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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Beef, it’s What’s for Dinner, or Lunch

Thursday, July 1, 2010 @ 07:07 AM

eagles deliCan you believe it is already July, where the heck did June go?  Well although I know how our month was spent, I’m sure many of you are thinking, “man another summer is just flying by.”  One thing I always look forward to when summer approaches is cook outs, especially the massive cook out and lake day our family plans on the 4th of July.  Of the many foods that often show up at these events, burgers have become almost a staple.  Now that is not to say that a cookout is not complete without them, there is just something so quintessential about summertime and burgers, whether at a cookout or a “burger joint.”

Now it is no shock to you that Adam and I love a good burger and in addition to bbq places, it would seem that we make it a mission to try just about all of them.  And at this point, having tried so many, I would say our palette has become pretty polished, not to sound to cocky, it is just after awhile it is easy to determine what you think is good and what isn’t.  Now everyone is different and taste is a very opinionated thing, but I am going out on a limb and saying that I know what determines good burgers for me.  The same goes for not good ones, I would say it is rare I find one unedible, but I now know what I deem good and sometimes places fall short.  That being said, I do not lump all burgers into the same category, in fact there are times when I crave a certain fast food delight (ahem White Castle I love you).  There are other times when I want a good ol’ diner or drive-in burger, or if I want to splurge splurge, then I pick a top shelf burger as I like to say, one from somewhere where I know a burger is there specialty and it’s just that SPECIAL!

Now this next spot is sort of a mixture of diner meets deli, and let me tell you it did not disappoint.  Eagle’s Deli located in Brighton, MA, down the street from Boston College, has been serving up great and tasty meals to students and food lovers alike for years.  Known around Boston for their burgers, they also pride themselves for their large breakfastplatters and other fine sandwiches, as any good deli or diner would.  However, what seems to keep bringing people back are their notorious burgers, specifically their challenge burgers.  These challenges have only grown over the years too, as people successfully complete the current challenge, it simply grows bigger and get renamed.  The former challengers are still on the menu, however it was their current challenge burger than caught Adam and my attention while watching Man vs. Food. The 5 Pound Challenge as pictured above, yes you read that right, 5 pounds of meat, along with 20 slices of cheese, 20 slices of bacon, and 5 pounds of fries.  Pure insanity if you ask me, but also a bit comical.  Adam Richman attempted the challenge, but unfortunately fell short.  Below are the episode clips, so you can see for yourself.

“Man vs. Food” [Video].  (2009).  Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9OVgLv_hww and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O45PX_b2ft4.

After seeing that episode, we happen to also see Eagle’s featured as Travel Channel’s #2 spot to pig out, as well as #21 on Travel Channel’s “Chowdown Countdown.”  These burgers seemed to be the talk of the town and the nation, so when I was given plane tickets for my birthday, to visit my best friend Emily is Boston, I knew Eagle’s Deli was going to have to be a must visit. (Adam was very disappointed he would be missing out on this trip).  Now Emily went to Boston College, so she had eaten at Eagle’s Deli quite frequently and assured me of how good it was, which of course made me all the more excited and Adam all the more jealous!

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We hopped over to Brighton on the morning of my last day in Boston and after the long day we had before I knew I was ready to mow down on a greasy burger for sure.  What Emily was not expecting when we walked in was that the place had been completely renovated, you may even notice a difference between the videos above and the picture I will show you below.  She was disappointed because it was not the same “old” deli she had so fondly visited on many occasions during college, however the new appearance was very visually appealing and did not seem to deter the line of customers practically out the door.  It seems a tad “pretty” for a deli, but I was not about to let that get in the way of my burger eating.

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Now as I said before they really promote their burgers, which in my opinion says they must be good if that is all they are seemingly talking about.  And the challenge burger above is not the only one they serve.  But their challenge burgers are pretty popular, they even have the wall of fame devoted to those who have tried to take them on. Their burgers range in size from the 1/4 pound “Kiddie Burger” to that 5 lb. behemoth, with many lesser pounds in between.  Now knowing my eating abilities, I could have taken on one of those big boys, however, I also knew I had to fly home that afternoon and did not want to feel like utter crap, so I opted for a good “taste” if you will and went with the 1/4 pound Kiddie.

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It was plenty of burger for me and a very enjoyable meal.  Although not the best burger I have ever had, it was well seasoned and had a unique almost Greek flavor in the meat itself.  The bun was just how I like them, not overly huge, lightly toasted, but soft enough to cling to the burger so you can actually bite into it.  The onion, lettuce, and pickle were a great crunchy complement, but I think what made this meal for me was the fries!  Emily warned me they had some good ones and these did not disappoint.  All to often diners scrimp on making a fry taste like anything, but I say what is the point of serving them, or eating them for that matter, if they don’t taste like anything.  Well these had tons of flavor, doubly fried with the perfect amount of crunch, chewiness and most of all saltiness that you expect.

After traveling all that way for this burger, I could not very well leave my honey all alone, without getting a chance to try this out.  So I did what any foodie wife would do, I ordered him the 1 lb. challenge burger, wrapped it all up, and carried it on the plane.  Yep, I flew from Boston to Dallas with a pound of meat under the seat in front of me, is that love or what?(He has done something similar with my beloved spinach sticks :))

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Let’s just say that burger did not make it home entirely in one piece, unfortunately the bottom bun got too soggy to salvage.  But he was at least able to get a glimpse of what my experience might have been like, but he admitted it probably would have tasted better a bit fresher.

SIGNATURE DISH: Even though burgers are not the only thing they serve, they well known for them both around town and now around the country.  And what seems to set them apart in the burger world are these challenge burgers they serve up.  I mean when one burger is $50 and 5 lbs. of meat, I’d say it’s become your signature.

TASTE: Overall, I really enjoyed this burger.  As I said it was not the best one I have ever had, but compared to diner burgers it ranked right up there as one of the best.  It was not dry, instead very juicy and flavorful.  I chose to have American cheese on mine, but I appreciated that they also had other cheese choices.  The bun did its job, but was still and integral part, while not taking away from the burger itself.  And the veggies added the perfect freshness and crunch.  This experience was topped off by a side of wonderful fries, that were simple, yet just what you want a fry to be, a great side addition.  I enjoyed them so much I ate them all, something I rarely do.

AMBIANCE: As I said above, they had recently completed a full renovation of the restaurant.  The decor was very eye catching and appealing and never having been inside prior, I really enjoyed the feel.  There was plenty of space to walk through and there appeared to be enough seating without too much of a wait.  That being said I could see how people may have liked the old “feeling” better, mostly out of comfort, familiarity, and nostalgia.  But I enjoyed the diner feel with a modern kick.

PRICE: I thought the prices were very decent based on the menu items and the amount of food you got.  The challenge burgers as they ranged in size got progressively more expensive, but I still found that reasonable given that they were providing 1 lb. of meat or more.  My meal was less than $10, which for a burger and fries in a relatively expensive city I found not surprising and decent.

SERVICE: Although it has a diner feel, this is a deli, so you place your order at the counter, find a seat, and your meal is brought to you.  The line moved quickly, we found a seat right away, and I did not have to wait long at all for my food.  The girls working behind the counter seemed polite, approachable, and competent.  The other wait staff and cooks seemed on the ball and as I said the food was brought out quickly. Even after placing Adam’s to-go order later, I did not have to wait long for it to be brought out, impressive for cooking a pound of meat.

I really enjoyed getting to experience Eagle’s Deli and I hope I am able to return again in the future.  I know Adam wants to experience the burger first hand and after looking over at other people’s plates while we were there, I really want to try some of their other food.  In the meantime though I give Eagle’s Deli 4 Little Piggies.

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