The New York-Boston Rivalry, as Seen Through an Egg Sandwich

1225993059There’s a special potluck supper in Hell reserved for food bloggers of the indulgent, navel-gazing variety. Fastidious diarists, they can be counted on to chronicle every single morsel they eat, smell, bake, nuke, ponder…regardless of the interest, even potential, of any sort of audience. These “I Ate a Cheese Sandwich Today” bloggers give food blogging a bad name. It’s almost enough to make Chowder go on a diet.

But Chowder ate an egg sandwich today, and before you click outta here, here’s why you should care: First off, it was fantastic.

Served on an English muffin toasted crisp until the frayed edges were just this side of blackened, the fried egg had a yolk that was 90 percent—but no more than that—cooked-through, with the slightest residual liquidity, blanketed with a swath of melted provolone cheese and topped with salty, smoky breakfast sausage links, sliced in half lengthwise. It was, in a word, perfect.

More to the point, however, it was one of the few local places making an egg sandwich of the quality that you can find on virtually every half-block of Manhattan, at any random Korean corner bodega or greasy deli.

Sure, the ubiquitous New York “eggona-roll” and “eggona-roll-with-butter” are simpler species, but the key is the cooked-to-order egg that doesn’t resemble a sanitized, precooked, factory-grade, eerily round egg disk straight out of central distribution.

Try ordering an egg-white sandwich at Starbucks, or an over-medium sausage-egg-and-cheese bagel from Au Bon Pain or Dunkies, and the cashier will stare at you like you’ve got hens’ feathers growing out the top of your head.

In the world of Boston’s chain-dominated takeout options, making an egg sandwich doesn’t add up to cooking an egg sandwich per se, but, rather, assembling one: Lifting the offputtingly symmetrical egg disk (basically, a flattened hard-boiled egg), tossing on a slice of American cheese, then nuking the thing till melted.

New Yorkers would never stand for it.

And Bostonians are better than that.

Chowder enjoyed that perfect eggwich at Al’s State Street Cafe (the new location on Essex and South Streets), but there are plenty of local sources for from-scratch breakfast sandwiches.

Just say no to compass-drawn eggs. And, come to think of it, to “I Ate a Cheese Sandwich” blogs. But that’s another posting….