Sometimes, a package is wrapped so beautifully, you don’t want to open it. When the package contains food, I can get over that feeling pretty fast.
Here’s something you may not know: everybody’s favorite West End French-themed Korean deli with a kick-ass salad bar, Bonne Chance, serves the best-wrapped breakfast sandwiches you’ll ever see, even if you don’t get them to go.
They’re not just pretty on the outside. Here’s my standard, egg and cheese on wheat toast. Have you ever seen such perfectly toasted toast? Sometimes I think they use a mold of some kind to make the egg exactly the size (and shape – I’ve had this on an English muffin too) of the bread.
Inside the sandwich? Perfectly cooked egg, a nice buttery salty thing going on. The cheese? Well, you know how I am about the cheese. It’s not in a class with that other Frenchified breakfast sammie, l’alternative, but it sure is a nice way to start the day.
What is the alternative to the alternative? Is it the same old thing? Well, after making such a fuss last week about a breakfast sandwich from the crepe truck, my bluff was called on Friday by the presence of the Grilled Cheese Nation truck. If they can’t make a knock your socks off cheese sandwich, who can?
I’m still looking for the answer to that one. A great grilled cheese sandwich is not necessarily a great cheese sandwich. I ordered mine with bacon, about $7 with a bottle of water. (A relative bargain in food truck terms, but I suspect many will be left hungry after just one such sandwich.) GCN clearly has their basics down. It’s grilled just right, buttery on the outside, pressed enough to hold together, cheese melty and gooey but not scalding, lots of options both classic and nouveau. The cheese? The menu calls it “Aged Mild Vermont Cheddar”, but it’s so mild as to be almost invisible, and in stingy amounts, it’s Davis Square all over again. GCN delivers a really nice classic grilled cheese sandwich but they just don’t deliver the cheese experience I’m seeking.
You know that guy who orders the fish at a steak place, or the burger at a pizza place? I am not that guy. I like the odd things on the menu just fine, but I like to go for the core competencies most of the time. Checking out the falafel truck? I get the falafel. Given this, there is no earthly reason why I would order a sandwich off the breakfast menu from the crepe truck at lunchtime. But I did. And they screwed it up. And it was amazing. And I will order it again.
The sandwich – the only one on Paris Crepe’s menu although it’s not on their website menu – is called l’alternative, which I suppose makes sense at a crepe joint. It’s sharp cheddar, a fried egg, arugula, and bacon on some kind of rustic white bread. More or less a breakfast sandwich, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was well-toasted but it had gotten a little soggy on the bottom. They left off the bacon, and the other ingredients were spilling over the edges of the bread. It was a hot mess.
Lots of cheese sandwiches talk about sharp cheddar. Most of them are faking it. This sandwich is serious as the heart attack that it could ultimately cause. The cheddar is sharp and tangy like a macbook air that’s been in a barn and melted like a mixtape on a sunny dashboard. It’s not even officially a cheese sandwich and it’s the best cheese sandwich I’ve had in a long time. The arugula is a nice touch, offsetting the salty greasy nature of the egg and cheese, but not too much. The bread is crusty and just thick enough, not over-buttered or too crunchy to enjoy.
I’ve heard there are whole trucks devoted to the art of the grilled cheese sandwich. I dare them to come down to City Hall Plaza and best l’alternative.