Category Archives: Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Hobo Blues Edition

In the beginning was the NYPD.

Last time I lost my Philly Cheesesteak virginity. 

If you have ever wanted to eat chicken cordon bleu on a sandwich—and you probably have, since a sandwich is cordon bleu gone convenient, edible sans knife and fork while stooped on a street corner feasting among the salary men and flannel—Hamdel can satisfy your desire. The Cordon Blue—not a typo—includes a chicken cutlet or two, thin-sliced ham, mozzarella, and blue cheese dressing. All stuffed into a toasted hero. Great heavy, heaving hearts! Trapped under thick bedsheets of yellow fat! Midterms are upon us, and yet, times have not turned desperate enough to justify a Cordon Blue dinner. Respect your health and pick a different poison. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Brotherly Love Edition

Tour de Hamdel is a national treasure.

Last time I had the Lewinsky.

I have spent a day in Philadelphia without sampling a single cheesesteak. In fact, prior to this evening, I had never eaten a Philly cheesesteak, authentic or otherwise. Although I consider myself an aficionado of America’s rustiest, crustiest cuisines, the prospect of beef shards smothered in government cheese ties my duodenum in knots. I never sought out the cheesesteak, and one never found its way into my hungry hands. The Tour de Hamdel is, however, merciless—its nauseating path forces encounters with your very personal, very horrible culinary nightmares. Despite my initial hesitations, I am happy to report that Hamdel’s Philly Cheesesteak, if far removed from the “City of Brotherly Love,” is not an entirely unpleasant sandwich. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: The Starr Report Edition

Tour de Hamdel two-ply.

Last time I wiped one more off the list: the Clinton. 

What I would like to discuss is how a roll of toilet paper changed my life. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: “It’s a Bad Sandwich, Stupid” Edition

An announcement of Tour de Hamdel candidacy.

Last time on the campaign trail: the Tuna Melt.

I watched PCU while running on the treadmill and don’t remember much besides George Clinton’s appearance at a Port Chester University kegger. If only parties at Columbia could hijack Parliament-Funkadelic for impromptu concerts. Alas, we’re stuck with a nightmare set of top 40 hits. After attending one too many Parties in the U.S.A., I swore off frat row. To revise, after suffering through one “Party in the U.S.A.” playlist, I abandoned the possibility of entertainment along 114th Street. Operation Ivy League turned a once greasy skeezing block into a ghost town. Tumbleweed substitutes for empty beer cases on the street corner; bustiered harlots no longer beckon from Campo’s swinging saloon doors. It’s a quiet semester at Columbia so far—we badly need Mr. Wiggles to make the Mothership Connection. We want George Clinton. Someone start a write-in campaign. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Chicken of the Sea Edition, or Who Invented the Tuna Melt?

Allow me to introduce the Tour.

Last time I had the Gipper.

I was sitting on a bench by Morningside Park, eating my Hamdel Tuna Melt and enjoying the unseasonably cool weather, when a lingering question turned into an obsession. Who invented the tuna melt? Tuna salad griddled with cheese between bread seems like a simple concept, but at some far removed point in the mists of American history, some hitherto anonymous chef decided to conduct a sandwich experiment. After I finished my lunch, I set out to uncover the tuna melt’s story. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Columbia University, History, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Knute Rockne, All American Edition

Here’s the playbook.

Last time I had the Jose Special.

Knute Rockne, All American is the stuff sports dreams are made of. In the film’s most famous scene, legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne inspires his team with a quote from George Gipp: “sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Juiced Edition

Official rules and regulations located here.

Last time I had the Cheese Tease.

The Jose Special. You know what it is, right? It’s that thing where Jose Canseco comes up to you in the locker room waggling a big needle and offers to give you an injection you won’t ever forget. In his controversial memoir Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, Canseco talks about his own steroid use, and then starts naming names. It’s as predictable as a Mark McGwire home run circa 1998—that one handed backswing caught many a camera flash. Canseco claims he shot up teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, and Ivan Rodriguez with anabolic steroids. The Jose Special made baseball exciting for a new generation of fans. I remember following McGwire’s ’98  streak—as a second grader, the world of professional baseball seemed populated by mythical heroes, giants that rose above the ranks of mere mortals. When McGwire broke Roger Maris’s single season home run record with a steroid-powered blast that ricocheted off the upper deck, I probably sacrificed a bull to Zeus. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Enjoy Every Sandwich Edition

Liner notes available here.

Last time I had the Balboa.

On October 30, 2002, a mesothelioma-stricken Warren Zevon appeared on Letterman one  last time. He played a few songs, talked with Dave for about 10 minutes, and made an inconspicuous exit from the public eye. Of course, Zevon never enjoyed the pop stardom of his peers. Despite hit albums like Excitable Boy, he labored in relative obscurity. Critically but not commercially successful, Zevon was the consummate rock poet, a fringe figure whose quirky tunes never connected with the Billboard charts.

“Do you know something about life and death that maybe I don’t know now?” Letterman asked Zevon. “Not unless I know how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich,” Zevon replied. I won’t try to directly explicate Zevon’s comment.  What follows is an implicit explanation grounded in a humble Hamdel hero.

This week, I was scheduled to eat the Cheese Tease: American, Swiss, Muenster, and Provolone cheese with lettuce, tomato, pickles, oil, and vinegar. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Fight Club Edition

Although the first rule of Tour de Hamdel is you do not talk about Tour De Hamdel, here’s the info.

Last time I had the Fat Boy.

When I first tried the Stallone, I knew that the Balboa would eventually follow. Sure, maybe the name refers to Vasco Nunez de Balboa, conquistador extraordinaire—but the hero’s ingredients give its namesake away: chicken cutlet, ham, and melted Provolone? A sandwich fit for the Italian Stallion. If Rocky trained on a diet of Hamdel sandwiches, however, the Balboa wouldn’t make an appearance—too oily, too dry, and not nearly enough panache. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Tour de Hamdel: Little Man Edition

Everything you always wanted to know about the Tour de Hamdel (but were afraid to ask).

Last time I tried the Tex-Mex.

When Fat Man detonated over Nagasaki at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, the world already knew the power of nuclear weapons—Little Boy had dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier, ushering in a new era: the nuclear age. After World War II, nuclear power was considered a viable, and in fact desirable, energy source; the United States government promoted the development of nuclear energy, at least until public opinion shifted dramatically. Over the past two years, negative public opinion towards nuclear power has decreased in intensity. Many American (did) consider nuclear power a pathway to a greener economy. Following Japan’s latest nuclear crisis, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, public opinion has once again turned against the nuclear industry. History (namely the Three Mile Island incident) indicates that nuclear energy public opinion is “asymmetrically elastic”—negative opinions about nuclear energy are more lasting and more difficult to change than positive ones. But I have a solution for the nuclear industry: feed consumers Hamdel’s nuclear weapon, the Fat Boy. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel