On why I hate sandwiches but love Meat & Bread

This is what I think of when I hear the word sandwich.

Take a look at the other members of Chow.com’s Sandwich Hall of Shame >

My sandwich trauma stems from a childhood overrun with Wonderbread and  lunch meats of questionable provenance: liverwurst, bologna, spam, Vienna sausage. [Spam and Vienna sausage are magic with rice, though.]

Wham, Bam, Spam!
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License by Kevin H.

Scarred by this kind of sandwich history, I find myself amazed at how I have come to frequent Meat & Bread, one of Gastown’s newest breed of minimalist, casual eatery.

Meat & Bread: storefront

The restaurant is exactly what it claims to be: a place with a small but stellar selection of meat and bread. You will find 4 sandwiches to pick from on any given day.

Meat & Bread: porchetta

Porchetta, $8. They pronounce it like “pork-etta”. Fattylicious roast pork chopped together with its juicy stuffings and topped with salsa verde. My favourite.

Meat & Bread: meatball sandwich

Meatball, $8. 3-5 giant, oozy, spicy rounds of pork drenched in housemade sambal. My husband’s favourite.

Meat & Bread: daily special

Daily Special, $8. Previous offerings have included jerk chicken, duck confit with blue cheese, and braised turkey leg. You can check out what is on feature that day by visiting their website before you arrive. I occasionally cheat on my porchetta with these temptations, and it is a constant battle at the counter between the tried-and-true and the I-can’t-believe-you-can-offer-that-in-a-sandwich.

Grilled Cheese, $7. Shaved onion and aged white cheddar melting goo between generously buttered toast. I ordered it once for my daughter but she kept stealing bites from my porchetta…so no photo, sorry.

Meat & Bread: maple bacon ice cream sandwich

They do veer off course to entice you with their single dessert item, which is simply labelled ice cream sandwich on their menu board. Don’t be fooled…this is a to-die-for concoction of maple & bacon ice cream, sandwiched between stroopwafel-like wafers that are similarly infused with piggy grease. If you haven’t tried this out yet, I suggest you split one of their regular sandwiches with a friend so you can have enough room in your belly for dessert.

Photo courtesy © Cathy Burrell of Cathy Eats

If you like their housemade mustard and sambal as much as we do, grab a jar off the shelf near the entrance and keep it in your fridge for sandwich emergencies. Extra handy when you take M&B fare to go and find, like we have, that the usual dollop of mustard present on your cutting board plate is unfortunately not something that can be easily transported.

Meat & Bread: Coca-Cola alternatives

There’s not much to dislike, but I have found a few minor areas for improvement:

  1. Stock Coca-Cola. The mom & pop colas are just not cutting it for me. I feel like a jerk for smuggling in my favourite carbonated bevvie from the pocket of my daughter’s diaper bag. [UPDATE: They now sell locally made Sip sodas–these herb-infused sparkling waters are a great fallback, but I still ask for less guilt and more Coke, pretty please.]
  2. Be open for dinner. One diner came by at 5:05pm and was aghast to see that he was too late for a sandwich. He looked at my cousin, who was on her way out, and asked, “Nooo…?”. “Yes,” she replied sadly. “No! No,” he exclaimed. My cousin looked sympathetic. Up and shaking went his fist, and from his mouth came a wail straight out of a Star Trek epic: “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” I hope he got his sandwich fix the next day.
  3. Be open on Sundays. I need you guys 7 days a week!

Maybe I’ll see you at the Meat & Bread communal table one day soon.

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One Reply to “On why I hate sandwiches but love Meat & Bread”

  1. Karen,
    I could not agree more! If you go to any restaurant and get a bad sandwich…what does that say about the place? I too, grew up with white bread,mayo,ham from a slimy package,and iceburg lettuce. My childhood trauma evaporated as soon as I walked through the door at Meat and Bread…the smell the sounds…those lovely sandwiches…WAY better than my mama ever made!

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