Thursday, February 03, 2005


In one of the few non-musical things I do in life, I spend half days during the week working in the corporate offices of a popular Helena sandwich restaurant. So popular, in fact, that one of our sandwiches was named as the second best "meat hog" in America by MAXIM magazine (Oct. issue, I believe). I won't name it, because I don't want to get Googled for it. I don't work in the kitchen--I work more along the lines of administrative assistant. That's OK. It keeps me off the streets, the guys (owners) treat me well, and I get to play on Macs most of the time. No, we're not talking brain surgery, and things may start getting incredibly busy in the near future, but for right now, it helps pay the rent.

So why don't I want to get Googled? Because I can think of two or three other sandwiches IN THE STATE that I'd order before one of ours! I'M A TRAITOR!! Don't get me wrong--ours are great. Everybody loves them. I love them. Maybe it's the memories associated with the others that make them more desirable to me. Whatever. So who are my favorite sandwiches?

  • The Pickle Barrel, Bozeman, MT--Either the Italian (hold the tomatoes, please) or the Cheesesteak. There are a couple of stores in the state, but if it ain't from Bozeman, it ain't quite the same! I grew up with these in my undergrad days. Most people will by a half sandwich, WHICH IS 12" LONG! I remember the first one I ever ordered. I was told to only order the half sandwich. I scoffed, but they "knew" what they were talking about. I was defeated! I couldn't even finish a half sandwich! Needless to say, over the years, I learned to eat two halves in a sitting, hence the reason I'm a big boy, but that's an acquired skill, and a different story. They won't sell a "whole" sandwich, unless you ask them to. The added treat to this: whole dill pickles that you pick out of a pickle barrel in the corner (giving the place its name)--one free pickle per half sandwich. And these are BIG HONKIN' PICKLES--not the type that you'd get from a Vlasic jar. These are whole pickles that would make a porn star gasp!

  • Hoagieville, Missoula, MT--I was introduced to these by a friend when I was in grad school. These are smaller and less messy than the Pickle Barrel, but they make up for it in taste. The Hoagie seasoning is what makes these so good. Don't know what it is exactly--maybe a little paprika, maybe some other things. I'm sure it's got to be some sort of secret family recipe. When you drive to the original location, which is a former A & W Drive-In, you're still greeted by bellhops (sorry, not on skates)! Very young, very attractive bellhops! Even in the infamous MT winters. Makes you feel good to tip them! I've never ordered any of their other sandwiches, so I don't know how good they are, but their Hoagie is wonderful. Be sure to get the Hoagie Cheese Fries too! Makes a perfect meal! Again, like the Pickle Barrel, if it's not from the original location, it ain't quite the same!

What I like to do when I go to Missoula is hit the original Hoagieville, get 2 Hoagies, an order of Hoagie Cheese Fries and a medium Dr. Pepper, eat, then head across the street, where there's a Pickle Barrel (!), and order my whole Italian (hold the tomatoes, please) and whole Cheesesteak to take back home with me! Granted, the Missoula P.B. isn't quite the same as Bozeman's, but it'll do! So the question is put to you--is there a favorite sandwich that you'd get into a fight over? Let the condiments fly.....

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