This event was called the Ultimate Sandwich Smackdown and featured two sandwiches (one pork and one beef) from each chef. Each sandwich was $5 so you were able to sample all 4 for $20. We weren’t thinking clearly when we first approached Fidel’s and ordered two of the same sandwich, so we only tried 3 of 4.
The atmosphere was amazing – it wasn’t like your typical food event which can tend to seem slightly chaotic with a touch of militarism on the part of some foodies with strict agendas. There was a candid banter between the two chefs but always with respect and the title, “Chef” being used. This got the crowd and everyone working the event excited for the food and competition. There was none of the crowds and aggressiveness that typically accompanies foodies – the crowd was more families and young couples.
Our first sandwich was from FG – the Sargent Slather with Pulled Pork, creamy guacamole and tortilla chips. The tortilla chips are a new addition to the Sargent Slather sandwich and it is a welcomed addition. It adds another texture which adds to the existing crunch from the smashed, toasted sandwich. The guac was creamy and had a hint of citrus which worked nicely with the sweetness of the pulled pork.
Omigod. This is all I can say. The fact that we got two Mark McEwan sandwiches for $10 is worth saying omigod in one breath but the fact that they were this amazing is another feat altogether. I liked the tenderness and overall flavour of the beef brisket meat better but I preferred the pulled pork sandwich as a whole. The buns were soft and fresh, they were baked that morning. The beef brisket fell apart in our mouths and was tender, and juicy. The caramelized onions were sweet and soft. The horseradish aioli had a slight heat to it but the creaminess of the sauce balanced out this heat and pulled the whole sandwich together. The pulled pork was sweet but the prominet component of this sandwich was the slaw. It was sweet, slightly nutty from the sesame seeds and acidic. It was a great topping for the richness of the pulled pork and the whole sandwich tasted like a summer BBQ.
Although I love everything about Fidel Gastro’s – their spirit, their food and their decor, but I think Mark McEwan and his team took this one. The sandwiches were meatier, juicier and more cohesive. However, Fidel Gastro’s sandwiches are perfect for walking and munching – compact and portable.
Regardless of the outcome of this showdown, all sandwiches involved are welcome in my belly at anytime.