Monday, August 18, 2008

Paris in August - The Search for the Perfect Club Sandwich

Why the search for the perfect club sandwich.
My friend, Ivana de Marchi Zanon wants to add a really good club sandwich to the menu in the bar restaurant of her Relais & Chateaux Villa Abbazia Hotel in Follina, Veneto. And, as it was raining and cold in Paris, and most of the shops and good restaurants were closed for vacation, I thought I could do some research for her. This is what I found.
The search for the perfect club sandwich – Cafe de Flore. This historical landmark since 1890 has been a favorite of the Existentialist Movement and writers and artists. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir always took their coffee and croissants there on the terrace. It is still enjoyable to go there for a snack or tea.
Club sandwich chez Café de Flore. Delicious, abundant and crunchy double decker. A very satisfying meal with fresh ingredients. It fell apart just like club sandwiches should. I felt the bread could have been toasted a little bit more. And, the potato chips were absolutely fantastic. Like Sartre I sat in the terrace and watched the tourists go by on the Boulevard Saint-Germain.
Rating: 8/10 Price: 19,00 Euros

History of the club sandwich. The most popular theory is that the sandwich first appeared in 1894 at the famous Saratoga Club House – an exclusive gentlemen only gambling house in upstate Saratoga, New York – where the potato chips were born. The name probably comes because of its popularity at resorts and country clubs. The club sandwich was a favorite of King Edward VIII and was prepared by his wife, Wallis Simpson.
The traditional ingredients: The club sandwich is often served as a double-decker and the traditional ingredients are; turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato. It is usually served on toasted bread cut into quarters and held together by cocktail sticks. Ham is sometimes substituted for bacon, and chicken sometimes for turkey. Mayonnaise is the common sauce, but honey mustard is sometimes used. Cheese is often added to the sandwich as well, usually Swiss, American or Cheddar.

The search for the perfect club sandwich – Angelina. Angelina is an old fashioned tea room on the Rue de Rivoli, founded in 1903. I used to go there in the 1970s when it was frequented by the Paloma Picasso set and connoisseurs, now it is really crowded by tourists, but it is still worth the long wait to get a table. Angelina is famous for two things: Chocolat African chaude, topped with whipped cream and the Mont Blanc dessert, chestnut puree topped with whipped cream.
Club sandwich chez Angelina. Though it looked so proper, slick and trim, it was a full and delicious meal. It didn’t fall apart and it was cut into two triangles. The ingredients were classic and I appreciated the salad on the side.
Rating: 8/10 Price: 15,50 Euros

The search for the perfect club sandwich – Delicabar. Delicabar also sub-titled Snack Chic is hidden through trendy dress racks on the first floor of the Le Bon Marche department store on the rive gauche. It is the place the fashionista’s go for a quick light lunch before they drop from too much shopping. The brightly colored pop art decorated restaurant also has a terrace, the perfect place to sit in the summer. I was doubly disappointed in the food, A, because the chef is Sebastien Gaudard, formerly the head pastry chef at Fauchon and B, because the restaurant is bang on top of the gigantic gourmet store, La Grande Epicerie de Paris. Everything we ate was insipid and nothing to write about.
Club sandwich chez Delicabar. The worst. Mostly tomato, lettuce and a tiny bit of chicken with lots of Romanesque sauce, no bacon and only two slices of toasted bread and it was covered in regular and dark potato chips, probably straight from a packet. Called the Club Sandwich Classique on the menu, it had nothing classic about it,
Rating: 4/10 Price: 19,00 Euros Pin It