Earl of Sandwich, you clever (if not slightly corrupt) bloke you, thanks for coming up with one of my favourite things to eat. When I’ve finished a workout and my belly’s a-grumblin’, it’s nice to have a meal between two pieces of bread. I’ve made and eaten many, and must admit I’m rather particular when it comes to Il Panino.
Possessing friends who are willing to indulge me in such things, I’ve had lengthy discussions about the ideal layering of ingredients within a sandwich. Who needs a TV when you can entertain yourselves with rowdy debates over correct tomato placement?? I’m telling you, just cancel your cable and take up sammie-talk, already.
Yesterday I ate at Nooch Snack and Chill, and am thrilled to say they understand a good sandwich.
Of the two locations, I visited the one just south of Brighouse Station on No. 3 Road; it’s on a corner, and brightly lit by two walls of windows. The interior is painted a crisp white, with red accents throughout and food-inspired paintings by Tannis Hopkins. Reggae and soul provide the soundtrack; what’s that Bob Marley? Could I be loved? Well yes, I like to think so.
Nooch offers all-day breakfasts, soup, salads, spaghetti Bolognese, a variety of drinks including hand-shaken ice teas, and of course, sandwiches.
I ordered their special – an avocado BLT (BLAT? TLAB? Let’s call it a TLAB) with caramelized onion aioli, cheddar, lettuce, and tomato on a ciabatta bun for $8. It usually comes with a side salad and chips, but I opted out of the chips and upgraded to the chef’s salad, instead (an extra $2).
And now, to sammie-talk! My TLAB was composed of the following: a toasted bun with a soft top (so as not to carve up the roof of one’s mouth); plentiful, perfectly ripe avocado; warm bacon, half-crispy, half-chewy; tomato in the middle (so as not to sog up one’s bread); lettuce; cheddar; and aioli sealing the deal on both top and bottom. Folks, those are some good, solidly-layered ingredients.
The salad, too, was packed full of goodness including lettuce, cabbage, quinoa, grapes, broccoli, walnuts, pears, and peppers. I opted for blue cheese on top, though feta and goat were also on offer.
I sipped on a tall glass of mango iced tea (would be grand on a hot day), and finished my meal by ordering a waffle with blueberry sauce and whipped cream ($5). It was good – not extraordinary – but good.
With a final bill at $20.72, Nooch will definitely be a place I recommend for lunch. This is generous, hearty, and thoughtfully-made food within a cheerful setting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the area ate here several times a week. Also, thanks to Patricia for the lovely service.
In the spirit of scrumptious things for sandwiches, here’s a recipe from Ottolenghi, one of my favourite cookbooks. If homemade mayo sounds intimidating, fear not! This recipe is forgiving and versatile.
Ruth’s Mayonnaise (from Ottolenghi)
1 free-range egg
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp caster sugar (also known as berry sugar, available at any big grocery store)
½ tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp cider vinegar
500 ml sunflower oil
15 g fresh cilantro, leaves and stalks
- The best way to make this mayonnaise is by using a stick blender (immersion blender). You could also use a food processor or liquidizer, or make it by hand, using a whisk. If doing it by hand, you need to crush the garlic and chop the cilantro finely before you start.
- If using a stick blender, put the egg, mustard, sugar, salt, garlic, and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Process a little and then start adding the oil in a slow trickle. Keep the machine working as you pour in a very light stream of oil. Once the mayonnaise starts to thicken, you can increase the stream until all the oil is fully incorporated. Now add the cilantro and continue processing until it is all chopped and properly mixed in. Transfer to a clean jar and chill. The mayonnaise will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
*Update: Nooch is now closed.