Turkey has suffered from lesser poultry status for too long. Unlike its ubiquitous cousin, the chicken, it is typically too large to cook every day and not fatty enough to satisfy certain cravings. Duck and quail are fancier and thus given sway in any argument that revolves around the best bird on a menu. But, where turkey typically wins the day is in sandwiches. Granted, it's often a bland pressed and sliced variety we get for lunch, but the mild flavor and decreased calories make it an optimal choice in fast food settings.
With Thanksgiving, the national holiday for turkey lovers, approaching, it seemed only fitting to highlight some really great local turkey sandwiches that aren't simply a quick way to pretend the low fat turkey is offsetting the calories from the bread, cheese and mayo.
Smoked Turkey at Onion Creek
3106 White Oak
(Also available at Cedar Creek and Cactus Cove)
Pictured above, this is one of my all-time favorite Houston sandwiches. I swear when I stop into Onion Creek for lunch, I'll get something else. I never do. With gently smoked turkey, chipotle mayo, Swiss and avocado on a toasted ciabatta, it's about as close to turkey sandwich royalty as you'll get.
Petronella at Paulie's Restaurant
When you put smoked turkey on HUGE slabs of sourdough, add cheese and bacon, and press the living hell out of it on a panini press, what is not to like? The classic Montrose lunch and dinner spot offers this crunchy behemoth with optional sides. Get the half-and-half with soup. It's amazing.
Grab-and-Go Turkey at Urban Eats
3415 Washington Avenue
Honestly, this is the only pre-made sandwich I would dare add to a list like this because it is so damn good. Run into the hip little restaurant/bakery/specialty store on Washington and get this from the cold case. Take it to the counter and have them press it. The gruyere will ooze, the caramelized onions will melt and the bread will get perfectly toasty. Fast food, but damn sophisticated.
TC Turkey Club at Elliot's Table
456 T.C. Jester Suite B
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If you want a sit down meal in a nice restaurant kinda thing, this insanely delicious and innovative take on fried chicken is pretty remarkable. This turkey is the opposite of what you might expect: it ain't dry. It's moist and peppery with a generous pour of house-made ranch on top. It's easily enough for two, but you may want to keep it to yourself.
Day After Thanksgiving at Lola
Hands down my favorite comfort food option outside of homemade chicken soup, the Day After Thanksgiving at Lola truly tried (and succeeds) to replicate that greatest of all leftover meals, the turkey sandwich. Roasted thick cuts of turkey with dressing and cranberry sauce, it is exactly the kind of mess you want on Black Friday or, for some of us, Thursday night after the guests have left and just before anyone else can get their grubby little mits on it. It's truly my happy place.