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The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

Showing off the sexiest subs: Ranking Mendocino Farm’s best sandwiches

The+Farm+Club+is+my+number+one+sandwich
Image by Emily Ito for The UCSD Guardian
The Farm Club is my number one sandwich

Over a month ago, I wrapped up a brief stint working as a cashier at Mendocino Farms. During my month-long employment, I made it my mission to try every item on the menu. Unfortunately I did not succeed, but I did get pretty close, indulging in just about every sandwich and most of the salads. Yet while my free employee meal privileges have ended since my termination, the thought of those delicious sandies is still on my mind. I believe the experience of trying a new item each shift has made me somewhat in the know about what to order. I should preface that I don’t like avocado, I’m not a huge fan of pork, and I’m a texture girl through and through. Therefore I bring you my unqualified and fully subjective personal ranking of the Mendocino Farms sandwiches (not including seasonal and limited time items or items I didn’t try because they didn’t look that appealing).  

1. The Farm Club 

I gotta tell you that this one surprised me. I had no expectations of falling in love with a basic turkey sandwich. But here I am, crowning it #1. I suppose it’s just hard to go wrong with a classic, especially one that’s done this well. The Farm Club is the quintessential Turkey Club. It’s got thick cut turkey and chopped bacon on top of honey whole wheat bread which is smeared in avocado and loaded with pickled onions, lettuce, and tomato. It sounds unassuming but I consider a bite of this sandwich akin to having really good sex with the scrawny twink who talks to himself in your DMs. He’s always there, you barely chose him, but now that you have, why’s he so … packing? You might just have to come back for more… 

2. Chicken Parm Dip 

When trying out the sandwiches, I often asked coworkers for their input, and my favorite girl cited this as her go-to. I didn’t know if I could trust her choice as she’s quite modelesque, and I do sometimes discriminate in terms of whether I think they’ll know what’s good food. But wow, this girl knew her stuff. Mendo describes the chicken parm dip as a lighter take on the classic chicken parm, with roasted chicken breast topped with buttermilk Krispies as opposed to a battered and fried cutlet. I didn’t know what to anticipate as I don’t eat chicken parm very frequently, but the moment those flavors touched my tongue, I was dancing. With the ever so subtle kick from the pomodoro sauce, the freshness of the basil, and the crunch of the sesame roll, this sandwich was driven to the top of my list. 

3. Chimichurri Steak & Bacon 

Anyone that knows me knows I’m a girl who loves her meat. My engine really starts revving when I hear the word steak. Therefore it’s a no-brainer that this was the first sandwich on the menu that I tried upon my onboarding. I don’t know if Mendo does anything particularly dazzling with this sandwich, but I can’t be angry at an opportunity to eat beef and bacon at the same time. The sweet peppers and chimichurri make this a beautifully balanced sandwich with some smokiness from the bacon and some texture from the bun. If you like red meat, I just don’t see you disliking this sandwich.

The Chimichurri Steak and Bacon uses a delicious sesame bun that adds a nice crunch. (Emily Ito)

4. Chicken Pesto Caprese 

I’m about to get controversial. I don’t love the chicken pesto caprese. From working there, I know it’s a lot of people’s go-to, but frankly I think it’s just okay. I might take issue with the bread, as the ciabatta doesn’t add too much to the sandwich. It’s dreadfully plain and strangely homogenous despite being colorful. It’s just alright, and I would never turn it down, but I also can’t say it’s the first thing I’d order unless I have a hankering for pesto and mediocrity. 

5. Sweet Heat Crispy Thai Chicken Sandwich 

If you’re at Mendocino Farms and you want a fried chicken sandwich, I’d say go for this. It’s air-fried chicken tender on top of a soft burger-type bun and drenched in a “sweet heat” chili sauce. I personally would say it’s more sweet than heat and it’s a bit messy to be eating on your ten, but it’s solid and pretty crispy. I don’t have a rave review, but I can appreciate that this sandwich is an option if my other go-tos are unavailable. 

6. Mendo’s Original Pork Belly Banh Mi 

I have to be real … I just don’t really rock with pork like that. And I just don’t rock with this sandwich. Believe me, I wish I did. I would like to stand here and say it’s delectable and incredible and a perfect sub if you can’t find a banh mi, but that’s frankly not the truth. I can get behind a good banh mi despite my lukewarm feelings about pork, but this sandwich and its chunks of bagged meat are really just not for me. In my opinion, if you want a banh mi, go to Convoy and get a banh mi. There are a number of items to come to Mendo for, but the gentrified cousin of the classic banh mi is just not one of them. 

7. Vegan Banh Mi

Out of the vegetarian sandwiches, I prefer this one to the vegetarian pesto caprese. The tofu is solid, the sauce is good, and it’s a decent sandwich. If you’re asking: no, I would not order it. But I suppose if I ever get around to reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals,” I might opt for this sandwich. 

8. Prosciutto & Chicken Sandwich 

This is one of those sandwiches that you figure will make you feel classy. I ordered it thinking my palette should be tested for its sophistication, but I realized this sandwich was not a good marker for that. I thought it might be similar to the chicken pesto caprese — which in some ways it is, with the same panini pressed ciabatta bread, pesto, and chicken. But this one has prosciutto and a balsamic glaze, making it sound like an elevated pesto caprese. WRONG. It’s a chicken pesto caprese, only so much worse. It lacks dimension and depth. It’s weirdly sweet. Overall, it’s just not very good. If the farm club is the equivalent of surprisingly good sex, this sandwich is analogous to devastatingly sad sex. The prosciutto and chicken sandwich is your super sexy crush who is disappointingly terrible in bed. 

9. Peruvian Steak Sandwich 

I don’t like it. Call me crazy but it’s just not for me. I think I’m not a fan of the way Aji Amarillo tastes and I don’t like how saucy and savory this sandwich is. I like some balance and this one is a little too dense. Texturally, it also feels like it’s missing something; where’s the crunch? I just think that out of the two steak sandwich options, I’d definitely go for the Chimichurri Steak and Bacon instead. I feel bad saying this because it was one of my coworker’s favorites, but I don’t like that pepper and I don’t like that sandwich. It’s strange because I can appreciate spice, just not that one. 

10. Vegetarian Pesto Caprese 

What business does a sandwich have in putting that much mozzarella between its slit? I understand it’s compensating for a lack of protein, but where’s the flavor? It’s just … cheese. I need more, and from the moment I tasted this sandwich, I knew it would not be the one to deliver. 

11. “Not So Fried” Chicken Sandwich 

I know that this is their thing, but I’m not into it. Not to be a pig, but when I’m coughing up $14 on a sandwich, I’m expecting it to show me a good time. I want it to flirt, I want to see that sandwich and think “wow, we’re about to throw down.” Visually, this sandwich doesn’t do that. It looks kind of sad and thin. I understand looks aren’t everything and sometimes foreplay just isn’t one’s thing, but I was hoping this sandwich would end up having some skills. Upon first bite though, it’s as okay as it looks. I don’t love mustard and therefore don’t like the slaw, I don’t find the krispies that crispy, and I don’t think the chicken is juicy and supple. It’s unexciting and unsatisfying, making it perhaps my least favorite item. 

That concludes my list breaking down what’s hot and what’s not of the Mendocino Farms sandwiches. Remember though, I’m not a food connoisseur, so I still recommend you decide for yourself which Mendo sandwich reigns supreme.

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