I have been fantasizing about this sandwich since July.
Every long weekend during the summer, I try and escape to The Interior (for those of you unfamiliar with British Columbia, it is colloquially divided up into The Gulf Islands, The Rock, The Lower Mainland, Northern BC and The Interior).
The Interior is just a few hours away by car, so Colin and I try to spend as many weekends as possible either at his aunt and uncle’s cabin on Shuswap Lake or at my family getaway in The Okanagan Valley (which is British Columbia’s answer to California’s Napa Valley). Reliably hot and sunny weather, a multitude of beautiful lakes to swim in, fresh local fruit and veg everywhere you go, wineries everywhere… you can see the allure.
Last summer, I had one extra reason to visit the Okanagan (as if I needed one): one of my best friends, Natalie, had recently moved back there.
Now I have to backtrack a little and tell you the story of how Natalie and I became friends. It is my constant reminder that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to… and that that is a very, very good thing.
Back in university, I was dating a guy who was really nice and sweet and totally awesome… except for the fact that he was completely wrong for me: Mr. University Boyfriend (UB). Looking back, we had very little in common, and I was stressed out almost 100% of the time we were together. I was not myself, and I didn’t like who I was around him. It wasn’t great. It didn’t stop us from dating for a few years though because, I’ll be honest, when we were in our early 20’s- we were idiots.
One day, UB’s best friend brought over a new girl he was dating- Natalie. She was outgoing and nice and we exchanged numbers once over one too many beers, but didn’t really click right away.
A few months later, UB broke up with me. I had never been single before (well, not since I was 14 anyway), so I was shocked. I flailed. I sat in UB’s driveway and cried. And panicked. I flipped through my phone and called…
To this day, I have no idea why I did it. I didn’t know her, we weren’t friends, there was no good reason for it. But I did, and she invited me over right away.
A week or two later, UB’s best friend decided to break up with Natalie and, as a result, for the next few months, her and I were inseparable. We floated out our breakup angst together and forged what would be a life long friendship. When I think of it now, I know that must have been a difficult time, but I have to say, breaking up with UB was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I sloughed off a bad relationship, I made a lifelong best friend, I discovered who I was for the first time… all I can remember vividly from that time is the laughs and adventures with Nat.
(For anyone going through a break up right now, I know it’s tough to imagine, but this is probably the case for you, too. One day…)
Right, enough exposition… back to the sandwich.
Last summer, I went to visit Natalie in the Okanagan. We started wine touring early so by 2pm, we were famished (and a little drunk? Nah, just hungry) (kids, don’t drink and drive! I would like to take this aside to thank our Designated Driver for the day, Colin)
She took me to this teensy little blink-and-you’ll-miss-it deli… somewhere in the Okanagan. Penticton? Summerland? I honestly don’t even know which town it was in, so I couldn’t find it again if I wanted to. I don’t even know what it was called, or if it even had a proper sign. (It was probably just a mirage and only shows up for people who are exceptionally hungry and have excellent taste in sandwiches like a sandwich-centric Hogwarts’ Room of Requirement.)
Exercising what I can only express as The Utmost Self-Restraint, we got our sandwiches to go and then drove to the nearest winery which had a BYO patio overlooking the beautiful valley with which to enjoy our picnic.
I don’t know if it was the crushingly beautiful vista, the perfect company, the bottle of wine we shared with our gents and my sister, or the sandwich itself, but it was the kind of meal that sticks with you. It lingers. The subpar iPhone picture I snapped of the sandwich is the only thing I had to work off of when I tried to recreate it myself in my own kitchen this week.
And, well, it is a spectacular sandwich. My memories of this outstanding meal ring true- it wasn’t just the company (although, as mentioned, Natalie does tend to make even the worst memories seem rosy 🙂 ). It’s not often I feel this passionate about a sandwich but like… wow.
And, if you happen to pair it with wine, a hot sunny day, a group of your favourite people and a gorgeous view then… well, that you’ll remember forever.
Also, can we talk about pepperoncinis for a second? Why haven’t I always put these on my sandwich?!?! THEY ARE SPICY PICKLE HEAVEN.
Thanks again, Nat. For introducing me to pepperoncinis. For everything.
|Corner Deli Sandwich|| |
- 200 g Capicollo
- 100 g Soppressata
- 200 g Rosemary Ham
- 4 Fresh Ciabatta buns
- 4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
- 4 Tbsp Honey or Maple Mustard (something with a bit of sweetness is the key here)
- 3 leaves Romaine Lettuce, torn into pieces
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 8-12 pickled peperoncinis, stem removed
- Halve buns. Spread a healthy bit of mayonnaise on one side and a good amount of mustard on the other.
- Layer meat, tomato, lettuce and peperoncinis.