REVIEW: Turkey, Stuffing & Bacon by Waitrose

We’re back! Did you think I’d abandoned you yesterday on 1st December? Fear not my pretties, it was Sunday and I couldn’t be bothered.

This December I am working in Canary Wharf on Mondays and Wednesdays, and mixing it up between the office in London Bridge and working from home in Tooting for the rest of the week, so there is a nice range of exactly the same shops in all three places to buy exactly the same pre-packaged Christmas sandwiches as the past 4 years. I’ve really been looking forward to doing this again. At least I tried the vegan ones last year for a bit of a change, but it’s back to good old animal cruelty climate-destroying meat for me this year.

As an added bonus this year, anyone who has seen me IRL (in real life, mum) for the past six months will probably have heard me bang on about losing 2 stone by going Slimming World with the missus. Well, I’m still trying to lose another half a stone. Can that be done before Christmas? Especially whilst eating sandwiches that always have red highlights on the nutrition warning bit of the packaging? Join me and watch as I put my own health goals on hold so all 8 of you have something to read at lunchtime.

Anyway, I’m in Canary Wharf and as tradition dictates the nearest shop (and hence the first sandwich) is…Waitrose! Traditionally a strong contender coming 3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2016 and 4th in 2017. Let’s see how it does this year!

£3.50 – Turkey breast, pork and chestnut stuffing and smoked bacon with cranberry, port and orange chutney and mayonnaise in sliced malted bread.

Yes, it’s exactly the same as 2017. Which was the same as 2016. 4 years in a row with no imagination. Nothing ever changes. It’s still good (maybe a bit drier than usual) but come on, I’m trying to write a mildly amusing blog here. Also, each time I eat one of these, I’m blowing all of my fat, sugar and general bad stuff allowance for the day. I can’t even have a beer now. Or a Muller Light! You’ve fucked me Waitrose. How could you do this to me? I thought we were friends.

Here’s to another year of this slowly petering out without a conclusion in December…

THE OFFICIAL 2018 CHRISTMAS SANDWICH RANKINGS

Have I suspiciously added a post in December 2019 and backdated it? Yes, I have. Please enjoy the rankings for the handful of vegan and veggie sandwiches I ate in 2018.

  1. Parsnip Fritter & Butternut Squash by Boots
  2. No Turkey Feast by M&S
  3. The Coronation on Onion Bloomer by EAT
  4. Vegan Winter Sandwich by Starbucks
  5. Turkey & Trimmings by Tesco (not vegan, see review)
  6. Very Merry Christmas Lunch by Pret
  7. Veggie Festive Feast Flatbread by Caffe Nero

 

REVIEW: Vegan Winter Sandwich by Starbucks

£4+ – Roasted carrot & butternut squash with smokey chipotle slaw, spiced pumpkin stuffing, cranberry & Brussel sprout pesto, spiced pumpkin puree, salad leaves, pomegranate kernels and toasted pumpkin seeds on pumpkin bread.

Four pounds fucking something! I forget the exact price. To be fair, in the age of contactless I normally don’t remember how much anything under £30 costs (as an aside, why have Halifax blown a lot of money on the rights to Ghostbusters to advertise contactless payments that we have all used for years, the fucking pricks?). But today it’s because a sandwich in a box cost me over £4 and it has broken my mind and I went into shock as my card touched the reader and have forgotten key moments in my life, including my wedding and the cost of this sandwich.

Why is it so expensive? Is it the pumpkin bread? Go through the ingredients list up there again – look how much pumpkin there is already. Does the bread have to be made of pumpkin as well?! Or have sandwiches shot up in price overnight because of the mess that is Brexit that you morons voted for? Speaking of Brexit…look at that name – Vegan Winter Sandwich. That’s why you voted out, wasn’t it? Because we can’t say Christmas anymore. And it was all worth it. We’ll be living in burnout cars and eating each other’s children but at least you can put the word Easter on the bloody easter eggs! But vitriolic half-joking aside, Starbucks really has gone for the most Guardian approved Christmas sandwich name I’ve ever seen. You either need to hide the word vegan or include the word Christmas.

Back to the ingredients, my gammon faced chums. I last had a Starbucks Christmas winter sandwich two years ago. And back then, they stuffed too much random shit in it. Have they done it again? HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS AND SCROLL PAST THE PHOTO.

Well, I thought it would be more mush. And it is. But it is not as mushy as Pret’s vegan effort. On the flip side of that, the pumpkin bread is very dry, like an old cake. But, through their powers combined, they compliment and offset each other. Two wrongs don’t make a right but here they have. The smokey chipotle slaw and the 4,000 different spiced pumpkin elements also give the sandwich quite a kick. And unlike the sandwich from two years ago, the ingredients all come together really well. But just as you’re thinking “hey, this is a pretty good sandwich”, you remember that you spent four pounds fucking something on a sandwich. With bread that is like a stale cake. And no meat. There’s that (what I think might be a) myth that being vegan is more expensive than traditional eating, and with this sandwich, any true vegan really is getting a bad deal. But fuck em, they’re vegans.

REVIEW: The Coronation on Onion Bloomer by EAT

£3.75 – Onion Seed Bloomer, Spiced Cauliflower, Mango Chutney, Flaked Almonds, Sultanas, Spinach, Vegan Mayonnaise

Hey, how are you? Good weekend? Yeah not bad, didn’t get up to much. How about you? Yeah pretty quiet one myself. Okay, now that’s out of the way let’s crack on. Sorry, there was no post on Friday, but that was because I don’t have to explain myself you, that’s why.

Today I went to EAT. They have put out quite the festive range – including some sort of roast beef dinner in a Yorkshire pudding wrap! Maybe one for another time, because we’re here for sandwiches goddammit and EAT have a few to chose from. But I had to overlook 2016’s winner – The Full Festive Works Bloomer – because of the stupid no meat hierarchy I’m enforcing on myself. I saw the brie and cranberry veggie Christmas option and quite fancied that but no – there was a vegan option so I must eat it. And it’s that most Christmassy flavour of all…curried cauliflower?

Once again I have forgotten to take a photo of the sandwich and this time I only realised after I had eaten it! This was all so much easier when I worked from home and had time to dick about on a sandwich blog. So please look at this image from EAT’s website, imagine it looking a bit more squashed and with more spinach hanging out the sides. Are you imagining it? Good.

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So what is it like? Very good actually – pretty much like a coronation chicken sandwich. I’ve never really thought of swapping out cauliflower for meat, but it works. And I’m a broccoli guy in the great broccoli vs cauliflower war that has claimed so many lives. What a senseless war. But as much as I Iike this sandwich, there is one issue – how is coronation anything Christmassy? Boxing day? Maybe. The rest of the whole year? Of course. But Christmas? No. I’m not sure how was responsible for this decision at EAT, but they have got it all wrong. And what’s with the mysterious name? What didn’t they mention the cauliflower? Everything about this is strange. Great sandwich though.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeee.

REVIEW: Parsnip Fritter & Butternut Squash by Boots

50p(!) – Parsnip and carrot fritter, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, vegan mayonnaise, houmous, chickpeas and chestnuts with spinach on malted bread

Let’s talk about Halloween. At Halloween I went to see a band – The Fuzillis, they are good, check them out. At the gig, spiced run brand Kraken were doing a promotion – free shots and free T-shirts. I was very drunk and happily took one. The shirt says I SOLD MY SOUL TO THE BEAST across the front and is emblazoned with Kraken logos, so went I got it home it went into the ‘wear around the house’ collection, which I have done ever since.

Let’s talk about today. Today I got up at 5.45 to go to the gym. I looked at this t-shirt and wondered if I should wear it to work. And then thought fuck it why not. I’m a sweaty mess at the best of times and with my core temperature raised for the day after getting swole, I may as well wear a crap shirt.

Let’s fast forward to when I’m in the office. I got an email inviting me to meet one of our clients for the first time. Sheepishly, I messaged my boss about my shit awful t-shirt decision and how, combined with my jeans and trainers, I’m looking pretty casual, like a fat 37-year-old student. And thus I partly suggested/was partly told to go home and get changed.

And so you have an early sandwich review today because my schedule is right up the sp(r)out (joke stolen from Facebook comments). I decided to get one on my way back, which I ate at 10.30 and am now reviewing on my phone on the tube back to the office (grammar bores – be gone!).

I popped into Greg’s but they had no veggie Christmas options (do better, Greggs) but Boots did. And it was 50p! And one of my five a day! And gets me £5 off fragrance! And there are 2,000 prizes to be won! Boots have somehow managed to recreate intrusive pop-ups on the front of a sandwich packet. It’s like trying to read a long article on a newspaper’s website. And like last year I won nothing 😦

On reflection, I shouldn’t have put the sandwich on that place mat for the photo

This is a very good sandwich – I’m big fan of parsnips, and their sweetness goes very well with cranberry sauce. Like all fritters, it suffers from the same dryness problem as your mum, but the fritter feels like crumbly stuffing so it works. Am I happy with chickpeas and houmous in a Christmas sandwich? No, but I like it. This is the best one so far, go get it.

REVIEW: Veggie Festive Feast Flatbread by Caffe Nero

Roasted butternut squash with chestnut & puy lentil mix, pickled beetroot, cranberry vegan mayonnaise and salad leaves in a flatbread.

A short entry today because I spent most of my lunch break playing a card game for fat beardy virgins. The actual nearest place to the office is Caffe Nero and I can get there and back in the time it takes for a hobgoblin mage to defeat a cypto-fairy with the ancient artefact of Raknashka. SHAZAM! THE HOUSE OF AUGUSTUS IS MINE NOW.

It’s another vegan affair. Why not call it the Vegan Festive Feast? Because we all hate vegans, that’s why. And today is my first go with vegan mayonnaise. What is vegan mayo made out of? Even vegans have told me it’s awful. As a fat oaf, I think reduced fat mayonnaise is disgusting. GIVE ME THAT FULL EGG FAT [SEXUAL GRUNTING NOISE]. Today I’m finally going to find out for myself just how bad it is. On to the sandwich.

Another quality photo

So, the big cold chunks of butternut squash are a bit much and probably not soft enough, and it feels like you are eating them straight from the veg aisle in Sainsbury’s like a horse that has got loose and wandered into the supermarket, confusing the local shoppers who have never seen a horse in real life and are both scared and confused by just how large they are and not sure what to do except to get their phones out, film the horse and pray to their god(s) that this video goes viral and gets them on the news and finally this is their meal ticket out of here but they’ve never been around a horse before and they walk behind it and you shouldn’t do that and it kicks them POW straight in the kisser sending them tumbling in a display of melons and instead someone else’s video ‘GIRL KICKED INTO MELONS BY HORSE EPIC FAIL’ goes viral instead. The horse is called Bagdemagus.

Remember when I mentioned the vegan mayo? Well, I still don’t know what it tastes like because everything in this wrap just tastes of pickled beetroot. But only if you could find any filling in the TOO MUCH FLATBREAD. Seriously, most of the time it just felt like eating a bread wrapped in bread wrap. So that’s your vegan Christmas from Nero. Is a loaf of bread with a single pickled beetroot baked into the middle a traditional vegan Christmas lunch? If it is, I take back what I said yesterday our meat-free future – the vegans must be stopped at all costs.

REVIEW: No Turkey Feast by M&S

Marinated roasted soya protein with an onion and sage dressing, cranberry chutney, fried onions and spinach on malted brown bread.

Welcome back! So what did you think of yesterday’s lacklustre review? It’s been suggested that I have run out of steam already…and that is correct! What’s the point of all this? Especially when to avoid eating the same old things again, I ended up eating a carrot and mush sandwich. A perfectly nice carrot and mush sandwich, but a not Christmassy in any way carrot and mush sandwich. But today is a brand new day! It’s not pissing down, I’m not hungover, I went to the gym before work, life is good so we go again.

An actual real-life vegan told me that M&S are doing a good Christmas sandwich this year and although my first instinct would be to not trust a vegan, the nearest two sandwich places to the office are either M&S or a tiny WHSmith in the station. I remember last years sandwich from Smiths having the texture of 80s fish paste and they are unlikely to do anything veggie, let alone vegan, so M&S it is.

In the shop, the vegan sandwich was right next to some sort of 3 bird roast sandwich so this was a real test of my willpower. But the important thing he is that M&S have tried to replicate their usually pretty good turkey sandwich with vegan ingredients, so we have a true comparison. Let’s see just how horrible it is!

The turkey has been replaced with marinated roasted soya protein, JUST LIKE MUMMA USED TO MAKE. And there’s no stuffing – surely stuffing can be vegan? But despite all of this, it isn’t bad. It tastes like a low-end Christmas turkey sandwich – like something non-brand you’d get in a corner shop. You can tell that the soy isn’t turkey but otherwise, everything is present and correct. If the future is the millennials in charge and legally enforcing veganism on us all, it’s not as bad as I feared. I for one welcome our meat-free genderless overlords. Also, veganism will be the least of our worries as Christmas will be banned because it is problematic and we will have all been sent to the gulag for wrongthink long before the revolution is over.