Eating with No Reservation Recipe 03: Bodega Sandwich

For as long as humans have been getting high and telling stories, artists of all stripes have been infamous for their love of both. Behind a surprising amount of authors of note, there have been monkeys on their backs helping (hampering?) the creative process. Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley were zonked out of their minds on opium. Edgar Allen Poe was probably more famous as a drunk than as a writer while he was alive. And don’t even get started on (insert name of any musician whose work is listenable here)!

Partying and artistic creation go hand in hand. Why? I don’t know and damned if I’m gonna research a word of it. Maybe the partying stirs creativity? Maybe Tim Leary was right and drugs really do expand the mind? Maybe people that don’t have to work a 9-to-5 have poor impulse control? Whatever the reason, the hard living of many artists has become part of their mystique. Has made their work sell years beyond the lifespan of mass-manufactured cultural output. For some artists, their partying eclipses their work, giving a veneer of the tragic to the lost future of artists whose work might not stand up to scrutiny if they were still alive.

Exhibit A: The Doors. Jim Morrison’s legend amongst a certain drug addled part of the Baby Boomer’s cultural memory raises the perceived quality of his music far above the actual reality. The Doors arguably sucked in the sixties. They FOR SURE would have sucked if they kept making music.

It’s a rare individual that can create art. It’s rarer one still that can create art amidst the personal and health related turmoil that comes with prolonged drug use. If it doesn’t kill the artist, it will for sure kill their art. Hunter S. Thompson’s writings from the 80’s and 90’s is a shell of what his work was at its height, when the drugs and mania and gonzo spirit took him from the Kentucky Derby to Las Vegas and into battle with Richard Nixon himself. Kingsley Amis similarly destroyed a brilliant literary output with a Harry Carey sized drinking habit. Seeing Christopher Hitchens, a man of undeniable wit and intellect, if insufferable smugness, bald and bloodshot as tobacco and alcohol cancer ate him alive in his final interviews is like watching a once impressive candle anticlimactically being snuffed.

Anthony Bourdain was a person as unafraid to try a new art styles as he was to try new substances. He dabbled in everything from novels to travel writing to comics to culinary criticism and if his nonfiction is any indicator, he dabbled in a lot of heavier substances other than books. His work however, displays an unvarying level of quality, be it on the page or TV screen. His drug use didn’t seem to stifle is creative output. His alcohol usage helped to ingratiate himself with those he met in his travels and the descriptions of drug use in his fiction is given an air of authenticity from real life experience. It only makes sense that a man with the temperament of both a professional chef and writer should have a recipe in the books to cure the hangovers that come with the professional territory. Bourdain’s cook Appetites contains a recipe for a breakfast sandwich based on the cheap bodega sandwiches served everyday by the millions in New York City. It’s made with a lot of eggs, even more bacon and is one of the simplest recipes we’ve ever tried in any cookbook. This recipe, more than anything else we’ve seen in the book, embodies Bourdain’s hardscrabble persona. The reality of his life that was unclean, greasy, but deep. This recipe is quick, greasy and the perfect solution to a morning of bloodshot eyes and headaches.

The yummy breakfast sandwich of your dreams

Ingredients 

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 kaiser rolls, sliced as for a sandwich
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 slices American or Swiss cheese
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Us assembling this dish easily on a Saturday morning

Instructions

  1. Heat a large, heavy-bottom skillet or cast-iron griddle pan over high heat until hot, then add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp, adjusting the temperature if necessary so that it doesn’t get burned (if it burns, start over).
  2. Using a spatula or tongs, remove the bacon to the lined plate. Open the kaiser rolls and place them facedown on the griddle for 2 minutes to warm through and absorb some of that bacon grease. Remove them and park 3 slices of bacon inside each roll.
  3. Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat well. You’re not making scrambled eggs here, you’re making a kind of value-neutral omelet, so don’t worry about retaining big curds in the pan.
  4. Cook the eggs in the hot bacon grease until cooked through. Top with the cheese, distributed in an even layer, and let cook until slightly melty.
  5. Remove the eggs and divide them evenly among the rolls, folding and chopping as necessary. Close the sandwiches, wrap in foil for portability (if necessary), and serve with shitty coffee.
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The bread currently absorbing all the yummy bacon juice

Our Impression

Jeff thought of this as “the biker chick of breakfast sandwiches”; rough around the edges but impressive due to its badassness. I definitely agree! The minute you take a bite of this sandwich, you not only feel the crunch of the bacon, but also that of the bread. It is simple to make but my goodness, the flavors are insane! Since it has so much bacon, we have decided to not make this our everyday breakfast.

While every recipe we have tried had truly been amazing, this is the one I highly recommend! It is not only a simple dish to make, it will also bring a huge smile to every person you make it for!

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These guys are now ready to eat!

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more fun recipes!

– Jeff and Cindy

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