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7.17.2002 by JP, every Saturday.

New Plan

Many of you may have read my previous column about the restaurant I'd like to start one day but as I plan it in my mind I'm beginning to realize how unrealistic this goal is, at least until my parents die... heh... So here's the new plan, shortly after graduation I'm going to open a traveling gourmet sandwich wagon! Tadaa! It'll be like a chip wagon only not! Ok, I know it sounds like a somewhat pathetic dream but hear me out, here's a short list of why you should think I'm awsome and my idea rocks:

  1. Sandwiches are yummy, especially good ones and ESPECIALLY those ones they put in the sandwich presses to make the cheese all melty. Apparently those melty sandwiches are called “Panini” which is just italian for “sandwich”. I wouldn't call them panini because I'm not italian and some people might not know what the hell I'm talking about.
  2. I've lived in Ottawa almost my entire life and I still don't know where I can get a really good sandwich for a decent price. Someone should capitalize on that market.
  3. Street food in this city sucks. Sure every so often I'm up for a sausage or some fries and I love shawarmas and falafels (not so much a street food but they're “alternative fast food” so I included them) but most of the time I want something that comes closer to a complete meal and is a tad healthier. Enter the mighty sandwich.
  4. It's cheap! I could set one of these puppies up for maybe $20-$30K whereas opening a full restaurant would set me back more than ten times that amount and if it were successful I could expand into catering and even a full, permanent location.
  5. It's the perfect compromise between what I want to do and what I can do, I'll have the money and the skills. Also it's mobile so it suits my transient lifestyle and could be relocated should business turn sour.
  6. The public is getting more knowledgable about food and they're gonna want somewhere to try all these whacky ingredients they keep hearing about, cheap.

I'll bet that convinced you didn't it? That's good but there are a few snags in the master plan:

  1. “gourmet” sandwiches might end up costing a whole lot to make, driving the price up.
  2. I've heard that Ottawa and many other cities are trying to rid their streets of vendors and chip wagons, licensing may be a problem.
  3. I'll bet working in a chip wagon in the heat of summer really really sucks.
  4. Presumably the deep fryers in fry trucks are powered by those big propane tanks on the back. Sandwich presses must be powered by electricity right? Could you run these high-consumption appliances (along with a fridge) on a battery? Could you generate power from propane? Would a generator make a lot of noise?

These reasons make me think maybe this isn't right up my alley, I mean it would probably be cheaper to set up a sandwich shop or small cafe as you wouldn't need all sorts of fancy gadgetry to make it mobile, you could even have plumbing! I still think sandwiches are the future though, good ones with avocado, arugula, shrimp, smoked mozzarella, tapenade, feta, sundried tomatoes, roast beef, marinated goat's cheese, bacon, lettuce and roasted red pepper... drool...

Here's this week's dead simple recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

  • Get some red peppers (let's say 3) and roast them, this is the most over-explained thing in the world of food today, I'm not going to repeat it so go here and find out how if you don't already know. Also roast a head of garlic while you're at it.
  • Put this stuff you've roasted in a food processor and process. While the thing's running add some olive oil to get it the consistency you want and add some balsamic vinegar or lemon juice for flavour and acidity, add some salt and pepper for seasoning and you're done! If you want dilute it a bit to make more dip just mix in a container of sour cream. Be sure to check the flavour after adding the sour cream though, you might need some sugar to cut the acidity.
  • That's it! Get some pita or whatever and start dippin'!

This dip might go well with a sandwich as we used it at Juniper with our smoked mozzarella and arugula grilled cheese.

Well, that's all for this week, see you next time!

“If you eat at McDonald's more than once a week, the terrorists have already won”

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