Saturday, September 10, 2016

Slow Roasted Brisket Sandwich at The Red Rabbit, Stratford

Satisfying, but not a sandwich. 

Recently my wife and I found ourselves in Stratford, Ontario, a short stop on the way from St. Thomas to Toronto.

We'd visited at a coffee roastery in St. Thomas, Las Chicas del Café at 750 Talbot Street, in the beautifully restored red-brick Canada Southern Railway Station. (St. Thomas was once known as the railway capital of Canada. Now they have a craft brewery called Railway City Brewing Co. Try the Dead Elephant IPA.)

If you're anywhere near St. Thomas, stop in at Las Chicas and say hi and pick up a couple bags of beans, roasted on site. The proprietors, Maria Fiallos and Valeria Fiallos-Soliman, gave us some cherry-infused cold brew they'd made that morning, noting that they didn't sell cups of coffee on site, only bags of Nicaraguan beans from obscure varietals. They noted that their coffee was served at cafés throughout Southern Ontario, including Revel Caffe in Stratford.

So we decided, why not. We drove to Stratford, found Revel, had coffee, then looked for a place for lunch.

We happened on The Red Rabbit. I had an open-faced slow roasted brisket sandwich, with a fried egg on top.

It was delicious, but it is not a sandwich. As my complete, unambiguous sandwich definition notes, anything impossible to eat with my hands without excessive hardship does not qualify. So I'd categorize it as tasty, filling, flavourful, juicy, savoury, satisfying—but not a sandwich.

Then we went back to Revel for another espresso. It was great.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sandwiches on a plane

What am I eating?

I bought a sandwich from Starbucks before my flight to Ontario. Check out the ingredients list on this thing. The actual sandwich was okay, though the meat distribution was not exactly uniform.

Turkey gathered on one side.

All in all it was a good flight. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Did Vincent van Gogh like sandwiches?

Waiting  for broodjes.
I don't want to speculate but yes.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Great Canadian Roast Beef at Arby's

"Great Canadian Roast Beef." I liked it.
Not bad for a fast food sandwich. Had some lettuce, tomato, condiments. Not much else to add. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is a cinnamon bun a sandwich? Why not?

Definitely not a sandwich, because you can't pick it up without making a mess.

I get this question a lot: "Would you call this cinnamon bun a sandwich?"

Okay, you got me. I've never been asked it, but I've imagined such a scenario many, many times. 

The answer is no. It's not a sandwich. "Why not?" I've often imagined being asked in shocked awe. 

Easy: it's not easy to eat with your hands without excessive mess. 

Let's get theoretical. If it was easier to hand-hold it was would be considered an open-faced vanilla cream cheese frosting sandwich with a raspberry cinnamon bun frame. 

"But you have to bake it," someone might say. "Doesn't the fact that it's not in an edible state prior to baking disqualify it from sandwich-hood?" 

Iin this case the essence (the frosting) is added after the cinnamon bun is baked, so it's not unlike baking bread then adding a slice of ham, which is clearly a sandwich. 

But the above is not a sandwich. Too messy. See the Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition for more. 

Club Bagel at Rosemary Rock Salt

Guess how much I paid for this?

Not bad, lots of meat, but I was stunned into silence when it occurred to me I paid nine dollars for it.

Nine. Dollars. 

Of money.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Grilled Cheese at Kafka's Coffee and Tea

Executed well.

This was a well-executed grilled cheese sandwich from Kafka's Coffee and Tea, a cafe near Main and Broadway in Vancouver that serves well-executed coffee and tea. Everything they do seems to be well executed.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Subway sandwich footlong measurement scandal erupts

Last week the New York Post broke a story that is rocking the sandwich world to its buns.

Two reporters for the paper conducted a sting at Subway Sandwich locations in the best three boroughs New York, and found the lengths of the sandwiches lacking.

According to Kaylee Osowski and Natalie O'Neill:

"Four out of seven Footlongs — purchased at Subway locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens — measured only 11 or 11.5 inches, according to the test." 

So is it false advertising, or just a measurement malfunction? Subway has responded, I'll post their thoughts in the coming days.

I'll be honest, I noticed this phenomenon about 15 years ago. I mentioned it to the people who worked at the Subway on West Street near Commerce Drive in Orillia, inside the gas station, and they said that the pans are 12 inches, but sometimes the bread shrinks in the ovens.

I was satisfied with their answer, and satisfied with the footlong "Assorted" sub that I ate that day, with extra lettuce.

Here's a link to the full exposé.

UPDATE: It appears this story originated in Australia, and the Post work was done as a followup.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Crudtités Thon Baguette Sandwich in Paris

Bought this delicious crudités thon (tuna) sandwich at one of my favourite bakeries in Paris. A relatively nondescript boulangerie on Rue du Faubourg du Temple, a block east of Place de la République.

The bread was perfect: light and crispy, biteable, tasty. The dressing on the tuna was buttery and lightly salty.

Ate it in a square nearby, on the way to buying a printer at FNAC.

5€20 including drink.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Smoked Ham Sandwich, Grilled at the Dirty Apron Deli

What a great sandwich!

A sandwich gentled filled with mayo, parsley, pickle, smoked ham and a couple other elements on perfectly grilled white bread. I mean, seriously, the grilling job on this bread was artistic. A thin crispy layer of toastedness, rippled like a Greek sandbar, soft and biteable.

Ideal proportions. No mess, nothing on my hands, but lots of flavor. The condiments were present but not gooey.

Well worth the $7.99. Topped it with a fantastic root beer.

In hindsight, the parsley was the key to unlocking the flavour.

Dirty Apron Cooking School and Deli
540 Beatty Street, Vancouver

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving for a turkey sandwich

Overcooking the turkey has terrible consequences for the next day's sandwiches. That's what was going through my head yesterday as I cooked the bird, debating whether to take it out of the oven.

I did. It was the right decision.

This sandwich was perfect: moist meat on soft white bread --- leftover from the stuffing recipe --- with cheddar cheese and just a few dabs of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Pepper, in fact is the second most important ingredient.

This conforms to the definition of a sandwich because the essence is of a naturally formed, not shredded or formed into a weirdo shape, like a burger. Amazing.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hot Smoked Salmon Salmwich at The Kaboom Box

A nice sandwich. Not easy to eat sitting on a bench though.
There was a seismic shift in the street food landscape in Vancouver in 2010 when the city started a program to increase the number of food carts. The Kaboom Box, formerly Fresh Local Wild, is one of 91 vendors currents permitted, with another 12 set to launch in May of 2012.

Vancouver's climate isn't always ideal for street food. When it's cool out, or rainy, eating outside isn't comfortable. Plus, not all foods were meant to be eaten on the street. The ideal dish is contained in some way, not too messy, and doesn't require utensils. That's why hot dogs are such a popular item, obviously. The bun frame protects your hands from sauces. For sandwiches to be successful on the street, vendors must be reserved in the amount of sauces and toppings they tack on.

The Hot Smoked Salmon Salmwich from Kaboom Box was really nicely done, with tender, tasty meat, and just enough spicy mayo and maple-mustard slaw. The bun was lightly toasted and fresh. It was a bit messy, but I found a bench to sit at, and used the tray to contain my spillover. I'll be back for me.

- - -
The Kaboom Box
Price: $7.14
Located on the northwest corner of Robson and Granville in Vancouver.
Or check the location of all Vancouver food carts.

From the Kaboom Box website: "The Kaboom Box was founded to bring fresh, sustainable, healthy and local food to the streets of Vancouver. We use only the best ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible, and prepare all our food fresh to order with care and love of the trade. We are committed to serving only Oceanwise seafood and sustainably produced meat. Likewise we use organic vegetables whenever possible and are committed to using biodegradable and compostable packaging."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pulled Pork: A Revelation in Taste

Everybody should do this atleast once, monthly.

I slow roasted a pork shoulder, and ate a good slab of it like that, then, after it cooled, I pulled it, and ate it all week on sandwiches. So moist and tasty, salty from the rub before it went in the oven.

This recipe was a true discovery. And it clearly falls under the
definition of a sandwich
, since the meat has been shredded, not formed into an unnatural shape such as a patty.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sandwiches on an English Muffin

Not really muffins

These homemade English muffins are the perfect frame for a turkey sandwich. The definition of freshness.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sandwiches and Bubbly

A drink best served cold

Champagne is a great lunch drink. With sandwiches. This bottle was a gift from my employer.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Paris Apartment

Cabinets by Ikea.

Dreaming of the ceiling.

A big red pole in the middle.

What does a Paris apartment look like? This. They tend to be on the small side, but not unpleasant. Necessarily. Sure, ours was a little mouldy and occasionally dripping, but it wasn't like we couldn't get rid of the clinging bacteria after a few days of hard scrubbing. I think it's almost out of my lungs, too.

You might note the double bunk-bed style sleeping arrangement. This is about as good as it looks. Getting up in the middle of the night is not recommended. You can't sit up too fast either. But if you are a sound sleeper and slow sit-upper, you are totally fine.

We had a washer but no dryer. Fortunately there was a laundro just down the street. But when we brought our wet laundry there, we were asked several questions about the source of the washing. Did you hand wash those clothes? Where did you wash them? Are they wet? After passing this test ("Yes", "At home, in our washing machine", "Not too wet, no"), we were allowed to use one of the three dryers. This test happened three times.

Our kitchen was entirely satisfactory, a small oven, yes, but with a little ingenuity you can do almost anything. Sandwiches, boeuf bourguignon, beaver tails and nachos all were conceived in this space. And eaten nearby.

Good times in a great neighbourhood. The 11th. I will miss it always.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Belgian Fry Stand

Belgium's contribution to the world

Sometimes you just need fries. I do, anyway.

Down the street from our apartment in Paris is a Belgian burger stand. I should probably call it a fry stand, really, as that's where the focus seems to be.

One of the big differences you notice between eating in Europe and North America is the portion sizes. Everything is a little smaller here in the old world. The focus tends to be on quality and freshness rather than quantity. That theory flew out the window when my wife and I ordered food from the Belgian burger stand. A small order of fries is enough for both of us. And we like fries. They are always tasty and salty, though I wish they wouldn't pre-cook them. While it does add to the crunch, it makes them too hard sometimes. And it's just not necessary.

Working in the food industry I learned that the best way to make fries is to cook them straight from the freezer, and don't over fry. If done right, they're crispy on the outside and soft but not raw on the inside. A perfect match for sandwiches, burgers or nothing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Sandwich With Tapenade, Olive-Style

Memorable sandwich toppings come in many forms, some of which are spreadable.

I got into olives recently.

Why it took 26 years I do not know. I think the green was a turnoff.

But one day in 2005, at 1-For-1 Pizza (you pay for one, you get one) on Bank Street in Ottawa with my friend Steve, I ordered a fresh slice full of black olives. There were too many. It was very salty.

But the flavour stayed with me.

Soon I was craving them all the time. Now I buy black olives by the tiny bagful at the Richard Lenoir market on a tri-weekly basis.

This sandwich, loaded with olive tapenade freshly made by my wife, was delicious. Try something like it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Debunking Conventional Wisdom: The Eagles

Why don't we come to our senses?

Conventional Wisdom:
The Eagles are a talented musical group, with many memorable, well-written songs that will stand the test of time. In fifty years our childrens' friends' kids will still be listening to the Eagles Greatest Hits, one of the most essential collections in the history of recorded music.

This is not true.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chocolate Donut Sandwich

Great for breakfast

It shouldn't be a surprise that this chocolate donut is a sandwich. It has a frame (the dough) and an essence (the chocolate) and can be picked up without excessive mess. As long as the dough is baked first, and the chocolate added later, it's a sandwich. And this is obviously the case. See the CUSD for more.

The chocolate is actually Nutella, which I don't like in large quantities. Hazelnut does not always agree with me. But for a day's first meal, few sandwiches are finer.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Roast Chicken Sandwich

Just add pepper.

Bought a roast chicken at the Richard Lenoir Market, near Bastille. The leftovers made two days worth of lunch.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sandwiches For Bastille Day

Waiting in the afternoon.

On Bastille Day, 2007, we ate sandwiches on the champs de mars, a long stretch of park under the Eiffel Tower where Napolean's troops marched and trained.

We watched Nelly Furtado and others, waiting for the fireworks.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Space Invaders

Another invasion near Bastille

Mosaic Space Invaders are everywhere in Paris. They remind me of being seven. Always a good thing.

This one was in the 11th arrondissement.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Champagne, Great With Sandwiches

Happy underground.

A cave under the town of Reims in the region of Champagne, France, full of bottles. Champagne is great with chips, and sandwiches, especially cured ham.

Monday, June 11, 2007

North Americans in Paris

Don't blame the Canadians.

Music by LDC Soundsystem.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Versailles Made Me Sick

Versailles, from behind

The aptly named Hall of Mirrors


In 1682, the official residence of the Court of France moved from the Louvre in Paris to Versailles, a chateau 25km to the southwest. Today, more than three hundred years later, Versailles still makes a lasting physical impression on visitors.

In my case, in the form of a cold.

I'll admit, it was a minor cold, more a nuisance than a malady. I first felt ill-effects on the evening of our visit after returning to our apartment. Thinking I had just got too much direct sun, I slept without worry. But the next morning I awoke with a scratched throat and vigorous sniffle.

All week I hoarded kleenex, staging a patient but resolute defense against the medieval germs. While the symptoms were not intense, the bug proved to be an adept networker, spreading to my coworkers, my wife, and my wife's coworkers. Today, thirteen days after my first sneeze, I am cured.

Visitors to Versailles, be warned: behind the thick oak panels and priceless gold-foil detailing, under the rigid balustrades, within the mirrored halls, the decorative cornices and tasteful friezes, hidden in the greenery of the sculpted geometric gardens, microbes await.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Will I Ever See Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres

Will I?

Seriously, that's what it's called. And it's out right now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Statistics Canada Considers Pizza a Sandwich

According to a recent report by Statistics Canada, Canadians consume way too much salt. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who has read the nutritional information on anything. If it's in a can it has lots of sodium. If it tastes good, same.

The real shocker in the report was what Statistics Canada considers a sandwich. Saying they oversimplified is -- for me -- the understatement of the young millennium. Discussing the amount of sodium in various foods, Stats Can reported the following:

"The "sandwich" category (pizza, sandwiches, submarines, hamburgers, hot dogs) led the way, representing 19% of sodium intake. This was followed by soups (7%) and pasta dishes (6%)."

Even though I disagree wholeheartedly, (see my explanation here), I acknowledge that the uninformed might lump hamburgers in with the sandwiches. But hot dogs? Pizza? The only kind of sandwich a pizza even remotely resembles is the Open-faced. But I don't know a single person or corporation who would put a deep-dish and a hoagie even on the same menu board. They are not siblings, but distant relatives, far removed. Cousins of cousins of cousins.

For those who need an explanation, here is why pizza is not a sandwich: it's all in the baking. An item that, as a whole, requires baking before it can be eaten is not a sandwich. Thus, a pizza, with its toppings added to raw dough, does not qualify. But a sandwich made on dough that is baked to become bread before anything else is added, does. The classification changes when pizza-like toppings are added to a pre-cooked base, which could technically be eaten on the spot. This, according to the CUSD, is a sandwich, as long as it is "capable of being held without great hardship or mess".

It's a technicality for sure, but god loves details. And corned beef subs.

A big thanks to reader Michel for bringing the report to my attention.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pancho Con Pancho at Mr. Dog

Lunch in Argentina. Fries by McCain.

Mendoza, Argentina is technically a desert.

It blooms with olives and cypress and grapes thanks to the ingenuity of the indians, who, hundreds of years ago, rerouted runoff from the snowcapped peaks of the Andes into channels that irrigate the region and babble down the flat, shaded streets of the city.

The streams provide a fresh, clean quality, one that can only be sullied by the eating of a gigantic hot dog.

The day of our visit to Mr. Dog, there were bees everywhere, buzzing greedily as they absorbed the sweet marinaded trash outside the restaurant. I slid tentatively up to the counter, Metallica blaring and an impatient stare awaiting my order. The "pancho" section of the menu displayed four options: Pancho simplé, Pancho *something*, Pancho *something else* and Pancho con Pancho. I was confused and flustered.

This was one of those moments I'll never get back, I remember thinking. Why had I come all this way, to Mendoza, if not to get the baddest pancho the city could offer? Surely I must go for the fourth and obviously most awesome choice, the Pancho con Pancho.

Combo? Sure, I'll take the combo. Si, Coke, gracias. Straight fries.

I had no idea what a Pancho con Pancho would be, but I did some quick thinking. "Pancho" must be a hot dog. I know "con" means "with". Ergo, Pancho con Pancho must mean a hot dog, topped with another hot dog!

I was wrong, in the most delightful way. Before my eyes appeared a 10-inch dog, covered thick with slabs of salty local ham, and graced with a half-inch of gooey melted cheese. Pancho con Pancho! Pork with pork!

Never before had I eaten so much salt. I left the dregs of my Coke for the bees, their buzzing thanks drowning out the rolling streams.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Side of Meat in Chile

Carve responsibly.

Chileans like meat. Not really breaking new ground with that insight. Travelling through the long tall country you see evidence of their beef affluence, with grazing cattle a frequent sight. I had many sandwiches, and many hamburguesos, but the best way to enjoy the stuff is cooked over roasting coals, as long as you don't get it too well done.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ottawa Farewell

Discovery Sandwich is going international for a little while. Here's a video with some memories of Ottawa. We'll miss it, but we'll be back.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dagwood Gets His Sandwich

One of many possible permutations of the Dagwood sandwich, by Boar's Head.

Dagwood Bumstead, the classic comic-strip character from the Blondie series, finally got his sandwich. And it's about time. He's been around for over seventy years, but never seems to get the chance to chow.

Dagwood's Sandwich Shoppes are scheduled to open in early November 2006, with aggressive plans for expansion. Launched by Dean Young, son of the strip's creator, Chic Young, the shoppes will sell lots of sandwiches, which is good. I just hope they respect Dagwood's legacy by focussing on craftsmanship and quality rather than pumping out platefuls of tasteless drivel.

While the Dagwood Sandwich has been an official entry in Webster's Dictionary for a few years, there's doesn't seem to be a standard set of ingredients, besides stacks of meat and cheese, thick slabs of bread, and a healthy appetite.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Calamari Steak Sandwich at Duarte's Tavern

Duarte's Tavern, Pescadero, CA

The Calamari Steak Sandwich

If you happen to search for "Pescadero, CA" in Google, you'll find that the first listing is for Duarte's Tavern.

There's a good reason for this.

Just east off the Pacific Coast ("Number 1") Highway, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, population 670, Pescadero does not boom. It does not tremble with activity. It does, however, serve some of the best food in the U.S.A., at Duarte's Tavern.

My wife came across Duarte's in the book Roadfood, and by the description, the restaurant was well worth a stop. We were hungry and eager to tuck into a late lunch and the olallie berry pie we had read about.

Wood panelling everywhere. Cold, fizzy root beer. And artichokes. It was quickly apparent that we were in artichoke country.

I rarely ask wait staff for their opinion on items from the menu. With many summers spent in working in a restaurant, I understand the urge to rave about every item. (“The liver? Outstanding!”) But at Duarte’s, I needed some guidance if I was to take the leap into a calamari steak sandwich. The rave seemed genuine, and the waitress was spot on: it was tender and tasty. My favourite sandwich in a long time. Breaded and herbed up, on a French roll. And the olallie berry pie was like nothing I've had before.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Discovering Sandwiches

Interstate 5, just south of Seattle

Dusk on an Oregon highway

Cruising a speeder bike on the moon of Endor

Discovery Sandwich International has been absent from the table for too long. But for good reason: I've been combing the delis and cafés of North America in search of the greatest and best sandwiches.

A recent roadtrip down and up the Pacific Ocean coast revealed 4200 km of lunches, and I'm as prepared as mustard to share it all.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Rollercoaster Principle

I was asked recently to clarify a point on open faced sandwiches. Here is Patricia's question:

"After our discussion concerning Danish open faced sandwiches, I have a question for you: As you know this type of sandwich is correctly eaten with a knife and fork... my question to you is: what if the sandwich is flipped and the filling is on the bottom and the bread on top? It MUST now be eaten with a knife and fork but is it still a sandwich? Just some food for thought!"

Here is my response:

If an open-faced concoction is deemed to be a sandwich, then flipping it over will not change its classification.

Here's why: If it's determined to be a sandwich in its upright form, this indicates that the item is not excessively messy (for more, see the Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition). We're talking no gravy, no major sauce coverage. So, if flipped over, I'm assuming that there is a way to hold the thing
without getting too much of the contents/condiments on you. Ergo, it is still a sandwich. I.e., you could hold the meat with your thumbs, and tuck any pickles between the meat and the frame. If it's a loose meat sandwich, then we are in some trouble. At this point, if you insist on eating it flipped over, I suggest you eat over the sink.

The greater principle here is that a sandwich's classification cannot be affected by its angle of rotation. I will heretofore call this the Rollercoaster Principle: If it's a sandwich at the bottom of a rollercoaster's arc, then it's a sandwich at the top, when the passengers and their sandwiches are upside down.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bitter Tea by The Fiery Furnaces

Bitter Tea: Dense but ultimately rewarding

Listening to a Fiery Furnaces album is like wading through a river of thick flowing caramel at its widest point. It can be painful, it takes a long time, and you might drown in a river of caramel. But if you make it to the other side, you are rewarded because there's sweetness dripping all around you.

Bitter Tea is no exception. After listening to the 72-minute album, I still don't really know what to think. Instrumental interludes interupt songs like a telemarketer during dinner, stubbornly hawking new wares that sound unlike anything that's come before.

The lyrics, at this early stage, make as much sense as German to a dolphin. Maybe that's because there's lots of backward singing, which kind of sounds like German. I've noticed some pleasing songs to listen to, but I don't know which ones, and I don't have the CD case in front of me.

Still, the Furnaces bring the originality. Wonky sounds and arbitrary non-sequitors weave a quilt that suggests a mind meld between Dr. Suess and Scott Joplin.

This reviewing experience has taught me that I need to listen to albums many more times before I can form anything as concrete as an actual opinion. You've got to uncork Bitter Tea, give it some air. Each time you taste it you'll get something different.

At this point, I'm still just wading in the caramel.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

85-Pound Sandwich

For those unfamiliar with the conversion rates, 85 pounds is roughly equal to $170 CDN. That's a pricey meal by most measurements, but for this sandwich it's about right.

The McDonald sandwich, named for its creator Scott McDonald, executive chef of Selfridges department store in London, is a rare beast. It's loaded with tender Wagyu beef and other expensive, edible items carefully staged on a platform of "24-hour fermented sour dough bread."

You know that's some high quality bread if it's been fermenting for 24 hours. I've had the 12-hour fermented stuff and I'm sure it just doesn't hold a candle.

In all seriousness, I wouldn't hesitate to dole out $170 for a McDonald. At a hefty 21 ounces, it's worth its weight in pounds.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Scone Witch -- A Delicious Hex

The salmon sconewich: quite buttery

As a hungry wise person once said, "You can't make sandwiches on bread alone."

Okay, I may have paraphrased that. But I think the people at The Scone Witch (388 Albert Street, Ottawa) heard it the same way.

They serve up a wicked variety of sconewiches, which, as you might expect, feature tasty sandwich contents framed by a buttery scone. Although you may prefer to eat them with a knife and fork, most sconewiches classify as sandwiches, since this decision has more to do with looking refined than the degree of mess the sandwich creates --- a key tenet in the Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition.

Pictured above is a poached salmon concoction. The scone was light and fresh, and, though small, rather filling. Served with a salad, it leaves you satisfied. Not excessively suffonsified.

The restaurant's location is a little odd, though well suited to its name. Set up in a house just west of the business district in downtown Ottawa, it's surrounded by parking lots. One might expect the interior to be dank and cave-like, fortunately it's clean with lots of natural light.

The Scone Witch is a real Ottawa treat. If you haven't tried it, do. I'll be back soon.

My rating: four broomsticks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Meatball Subs are NOT Sandwiches

Wanted: a roundburger

This poster has been floating around the 'net for a little while now. Given its relevance to DSI, and its substantiation of my view that a meatball sub is NOT a sandwich (it's a Roundburger -- see my Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition from August 25, 2005) I thought I should post it.

The rumour I've heard is that this image is a likeness taken from a real "Wanted" poster of an infamous criminal from the American west, over 110 years ago. This guy apparently realized, moments before being gunned down following a daring bank heist, that the Meatball Sub cannot be classified as a sandwich due to the non-natural formed shape of the meatballs — just like a burger, which also exists in another class.

I haven't checked Snopes yet to verify.

Sandwich Haters -- Blue Man Group?

Pure conjecture.

I don't know for a fact, but I suspect that the Blue Man Group hates sandwiches.

Photo swiped from here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Treats" Lives Up To Its Name

Not a sandwich, but still good.

This place is something.

I think the quality of your experience must depend on which location you visit. Certainly the outlet at Kent and Albert in downtown Ottawa is without equal. The chef, and he deserves all the title connotes, is exuberant and a skilled flavourer. I highly recommend checking out his domain.

On Fridays the featured dish is quesadilla. The service is great, the atmosphere lively.

You may be scolded if you don't finish your soup.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Crêpes West

Every time my fiancé and I cross into Pacific longitudes we make three stops: Café Crêpe, Cupcakes, and the best hotdog stand ever.

Cupcakes and the best hotdog stand ever do not relate to sandwiches, so we'll deal with them another time.

Crêpes are sandwiches—French sandwiches—with origins dating back to classical Roman times. They have a frame and a filling, and do not entirely hide the tasty innards, placing the crêpe well within the Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition (unless, of course, they are filled with an uncut burger patty or something equally bizarre).

Sweet or savory, equally at home on a plate or palm-wrapped, crêpe s are versatile. The one pictured above, an easy favourite, hosts spinach and feta. The buttery softness of the shell warms and melts the cheese, gooing up each bite.

But the beauty of the crepe, as with all sandwiches, is its ability to contain. Wrapped in a crinkling waxy paper, there is little fear of mess. You can the check out the massive maples and Douglas firs of Stanley Park, the shops and runners on Robson Street, the fleeces and hiking shoes at Kitsilano, confident that you're not leaving any precious crêpe on the sidewalk.

What a great city.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Homemade Panini

Melting the cheese is key

I got a sandwich maker recently. It's one of those appliances on the verge of impractical, especially if you don't have much storage space in your kitchen. Do people really use them, or do they just sit waiting on the shelf, between the juicer and the waffle maker? Valid questions.

For the record, my waffle maker sees frequent action, and so has the sandwich grill.

The joy of grilled sandwiches is in the bread, bun or whatever your outer layer. Lately, I've been buying beautiful baked ciabatta loafs. They're dense, heavy and the perfect size. And when you grill em right, they form a crisp outer crust that warms the contents of your panini.

The other reason to have a sandwich grill is, of course, to melt cheese. It really doesn't matter what type, as long as it's flowing.

The sandwiches pictured above had ham and turkey, old white cheddar, honey mustard, sweet pickles and tomatoes. I spray the grill with oil, squeeze it down, and a few minutes later we're ready.

They are close to perfect.

Friday, September 30, 2005

If It Acts Like a Croissant

Kerry's lunch

The croissantwich is a rarely discussed but genuine genus of order "sandwich."

And what a tasty order.

The morsel above, courtesy of Kerry, features cream cheese, crabmeat, and... I think I see some ruffage in there. Truthfully, I'm a little in the dark. I need Kerry to set it straight. Those are her hands too.

It looked good, so I had to show the world one of the few ways to improve on a French pastry.

Just add crab.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Marcello's: Brown-Bagging It

Ask for the special sandwich sauce

Marcello's has a few locations in Ottawa, and they're all jampacked at lunch on weekdays as hungry government workers discuss how to appease stakeholder coalitions. There's always a steady line at the sandwich counter, which must do tidy business custom-making sandwiches on fresh slices of whatever-you-want.

They do well, I think, because they keep it simple. The sandwiches I order could just have easily been made at home. Roast beef, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, pepper and mustard on fresh rye bread. Nothing tough about that. Except, perhaps, the freshness of the bread, and, of course, the special sauce -- the ingredient that keeps me coming back.

At four bucks apiece, the price is fair. If you're looking for a standout sandwich, something original, you should go someplace else. But if you're looking to fill your brown bag with a tasty sandwich, Marcello's delivers.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Summertime Sandwiches at the Ugly Iguana

Unbalanced, from a meat placement perspective

As winter turns to spring, guys' minds turn from thoughts of shovelling snow to visions of three-dollar sandwiches that don't skimp on the cold cuts.

The Ugly Iguana is hopping in May. As soon as the sun's out and the snow's gone, people populate the patio and line up to take away the arguably famous, arguably meat-filled sandwiches.

The one pictured above was not mine. It was DSI-regular Jason's, and he was not pleased with:
a) The amount of meat, and
b) Its unthoughtful placement on the bun

We decided to snap a pic.

It seems summer's rising humidity levels are inversely proportional to the meat distribution (a little something for the economists) on Ugly Iguana sandwiches. As the summer passes the amount of meat on these sandwiches tends to decline. Someone suggested the cause was the rising price of roast beef. I don't often trade on that market so I can't claim to know the going rate for a bun-full, but I'd say this sandwich was not a long-term investment.

I don't even know what that last part meant, but the search for the greatest sandwich continues.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blue Gardenia: Invisible No More

Ample meat, roasted

On Ottawa's Bank Street just up from Laurier there sits Blue Gardenia, a diner-type lunch place. I must have passed it a hundred times before even noticing it. But that's my problem, and a whole other blog topic.

Recently it came into focus, like a 3-D puzzle. Probably a trick of light, or my hunger instinct told my eyes to find me a sandwich place worthy of my appetite. Maybe I blinked at the right time.

The place was packed. I ordered the roast beef sandwich. Fries. Had to wait a little while, standing crowdedly near the till. The staff was nice, unobtrusively friendly. I couldn't really tell who was working and who was just searching for mustard.

The sandwich was solid. Not exceptional, but definitely satisfying. Meaty and warm. Salty, but not puckeringly so. Plus, my Pepsi was ice cold, and the fries were crispy and hot. The peripherals cannot be disregarded.

It wasn't the best sandwich in the galaxy, but I will return to the Blue Gardenia. If I can find it.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

White Spot Doesn't Hit It


I was out on the West Coast recently, the Vancouver area. For lunch on one sunny, mountainous day, I hit the comfort food staple White Spot. Opinion about this place is magnetically bi-polar; there are those who swear by it, and those who swear at it.

I ordered a roast beef dip, harkening back to my lunches in Queen's University's Leonard Hall cafeteria, where the 'dip' was a daily treat/torture device. Given White Spot's reputation, and my previous tasty excursions there (try the burgers), I expected to be met with a sandwich far exceeding anything scarfed during those undergraduate days.


First of all, it was small. Mean-dog small. Secondly, it was small.

Plus, the roast beef was quite fatty, and the fries weren't that great, and my pop was flat, and the dipping sauce -- the 'au jus' -- was thin. And it wasn't cheap. I could have got the same sandwich at a mom and pop diner for two-thirds the price.

Still, that's better than the price of eating at Leonard Hall cafeteria: tuition, plus room and board.

** Been to White Spot? What did you think?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Shawarma Is a Sandwich

Those who have been following DSI have likely memorized the Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition, and should not be surprised that a shawarma is a sandwich.

A sharwarma, or course, is a Lebanese sandwich delicacy, like a wrap but with way more garlic. Seriously, I had one for lunch and I'm feeling woozy, as the garlic has made its way through my veins to the heart and brain. I think my cubicle neighbour is feeling woozy too.

But it was a tasty lunch: a fresh chicken shawarma with confident garlic, crunchy lettuce, ripe tomatoes and pungent pickles. And a side of potatoes. I scored a free lesson in how to eat a shawarma properly (rip the paper as you eat, don't unwrap it all the way or juices will flow down you hand, soaking your pants and soul) from Jason and Casey, two aficionados.

I'm flying to Vancouver tonight to experience Pacific northwest sandwiches. Hope the people sitting beside me on the plane don't mind garlic.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Quiznos vs. Subway

Today I lunched with DSI regular Steve at a nearby Quiznos Sub joint. I've had a coupon staring at my from my cubicle half-wall for some time, so I thought I would cash in on it today. Lately I don't make lunches on Monday mornings, allowing myself to extend the weekend with 10 more minutes of slumber.

I find Quiznos interesting. It has a great product: fresh bread, lightly toasted, juicy meats and tangy sauces. I respect the effort it has made to distinguish itself Subway, the restaurant chain with the most outlets in North America, according to QSR Magazine.

Quiznos is setting itself apart with good quality ingredients, more spacious interiors, smart customer service, and generally paying attention to the details. Today when Steve and I were finished eating, the manager came over and took our trays for us and asked how the meal was. I appreciate that.

Subway is no slouch either. They have fast service, low prices and the best cookies in the land. I just wish they were a little more attentive to their fountain pop consistency, and took a little more care when laying out the meat on my Subway Club.

There is no winner in this battle, partly because the two brands aren't trying to be the same. Different sandwich options, different price points, different experiences. Just depends how much cash you've got to burn, and whether you want cookies.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition (CUSD)

CUSD Terms Explained

"Frame": The part of the sandwich you hold. e.g., bread, bun or wrap

"Essence": The filling. e.g., the cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich

The Definition

A sandwich is an assembly of food parts capable of being held without great hardship or mess.

All sandwiches possess a frame that covers some part of the essence. The frame must be made of a material that is in an edible state when the essence is added, and must have an outlet that exposes the essence before the first bite is taken. In other words, the frame may not completely surround the essence (e.g., a burrito), though the essence need not actually be visible.

The essence of a sandwich can be any substance, as long as it is not formed into a non-natural shape (e.g., any burger). Note, however, that a substance formed into a non-natural shape that is sliced and assembled within a frame as described above qualifies as a sandwich (e.g., salami).

In coming days I will provide more examples about what is, and what is not, a sandwich. Feel free to suggest your own examples.

I welcome your comments and questions. The definition seems airtight, but I know there are those who would like to see it defeated. If exceptions are noted, this definition may need to be altered.

But I doubt it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Prelude to the Definition of a Sandwich

Hey guys, listen up. Gary, put down that hoagie.

Okay, now that I have you all here, I want to go over something of vital importance to the entire raison d'etre of Discovery Sandwich International: the definition of a sandwich.

I know, I know, it’s be en done before. So called aficionados have pitched in their two cents on the essence of a sandwich. Well open your eyes to this, fools, here comes my ten dollars: The Complete, Unambiguous Sandwich Definition.

Other definitions have exceptions. Loopholes. Holes. Loops. CUSD? None.

Other definitions are rainbows of speculation. CUSD will be fact, in stark black and white.

Okay, pick that hoagie back up. For it is a sandwich, and CUSD is coming at you. Soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mission: Discover the Edible

It is with great pleasure that I launch Discovery Sandwich International. I've always wanted to write about sandwiches; always wanted to be a sandwich critic, and now that day has come.

Now that this small dream has come true, I have decided to be less a "critic" and more a "complimentic", a word I just made up, focussing on the good in each and every sandwich discovered.

From my homebase in Canada's capital city, I will find, pay for, and eat any sandwich on the market, relating to you, dear reader, all that is tasty. Bon appetite! (for my American readers: Happy eating!).