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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ian's Breakfast Sandwiches

In my attempt to obtain some semblance of relevancy within the ever-increasing blogosphere, I have decided to post reviews of various gluten-free products, as I encounter them. This is my first attempt. We'll see how it goes. The first entry is something I discovered rather recently, and have come to love. Our tale begins as I was prowling the freezer section of my local Whole Foods. As I did, a bright yellow cube caught my eye. "Why, it must be an Ian's product," I said to myself. Indeed, I was correct. Ian's, if you've never heard of them, has been making quite the name for themselves in the gluten-free food market, by coming up with a variety of allergen-free foods, mainly catering to the kids' set. They're the first company I've seen with gluten-free chicken nuggets, for example (but that's for another review). Anyway, I hadn't seen this box before, so I gave it a closer look.

A gluten-free breakfast sandwich? I'm so there! I'm fairly certain this is the first product of its kind to hit the market-- or at least to do so in Albuquerque. Needless to say, I wasted no time in picking up a box and carting it home, whereupon I tucked into my first sandwich the next morning.

I was very impressed. The sandwich heated up nicely in the microwave after about 1:15 worth of cooking. The resultant sandwich was a little tough to hold due to the heat, but was still easily consumed. The waffles smelled very much like maple syrup, and were appropriately soft and moist. What impressed me the most, however, were the innards of the thing. I'll admit that I was a little skeptical that the egg part was going to work, as microwaved egg is seldom a good thing, in my book. I was wrong! The egg was delicious. Of course, the egg didn't have to do much, as the slice of cheese provided with the sandwich was actually far cheesier than I had anticipated its being. All in all, I was very impressed with the meal. "The only thing that would make this better," I thought, "was if it had sausage in it." Well, guess what I found the next time I visited Whole Foods:

The same thing, only with sausage? Oh, hell yes! It should go without saying that I immediately grabbed a box and took it home with me. Except, I just said it. Um.

Turned out I what I saw didn't exactly conform with my fevered dreams- instead of being egg/cheese/sausage, this version just had egg/sausage. I guess they figured an egg/cheese/sausage combination would be too much for this world. They're probably right. Now, if I really wanted to, I could disassemble a pair of individual sandwiches and construct a mega-sandwich... hmmm, probably a bad idea. But I digress.

The plus-sausage/minus-cheese version of the sandwich, as it turns out, is about as excellent as the plus-cheese/minus-sausage version. I say "about," because, well, the sausage actually didn't bring as much to the table as I had hoped. It's still a worthy addition, but it could've been more. The picture on the box might be a teensy misrepresentation; the sausage isn't quite as prevalent in the finished product as is seen. That's a minor quibble, though. You have to cook the sausage version sliiiiiightly longer (1:20 as opposed to 1:15), but I can certainly live with it.

These products, however, are not without flaw. While much of Ian's product line falls under the aegis of some "Superfit Kid" program, these sandwiches do not. The non-sausage version will provide 335 calories, 14g fat, 100mg Cholesterol, and 495mg Sodium. The latter three values, in terms of Daily Value %? 22%, 37%, and 21%. The sausage version serves up 370 calories, 18g Fat, 120mg Cholesterol, and 710mg Sodium (28%, 40%, and 30%). That's certainly not the most healthy of options, so I wouldn't scarf one of these down everyday. And maybe it's good after all that they didn't go cheese/egg/sausage. Just sayin'.

Bottom line, though? These things are great. Just great. You should be able to pick them up at your local Whole Foods, if you have one. The Ian's website has a handy store locater if you need it. I don't know how accurate it is; it lists every Smith's in Albuquerque, and while the gluten-free offerings at those places are getting better all the time, I have yet to see these there. Anyway- if you can find these things and need something to help start the day out right, I heartily recommend Ian's breakfast sandwiches.

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