I am just a teensy-bit embarrassed to admit that I have only just had Ike’s Place for the first time. I blame the tales of the 2 hour wait time and that I don’t get out to the Upper Market-area too often, but when I no longer had an excuse (and why the hell would I?!) on a lovely Sunday I finally crossed the threshold.
I was surprised and very delighted to find a very minimal line when we walked up. We all know about the slew of media coverage surrounding the old Ike’s Place location (damn those NIMBYs), so it’s nice to see that everything worked out and that Ike is on to bigger and better things (like having the #1 sandwich, Matt Cain, in ESPN’s Fanwich). Ike is super friendly and while I already knew what I wanted to order (Menage A Trois), he offered to help my girlfriends with their selections. One could certainly go into menu overload with the list they’ve got goin’ on here.
We got a little behind-the-scenes tour and were able to see where all of the magic happens. And by magic, I mean the assembling of these mouth-wateringly delicious sandwiches. He gave us Ike’s Place t-shirts as well…I hope we count as honorary Ike’s Club Members 😉 Did you know that every employee must memorize each sandwiches name, number and ingredients? I counted 80 creations on the menu page. These people must be brilliant.
I also asked Ike how he came up with all of those sandwiches and their names. Trial and error, he said, and also mentioned that there were some that were never made for human consumption. If you ask me additions like mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers and deep-fried zucchini sticks sound inventive and oh-so-sinful! He said that naming the initial sandwiches were difficult, but now it is a cinch. Hmm…I am already wondering what my own creation would be and what I would name it! By the way “Womanizer” and “We’re JUST Friends” are taken.
After the short wait we walked over to Dolores Park to enjoy lunch because it was such a beautiful day in San Francisco. Dogs and strollers were out in full effect! I know everyone raves about Ike’s but BOY OH BOY the Menage A Trois was AH-MAZING. It was so juicy and zesty, and every bite was as good as the last. It was definitely a dense sandwich with sauce dripping out onto my pants (oops), but there was no way I could not finish the entire thing. And that I did. The sandwich comes with those cute caramel apple pops that bring me back to my elementary school days — nice touch.
I decided to complete the whole Mission experience with dessert from Bi-Rite Creamery, a local shop specializing in organic ingredients and small-batch products. I learned this tip from a friend: if you want to avoid the long ice cream lines, try the soft serve line. The Salted Caramel Soft Serve is to-die-for and has less calories than the ice cream version. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself. This flavor is so decadent that it doesn’t even need any additional toppings, but make sure to get it on a cone to complete the experience.
Ike says that he eats his sandwiches 3 times a day. I don’t know if I could go that far, but I am already planning my next trip back (and it may or may or not be next weekend). I highly recommend enjoying your selection in Dolores Park and topping it off with some Bi-Rite. Can you say food coma?!