Warning: breakfast sandwich SPOILERS for Birds of Prey are in play. If you don’t want any details for that film spoiled, turn around and come back once you’ve seen the movie for yourself.
Sometimes the internet latches onto some really interesting details when it comes to a movie like Birds Of Prey. In this particular instance, the detail that’s somehow sparked a major conversation is the fact that Harley Quinn is in love with what she’s described as a perfect breakfast sandwich. There’s just one problem with that: if Harley’s truly a citizen of Gotham City, New Jersey, she’s absolutely wrong.
The sandwich shown on screen is not the epitome of the classic breakfast sandwich from the Garden State for a couple of very important reasons. So seeing as the world is going to focus on a breakfast treat that’s being put forward as an idealized food item, we may as well break it apart and discuss what the proper New Jersey egg sandwich would actually look like.
But before we jump too far into an academic dissection of breakfast sandwiches, let’s go over a little bit of DC Comics lore to settle our location.
Yes, Gotham City Is In New Jersey!
Through several sources of DC Comics canon, Gotham City has been geographically placed within the state of New Jersey. It was particularly noticeable from 1977’s Amazing World Of DC Comics #14, and from that point on there have been a lot of references that cemented this location in comic history.
Recently, this has crossed over into the DC Comics movies, particularly in 2016’s Suicide Squad, which showed us the rap sheet for Will Smith’s Floyd “Deadshot” Lawton. There it is, as clear as day: Gotham City, New Jersey was established in the film canon of what was once the DC Extended Universe.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s even real life precedent that lands a factual cherry on top of the sundae, as both The Dark Knight Rises and Joker filmed in Newark, New Jersey. So between real life, comic book fantasy and even Harley’s exaggerated accent, dear Ms. Quinzel is a certifiable resident of the Garden State.
Consider The Pork Roll, Birds Of Prey!
Now that we’ve established that Birds of Prey is technically set in New Jersey, there’s one gigantic detail that takes the Jersey out of this particular breakfast sandwich: it uses bacon rather than the traditional pork product staple of this great state: the pork roll.
Sometimes called “Taylor Ham,” seeing as that particular brand name has become synonymous with the product, Pork roll is a very New Jerseyan institution. Acting as a sort of cousin to Canadian bacon, it’s literally a roll of “packed minced ham” that can be lovingly sliced and cooked for all your breakfast needs.
Why is the pork roll such a big deal? Well, for starters, it has just the right amount of salty flavor and tang to take the edge off of a hangover and/or start the morning right. Which is important, considering when we see Harley Quinn eating her sandwich in Birds of Prey, she’s coming down from a pretty hard night of drinking at Roman Sionis’ club.
Also, from a structural standpoint, pork roll slices are circular, which can lead to curling up enough to provide a great vessel for eggs and cheese to rest upon. Strips of bacon are awkward and tend to overshoot the surface area of the rest of the ingredients. Trust me, it makes for a slightly awkward meal.
It’s pretty much New Jersey law that unless you’re in a tight spot, you go with the pork roll for your breakfast sandwich meat. There could be extenuating circumstances, and substitutes are obviously accepted. But chances are, if you’re in New Jersey, your dining establishment will have pork roll, as it’s as much of a cultural staple as Bruce Springsteen himself.
Birds Of Prey Uses A Ciabatta? How ‘bout Cia-nada?
Another interesting choice that’s made with the Birds of Prey breakfast sandwich is that, from the looks of the screen-made sandwich that Sal provides Harley Quinn with, the entire package is served on a ciabatta roll. That’s fine and dandy, but as far as a proper New Jersey pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich is concerned, that’s strike two for this movie’s accurate depiction of a Jersey breakfast.
If you truly want to go about having your pork roll, egg, and cheese properly in New Jersey, you really should opt for the Kaiser roll. Not only is this the more culturally accurate choice of bread product for such a sandwich, but the thickness of the ciabatta roll is also a tactical mistake when thinking about who’s eating it in this particular instance.
Again, Harley Quinn’s kind of fighting off the remnants of a hangover. Seeing as she’s interrupted by Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) before she can even take her first bite, it’s probably a good thing; because if she ate that sandwich before their chase, all of that bread would have sank like a rock in Ms. Quinn’s stomach. While we’re on the subject…
Toast The Roll, But Don’t Butter It
I know Birds of Prey means well, because technically fried bacon and ciabatta rolls could be seen as making a more “beautiful” sandwich to prepare on screen. But even with the current roll that Sal’s using for his sandwich, that butter brushed onto the bread is going to throw things off when it comes to the entire sandwich combo.
This is why using the lighter Kaiser roll is more important, as it’s easier to toast the bun with just the ambient heat and grease of the standard deli grill. Thicker bread requires more of a kick to get it nice and toasty, which means there’s extra butter on top of whatever’s being used to help cook the meat and eggs for this breakfast of champions.
With a Kaiser roll, there would already be enough residual butter from the eggs previously prepared that could help toast the bread up in the appropriate fashion. In turn, that reduces the buttery fat heaped onto the sandwich, which might cause for an upset stomach mixed in with all of the cheese, hot sauce and alcohol that’s about to recombine in our protagonist’s stomach.
Birds Of Prey Uses Way Too Little Hot Sauce For A Proper Breakfast Sandwich
The final bit of contention with this breakfast treat that is being proclaimed as the “sexiest breakfast sandwich in movie history” ever shown is, indeed, the hot sauce. Re-watching the TV spot that shows Harley Quinn extolling the virtues of her preferred starter meal, the last detail that really stands out is how she’s worried about tasting the cheese with the hot sauce.
Only two squirts make it onto that Birds of Prey sandwich in total, which feels like way too little heat, especially for someone like Harley. In addition, the hot sauce is the bow that ties it all together, especially when using standard American cheese to top the sandwich. Plus, it looks like the hot sauce Sal is using is Frank’s Red Hot.
Now Sal could be using one of the other garden variety hot sauces on the market, like Crystal, Texas Pete or Cholula to get the job done. But no matter which of those formulas is in play, the sauce helps add the tang that you need to meld the cheese, the egg and the pork roll into a symphony of mayhem and munchies.
It is an indisputable fact that breakfast sandwiches come in all shapes and sizes, and even if the one shown in Birds of Prey isn’t the perfect New Jersey ideal, it’s still pretty sexy. And when Harley loses it after being tripped by one of her various enemies, you can really feel that heartache as those various layers sail through the air.
Still, while Harley Quinn is crazy and has no regards for the rules of decorum and criminal law, as any self-respecting New Jersey resident will tell you that she should be ordering the right breakfast sandwich. Which means that, at the very least, that bacon should be swapped for pork roll. At least, that’s what it looks like from my home state perspective. I could be wrong.
Birds of Prey, or as it’s now titled, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, is now in theaters. Though before you go, let us know if this whole breakfast sandwich argument is wrong, or if you agree with the version that was shown on screen. Because it’s guaranteed you’ve got your own thoughts to share on the matter. Take the poll below, leave us comments and let your voice be heard!