The Sentinel is a popular gourmet sandwich shop in San Francisco Bay area. I came across their recipe for a Focaccia Reuben sandwich a few months ago when I was looking for a quick and simple dinner recipe. My boyfriend had requested that I make the sandwich again for dinner Wednesday, and while I was checking out at Central Market, I was thinking how cheap my bill was. After I got home, I decided to calculate about how much each of these sandwiches would cost.

I had bought the corned beef on sale (~1/2 lbs);  the nice deli lady sliced a small brick of Gruyere Cheese for me (which came to 8 slices); instead of Focaccia, I bought store made Ciabatta (a bag of 4); CM sold cabbages by the half; and I picked up 2 potatoes to make oven fries as a side with (1.75 lbs).

When I broke it down, the bread came to $0.75 per piece, I used only half of the half head of cabbage, which came to $0.39, The meat came to $1.8 split between 2 people, and the cheese was 0.35 per slice (2 slices per sandwich). You can make one of these Ruben sandwiches for a total $3.64. There is a ketchup and mayo spread that I didn’t bother factoring the cost into, since the amount used was very small and ketchup and mayo are pretty cheap. If you round that up to $4.00 and add $1.00 for the fries (which is more than enough) you can have a nice meal for $5.

This same sandwich at the Sentinel in SF, without the potatoes, will cost you $9. Granted that they use local corned beef and make their own bread, I think my $5 version is just fine.

I pressed the sandwiches between two cast iron skillet to create the Panini look, the end results where very satisfying for the taste and the price.

For the oven fries, I added parsley and a little shaved parmesan on top. I soaked the cut raw potatoes in cold water for 1 hour before cooking to wash off the additional starch. The starch is what turns the potato rusty-red if it’s cut and if you want to fry the potatoes in oil, the starch may also make the fries stick to each other.

The Sentinel’s Focaccia Reuben Recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/focaccia-reubens
Oven fries: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/oven-fries-with-roasted-garlic

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