The egg sandwich that saved the day

All the color I needed on an otherwise grey ass day.

“This just isn’t gonna happen for me today,” I thought, as I laid on my back on the floor, still in my pajamas, on the rug in my bedroom. I was talking about working out, which I normally do before work every morning, but really, it turned out to be applicable to so much more.

It was snowing when I woke up, and while I don’t usually mind the snow, today it only added to my general feeling of malaise. When my needy desire for affection got the best of me and I tried to scoop up my cat from the window where she was peacefully minding her business, watching the snow, she taught me another lesson in boundaries and freaked out, flailed, and knocked over one of my plants, breaking the brontosaurus planter it was in and sending dirt and broken succulent bits all over the floor.

“Ok, fine then, Universe. I’ll just shower.”

Under the scalding hot water I hoped would wash away my listlessness, I planned for the workday ahead. I would turn the lights up, diffuse energizing essential oils, play upbeat music, and not wait till late afternoon to make some tea. I was going to be alert, focused and productive, goddammit.

Then the power went out.

But not completely, because that would’ve been too easy, and would’ve meant calling out of work and reading in bed all day, like I wanted to do. Cruelly, one outlet worked in my room, the one near my dresser, where I put my laptop when I need it to be a makeshift standing desk. Nothing in the kitchen turned on. Randomly, the lights in the bathroom also worked.

Motivation was at an all-time low, even by pandemic standards, and by the time it was finally lunchtime, what felt like 12 hours after I’d started work, I was hangry enough to scream if I got just one more email. I put all my layers on, slipped on the snow boots that’ve gotten more use this winter than in the past three years, and trudged through the still-falling snow to pick up lunch at reliable, consistently delicious Golda, a couple of blocks away from my apartment.

There, in addition to a hot, creamy matcha latte with oat milk, I ordered the classic egg sandwich with added avocado and brought it back home, where I ate in my room, sitting by the window where my cat had so unceremoniously reminded me that she will at best tolerate me, not love me. That egg sandwich though, which I’d had before, made everything better. The giant onion poppy seed challah bread felt like a carby cloud in my hands and the whole thing oozed with scrambled eggs, melted cheese, avocado, and a tangy red pepper sauce.

Anyone that doesn’t believe in the transcendent power of food is an asshole, because let me tell you, that big, beautiful scrambled egg sandwich saved my whole day. It was hopeful. It was encouraging. It was so very freakin’ good. and absolutely delicious. It basically told me, “Don’t worry, you’re halfway there. The lights will come back soon, you’ll be able to make dinner tonight, and even if your cat never shows you she loves you, she probably does. Maybe.” That egg sandwich was the hug that I’ve been needing all day, all week, all miserable quarantine.

Thank you, egg rolls

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and being grateful for the very many gifts and blessings in my life, I would like to take this opportunity to single out one of the newest additions into my life, one of those I’m most thankful for: the brunch egg rolls at Olmsted.

I’m totally serious.

I know I tend to be hyperbolic sometimes, but I’m not exaggerating when I say Olmsted, in Prospect Heights, might be one of my favorite restaurants ever, and those egg rolls, possibly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

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Me and the boy went for brunch on a recent Sunday specifically for the egg rolls but ended up loving everything else about the place. I mean, everything. I loved the small vegetable garden out back where you wait for your table (with heat lamps for colder weather), the different colored glasses and plates, their cool wooden bowls, the wall of plants, our seats by the bar overlooking the kitchen (best seats in the house, in my opinion) and especially the food…espeeeeeecially the egg rolls.

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Each egg roll was a crispy, golden fried shell oozing with scrambled eggs, bacon and Vermont cheddar, all whipped together into a creamy, fluffy breakfasty perfection. I’m sure it was just good kitchen skills that made the eggs that way but I think it might’ve also been magic. How else really, do you get eggs so light and creamy, so perfect? Unlike most of the egg rolls I eat with Chinese take out (which no shade to them because I love those too), these breakfast egg rolls weren’t greasy or oily, but were still fried to a nice crunch. And because I’m a sucker for packaging and presentation, Olmsted serves their egg rolls in a cute little holder, reminiscent of a french fry cup at a fast food spot, with a miniature, Olmsted-branded green tomato ketchup for a tangy, bright dipping sauce.

We had a couple of other really good dishes, and a delicious, desserty Irish coffee, but it was definitely the egg rolls that were my favorite.

I’m thankful for a lot this year, (and if you’re reading this, please know I’m especially grateful for that, too) but there’s a special little pocket of delicious gratitude in my heart that I’m saving just for Olmsted’s egg rolls.