With 230 parks in the city of Vancouver to choose from, the easiest part of your picnic may be which sandwich to pack! This week, we had the drool-worthy task of continuing the great work of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Since 1762, humans have felt the need to multi-task while eating. Whether, like John, it is to facilitate 24-hours straight at the gambling table, or just to get ahead on a workday, a well-stacked sandwich always satisfies.
What Makes a Sandwich Great?
For us, the two key elements to creating a sandwich that hits the spot, are the bread and the spread. Technically, if you are in a jam, a spread sandwich is pretty damn tasty! Try hummus, BBQ sauce, olive pate, veganaise, or traditional whole-grain mustard. Personally, we are obsessed with Vumami Umami Bomb. A smooth thick oily concoction of shiitake mushroom and chilis that are very enjoyable and really elevates and adds a wow-factor.
Skip ingredients that will make the sandwich soggy – like overripe tomatoes or cucumbers – try slices of avocado, roasted bell peppers, shredded cabbage instead. Be sparing with the salt and pepper so as to complement and not overwhelm the flavours.
Amazing sandwiches demand sturdy bread. No floppy sliced white here! Nelson the Seagull has a sourdough loaf that has enthralled the East Side and Beyond Bread Cafe has a baguette that is perfect for sharing.
The Garden Strathcona
Strathcona is the oldest residential neighbourhood in Vancouver. It is home to historic architecture, quiet parks, and diverse cultural attractions. Three friends – Anna, Rheanna, and Kirsten – created A Garden Strathcona to be a place for Vancouverites to gather, enjoy a cup of coffee, and have a bite on the side. These three toasty sandwiches are served on Fife Bakery sourdough. Meatloaf, chicken salad (made with soy curls), and the classic mushroom and cheese. All picnic perfect.
Beetbox – West End
This Seitan Reuben is a permanent fixture on Beetbox‘s menu and sell-outs easily. Made with Russian dressing, house-made pickles, and Biota YVR sauerkraut. If it is sunny and gorgeous outside – order as part of a Beetbox Beach Bag – 2 hand-helds, 2 sides (excluding Chili Cheeze Fries), and 2 drinks, all packaged and ready-to-travel in a 100% organic cotton Beetbox tote bag. Also, all their plantbased sauces at available by the jar for stocking your fridge!
MeeT Restaurants – Yaletown, Gastown, Main Street
MeeT Restaurants are always evolving their offerings and it pays to pay attention! This Asian MeeT-ball Sub was a special last November and we are still regretting not ordering two. The sub-style bread roll was slathered with sesame mayo, pickled watermelon radish, cucumber, sprouts, and carrots. The ginger lemongrass tofu balls are coated with a sweet sticky soy glaze and garnished with fresh cilantro. If you are an adventurous eater who likes surprises, check out the Special Board!
The Arbor Restaurant – Main Street
Champions of in-house creating, nearly everything at The Arbor on Main Street is on the premises. From the award-winning vegan and gluten-free burger patty to the ketchup and mustard that goes on top of it! They pride themselves on not using imitation meat, seitan, or wheat-gluten-based ingredients. This champion of sandwiches – Southern Fried Artichoke – is a menu staple that starts with a crispy ciabatta bun that is stuffed with battered and fried artichokes, house-smoked eggplant bacon, coleslaw, spicy mayo, avocado mousse, cheddar cheez, and jalapeno peppers.
Bad Apple – East Hastings & Nanaimo
Out of the way does not mean out of mind! Bad Apple Vancouver is available for delivery on all the main apps and for those who fancy a retro patio experience – complete with colourful picnic tables, strings of lights, and lattice dividers – the joint is open Monday to Sunday – Noon to 10 pm. Plenty of time to get your gorge on. This Special was a delicious bahn mi stuffed with pickled carrots, jalapenos, lime and sesame marinated cucumber, a fresh cilantro herb mixture, sriracha mayo, all cradling thick slices of uber-smoky tempeh. Visit often and don’t forget to add-on a basket of cauliflower wings – extra crispy with a couple of sauces.
One of the major draws of world travel is the ability to try and enjoy the taste of various cuisines. On the west coast, we have continuously been spoiled with the most diverse restaurant scene anywhere. One can literally eat from a different country 3-meals a day for weeks on end before having to double up!
Research assistance for this story provided by Anissa Salais.
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