By Stephen Hennessey
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- As I sat at Amen Corner Tuesday morning, watching practice-round pairings play through, I ate all nine sandwiches on the Masters concession-stand menu.
Yes. All of them. And some snacks. And a domestic beer to cleanse the palate.
Two days later, I can write that I'm feeling great. My fast metabolism allowed me even to have a steak-burrito dinner at a Mexican place in Augusta Tuesday night. Oh, and did I mention I started the last two days with a pimento-cheese sandwich, too?
The best part? I paid only $28 at the Masters concession stand. At a baseball game, a hot dog, fries and a beer would cost nearly the same!
I reviewed each Masters selection (in the order I ate them) and give you an honest evaluation. Let me know if you agree!
Grilled chicken sandwich ($2.50). Grade:
B+ --> changed to an A. | Antacid level: Low
My first couple of bites were disappointing. I had heard great things about this. All my mouth told me was dry. Don't get me wrong, it has that great grilled-chicken taste. And it got better after the first couple of bites. But then I discovered the barbeque sauce and honey mustard at the condiment stand. A game-changer! That's why my initial B+ went to an A. One insider tip: Golf World writer Dave Shedloski says he eats the sandwich without the top bun. That's a tried-and-true method -- Dave's covering his 20th Masters this week!
Egg-salad sandwich ($1.50). Grade: B | Antacid level: High
To me, egg salad is really an acquired taste. For those who enjoy a good egg-salad sandwich, like the group of five guys I was hanging with from Elizabethton, Tenn., they called it their favorite. But to me, it could use some chunkier pieces of eggs. It has a good taste, just a weird consistency. That being said, I've had a number of people tell me it's their favorite food.
Pimento-cheese sandwich ($1.50). Grade: A | Antacid level: High
This is the leading contender for best in show. As a Northerner, I had never even heard of pimento cheese outside of it being a staple of the Masters. I tried my first one before 8 a.m. on Tuesday (with Masters blend coffee). It was as delicious as advertised. Almost reminded me of mac and cheese. The creamy-cheese flavor was so tasty. As a first timer, I see no negatives to it.
Grilled chicken wrap ($3). Grade: B | Antacid level: Medium-to-low
Again, without any condiments this is a plain-jane sandwich. I will say, though, there was a perfect balance of shredded cheddar cheese on the inside of the wrap. That really helps it out in the judging. And if you don't like your lunch spiced up, this might be the thing for you. I threw on hot sauce to make it a solid lunch.
Bar-B-Que sandwich ($3). Grade: C+ | Antacid level: High
I'll certainly allow that it's tasty. But when you've had great barbeque from other parts of the country, this doesn't measure up. It just lacks that good barbecue kick. If you don't have barbecue often, then you might enjoy it.
Veggie wrap ($2.50). Grade: B | Heart-attack rating: Low
This might be your healthiest option. But I'm not at the Masters to watch my weight (if that wasn't already obvious). I'm here to enjoy myself. If you're like me, there are other options that will make your taste buds happier. It stole the shredded-cheddar cheese genius from the chicken sandwich, so it doesn't disappoint.
Ham-and-cheese sandwich on rye bread ($2.50). Grade: A | Antacid level: High
It might sound underwhelming, but this is one of the best offerings on the menu. There are two layers of processed American Swiss cheese -- a glorious surprise. I'm a big cheese guy, and this might be the most delicious slice of cheese I've had. This and the turkey-and-cheese ...
Turkey-and-cheese sandwich on wheat bread ($2.50). Grade: A | Antacid level: Medium-to-high
It's similar to the ham and cheese. You'd think it's simple and not worth your time. But the mayonnaise and mustard combination, along with the same cheese offering as the ham-and-cheese, makes for a delicious sandwich. I gave it a leg up on the ham and cheese for being on wheat bread. But it's still a filling meal. A must-have when you're here.
Masters Club ($2.50). Grade: B- | Antacid level: Medium-high
To be fair, this was the last thing I tried. When you're putting 2,500 calories into your stomach, there's SOME give. But the turkey-and-ham combination on a seeded hamburger roll didn't do it for me. The rye or wheat bread was a better complement to the taste than the club offered. You're better off with the ham on rye or the turkey on the wheat.
Chips ($1). Grade: B
Nothing that will blow you away, but definitely solid. They're provided by Cape Cod Potato Chips, which are always quality. There are barbeque or plain chips -- nothing out of the ordinary.
Chocolate-chip cookies ($1). Grade: A
One of the best snacks you can have here. They're the perfect amount of soft -- not too gooey. But the chocolate melts in your mouth. This is a must-try.
Georgia Peach Ice-Cream Sandwich ($1). Grade: A
You can't beat this. Judging by the group of four kids with ice cream all over their face yesterday, they were huge fans. This is a Masters favorite that doesn't disappoint. It'll be the ideal snack later in the week, when the temperatures hit 80 degrees.
Last take: No, we don't suggest you eating every menu item in an hour span. But it sure was fun. If you're a health-conscious patron, there are a few options. But c'mon. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of you. Indulge in the traditions of Augusta National. Eat a chicken or pimento-cheese sandwich, with a cold beverage, and a Georgia Peach ice-cream sandwich. The concession stand in Amen Corner is a perfect spot to soak up the food and the golf.
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