Bear Market Sandwich Extravaganza: Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Flatbread Sandwich, Steakhouse Beef with Garlic Parmesan Sauce

This week the Bear Market embarks on a great adventure: the sandwich. Last weekend we bought a stack of frozen grocery store panini and flatbread and stockpiled them in the RFT freezer. Barring theft, we will try out a new one every day this week.

The Bear Market is an economist, sort of, and though we can't do anything fancy like explain, precisely, why the economy failed or when and how it will recover, we can offer a few bits of valuable wisdom: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Today's sandwich is a perfect example of that principle. Last Friday, the day we intended to eat our Oscar Meyer Deli Creations Flatbread Sandwich, our business manager very generously provided a dozen pizzas for the staff's delectation. Who are we to say no to free Racanelli's?

Therefore, our sandwich sat in the refrigerator for three additional days. This afternoon, as we tore open the little plastic pouch that held the meat, we noticed that it smelled the slightest bit...gamy. We finished assembling the sandwich per the instructions on the package and popped it into the microwave, and then it occurred to us to check if there was an expiration date.

Sure enough, there it was: December 6. Today is December 9.

Is that mysterious rumbling the destruction of the Bear Market's digestive tract or just Rod Blagojevich's Presidential ambitions? Find out after the jump.

The Bear Market possesses a hardy constitution, so we decided to go ahead and sample the sandwich anyway, with the caveat that we accept all blame for bad-tasting meat.

Name: Oscar Meyer Deli Creations Flatbread Sandwich, Steakhouse Beef with Garlic Parmesan Sauce

Cost: $3.39 at Dierberg's.

Preparation Time: Approximately 2 minutes for assembly, plus another minute in the microwave.

Quantity: A single slice of flatbread, about 6 inches in diameter, piled with meat, cheese and sauce. Adequate for lunch.

Extra Bonus: Comes with a microwavable paper tray with can be used as a plate. (Said tray has little handles around the perimeter that helpfully tell you to "Grip Here" to avoid getting burned.)

Bread: The flatbread is sturdy enough to hold meat, cheese and filling without falling apart in your hand. You probably wouldn't want to eat it on its own, but as a sandwich component, it is entirely adequate. A few bites of ours tasted slightly charred. We're not sure if that was supposed to add to the authentic deli style, but it didn't enhance the taste at all.

Filling: All things considered, the meat wasn't too bad. It was nicely seasoned with black pepper. The pepper also covered up the gamy flavor -- and our stupidity. (We are grateful for the old and honorable cooking tradition of disguising the taste of spoiled meat with spice, which reached its height in the Middle Ages, though it is still practiced in some areas, like our kitchen.) The three cheeses, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan, blend together so well that no flavor really dominates: It all tastes like light-colored cheese. The garlic parmesan sauce was the most disappointing part of the whole thing. We love garlic. We love garlic a lot. Alas, the sauce tasted more salty than anything else.

Note: Also comes in Chicken & Bacon Ranch, Buffalo-Style Ranch Chicken, Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken and Fajita Beef & Salsa. Lance Armstrong's Daily Plate page reports that you can work off the 330 calories in this sandwich by baling hay for 38 minutes or disco dancing for 47.

In Short: We feel honor-bound to give this one another shot, but we also feel honor-bound to report that if we hadn't screwed up, we would not be eating this alone, just because of condiment overkill.

- Aimee Levitt
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