Sandwich Box-my lunchtime saviour

My 30(ish) minute lunch break is always a mad dash for food. I’m normally hurried enough in the mornings (and forgetful enough in the evenings) that I only bring a lunch a couple times a week; most of the time, it’s either whatever leftover goodies from a meal Jess made (the meals I make never seem to take the next day into account), or random canned goods that can be heated at the lunch site.

Now, as previously stated, it’s not like there’s a dearth of  restaurants in the Queen West area, but unless I feel like stretching that 30 minute lunch by another 15-20, there are definite limitations imposed o my gastronomical agenda. Enter 238 Queen St West-Across from the CityTV/MuchMusic headquarters, this little plaza held a multitude of little food counters, from burgers to bubble tea (bah!) to icecream to a million chinese places to sandwiches.

The obvious Food du Jour there was Sandwich Box-for around $10, you get a great sandwich, a side salad (baby spinach leaves, a bit of radiccio, and barely a hint of a balsamic vinegar-some employees are known to be less stingy with it, but they’re generally new to the company), and a pop(jones Orange&Cream soda is my poison of choice).  There was also Big Stan’s Burger, and a smoothie joint. These were all great options at various times, though Sandwich Box was notorious for having a fairly lengthy lineup.

Then, they closed.

More specifically, they posted a notice that they weren’t allowed to renew their lease for complaining about the plaza conditions to the management, or somesuch. I was crushed.

Then Big Stan, the Ben & Jerry’s, and most of the other higher-end places closed within a year of each other. I haven’t been in there in many, many months, but at last glance, all that’s left are a few low-end chinese places, not worth mentioning.

All of this was devastating, as Subway, McDonalds and Taco Bell/KFC aren’t exactly meals to look forward to.

Fast forward some un-specified amount of time (seriously, if you care, you probably should stop reading this now-I’m not likely to ever be too specific on time frames, unless they’re the crux of a story), and I’m walking down Richmond, just off of Peter, and I pass by SANDWICH BOX!(388 Richmond St. West). This was some time last year, but I still remember the intense excitement I felt, which is surprising-it’s a frigging sandwich place, not a fountain of gold. Still, since then, lunches have improved a couple times a week.

The food:

Sandwich Box breaks construction of its sandwiches down a few simple categories with several options each

-Bread-

ryes, swiss triangles, some with onions, some with yukon gold potato flakes-they have room in their bread display for 12 types at any given time, but they rarely have more than  5 or 6 available at a time. I generally choose something different every time I go

-Spread-

avocado/chipotle mayo, basil pesto, black olive, curried apple chutney…

-Meat-

Smoked Salmon, Grilled Chicken, Smoked Turkey Breast, Prosciutto…

-Cheese-

Goat cheese, asiago, jalapeno havarti, …

-Veg-

Caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, avocado, bland tomatoes (sorry, but even when in season, they never seem particularly good here)

And then, they drizzle a little olive oil, lemon juice, some salt and pepper, annd then grill it on a panini press for a couple minutes.

It generally always tastes good, but I use  it as a opportunity to do simple flavour experiments to further my culinary knowlege (eg. how well certain strengths of cheese go with certain spreads, if I can improve on a classic sandwich by altering an ingredient or so…the possibilities aren’t endless, but they do provide an interesting diversion during my lunchbreak).

a recent foray of mine:

Whole grain panini/basil pesto/goat cheese/turkey breast/avocado

Restrained in flavour, but very mouth filling-the avocado and goat cheese pair in a very laid-back manner. Neither is especially overwhelming (once again, screw you AS jr), though the avocado seems to have an even further moderating effect. The basil pesto adds a nice tang and savoury aroma, with out getting in the way. The turkey, moist, but not incredibly flavourful.

It was kinda pedestrian, but as something to keep my engine running for the day, it was pretty awesome.

And the Jones soda with it was damn fine.

According to their uber-minmalist web presence, they now have 5 locations in downtown Toronto, so if you see one, stop by. That is a command, not a suggestion.

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