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Category Archives: Deli

Kira’s Number 13: Bloomington Sandwich Co.

Kira, smiling around a mouthful of potato salad at the Bloomington Sandwich Co.The Place: Bloomington Sandwich Company

Neither of us had been to or even heard of this place before. The last few places we had been to had been sandwich shops, so we were happy that the Bloomington Sandwich Co. had a slightly different variety of sandwiches.

The Time:
Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 1:00 PM

The Atmosphere:
There is a huge mural of Bloomington landmarks on the entrance hallway. We had been thinking of having something like this for Eat Bloomington, but with Erik and Kira eating it. For example: Erik and Kira taking a bite out of the Sample Gates, or something else that captures the essence of Bloomington. If you have any ideas, let us know.

Interior Bloomington Sandwich Co.Otherwise, the place was small, clean, and inviting. They had a few tables outside, but we ate inside.

The Food:
The Bloomington Sandwich Company specialized in their homemade Italian and corned beef, so Erik got the Italian and I got the corned. Their sandwiches are fairly big, so they now offer a half sandwich special which is includes your choice of coleslaw or potato salad, AND your choice of like 6 other options, chips and a drink or fries being some of them. You get all this for the price of a regular sandwich. It is still plenty of food, just more variety. We took them up on this special. The sandwiches were just ok. Erik thought his Italian beef was a little dry, but I liked it and my corned beef, as well. The sides were fairly typical, but the best part was that they brought us free samples of their new blackberry Italian ice. It was scrumptious.

Corned beef sandwich at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Oh, and while most of their sandwiches are meaty, they do have salads, vegetarian chili, and a decent looking veggie sandwich for those non-meat eaters out there.

The Service:
There was a man and a woman working there, both were very friendly, patient and helpful. They did forget about my fries, but were very apologetic and speedily remedied the problem.

We haven’t made it a habit of telling the places we go about our Eat Bloomington project, but when we asked them if we could take pictures, they were very interested in our project and we even gave them our website. It’s taken us awhile to get this review up (sorry! We’ve been on vacation), but hopefully they read this.

The Price:
Most full-sized sandwiches were $5-7. ($6-9 these days. -Erik, May 2014) The sandwiches are definitely not stingy in size, so getting either the full sandwich or the half sandwich combo with the sides and/or drink is definitely worth the price.

The Rest:
While writing this review, I have gotten very hungry and want to go back to Bloomington Sandwich Co. to try another one of their sandwiches. Maybe I’ll get the BBQ beef this time.

Edit: Erik is a dork and forgot it was Saturday, so it was already closed when we got there. Some other day…

How Often Would I Go Back?
Every 2 months

 

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Erik Eats Sandwiches, in Bloomington, from a Company

Erik eating a pickle at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Our trip to the Bloomington Sandwich Company has taught us an important lesson: take pictures of the restaurant interior after eating. We came to this conclusion because we realized that if we take the pictures first, we usually have to explain why to the employees, and after we tell them that we review restaurants on a blog, it becomes difficult to determine whether they treat us well because they treat all their customers well or because they want to get a good review. I’ll try to be as honest as possible with this review even though I liked the folks at the BSC. The staff seemed excited about our project and we unfortunately gave them the website’s address while our review backlog already had three restaurants in it and right before we went on a two-week vacation, so almost an entire month has passed since we told them that we would review their little sandwich shop. If anyone from the shop ever gets around to reading this, sorry for the delay.

Kira, looking at a mural at the Bloomington Sandwich Co.The Company sits smack-dab in the middle of downtown Bloomington, squeezed in between an “adventure outfitter” and a cooking supply store with a very strong gay-pride theme. A large mural featuring Bloomington landmarks covers one wall, which I found odd because I hadn’t realized that Bloomington had any landmarks. In comparison to the other sandwich shops we’ve eaten at recently, they have quite reasonable prices and decently-sized sandwiches. (They’ve since moved to a new location, with completely different decor. -Erik, May 2014)

They advertise that they cook their own corned and Italian beef, which I usually consider a good sign. Unfortunately, the homemade beef had a dry, crumbly taste to it that put me off a bit. Italian beef sandwich at Bloomington Sandwich Co.Fortunately, I don’t have anything else bad to say about the place.

The staff treated us well, even giving us little cups of blackberry Italian ice for free. At first I thought they gave us the free treat in order to secure a better review, but I noticed that they had also offered the free samples to everyone else in the place. I think they’d recently added the Italian ice to the menu, and that they wanted to make sure everyone knew how good it tasted. And it did taste good. As did everything else I ate, other than the beef itself. The potato salad, the pickles, the cole slaw*, and even the toasted buns on which the beef sat all tasted quite good. (*Understand that when it comes to cole slaw, I only use the phrase “quite good” in the relative sense, as I don’t think any cole slaw has ever deserved to get called “quite good” in absolute.) The french fries didn’t astound, but they served their purpose.

Blackberry Italian ice from the Bloomington Sandwich Co.I’ve mentioned that the size of the sandwiches did not disappoint, but lest you think I’ve lost my marbles after looking at the pictures, keep in mind that we took advantage of a special deal where for the same price as the full sandwich (somewhere between $4.99 and $5.99 ($5.99 and $8.49 these days. -Erik, May 2014)), you get a half sandwich, a cup of either cole slaw or potato salad, and one of the following:

  • a fountain drink and a bag of chips (my choice)
  • an order of fries (Kira‘s choice)
  • a house side salad
  • a cup of soup
  • a cup of chili
  • a side of chips and salsa

So despite my misgivings about the homemade beef, I do like the place, and we’ll certainly go back. In fact, Kira has just informed me that she wishes to eat there today, just as soon as we finish these reviews.

Addendum:

If you think that I wouldn’t try to go to a restaurant that had closed for the day merely fifteen minutes after typing the restaurant’s hours into the info page, you’d be wrong.

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3, Ooh – 3, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)

Update (May 4th, 2014):

Kira and I have eaten here many times since then, and we really like the place now, both for their friendliness and the good sandwiches.

 

 

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Bloomington Sandwich Company

Exterior Bloomington Sandwich Co(Update: The Bloomington Sandwich Company has moved to a new location, next to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. -Erik, May 2014)

A sandwich shop with free delivery within a quarter mile radius

Location:

118 E Kirkwood Ave (map)
Bloomington, IN 47408
(812) 330-9611
(812) 330-9612 (fax)

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 11:30am – 3:30pm

Website: http://www.bloomingtonsandwich.com
Menu: http://www.bloomingtonsandwich.com/menu.pdf

(Info updated May 2014. -Erik)

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3, Ooh – 3, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)
How often would Kira eat there? Every 2 months (what’s this?)
Reviews: Erik, Kira

 

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Kira’s Number 11: Bloomingfoods Market and Deli

Kira, enjoying her Arty Chick wrap at Bloomingfoods.The Place: Bloomingfoods Market and Deli

Bloomingfoods is primarily a Cooperative grocery, but they also have a deli in the back where you can get freshly made sandwiches or pick up something from the salad bar or buffet. They also have a smoothies and a dessert table. I had eaten here once before, but this was Erik‘s first time.

The Time:
Thursday, June 15, 2006, around 8pm

The Atmosphere:
Throughout this project, we have discussed what counts as a restaurant. Do they have to be open for dinner? Have places to sit? What about take out only? We have concluded that for our purposes, a restaurant needs to have places to sit, so that a take-out only pizza place would not count, and also that they must serve meals. Cold Stone Creamery and Jiffy Treat are not restaurants. With this in mind, Bloomingfoods Deli just barely counts as a restaurant. Although they do serve meals, and they technically have places to eat, you have to go through the grocery store checkout line to pay for the food, and then go past the registers to go outside to find the tables and chairs. An awning covers some of the picnic tables and chairs outside.

The outdoor seating area at Bloomingfoods.Many other grocery stores have this kind of deli with prepared food and/or a buffet; Bloomingfoods was just smart enough to put themselves in the restaurant section of the phonebook.

The Food:
Bloomingfoods is great for specialized diets: vegetarian, vegan, no gluten, no wheat, etc. Erik or I are neither of these, but I can still appreciate it being available. They have a salad bar and buffet, you variety of pre-made desserts, an olive bar, and you can order sandwiches, smoothies or a variety of juices.

The Arty Chick wrap from Bloomingfoods, with pickle spear.We ordered and shared the Arty Chick and the Meaty Moment sandwiches. The Arty Chick had roasted chicken, spinach-artichoke dip, red onions, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella heated and rolled up in a spinach wrap. I ordered it without onions, and took the tomatoes out of my half. I would never have thought to put mozzarella on a sandwich, but it was quite good. The wrap was nice, although it seemed like it was way to big for how much stuff they put in it. The Meaty Moment (turkey, ham, cheddar, pepper jack, spinach, mustard, bbq sauce, served warm on a french baguette) was pretty good, too. I don’t really like mustard, but still enjoyed the sandwich.

We finished off with a cream cheese brownie and a peanut butter/chocolate chip bar. Both were quite excellent.

In the excitement of the food, we forgot to get drinks. After finishing our sandwiches, we went back in to the grocery part of the store and looked through their eclectic soda selection. They do have smoothies and juices at the deli, but we wanted soda or water.I opted against soda, but Erik got a 4-pack of Natural Brew handcrafted Draft Root Beer. They list the flavors that they use, and you can taste almost all of them, which sometimes isn’t so good. We still have the 3 unopened bottles on our countertop.

Kira, enjoying some sort of chocolate chip cookie bar / brownie thingy from Bloomingfoods.The Service:
The 2 people behind the counter were nice. It took a few minutes to get our sandwiches, but nothing ridiculous. Eating outside, you have to clear your own table and make sure not to throw away the dishes, but this is all part of going to a coop.

The Price:
Sandwiches were $5-7, and you get a decent amount. Still could have used a little more food, but I know that we were paying for some good quality.

The Rest:
This barely-a-restaurant is a-ok in my book. I would eat there just to support a local coop, but the food was pretty good, too.

How Often Would I Go Back?
Once a month.

 

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Erik Eats Bloomingfood

Erik, stuffing his face with a sandwich at BloomingfoodsBloomingfoods Market barely counts as a restaurant, but it does count. They serve meals, they have tables at which you can eat those meals, and our phone book lists them in the restaurant section. But in every other respect, I consider Bloomingfoods a grocery store. Every college town that I visit seems to have at least one co-op run community market like this. They vary in quality and particulars, but they have essentially the same kind of things for sale. I could go on about the store itself, but I don’t particularly want to, and I only need to review the deli anyway. You can find the deli at Bloomingfoods off to the south end of the store, quite some distance from the tables outside where you can eat the food, and you have to pay at the regular cash registers. This means that you should prepare yourself for wandering through a grocery store carrying a plate with your food on it, which feels a little strange.

The olive bar at Bloomingfoods.The food that you can order at the counter consists mostly of sandwiches, but they do have a food bar with a wide selection of other items including salad, meatballs, some kind of veggie patty thing, and a bewildering variety of olives. I wish I liked olives. Their scent reminds me of pickles (as in pickled cucumbers), which I love, and this scent often lulls me into thinking that maybe my taste buds have finally changed, and if I try one now, it might taste good. Experience has taught me to ignore this temptation, and so I stuck to sandwiches and desserts. We grabbed a couple dessert items: a very tasty cream-cheese brownie and a vegan-flavored cookie bar. I don’t know which aspect of vegan baking lends that distinctive flavor, but something (probably a milk or egg substitute) just doesn’t seem to work for me.

Erik, drinking a bottle of "Natural Brew Hand Crafted Draft Root Beer" outside of BloomingfoodsOther than juices and smoothies, which we didn’t try, the deli didn’t have anything in the way of beverages. Thankfully, the soda aisle lay only a few steps away. **Begin soda-geek rambling** I wanted to try something new, since the selection of drinks at a co-op differs quite a bit from what you’ll find at a regular grocery store. Unfortunately, everything seemed to be sold in four- or six-packs, so I knew that experimentation could leave me with at least three bottles of something I don’t want to drink. I bought a four-pack of Natural Brew Hand Crafted Draft Root Beer because it actually listed its flavors; most sodas just have “natural and artificial flavors” on their label. This root beer was flavored with some unsurprising ingredients (sarsaparilla and birch), some less common flavors (cinnamon, cloves, and anise), and a couple surprises (licorice and wintergreen). Now I don’t really know what anise tastes like, but I’m familiar with the other flavors, and I was able to pick out each and every single flavor in the bottle, a very strange sensation, somewhat like listening to a fugue where you can either hear the overall sound or listen to individual lines. Some kind of brownie-like thing with chocolate chips at Bloomingfoods.Unlike listening to a fugue, I did not enjoy the experience. I’ve tasted much worse soft drinks (in increasing order of disgustingness: bitter aperitif soda, Jones turkey and gravy soda, Dr Pepper with cigarette ash, and Jones Brussels sprout soda). Natural Brew doesn’t even make the bottom twenty-five list. I drank maybe half the bottle before determining that the taste would not grow on me. If anyone wants one of the three remaining bottles, please let me know. (Actually, don’t let me know. That was 8 years ago, and those bottles are long gone. -Erik, May 2014) **End soda-geek rambling**

The Meaty Moment sandwich at Bloomingfoods.Okay, enough digression; let me get back to the part you actually care about. The sandwich I ordered was called “The Meaty Moment.” It did have meat (turkey and ham), but while I might use the word “meaty” to describe some sandwiches (a steak sandwich, for example), I wouldn’t have used it to describe this sandwich. They have clearly labelled everything as vegan, vegetarian, or otherwise, but I suppose they just wanted to make sure nobody got a surprise. By the way, all the food they serve casts a shadow, so level-five vegans beware. My sandwich also had cheddar cheese, mustard, and barbecue sauce, an odd-ball sounding combination that I know I’ve eaten elsewhere, though I can’t quite remember where. Kira ordered a wrap with chicken and artichoke, punnily named “the Arty Chick.” She forgot to ask them to leave off the tomatoes, so she had to fish them out with a toothpick. I can’t believe I fell in love with a girl who doesn’t like tomatoes, pickles, and mustard. (She’s come around a bit on the tomatoes and pickles, but not on her sandwiches. -Erik, May 2014) Her sandwiches always taste dry. On the upside, I got extra tomatoes on the parts of her sandwich that I ate.

I liked the taste of both sandwiches, and their size did not leave me hungry. I think that my sandwich should have cost less than seven bucks, but then again, I did order the most expensive sandwich on the menu. None of the rest of the sandwiches cost more than six, and most less than five.

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3.5, Ooh – 3.5, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)

 

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Bloomingfoods Market and Deli

Sign for bloomingfoods. "Since 1976 / Blomingfoods / Market and Deli / Your community owned co-op grocery"A grocery store and deli

3220 E 3rd St (map)

Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 336-5400

Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00am – 10:00pm

Bloomingfoods also has several other locations in the area (hours may vary).

614 E 2nd St
Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 822-0235

200 Daniels Way, Room C133
Bloomington, IN 47404
(812) 822-0143

419 E Kirkwood Ave
Bloomington, IN 47408-4023
(812) 336-5300

316 W. Sixth St.
Bloomington, IN 47404-3912
(812) 333-7312

Website: http://www.bloomingfoods.coop/

(Info updated May 2014. -Erik)

Erik’s Ratings: Yum – 3.5, Ooh – 3.5, Ah – 3, Wow – 2.5 (Huh?)
How often would Kira eat there? Once a month (what’s this?)
Reviews: Erik, Kira

 

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