Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cure for a Warrior

Steve's Kitchen

120 Harvard Ave., Allston

Price: $3.95

Fullness: The homefries pick up where the sandwich leaves off

After many months and several futile attempts, I finally caught Steve’s Kitchen while they were open. Following a lead sent in by a BSA fan known only as “Myk”, I dipped into the “Kitchen” for a bacon, egg and cheddar. For a very affordable $3.95, Steve gives you a side of homefries and a large bagel with one (possibly two) fried egg(s), 3 slices of properly prepared bacon and your choice of cheese. Predictable as always, I went with white cheddar and sure enough it was the perfect selection. What makes this little number special is that just prior to being served, the sandwich spends a short stint under the broiler ensuring that the cheese drapes over everything nicely.

Aside from the fact that my napkin looked like a sheet of saran wrap from all the grease, this sandwich put me in my element. They say half of cuisine is the presentation and Steve’s got it down. Most of what I’m referring to is the bubbling cheddar from a flash exposure to extreme heat right before being served. I guess that’s all I’m referring to actually…

I was not overly impressed with the homefries, however they did fill in the hunger gap, which you sometimes run into with breakfast sandwiches. One sandwich doesn’t always fill me up, but two sandwiches makes you a tub o’ lard (apparently). So when homefries join a sandwich, there’s no need to fear.

Far superior to the neighborhood all-day-breakfast nemesis, Allston Café, Steve’s Kitchen has what it takes to be considered a great breakfast sandwich distributor. I would definitely recommend the bacon, egg and cheese at Steve’s for you “Weekend Warriors” out there who believe that grease is the “cure”.

Thanks Myk!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Bruegger's Bagels (Kenmore location)

644 Beacon St. Boston

Price: $3.99

Rating: 80/100

Fullness: full for hours

Bruegger’s has been advertising “4 sandwiches under $4” as if that’s some sort of great deal. I haven’t dabbled with them too much since my days as a 14 year old newsie slinging Boston Herald’s at 7AM in front of a local franchise. I ate a few too many of their peppered bacon, egg and cheese’s and tapped out for the next 9 years. That was until Monday morning when I got reacquainted with them by trying out their new Western Egg Sandwich. A bacon, egg and cheddar on your choice of bagel and piled high with a cooked veggie medley of green/red peppers, tomatoes and onions, topped off with a chipotle sauce.

Aside from the unfavorable customer service, I was pretty pleased with this one. It had pretty good weight, if you will. All you recreational eaters out there know what I’m talking about. I knew I’d be filled up even before I peeled back the tightly wrapped wax paper.

It was a little further towards the damp end of the sandwich spectrum than I prefer. This can be forgiven, though as moisture is an inevitable byproduct of cooked vegetables. The cheddar that was supposedly on it was sort of vaporized by the heat and got lost in the veggie moisture.

The surprisingly sweet veggie medley (love that word) minimized the impact from the traditionally spicy chipotle sauce. Regardless, this was every bit as heartburning as you could imagine.

The egg was in typical mass-produced patty form serving it’s purpose I ‘spose. Nothing to write home about.

I guess anything with tomatoes and onions could be considered a “western” these days. I wouldn’t really consider it a western, though. Just a regular bacon, egg and cheese complimented by a surprisingly decent selection of vegetables.

If you’re a bacon junky out there looking for a fix and want to pretend you’re being healthy by having vegetables put on your sandwich, consider stopping at Bruegger’s to take down one of their Western Egg Sandwiches. It’ll smooth ya RIGHT out.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

el Phantame del Bacón does Mexican

The Pour House

907 Boylston St. Boston, MA

Price: $5.45

Rating: 65/100

Fullness: ¡aye aye aye!

I “broke the fast” yesterday as I pulled up to the counter at the Pour House on Boylston and ordered something a little different for the Bacon Phantom. The Pour House is a fine eating/drinking establishment if you, like me, seek bang for your buck. I ordered the Huervos Rancheros with a slight Mexican accent and waited a good while. It consisted of three scrambled eggs strewn across a flour tortilla with black beans, sour cream, melted cheddar and some sort of spicy Mexican tomato sauce which helped stoke the flames in my esophagus. Descending from a long line of Irish blood, my stomach says “no” to spice but my carefree American appetite says “yes”.

The burrito came out in an open-faced sandwich style, which caught me off-guard. To be honest I would have been fine if they cut the portions in half and rolled the burrito up themselves. Now that’s not to say I didn’t gorge myself and eat the whole pile of which I was served, but presentation is half the battle in my book. I successfully rolled two little burrito doobs cut from either end of flour tortilla (one of which is shown here in the bottom photo), but the middle portion was just too soggy and weighed down so I had to go at that with a knife and fork. Not terribly pleased by this. I generally like to do as little work as possible while eating.

I’ve been combing the city for a breakfast burrito worthy of reviewing and this one seemed to have fit the bill just fine. Since I set out to find a good breakfast burrito a couple months ago, I came across a few not really worth mentioning. One in particular, which I actually will mention was Allston Cafe’s veggie chili breakfast burrito. They certainly don’t spoil you rotten with sour cream/salsa. Stingy on condiments but heavy on indigestion, stay as far away from that one as possible.

“But, uh, back to the lecture at hand”... This breakfast burrito by the Pour House was... so-so at best. Not that I know really anything about authentic Mexican cuisine, but I feel like our friends to the South intended this menu item to be made differently? I also have a sneaking suspicion that the breakfast burrito was an entirely American invention based on Mexican food stereotypes.

Nevertheless, I finished every last bite and was pretty full among other things. I persevered despite the phrase “es no bueno” echoing in my ears with each bite. I really am excited about the prospect of a good breakfast burrito so if any of you out there would please point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

If you find yourself at the Pour House and can’t resist the Huervos Rancheros, arm yourself with a roll of Tums and expect to taste some stereotypes.

¡Viva Bacón!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

a little lesson about me, the Bacon Phantom

One might say my palette has expanded over the past 23 [quasi]adventurous years... but no matter how "enlightened" or "worldly" one becomes, you always end up crawling back to what started it all. For me it's the McDonald's bacon, egg & cheese. It's my parents who are [ir]responsible for giving me that first taste at a ripe young age. My relationship with McDonald's breakfast is about 2 decades old by now, but I'd say it's still pretty [un]healthy. McD's suspended their use of bagels for a number of years, which I believe was the reason my brother and I started making our own bagel sandwiches in our grandmothers old house in Newton. During the Golden Arches suspension of the bagel, bacon, egg, and cheese, I was forced to turn to Dunkin Donuts attempt at it, which was hardly comparable. After a number of years, the bagel was reintroduced at America's "favorite fast-food chain" along with some sort of secret sauce? I gradually became accustomed to this new moisture-adding mystery sauce and here we are today. I love McDonald's bacon, egg & cheese and I'm not afraid to admit it. Take me or leave me. This was this morning getting my fix:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Superiority on a Toasted English Muffin

Mike & Patty’s

12 Church St. Boston, MA

Price: $4.00

Rating: 91/100

Fullness: Not ashamed

Throughout the Breakfast Crusade I embarked on this past October, I’ve come across the decent, the crummy and the tasteless. Very rarely, I encountered what could only be explained as a religious experience. I walked into Mike & Patty’s today, appropriately located on Church St. and had my eyes re-opened like one of those Born Again’s. Getting my sandwich was like the generic teen film scene when the music cuts out and the hot girl walks down the stairs to greet her nerdy prom date. Hot girl sandwich, me nerdy prom date. Ya’ll get it.

It prides me to announce The Boston Breakfast Sandwich Authority’s first 90+ breakfast sandwich: Mike & Patty’s “Bacon & Egg Classic”. Bacon was crispy (just the way he likes it), American cheese was gooey and the egg was fried with high standards. This egg was so fresh it might have fallen out of a hen’s be-hind just this morning. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

I actually ended up ordering a second Bacon & Egg Classic. This was a first for the Phantom. I think one would have sufficed any normal appetite, but the option for another was far too tempting to resist.

I had never heard of Mike & Patty’s until this morning on Yelp, and it was close enough for a March bike ride. I had a little bit of trouble finding it, but perhaps this was because it doesn’t have a sign out front. This added to the quaint overall feel (to be a food connoisseur you have to use words like “quaint” every once in awhile). When I finally found it and got in there I realized the reviews I read on Yelp weren’t kidding, it was teeny tiny. But by some sort of miracle of science they fit four girls behind the counter. Everyone was really friendly. I had the pleasant opportunity of meeting Patty and she had a few great suggestions for other sandwiches around the city. Thank you Patty!

I took some time to review the rest of the menu and there were plenty of other mouth-watering breakfast/lunch offerings. They also had a small selection of interesting drinks. I purchased a Ginger Brew soda to wash down the history-making sandwich.

If you’re serious about breakfast sandwiches, consider a pilgrimage to Mike & Patty’s on Church St. in Boston’s Bay Village!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Maple Monster

-2 Eggo’s

-2 Eggs (Scrambled)

-a healthy helping of ham

-1 slice American cheese

-maple syrup

Ever since I first fell in love with McDonalds’ tasty McGriddle, I’ve been inspired attempt my own. Being too ashamed to order more than one, I would gobble up every precious maple infused morsel of that teasingly small sandwich. It wasn’t until I read Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell a few years ago that I realized other people were equally drawn to it.

So today I set out to make my own. The idea has been rattling around my brain and I’ve been trying to determine the best way to go about it. Buying maple infused Eggo’s seemed like too obvious a solution. Why fake it when you can use real (fake) maple syrup from the bottle? A little unknown fact about myself, I’m a lifelong fake maple syrup user.

I decided to go with Buttermilk Eggo’s and ham for the meat option. I scrambled two eggs and went with one slice of white American cheese. The Eggo’s weren’t quite the kind of quality I chose to remember from my childhood, but they sufficed.

After finishing my sandwich (which was delicious as expected), I thought there were two things I would have done differently. One, toast the waffles more thoroughly. These things are bone dry and ready to absorb any type of moisture they come in contact with so make them extra toasted or they’ll just get flip-floppy. Also, go ahead and be generous with the amount of ham. Life’s too short to skimp on these sorts of things.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Better Movie than a Sandwich

The Breakfast Club

270 Western Ave., Allston, MA

Price: $5.97 (plus tip)

Rating: 55/100

Fullness: not the type you’re proud of

While cruising around Brighton in my Edible Arrangements van this afternoon, I felt a little rumble in the old spare tire (around my waist) so I stopped into The Breakfast Club diner on Western Ave. I stepped up to the empty counter and ordered a bacon, egg & cheese on a bagel. The girl put in the order and then I told her “make that bacon crispy, please.” She said “sure, no problem” and dropped back into the kitchen where she placed my request with the cook. Then in plain view started running her fingers through his hair scratching his scalp like an attention starved dog. Lord knows the amount of dander that was released into the air. For the sake of my appetite though, I tried to ignored this...

After 10 minutes or so, the man-puppy packaged up my BEC and a side of homefries in a to-go tray and I returned back to the van. Two or three bites into my meal, I looked up for a moment to take a breath. To my dismay, I witnessed the very same hands that made my sandwich being stuffed between the backseats of a mid-size SUV. Trash cans saddled up next to the car filled with food wrappers and coffee cups and a vacuum cleaner already inside. It appeared as though this project had begun long before I got there…

Anyways, the sandwich.

I might have given it a “not bad” if I was able to ignore the unappetizing events that The Breakfast Club had to offer. The bacon was plentiful, but reheated. The egg was real and fried. The bagel was soft inside, although somewhat over toasted on the outside. And the cheese was cheesy. It was one of those sandwiches you don’t jump to tell people about, but it got the job done just fine.

For some reason I always look at old diners so fondly with that folded metal exterior, but it’s the same crap every time. Greasy cooks and standard make-your-chest-hurt breakfast. Next time I see a roadside diner I think I’ll keep driving.

_Bacon Phantom

"If he gets up... we'll all get up... it'll be anarchy!"