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A Sandwich a Day: BLT from Olympic Island Restaurant in Wildwood, NJ
In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
What you are looking at is possibly the best BLT I have ever had. No, the bacon is not a fancy-pants Nueske's or Benton's bacon. The tomatoes, while fresh, flavorful, and juicy, are probably not heirloom. And the lettuce, though perfectly crisp and cool, is just plain ol' iceberg and not some precious designer lettuce. But sometimes you just want the archetypical version of a BLT.* And this is it.
This sandwich is crispness incarnate. All around. The bread is toasted to an almost crunchy deep golden state. There's just enough lettuce on it but not too much — and nice big wedges of it, not the limp shredded stuff that sits in a holding bin all day. The tomato is just juicy enough but not so watery that it sogs anything down. The tomato and the mayo lend just the right amount of squishiness to the affair.
The source? An unassuming little beachside take-out window in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. It's in one of the old doo-wop modern motels that have survived the condofication of the Wildwoods, where my wife and I try to spend a week each summer.
We wandered into this place by chance the first or second year we stayed in Wildwood Crest — we wanted a mid–bike ride snack (it's just off the municipal bike path that fronts the beach). The BLT we had was so spot-on that we now make it a point to stop in here each year on one of our afternoon rides.
Every year I eat this sandwich I think of Michael Ruhlman's 2009 "BLT from Scratch" challenge, which saw a number of really killer-looking artisanal BLTs unleashed on the world. I'm sure those all tasted amazing, but there's something to be said about the simple pleasure of a no-frills BLT done right. Know what I mean?
Olympic Island Restaurant
* OK, for me, most of the time that's what I want.