Sunday, September 20, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #38 - Avenue Club aka The Debutante Sandwich

Sandwich: B.E.L.T. Breakfast Sandwich
Location: Avenue Club and the Bubble Up Bar
Date: September 19, 2015
Cost: $10 served with choice of mixed greens or breakfast potatoes.

Everybody in Madison already knows the Avenue Bar was recently closed for remodeling and retooling and is now known as Avenue Club and the Bubble Up Bar. It almost sounds like the title of a Hardy Boys book or Scooby Doo episode - The Avenue Gang Solves The Case Of The Bubble Up Bar. Maybe not. Most likely everybody will still call it "The Avenue" and I would be skeptical of anybody that refers to it as the Avenue Club, or worse, the Bubble Up Bar.

They have reopened and Saturday was their first day serving brunch. This gave me the opportunity to get the very first breakfast sandwich served from the kitchen. I arrived exactly at 8:00 and there was already a group of four seated and at least one other person who had arrived just before me. As far as restaurants go it's a fairly large space and I ended up sitting in at the Bubble Up Bar, so I don't know if I actually was the first person to order the breakfast sandwich. I'm somewhat confident the four top didn't order the breakfast sandwich - they were older folks and that generation remembers a time when breakfast sandwiches didn't exist AND THEY LIKED IT THAT WAY.

Or did they? In Breakfast: A History, Heather Arndt Anderson references a cookbook from 1897 by Maud C. Cooke that contains a breakfast sandwich recipe. The book has the delightful title of Breakfast, Dinner And Supper, Or What To Eat And How To Prepare It: Containing All The Latest Approved Recipes ... Including Hygienic And Scientific Cooking, Rules For Dinner Giving... They sure knew how to name books back then. I have to admit I haven't read either of these books but after learning more about Maud I think I'd like to have a sandwich with her.

Maud also published a book titled Social Life, or, The Manners and Customs of Polite Society which contains this gem regarding courting - "The charming and fascinating power of serpents over birds is as nothing compared with that a woman can wield over a man, and he over her." Maud - your insight cuts to the bone!

In reference to musical entertainment at a soiree or lawn party, there is this advice which seems to reveal that there have always been blowhards who will ruin a concert with their yammering:

"When any one is playing or singing, let the company preserve silence, and if they should converse, let it be in the lowest tones. To interrupt a performer is the worst possible taste. Instrumental performers have as much right to expect the courtesy of silence as vocalists. The hostess has the privilege of indicating, to a noisy group, by a gesture, her desire for silence. Those who will talk should at least withdraw from the immediate vicinity of the instrument. If asked to play an accompaniment, do so, not to display your own accomplishments, but so as to afford the best possible support for the singer."

So, anyway, I don't think the old people ordered the breakfast sandwich. I'm going to assume that I was the first person to do so. When the debut breakfast sandwich came out of the kitchen there was no fanfare, the staff didn't crowd around and clap or sing a song about sandwiches. Its almost like they didn't realize the gravity of the situation. Perhaps they were indifferent, which would be sad.

The Avenue offers two breakfast sandwiches:

B.E.L.T. Breakfast Sandwich
Fried egg, crisp bacon, mixed greens, tomato, and Widmer's brick cheese spread on a grilled sourdough roll, served with your choice of mixed greens or breakfast potatoes.

Egg and Avocado
A toasted English muffin, chunky avocado, sunny side up egg, and grilled tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar-honey reduction.

It has one of those club sandwich decorative toothpick thingys! 

Layers, revealed.
The Sandwich - I went with the B.E.L.T. with the side of mixed greens. The avocado sandwich sounded good as well but that will have to wait until a later visit. The chicken egg is fried, as advertised, and I would have preferred it over-medium or runny in some capacity. The mixed greens listed in the description were replaced with romaine lettuce. I don't know if they did this because I ordered the mixed greens on the side but I was fine with the romaine - it gave the sandwich a whiff of a healthy crunch. Brick cheese isn't offered on many breakfast sandwiches and I found that to be refreshing. I felt like there was a little extra layer of something creamy on here, maybe some mayo? Maybe it was just the cheese. The tomato was fine, the bacon was fine, the roll was fine although it didn't really seem grilled. The best way to describe this sandwich may be to say that it was perfectly OK. Not bad. Not great. Just good. I think its biggest flaw is it is served on a hearty roll and yet the contents don't require it. This sandwich could be twice as sloppy as it already is and it wouldn't be too much to handle. 

The mixed greens on the side were tossed with radish and red onion. It seems that all breakfast greens are served with a tangy dressing and these were no exception. They were slightly overdressed for my tastes, but not soggy, and they were delicious. 

The Result - 3.03 Maud C. Cooke's out of 5 Maud C. Cooke's? What rating is perfectly middle of the pack? Mathematically speaking, on a scale of 1-5, I suppose 2.5 would be perfectly average. That feels too low though and I'm not going to go back through the previous reviews to see how this should slot in, but 3.03 sounds about right.

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