Upon Wings of Black

PT. ONE: JUST TO CLEAR THINGS UP.

Croque-monsieur: some manner of toasted or grilled sandwich featuring cheese and ham, although more popularly (and thusly distinguished from a mere ham and cheese sandwich) topped with mornay sauce, which I understand to be similar to a béchamel but with cheese, such as gruyere.

Croque-madame: see above, but with an egg on it.

Eggs benedict: supposed to be made with an English muffin, but commonly encountered (in Montreal at least) supplanted by a bagel, this is ham or occasionally bacon with a poached or fried egg (depending on how classy the joint) and hollandaise sauce. I remember reading Anthony Bourdain say he prefers not to gamble his life (or the life of his internal organs) by eating such a thing from any kitchen where he does not already know and trust the chef, as most short order cooks are not wont to make up a fresh batch of hollandaise for every order, and a sauce made more or less of tarted up raw eggs does not a safe bet make in the raging Petri dish that is the average commercial kitchen. Sage advice from a man who goes around eating POISONOUS SPIDERS for our amusement. (admittedly not fair. i have total faith in Bourdain’s assertion that his gastronomic hijinks are undertaken out of his devotion to tasting the intimidating and unknown in its native context, not some Fear-Factor-esque pandering to our own shocklust, despite surface similarities)

Eggs Florentine: basically like the above, but vegetarian – spinach substituted for the meat.

PT. TWO: ON THE TOPIC OF BECHAMEL.

Can anyone just get away with calling whatsoever cream sauce they see fit to barf up a béchamel, if there’s no one around to call them on it? Not that I care, really, because everywhere we went in Barcelona, the most prolific vegetarian empanada was filled with corn and béchamel, something I would never have anticipated, but which was actually goddamn delicious. Could maybe have used some capers or something, but i’m not going to tell the Catalonians how to do their dang.

I recently stopped by Chez Jose (173 duluth east)), of which I’d heard mixed reviews, but they had empanadas I had yet to try and their menu seemed reasonably priced (sandwiches 5 bucks, including, to my tentative satisfaction, an omelette sandwhich which I intend to someday investigate). $2.50 each, I got the spinach and béchamel (hey, how about that?) and the broccoli and blue cheese. Already more interesting than the usual spinach and veg option one usually encounters, the empanadas both proved to be delicious. a little beefier (which is to say, robust) in the pastry department than I usually expect, but it was springy and reasonably tasty, as opposed to dense and dry like Chilenita’s, and though they suffered a slight paucity of filling, it was no less vacuous than usual (oh, for the dew-scented and sparkling day when I might gorge myself into senselessness on homologously-bloated empanadas. Oh. Make em myself, maybe.). the broccoli and blue cheese (and seemingly some manner of tomato sauce?) one was rich and probably my favourite, and further to my gratification was their accompaniment by a really quite reasonably hot chipotle sauce, that complimented them quite well, perhaps better even than a non-smoky pepper sauce, despite my general preference for the latter.

there’s also one or two other vegetarian filling options – one eggplant, tomato, olive, etc- not sure on the exact ingredients, but similar to Chilenita’s napolitana or mediteraneo, i’d wager, and….something else.

no pithy closer, i’m afraid. you’ll have to content yourself with the rare pleasure of me favorably reviewing something.

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