Pursuing the Ultimate BLT Sandwich
Happy Sunday, Ono readers! Following up on last week’s column on my New Year’s resolutions, let me just say that I’ve been working out at the gym at least three times a week to the point where my legs and arms feel like Jell-O — yet, I guess you can say that the pain is all worthwhile, right? And as far as healthy eating goes, I’ve increased my vegetable intake by multitudes and stay away from all carbs in the evenings. To be honest, I’m enjoying this new lifestyle, but it’s definitely hard work!
Although, I have the dedication to maintain this health regimen, discipline is a whole other story. We all have guilty pleasures, especially when it comes to food, and sometimes we just have to give in!
So, this week, I gave in, in moderation, of course, to my favorite sandwich of all time — the BLT! The standard BLT is comprised of five ingredients: Bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and bread (hence the name BLT). And to spice it up some, these ingredients can be altered according to personal preference, whether the bread be toasted, or by even adding an extra condiment or two. Yet, one thing’s for sure, this top-notch sandwich is delicious no matter what!
Without further ado, bring your appetite and let’s go ahead and deconstruct a few of the most Ono, You Know BLT sandwiches at some of the best establishments in town!
Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab
When it comes to all-American and local favorites, celebrity chef Sam Choy makes it just the way mama used to, but with his own special twist. Here at his renowned eatery on Nimitz Highway, Choy draws in a crowd of both locals and tourists alike who want nothing more than a taste of his mouth-watering signature creations, such as Fried Poke, Sam’s Favorite Burger, fried rice and more. Let’s make it clear that Sam Choy’s offers much more than merely breakfast, lunch and crab — there’s surely something on the menu for everyone to savor, no matter how picky an eater you may be.
On my most recent visit to this happening eatery, complete with a brewery and an open kitchen where you can see your meal prepared right before your very eyes, I was craving nothing more than Da “BLC” Sandwich ($15.95). Comparable to your traditional BLT sandwich, Da “BLC” Sandwich is just as onolicious, if not more, when you add Sam’s own creative spin to the recipe.
“Da ‘BLC’ Sandwich originated from Sam’s idea and personal recipe,” says general manager Jeffrey Gaspar. “It’s only available for lunch, but is one of our most frequently requested dishes.”
Wrap your head — and mouth — around this: A toasted double decker sandwich, cut into fourths, on white or whole wheat toast, stacked high with crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and a savory crab meat salad.
“This is a Sam Choy’s original and has been on the menu since I can remember,” Gaspar recalls.
And believe me, as hungry as I was, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this outof-this-world creation, because whenever you have bacon and crab in the same sentence, you know it has to be good! The addition of the crab meat salad to your typical BLT sandwich is over the top — in a great way. It just brings so much more to this already irresistible creation.
“The crab meat salad consists of blue crab meat, some mayo and a touch of secret seasonings,” Gaspar says. “The taste speaks for itself.”
To complete the meal, diners also are served a side of french fries (or green salad upon request) and a tangy dill pickle.
So, the next time you think Sam Choy’s BLC, keep in mind “BLC” stands for so much more than breakfast, lunch and crab!
580 N. Nimitz Hwy.
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Big City Diner
Big City Diner goes big on taste with a menu that offers just about everything under the sun. Providing a fun dining experience for the whole family, Big City Diner first opened its doors 13 years ago in Kaimuki under the leadership of president and owner Lane Muraoka. Now, with five locations islandwide, including eateries in Kailua, Ward, Waipio and Pearlridge, as well as Kaimuki, there’s no hassle when you want to upgrade your appetite to BCD status.
Trying my best to be healthy, I was hit with a die-hard craving for some crispy, hearty, delicious bacon — and no, scattered bacon bits atop a pile of salad just wouldn’t cut it this time. I needed to devour strips upon strips of this guilty pleasure. Yet to have peace of mind, I thought why not keep it somewhat healthy and opt for a BLT sandwich instead of a bacon burger. There, now I can satisfy my bacon fix while also consuming some veggies. Perfect.
“Our BLT sandwich ($8.99) is actually not on the menu, but by word of mouth it’s garnered a good reputation, and those who know about it frequently request it,” says chef Dennis Franks of the Pearlridge location.
So, now that the secret is out, believe me, this is some good stuff. And after a couple days of hard-core workouts, I was beyond thrilled to be able to finally bask in the glory of marvelous bacon! Yum!
Imagine layer upon layer of eight strips of bacon, four slices of tomato and two pieces of lettuce nestled safely within two pieces of Texas toast, and finished off with a spread of mayo. Sometimes it’s the simplest pleasures in life that are the best.
The sandwich in itself is quite a meal, but, of course, this premier establishment goes all out by also offering a heaping mound of french fries and a pickle — American classics that we’ve all grown to know and love.
Pearlridge (and various locations)
98-211 Pali Momi St.
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Before the iPhone and iPad came IHOP aka International House of Pancakes. Think IHOP and the first thing that probably comes to mind is its famed Original Buttermilk Pancakes, complete with an authentic country flavor, or its signature omelets and other breakfast specialties. But what if I told you IHOP also has an amazing, and I do mean ahhh-mazing, BLT sandwich. Not what you would typically think to come out of a pancake franchise, right? Well, think again. If you’re a ecstatic for bacon, you’ll simply love IHOP’s Double BLT ($12.59), featuring a great double-decker sandwich with six strips of crispy bacon, fresh lettuce and tomato, and a helping of good, old-fashioned mayonnaise on white or wheat toast.
“I can’t even keep track of how many BLT sandwiches we sell per day, but it’s quite a lot,” says Andrew Toney, assistant manager of the IHOP Kuhio location. “There’s just something so appealing about this sandwich — and it’s enough to fill you up.”
Make this meal all your own, as this signature sandwich also comes with a dill pickle spear and your choice of french fries or onion rings. If you’re watching your figure, be sure to ask your server to substitute the fries with a medley of greens or fresh fruit to cut down on the calories.
“Most people think of us as a breakfast chain, but we’re much more than that,” Toney adds.
And I couldn’t agree more. IHOP’s BLT is proof that this nationwide establishment has so much more to offer your palate. Go ahead, what are you waiting for? Why not “make it an IHOP day” today? Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily — you really can have it all at IHOP Hawaii.
2211 Kuhio Ave. (and other various locations)
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