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Join the Club — house that is!

By MARINA SACHT

Toasted or untoasted, two or three decks, the club today is usually made up of chicken or turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

It’s believed the sandwich may have originated at the Union Club of New York City where, in the 1880s, it was called a Union Club sandwich. The early recipe went like this: Two toasted pieces of Graham bread, with a layer of turkey or chicken and ham between them, served warm.

Others believe it originated in a New York gambling club. Regardless of where in New York it first showed up, it was on restaurant menus by 1900 and continues to be a regular item on most menus today.

In the June issue of TAKE 5, we asked, “Where do you go when you get a Clubhouse Sandwich craving?”

Here’s what people in the community had to say:

Kim Lamoureux writes: “You can’t go wrong with a Club. It’s pretty basic, but the Red Rooster in Chemainus is really good.” Also located in Chemainus is Bonnie Martin, Heather Irwin’s favourite choice.

Heading south to Duncan, Eli Metcalf suggests The Old Fork or James Street Café. “If you can manage to get one. They aren’t open all day and run out often,” Metcalf says. Aletta Bosma-Clarkson’s choice is the Dog House — “Bet you can’t eat it all!”

In Nanaimo, Belinda Edwards-Fleissner and Fran Mitchell’s first choice is Kelly’s Kitchen. “I have the breakfast club and it’s fantastic!” Heading further north, Tara Rice recommends Trees Diner and Bakery in Parksville.

In the Ladysmith–Cedar area, Jennifer Forster likes The Wheatsheaf Pub. Dave Starrie is a fan of the Timberlands Pub, Dale Mlazgar likes Slice Resto in Cedar and Kelly Frech likes Chakalaka. Zack’s Lounge, Cranberry Pub, Coco Café and In the Beantime also get a thumbs up.

Our taste judge this month has his work cut out for him judging these hefty snacks. Nick Longo has spent most of his life in the culinary world — both in the kitchen and the front end.

 

  • Chakalaka Restaurant, $16 (493g) Triple Threat Club: Loaded with chicken, crispy bacon, smoked ham, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, lettuce and herb aioli on three slices of homemade bread, this was hands down the biggest sandwich, weighing in at a hefty 493g. Showing Greek roots were the addition of purple onions and cucumbers.
  • Cranberry Pub, $14 Turkey Clubhouse: Oven-roasted turkey, cheddar cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayo and your choice of three slices of bread, this is one of the few clubhouses that uses turkey instead of chicken. “The bread is good and comes in four choices. Lots of mayo.”
  • Coco Café, $14 (250g) Roasted Chicken Club: Chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato and cranberry mayo on two slices of bread, this sandwich “has a good flavour reminiscent of my childhood clubs.”
  • In the Beantime Café, $11.95 (323g) Clubhouse: Oven-roasted chicken, prosciutto, cheddar, tomato, lettuce and cilantro mayo make up this club. “Slices of thick bread untoasted were soft and buttery and managed to hold the sandwich together. A nice surprise was the prosciutto.”
  • Slice Resto, $15.25 (317g) Classic club: This is a toasted triple decker, with grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese. “ A traditional taste with a good-sized chicken breast fillet.”
  • Timberlands Pub, $16 (445g): Three layers of chicken, bacon, ham, beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayo are on this club. “Lots of assorted meats and not for the faint-hearted, this sandwich will fill even the hungriest guy. It’s non-traditional, with lots of roast beef.”
  • Wheatsheaf Pub, $14.25 (340g): This is a triple decker, with smoked turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and processed cheese. “Nice bread, good size, traditional taste.”
  • Wild Poppy, $9.75 (257g): This gluten-free club has turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and cranberry. “The bread was excellent; we didn’t know it was gluten-free. It held the sandwich together. Dark turkey meat was nicely seasoned, and there was a hint of sweet from cranberry and nuts.”
  • Zack’s Lounge, $9.95 (413g): This club includes chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato on three slices of thick bread. This is a big sandwich, but with the lowest price tag, making it a great value.

While the clubhouses came in wide variety of sides, prices and sizes, they had their own merit. For judge Nick, it came to two clubs: Coco Café, for its nostalgic “made-by-mom” flavour; and Wild Poppy Bistro, for its non-traditional twist.

Since taste is subjective, we encourage you to go out and do your own taste test.

Next month, we search for the quintessential chocolate chip cookie. Are you a cookie monster? Email us at editor [at] take5 [dot] ca and tell us where you get yours!

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