Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sandwich Saturday- Part 1: La Ghianda

I love making meal plans with open-minded foodie friends. Especially on a leisurely when timing and busy schedules don't factor into eating plans. Jobin and I made plans to have lunch/brunch on Saturday. But instead of picking one place, I emailed him a list of sandwich places and sandwiches that I've been wanting to try and told him that we'd each pick a place and hit two sandwiches to split (and two restaurant/delis) in one lunch visit. My pick was La Ghianda for their corned beef sandwich. A co-worker had mentioned this deli/cafe in Kits and their corned beef (not the sandwich, just the delicious in-house cured meat itself) and then while leafing through Vancouver Magazine, I found myself drooling at sandwich article and particularly salivating over a tantalizing photo of La Ghianda's corned beef sandwich.

La Ghianda is associated with highly acclaimed Kitsilano Italian favoured, La Quercia (3689 W 4th).
Located just around the corner on Alma, this cozy, rustic, yet modern deli is a pleasure to walk into. It's got high celings, a large counter space for ordering and coffee preparation with two or three large wooden tables for seating (there are 4 small bistro tables outside in front) and a busy kitchen behind the counter with 5-6 staff in chef's whites working away.

There is also a constant stream of staff bringing supplies back and forth between La Quercia and La Ghianda. There is a large deli case filled with deli meats and cheese, terrines, fresh ciabatta loaves, desserts, oils, pasta sauces, even vacuum sealed packaged of braised meats, duck confit and bolognese sauce.
I was fascinated with an item on the top of the counter called a "Scotch Egg" a hard-boiled, shelled egg, surrounded by sausage meat, covered in bread crumbs and seasoning and then deep-fried ($7). It doesn't sound as good as it looked.....I was tempted to get one, but I used foodie discipline and ordered what I came for....the Corned Beef Sandwich. After I ordered and waited for my sandwich (approx 5 min), I started to chat with one of the chef's behind the counter and asking about all the different delicious looking food (he explained what the scotch egg was). I asked him whether the Corned Beef sandwich was the top seller and he told me it's always done pretty well with regulars but that since the Van Mag article came out, people are going crazy for it...but he said all of their sandwiches are equally as good (Roast Beef w/Arugula and Horseradish Mayo and Pork Belly w/Pickled Mustard and Mustard were the other options on the menu board- all $10 tax included).

Behold the House Corned Beef with Bolzanese (egg, horseradish, chive blend) $10.
This was pretty awesome to look at but even more awesome to eat... we grabbed the sandwich and sat outside at one of the bistro tables. Overall, this was a sandwich experience where every element worked well together...a buttery, rich, flavourful hug of a sandwich. The house-cured corned beef was generous but not overwhelming. Juicy, moist, and thinly sliced it would've been good on its own with a more basic condiment but the Bolzanese took it to a whole different level.

It was creamy, rich, with not so much a spice as a warmth or subtle kick. It was ooey gooey but not sloppy. The bread was also amazing and perfect for the sandwich: floury, soft and chewy and not too dense with the perfect level of subtle crust on the outside to hold the sandwich together and still make every bite a pleasant experience.
This was an awesome sandwich and I was actually pretty sad to only be eating half. I will definitely be back for sandwiches and many of their other delicious looking eat-in and take-out options.
La Ghianda on Urbanspoon

es, customers will be offered many of La Quercia's menu items such as pasta sauce and braised meats, pre-packed and ready to be warmed.
The Dine-in menu items include hot pastas, soups, roasts as well as quiches, salads and salami boards, not to mention kitsilano/point grey's best Italian coffee.

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