Sunday, January 5, 2020

Breakfast Sandwich #150 - Einstein Bros. Bagels aka Should Have Stayed In Vegas

Sandwich: All-Nighter
Location: Einstein Bros.® Bagels
Date: December 28, 2019
Cost: $6.59

When I heard Einstein Bros.® Bagels had added a new breakfast sandwich to their menu I knew it was time to revisit them and see if things had improved since my last visit in 2015.  Things didn't go very well on that trip so there was a chance for redemption here. At the end of a calendar year, we all can get a bit reflective and redemption is often a by-product of that. Perhaps even your nearby chain bagel shop with hundreds of locations nationwide is worthy of a second chance?

The All-Nighter is their new sandwich, now available nationwide at participating locations. It debuted in Las Vegas with the angle that it offered consolation after a night of indulgences and it proved to be popular enough to expand to the full chain. At least that's how the story goes. It smells like marketing and PR bullshit to me, but who cares? Is the sandwich any good? This is all that matters.

It arrives from the kitchen (the counter, actually) pre-split.
For all the potential oozyness this sandwich has, there is a remarkable lack of oozyness.

The Sandwich - All-Nighter. Cheesy Hash Brown gourmet bagel with American cheese, bacon, eggs and a jalapeño garlic aioli. So much potential here. Brimming with opportunity. Spoiler alert - that potential is squandered. All of these chain places refuse to make runny eggs and the part-time employees are forced to cook with microwaves so it's hard to have high expectations, but that's what we do here. This sandwich does feature two chicken eggs, and if both of those were runny you'd have a real napkin-grabbing mess on your hands, literally. But wouldn't it be nice? The cheese could have been meltier, the bacon was fine. I'm going to focus on the bagel since they have "bagel" right there in their name. It was smaller and lighter than expected. It's a "Cheesy Hash Brown gourmet bagel", so I assume they mix hash browns right into the bagel, but it just struck me as a regular bagel. If it had more heft it could withstand the amount of sandwich slop I'm picturing in my head. (And let me tell you, this image is VIVID. I'm writing this on Sunday morning and I haven't eaten yet.) Even the jalapeño garlic aioli didn't really make its presence known in terms of flavor. It added some needed viscosity, but that was about it. 

The Result - 3.66 Things That Don't Always Stay In Vegas out of 5 Things That Don't Always Stay In Vegas. This isn't a bad sandwich but in the hands of a proper restaurant, it would be so much more. You know what it is? This is a $4.29 sandwich masquerading as a $6.59 sandwich. Every component of this sandwich left something to be desired and in the end, I was no longer hungry, but I was emotionally unsated. The hot chocolate I ordered helped with that. It usually does.

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Breakfast Sandwich #149 - Lab Report: Pick a Peck of Pepper Cheese

Sandwich: Lab Sandwich - English Muffin, chicken egg (puck style), bacon and two types of pepper cheese
Date: December 10, 2019

A brief report from the lab due to the fact that I had two kinds of pepper cheese and was awake far too early on a Tuesday morning. 

The cheeses in question are Crystal Farms Cracked Black Pepper White Cheddar and Sartori Black Pepper Bellavitano. The English Muffin was a Newly Weds Foods Sourdough (King Size). Note that the Newly Wed Foods site has some amazing "Breakfast Sandwich Concepts" recipes if you're looking for inspiration beyond the scope of my admittedly limited cooking skills. "Fried Onion Ring, Sausage Patty with Poached Egg (and Goat Cheese)"? Yowza!
This was a simple construct - I put one cheese on the top half and one on the bottom half and toasted the muffin. Honestly, it could have been toastier but that's how it went down. Add bacon and chicken egg and some Cholula hot sauce (just in case there wasn't enough pepper flavor), and *BOOM* - Tuesday morning breakfast sandwich.

The photos don't lie.
The Result - Was it too peppery? No! Was adding Cholula Hot Sauce overkill? No! Was this an amazing way to start a Tuesday? Yes! Does anybody care? HELL NO!

What did we learn here, if anything? I think the big takeaway is that is you have trouble sleeping and are awake at 5 am for no reason you should consider making a tasty breakfast sandwich. 

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