Few things can beat the musty perfume of a great sourdough or the nutty, grassy flavors of just-milled grains locked into a deep-brown crust. But as alluring as they may be, they’ll never fully unseat the joy of a good sandwich built on spongy, sweet white bread.
Sure, the egg-shell-colored loaves may lack nutritional value. They are also a (hypochondriac or otherwise) celiac sufferer's nightmare. But for most Americans reared in sprawling suburbs, the pillowy slices are little vehicles of nostalgia. They work best with disks of Hebrew National salami sliced thick and stacked with pale-yellow American cheese, then covered in Gulden’s spicy brown mustard.
White bread thankfully persists despite its lack of cool. It’s the foundation of easy, cheap meals. Yet at a handful of restaurants around Miami, it’s center stage thanks to its nostalgic flavor profile and textural superiority.
It’s a mandatory side dish to any self-respecting Texas barbecue. It was also the obvious choice for Mignonette’s oyster loaf ($14), which is loaded with nearly a dozen cornmeal-crusted fried oysters, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise.
Pork tonkatsu at the Vagabond.
“It’s the best vehicle for sandwiches that have crispy fried stuff,” Mignonette chef and owner Danny Serfer says. “It makes a little pocket around whatever you put into it and doesn’t push the fillings off the sides or back of the sandwich.”
White bread also anchors the pork tonkatsu sandwich ($12) that Alex Chang serves at the wildly popular Vagabond Restaurant & Bar. Here, the main attraction is the panko-crusted cutlet topped with yuzu kosho sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
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White bread is an easy find in Cuban cafeterias and is everywhere, from the butter-soaked baskets of pan to the base of your favorite sandwich. At Little Havana’s Little Bread, Alberto Cabrera makes a loaf that blends Cuban white with a cloud-like Wonder Bread texture. It’s the base of his Elena Ruz ($8), which features lightly smoked turkey glazed with malta, honey, cloves, and cinnamon.
So, sure, you may not want to eat it every day. But it more than deserves its perch on menus around town. After all, a sandwich spot without white bread is just a sad lunch counter.