Once a year, every summer, Gretchen’s, the casual restaurant in Idaho’s Sun Valley Lodge, dusts off a pair of recipes: Liver & Onions and Egg Salad Sandwiches. When you see those specials, you know one thing for certain: the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree’s in full swing. I’d know. I used to live there.
When you saw those items, you knew it was the time of year when people (by which I mean old people—and not to be chauvinist, but we are talking about Idaho—old white people) ascend the mountains in their motorhomes to soak up some Dixieland.
Now I like jazz, and I like Dixieland. And I like egg salad—I make it at home. And while I do like old people (love 'em actually), I’m not necessarily ready to be one. Not just yet, anyway.
So when I see an egg salad sandwich on some menu, I think, “Aw, that’s so cute!” before invariably choosing something saltier, spicier and, because my choppers can still chomp, crunchier.
That said, when I first saw the egg salad sandwich on The Fireside’s menu, I paused before deciding, slowly, almost suspiciously, “Sure. Okay.”
To Fireside’s credit, the menu does list it as a Bacon Sandwich, and, in this town, bacon has sway. Lots. And it doesn’t hurt that The Fireside’s team butchers its own pig each week turning it into sausages, rillettes and, yup, bacon.
Along with the egg salad, the bacon’s sandwiched in rye—toasted on the inside, not on the out—with roasted chicory.
But it’s the egg salad that truly gives this sando its charm, its personality.
That’s because the kitchen takes something that’s ordinarily vanilla, and sort of electrifies it. So how do you do that?
By pickling those eggs with bay leaves, mustard seeds and chili flakes for five full days before chopping them into a mustardy, mayonnaisey salad that’s only finished off when it’s spiked with a dash of brine in the way that you’d dirty a martini.
Now be warned: it’s messy, but it’s definitely worth getting jazzed about, no matter how old you are or aren’t.
The only sad part? You can only order one during lunch, which runs from 11:30am–3pm (and till 5pm on weekends), so get one when you can.
The Fireside, 801 NW 23rd Ave., 503.477.9505