Rustic Sourdough Bakery & Deli
1305 – 17th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2T 0C4
Sandwiches are a bit of an enigma for me. Growing up, unlike most kids, I rarely got sandwiches for lunch. Instead, i got this hodgepodge of foods that made me stand out from the rest of the crowd. Not exactly a good thing when you’re 8. I wanted sandwiches. I wanted to be like the other kids.
Fast forward a few years – I had developed a better understanding of barter, and had gotten plenty of exposure to sandwiches. I realized I didn’t really like them. Peanut butter and jelly. Salami. Some unrecognizable meat called Bologna. Dry, icky bread. Tasteless spread. I guess I would stick to my stinky, garlic-loaded leftovers after all.
It took me a long time to appreciate that sandwiches could be so much more than the bread-meat-veg combos of my youth. I came to appreciate fresh bread, freshly roasted meats, with a well-made spread, some veg, all stacked in the proper proportion. Bread didn’t have to come in white or whole wheat, there was an entire spectrum of tasty choices. I got to experience some great sandwiches, but came to realize that they were generally few and far between. While they aren’t perfect, in Calgary, my favorite place is Rustic Sourdough Bakery.
Rustic Sourdough Bakery is a European Deli and Bakery located at the outer edge of 17th Avenue. Fairly nondescript, one could pass by daily, and still not notice the awning in the sea of color and neon that populate the strip. Inside, things are divided up into two sections – a bakery side that produces fantastic bread, pastries, and other delights, and a deli, that offers up a large selection of cheese and meats.
Im not 100% sure how Rustic Sourdough Bakery started in the sandwich business, but it seems like a very natural combination. Fresh bread, freshly sliced meats, add some veg and spreads, and you have the makings of a great sandwich. For $6.00, you choose your bread from a wide variety of options. You can choose from most of the meats available, excluding some of the high end cuts like prosciutto, and choose your cheese from a wide selection as well. Pretty much any combination is available. They add your choices of veggies, condiments, and pack it all up for you. For an additional couple bucks, you can get one of three homemade daily soups. A steal of a price.
At the Rustic Sourdough Bakery, the sandwiches are really good. My only complaint is really no complaint at all – just that i would like there to be fresh roasted chicken, roast beef, or other meats instead of all deli meats. I like the variety, and generally prefer a little more “substance” to my sandwiches. But that aside, the veg is fresh, the bread is fantastic (i choose the fresh “pita” option, that has structure, yet is light and soft). The cheeses and meats, of course are fantastic. And the sandwich is so large, i generally order one and eat only half and the soup for lunch. I save the other half for another day.
The soups are really good as well. Homemade, they often run out, or are down to the least popular one half way through lunch service. They are hot, and full of flavour, and there is always enough soup diversity that you never really get bored.
Rustic Sourdough Bakery is one of those places that is busy enough – and I thought twice about writing about. To be honest, I didn’t really want to add to my already long wait for a sandwich when im in that part of town. But the cat is out of the bag now. If you’re looking for a sandwich, and price, taste, quantity and value all matter, this is the place. They make a great sandwich. Picking up a pastry from the bakery never hurts either. It really makes for an affordable, quality, tasty lunch. And compared to the sandwiches of my childhood, it is a welcome thing indeed. Especially when i don’t need to trade my home cooked meals for them anymore!