Reviews

Ciabatta Mania

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Welcome to a new portion of our site where Stef and I will be giving our take on foods, gadgets, and anything else we think might be worth our time. We’re not food critics by any means, but we do know a good burger from a bad one. So without further ado, here’s our first food review.

Sandwiches with ciabatta buns appear to be all the rage within the world of fast food right now. From big name brands to small scale shops, having a sandwich or burger with a ciabatta bun is what everyone is trying to bring in more customers. Since we’re both fans of this tasty, soft bread, Stef and I thought we’d try a couple of these sandwiches and have a bit of a comparison between the two.

First up in the red corner was a local favorite of ours. 25 Burgers in Matawan is normally a place we go when we’re looking to fill our burger craving (try the El Paso burger if you’re in the area). Every month, the 25th burger on their menu is changed to something new and delicious to taste. For the month of February, they offered a grilled chicken sandwich with roasted red peppers, spring mix lettuce, red onions, topped with mozzarella and served on a ciabatta roll. This sandwich had a lot going for it. Everything that they threw on it was already something that I would eat on its own, so combining all of these flavors together surely makes for a great sandwich right?

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The first thing you taste when you bite into this sandwich is the char of the grilled chicken. I have to say that everything about this sandwich tasted fresh and clean. The spring mix added a nice crunch (and was a change from the typical iceberg/romaine), while the roasted red peppers gave it a great, almost-chewy texture. After that initial hit of the chicken up front, it did become a bit lost with all of the other flavors going on. Not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for a big, thick cut piece of chicken on your sandwich, it won’t be there.

Of course this wouldn’t be CIABATTA MANIA without mentioning the bun it comes on. The ciabatta adds a soft chewiness when you bite into it, but doesn’t overpower the sandwich in any way. It does what a bun should be doing on a sandwich: holding everything together and complimenting the rest of the tastes going on.25 Burgers also spread on what we believe to be a pesto sauce, which was the perfect addition to an already great sandwich. If you’re in the mood for an incredible chicken sandwich, make sure to stop by 25 Burgers and grab one of these babies before the end of the month.

In the blue corner of the Ciabatta showdown, we have the big chain Wendy’s doing their best to stay up with the latest food trends by delivering the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. Here’s the breakdown straight from the Wendy’s website, “It’s a quarter-pound of hot ‘n juicy beef topped with roasted, chopped tomatoes, creamy, rosemary garlic aioli, fresh spring mix, natural Asiago cheese and applewood-smoked bacon between a toasted Ciabatta bun”. So while Wendy’s also went with some of the ingredients found on its 25 Burgers opponent, it mixes things up by adding bacon and different slab of cheese.

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I have to say for a big chain fast food burger, Wendy’s surprised me with its choice of ingredients. These aren’t typically things you would find at some of their competitors (looking at you Burger King). One nice advantage of having this on a ciabatta bun was that the shape of the ciabatta matched the square Wendy’s burger patty. Every bite had a nice burger/bun ratio, and I wasn’t left with extra bits of either at the end. The chopped tomatoes were a good change from a normal sliced one, and the spring mix (while not as fresh as at 25 burgers) still added a nice crisp and bite. I didn’t really get much from the rosemary garlic aioli, and got a bit lost among everything else going on. Still we preferred it over having just normal mayonnaise (which I am not a fan of at all). The bacon was typical Wendy’s fashion, nothing too noteworthy other than adding a pinch of salty taste and texture.

So which of these sandwiches comes out on top? We’re giving the nod to 25 Burgers and declaring it the world champion in the Battle of the Ciabatta bun. While Wendy’s put up a good fight and we applaud their effort and use of some above-average ingredients, it couldn’t beat the overall freshness and clean tastes of the grilled chicken sandwich. It may just come down to whether you’re in the mood for chicken or burger, but the addition of a ciabatta bun to both of these sandwiches was something we’d like to see more of.

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