Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Great Canadian Sandwich Map - Beta Version

I am currently testing out a new google maps feature where I map both locations of previous reviews as well as yet-to-be reviewed.

Think of it is the Web2.0 version of Sandwich Movie-Fone.

Here's a preview

View Toronto Sandwich Hub in a larger map 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Sandwich Times - Volume 5

1. Once again the humble Sandwich is the part of the vitally important Iowa State Senate's Legislative Agenda:

"The Iowa Senate, perhaps caught up in nostalgia or swayed by delicious sandwiches, last week approved an amendment providing a loophole for Taylor's Maid-Rite restaurant in Marshalltown to slip through the state's food safety requirements. The restaurant has been making Maid-Rites in its traditional cookers for more than 80 years. That includes keeping cooked meat hot in the same cooker used for raw meat."

3 Gripping news as always form the Henderson County Schoolboard in Kentucky, where, wait for it, they are planning on adding turkey to their "controversial" cheese sandwich for students in sandwich-arrears ($40.00 of debt or more)

When questioned on the matter, Ellen Redding with the Henderson County School Board commented: "It is now a deli sandwich".

If you will pardon me for editorializing a bit, this kind of sandwich rift is exactly the kind of strife that the good people of Henderson County need to work on. In our world of ever changing moralities and waining national unities, we as people need to work together on establishing some basic societal truths: that all people are deserving of equality before the law, that everyone has the right to express themselves in a free and just society and that ADDITIONS OF SINGLE SLICES OF AMERICAN CHEESE DO NOT MAKE FOR A DELI SANDWICH.

4. Previously mentioned on this blog, Sky Blue Sandwiches, recently went viral in a very major way. After a twitter shoutout from the band themselves, as well as coverage on the Hipster-Talmud Pitchfork Media, Torontoist and even the Chicago Tribune.

I say kudos for good work. Always love to see Toronto Sandwiches get much needed shine.

5. And now for some the moment you've all been waiting for:


The Momofuku Pork Buns - with Pork Belly, Hoisin sauce, Cucumber on a Steamed Bun. These buns led to me purchasing a $65 cookbook to only find out: a) the recipe is readily available on the internet and b) is so complicated and burdensome that it would be easier and less time-consuming for me to ride a unicycle to one of their East Village locations and back.

The Happy Morning-Wich from Insanewiches

Kenny & Zuke's Pastrami Reuben - The #1 reason I want to move to Portland

"A Back-Bacon Bonanza" or Pea(c)-Meal Diplomacy

"I even like the name Bacon. You can’t tell me the success of Kevin Bacon isn’t somehow tied to his name. You’re not going out to see a Kevin Hot Dog movie. ‘Who’s in this movie?’ ‘Kevin Bacon.’ ‘Sounds good.’ "– Jim Gaffigan

This post represents the culmination of months of soul-searching, introspection, and a brief course in “Sandwiches and Related Geometries” and even required some help from Canwiches’ loyal cadre of Sandwich fanatics.

A quick note from the grammatical board here at Canwiches. Since we here at Canwiches consider the subject matter of this blog to be a proper noun, Sandwich and all word derivatives well hence forth be Capitalized.

Lamentably, Toronto, unlike many other North America urban conglomerations, is not truly known for having a signature Sandwich. Philly has its Cheesesteak, Chicago has its goofy but loveable sister the Italian beef, NYC/Montreal have their own deli imprints (however Toronto’s role in the deli world will be investigated robustly in an upcoming blog entry),etc. The closest Toronto has to a “signature Sandwich” is the Peameal on a Kaiser. While this Sandwich seems fairly endemic to Toronto/the Golden Horseshoe, it lacks the wide scale availability of the aforementioned me-tro-po-wich(es). Despite the relatively sparse availability, no clear consensus has emerged on who, TRULY, makes Toronto’s finest Peameal on a Kaiser.

A few backgrounders:

1) One theory posits the origin of this Sandwich to the Mennonites in the GTA. Who needs lights when you have the electrifying power of pork.

2) Pea-meal, aka Back-Bacon, is a misnomer. Once upon a time, our Sandwich forefathers used to dip the back-bacon cut of the pig in pea-meal before pickling, but this has long since been replaced by Corn Meal.

3) Should any of my dear readers choose to replicate this challenge I suggest A) my entry not in any way be relied upon for proof of cardiological fitness/the safeness in general eating that much pork... Also bring some Lipitor and a heckuva lot of water.

The St Lawrence Market should not be limited in its Sandwich goodies to just the Peameal; Mustachio’s in the basement makes the most substantial vegetarian Sandwich I have ever seen, good Portuguese chicken Sandwiches abound and plenty of culinary goodness awaits you at every next corner.

The Sandwiches were reviewed up to very specific guidelines. Points were awarded for Quality of Roll (is it crusty on the outside, yet soft and nurturing on the inside) , Cooking of Peameal/Essential Tenderness, Peameal Thickness (guided by the driving ethos of Peameal slicing being: too thick = hamsteak, too thin = no texture) Overall Taste and a discretionary aka “Wow” factor. I was dutifully assisted in filing out the constructed “Peameal Matrix” by loyal fans and luminaries of Canwiches:

Brian “Assorted Annex Sub” Higgins and

Chris “Son of Pita” Reineck.

Contender #1: Carousel
Carousel is in my humble opinion the most bally-hooed of the St Lawrence Sandwiches. Although a lot of hype the panel, perhaps suffering from the biases that typically befall judges in not awarding high points to the first figure skater, were not overly impressed.

Some of the most important panel observations about the Carousel Peameal Sandwich:

  • The biggest point of contention was that the Sandwich came pre-wrapped, thus made before hand. The judges all felt that if this Sandwich been made to order it would have received much better scores. The only positive was the it meant there was no wait
  • Good level of smokiness
  • • The Sandwich, with bread, was 2” thick and consisted of approximately 4 thick slices.
  • • Cost was $5.30 + tax

Contender #2
Paddington’s Pump

Paddington’s Pump is the largest Peameal outfit in the Market, with both a seating area and an outside takeout window.

Here is the scientific breakdown:

Important Sandwich Observations:

• Reineck: “it was ready just before I checked my watch”. The Sandwiches took about 5 minutes from time of order
• All judges enjoyed the cayenne garlic spice rub applied to the Peameal during grilling.
• Points were awarded for the adorableness of the name for the sandwich, the “Oink”
• Excellent Roll
• The Sandwich had 6-8 thinish slices and clocked in at 3 1/4 "

Contender #3: Sausage King

It should be noted that the Sausage King was the only contender that did not serve Peameal primarily. One can surmise that noting the popularity of the sandwich elsewhere, an enterprising young Sausage-monge rer decided to hop on board the Peameal Train. As such, this kind of Sandwich hobo-ery was reflected in the quality of the sandwich.

Important Sandwich Observations:
- worst bun yet
- Pork was dry, unappetizing
- Sausage condiments due to nature of biz
- Good thickness
- One rather crass judge remarked: “despite the all male nature of this judging panel, no sausage fest has or will ever occur”.

So that’s it, It seems that Paddington’s Pump has emerged as the wearer of the First Ever “Canwiches Gold Star for Subject-Specific Superiority”™.

While this is by no means the ends of the Peameal debate, I can sleep easy knowing that Canwiches has taken a sufficiently scientific approach to it all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What the Deli Yo or Jesse's Deli Feature; A Fugue in 8 parts

As a Sandwich blogger a few questions come up often in conversation.

"Why a blog about sandwiches?"
"So you must eat a lot of sandwiches eh?"
"What is the largest manufacturer of potassium permanganate in World?"

Ok, maybe the last one not as much (and besides all of my friends should know that it is Chongqing Changyuan Chemical Products Limited). But of all sandwich-related inquiries, the one I most often here is "What is your favourite Sandwich".

My answer is Deli.

I love Deli. I read books and blogs about deli, I played for a North Toronto Baseball Team sponsored by a deli, I have even tried to advocate for a private members bill legalizing Sandwich Blogger - Deli Sandwich civil unions, to no avail.

For the next couple of days, I will be reviewing a number of deli's inside and outside of the GTA in search of Toronto's Best Deli Sandwich.

Jesse Todres' on Deli:

Few Deli's in Toronto these days actually smoke, pickle or dry-age their own deli meats. The lengthy, complicated and unwiledy practice is only for the truly committed. As such, many deli make their bones from re-steaming industrially cured briskets (Montreal's Lesters and Toronto's Chicago 58 being two of the main producers). While these meats tend to lose the zing of hand-cured meats, they still serve an important role in Toronto's pyramid of delis and will be duly noted.

Montreal deli is and will always be the yardstick by which I measure all Deli Sandwiches.

Entry #1 - Zuppa's Restaurant & Deli - 342 Adelaide St W

(Source: Picture from whynotdine.com)

Zuppa's while considered a go-to for greasy diner fare is by no means a classic deli.

Featured re-steamed Lester's, Zuppa's managed to capture the oversized nature of the Classic NY deli sandwich without any of the requisite flavor. Unfortunately, the dominant taste pallet was that off Industrial brine injected into mechanically rubberized meat. B

The Rye bread was soft with a little bit of snap to it, though I felt it was lacking a way Caraway Seeds. Good Mustard selection was NOT sufficient to overcome the more obvious deficiencies of this Sandwich:

Overall: 5.5/10 Opa's

Entry # 2 - Mutual Street Deli - 103 Mutual Street

Similar to Zupa's, Mutual Street Deli is a primarily a Diner, serving up greasy spoon breakfasts and distinct form of diner-banter that only Greek owner/operators can provide. Again, it offers re-steamed and machine-sliced Lester's stacked EXTREMELY high:

The folks @ Mutual Street seem to have done a better job of recapturing some of the smoked meat flavor during the re-steaming process - I was able to taste more subtle tones of spicing, and the meat was more moist and tender but still fell on the bland side of the Sandwich road.

Conclusion: not bad in pinch, especially if you need a good quality, quick Sandwich near Yonge & Dundas 6.5/10 Opa's

Entry # 3 - Snowdon Deli - 5265 Decarie Blvd - Montreal, Qc

While not possessing the same International Fame and pop cultural cache of Schwartz's, Snowdon Deli has slowly been creeping up my list of favorite delis in the world, here's why:
  • It features an extremely expansive menu of Ashkenazi non-sandwich delights from Kashka Vernishkes, Chopped Liver, Potato Knishes (another possible discretionary Sandwich)
  • It lacks the requisite lineups of Schwartz's
  • Selection of Regular or Old-Fashioned (with regards to spicing) allows you that extra element of choice (not just how fatty)
  • It has a classic element of the Jewish Deli - A pushy waitress who will spar, kibbitz and generally make you feel like you are being served by a surly 2nd cousin that you've never met.
I always order the Medium-Fat, Old- Fashioned w/ Chopped Liver and 1/2 sour Pickle.

The first bite generates a burst of flavor from the fatty, pickled meats - followed by an immediate rush of peppery spicing, and closing with the tanginess of the yellow mustard. The rye was had a nice crust with sponginess and a bit of flavor, without overpowering the meat.

I also award special points for not concentrating on the mere size of the deli sandwich but the delicate balancing of flavors. The only thing this humble Sandwich-ite could ask for is for a more distinct smoky flavor but hey if it ain't broken (after 50 some years) then why fix it.

This is the kind of Deli that makes me feel more religio-spiritual @ a deli than at a synagogue:

Conclusion: 9.0/10 Opa's

The next stop on our whirlwind deli tour will feature:

The New Yorker Deli
Centre Street Deli.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


According to the Honourable Jeffrey A Locke, the Burrito, as least in American Jurisprudence, is NOT a Sandwich.

Employing a purposive definition for sandwiches, Locke J. found that "this court finds that the term 'sandwich' is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos, and quesadillas,"

Counsel for the Plaintiff is planning on asking for leave to appeal, in failing to disclose Guac.

More info available