Glorious Gluttony Greets Great Sandwiches
My first thought when learning about Meal Ticket’s inaugural Great Sandwiches Event last night was disappointment over the length of time, 6-9pm. Everyone knows any event worth its salt is four hours long, or at least offers a fourth VIP hour. It was then disappointing, on a personal level, when 38 minutes later I had to take a seat because I’d eaten so many sandwiches I could hardly move.
That didn’t take long.
This is how I came to the conclusion that the Great Sandwiches Event, in the very best way, must be what hell would be like: all these amazing sandwiches in front of me—and there were quite a few—and I couldn’t bring myself to take another bite. Although apparently tempeh isn’t nearly as filling as the myriad meat products that were on display, because I was somehow able to eat four of the Jamaican tempeh tacos with scotch bonnet slaw and peanut sauce that the future V Street (coming in the fall from Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby of Vedge)—my clear favorite of the night.
There were plenty favorites to choose from, as well. It seemed every open space inside Union Transfer was packed with sandwich-makers, and if not sandwich-makers, then people serving beer, cocktails, liquor, or wine. This helped to spread out the attendees (after the initial rush), so none of it seemed too packed at any point in the night. A positive situation, because some of these sandwiches required quite a bit of attention.
Take, for instance, the corned beef special from the folks at Schlesinger’s, which was dripping with slaw, or the massive portions or pulled pork Fat Jack’s BBQ (Peoples’ Choice Winner) was serving up. Hot Diggity’s Israeli dog also dripped with delicious fillings. Some other standouts were Pub and Kitchen’s rabbit meatball slider, Soup Kitchen Café’s meatball sandwich (with bacon), and Marabella Meatball Co.’s perfectly fluffy meatball sandwich.
There were a few misses, of course. Avenue Deli’s pastrami chicken sandwich sounded great but suffered from a way-too-high bread-to-ingredient ratio, and the shrimp sandwich from Luke’s Lobster was unremarkable as well as odd in that the bread was hot, but the shrimp were cold. I’m not sure if that’s how they’re supposed to be served, but if it is, it shouldn’t be. Tucked in the corner by the stage were also some Philly regulars that didn’t need much tending—Shank’s chicken cutlet sandwich, Joe’s Steaks serving a cheesesteak, and Primo Hoagies with a party tray.
The Chopped-style sandwich faceoff between Eli Kulp (who went on to win), Scott Schroeder, and Brad Spence was fun to watch, but the sightlines of Union Transfer made it almost impossible to see what was going on—you could either see onto the stage from too-far away, or you could get close to the stage and not see the cooking. Luckily, Dan from TJ Kong made the perfect narrator—part Alton Brown, part Hunter Thompson.
All in all, the $35 price tag for the event was an absolute steal. I don’t know anywhere in the city I could go to get drinks and eat 25 different sandwiches for that price—and then take a break and go back at it. I’m excited that this is the inaugural version of the event, meaning there will be more to come. Maybe, if I don’t eat lunch the day of the event next year, I’ll be able to make it to the 45 minute mark without throwing in the towel.