I thought to do something a little different today, readers, and talk about a great local eatery and an amazing dish I had there today.
First, an admin note; here’s their website. It’s pretty slick.
And a brief aside about what I’ve been up to before I talk about the important stuff, the food. As you all know, I’ve been in a flurry of activity finishing up my latest book and prepping the new website, just this morning I finished scheduling the serial posts of 42 chapters, one or two each week for a while to come. Plus analysis of each piece, mind you. Lots of stuff to read once the site launches.
It’s keeping me busy. The official launch is on the 28th of June, just day or two from now. Keep an eye peeled; the link will appear here as if by magic.
Well, I needed some downtime from all those chores, so I went into town with my kid today and we sat down at a favorite local eatery and I opened the menu, looking for something new.
Just a few days ago a friend was talking about an establishment in Australia that I won’t be able to visit, as it is closing. He waxed poetic about a sandwich called the croque madame, and I wanted one. I needed one. But I thought I could not have one.
Lo and behold I was wrong.
This quirky little restaurant just added one to the menu. I pounced.
When it came out, it looked and smelled amazing. Seriously. Good quality bread with a generous slice of ham. A perfectly proportioned slather of mustard and white sauce. Homemade chips (crisps). An obviously quality fried egg perched on top, Swiss cheese, good Lord.
As an aside, you can always tell a quality egg. Not important? I beg to differ! A good egg is first of all fresh, not sitting around in Walmart for a month. Second, the yolk must be firm and well-defined. Finally, the colors should be vivid, vibrant, and not pale or in any way off.
Later Alligator uses quality eggs. You should too. But I digress.
The help and service was good, as always, and I couldn’t wait to try this open-faced sandwich out.
For a change I didn’t need to add any salt at all, it was perfect as-is. Firm. A hint of spice. Crispy where it should have been, and the egg was cooked just right.
The flavors, the quality, all just right.
It was very satisfying, and an enjoyable experience. I realize that Wheeling, WV is a bit out of the way for almost everyone, and it’s hardly a tourist destination. But if you are ever on endless Route 70 headed somewhere, then it’s worth your while to get off of the highway and find Center Market and Later Alligator.
The croque madame is great, and they specialize in unconventional crepes.
I have yet to have anything that was less than great on the menu.
Later Alligator. Recommend.