It’s hard to find a sandwich that inspires more ambivalence than the lowly egg-salad, reviled by school children as gelatinous chunks plopped between sodden bread and enveloped in a sulfurous cloud, and viewed by squadrons of office workers as the epitome of brown-bagged humdrum. And yet, at a tiny, clattery bakery/café on an unpromising stretch near the bland overdevelopment of Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard, is Europane, producing an egg-salad sandwich of such exalted heights as to trigger a paradigm shift in the instant converts who try it, redefining ‘egg salad’ and ‘sandwich’ in their culinary schema forever.
The ways in which a Europane egg-salad sandwich deviates from what many of us have suffered through — under-seasoned, over-mashed blobs smeared on tired bread — are apparent the moment the open-faced wonder greets your eyes: large, appetizing chunks of fresh soft-boiled eggs, the runny yolks glistening a tremulous yellow, kissed with fine mayonnaise, topped with a scattering of chives and a little black pepper, lounge astride a bed of bracing arugula, resting on a thick slice of rosemary current bread. It’s awfully good.
Some might even argue better than sex, which brings us to Judd Apatow’s racy coming of middle-age farce The 40 Year old Virgin, and more specifically to the amusing scene between Steve Carell’s character Andy, and his roguish electronics store co-worker, Cal (Seth Rogen). Cal’s tossed off question to Andy about what he did over the weekend, prompts from Andy a lengthy description of the hours he spent making an egg-salad sandwich before deciding he wasn’t in the mood to eat it. Cal’s reaction, to mimic shooting himself in the head, neatly parallels the response of many a diner to yet another lousy egg-salad sandwich. But that’s only because they, like Andy, have been traumatized by bad experiences, and don’t know how good a good one can be.
Enter Europane, whose creamy, crusty, peppery sandwich acts as egg-salad therapy, obliterating the pain of all the bad sandwiches that went before by throwing them into high relief and providing clarity. Yes, those prior experiences were fumbling and unpleasant, but they were worth stumbling through to truly appreciate a sincere melding of body and mind. We recommend sharing two and some buttery pastries between three to four friends while enjoying a boozy brunch viewing of the sweetly raunchy 40 Year Old Virgin. Just remember, eater discretion is advised.
A mom and pop café with a killer sandwich.
Egg Salad sandwich, pastries
Barely there, but you’re here for the sandwich.
Prompt and courteous.
The small, crowded space gets loud at peak times.
950 E Colorado Blvd Ste 107 Pasadena, CA 91106 (626) 577-1828.
Mon-Sat 7am-5:30pm Sun 7am-3pm. Credit cards accepted. Street parking.
THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN (2005) Directed by Judd Apatow. Written by Judd Apatow and Steve Carell. Starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen.