Saturday, January 27, 2018

Breakfast Sandwich #110 - Crema Cafe aka Color Palettes For Your Mouth

Sandwich: Ham and Jam
Location: Crema Cafe
Date: January 21, 2018
Cost: $8.50

It had been well over two years (and 90 sandwiches) since my last official visit to Crema Cafe. Given my love of the smoked gouda grits and The Gobbler sandwich there is no reasonable explanation for this gap in my attendance. During that time I've choked down at least two dozen sub-par fast food sandwiches, all in the name of the Sandwich Sciences.

On my previous visit I had their standard Breakfast Sandwich and it was everything you'd hope for in a breakfast sandwich. They occasionally have breakfast sandwich specials on the weekends which is reason enough to be on their email list but I'm often not able to make it there to try their creations. The War Pig is/was one of those specials but I'm not sure if they still offer it. If not, you can get it at Off Broadway Drafthouse.

My point is that I had completely forgotten that they have another breakfast sandwich offering that I had intended to try. In fact, I didn't realize it until I was standing in line looking at the menu. Such is the nature of my planning for this blog which sometimes resembles Pac-Man - random left and right turns, gobbling whatever is in the path.

The fact that I remembered to snap a photo of the menu is a win.

The sandwich arrives already sliced so rather than a photo of it whole we have two angles of the diagonal dissection. 

The sandwich insisted that it's left side is it's "good side".
The Sandwich - Ham and Jam Sandwich. No variations are offered upon ordering. The first thing you notice when this is delivered is that it is a handsome sandwich. It's been carefully assembled and the color palette of pinks, greens, yellows, tan and white is very inviting. It's said that "We eat first with our eyes" and while that sounds unbelievably pretentious the phrase apparently dates back to Apicius in the 1st century AD. These days Apicius would have 1 million Instagram followers which would have proven his point. Another gem from that link - "It has been suggested that trichromatic colour vision may originally have developed in primates as an adaptation that facilitated the selection of more energy-rich (and likely red) fruits from in-amongst the dark green forest canopy". I can't wait to drop that line at a dinner party and then listen for somebody to mutter "what an asshole" under their breath. Anyway, the tomato jam and the goat cheese are the predominant flavors here. The egg is fried with no runny yolk so the cheese and jam carry the load on the viscosity front. This sandwich could actually stand to be messier and the bread is hearty enough to handle it. The red onion was more subtle than expected as was the saltiness of the ham. The greens add a bit of crispness and nutrition in addition to expanding the color palette.

The Result - 4.11 Eyeball Mouths out of 5 Eyeball Mouths. So, what's the "411" on this sandwich? It's an excellent sandwich unlike any other in this area and I appreciate an inventive breakfast sandwich.  Ultimately though, this sandwich doesn't quite hit the mark with me. It's a bit sweeter than anticipated and I kept thinking of little tweaks that I would have made to improve it for my tastes. More tomato jam, a bit less goat cheese, a runny egg. My dining companion suggested replacing the greens with arugula and I do think that would be good. I wondered if a light dollop of hot sauce would be good on this. I suspect you'd have to find just the right hot sauce to blend with the unique flavors going on here, and then you'd be in business. I'm well aware that I'm nit-picking but it's because I'm judging Crema Cafe against it's own high standards. Have you had The Gobbler? It's one of the best sandwiches in Madison. In the end, I think it's perfectly acceptable to realize the excellence of a sandwich while also noting that it may not be perfectly aimed at your tastebuds. For me, that's what is happening here. 

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