Eating Adventures

Our Weekly Bread: A Hi*Rise sandwich orgy

Roast Beef
The sandwich: Roasted Veggie

What's on it: Mushroom, fennel, tomato, radish sprouts, all roasted and served with hummus, feta, balsamic vinegar on rosemary yam focaccia bread

Where to get it: Hi*Rise (2162 Larimer Street, 303-296-3656)

How much: $6.95

I got a chance to try five - yeah, five! -- different sandwiches at once this week when Hi*Rise, a new breakfast shop, bakery and deli in the poppin' Ballpark neighborhood -- brought them to the Westword test kitchen for sampling purposes. And I have to give them props, both in sandwich craftsmanship, menu creativity and flava. The first one I dug into was the Cajun Pork Po'Boy, a massive if mellow beast filled with juicy shredded pork covered in a purple, chunky coleslaw, apple chutney and Creole mustard. While the chutney was great, there wasn't enough to balance the pork. And the coleslaw and mustard were a bit bland. There was a little too much bread, as well. (Hi*Rise bakes its own, and it's good enough to stand on its own.) My second sandwich was the Mesquite Turkey -- which shamed many a plainer version of this classic with its generous layers of turkey, avocado, bacon, smoked gouda and a variety of greens. The pillowy, nine-grain bread helped make this one a winner.

Next in line was the Panino Caprese, which started with a nicely grilled (and still warm) Pugliese bread filled with prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, basil and garlic aioli.

The fourth was the Roast Beef, merging thinly-sliced roast beef -- full of flavor and without that filmy feel of so many deli sandwiches -- with explosive dollops of rich blue cheese that made for an extravagant combo. The only downside was the bread, a giant, hard hoagie that got in the way of the fixin's. My favorite, however, was the Roasted Veggie. No bitter black olives, unripe peppers or wilty sprouts here. This one came with mushrooms, fennel, tomato, hummus, radish sprouts and balsamic vinegar on rosemary yam focaccia, and it was freakin' delcious.

I'm not sure if I've ever had fennel on a sandwich, but I should have. The sweet, licorice-y flavor smelled and tasted terrific and fresh with the chunky mushrooms and tomato. And the hummus provided the perfect complement for keeping the sandwich light.

I get so tired of seeing the same sandwiches at so many delis and restaurants, so it's always pleasant to welcome a new place that puts its own twist on ingredients combos.

For previous sandwiches, see the Our Weekly Bread archive.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes