STACKED is a Scout column that aims to dig down into the delicious details of Vancouver’s better sandwiches and burgers. From banh mi and burgers to sliders and reubens, the goal is to craft and catalog an ever-growing an archive of awesome that visitors and locals alike can reference when at their very hungriest. Dig in!
Once upon a time in Toronto’s Kensington Market there was an ongoing battle to satisfy my soul. In the fight were two iconic sandwiches, one stuffed with peameal bacon and the other loaded with sliced sausage and peppers. In Vancouver, I’ve seen a short-lived butcher shop attempt the former and once tasted a shadow of the latter on Commercial Drive during Car Free Day, but neither – to my knowledge – have made regular appearances, at least in the last decade. Maybe the appeal of both is just an eastern thing.
The peameal bacon situation here remains woefully unresolved, but I’m glad to report that a reasonable facsimile of the sausage and peppers sandwich is now available at the brand new Caffe di Beppe in Gastown. It’s a lot less spicy than the one I remember, but the contents are pretty much the same (minus the fennel). It’s also sold by weight, so you can direct the counter person – with your hands – just how long or short you want the sandwich to be and to either go light or to town with the mix.
I’ve only had it once (yesterday afternoon), but it was damn delicious. Again, this first batch was super mild, and I wonder if it wouldn’t benefit with a little spice kick from either the sausage or the pepper mix. In any event, you should definitely try it for yourself…
1. Canned Italian plum tomatoes — the base of the pepper mix. Lots of robust flavour and impact here, as the juices soak through and permeate every bite of the sandwich. It’s always what makes it a bit of a mess. (Don’t worry, the bread contains it.)
2. White onion. A key, flavour-amplifying ingredient of classic slow and low tomato sauces. A lot of people don’t like onions in sandwiches, but they can relax in this instance as they aren’t the least bit pronounced.
3. Green and red peppers add tang, texture, colour and nutrition. Their Scoville level is zero, so don’t sweat it. Literally.
4. Filone bread. It’s an Italian yeast loaf that’s similar in texture and taste to a fresh baguette. It’s kind to sauce and teeth — perfect for a beast like this that appears to plead in its puddle for a knife and fork. Resist. Use your hands.
5. Pork sausage made in-house with plenty of imported green fennel (different than the finocchiona sausage at sister restaurant Pizzeria Farina). It’s very mild.
6. There’s a fine dice of sweet Calabrian chilies in the pepper mix. This is where the sandwich’s gentle spice lives.