But not ‘prosciutto di Parma’ – unless you were the owner of Bowie’s local sandwich store, a man likely to feel his passing more than most, given that the star was a regular customer. (Insert gag about ‘the return of the thin white loaf’ here.)
Because Bowie – along with being Ziggy, Aladdin or just David Jones – was a sandwich man. Amidst the reams of coverage of his death this week I read a quote from an Irish caterer, who recounted how the star’s after-show snack-of-choice in the 1980s was a cheese sandwich.
Ziggy had taste. When it comes to sandwiches the Italians – in the face of stiff competition from the Vietnamese (the glorious banh mi) and the Americans (the dripping Reuben) – do it best.
If I needed further evidence of this, apart from that provided by the late Mr Bowie’s dining habits, I encountered it on a visit to Santa Monica a fortnight ago. Braving the hordes of big, small or any-screen wannabes my brother-in-law and I hit Bay Cities Italian Deli – a staple in the area since 1925.The place, and it’s ‘Godmother‘ sandwich, therefore have something of a reputation. A reputation which accounted for a three deep throng at the deli counter and a 20-plus minute wait for service.
The Starman himself would have been happy – there was prosciutto (and just about every other type of cured meat) aplenty. I, however, used my Italian sandwich acid test – order one with burrata.
My all-time favourite sandwich, Fiore Market Cafe’s roast chicken, features this soft cheese. The Bay Cities option was a burrata caprese – essentially a caprese salad in a roll, with the mozzarella subbed out for the softer cheese.
The purists may be sceptical, but it was perfect. The burrata was creamy cold and cut through with just enough sliced onion. The tomatoes and basil were as good as you’d expect in a 90-year old Italian deli. And the whole deal was served up on still-warm house bread. I didn’t want it to end.
All this is a long way from a 60-something David Bowie nipping out for a quick ham roll on his lunch break, of course.
That said, Bowie did play a famous show in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1972 – a venue just a few minutes stroll from Bay Cities Deli.
Did he pop in for a cheese sandwich? He should have._____