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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wich Trials: The sandwiches of The Pantry

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

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Wich Trials features some of the greatest sandwiches in Arkansas. Got a favorite you'd like us to know about? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

When done right, a hot sandwich or panini can be one of the greatest triumphs in the world of sandwiches. The interplay of crusty and toasted bread, rich, melted cheese, and meats dripping with flavor can be a zen-like experience when crafted by the hands of a true sandwich artist. On a recent visit to The Pantry, I ventured to see if these guys were up to the task.

The first challenger to the arena was a roasted chicken panini, stuffed with tomato, olives, feta cheese and pesto. While chicken is not usually my choice of protein in this situation, as it can often be inherently bland, I found that the supporting cast of ingredients rescued this chicken from mediocrity. The marinated feta adds a tangy, salty note, while the pesto gives the sandwich an herbaceous and nutty flavor that compliments the chicken and olives well. The roll was nicely toasted as well, providing a crispy exterior without over-drying the interior.

Next up was the oft-seen “Cuban.” The Pantry’s version of this old classic involves the usual suspects: toasted French bread, roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickle, and yellow mustard. While this sandwich was also enjoyable overall, I found the flavors to be a little flat, with the pork and mustard being the only really noticeable elements, drowning out the accompanying ham and cheese. Were I to return, I’d probably choose something else, the smoked turkey, perhaps, which I’ve heard is delightful.

Each sandwich is paired with your choice of a side salad, soup-of the-day, or house-made potato chips. My advice, do not pass up the chips. They are perfect. Thin-cut, salty, and so crispy your head rings slightly with the sound of crunching potato after each one. Beautifully done, making for an all-together pleasant lunch experience at this popular Little Rock establishment.

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