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Eating my way through your advice, an ambitious list of vegetarian sandwiches from 24 different restaurants. More Comments Come True.

As a partial vegetarian, I don’t find the need to incorporate soy-based products into my diet. If I want cheese, I eat cheese, not a soy substitute. If I want bacon, which probably happens about six times a year, I buy a package from the farmers market. I don’t look for some gluten alternative. I try to eat whole foods, real foods. I choose lentils and kale, butter beans and asparagus, not frozen faux-nuggets. You get it.

So you will understand my absolute hatred of “avocado spread.” Jimmy John’s, an Illinois-based chain, with locations around the region, and soon a spot in downtown D.C., uses a concoction of chemicals in lieu of real avocado.

I appreciate Jimmy John’s efforts (see “The Don’ts” list) in putting a vegetarian sandwich on the menu, although it is mostly shredded iceberg lettuce and about six slices of drab provolone. The cucumbers add a welcome crunch against the soft, house-baked seven-grain whole wheat bread, although I wish the tangle of sprouts took up more space within the ultra-tall sandwich.

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But this sandwich should have used actual avocado, slightly smashed with tender chunks still remaining. Instead, the sandwich revealed a thin slime of green, tasting more of a concocted acid than the voluptuous green goddess of fruit.  The slime is, in fact, part Hass avocado, but also, “sugar salt, citric acid, xanthan gum—whatever that is— sodium acid tyrophosphate and sodium alginate,” as a clerk told me over the phone.

While I value Y&H commenter Mariah Carey‘s opinion on the sandwich, and in full disclosure, she is a friend and is pictured above with the sandwich, I refuse to endorse a sandwich with fake avocado.

In order of appearance in the comments:

  1. Cork Market
  2. Cowgirl Creamery
  3. Busboys and Poets (sandwich 1) (sandwich 2)
  4. Taylor Gourmet (sandwich 1) (sandwich 2)
  5. Booeymonger
  6. Pret a Manger
  7. California Tortilla
  8. Jaleo (sandwich 1) (sandwich 2)
  9. Highland Cafe
  10. Jimmy John’s
  11. Greek Spot
  12. Sticky Fingers
  13. Earl’s
  14. Yum’s
  15. Super Taco
  16. Luna Grill
  17. Five Guys
  18. Sidamo
  19. Everlasting Life
  20. Au Bon Pain
  21. Devon & Blakely
  22. Corner Bakery
  23. Potbelly
  24. Black Squirrel

Photos by Stefanie Gans