Thursday, April 18, 2013

Resigning from the Club

A Pernicious Double Decker Club
Just Waiting for Its Next Victim
This month, Adam Rapoport of Bon Appetit devoted his Letter from the Editor to a celebration of the classic club sandwich. Specifically, he expounds upon the soothing effect a club sandwich has on a weary traveler who, after days or even weeks on the road, is ready to put aside adventurous eating for a night and just relax.

Being a frequent traveler myself, I am totally familiar with that inevitable need for a little break from novelty. (I just wrote about it, in fact, in this review of the Meeting Room at the new Holiday Inn Historic District in Charleston). And a meal from the hotel restaurant is often just what the doctor ordered.

That said, I have to take issue with selecting a club sandwich in such circumstance. In fact, I have quite a few grievances against the club sandwich in general.

Let's start with the toasted bread. Rapoport does, in his defense, specify that the bread needs to be "lightly toasted" so it stays pliant. But, invariably, it's toasted pretty darn crisp and, thanks to the double decker stack, not only are there three slices but the whole thing rises up so high and that it's all but guaranteed to scrape the top of your mouth to ribbons, leaving a soreness that persists even to the next morning. The crisp bacon only exasperates things. (I meant to write "exacerbates", but I think "exasperates" captures it pretty nicely, too.)

And, let's talk about this whole slicing the sandwich into four triangles thing, which Rapoport insists upon. I consider the extra slicing a grievous error. Carving your sandwich into quarters--especially a double-decker one--only increases the probability of all the ingredients spilling out when you bite into it, flying directly in the face of Rapoport's own admonition that there not be too many ingredients because "the sandwich shouldn't spill out of the sides when you bite it."

And then there are those frilly toothpicks which earn bonus points from Mr. Rapoport. The mere fact that they are needed indicates a serious problem with sandwich construction. At least fifty percent of the time, it seems to me, as soon as I draw the spears out, the sandwich collapses in a heap before I even get a chance to bite it.

A chaotic, mouth-rending, hair-trigger-crumbling, mess-in-the-lap-making club sandwich is the last thing a business traveler needs to wind down and recharge his or her batteries.

For me, the go-to on-the-road-and-too-tired-to-make-the-effort food are buffalo chicken wings. These are probably even less defensible than a club sandwich, so I won't even try. Not sure if a traveler can find them in Bankok or Milan just yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.  

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