Over the past few weeks, I thought about picking up lunch at Brown’s English Toffee in Fiddletown mostly because I had never been to Fiddletown before. Last week, I talked with my mother about eating there and she said she recently saw an article about Brown’s in the Amador Ledger-Dispatch, and so she wanted to try them, too.
Before I left, I downloaded the menu from Brown’s Facebook profile page and printed it out for my mother so she could pick her sandwich. To my surprise, my mother asked me to order the Schalhorn vegetarian sandwich on sourdough bread with rye bread as her second choice. (I was sure she would pick the tuna or BLT sandwiches.) Since my mother ordered the Schalhorn sandwich, I decided to order the Jimmy Chow tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread.
On Wednesday, September 15, I conducted an interview at Roots & Wings Farmhouse Market in Sutter Creek and ran some errands, so once I finished my last errand, I called Brown’s with my order. The woman on the phone told me that it was her first day back in the shop and they didn’t have any sourdough bread. So, I ordered rye for my mother’s sandwich, and once I confirmed the order, I made the scenic drive up to Fiddletown.
Brown’s English Toffee is on the left side of the street as you drive east along Fiddletown Road, and it looks like many of the small roadside shops you find in Fiddletown’s central area. I drove into a dirt lot on the east side of the building, and once I entered through the front door into the small front of the house, I found some bags of candy on a table to my right and an older woman working behind the counter in front of me.
I told her who I was, and she gave me a paper bag with our food that was on a table behind the counter. I gave her my cash, asked her to keep the change, and drove home to Jackson. Once I unpacked the paper bag, I found each of our sandwiches were wrapped in paper. Each paper wrapper had writing on it that identified the sandwich.
The Jimmy Chow sandwich is a straightforward tuna sandwich with tuna salad, shredded iceberg lettuce, slices of tomatoes, and mayonnaise in between two slices of untoasted wheat bread and cut in half. To me, it looked a lot like the tuna sandwiches my grandmother would make for me, my sister, and my cousins when we were kids visiting our grandparents’ vineyard every summer.
A little of the lettuce spilled out, but otherwise, the sandwich was well put together. As I picked up and ate the first half of the sandwich, the wheat bread stayed together from the first bite to the last. I ate some celery and what I suspect were almonds in the tuna salad, and the tuna was flavorful without being salty. The lettuce was crunchy, and the tomatoes tasted fresh, and the mayonnaise took a back seat.
The second half of my sandwich had a somewhat damp bottom slice. I suspected that because the sandwiches were packed tightly in the paper bag, the tuna was squeezed against the slice of bread next to it. (This was a bigger problem for my mother’s sandwich, as I’ll talk about shortly.) Thankfully, the bread was thick enough to handle the pressure of my fingers as I finished the second half of my sandwich.
My mother’s Schalhorn sandwich contained avocado, tomato, onion, dill pickles, lettuce, pepperoncini peppers, garlic aioli, and mayonnaise between two slices of rye bread. Upon opening the paper wrapper, we saw all the vegetables bursting out through the edges of the bread. Worse, we could see parts of the bread were damp.
When my mother took her first bite, she immediately commented that eating damp rye bread was a new experience that she didn’t want to repeat. She thought all the vegetables were fresh and flavorful, and she also enjoyed the tang from both the garlic aioli and mayonnaise.
I was surprised that she wanted to eat the onions and pepperoncini peppers, but I suspect she didn’t read the menu description completely. She saw a pepperoncini pepper, wondered what it was, took a bite, and immediately made a face. She put the rest of the pepper down and put it in the garbage disposal after lunch.
The tuna sandwich was what I needed for lunch—a protein-packed sandwich that was easy to eat, not too big, and flavorful. Combined with some Open Nature Veggie Chips from Safeway, and I had enough energy to get me through the rest of the afternoon.
My mother ate her entire sandwich, but she was disappointed afterward. She told me to include in the article that you shouldn’t order the Schalhorn with rye bread—it’s too thin and wasn’t up to the task of holding together all the ingredients in the sandwich.
So, we press the flashing green light switch because your satisfaction will largely depend on the sandwich and the bread. Each sandwich was $9.00, which made the total price of our meals was $18.00.
Want to Try Them?
Brown’s English Toffee is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. They serve candies, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, extras including chips, soup, and potato salad, beverages, and baked goods on weekends. Breakfast sandwiches are served all day. You can view their menu on their Facebook profile page.
There was one dirty plastic table and a couple of plastic chairs outside the building so you can eat outside, but Brown’s is a better option for a grab-and-go breakfast or lunch. Call Brown’s English Toffee to order your meal and/or ask questions at 209-245-5400.
Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.