Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Hunt for the Elusive Egg Salad Sandwich


The above video clip is from Woody Allen's film debut, 1966's "What's Up Tiger Lily?", in which entirely unrelated, seriously silly dialog is dubbed over the top of some random campy Japanese spy film. The plot of the Allen-scripted version revolves around the search for the "world's best recipe" for egg salad, and it is so coveted that hearts are broken and secret agent men are shot up like Swiss cheese in the process of finding this elusive recipe.

It may seem a bit over the top, but even 46 years later, there is a kernel of truth to the concept. A good egg salad sandwich is as hard to find these days as a hardcore LaToya Jackson fan.

The situation kind of came into focus for me a few weeks ago when a slightly grizzled, new-to-town random guy bellied up to my bar, ordered a jack and Coke and at one point in our conversation he blurted out "there's only one thing wrong with this town. You can't find a god damned decent egg salad sandwich!".

I thought about it for a few minutes. "Yeah. This guy is on to something." I was drawing a complete blank on how to solve this guy's egg salad dilemma. You can most likely find some kind of pre-packaged, sad sack egg salad blandness between two slices of ghetto bread in every gas station deli cooler and call center vending machine in town, but that doesn't even count.

But where would a cat head for an honest-to-goodness, fresh made, fluffy and flavorful egg salad sandwich? Naturally, I had to figure it out. My research was entirely online, so there are probably several more eateries that serve them, but here are a few to at least get us started in the right direction. If you are aware of additions, please feel free to email me and let me know and I will tack them on here.

Herbie's Deli Stop

(4055 N Government Way, Coeur d'Alene) Facebook

"I had the egg salad sandwich, and it was excellent.  Served on thick nine-grain bread, everything about it was fresh,  Probably the best egg salad sandwich I've ever had." ~ Kurt S., Yelp!
I do love Herbie's deli, it's kind of a local foodie insider secret, located in a semi-obscure strip mall across from the fairgrounds. Every time I've dined at Herbie's it's just fantastic, down-to-earth and understated but impactful and affordable. however, I've never gotten around to sampling their magic egg salad. I'm going to take Kurt S.'s advice above and assume it's yum yummy and put a note on my mental refrigerator door to get in there and give the idea some mouth time. (half egg sandwich $5.25)

Starbucks(Various Locations)

You always say you simply loathe the place. Their corporate ubiquitous, their tendency toward eco-cutesiness and blah blah blah. But you will inevitably end up at Starbucks anyway and you will secretly enjoy the experience. Next time you're sneaking in to grab your Britney Spears sized latte, maybe you will experience a hunger pang. And when that happens, you should be comforted to know that Starbucks offers a "classic" egg salad sandwich with dill, mustard, celery and lettuce on whole-wheat bread. I haven't tried one myself since I avoid Starbucks completely because it's terribly pedestrian and oh so passé. Of course, I lie - I'll meet you there tomorrow at noon.

High Nooner

3510 North Government Way  Coeur d'Alene
The "High Nooner" is apparently the one that started it all for the High Nooner. Or was it the other way around? Ironically, this is kind of a chicken or egg which came first kind of story. Described on the menu as Egg Salad, Cream Cheese, Bacon, Lettuce, Mayo, Tomato, 12 Grain Bread ($6.55), I ordered mine with no tomato (oh, hell no), and didn't notice until I got it home that I should have asked them to put mustard up in there mustard. I mean, what? No mustard (just a little) in your egg salad is like no whiskey in your water. It just ain't right.

So this sandwich was a bit on the bland side, but the addition of the bacon helped since bacon is clearly something that helps everything it touches. The cream cheese was barely detectable, but the egg salad itself was at least fluffy and fresh. Their baked-on-site bread is always a hit, the free cookie is a sweet bonus, and the High Nooner's friendly service always results in a warm fuzzy or two. Approved!

Pilgrims Market
1316 North 4th Street  Coeur d'Alene

I'm not entirely sure how exactly Pilgrims puts together the egg salad sandwiches that live on the top shelf in the cooler case across from the deli counter, but they are definitely a bit different than the classic and familiar model.

The main noticeable difference is that they seem like they might actually treat your body right and not clog your arterial passageways with globs of mayonnaise-y cholesterol. There must be some version of mayo here holding things together, but it's probably some other suggestively named pseudo-mayo product such as Organic Vegenaise®. There is only the vaguest hint of mustard flavor, Perhaps some onion, celery maybe, definitely some fresh dill.

It's a pretty simple recipe and the time I had one of these sandwiches it was rather bland and the excessively dry wheat bread was spongy and crumbly the way hippies like it. If nothing else, you could pick up one of these, scrape off the egg salad into a bowl, add plentiful amounts of fatty Best Foods mayo and a squeeze of tangy French's mustard, as well as a good shake of  Lawry's seasoned salt, slap that action between two slices of fresh Wonder bread and you are totally good to go.

Actually, these aren't bad at all and the addition of plentiful veggies (cukes, sprouts, tomato, red onion, lettuce leaves) might actually do something positive for you and push an actual vitamin or two into your fat and booze soaked body system. So, in other words, I'll give it a maybe.

1 comment:

Sled Dog said...

Oh, to be quoted at the Get Out North Idaho blog! Kurt S.