B.L.T.’s (bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches) have always been a staple in my life. Their simple, yet particularly comforting flavors are something my mother and I enjoyed together since I was a child. The crisp crunch of fresh lettuce, the juices of a ripe tomato, salty bacon, creamy real mayonnaise, and tangy sourdough cast me into a Ratatouille-esque moment. Whether packed for road trips or enjoyed at a diner over lunch, they’re a meal I can order and know I’ll feel energized, well-fed, and a little nostalgic. B.L.T.'s are a delightful combination of tastes and textures coalescing between two slices of bread and a thick ribbon of mayonnaise.
The idea of the “best” B.L.T. came to me after a trip to the Oregon Coast where I bit into my favorite sandwich. I couldn’t help but remark about the superior quality of a sandwich so consistently good, that it's known as a classic. Since that day, I’ve kept a mental catalog of what makes a good B.L.T. to me. Now, with the help of my Totally Boise team, I’ve documented my pilgrimage to discover where to find the best B.L.T. in the Treasure Valley.
What Makes a B.L.T. the “Best”?
I get it, food is subjective. I’ve done my best to consolidate across a wide base of fellow B.L.T. lovers to find a common ground on what makes one the absolute BEST.
Bread: very slightly toasted and not overly crunchy.
Bacon: crispy yet chewy. A single slice of bacon should break off with each bite, but not crumble with the slightest touch, nor should it require a tug when taking a bite. I also look for bacon with a smokey, savory flavor.
Lettuce: crisp, crunchy, and vibrantly limey green. The ideal type is home or kitchen garden grown.
Tomatoes: again, as close to homegrown as possible. Slices should be the same thickness as a pencil to help give the sandwich some juicy flavor.
Mayo: a personal favorite condiment of mine, helps add a great, simple flavor as well as make sure the sandwich isn’t dry.
I know that there are other variations of the B.L.T. and that you might like adding avocado, a fried egg, or some other ingredients. But, for the sake of this journey and my own personal preference, I am sticking with the strict classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. I am rating each sandwich with a score of 1 -10.
Trust the process, y'all. The Treasure Valley is large, so expect this list to be a constant and continued resource that will be updated frequently.
LeBaron's Honker Cafe - 8/10
Located in the heart of Downtown Nampa, LeBaron’s is a quaint and classically Idaho diner - complete with kind, charismatic servers, cute country decor, and a menu filled with the American staples. The B.L.T. was not listed on the menu, but our waitress was kind enough to accommodate my need anyways.
It was clear with each bite that the ingredients were fresh. The tomatoes had that slightly salty juiciness to them that won me over every time. The bacon was more tender than other strips I’ve eaten around the valley, and I appreciated how crisp yet chewy it was.
Photo Credit: LeBaron’s Honker Cafe
I give this sandwich an 8 out of 10 for two reasons:
- I wished there was more lettuce. Two or three more pieces would have made the B.L.T. thicker and given the bacon a nice bed of lettuce to rest on.
- Toast was a touch too toasted. Later in the day, I realized how scratched the roof of my mouth had become from eating it and that sensation affects the flavor of other drinks and food consumed through the day.
Mission accomplished on hitting the necessary needs for a classic B.L.T., LeBaron's.
Just off the Broadway exit on Federal way in Southeast Boise, the Off-Broadway Deli is serving up big taste. With the tagline “where we treat you like family...literally,” I can report that the food they are dishing out is a direct reflection of this love. I stopped here for a quick lunch with my father over the weekend and found a welcoming window booth to sit together and enjoy our meal together with the other customers. You’ll find out quickly that those you’re sitting next to are either loyal, long-time visitors, or becoming one after the first bite.
I eagerly gave the equally excited employee behind the counter my order of a BLT off their chalkboard menu and found it waiting for me at the cash register moments later.
As far as a “good” BLT goes, this one just about hit the perfect marks. Crafted between two slices of sourdough bread, the mayo, bacon, lettuce, and tomato came together in a symphony of fresh, salty, brilliance. I felt tempted to be saddened about the sandwich coming with one leaf of lettuce and roughly 4 tomato slices, but the problem was remedied by a glorious over-compensation of bacon. Who could be anything but elated when you have to seemingly unhinge your jaw like an anaconda to consume the strips of bacon in your hands?
I give this sandwich a 9 out of 10:
- While the slices of sourdough were fresh and delicious, they were untoasted. Maybe that’s on me for not asking the staff to toast my slices, but it is a given that I search for when eating a BLT.
Be sure to sprint, not walk to Off-Broadway Deli for a quality, fresh lunch. You’ll be met with a smile and leave happy.
If you’re a BLT lover like me, I’d love to hear where to try next in the Treasure Valley. Send an email of your favorite BLT to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure it’s the next stop on our tour to find the best B.L.T.’s in the Treasure Valley.