The German – Emil’s Swiss Pastry, Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Emil’s is first and foremost a bakery, and most of their attention goes into the cakes and the tarts and the macaroons and not into the sandwiches. This might spell doom at some establishments, but at Emil’s a secondary concern is still a concern, so despite the fact that the chicken schnitzel in the German sandwich was not fried fresh, care was still taken. It was placed by itself in the sandwich press while the rest of the sandwich was prepared, giving it an acceptable, if not quite full, level of crunch. The German is a simple sandwich, and the rest of the sandwich is simply tomatoes and cranberry sauce on Bavarian rye. There’s enough mayo to keep the bread from being soggy, but not enough to be noticeable otherwise.

Perhaps I’m guilty here of the soft bigotry of low expectations, but much of my pleasure with this sandwich stems from the fact that it could have been much worse. It could have been a soggy patty and soggier bread, a sorry sandwich carelessly tossed out by a place more concerned with cakes and other confectioneries. But it wasn’t. It was tasty enough. I’m not certain the tomatoes needed to be there, as the sweetness from the cranberries is far superior and not burdened by the mushy texture, and I would have used some of the balsamic that went on the spring mix on the sandwich to temper the sweetness a bit. So this could have been much better, but it could have been much worse. I often rail against ‘good enough,’ but I do so in the sense of lack of effort, of an acceptance of mediocre results. But there was care taken here to avoid the worst of outcomes, and so I feel comfortable in celebrating it for what it was: a pretty good sandwich.

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