Going Gluten-Free: Thumbs up for Jersey Mike’s, Udi’s bread
In the gluten-free world, most mass-marketed breads are either so dry and tasteless, or so dry and crumbly, that it’s not worth the trouble to eat a sandwich. That is, until Jersey Mike’s Subs hit Hawaii.
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In the gluten-free world, most mass-marketed breads are either so dry and tasteless, or so dry and crumbly, that it’s not worth the trouble to eat a sandwich.
I say “trouble” because, if you’ve got fillings with enough moisture or juiciness to make up for the dryness of the bread, it ends up working against you — by the time you’ve gotten halfway through, the bread has turned to a soggy mush, and you’ve resorted to using a knife and fork to finish your meal.
What I’d long hoped for was something like a French loaf, with a crunchy crust and soft interior, to be used in the fashion of a sub sandwich. The wide surface area of crust would make any sandwich resilient. An additional jackpot of such a bread: an actual sub sandwich wouldn’t be far behind.
I assumed that I’d be making the sub myself. Alas, the gluten-free diner has been woefully unaddressed by sub sandwich establishments in these parts.
That is, until Jersey Mike’s Subs hit the isles. When I heard talk of gluten-free bread there, I ran, not walked, to check it out, and I was not disappointed. Besides the soul-satisfying combo of provolone, ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami and pepperoni of the Italian Original, the first sub sandwich I’ve eaten in 10 years, the bread itself was Udi’s Gluten Free brand, which delivers quite a good product.
It held up well to not just the stack of meats, but shredded lettuce, and oil and vinegar, too. I bought a giant size to last two meals and ate the second half a day after purchase and the bread maintained its resilience.
(It’s probably best, though, to ask the sandwich maker to go light on the oil and vinegar. My sandwich just happened to have a light dose, but I imagine a heavier one could challenge the structure of the bread.)
Sandwiches at Jersey Mike’s are on the pricey side; most 7-inch subs (this is half of a long loaf) go for just under $10. If you’re eating gluten-free bread, add about $1.50 to the price. Giant sizes (a full loaf) cost about $16.50, plus $3 for the gluten-free bread.
The menu states that the 7-inch sub feeds one to two people, which might seem like a stretch. But the sub’s size is deceptive: It’s a large meal for one, with all those many ingredients stacked between the bread, so feeding two small eaters is possible. I don’t know about other gluten-free eaters, but because I rarely eat bread with meat anymore, the entirety of a sandwich has become an extra-filling meal.
It’s worth considering whether to spring for a giant size, which is more economical. In my book, leftovers are always welcome because it means an automatic lunch for the next day.
Find Jersey Mike’s Subs locations in Hawaii Kai, Kahala, Pearl City, Kapolei, Mililani and at Schofield Barracks. There’s also a location on Maui. Visit jerseymikes.com.
More about Udi’s: The brand makes everything from bagels, hamburger and hot dog buns, to tortillas, cookies and muffins. It even produces granola, pizzas and frozen meals. Find Udi’s products at Whole Foods Market locations, or visit udisglutenfree.com.
“Going Gluten-Free” helps meet the cooking and dining challenges faced by those on wheat-free diets. It runs on the first Wednesday of each month. Send questions and suggestions to Joleen Oshiro, firstname.lastname@example.org.