It’s breakfast time again! I’ve written about a few breakfast sandwiches and since it’s one of my favorite types of sandwiches I figured it was time to tackle one again. There are a couple of reasons I named this the Go! Go! Breakfast sandwich and we’ll get into those reasons as we work through this sandwich concept.
What is this sandwich?
My Go! Go! breakfast sandwich probably isn’t quite like other breakfast sandwiches you might have made or eaten. The base components are familiar but the way the whole sandwich is constructed seems to me to be a bit different from run-of-the-mill typical breakfast sandwiches.
This sandwich we are making today is crafted from an extra crispy hash brown patty, topped by a custard-steamed egg, melty smoked gouda, thick-cut bacon, and two different sauces or spreads to round out the flavors. This sandwich is 100% inspired by a hyped new sandwich from a brand-new coffee and pastry shop, called Allez Cafe, just down the street from me in Chicago.
The two most exciting components of this sandwich to me are the two square-shaped patties. First, there’s a homemade, square crispy hashbrown patty and then we have a homemade square-shaped soft custard egg patty. Neither is especially hard to make, but they are time-consuming. I’m going to write about them below and let you know if I think either one is worth attempting at home.
Allez Cafe and their breakfast sandwich
Allez Cafe opened earlier this year, in 2023, on Western Avenue in the Bucktown/Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago. Technically, I think it’s in Bucktown, but just across the street Logan Square starts so there’s a bit of confusion but since none of this is pertinent to sandwiches, we will move on.
I did a bit of extreme language investigation—aka three minutes in Google translate—and it turns out that Allez means “go on” in French and when paired with the word Cafe, Google thinks it means “Go Cafe.”
Allez Cafe has a handful of tables, a small pastry counter, and a few fancy coffee machines that I know nothing about. Because of this small footprint, their menu is also very small. They have a breakfast sandwich (which we are making today) and they have recently added a breakfast burrito (you could add bacon to) for two cooked handheld options.
I got a chance to order and eat this sandwich last week. They did not ask if I wanted my sandwich to go or to eat in the restaurant, so the sandwich came out wrapped in paper. I believe it would have been the exact same if I said I was eating it at a table inside. I knew this would mean that my sandwich photos would not be very pretty, and they weren’t, but the sandwich was tasty regardless of its appearance.
The Allez Cafe breakfast sandwich had quite a bit going on. The eggs were soft which accentuated the slight crunch from the hash brown. Both the eggs and the hash brown patty were savory, but the two sauces added some sweet and tangy flavors and a tiny bit of heat from the jalapeno jelly. The bacon really contributed very little to flavor or texture and probably could be left off and the sandwich would be vegetarian and just as good.
I did a little analysis and tried my best to diagnose the ingredients because there were very few textural or video examples of the sandwich being made. Little did I know that a local Chicago food influencer, named Omnivorous Adam, would be releasing an Instagram video of some of the behind-the-scenes processes for this sandwich while I was finalizing the writing and recipe for my version.
This video, which I have shared here, is informative and shows a lot of the things that I was going to explain below. But it also has helped to assure me that I was on the right path with my sandwich.
If you live or are visiting Chicago, you should try to visit Allez Cafe to try their sandwich, but if you live elsewhere, I have a recipe and some options to help you make one in your own kitchen.
To make this sandwich we will first need some potato buns. For personal reasons, I no longer buy or recommend the most well-known commercially available potato buns that I believe Allez Cafe is using, but luckily, I can make my own. If you wanted to make this sandwich and needed a widely available, soft sandwich bun, I would suggest King’s Hawaiian brand because they are soft, reasonably sized, and their sweetness would work well in a breakfast application.
First, let’s make some soft potato buns.
Soft potato buns
Allez Cafe’s sandwich is in a soft bun, so I baked one of my softest bun recipes. This is another tried-and-true bun recipe that I have shared quite a few times. I did buy some black sesame seeds to shake up a couple of the buns, but for the most part, I have almost perfected this recipe in my kitchen.
For testing purposes, since we’re always learning, I decided to use an egg wash on some of the buns and then I baked the last two buns without an egg wash. An egg wash, which is 1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water, will bring shine and color to your buns. But in this recipe, the color seemed pretty much the same with or without the egg wash. The washed buns are much shinier but hamburger/sandwich buns like these aren’t typically shiny, so this wasn’t very important to the final bun.
Measure your bun
Only nerds need to read this part.
You don’t have to measure your buns, but I wanted to get a baseline for the sizes that we might want to shape your future potato and egg patties. One of the more disappointing things that can happen in sandwich making is having ingredients that don’t fit properly in your bread or buns. Knowing the bun diameter is helpful to ensure that all your ingredients can be shaped to the right size.
Here is my super soft potato bun recipe that you can use for burgers or a breakfast sandwich like this one.
The Allez Cafe sandwich contains jalapeno jelly and a pickled onion aioli. This aioli does seem to be seasonal because when I first heard about this sandwich it had a ramp aioli and those aren’t currently in season. These are the versions I put together for my Go! Go! breakfast sandwich.
I did not make jalapeno jelly for this sandwich. I used a commercially available hot pepper jelly instead. In Allez Cafe’s version, you could taste the jalapeno jelly so maybe this was a mistake on my part, but this sandwich already has quite a few components so I figured this would be ok to skip, or else my recipe would be even more complicated.
The jelly brings a fun sweetness and a little bit of spice that both make a big difference in the final sandwich so don’t skip this ingredient if you can find something similar at your store.
Pickled onion aioli
When I tasted this sauce at Allez Cafe, I felt it was mostly influenced by what tasted and looked like scallion/green onion. I did not end up making an exact copy of this sauce, but I did end up using onions from my own pickled onion recipe and a few sliced green onions mixed with mayonnaise to come up with what seemed like a close approximation from my recollection. If you can’t find pickled onions, here’s the recipe I used in my sauce.
Here’s what I ended up using for my pickled onion
- 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon diced pickled onion
- 2 teaspoons finely diced green onion
- 1 teaspoon pickled onion liquid
Extra crispy square hash brown patty
There are a lot of soft components in this sandwich, so the crispy, crunchy potato patty is very important. These do take a bit of time, with at least two hours in the freezer for the patties to become firm enough to hold their shape during the frying process. But once the hash browns are shaped and frozen, they can sit in your freezer for a month or two and be ready for cooking whenever you are ready.
This potato patty goes through a two-stage cooking process. The first part of the process is the par cooking stage where the shredded potatoes are placed in room temperature oil that is slowly brought up to 215 F (101 C). Once that temperature is reached, the potatoes are cooled, salted, and formed into patties. The patties are frozen at this point until they are hard so that they will hold their patty shape.
The second stage is a traditional frying stage much like you would do for french fries. But I tried several different methods for frying these which I will talk about down below. Basically, the second stage of the cooking process is simply to finalize the cooking of the potatoes and to crisp up the exterior so that we’re left with crispy, crunchy hash brown patties.
Square biscuit/cookie cutter
For these hash browns, I bought a set of square biscuit cutters. These are not required but they are inexpensive, around 10 bucks, and if you want exactly square-shaped hash browns you might also want to pick up a set yourself. If you don’t want perfect squares, you can shape these however you want.
Once the potato patties are formed into the proper shapes, it’s necessary to freeze them so that they will retain their shape through the frying process. I haven’t really tested how long these patties will be able to stay in the freezer before frying, but it’s at least a few weeks. You can freeze these on a sheet pan and then after 2 hours when they are fully frozen and hardened, you can move each uncooked hash brown to a freezer-friendly zip-top bag and pull one or two out to make at a time.
Deep or shallow or pan frying?
I much prefer cooking this style of hashbrown in a very shallow amount of oil. I think the perfect height of the oil should be right around the height of the hashbrown itself. This means the potatoes spend time resting on the bottom of the pan, so they are able to keep their shape much easier. I did try frying these hashbrowns in much deeper oil, but those tended to lead to hashbrowns that had more of a shaggy bird’s nest-like character which meant we lost a lot of the square shapes that we originally were trying to achieve.
This is another one of those things that really only matters if you want your food to be pretty, but it stood out to me as something that I should point out.
A third way of cooking these hash brown patties is probably the easiest way with the least amount of cleanup but it might not be quite as crispy as frying submerged with oil. This method only uses a teaspoon or two of oil in your pan and pan-frying the still-frozen potato patty until it is deep brown and crispy, about 4 or 5 minutes per side.
Will I make these crispy hash brown patties again? Yes. The two-stage cooking process enables you to get a batch of these potato patties in the freezer, ready to go in under 10 minutes. So, you could make a big batch every so often to have some crunch to serve alongside your morning eggs.
This is an interesting way to make super soft eggs for a sandwich. It takes almost 10 times the amount of time to cook than a folded egg, but in my opinion for a special sandwich, it is worth it. While it does take a lot more time to make these eggs, almost all the time is spent while the eggs are baking, so it’s almost all hands-off time that you can use to watch an episode of Who’s the Boss.
The other reason to help you justify the extra time is that you can make these eggs well in advance and reheat them as you are ready for sandwiching. Typically, we are told that you always want to eat your eggs while they are still warm, and you will warm these eggs, but I tested and ate almost every sandwich you see in this blog post with eggs that had been cooked, refrigerated, and then reheated right before sandwiching.
Strain the eggs
Eggs have this thing called the “chalaza” which is a membranous strip that connects the yolk with the ends of the shell. If you’ve scrambled eggs before, you’ve probably noticed the white thing that is often visible in the cracked egg. You’ve most likely eaten the chalaza and it doesn’t really taste like anything or have any texture, but since we’re shooting for super smooth eggs, this straining step removes those sorts of things, and removing it also has the added benefit of catching any small bits of eggshell that you might have missed.
Non-stick spray the pan
This is super IMPORTANT. Do not forget. I was a dingbat and forgot twice in the testing process and while you can recover from it, your egg patty will likely break into pieces because some parts will stick to the pan. If you’re just eating the sandwich without taking video or photos of it, an egg patty broken into a few pieces won’t matter at all. But just a little non-stick cooking spray will make the patty slide right out.
How many eggs?
Ok, this is why I tested this recipe so many times. Thank goodness eggs have come down in price lately. I wanted an egg patty that was super soft but not too thick. You’ll see some examples of sandwiches down below where the egg looks a bit thicker than others and that is likely because I was testing how many eggs and how much milk to use.
For me, for this sandwich, 5 eggs + 1/4 cup milk (plus 3/4 teaspoon salt) was the perfect thickness for a 4×8-inch egg patty. I tried 6 eggs and 4 eggs, and I do think that going forward, if I were making this egg method for a sandwich with sausage or another meat like a sausage patty, I might use 4 eggs, but since this sandwich uses this egg patty as a focus for the sandwich it worked better with 5.
Hot tub egg cooking
A bain-marie is a French term for a method of delicately cooking inside a water bath. Basically, we’re putting the egg mixture into a pan and then putting that pan into a hot water bath inside of a hot oven. The loaf pan that is holding the eggs is set inside a larger pan that has a couple of inches of hot water in it. The egg pan is also covered by aluminum foil, so the eggs are cooking in a steamy environment and they are surrounded by hot water leading to a heating that is never going to be harsh.
This is why the eggs take 40 minutes to cook because they are cooked so gently that they are allowed to end up in a very smooth and creamy, but fully set egg patty.
Reheating custard eggs
There are a couple of ways to do this (probably a lot more but two that I found success with).
- Microwave: you can cut the egg into the shape you want and microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds, then flip it over on the plate. After the flip, you can add a slice of cheese on top. Once flipped, microwave it again for an additional 20 or 30 seconds. This should fully heat up the egg and melt any cheese added after the flip.
- Broiler: you can cut the egg into the shape that you want and then place it on aluminum foil and put it under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip, add cheese, and broil for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is fully melty.
Will I make these custard eggs again? Yes. Even though it takes 40 minutes in the oven, you can make them 2 days in advance and warm the eggs up in less than 5 minutes and they’re as good as new and ready to go. Here’s the recipe to make 2 roughly 4-inch x 4-inch custard egg squares that should fit nicely on a hamburger bun or between pieces of toast.
I typically bake my bacon instead of cooking it in a pan. There are a few reasons why the oven is the best place and way to cook bacon.
- Cleanliness – Wrap your sheet pan with 2 or 3 pieces of overlapped aluminum foil before adding the bacon and you will end up with very little cleanup when the bacon is fully cooked. Throw out the aluminum and you’re done.
- Convenience – put the bacon on the pan and then you don’t have to touch it again.
- Bacon straightness – cooked on a baking sheet in the oven will leave you with bacon that doesn’t curl up or barely even wrinkle.
- Clean-ish bacon fat – once you are finished baking the bacon, let the pan cool off for 5 minutes or so and then you can slowly pour off the hot bacon fat into a mason jar or other container to save what will be fairly clean bacon fat without a lot of the small bacon particulate that you will get from bacon that’s cooked in a pan.
Here’s my method for baked bacon, but it’s basically just to arrange on a pan, add to a cold oven set to 400 F, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the bacon is done to your liking. I typically just check around 25 minutes and cook longer if needed. Changing from a thin bacon to a thicker cut bacon will make a difference as will your oven since they’re all different from house to house. If you always buy the same brand/type of bacon, you can pay extra attention to the time required on the first bake and then you’ll know how long it will take in future attempts.
The Go! Go! breakfast sandwich
I made an attempt on this sandwich back in late July and it was an ok first attempt, but the egg just wasn’t as creamy and custardy. I also didn’t get the sauce anywhere close to correct in this original attempt, but after trying the actual Allez Cafe breakfast sandwich I got my recipe dialed in much better.
I did, however, get a damn good, crunchy hash brown and it’s hard to mess up bacon.
The savory flavors of a creamy custard egg patty and a crispy, crunchy hash brown are offset by pepper jelly and a pickled onion sauce in this texturally vibrant breakfast sandwich experience.
Ingredients:Custard egg patty
- 5 whole large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 russet potatoes, grated
- salt (and black pepper - optional)
- oil for frying
- 2 teaspoons scallion greens, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon pickled onions, diced (recipe here)
- 1 teaspoon pickled onion liquid
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- soft potato bun
- hash brown patty (from above)
- custard egg patty (from above)
- 1 slice of smoked gouda
- 1 to 2 slices of bacon
- jalapeno or hot pepper jelly
Custard egg patty: preheat oven to 300 F (150 C).
Beat five eggs in a bowl until they are fully combined.
Using a strainer, strain the eggs into another large bowl and add salt and milk. Mix the mixture until fully incorporated.
IMPORTANT: spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan (sometimes called "Medium" - an 8.5 x 4.5 pan will also work) with nonstick spray and set the loaf pan into a larger baking pan.
Pour the egg mixture into the loaf pan. Take note of the height of the egg mixture for the next step.
Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil and fill the larger baking pan with warm water. Make sure the water is higher than the height of the egg mixture. This is known as a bain-marie and this method of cooking the eggs surrounded by warm water will allow them to cook very gently.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until eggs are fully set.
Allow the egg patty to fully cool before handling. See notes for reheating instructions.
Crispy hash brown patty: peel two russet potatoes and grate them with a box grater. Add the grated potatoes to a bowl and cover with water.
Let the potatoes sit in the water for 15 minutes to wash off the starch.
Scoop out the potatoes and put them in the middle of a clean kitchen towel. Pull up the sides and corners of the towel and tighten them to twist the towel around the potatoes, attempting to squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Once the potatoes are as dry as you can get them, add them to a large pot. Cover the potatoes with oil. Bring the oil and potatoes from room temperature up to 215 degrees F (101 C).
When that temperature is hit, immediately scoop out the potatoes and place them on a sheet pan to cool. Sprinkle with salt at this point and mix that into the soft shredded potatoes.
After 10 or 15 minutes the potatoes should be cool enough to handle, and you can start shaping them into hash brown patties. If you want perfect shapes, you can use a large biscuit cutter. Otherwise, you should lay out a piece of parchment paper and shape the potatoes into patties that are between 3 to 4 inches in diameter and between 1/2 and 3/4-inch thick.
Once your patties have been formed, place them in the freezer for 2 hours to fully firm up. After two hours you can cook your potatoes, or you can remove them from the parchment paper and place them in freezer-safe zip-top bags for longer storage.
When it's time to cook the hash browns, bring about an inch of oil up to 350 degrees in a large pot or pan. Once the oil is at the proper temperature, carefully add the frozen hash brown patties, one to two at a time, and cook on the first side for around 3 minutes and then flip to cook the second side for about the same amount of time. Once both sides are golden brown and crunchy looking, remove them to a paper-towel-lined plate to cool. Immediately sprinkle with salt and black pepper (if desired) while they are still hot.
Sandwich assembly: combine the scallions, pickled onions, pickled onion liquid, and mayonnaise to create your pickled onion sandwich sauce. Store any leftover sauce in the fridge for up to a week.
Toast your bun if desired.
Add a generous spoon of pickled onion sauce to the bottom bun. Top the sauce with a crispy hash brown patty.
Using one of the reheating processes in the notes below, warm your custard egg patty and add cheese if you desire. Add the warmed egg patty on top of the hash brown.
Top the egg and cheese with 1 or 2 slices of bacon. Add a teaspoon or two of pepper jelly and another spoonful of pickled onion sauce to the top bun, completing the sandwich.
Serve and enjoy.
Reheating egg patty
Microwave: you can reheat the egg patty in the microwave for 30 seconds, flip the patty, and heat for another 30 seconds. Add cheese for the second 30 seconds if you want melty cheese.
Broiler: place the egg on a piece of aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Broil for 1 minute, flip the egg, add some cheese, and broil for another 1 minute.
Check back next week
There’s a big holiday coming up next week and as I have in the past, I will be making a sandwich that ties in with leftovers! The Bounded by Buns Patreon community has already seen what I’m working on and writing about. Join up if you want behind-the-scenes content.