On a recent frigid morning, I followed a series of footprints left in the freshly fallen snow up to the front door of the Loose Goose Cafe on East Pleasant Street in Amherst. I knew the cafe had closed sometime last month, but felt the need to confirm it nonetheless. Sure enough, the sign on the front door read, “Thank you for 14 years of business. We will miss you all!”
What a disappointment.
I like egg sandwiches — a lot — and Loose Goose, a jazz-themed restaurant which specialized in all sorts of gourmet sandwiches named for jazz musicians, made great ones.
I usually opted for The Solo (egg and American cheese on a choice of bagel — the whole wheat worked well). But The Count (Basie) (egg, American cheese and bacon), The (Dave) Brubeck (egg, Swiss cheese and ham), and The (John) Coltrane (egg, cheddar cheese and turkey) all proved as delectable as Ron Carter’s walking bass line pacing a 16-bar tenor saxophone solo.
People can get pretty particular about their egg sandwiches. Fried egg? Scrambled egg? Meat? Veggie? Burrito wrap? Bagel?
“It can be a big dialogue when you let someone build their own,” said Helen Kahn, owner of the Cup and Top Cafe on North Main Street in Florence. “But regulars usually know what they want.”
Last summer Brooklyn journalist Joseph Checkler started a Kickstarter campaign in order to print and distribute instructional egg sandwich leaflets promoting what he called “best practices” to delis throughout Manhattan. Checkler’s check list included fried eggs, cooked on a griddle, served messy with lots of cheese — and ideally with meat.
He’d like the Classic Egg Sandwich (egg, cheese and meat on a bagel, toast, or English muffin) served up at Sylvester’s, on Pleasant Street in Northampton. And if I’m sitting with the newspaper at Sylvester’s counter top, I might agree with him.
But for me, the art of the egg sandwich lies at the confluence of both the taste and the ease of eating.