#REVIEW: A bagel

I actually meant to write a blog post at work today and ended up surprisingly busy for a Wednesday. I have gotten efficient enough this year that I often don’t have much to do on these non-student days, and today I managed to plan out the entire rest of the year and build a new desk chair, so I feel like things were accomplished. I have, as I said earlier this week, a few blog posts rattling around in the ol’ melon, as they say (I have no idea who the “they” is that says this, but it sounds good) and they have … somewhat different tones. The first is looking thoughtfully at differential discipline as it affects students of color, and particularly black boys, in school, and comparing a school model of discipline to policing. I will have to write it very carefully and expect some pushback, as the way I’m currently conceptualizing things may actually require me to be slapped around a bit.

Or I could review a bagel I had this morning.

The choice is pretty obvious, I think.

Let’s talk about Einstein Bros. Bagels and their Nova Lox bagel.

This is going to be the second food-related blog post in a week or so, and in fact it grew out of the Dagwood’s Supreme Twitter conversation that I memorialized here recently. You’ll notice that there are some replies here and there that didn’t make it into the post; one of them moved to discussing pastrami, and at some point later there I revealed the fact that I have never had lox. There’s really no good reason for me to have had lox (that’s a lie; I was a Jewish Studies major, for God’s sake) and upon realizing I’d made it to nearly 45 without having any I decided it was a problem I needed to fix.

Well, turns out there’s an Einstein Bros. Bagel place in town, and they offer a Nova Lox bagel, which probably isn’t as authentic as something you’d get from a kosher deli in New York or some shit like that but fuck it I live in Indiana and I’ll take what I can get.

Y’all! This is delicious!

I mean, it shouldn’t be surprising, as I’m a fan of five of the six ingredients that the food is made of so long as I think of lox as “smoked salmon” and not lox per se– I’ve probably had capers at some point or another in my life but I can’t think of when– and the textural combination of bagel, lox, tomato, cream cheese, red onion (the only kind of onion I can eat raw) and capers is Goddamned delightful. The capers pop, the red onion is crunchy, the bagel was chewy, and the lox, tomato and cream cheese all did their thing too. I could start the day with these on a regular basis if I wanted to.

The only problem? I also had a cup of coffee. Now, I’ve not had Einstein Bros coffee before– it was the first time I’ve ordered anything at all from them, in fact– and it’s entirely possible that their coffee, taken black, is simply more bitter than most coffees I’m used to. But I got the distinct impression that drinking coffee with this bagel was the rough equivalent of drinking orange juice immediately after brushing your teeth– there’s something, and I think it’s probably the capers, that enhances the bitterness of coffee until it’s utterly out of control, and I ended up switching to water because I couldn’t take it. That said, the taste of the bagel stuck with me all morning (in a pleasant way, mind you) and it was filing enough that I was able to make it to the end of the day without breaking for lunch.

10/10 yum yum would eat again

On failed pilgrimages and also sandwiches

I told this story on Twitter just now, and after much searching discovered that somehow I have never told it on the blog. So:

I gotta drive to Bloomington now. Back tomorrow.

In which the hype, somehow, is real

I am fully, 100% aware of just how behind the times I am, that it is April of 2021 and I am about to use precious space on Beyoncé’s internet to talk about the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. But yes, somehow I managed to wait a year and a half from the launch of the sandwich in August of 2019 to finally eat one. But there really isn’t a Popeye’s anywhere near me, and it’s not like we’ve been able to eat in restaurants lately. But I have dinner with my dad every week or two, and generally the way it works is that I bring something over, and he said yesterday that he was in the mood for chicken sandwiches and didn’t specify where from.

And there is a Popeye’s near Dad’s place. Now, it’s a shitty Popeye’s– but then, they all are, right? But if he wants chicken sandwiches anyway, and there’s one by him … well, what the hell, let’s gird our loins for disappointment and try the damn things out. Surely they’ve been out long enough that I can just go get a couple of them, and they’ve probably been scaled back from what they were when they were first out and people were literally murdering each other for the damn things.

Ha.

This particular Popeye’s is a freestanding restaurant that is basically in the middle of a parking lot. It’s not really built to have a lengthy drive-thru line, and when I got there not only did the line completely wrap around the building– let me remind you again that it is April of 2021 and this damn sandwich has been out for nearly two years— but they had someone in the parking lot fucking directing traffic, so that Popeye’s customers could get in line for the drive-thru while still at least theoretically allowing people access to the Subway (this Subway) fifty feet away.

I was in line for maybe fifteen minutes. Given the number of cars, not bad. I ordered three Original sandwiches– Dad had said he wanted two, so I figured I’d get two as well– and one Spicy.

Do not order two of these damn things, and do not try to eat both at a sitting unless you are a giant fat man like me.

Look at that fucking sandwich. That’s the spicy one. The chicken patty was an inch thick. The other one didn’t overhang the bun like this one did but holy hell, this much food for $4.50 or whatever they were charging me– it’s less than that, I think– is madness. The damned sandwiches were delicious; they weren’t overwhelmed with sauce (mayo for one and spicy sauce of some sort for the other,) the pickles were tasty and crunchy although there could have maybe been a couple more of them (I think they slid to the one side of the sandwich during transit?) and the patty itself in both cases was fucking great. This is 100% the best fast-food chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, bar none, and other than a particular sandwich served by one single restaurant in Chicago that obviously I can’t get any longer, it’s probably the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, period, and it’s not close. Even the spicy sandwich was, for me, balanced more or less perfectly. It’s probably not hot enough for people who genuinely like super-spicy foods, but for me it hit the sweet spot where I was definitely feeling it but it wasn’t overwhelming.

I finished the damn things nearly two hours ago and my mouth is still kind of watering. That good.

But seriously, don’t order two of them, especially if you want any kind of side. I’ll have more of these– they’re worth going out of my way for– but it’s an enormous amount of food. If, like me, you didn’t want to battle crowds to get one of these when they were all over the news and then just sort of let it fall off your radar, make a trip. It’s worth it.

ATTENTION

I am attempting to BAKE.

Traditionally this does NOT GO WELL. My last attempt involved not realizing the temperatures I was using were in Celsius.

Alert the authorities as needed.

UPDATE: this stage was basically “leave it alone for an hour to proof, then add chocolate chips,” so I was able to handle that:

UPDATE 2: I may have done this right. My god does it smell good.

In which you are what you eat and I am a mystery

I very nearly ended today’s earlier post with a suggestion that I might take a couple of days off. I deleted it on account of no I fucking won’t, so of course here I am a few hours later with a second post for the day.

We are doing a vegetarian week this week. This is not as big of a deal as it might sound; while I am very much a fan of meat and remaining a vegetarian for my entire life is not really something I’m interested in doing, I’ve been eating veggie burgers for lunch for like two weeks and I enjoy eating damn near everything vegetarians eat. So a week of being a vegetarian is really not a terribly difficult thing to do.

At least, when I’m paying attention.

The boy wanted McDonald’s for lunch today, and I couldn’t think of a good reason to tell him no, so we went. I toned down what I usually get on account of I’m trying to pay more attention to eating better in general (yes, I know McDonald’s is not progress in the “eat better” department, but at least I had less of it) and I swear to you that it took until well after I was finished with my lunch to realize that a McDonald’s Daily Double is made of meat.

Which, you need to understand here, this is a category error on my part, and not me just forgetting that I was a vegetarian this week. There’s been at least one vegetarian week where there was pizza at work and I absent-mindedly had a slice of pepperoni without thinking about it. This isn’t that. This is a McDonald’s Daily Double does not process in my brain as a cheeseburger, and it did not even occur to me to think that those two delicious, peppery patties were meat. What the fuck are they? They’re Daily Double patties, apparently. Made of what? Love and cholesterol. Sure as hell not meat.

I’m a lot of things, but “bright” ain’t one of them.


7:45 PM, Tuesday June 16th: 2,134,973 confirmed cases and 116,854 Americans dead.