled and barbecue. Civilization would be just fine without all the others. I have tried many others, I just don’t see the need. Like Ice cream, I ‘m not impressed with ‘103 flavors!’ since I can do quite well with the three original flavors that God created; vanilla, chocolate and chocolate swirl. All else is just gilding the lily.
As we were eating, a pair of women strolled in. They seemed familiar to the staff. One was older than the other but both were dressed in very tight jeans and boots, with form featuring tops and the younger one sported multi-hued hair and a furry, shaggy purse. The older one had long blonde hair, too long for a woman her age. I immediately knew what was up.
“Mother daughter prostitute team.” I whispered to Angel and Adam.
Angel immediately objected to my assessment of the pair. “They are not prostitutes!” She scolded. I dismissed this since she never accepts that any of the women I point to as being prostitutes are actually that. She simply doesn't know what one looks like so her defense of them is meaningless. I've pointed out literally hundreds of prostitutes, and to a one, she’s denied it every time.
“They just look like they went to Nordstrom’s. She countered, as if that would mean something to me. “I don’t know what a Nordsorm is, but I don’t see it as being relevant. I've been to Korea so I know what a prostitute looks like.” I countered, clearly winning the argument. A few moments after the women left, an SUV drove by the window, inside were the 'ladies'.
“Prostitutes don’t drive Mercedes SUV’s.” she said, pathetically trying to save face.
“The good ones do.” I flattened her, game, set, match.
We wadded up our wrappers and tidied up our table. The lady in charge came up to us, thanking us for about the fifth time. “We have chili.” She said. She was very good at reading people. Our reaction to that made her smile. “It’s very good, would you like to try some?”
“YES!!” I whispered.
She stepped behind the counter and dipped some into a little plastic cup, handing it to us along with two spoons. She’d read our collective reactions well enough to notice Adam didn't seem interested.
It was very hot, and once it cooled, very good. Meaty, with large red kidney beans, which Angel pointed out since she knows I’m a big fan of the big red beans. I tasted it. Multiple flavors, rich, brothy, and just a bit spicy. Angel and I shared it all the way to the bottom. Then we both sniffled. Just that much had cleared our sinuses which had been reacting to some sort of vile airborne spores all day.
“We could get some to go.” Angel suggested. I declined. Not because it wasn't good, it was very good. It’s just that the previous night I’d made a small batch of chili and ate too much and it had stayed with me too long, well past bedtime. I’ll certainly go back for more sometime.
Summary:
They're pretty generous with coupons!
Free Sub (with purchase of another)
Very, very good, very, very satisfying. The very reasonable tab came in under twenty five dollars.
The bread was exceptional and was deemed better than subway because of its proportionality. The ingredients all seemed fresh, the service was beyond good.
The lady engaged us several times, but with genuine enthusiasm, not salesman-like at all. She seemed proud of the place and its offerings, and quite happy to be at her post. Even the young man in back carving the meat was friendly and casual.
The food was great, the tea was fresh and excellent, the entire experience was without flaw. Sure it’s a sandwich shop and not some fancy sit-down Italian restaurant, but it was by all measure great for what it was.
I wish there was one closer to home, though I now know since I pass right by it every work day, that I can stop in and get good service, really good food, for not much money. I like Subway just fine, but Quiznos is just better.


Quiznos on Urbanspoon










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