Sunday Brunch: The Best
Blog since Sliced Bread
13 March 2011
Last week in
school we were learning all about sandwiches in
Garde Manger class.
Garde Manger translates into "to keep to eat"
and refers to the preservation of foods through
various means such as salting, brining,
pickling, smoking, and more, though the common
denominator is that these foods are all cold.
One sector of foods in the cold food
kitchen is the sandwich. My
chef educator shared with my class the history
behind the sandwich and told us the tale of
John Montagu, the
Earl of Sandwich. So
for this week's Sunday Brunch we'll be talking
about which most can agree is Disney's most
quick service restaurant, the Earl of
Earl of Sandwich
Most people know
that the Earl of Sandwich "invented" the
sandwich, but how exactly did he do it?
The story begins with a game.
The Earl of Sandwich was playing a
rousing game of cards, but he was getting
hungry. He was worried
someone may look at his hand if he put it down
to eat something, so he ordered his cook to make
him a meal that he could hold in his other hand
and not need to use utensils.
To please his master, the cook took parts of the
meal and put them together as one: the bread was
cut in slices and then spread with a sauce or
spread to keep it from getting soggy by the
filling of cuts of the evening's meat
and cheese. As we know it,
the sandwich was born. Surely
the Earl of Sandwich and his cook were not the
very first people to put a filling between two
pieces of bread, but they were recorded to be
the first to make it and give it a name; after
all, a lot of history is just a collection of
facts that people have agreed upon to write
The Earl of
Sandwich restaurant in Downtown Disney and its
few other locations in the USA and England serve
both hot and cold sandwiches with hot and cold
sides to go with it. Their
menu includes traditional favorites like the
Original 1762 (the one Earl ate while playing
cards!) and the Earl's Club to more exotic
flavors like the Caribbean Jerk, the Hawaiian
BBQ, not to mention fun kid friendly
sandwiches like the Pizza Sandwich and the
American classic of PB & J.
Today, we have
with us the biggest fan of Earl of Sandwich in
the Northeast: Albert Gutierrez, the writer of
FSTT.com's Saturday Matinee.
He fell in love with the sandwich in 2004
when he first visited the famous Earl, which
opened in Downtown Disney that same year.
I was lucky enough to sit down with
Albert last week and ask him a few questions
about his favorite restaurant.
The Earl of
Sandwich in Downtown Disney, image from
what can you tell us about your favorite
restaurant in all of
Walt Disney World?
It's the one and
only Earl of Sandwich. It's a
quick-service restaurant that's located in the
Downtown Disney Marketplace, having
opened in 2004. It's a growing franchise,
having originated in England and
slowly-but-surely making its way through
America. Because there are so few
locations, the only one I've ever come across
was the one in Walt Disney World. So even
though it's not a Disney restaurant per se, it's
one that's associated with them thanks to being
in Downtown Disney.
Last year, a
groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new
Earl location in
Disney Village, the Downtown Disney of
Disneyland Paris. Image from
Why don't you describe the interior of Earl of
Sandwich for us?
The inside is
rather dark, almost like the lights are only at
half-power. It helps set up the restaurant
as a relaxed and casual place to hang out, and
the dark wood paneling and shelves with old
books add nicely to the atmosphere. But
one thing to remember is the place is ALWAYS
loud. But I mean "loud" in a good way.
The noise makes you aware how busy the place is,
and how everyone's always doing something.
The line never stops, the cast members never
whisper, and the wrappers always crinkle.
It's a symphony of sound that complements your
Tell us about your
first experience at Earl of Sandwich.
It was the summer
of 2004, and Mariel, our sister, was finishing
Walt Disney World College Program.
We had driven down from New Jersey to pick her
up and stick around for vacation as well.
During our stay, she told us there was a new
restaurant we could eat at called Earl of
Sandwich. When we asked what they served,
she told us "Sandwiches, but they're really
Here is Albert
Gutierrez, actually sitting inside the rather
dark Earl of Sandwich dining room.
At first I was
skeptical, because to me, the only sandwich
worth its salt was the good old
peanut butter sandwich. I would
have preferred Wolfgang Puck's, where we had
eaten earlier in the week. Since I was
outnumbered on that decision, we went to
Downtown Disney and checked out the menu.
There were a great deal of sandwiches that
sounded delicious, but my eyes were locked onto
the "Caribbean Jerk Chicken." Grilled
chicken, jerk sauce, and red peppers?
Match made in heaven.
At the time, I
wasn't keen on red peppers, so I took them out.
However, they still left a hint of the sweet
pepper taste within the sandwich, which I always
enjoyed. Eventually I'd start eating the
peppers in the sandwich, either with the
sandwich, or just by themselves.
back to Earl of Sandwich later, didn't we?
Yes. On our
last day before we were going to start driving
back to New Jersey, we decided to get a quick
lunch at Earl before getting on the road.
Surprisingly, when we went back to Downtown
Disney, we ran into our cousins and family.
It was completely unexpected, neither of us knew
the other were there (that's a fun story for
another time). So both families went to
Earl of Sandwich together, making the lunch feel
like a nice mini-party. We even got to sit
at the big table that is in the restaurant.
still came back, didn't you?
On the very first day of my college program, I
went to Downtown Disney with my roommate Steven
and introduced him to Earl of Sandwich.
After that, it became something of a tradition
for me. The first day I'm in the
Walt Disney World area, I have to eat at
Earl of Sandwich. I did it again in 2006
and 2007, and during the family trips in 2008
and 2009, I somehow convinced everyone to go to
Downtown Disney the first day and get some Earl.
The next time I'm in WDW, you can bet I'll go to
Earl of Sandwich before the first day ends.
How often did you
go to Earl of Sandwich during your college
During my college
programs in 2005 and 2006, I must have been at
Earl at least once or twice a week. It was
a great place to get a reasonably priced lunch
on days off, and on club nights we could meet up
with friends for a quick dinner before walking
to Pleasure Island. I was practically a
regular at both Earl of Sandwich and
ever asked for a custom-made sandwich?
I've never asked
for a custom-made sandwich, but a cast member
once offered to make me a custom-made sandwich.
He wanted to experiment with making a Philly
Cheesesteak using Earl of Sandwich's
ingredients. He took roast beef and
American Cheese and put it on the artisan bread,
expecting it to at least look something like a
Philly Cheesesteak. Since he recognized me
as a regular, he asked if I'd like one too.
Obviously, it wouldn't be as good as a real
Philly Cheesesteak, but I decided to see how the
Earl equivalent would turn out, so I told him
yes. It was quite good, actually.
you like most about Earl of Sandwich?
I like the variety
of the sandwiches. They also do seasonal
sandwiches, which I've tried when I could.
The Hawaiian BBQ sandwich actually started out
as a seasonal sandwich, I remember seeing it
advertised only in the summer. I think
that it was successful enough that they added it
to the regular menu later on.
In addition, they
tomato soup, tossed salads, and side
salads that you can get with the sandwich.
They personally mix the salad right in front of
you, and their tomato soup always comes with big
crunch croutons that are cut from their toasted
artisan bread. Sometimes I'd ask for extra
croutons and just have a lunch of tomato soup
and croutons because they were both very
filling. The side salads are delicious-macaroni
salad, potato salad-and they are the
perfect portion size.
have a favorite sandwich?
My favorite is
the Caribbean Jerk Chicken sandwich,
probably because it was the first one I tried.
I did go through a month long phase when the
Scudetto (now called the Italian) was my
favorite. But nothing beats the Caribbean
Jerk. Not even the Earl's Club or the Full
your favorite experience there?
This story is
actually my second favorite experience, as it
takes longer to tell. It was during my
2006 college program when I went with my friends
on a day off. By some crazy serendipitous
scheduling, four of my friends (Emily, Tristan,
Renee, and Jason) all had the same day off as
me, with another friend (Kelcey) having a
morning shift that would finish in the early
afternoon. Once Kelcey finished her shift,
the group of us would meet at
Chatham Square, our apartment complex,
and have a barbecue and pool party. In the
meantime, the rest of us decided for lunch that
we'd go to Earl of Sandwich. It was a lot
of fun just sitting in the restaurant having
Earl with my fellow CP's, and we spent some time
just sitting at the table talking and having
fun, long after our sandwiches were finished.
I don't think we ever would have left our table,
except when we realized that we were behind our
"schedule" of the day as we still had some
mini-golf to play, a pool to jump in, and
burgers and hot dogs to grill.
was your favorite experience?
It was the day
that you came back from your trip to WDW last
year. Dad just picked you up from the
airport and you were home for about ten minutes
when you said to me, "Oh, I forgot! We
have your birthday present!"
I said, "No, I'll
wait until it's my birthday, I can wait."
But you insisted that I receive my present now,
and so I relented. My first present was
"From Screen to Theme" by Brent Dodge.
Needless to say, that was a great gift,
especially with the little poem that Brent wrote
inside for me.
Then I received my
second present, which would definitely have gone
bad if I waited until my birthday. You
guys bought me a
Caribbean Jerk Chicken Sandwich at
Downtown Disney, and you stowed it away in your
luggage on the plane, hoping it'd keep until you
reached home a few hours later. After a
quick nuke in the microwave, I had Earl of
Sandwich for dinner. And that was quite an
exciting experience, eating my very own Earl of
Sandwich in New Jersey.
Hahaha! I knew
you would enjoy it. Do you remember, Brent
even autographed the wrapper!
Haha, I did
remember, it is the bookmark I use in Brent's
book. (What's this book you ask? You can
check it out here!
all our friends in the Northeast, you can soon
enjoy an Earl of Sandwich sandwich in New
Jersey, though you"ll need a plane ticket as it
is in the terminal of the Newark Airport.
But more on that another time! Thanks for
telling us about Earl of Sandwich, Albert.
Reuben. It was great reliving my EoS days.
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