Meat and Bread ~ Vancouver | Memosne

Meat and Bread ~ Vancouver

My pictures for this are terrible. There's something about my cripplingly low self-esteem and dragging around a large DSLR camera, especially in an extremely crowded place, that makes me want to take pictures as fast as possible and slink away. Anyway, most everyone in the Vancouver area has heard of Meat and Bread. On their facebook page they've posted some international Meat and Bread "lookalikes" in New Zealand and South Korea. However, you guys will know that the true Meat and Bread originated on Pender Street in rainy-old Vancouver.

The Line
The concept of Meat and Bread is simple, like its name denotes, Meat and Bread is a sandwich shop that centers around a daily menu, with one meat option, one vegetarian option and a staple sandwich, the "Porchetta", in addition to this they also have daily soups and salads that you can order as a "side" to your sandwich. From what I saw, most people seemed satisfied by the sandwich alone As you can see from the photo above, which is only a fraction of the line, Meat and Bread gets very, very busy. There's always a really long line, but thankfully it moves quite quickly. There is bar seating, private table seating (for parties of two), and communal table seating. I feel like the seating capacity is quite limited, probably around 35-40 patrons at most, but the turnover is quite fast.

Technically you're not allowed to get seats before getting your food, but the waitress assured us that there would always be seats after we got our food. However, speaking of wait service there pretty much isn't any. There are some "line constables" that come with some preset phrases like the "line moves quite fast", "unfortunately, you can't get seats before getting food", "Meat and Bread been here for awhile", and help you buy the sauces and meat rubs that are by the door...but otherwise you pretty much do everything yourself. Meat and Bread has a delightful variety of apothecary inspired bottled sodas and drinks by the cashier. However, if you're a heavy water drinker like me, you might as well fill up two or three cups with the water pitches provided, because you'll be going back and forth quite often.

Crispy skin and delicious porchetta....
As for the ambiance, Meat and Bread is charmingly vintage and quirky with modern elements all at the same time. Their decor seemed to retain a lot of the original "gastown" features, including a seat that has water continually dripping on it from the old AC system, while there seemed to be the very modern additions of a small functional kitchen space. Waiting in line at Meat and Bread reminds me of being in an old metalworking factory, with the burly men in leather smocks "forging" the bread and "smelting" the meat to make the ultimate sandwich-y creation. The guys behind the counter at Meat and Bread are definitely the blacksmiths of meat or at least reminiscent of a sexy firefighter catalog or something.

As the menu changes every day, I found that it made the most sense to "review" the porchetta which is the only staple sandwich they have on the menu, and also happens to be my favourite item. Firstly, I am not such a huge fan of "pork", but don't judge me yet! I love bacon, ham, and prosciutto...but for some reason I've never really been a fan of pork chops or pork tenderloin. However, Meat and Bread have definitely turned me on to the white side. Pork, you know...the other white meat. =P

Mass Producing Porchetta
While you're waiting in line you\ll have the opportunity to watch the blacksmiths behind the counter cutting, dicing, and assembling sandwiches. Honestly, it's like watching a commercial for how pork is supposed to be prepared and cooked. I've never seen cut pork actually drip juice in real life. Each little slice of pork included in the sandwich is glistening with flavor and lightly covered in salsa verde. And the pork rind, oh god the pork rind, is a welcome component in an already delicious sandwich. Meat and Bread puts a squirt of mustard on the wooden chopping block they serve all their sandwiches on and it happens to be the one of the only mustards I find palatable.

The sandwich is well housed within a beautifully baked loaf of bread. My father thought the bread's consistency was too hard, but honestly I felt that if it were any's be one of those soft, wet white bread sandwiches characteristic of an prepacked elementary school lunch. This loaf was chewy, but not unbearably so, and I didn't have to fight with it to get a well proportioned bite. The salsa verde isn't spicy at all, but instead sort of accents the natural porky flavors of the porchetta. To break up the tender monotony of the sliced pork meat, the meatsmiths (that sounds vaugely porn-like) sprinkle crispy, delicious pork skin over the top and it is lovely. I wish they would add more of it though. The first time I went I was very satisfied with the pork and pork rind ratio, but the second time I felt like the pork rind was lacking.

Inside of the sandwich
Behind my little sandwich over there, in the previous photo, there's a little blurred bowl of chili. Well, I can't show you a full photo of it...because I ate it. It was good, good chili. There are beans, tomatoes, pulled pork, and a lovely topping of sour cream and scallions. One thing I dislike about pulled meats in chili, or any sort of soup, is that they tend to be tough. The pulled pork that was in this chili was surprisingly tender and easy to digest. I also found the chili to be more on the watery side and a bit spicier than I'm used to, but I still highly recommend it. However, I did find that the sandwich was enough for me, portion size, on its own.

Bacon Ice Cream
The second thing Meat and Bread is quite famous for, other than the porchetta, is their infamous bacon ice cream. To be quite honest with you...I was actually really hesitant to try this. It brought back flashes of Burger King's Bacon Ice Cream Sundae monstrosity and Epic Mealtime's Sauce Boss yelling profanities at me...but surprisingly my mom ordered it and loved it. After seeing her reaction, I had to grab a bite.

First, the waffle the ice cream was sandwiched between was great. Great. I'm sure you've all had that one ice cream sandwich whose wafers were far to hard or far too brittle...and you just ended up with an disproportional messy ice cream pile or two dry pieces of cookie.....blech. The wafer on the bacon ice cream sandwich was lovely; it broke off easily and wasn't too powdery in consistency. While the ice cream itself was somewhat reminiscent of a salted caramel ice cream. The bacon wasn't too fatty or overpowering, instead it added little bursts of savoriness to a sweet and mellow vanilla. =) For some reason, this ice cream sandwich reminded me of boyfriend...I think he would like it. And it would be a fun date night or picnic day item to get.

Overall, I really, really, really recommend Meat and Bread. The artistry of a great sandwich really has to be celebrated here. =) Not only is everything actually succulent, well flavored, simple, and amazingly mouth watering, Meat and Bread is also located in one of the most interesting districts to meander around in...Gastown. Honestly at this point, my ideal date would probably be going to Meat and Bread, getting something to go, going out to one of the nearby parks to picnic, and browse all the little boutiques and furniture shops around. It's truly lovely.

Price: $ out of $$$$$
Kid Friendly: Yes? I haven't seen any kids here, but I can imagine that little kids would also enjoy a good sandwich
Repeatability: Yes =)

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