There’s a very interesting sign in Stack and Squeeze. Above the display and in big letters you can’t miss, it says ‘BE HAPPY, BE YOURSELF – BE A SANDWICH, BECAUSE SANDWICHES ARE PERFECT’.
I’ve been thinking about that on and off since I went there last Friday and Saturday. I mean, how can you both be yourself and also be a sandwich? Unless, you are a very gregarious person – because you are never alone in a sandwich!
Certainly, if you are one of the fillings in a Stack and Squeeze sandwich, you are never alone, because you will be stacked with a few other tasty items. Like the one I tried on the Friday lunchtime. It was the Tuna Turner where, between the two slices of fresh whole-wheat bread, the tuna was enjoying the company of chipotle mayo, tomato, cucumber and lettuce.
For my drink, I chose the Morning Joe from the five juices on offer. It was a delicious squeeze of red apples, lettuce and pineapple. The sandwich was delicious too. I told Sarah so – and Sarah is the owner of the place. She said she was glad I had enjoyed my lunch, and she asked me why I hadn’t been there before – because Stack and Squeeze is next door to my office.
I thought about that, too. I like sandwiches. They are perhaps not always the perfect answer for a lunch or a snack. But they were a very clever invention. You might know the story: how, in the 18th century and in England, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, ordered his butler to bring him meat placed between two pieces of bread.
It seems he liked eating his meat this way because it meant he could continue playing cards while eating, without using a fork, and without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands. The idea caught on, and others began to order ‘the same as Sandwich’.
But the Lord’s biographer had a more respectful version of the story: that Lord Sandwich was a very busy man, with commitments to the Royal Navy and politics, and so he often ate at his desk.
I, too, like sandwiches. Being English, my idea of a sandwich was of a rather simple thing: usually of cheese slices between two rounds of buttered white bread. Sometimes the cheese was enlivened with tomato or moistened with cucumber. I suppose the most English of English sandwiches are the very thin cheese and cucumber ones served by the ladies supporting a cricket match in a southern village in summertime.
So why had I not visited the Stack and Squeeze before? I must confess that it is because I do like a glass of wine with my lunch: a full-bodied red on a mild day; a chilled white on a warm one. So when I confessed that to Sarah she laughed and said I will be able to enjoy that at her place in the New Year, when she gets her licence to serve alcohol.
Anyway, I reckon I learned a good lesson last Friday. I didn’t miss the wine. The Morning Joe was so good that the only problem was that I wanted another. So I made up my mind to do a Going Places on Sarah’s place. And I agreed to go back for breakfast the following morning, have a proper talk, and take a photo.
So that’s what I did. That I wasn’t an instant convert to the heathy options for food, I ordered the bacon and eggs; mind you, they came with an avocado salad. The eggs arrived just as ordered (the yolk runny and the white firm); the bacon was crisp – and they were neatly arranged along a bap of brown bread. And Sarah didn’t criticise me when I left some of the avocado salad on my plate.
This is all in keeping with the philosophy of the place: to provide a mix of healthy and what a lot of people would still regard as ‘proper’ food. And so you have a choice at breakfast from a Granola Parfait, with rolled oats, nuts, honey, tropical acai (a cross between a grape and blueberry) and chia seeds – or my BLT, salmon steak, or Spanish omelette.
The other kind of mix is that the ‘veggy’ sandwiches, wraps, smoothies and juices, don’t at all conform to the bland carrot juice image that a lot of people have about vegetarian foods. Sarah ensures that everything she serves has a tanginess about it – like, for example, her Fixer-Upper juice of carrot, beetroot and ginger.
Stack and Squeeze is open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday. Also, it does deliveries. If you want to know more about it, there is a Facebook page. And the number is 0718 445733.
John Fox is Managing Director of iDC