Sensational Sandwich Review
When you walk into the Apple Pan on Pico Boulevard you feel like you’re in a 3D rendering of an Edward Hopper painting. The wallpaper is plaid and there is a single wraparound bar, reminiscent of lunch counters in the 40s where a working man could get a sandwich and pie for a dime. Here in 2018, the sandwich and pie ran me $14.25: semi-offensive for what it was, but considering we’re in LA I didn’t have a conniption fit over it.
I perused the pared-down menu. I wasn’t in a burger mood, but in that moment wanted to pay homage to my Americanness nonetheless, so I ordered the Southern Baked Ham. It’s a simple sandwich. While it’s not an offense to the very art of sandwich-making itself, it’s nothing to write home about either. Even though I’m currently writing about it.
This sandwich is as white-bread American as a gun-toting kindergarten teacher with 50 kids to a self-stocked, asbestos-coated classroom. There’s a generous stack of baked ham with iceberg lettuce on top, flanked by two pieces of bread, each slathered with mayonnaise. I wish I could say this meal reminded me of my childhood, when I would open my Barbie lunchbox to compare Wonderbread sandwiches with the other kids. But we were more of a gefilte fish family, so even nostalgia couldn’t amp up the monotony of the Southern Baked. The in-house ham was delicious enough, with a nice balance of sweetness and smokiness. Iceberg lettuce is notoriously tasteless, but it did provide a nice wet crunch noise, like the sound of biting into an unsatisfying and slightly under-ripe Granny Smith. The mayo-covered white bread was too malleable, but it was a fitting vehicle for this outrageously goyishe meal. The pickles sucked; I won’t even sugar coat that one. This dinner’s saving grace was unquestionably the banana pie.
As I paid my bill to the head waiter — a methuselah-esque man soundlessly doling out checks and nodding to take orders — I got to thinking. Maybe as a contrarian Jewess I was missing something. I started to wonder whether the very point of The Apple Pan wasn’t to step back into a simpler time, where kombucha and kale smoothies were a perverse nightmare of the distant future, like nuclear winter or the Nixon presidency. I wondered if this place was a kind of anachronistic oasis, a welcome respite: from the complexity of here and now, from the all-consuming anxiety that comes with running the rat race on social media’s world stage. Then I heard the kid sitting next to me start chanting “PEN PINEAPPLE APPLE PAN”, and my reverie dissipated.
Sandwich Babe Breakdown:
Bread texture : 1.5/5
Bread flavor: 1.5/5
Overall texture: 3/5
Overall flavor: 2/5
First Bite Factor: 1.5/5
Gotta Keep coming back factor: 3/5