THE MICHAEL SCHLIEFKE SANDWICH
June 29, 2005 – You always find inspiration when you’re not looking for it. One fine afternoon, I stopped by Ian’s house on a rare visit to the Post Office. as things go, I was easily sidetracked and soon found myself as a passenger to a restaurant/bar off the beaten path on Burnet Road: Billy’s. Not your run of the mill restaurant, nor your run of the mill bar, this was the place for offbeat denizens to chow down fine food and listen to one of the keenest juke boxes in town.
Billy’s, run by a grizzled vet of the Austin food scene and a fair number of punk rockers, not only has some of the deadliest chicken wings you’ve ever tasted, but features burgers named after local Austin celebrities. The Ian Shults, painter, sculptor, tattoo artist and punk rocker extraordinaire, features bacon and jack cheese. While my distaste for bacon lead me to order a less special burger, Ian ponied up to the chicken wings. My first run in with those wings was a wild bet to eat twenty in ten minutes. It took me twelve minutes.
So, after a few beers and hanging out with most of Ian’s bandmates, I was back home and preparing for a BBQ among friends. As topics swirled back and forth, Ian’s sandwich became the topic and I started to wonder what a sandwich named after me would be. My housemate Matt said, “well, obviously, it’d be some sort of hot dog.” I agreed, and thought it had to be better than that. “One topped with something more white trash, like, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.”
And with that, the idea of the Michael Schliefke sandwich was born.
The idea continued to evolve over the next couple of days, and the hot dog was replaced with a suggestion of my friend Chuck to use kielbasa, which has always been one of my favorites. So, after a trip to HEB, I was good to go. I cooked up the ingredients, deciding to cut the kielbasa into chips rather than serve it sausage style. Once the macaroni and cheese was ready, I topped off a generous portion of kielbasa with a generous portion of macaroni.
In my mind, there really wasn’t any way that this could go awry. Once I saw the ingredients all come together, I was in love. I took a bite, and immediately felt a rush of goodness overcome my soul. Perhaps this is what I’ve been searching for my whole life.
Jesse, the independent arbiter, bit into his kielbasa sandwich and wholeheartedly agreed with my findings, and complimented me on a fine sandwich.
I still think I could use some tinkering, perhaps toasting the whole sandwich adding a slight crispness to the whole affair, but overall, I’m proud to serve up the sandwich named after me. Now I just need to become famous enough to warrant some lucky establishment to cook one for their patrons.