When Is A Club Sandwich Not a Club?

I have, in the not so distant past, been accused of being a bit of a stickler when it comes to the “proper” way to do certain things, be they cooking, dressing or behaving. While I’m not a total bastard about it (I think the “no red wine with fish” rule is largely pointless and have been known to wear white after labor day), there are indeed certain rules that are important, some more than others, of course. They help society get along at a small, personal and individual level. One of these rules is the naming of foods or dishes on a menu. It’s important, I think, for the diner to know what he or she is getting when ordering. For example, a martini is gin (as opposed to a vodka martini) and if you order penne puttanesca, you should be comfortable in assuming it won’t contain cream or meat…or shoe leather, for that matter.
The same goes for one of the all-time classic sandwiches and one of my favorite guilty pleasures, The Club. Without a doubt a guilty pleasure due to the presence of both mayonnaise and bacon, but a pleasure, nonetheless. The Club has endured since the late 19th century, the origin in dispute, with a tried and true recipe, one with very little room for interpretation. The classic Club is: a regular or triple decker (there is question on this point) creation of turkey or chicken (roasted, not smoked), crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on toasted white bread, cut diagonally into quarters. Acceptable deviations include chicken instead of turkey and if you twist my arm, avocado (maybe a “California Club”?). That’s not to say adding lobster or cheese might not taste damn good, but it would NOT be a Club.
The following sandwich on offer at the café at the Arclight cinemas (home to AFI Fest) and billed as a Club is most decidedly, NOT: Roast beef, bacon, turkey, tomato, provolone, mozzarella and garlic aoli on toasted bread. Yes, it contains turkey, bacon and tomato, but so would a liverwurst, sea urchin, limburger, mustard, turkey, bacon and tomato sandwich, but I wouldn’t call that one a Club, either.
Here endeth the rant.

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