As many of you know (because I talk about it often), I used to cook for tree planters. I spent 4 summers up in the woods of northern BC, surrounded by young men and women with appetites bigger than the bears who sometimes wandered into our camp. I have fond memories of those hot summers in the kitchen, and sigh whenever a white Ford F350 drives past, though that’s a rare down occurrence here.
Recently, however, I walked into a restaurant and saw a bunch of visi-vested men eating large plates of food. I smiled and thought to myself “Huh! This feels a lot like camp!”
Where was I? The Richmond institution that is Bob’s Submarine Sandwiches.
Located just south of Brighouse Station, this shop is filled each lunch hour by guys who work hard and eat harder. They come to Bob’s because it offers no-nonsense meals like bacon and eggs, burgers and fries, fried chicken, and subs, all at relatively inexpensive prices.
It’s not the first place you should consider taking your vegan cousin visiting from LA, but there ARE vegetarian options available. Also, there’s likely to be at least a few other female patrons around; it’s not soley a Man’s House of Meat and Cheese. But it kind of is.
I ordered the Super Sub. Why? Because a) I like things that are super, b) The 6’ 5” 250 pound man in front of me ordered it, and c) it was recommended by other blogs. Why is it super? Because it’s filled with double steak, double cheese, mushrooms, fried onions, salami, capicollo, lettuce, and tomato, all for $5.90 (6 inch) or $11.80 (12 inch). While the man in front of me went for the 12 inch, I opted for half that size. I’m not 16 years old anymore and yes, I did kind of eat like a 250 pound man when I was 16.
Even in its ‘baby’ size, the Super Sub is filling. It’s also messy; the fillings are hot so the cheese melts, the bun gets soggy, and things fall out. You’ve got to grab that thing with both hands and not let go. Forget your phone! Forget your napkin! Forget about looking classy! Unless you’re an EXTREMELY confident eater of meat-stuffed subs, Bob’s is probably not the place to go on a first date.
I wish the bun had been a little more sturdy, and the meat was by no means the best quality, but it was still a satisfying sandwich. This is comfort food made by friendly and extremely hard-working women. Unlike so many corporately-monitored sandwich chains, Bob’s is dated but endearing; it’s weathered many years, has laugh-lines, history, and character. Next time I’m with a group of tree planters, I’m totally taking them there.
Old-school charm aside, do you know what’s one kind of sandwich Bob’s doesn’t offer? ICE CREAM. Right, that most satisfying summer combo of cookie + ice cream, available in endless varieties and guaranteed to taste good whether it’s +30 outside or -3. I’ve been craving them lately, so I may as well share some recipes, yes?
I’m going to give you two, because I can’t decide on my favourite. The Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Vanilla Ice Cream, or Ginger Molasses Cookies with Candied Ginger and Dulce de Leche? Here are both.
Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies (adapted from Gourmet)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups packaged finely shredded unsweetened coconut
12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Beat together butter and sugars in a bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until just blended, then beat in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Add flour and mix at low speed until just blended. Stir in oats, coconut, and chocolate.
Arrange 1/4 cup (or smaller) mounds of cookie dough about 3 inches apart on 2 lightly buttered large baking sheets (about 8 cookies per sheet), then gently pat down each mound to about 1/2 inch thick. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position and rotating pans halfway through baking, until golden, 15 to 18 minutes total.
Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer with a spatula to racks to cool completely. Once cooled, take ice cream out and let soften just a few minutes. Using an ice cream scoop, place scoops of ice cream on bottom side of one cookie, and put immediately into freezer on cookie sheet. Leave them in freezer for 10-15 minutes to let the ice cream harden up before putting the second cookie on top. If you ‘sandwich’ them too early, the ice cream will just melt and ooze out the sides. Once sandwiches are whole, leave in fridge at least one hour to let harden.
Ginger Molasses Cookies (also perfect at Christmas time)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar (for rolling cookies in)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Bake just until the cookies have ‘cracked.’ Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Let some vanilla ice cream soften. Stir in chopped candied ginger and several tablespoons of dulce de leche, then return to freezer and let harden. Make sandwiches as per instructions for oatmeal cookies above, and ENJOY!
Which of these two ice cream sandwich options are better? All I can say is they’re both as super as a Bob’s Super Sub, so it’s up to you to decide. Just be sure to eat them with friends. Preferably at a long table. In the woods. Wearing plaid.