Sing Sing Sandwich Shop

I was meeting friends for a long, late lunch on a Friday afternoon, which is just the perfect thing sometimes.  I was the first to show up so I lurked around outside the place taking a bunch of photos,

then I wandered off for a bit to check out another Vietnamese sandwich shop down the block.  When I got back Jessie was waiting outside, and soon after Sarah and Justin arrived and we headed inside. 

I liked the look of Sing Sing a lot, the red checkered table cloths, the towering plants,

and the flat screen tv showing some sort of Vietnamese karaoke extravaganza.

The place was totally empty when we were there, at least the front room; I think Jessie mentioned that he went into the backroom and there were some people doing some gambling.  That’s what Sing Sing is known for, according to Yelp anyway, indoor smoking and backroom gambling.  We probably missed out on this because we were there so late, that sort of stuff is more of a morning activity.  A few days ago when I walked by around 10 am on a Saturday there were guys just spilling out of the place. 

Anyway, we ordered at the counter from a guy who didn’t speak great English.  I am really terrible at communicating with people with accents or a poor grasp of my native tongue, which makes me feel really bad and racist but I try really hard, I do.  I’m just a little hard of hearing and not good with visual cues.  To be fair, I’m not so great at communicating with people who speak English as their first language who have no accent.  So.  There was a little confusion since Sarah and I had both read that they only serve one thing at Sing Sing, a combination Vietnamese sandwich, but when we tried to order just that we were told that they only had pork sandwiches that day.  So we ordered four pork sandwiches and four iced Vietnamese coffees.

The coffees were delicious and strong and refreshing, and we were also given a pot of hot tea which provided a nice contrast.  Jessie said something great about the flavor of the coffee (or was it the tea…) that was so great I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget to put it in this post.  Of course, I’ve misplaced where I wrote it, but as soon as I find my notebook I’ll update it for you all to enjoy. 

The sandwiches came out and looked so beautiful I could hardly stop taking photos long enough to eat.

Before this it had been a while since I’d had a Vietnamese sandwich, so I don’t know if this was a particularly outstandingly delicious sandwich, or I just forgot how much I like them, but dang, it was good.  It was a masterful combination of textures.  Fresh, crusty bread, it cut the roof of my mouth of course but sometimes that’s the price you have to pay, with a soft inside.  Crunchy and cool pickled vegetables, tender roast pork, thinner cartiledge-ey slices of pork and a creaminess that didn’t taste overpoweringly of mayonnaise all melded together into perfection.  We were, again, a little confused since we’d been told that this wasn’t a combination sandwich, but it was similar to combination sandwiches I’d had in the past, with the different types of pig meat and what looked an awful lot like pate…

Maybe their combination is more than one type of meat?   My one beef with this sandwich was that it had pretty large slices of raw jalapeno, but it’s a pretty meaningless complaint because they are easy to pick off if you’re a wimp like me.  I should also note that I was the only one to take the jalapenos off my sandwich (after I ate one, thinking I could handle it but I totally couldn’t).  Like I said, I am a wimp. 

So Sing Sing sandwich shop, who knew?  For whatever reason this place is not mentioned in discussions of great Tenderloin Vietnamese sandwich shops, those in my experience are limited to Saigon Sandwiches and Baguette Express.   They are vastly more popular ( Saigon sandwiches has 1098 Yelp reviews and Baguette Express has 125, to Sing Sing’s 40), and I guess I would venture that it’s because they are on the less scary Larkin Street and they are both more obviously places to get food.  I mean, neither of them from the outside seem to just be a room full of plants.  And I have actually never been to either of those spots (I know, sacrilege) but I think it’s pretty safe to say that neither of them display their slices of pork in a refrigerated case like this

With a cherry on top. 

Sing Sing Sandwich Shop

309 Hyde Street

Their Yelp page

KFC/Taco Bell

I headed to KFC/Taco Bell with a pocket full of coupons.  It was early evening and I was meeting Sarah for a fast food feast.  I was a little apprehensive about this particular venture, because I am quite familiar with the corner that houses this restaurant, and it’s a little gnarly.  As I approached the doors things seemed pretty quiet and I looked around for Sarah.  I didn’t see her so I popped into the restaurant.  From outside I saw a tall manly figure in a black skirt and top and from that distance I figured he was just a guy in drag, nothing out of the ordinary, but when I got inside I found that wasn’t exactly the case.

Here’s Sarah’s artist’s rendering

Full gray beard, tank top pulled down under his man boobs, ass drooping below his skirt and what looked like tassels on his nipples, but upon closer inspection were nipple clamps.  Homemade nipple clamps no less, just black binder clips.  Ouch.  I was pretty taken aback by this guy, but Sarah was put in a slight state of shock.  We had lots of time to observe (and notice his leopard print thong) because the couple in line in front of us took an extraordinary amount of time to place their order.  They did apologize to everyone in line afterwards though.  To my surprise, all our fellow customers were very nice.

We ordered a pretty wide variety of stuff from taco bell.

That’s Sarah’s bag of goodies, here’s mine;

Most of what sounded appealing was on the taco bell menu, but I made sure to order one thing from the KFC side.  Most of what I ate was stuff I’d never had before.  I ate a bean burrito, which was pretty normal, it seemed like there was less sauce than usual.  I also ordered a Fresco Ranchero chicken soft taco, which came off the Drive Thru Diet menu.  It was ok, but kind of hot dog tasting.  The biggest disappointment was the Mexican Pizza.

I was so excited for it too, it sounds super amazing right?  A Mexican pizza!  It should be great!  But no, it was weird; weird texture, weird flavor, and look at it, it looks weird.  More gross, it looks gross.  I could only eat a couple bites of this.

From KFC I ordered the Fiery Grilled Wings, which to my surprise were pretty good.   They weren’t too spicy, but the chicken wasn’t the gross greasy mush that KFC’s fried chicken usually is.  It was pretty standard barbequed chicken.  Not too bad.

Sarah also had a bean burrito, and I believe a soft taco, and this slug looking thing

that I’m pretty sure was a meximelt.  Sarah said it was alright.  She had a lot of trouble determining what was in it, but that’s just a fun mystery, right?

The very best thing we ate that night were, shockingly, the cookies.

They were 3 for a dollar, and I joked about the sign on the cookie case that said they were fresh baked daily, but the joke was on me because they did taste pretty fresh.  The chocolate chip was the best, but the sugar wasn’t bad.

Taco Bell/KFC didn’t make me sick like McDonald’s did, but I’m not in a rush to get back.  But if I had to eat there I wouldn’t be sad to eat grilled chicken and cookies.  I’d probably skip the weirder stuff on Taco Bell menu though.

KFC/Taco Bell

691 Eddy St