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Thursday, February 14, 2013

My new favorite sandwich shop: Ike's Lair

Finally, my first visit to an Ike's sandwich shop. Not the original Ike's Place in SF but the Ike's Lair in Cupertino. Either way I was jazzed to finally try one of their famous sandwiches.

To be honest I was a bit confused between the two names. But then I saw that owner and founder Ike Shehadeh posts on both the Ike's Lair and Ike's Place FB pages and he links to all of the locations from the Ike's Place website so they are affiliated.

I first read about Ike's two years ago when there was controversy in San Francisco because the restaurant had become too popular. Go figure.

When my friend Gordon asked if I wanted to have lunch with him at the Ike's Lair in Cupertino I eagerly said yes!

I pulled into the parking lot, found a spot and entered through the rear entrance. The parking lot is on the smaller side so if you're driving I have two suggestions: Carpool and go early or after the lunch rush.

The staff was young, hip, and friendly.

Once inside the first thing you'll see is a menu board on the wall to your left. It's broken down into meat, vegetarian and vegan options with best sellers listed on the smaller lower boards.

Once you've made the difficult decision of what to order you can step up to the counter.

But before I forget, right beside the counter is a refrigerated case of beverages. And what a selection! There were old time choices like Stewart's and , some I recognized, others were new to me.

There were also desserts by Cake Monkey. They looked to be cookies and Ho Ho spin offs called Yo Ho's (a chocolate cake rolled up with vanilla cream) and Ding Dong sized Cakewiches which are black and white, red velvet, and peanut butter cakes.

In the spirit of adventure I tried the Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer. Say what? You read that right, it's root beer flavored with butterscotch. As I lifted the bottle mouthward I could taste the butterscotch essence before drinking a drop. The blending of the two flavors is surprisingly delicious. Definitely on the sweet side but so reminiscent of those yellow disc butterscotch candies wrapped in butterscotch colored cellophane I loved it.

And because we were there on Fat Tuesday I chose the Zapp's New Orleans Kettle Style chips. They reminded me of Tim's Cascade Chips in that they're both chips cut on the thicker side and are very crisp. The dill flavor wasn't quite as strong as I would have preferred so I don't know if I'd choose them again.

My sandwich on the other hand was great. I ordered the Captain Kirk ($9.99) which is a thin slice of vegan, breaded (faux) chicken, a zesty orange glaze, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and pepper jack cheese on the bread of your choice. I chose Dutch crunch. The bread was outstanding. And for you meat eaters, they have real meat too, I just prefer the faux variety.

I really loved it but, to me, it didn't taste like a citrus flavored orange glaze. It actually brought back very fond memories of the Red Ranch salad dressing Arby's uses in their Super Roast Beef Sandwich so I'm wondering if orange refers to the color, not the flavor, of the glaze. I haven't had an Arby's Super in years so I'm really looking forward to ordering the Captain Kirk on a frequent basis.

Gordon chose the Zapp's Voodoo chips in honor of Mardi Gras. I was hoping the chips would be shaped like little voodoo dolls but they were just regular potato chip shapes. The flavor was like BBQ but less spicy and more sweet. You can read about the origins of this flavor on the Snack Pot website.

Gordon ordered the Steve Jobs, a breaded eggplant sandwich. Here's a picture of it. He also ordered Dutch crunch bread but we accidentally photographed it upside down so you can't see the crunch.

Each sandwich comes with a Caramel Apple Pop sucker. Apparently they're not all that easy to come by so for many regulars it's a true bonus with purchase.

After chatting with the staff a bit we were invited to sample the Funky Fusion potato chips by Dirty Chips. I have to say it was my favorite chip of the day.

Because "funky" as a flavor is a rather ambiguous description here's a review you can relate to: Funky Fusion possess the tartness of vinegar flavored chips with the sweetness of BBQ. If you've never been to Ike's Lair before you should try the Butterscotch Root Beer and Funky Fusion chips on your first visit. They definitely made my meal more interesting.

And if your appetite is on the lighter side, bring a tupperware to use as a to go container. I could only eat half my sandwich that afternoon.

Here's where you'll find the location I visited right across the street from the Cupertino Whole Foods:

Ike's Lair
21000 Stevens Creek Blvd #100 (cross street is South Stelling Road)
Cupertino, CA 95014

Click Here for their website and more locations and here for their mobile app.

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