Sunday, 6 March 2011

Solitary Sandwich

Quite surprising - Starbuck's Roasted Chicken and Herb Mayo Sandwich

While away at a tradeshow for a few days, I was given the task of exploring a new and unfamiliar exhibition centre from an exhibitor point of view. Me being me, my primary objective was to scope out feasible food joints for easy refuelling during our (sometimes) gruelling professional performance.

You’d think that our ‘National Exhibition Centre’ (Birmingham’s NEC) would offer a brief representation of our nation’s culinary tastes but I wandered around lost and disappointed. I would feel very sad the summation of our country’s grub was a sweaty Subway, a busy Starbucks and a Martin’s newsagent. The venue itself was pretty good for us as exhibitors with free parking and relatively easy way-finding both inside and out. Our prayers were answered when a lovely lady (who worked for the organisers) bestowed a timely cuppa and a handmade chicken sandwich while we were building our stand. How they managed to get around the usual H&S mumbo-jumbo, I do not know.

I love days out of the office. This is probably because I spent the vast majority of my professional time behind a paper-strewn desk plugged into a computer or responding to telephone queries. I like seeing new places, meeting new people and eating new food. I’ve enjoyed everything from black tie silver service soirées in Oxbridge colleges to a fragrant curry with colleagues in Bedford.

By the time my first fleeting lunch break opportunity materialised, I was as much in need of mental respite as I was in need of sustenance. My role at events like these is to be a friendly face, subtle sales person, efficient organiser, neat personification of the company and general fountain of knowledge. Needless to say that this is pretty draining – both physically and mentally. So I wandered around in a bit of a daze for a slice of nutrition and a quiet place to sit. Unfortunately, neither was forthcoming. Eventually, I found myself loitering in the mammoth queue for Starbucks and was overjoyed (in my desperate event-addled state) to see a sandwich in their fridge which looked tasty and relatively healthy.

I decided to try a chicken sandwich with herb mayonnaise which looked promising. I find ready-made sandwiches to be a bit of a disappointment usually – soggy, salty and lacking in filling. But this was pretty good. It tasted fresh and had more flavour than your average packaged sandwich.

Shame that the same can’t be said for the Subway sarnie that I picked up in a dash the following day. Starbucks were completely out of sandwiches and Panini’s (what’s the plural of Panini? Paninies? Paninii?), which is generally a good sign, so I swung past Subway out of desperation. It was not good.

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