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Egg Salad: The Greatest of the Salad Sandwiches

egg salad, I can't quit you
And another thing about sandwiches, I love them. It might be genetic. I will probably never agree with my grandfather on politics, but we'll always have our shared love of the mighty sandwich and its Mexican cousin, the burrito. Lately, my love of a specific sandwich variety has approached obsession. Maybe I'm just making up for lost time, as it's a sandwich I met comparatively recently. What is it? It is egg salad.

Because my mother doesn't like eggs, she never made egg salad (to her credit, she made plenty of other fantastic things). I saw it squished between pieces of bread in the small hands of my elementary school compatriots and was never tempted. I'm not a very picky eater, but I have some food texture issues (Like what? Try offering me a kiwi. Just Try.) and before I knew better, egg salad seemed to violate my "no eating glop" rule.

But the Summer of '99 changed all that. I graduated from high school and hightailed it to the lake, snagging a seasonal job making sandwiches and cutting steaks at a small deli in Tahoma. My daily prep list inevitably included making several pounds of egg salad. At first, I made it according to recipe and shoved it in the fridge when finished. But eventually, I got curious enough to try a bite. And it was delicious! Egg salad was not the stinky slime ball I assumed it was and it didn't slither across my tongue like a soggy caterpillar. I immediately liked the interplay between textures and tastes: crumbly yolk and firm, custard-like white; the fatty mouthfeel of the mayo and the bite of mustard. It was good on its own and even better between slices of bread.

For the rest of that summer (and the two subsequent summers I spent behind the deli counter) I played with the recipe and stole bites. This summer, I scoured the city for the best egg salad sandwiches and I have two definite winners: Trails in Griffith Park and Euro Pane in Pasadena.

At Trails, the decor is funky, the seating is frequently shared and the service is casual at best. But the scenery is lovely and the egg salad sandwich is served on thick slices of sweet brown bread with a generous layer of alfalfa sprouts. I went just last weekend and still have a hard time believing that five minutes from Hollywood and Los Feliz, there is a spot with trees so thick and egg salad so good. Trails is always a treat and if you are looking for something a little more substantial than their also excellent pastries, I heartily recommend the egg salad sandwich (pictured). If you have to wait, you wait outdoors in a beautiful place, so I won't feel too badly for you.

The egg salad sandwich at Euro Pane is a horse of a different color. It is as composed as the one at Trails is hippie. Euro Pane's sandwich is served sunny-side up with the yolks still creamy. The bread is demurely smeared with tomato spread and the egg salad itself is delightfully bright with lemon. I'll admit, I drove by Euro Pane several times wondering why I couldn't find it before realizing it was right in front of my face. Then I went in for coffee and a croissant, but when I saw egg salad on the menu, my aforementioned obsession took over and I found myself ordering the sandwich AND the croissant. Both were serious nom (and I, apparently, have poor impulse control).

Egg salad, I apologize for assuming you are gross. I was wrong... so, so wrong.