Friday, July 23, 2010

Meat, Cheese and Bread, or Art?

First off, yes, I Could Eat is sporting a new look.  Amazing what can happen when Blogger adds a couple new buttons.

Today, a look at the sandwich.  And not just any sandwiches, but what I feel are two of the truly great sandwiches in all of Metro Vancouver.  The type of sandwich that you need at 2 in the afternoon because you've missed lunch and probably won't be eating dinner that evening because you have to mow the lawn and taxi some friends back to the airport ... or something like that.

First up is La Charcuterie Delicatessen, home of Salam Kahil aka "The Sandwich Nazi."  La Charcuterie is located in Port Kells area of Surrey, and was recently rediscovered by my sons now that the Golden Ears Bridge connects Pitt Meadows with Langley.  I say rediscovered because I used to frequent La Charcuterie when he was in Vancouver on the corner of Kingsway and Boundary.  He closed up shop and I had no idea what happened.  Until now.

The man's sandwiches are monstrous.  At least 2 meals in one. But Salam is really the star attraction at La Charcuterie.  Salam speaks his mind in a non stop stream of obscenities, and doesn't care who he insults.  You have been warned!

In a strange sort of way I think his attitude influences his sandwich making.  Like I said, the sandwiches are huge, and despite the crudely written menu you often don't even get a chance to pick what sort of sandwich you want.  Salam will TELL you.  Prices are insanely reasonable, especially considering the amount of meat and cheese he uses.  If you're there at lunch be prepared to line-up.  If you're there afterwards, be sure to call ahead to be sure there's bread left.

On the opposite end of the sandwich spectrum, the banh mi aka "The Vietnamese Sub" (seriously, learn the correct name people!).

Where La Charcuterie sandwiches over-the-top, the banh mi is a perfect example of restraint and subtlety.  The best are made with freshly baked french rolls thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon (do chua), cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, pâté, mayonnaise and various meat fillings like grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, chicken, head cheese and ham.

They're available all over the city, but my favourite spot is Pho Thy on Victoria.  I've been going for years and have only not had a banh mi once.  They're that good.  Ingrdients are crazy fresh, and if you're there before lunch the bread is still warm from the oven.  Order the House Special (Vietnamese ham and chicken) and a coke and you've got lunch for under $5.  Ask for it "spicey" and you get slivers of jalaopeno.

La Charcuterie
19080-96th Avenue Unit 8
Surrey, BC
(604) 882-0881

Pho Thy Coffee Shop
5497 Victoria Drive
(604) 325-0878


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