In the course of my travels I am always in search of foods with national appeal and a local spin. Living in Chicago for a few years, I discovered that their idea of pizza, while still delicious, is much different than what we enjoy here at our pizzerias. Is one better than the other? Who am I to say? However, there is one food I never can seem to find while traveling, and it is the first thing I go for as soon as I return home to Long Island. The one simple meal that just cannot seem to be replicated anywhere is the Long Island egg sandwich.
Waking up early on a weekend morning, I hungrily drive to my local deli, Lake Village Deli in Saint James, for my weekend breakfast ritual. Long Island delicatessens are entertaining and could easily generate an epic novel with their atmosphere alone. I simply soak it all in while waiting with hungry anticipation and a smile. I order the same egg sandwich most every visit; egg whites, Swiss and bacon on a kaiser roll with hot sauce. Sometimes, when feeling a need to indulge, I ask them to add home fries to the sandwich, elevating it to another level. It is a pure delight to the taste buds and, to me, so uniquely Long Island.
What make this sandwich so good? Perhaps it is the bacon, sizzled to perfection on a flat top and layered in heaps; it is a must on any formidable egg sandwich. Others believe the kaiser roll is the vital ingredient to make an egg sandwich shine. For me it is the marriage of all the key ingredients along with the effort and patience of the grill men. Under constant stress, with sandwich after sandwich being ordered in rapid-fire succession, they continue to churn out this culinary (albeit regional) work of art.
Common talk among my fellow islanders is which deli makes the best egg sandwich and, while these conversations can be humorous and sound like congressional hearings, there is really no wrong answer. This weekend my egg sandwich ritual continues. Deli iced tea in hand, I will drive to a local park with a view and enjoy a simple breakfast for the ages.
John Delaney’s favorite egg sandwich is from Lake Village Deli in St. James. Photographer Doug Young’s fave (pictured above) is from the Parkville Plaza Deli in Sayville. Kerber’s Farm in Huntington makes an egg sandwich on a homemade cheddar biscuit that gets editor Betsy Davidson up in the morning. We would love to know what deli makes your favorite breakfast sandwich. Please share and comment below.