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October 29, 2010

The Baltimore breakfast sandwich -- please hold the grape jelly

breaksandWhat was a breakfast sandwich in your home town?

Do the default ingredients change when you cross town in Baltimore?

Snap a shot of your favorite breakfast sandwich and send it to 

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

David and Joanne Cho took over a convenience mart on the unit block of East Preston Street last year. Out of chaos, they made order, and even restored the long-abandoned lunch counter in the back of the store. Their neighbor, a chef named David Ritter, noticed that the Chos were struggling with the Baltimore breakfast and lunch vernacular -- people want what they want, and the lunch counter was just missing.   

Ritter has now left his contractual job with the food service operations at the Maryland Institute and joined the Chos full time, at least until the food counter is established. He has now ended his contract at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and joined the Chos full time,

 


I have been talking with him about breakfast sandwiches. Ritter is from Queens, where, he says, customers are routinely asked if they want potatoes on their breakfast sandwiches. Ketchup is a given. In some neighborhoods of Baltimore, grape jelly is squirted on a breakfast sandwich even when you don't ask for it.

Ritter wanted to show me what a Queens-style "Greasy Spoon" sandwich looks like -- a buttered, salted, and peppered hard roll* stuffed with bacon, eggs, scrambled eggs, maple sausage, and potatoes. 

Joanne's is selling them for $3.99, at least for now, but you have to ask for one by name -- the "Greasy Spoon"

*don't get Ritter started on the sorry state of hard rolls in Baltimore
Posted by Richard Gorelick at 10:12 AM | | Comments (21)
        

Comments

In Pittsburgh, you can get a classic Primanti Brothers -- fries and coleslaw on the sandwich -- in egg and cheese variety. Yum!

The $4 that Joanne Cho is charging seems like a great deal. I'm curious why so many places in Baltimore seem to charge higher prices for a basic breakfast sandwich: $5 or $6 for egg and cheese on bagel.

Yes, yes, yes --- I understand there's a markup for the convenience of someone else making your meal for you, but with prices like that, you're driving away return business.

Hard rolls in Baltimore? As a NJ transplant that's one of the things I miss the most, a hard roll with butter and jelly for breakfast. In my North Jersey neighborhood the typical breakfast sandwich was scrambled eggs with peppers and potatoes on a hard roll, with ketchup of course.

LoriAnn: What about the taylor ham?

I was going to say that for me (also a "North" Jersey transplant), a breakfast sandwich would be a good hard roll with butter (hold the jelly).

A breakfast sandwich for me now and growing up is a bisquit with sausge. No egg or cheese. You can't beat Burger King for a $1.00 sausage bisquit.

I have been in Maryland for 19 years (I too am an NJ transplant) and I have finally found a place that makes a Taylor Ham, egg and Cheese sandwich. I got married in June and my Best-man asked what I wanted for breakfast and I told him that I wanted a Taylor Ham Egg & Cheese and he foud out that Roland Park Bagel Company had it. It was perfect.. so much better then drinking to excess before marrying my amazing bride.

Unfortunately H and S Bakery chose to build their empire here. Most Baltimoreans have never even tasted a real roll.

I have been in Maryland for 19 years (I too am an NJ transplant) and I have finally found a place that makes a Taylor Ham, egg and Cheese sandwich. I got married in June and my Best-man asked what I wanted for breakfast and I told him that I wanted a Taylor Ham Egg & Cheese and he found out that Roland Park Bagel Company had it. It was perfect.. so much better then drinking to excess before marrying my amazing bride.

Mom's "meal on wheels" not quite an egg mcmuffin, english muffin, canadian bacon, fried egg, wrapped in tin foil eaten on the way to school.

Make it a Scrapple and Egg on toast or bagel.

Another northern NJ transplant here, also missing decent hardrolls. Having spent my summer at the Jersey shore, I also have a taste for Taylor pork roll, but most grocery stores in Baltimore have that.

"Would ya please pass the jelly?"

As a former NYer, I second (er, sixth?) the longing for a decent hard roll. Has anybody found something locally that comes close?

I grew up in Connecticut and breakfast sandwiches were very simple- fried egg and cheese on a hard roll or toast. However, as long as the egg isn't microwaved I am happy.

Joel - I love taylor ham (and it must be taylor ham not pork roll or camden roll) but I don't miss it since I can get it here in Baltimore. Taylor ham sandwiches for our family were always served on white bread w/ ketchup (no egg).

Digressing from the breakfast thread - the other thing I really miss from North Jersey are Italian hot dogs.

When you've had your fun, and your work is done,
You must not succumb.
I can feel you breathe. It's like a mega-weedge inside.
Please don't hide.

So mom, if you please, pass me the pork roll egg and cheese, if you please,
On a kaiser bun.
Mom, if you please, pass me the pork roll egg and cheese, if you please,
On a kaiser bun.

Loriann - Have you ever had an Italian Hot Dog at Jimmy Buffs in West Orange? That's one of the few culinary things I like about NJ. Another is Buffalo Wings at Chucks in Princeton.

I just had a delicious breakfast sandwich this morning at the Pasadena Flea Market as it was just barely getting light. And it was freezing. It was an egg on roll, diced onion and catsup for a dollar seventy five. Yum city! I don't see the point of going broke on breakfast, let alone a breakfast sandwich.

Jack - we used to go to the Jimmy Buff's in Irvington when I was a kid and later the shop in Watchung.

Loriann - I haven't been to Jimmy Buff's for a few years now, but that Italian Hot Dog is one tasty creation. I don't think the Irvington location is open any longer. That's where I was first introduced to the IHD.

When all's said and done though, I'll take a big fat crab cake or soft crab sandwich any day over a hot dog, even one form JB's.

One of my favorite sandwiches growing up (and still) was Taylor "ham" browned in a skillet and slapped on buttered white bread. The bread smooshes when you bite in and sort of disappears under the taste of the meat. Yum--STILL love Taylor's!

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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