Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday Lunch from Brown Bag Sandwiches

The Perfect Lunch Spot on Church
If you are a hungry Ryerson student or if you do not have the energy to cook all the stuff you were just seduced by at Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws, Brown Bag Sandwiches is the answer to your quick fix prayers.

Open since late October, BBS has a short list of  sandwiches featuring all the words and phrases that offer comfort to contemporary diners: "pork belly", "confit", "made on the premises."  Although it is always hard to pass up anything involving fried chicken, we had to go with the aformentioned pork belly and the duck confit sandwiches. Since the Designated Courier has thrown us over for the exhausting pleasures of working in a restaurant kitchen, we now have Girl Courier(henceforth GC)who discovered this place.
Pork Belly Sandwich with yummy Coleslaw

The pork belly sandwich comes with roasted tomato salsa, a grainy mustard, and garlic mayo.  Strangely, when such a lusty meat is involved, the salsa completely overwhelms the pork upon the first couple of bites.  With the salsa out of the way, though, there is the revelation of meat enhanced by mustard.We wanted another two or three slices of pork belly.

Pickles and bread are the two items not currently produced on the premises--and they are working on pickles. The bread on this day was, for both sandwiches, an egg-type burger bun dusted with sesame seeds. The pork belly cried out for a crustier,and all round more substantial, foundation.

Duck Confit Sandwich with perfect Sweet Potato Fries
On the other hand, this bun was just the thing for the confit duck sandwich.  The duck, barbeque hoisin sauce, sauteed red cabbage, seemed to meld unctuously with the bun without actually falling into a total mess.  To provide a textural counterpoint there was a sprinkle of crackling. The slightly bitter cabbage also played off the richness of the duck for a truly satisfying taste treat.

While knowing the crispness would be steamed out of them by the time they hit our lips, we could not ignore the sweet potato fries.  Despite the usual problem, they were delicious with an almost souffle-like middle and not overly caramelized as they often are.  A grind of pepper reinforced their savory quality. A second side of fairly coarse coleslaw was also good with its oil and vinegar dressing.

We tried two condiments--a perfectly acceptable chipotle mayo, and homemade catsup.  We want homemade catsup to be better than Heinz in a bottle.  So far it just has not happened.  Some are over cooked or over-spiced, or both.  This one had the thin texture and bland flavour of tomato juice.  Keep working on it, folks.

Bread and catsup issues aside, Brown Bag Sandwiches offers good service and good value for money with some imaginative twists on classic sandwiches.

Price: $21.99 for two sandwiches and two sides
Brown Bag Sandwiches
Location:  377 Church Street, just south of Carlton

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