As the war-cry of the controversial Wu Tang clan of the northern Scottish highlands once rang out:
“Wu Tang clan ain’t nuthin to fuck with”.
Unfortunately, their decidedly non-kilted attire and fondness for big booty hoes were but 2 examples of the cultural differences that ultimately led to them being run out of Scotland by the kilted majority.
Their legacy lives on, however, in the many local variants of this war-cry that have surfaced throughout the highlands in recent years. One such variant favoured by the well-educated but vicious Kilmarnock clan is:
“Morning routines aren’t something with which one should tamper”.
This fear-inducing battle cry has become somewhat of a mantra for me of late, as I am a strong advocate of a regular morning routine. The first thing I usually do upon waking is crawl over Norah Jones without waking her and open up my laptop to see what is happening in the world. Like most of you, the first place I check is The Australasian Sandwich Association’s website (sandwich.org.au/au). So here I was, just trawling through the site and catching up on the latest sandwich-related news when I see this incredibly lame headline:
“Hardly a Vegemite sandwich in sight as foodies toast Australia’s tastiest morsels”
Now I don’t need to tell you that the headline of course refers to the 2011 Australasian Sandwich Association’s World Sandwichship. In the sandwich world it just doesn’t get any bigger or better.
To save you the torment of having to read this pun-filled article, the basic gist was that the guy who won the Australasian Sandwich Association’s World Sandwichship is the same guy who started Pope Joan in East Brunswick, a young man by the name of Matt ‘Matty’ Wilkinson. Funny story about that nickname actually. When introducing himself to competitors he said “Hi, I’m Matt but you can call me Matty if you like”. And so they did.
Obviously, if the world’s best sandwich man is showcasing his wares in a trendy inner-northern cafe not far from my house, you can bet your wrinkly old grandma* that the Cafe Jerk will be there.
*NB: Don’t bet your grandma. At best her value is sentimental (to you) and like all old people there is very little need for them except for providing us with a good laugh when they stumble on the tram.
Pope Joan’s location is what us with Marketing degrees like to call ‘destinational’. In other words there ain’t nay motherfucker within 2 kilometres. It sits among semi-industrial buildings and houses on Nicholson street inhabited by old Italian widows who would sooner spit in the Pope’s face than eat anywhere with a ‘philosophy’.
There’s not a huge range of options on the menu, which is good. The menu can be found here
The guy is the sandwich king of the world, so you would have to be some kind of moran to come here and not order a sandwich.
The first one I ordered was the Cuban sandwich, which contains pulled pork, pickles and cheese. If there was one sandwich I would want to play me in a movie about my life as a sandwich, it would be this one. It’s just all thrown in there together and tastes amazing. And the bread is really good. Sorry I can’t think of anything better to say about it. Just picture me as a sandwich if you weren’t already.
The awesome thing about the sandwiches here (they are actually more like rolls but who the fuck cares right) is that there is no bullshit about them. It would be so easy for a world sandwich champion to try to be all fancy and treat every sandwich as a personal vanity project. You know, sitting on a bed of this, served with a side of that. But they are just really good quality rolls with about 3 ingredients that all go together.
My dining partner Eric the Discerning Llama with 90′s Hair, ordered The Cornish Sandwich, which comprises a soft roll, Milawa roast chicken, stuffing and jalapenos. Eric never had much money growing up. He used to dream of the day when he would have enough money to go to the fancy restaurants down the street that the rich people went to. His parents used to take tourists on llama rides for 360 days a year just to scrounge up enough to send Eric off to private school.
Then he invented the Merry-Go-Round and his life changed forever. Suddenly he was flying private jets to the French Riviera and sleeping with those llamas from the society pages. Now that he is loaded, he feels he shouldn’t be eating something as simple as a roast chicken roll, let alone one not sitting on a bed of anything. It didn’t help that the roll arrived looking like this:
Here we go, I thought.
This is what it looked like when it was opened up.
Eric was shocked that something so simple could taste so good. Despite his big-noting with regards to how unspicy these jalapenos are compared with the habaneros he is used to, he still thought they were a better choice than habaneros and that they really brought something to the party. And not in a lame way either.
I also tried the Rueben sandwich, which won’t surprise my loyal reader. Quick recap: beef, cheese, pickles. Anyway, it was a while ago and I am pretty sure it used some sort of non-rye bread. Which is a bit of a turn-off for me. I had eaten QUITE a lot of food just prior to it but I think I prefer the Rueben at Dexter. As Google Images is being a real bitch and won’t let me find any pictures of it, here is a picture of Rubens Barrichello holding a Rueben on a stick.
With my sandwich needs fully sated I decided to be a bit of a fancy boy and order the Spanner Crab Omelette with coriander and chili salt. If my old football mates knew that I ate things like Spanner Crab Omelettes that would probably delve deep into their underdeveloped wit and call me a ‘spanner crab eating fuckwit’, which wouldn’t be entirely untrue. Once again, when it came out it didn’t look that great. But then I was all like, “remember you spanner crab eating fuckwit, the rolls didn’t look that great but they tasted sweeet playyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”. So I reserved my judgement until I tasted it.
On its own the omelette was tasty, sure, but this spanner crab eating fuckwit was expecting a bit more. So I decided to get busy with the coriander and chili salt and BAM! this dish just did a U-turn and started heading up the offramp at the turnoff to Incrediblesville, USA. Something about that chili salt that just took it to a new level.
Just a quick note about the staff here. They have real moxy, spunk, dash. Whatever you choose to call it, the staff here has it (unless you choose to call it something which is the opposite of those 3 words I mentioned). It seems like they are encouraged to have a personality and actually have a bit of fun, which although it may have rankled Eric’s proper sensibilities, everyone appreciates.
Pope Joan has taught us what Craig David has been trying to teach us for the past 15 years, that it’s all about the flayva. And that’s coming from the playa who met this girl on Monday, took her for a drink on Tuesday, they were making love by Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, and then they chilled on Sunday. So ignore him at your own peril.