It is with considerable excitement that I sit to write this column for it should be noted before I terry any further I have a serious proclivity for sandwiches. Sandwiches were invented entirely by accident, as the story goes as a practical way for eighteenth century card players to enjoy a light meal while holding a hand of cards.
However, the first real sandwich was so named by John Montigue who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich though it should be noted also that he is neither the inventor nor the sustainer of the new portable food. The real creator is believed to be a neolithic Jewish sage called Hillel who it is said put paschal lamb with bitter herbs between two pieces of Matzah. But I digress.
I should also note that it has taken me two visits to properly write this review. On both occasions I visited the deli with my partner Cara so her views will be brought foreword in this article as well.
Sam’s marks a bit of return for Peterborough hopefully there are a few Arthur readers who remember eating sandwhiches from the Ritz Deli on Simcoe. Sam’s marks the return of Kevin the sandwich king to the forefront of the Peterborough culinary world (which is pretty small, but still.)
Sam’s Place is located on Hunter street in a building which has been home to many of Peterborough’s strangest and most short lived concept restaraunts including but not limited to “Buster Rhinos” a southern BBQ place that was short of both a BBQ and southern flavor, a fast food sushi joint called “Simply Sushi” and finally an incredibly sparse European-style deli called “A Taste of Europe.”
It’s difficult to create anything new on a street that is packed with firmly insconced Peterborough establishments. Varying from well established bars, some of which have existed on the street for close to a century and an assortment of very tenured and revered restaraunts that provide exceptional food among these are Karma’s Café, La Hacienda, St. Veronus and Maggies to name only a few. Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I heard that Sam’s was coming.
The food not only met my expectations, it doubled them. On both visits I was blown away not only by the freshness of the ingredients and how good everything tasted but by the quality of service as well. On my first visit I ordered the Barbequed Beef Brisket along with a side of macaroni salad and baked beans served with a Vernors old-fashoned Ginger-ale.
Like all good briskets I’ve consumed in my life this one was slow cooked and saucy (literally dripping the best kind of beefy saucy ness that gets all over your hands and sometimes on your pants). The macaroni is creamy with that perfect balance of mayonnaise and spice – its the kind of recipe that you expect only to find at the family picnic and never in a restaurant – the kind of recipe which your Great Aunt Agnes bequeaths to you on her death bed.
On that same visit my partner had a roast turkey sandwich along with a side of cous-cous. The turkey is unlike most of the processed deli turkey that you are likely to find at the supermarket. The turkey is brought in and de-boned then it is smoked to utter perfection. This is the turkey sandwich that you make the day after thanksgiving with all the leftovers or better put, this is the turkey sandwich of the gods garnished with cranberry sauce and mayonnaise. With this sandwich every day can be the day after thanksgiving.
I wasn’t feeling like I could do it after just one visit so I went again literally the next day to try the deli again. This time I ordered a pizza sammy and was again blown away. This is a pizza which smacks of the kind of pizza that your mother makes tomato sauce on a ciabatta with melty provelone, along with green and red pepper, purple onions and delicious salami make up this tasty sandwich. If that’s not enough to sell you there isn’t much that will. If you’re not a meat eater, Sam’s also serves a variety of veggie sandwiches
Sam’s is a deli in the true tradition of the old world delicatessen by which I mean fresh sandwhiches and salads served with locally cured and prepared meat. It is the kind of place where you can literally taste the care and passion of the person who not only made your sandwich but also made all the ingredients that you are eating. This is as far as I am concerned one of the best things in truly good food that is that you can taste the excitement of the person who made it.
Sam’s is the kind of place where good food can be shared, where many people can revel not only in the sheer beauty of food but also in the wonder of flavor. It is a place where you will not only get full but also find people. It is for these reasons that it has in the brief four days that it has been open cemented itself into the culinary community it is also for these reasons that I encourage you, the reader, to put aside that awful Aramark club sandwich and embrace this downtown deli. The best things in life are simple and delicious; Sam’s more than lives up to this adage. It’s the just the best.