The first Panella sandwich I had at the PRK truck made me sit down and write a post asking if it would be the next Chickpea Fritter. It was just knock-dead awesome. So so good. The panella was warm and comforting, mild but flavorful, very satisfying. The lemon was awesome, and the fennel was subtle and olives and olive oil were just perfect. (We just upgraded our olive oil to some serious stuff, and this sandwich was in part a way to feature that change.)
But this post is about something we screwed up. A bit intimidating to write right now as I’m working to raise money for Clover’s expansion. It’s tempting to stay quiet about our challenges and talk about how great that sandwich was. But if you’ve been around for a while you know that’s not our way.
I had my second Panella and it was almost inedible. One of the worst sandwich experiences I’ve had at Clover. And the third was as bad.
This sandwich has been humbling. Chris did an awesome rollout of this sandwich, training videos were on point, it’s inventive, the ingredients are great, the recipe is awesome. But we had a scaling issue in production that was causing variability in the panella itself. We also had issues with the fennel salad not being made to spec. I leaned on some materials processing knowledge (thanks Professor Cima!) and we were able to move to a method that made silky smooth panella in large batch sizes. We worked out the fennel with some revised training.
I just read this note today from a customer:
I had this yesterday. One of the best sandwiches I’ve had at the Clover Food truck. I loved the fennel and the consistency of the chickpea fritter. Will go back again!
That’s awesome. But the question I’m working on with the kitchen is how to we avoid the not-so-impressive sandwiches that were served in the time between the first awesome one and the most recent batches? We’re working on new systems of testing scale before we go into full production. If we do our job right we will not face this again. In the meantime, if you had a Panelle you didn’t love PLEASE EMAIL or mention to your favorite order taker. We’d love the chance to make it up to you.