Bacon, Avocado, Lettuce & Tomato

There’s a restaurant in Berkeley called Zut! Good, simple food. Fresh ingredients. Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Great environment. And the best bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich on the planet. They call it The BALT.

I admit it: I crave this sandwich. In the days leading up to any visit to Zut!, I think about this sandwich. I can’t wait to eat this sandwich. When I get to the restaurant, it’s all I can do to tell whomever I’m with to “hurry up and figure out what you want,” because I want my damn BALT! (Even the bread is so perfectly toasted it crunches in such a way that the sound of eating it adds to the overall flavor.)

How is it possible that a BLT (with A) can be so remarkable? After all, when it comes right down to it, we’re just talking about a BLT, right? Is there something to learn from Zut!’s BALT? Yes, I’m wondering if there’s a life lesson in a sandwich. Kosher, vegetarian and other issues aside, this sandwich is so good, and eating it is such a spiritual experience, that it makes me think about life’s big questions.

Most of us have had a BLT or a BALT at one point or another. And, sure, a generic BALT is a nice sandwich, but it’s just that – a freaking bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich. But, Zut! didn’t think of theirs as just another BALT. They wanted more from theirs. They expected more from themselves. And instead of just creating another bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich, Zut! produced something better. Zut! wouldn’t settle on even what might be its most simple menu item and serve something ordinary.

So the lesson is simply this:

We can and should live our lives like the surprisingly amazing BALT. We should spend time considering what’s really possible in our lives. We should imagine how (what appears to sometimes just feel like) the day-to-day grind can be uncommonly astonishing. And we should work to make each part of our lives – from the bacon to the bread – extraordinary. By doing so, we can build something pretty damn special and oftentimes, like the BALT, unexpectedly rewarding.

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