Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Hot dogs are probably the first hot junk foods I can ever remember liking. Long before liking burgers in high school due to my family’s limited beef consumption at home or pizza in elementary school due to my parent’s distaste for cheese, the humble hot dogs was there at BBQs, amusement parks and Asian bakeries. The Asian bakery hot dog bun is what first got the hot dog to make an appearance at the breakfast table and for that reason, I am much more open to the idea of foods having no boundaries during the day.
The Asian bakery hot dog bun is actually not that good. The bread that is wrapped around it is the real star. Growing up, Ball Park franks became the ideal because Michael Jordan (even though I wasn’t a Bulls fan) endorsed it. It wasn’t until I realized that casings mattered when I upgraded to Hebrew National and Nathan’s for the snap and texture.
On the last day in LA before Katie and I drove to San Diego, the three of us didn’t know where to go for breakfast. When Ivy asked what was left on my list, I said Pink’s was really the last thing I really wanted to cross off in LA on this trip. Thanks to Yelp, we found out that Pink’s opens at 9:30am. You know where this is going.
There Are No Clouds In The Sky When You Have A Hot Dog For Breakfast
After taking a stroll through Hollywood, we found ourselves at Pink’s along with a few other boundary-less patrons ready to dig into a breakfast hot dog. Only this hot dog is not of the Asian bakery variety. We’re talking greasy, oily, late night eats at 9:30am. To add insult to injury to our hearts, the three of us split some chili fries. Yeah, you’re impressed. I was originally going to get their signature chili dog, but with chili fries, I drew a line in the sand only to erase that line, take a leap forward and get another meat on meat abomination that is the Polish Pastrami. The Polish Pastrami was actually a Polish sausage, so I didn’t actually have a hot dog at Pink’s. Still, I left satisfied as it had the most snap of any sausage I’ve ever eaten. The meat was juicy, flavorful and the bread to pastrami and Swiss ratio was spot on. The fries were crispy and the chili’s texture was easy to balance on the fries. If I lived in LA, I’m sure that I would take out of town visitors there, but not so sure if i’d be a regular given the overkill of unhealthiness unless it was a late night out in Hollywood. Pink’s will satisfy a hot dog lover on that side of the country, but over on the East Coast, I’ll stick with some Gray’s Papaya.
Healthy (Ivy), Fat (Ray), Long Island (Katie)
Since I started working, the most difficult decision I have to make is deciding what to have for lunch. Now that I actually work in a downtown area, I know the joys of having lunch options during the week, but it has also made my life that much more complicated. When I don’t bring lunch and I’m not lucky enough to snag a free lunch through leftovers in the common area from vendor visits, the brain starts ticking. So far I’ve been able to avoid chains when I’m on the hunt, which means no Chipotle or Cosi for this guy. If you work in downtown Boston, hopefully this little guide will be of assistance.
8 City Hall Ave.
Basic deli with sandwiches, soups, salads, and a few hot entrees. Sandwiches come with cold pasta salad and half a pickle. I ordered the cowboy grilled sandwich (roast beef, cheddar, tomato, pickles, red onions and bbq sauce on a ciabatta roll). Average sandwich that could have spent another few minutes in the panini press as the cheese wasn’t fully melted and the middle of the sandwich was still luke warm. Co-workers were bigger fans than me. $7-$8 for most items.
48 Winter Street
For Middle Eastern eats, you can’t go wrong with Falafel King. There’s falafel for your vegetarian friends and shawarma for the meat eaters. Service is fast and efficient although the location is cramped in a small hall among other take out counters. Look to spend $7 for most items.
44 Province Street
The most popular eatery on my list. Sam Lagrassa’s was featured on Diners, Dive Ins, and Dives. Note: it is not a diner, drive in, or dive. However, it has the heavy sandwiches that would merit mention on the show. I’ve been here twice and have gotten pastrami both times, as it is the closest thing to a NY quality pastrami sandwich i.e. mustard, cole slaw, and greasy, juicy, hot pastrami. More pricey than what I would like to spend on a work week lunch and could cause sluggishness in the afternoon, but definitely delicious. $8-$11 for most sandwiches.
101 Arch Street
For something a little different, try Chacarrero for Chilean sandwiches (bread made in house, grilled steak or chicken, meunster cheese, tomatoes, steamed string beans and avocado spread). My grilled steak made out a little dry and tough, green beans were on the over done side, and avocado spread was more runny than a spread. I didn’t think it was worth the hype going in, but I’d be open to returning. $7-$9 for sandwiches.
85 Arch Street
A lot like Delicato with mostly sandwiches, but with a few more hot entree options served cafeteria style. I opted for a gyro because I just can’t say no. I was a little skeptical as the meat wasn’t sliced from a large rotating hunk, but ended up being surprisingly juicy. Only downside is that it was cash only. Most items were $6-$8.
125 Summer Street
Located in a rather stuff lobby of 125 Summer Street, Andale is my Chipotle substitute. Burritos were slightly smaller and cheaper, but you have to pay extra for cheese, which I’d say isn’t normal. However guacamole is only $0.50 extra unlike Chipotle’s ridiculous extra charge. I got the Mexican sausage which was tasty, but a little difficult to eat. The pozole (mexican pork stew) was swimming in oil and chili and could do damage if you have a sensitive stomach. Burritos start at $5, most items $5-$7.
I hope this will encourage you downtown office drones to leave your building and explore new dining options. Just remember that none of your co-workers really care what multimillion dollar deal you are closing. They only care if you have a killer lunch spot recommendation.