This week, I reached out for The New Frenchie sandwich, from "freaky fast, freaky fresh" Jimmy John's, with 2,800 restaurants coast to coast, north and south, but not so much in the tippy-top northeast. (Sorry Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.)
Word of warning: this "French-inspired" sandwich is available for a limited time only — and not just when it goes away forever. Jimmy John's makes only a small number of these sandwiches each day. When they're gone, they're gone, usually around 4 or 5 pm. The deadline is probably because baguettes, those long skinny loaves of crispy bread go stale pretty fast. Crispy fresh is good. Crispy stale, not good.
Here's The New Frenchie baguette sandwich breakdown: salami, capicola, provolone, and salted butter on a fresh baked baguette.
Total calories: 760. Jimmy John's hasn't released the rest of its nutritional numbers, but similar sandwiches at JJ's have about 15 fat grams, 1,660 milligrams of sodium, 76 grams of carbs, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and 33 grams of protein. Manufacturer's suggested retail price varies: my local Jimmy John's charged me $4.50. Other locations could go as high as $5. As Smokey Robinson and the Miracles advised, shop around.
Jimmy John's may call its Frenchie Baguette Sandwich "French-inspired," but the guts of this sandwich, salami, capicola, and provolone are definitely Italian by origin. The most Frenchie things about this sandwich are the salted butter and, of course, the baguette.
Perhaps Jimmy John's is trying to capture and capitalize on the jambon-buerre sandwich, a traditional French favorite. It's the No. 2 sandwich in France, trailing only fast food burgers. The jambon-buerre really simplifies things: a baguette, a few slices of ham, a spread of butter, and that's all.
When I sneak off to Nice in the South of France, my favorite city in Europe, I can't wait to grab a jambon-buerre, usually on display in bakery windows and refrigerated cases outside of supermarkets and sandwich shops. They're wrapped in paper so you can eat them on the run. So delicious.
Jimmy John's wraps its Frenchie Baguettes in clever checkerboard paper to enhance the French experience. Nice touch. Like all sandwiches at Jimmy John's, and the best thing about the place, the meats and cheeses are freshly sliced. Give one a try.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the sandwich chain is named for founder and still chairman of the board Jimmy John Liautaud.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.