An unlikely BLT experience

They didn’t have to use the thick, ultra-flavorful bacon. But they did. They didn’t have to use the freshly-sliced, half-inch thick hunk of tomato. But they did that too.

Let me start from the beginning: A few months back, my cousin Denny, who makes deliveries for Pepsi, told me about his favorite bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich in town. He said he found it at a regular delivery stop and that he basically stumbled upon the sandwich by accident. The odd thing was that this BLT, which he described as if it were some sort of Holy Grail on toast, was available only at an out-of-the-way Dairy Mart in Jeffersonville.

So, I made the trek across the bridge and into my old neighborhood to visit this Dairy Mart at 1821 E. 8th St. so I could try this legendary sandwich. When I arrived, as soon as I walked into the store, my olfactory was permeated with the smell of frying bacon. My mouth immediately began to water. I told an employee I’d heard about the store’s amazing BLT and that I had driven from Louisville to try one.

“We just sold out,” she said. “We’re going to make some more but it will be a little while. I’m so sorry.”

So I left, with an empty hand, and empty heart and an empty stomach. However, undeterred, a few weeks later, I returned. This time, as soon as I opened the door to my Jeep Liberty I could smell the bacon, and it only intensified when I stepped inside. I went to the warmer and saw the unthinkable: sausage biscuits aplenty, but no BLTs. I decided to walk to the counter to ask, and that’s when I saw it — literally, a small basket of BLTs sitting right there at the checkout. It was like they were treating these sandwiches like the ultimate impulse buy.

I plunked down my $2.79 (plus tax) and walked to my car to devour the plastic-wrapped sandwich. It was on white bread, lightly toasted so that it was still soft. Fresh-looking iceberg lettuce hung from the sides, and I could see tips of bacon and the bright red tomato peeking out as well. I unwrapped it and pulled back one slice of bread to be greeted by what looked to be about six thick slices of bacon swimming in mayo and sharing their toasted bed with the fresh vegetables.

As you’ve guessed, this was quite a thick sandwich — in fact, taking a bite of it was something of an adventure, and I quickly realized I hadn’t picked up a napkin when I bought the BLT. I can just imagine the friendly young woman who sold me the sandwich watching me walk out the door and then muttering to herself, “Amateur.”

As I got five, six bites in, my hands started to get messy with bacon grease and free-roaming mayonnaise. I soon became thankful I am a slob, because I was able to uncover an old Feeders Supply receipt to help mop my lips and fingers. (One should never have mayo in his beard if he can help it.)

Of course, when I got a bit over halfway through, things began to come apart, and I had to scramble to find a couple of other receipts to help me through. At one point, the tomato finally had had enough and slid from the sandwich, leaving itself halfway hanging out of my mouth. Sorry for the disgusting visual, but this is what happens when you eat a homemade BLT. You get messy.

So, I ended up left with a bacon, lettuce and mayo sandwich, giving me the full-on effect of the salty, smoky meat. Hey, it’s bacon. I’m not complaining here. What I found myself wondering, however, is how they could sell such a hearty sandwich for under three bucks. The thing is a meal in itself.

Secondly, I wondered how on earth the place wasn’t constantly mobbed. I’m serious, you launch a food truck with these sandwiches as your staple and you’ll be booked all the time.

Anyway, I finished off my sandwich and then drove home, wishing I had a wet nap or at least another receipt or two. But the unlikely BLT with the big, meaty bacon, the mega-tomato and the cool river of mayo not only had filled my belly, but made me more fully appreciate soap and hot water. And reminded me to ask Denny if he has a favorite burger on his route.