Fried: BLTs at Drip

This week's fried food is a BLT at Drip. And, yes, I had to take a bite before taking the picture -- I was starving.

by Sarah Fenske

There is nothing more sublime than a BLT: Think crisp salty bacon, ripe tomatoes dripping with juice, a sheet of crisp iceberg and a slather of mayo, all crushed together on toast. Seriously, my heart is singing just thinking about it. Ode to joy! Ode to the perfect sandwich!

When I was a kid, my siblings and I lived for BLT Night. Dad would sit at the head of the table, our toaster on a little TV tray at his side, toasting bread and whipping up sandwiches as fast as we could eat them -- and, believe me, we gave him a run for it. My brother Mark and I used to compete to see who could eat the most BLTs; he ultimately set the record at seven.

Today, what with the childhood obesity crisis and all, I suppose fun like that might be illegal. Not in 1983, thank God.

It really was heaven.

So when I woke up this morning feeling fat, I decided not to try to starve myself, or attempt whatever women's magazine tip-of-the-day that might make me feel skinnier. Instead, I decided to eat a BLT. Why not revel in fat? Why not relive those days when we didn't know mayonnaise had calories and bacon was a nutritious choice from the "meat" food group?

I went to Drip Coffee Lounge, that cute little joint on 7th Street, right next to Trente-Cinq. I swear, you cannot help but love this place for its casual stylishness: Even the napkin holders are tres adorable.

The BLT that I remembered them serving wasn't quite a BLT -- it was a "btlc," or "bacon, tomato, arugula, and cucumber on toast," to quote the menu. It was also a far cry from the BLTs of my childhood. We never had arugula in Cleveland. Nor did Dad use fresh, locally crafted loaves from Simply Bread for toast. (More like day-old Generic brand. I'm not kidding.)

But this sandwich worked. There was that wonderful bacon taste, only here it was transformed by a hefty stack of a far more substantial lettuce than my childhood iceberg. There was a nice coating of mayo. And, revelation of revelations, the crisp slices of cucumber proved to be a great addition. They added a wonderful green taste to a sandwich that all too often seems like a blend of salt and grease.

The best part is, I didn't feel fat at the end.

Maybe it was the cukes, or maybe it was that stack of arugula. Maybe it was simply that I wasn't trying to out-eat my moose of a brother. For whatever reason, my big indulgence ended up feeling more like a healthy lunch than a guilty pleasure.

For $6.75, you must admit, that's quite a bargain.