For the next week, I’ll be writing short posts on the meals I enjoyed during a two-week vacation in my native California.
There’s a bar in Long Beach that recognizes what every pickled egg in this country is missing: chilies.
Rather than submerging its hard boiled eggs in beet-tinted brine, Joe Jost’s imbues them with the heat of Santa Fe Grandes. The result is a poor man’s caviar with one hell of a bite: The comfort-food quality of each hard-boiled egg rides a neon yellow wave of tartness and spice, and a quick dusting of black pepper and service on a bed of pretzels turns this classic bar food into a bar food classic.
That’s not the only thing classic about the joint. The oldest operating bar in Long Beach, Joe Jost’s has been serving for almost a century. The house’s $3.50 “schooners” of cheap American beer (formerly East Side Old Tap, then Pabst Blue Ribbon, now Busch), $3 Polish sausage sandwiches on steamed rye, hot dogs, liverwurst, and freshly roasted Virginia peanuts join its pickled egg to create a bar menu that will never go out of style. My spell at Joe Jost’s is best cast on a weeknight, starting with a pickled egg and a schooner of Shiner Bock, following with Joe’s Special sandwich, and finishing with pints over a game of shuffleboard.