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February 19, 2014

Taste Bud: The sandwich that broke my dog

When I was a kid, my dad and I would go out and do stuff most every Saturday morning, and one of our rituals was to stop by McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit or maybe an Egg McMuffin.

I usually eat cereal and fruit for breakfast these days (which may explain why I am still alive), but sometimes I’ll venture into breakfast-sandwich land. To that end, I had one recently that was so good, it broke my dog.

Perhaps I should explain.

Bread and Breakfast, a bakery and sandwich place, opened up in New Albany at the end of 2013 and has quickly built a big following, not just for its cozy, relaxing atmosphere and delicious smells, but for original baked goods and homemade sandwiches.

Enter the Breakfast Panini. I stopped by B&B recently to drop off some diapers (long story) and decided to grab a sandwich while I was there. You know, support the cause of patronizing a new local business.

Well, I was particularly starving that morning, and while I fully intended to take the sandwich home to enjoy it, the way it made my Jeep smell was too much. So, I opened the Styrofoam container, picked up the bigger-than-I’d-expected sandwich and took a bite. Holy cow.

I returned the sandwich to its container, put the Jeep in gear and drove down Bank Street — Bread and Breakfast is located at 157 E. Main St. — and when I got to the stop light, I thanked the gods above the light was red. I grabbed the sandwich again and took another bite. Light green, I turned onto Spring Street and caught nothing but green to the I-64 on-ramp that would take me back to Louisville.

When I got home, I could barely pour myself a glass of orange juice fast enough — so I said “screw it” and just drank from the carton. Grabbed a paper towel, sat down and took bite three. By this point, I was getting away from the thick edges of crust and into the meat and egg. And cheese. And tomatoes? No one said there would be tomatoes. And, as I said before, holy cow.

Some may scoff at those who say farm-fresh eggs are far superior to those you buy at the store, but they should listen. Proprietor Laura Buckingham makes it her business to buy local eggs, local meat and local cheese as much as possible. And she and her staff bake the bread themselves. Like, constantly. And that attention to local detail shows.

This sandwich had thick strips of bacon, a perfectly scrambled egg, thick cheddar, some spinach and bright red tomatoes on a grilled panini, made in-house by panini cook Dottie. Sure, it may sound like just a breakfast sandwich, but something about it was, well, different somehow. Has to be the homemade/local angle, because I never had anything like that sandwich with my dad at McDonald’s. (That stuff isn’t homemade, is it?)

Well, three-fourths of the way through the sandwich that I couldn’t scarf down fast enough, I began to get full. Yeah, the sandwich was that substantial — it was a full-on meal. Anyway, I noticed my dog Darby’s sweet face staring up at me earnestly, eyes glistening and tongue occasionally wiping away the drool from his lips.

I thought, “He deserves a bite of this.” So I tore off a piece and dropped it on the floor for him. Now, I fully expected him to pounce and swallow in one fluid motion, but instead, he considered the tasty bite for a moment, smelled it thoroughly, and then carried it a few feet away. He then plopped to the floor and began licking it.

That’s right, he licked it. For one minute. Then two. And that’s when I realized that Laura Buckingham and her homemade sandwich had broken my dog. I’ve never seen a dog savor anything, let alone anything that had bacon involved.

I finished off the sandwich finally, took a final slurp of juice from the container and returned my attention to Darby. And he still had that bite of sandwich between his paws, licking it furiously. Finally, I took it from him and carried it to his food dish. I plopped it in there, he looked up at me as if to say, “Yeah, you BETTER not take that from me,” and then ate it.

Anyway, if everything at Bread and Breakfast is that good, I’d give it a ringing endorsement and recommend you check it out.

But you may want to leave your dog at home.