Four Seasons' DIY BLTs Are A-OK
Take our growing season, for example. When the rest of the country is still digging out of snowdrifts and lucky to harvest weeds, we're raking in corn and strawberries and citrus and, best of all, tomatoes. Tomatoes with real flavor, not those tasteless, mealy imitations that give agriculture a bad name.
So to celebrate the Florida tomato season, the Ocean Bistro of the way-posh Four Seasons Palm Beach is putting together two of the best things you can put in your mouth -- tomatoes, of course, and bacon -- in a DIY menu to compose one of the best sandwiches you can ever eat. That is, of course, the BLT.
The Bistro's "BLT Bar" offers three choices each in five different elements of a proper BLT. (Technically, it's really a BLT&C since cheese is involved, but whatever.) Choose from sun-dried tomato, sourdough, and brioche breads; Cherokee purple, brandywine, and gold medal tomatoes; applewood smoked bacon, Nueske's bacon, and pancetta; sea salt and citrus aioli, jerk mayo, and avocado spread; and buffalo mozzarella, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, plus a big handful of mesclun greens.
I got the chance to enliven a dreary, rainy afternoon sampling a couple of the chef's most popular combos and now will never be able choke down Oscar Meyer bacon, supermarket tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce with mayo on white bread again.
Sammie number one was rich, eggy brioche with slices of Cherokee purple, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado spread, and cheddar. Sammie number two was grilled sun-dried tomato bread, brandywine tomatoes, pancetta, sea salt and citrus aioli, and buffalo mozzarella. Both were damned good, but the combination of the rich bread, smoky bacon, creamy avocado, and sun-sweet Cherokees won my palate. And if you want to add a little fire to your BLT, ask the chef to send out a ramekin of his wicked-hot scotch bonnet aioli.
As the weeks go on, there will probably be a few more wrinkles added to the BLT bar, maybe too a caprese salad bar, where you can mix 'n' match tomatoes to different styles of mozzarella and olive oil.
Now, this being the Four Seasons, nothing comes cheap. Your customized BLT will set you back 20 bucks. But think of it as a celebration when people in the rest of the country are still shoveling snow out of their driveways.