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A Food Tour of Culinary Cleveland Circle

The Boston College Bubble: a phenomenon that – like it or not – is very real for most of us here on the Heights.  We go to bed and wake up from our twin beds somewhere on campus, get our coffee at Hillside or venture to Dunkin’ if we really need that extra-large iced coffee.  We go to class, eat a Tuscan Chicken at Eagles Nest, go to the Plex, have dinner at Lower or Addie’s if we’re feeling particularly adventurous, pick up what we need at CityCo, and end up at our library of choice. 

The hustle and bustle of life on campus is enough for us – who needs the hustle and bustle of the big city?  To get into Boston takes time that we may not have, money from our Charlie Card that we may have lost, and energy that we inevitably spent somewhere between that midterm on Tuesday and at Who’s on First on Thursday night.  Enter the Boston College student’s saving grace: downtown Chestnut Hill.  Some of us juniors call it home, others only see it halfway through our marathon training runs, and still others only know what it looks like through the lens of a Tuesday night out. 

But to many of us, Cleveland Circle is a place that offers everything we can’t get on campus – and they deliver, too.  Whether you utilize Cleveland Circle just for the CVS or it’s a daily stop (or call to) in your day for a quick bite to eat, it’s important to take it for everything it’s worth – a culinarily diverse bus ride or phone call away.  But knowing what to order at the various restaurants to get a true bang for your forever-decreasing buck can be tough.  No fear, that’s where I come in.  Via some polling of a few Cleveland Circle fanatics, here is a tour of the best downtown BC has to offer.

Fins– I know you’ve been ordering it, BC, because there are more Fins delivery cars on campus than Comm Ave and Newton Buses combined.  But, what to order from the huge menu of delicious sushi and Japanese selections? 

For a bigger meal: Fried rice of any variety – chicken, vegetable, salmon, and soy.  It’s all good and will be enough to completely fill you up and maybe even last you for a couple of leftovers.

Must have: Crazy Maki.  Trust me.  And you can’t order Fins without the edamame.

Try it: Snow Crab Cake served with a seasonal vegetable and a mango salad.  If you’re on a tight budget, you might have to skip this one, but if you can afford to splurge a bit, you won’t be disappointed.

Roggie’s– Great for eating in and taking out.  I personally love the atmosphere at Roggie’s, whether you’re grabbing a meal or beers with friends, or there to watch a game.  But my roommates and I have been known to get Roggie’s take-out a time or two, too.

For a bigger meal: Surprisingly enough, Roggie’s has great fish (especially on Fridays).  The Cajun Catfish might not be up everyone’s alley, but if that’s something you’d think of getting somewhere else, don’t pass it up here.  The fajitas are great, too.

Must have: Chicken Caesar Wrap, and don’t hold back on the French fries because they are epic.   Comes with a pickle, whether you like it or not.

Try it: You can’t go wrong with a pizza at Roggie’s, seeing as it is a pizzeria.  Try something new – the Hawaiian might not be your first choice, but it just might surprise you. 

Cityside: I know you’ve been there on any given Tuesday night and a few Saturday nights thrown in there, too, but what you’re missing is the huge menu that Cityside boasts for both a great meal with your parents and as an appetizer while you’re watching 3, 4, or 8 games all at the same time.

For a bigger meal:  Have a burger – a regular one, a turkey burger, or a veggie burger – and add your own kind of cheese and any toppings you can imagine.  Even if it’s not on the menu, try it.  They’ll do it for you and it’ll be great.  They have a long list of pre-made burgers too that you can adjust to your liking.  Cityside does a mean turkey burger, if you’re trying to watch your figure.  And you can get it with a side salad, too.  But I recommend the sweet potato fries.

Must have: Spinach and Artichoke dip might sound cliché for a bar appetizer, but they do it particularly well.  And sometimes cliché is good.

Try it: Seared Tuna Salad – I would eat it every meal if I could.  And trust me on the sweet potato fries.

Boloco: In my opinion, Boloco is far superior to Chipotle (and I know some of my friends will kill me for saying this).  It’s healthier, there are more options, and the chances of you walking away with something free as a Boston College student are pretty high.  Plus, Boloco stands for Boston Local Company (little known fact) and there’s nothing like thinking and eating local. 

For a bigger meal: get a regular sized teriyaki burrito and a Jimmy Carter smoothie.  The sweet teriyaki sauce, carmelized onions, and brown rice will be complemented well by the peanut butter banana goodness that is the Jimmy Carter.  I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Must have: Definitely go with the brown rice.  It’s better for you and it’s delicious (again, way better than Chipotle). 

Try it:  GoLoco.  Literally.  Go crazy.  The number of options to put into your burrito or your burrito bowl is absurd.  My particular favorite: the mango salsa and the chipotle orange mayo.  And gosh is their guacamole good.

Chipotle:   Okay, okay.  I’m a sucker for Chipotle too.  Nothing beats a Friday lunch at Chipotle to talk about the events of the previous night with your roommates.  And there’s nothing wrong with their guac, either.

For a bigger meal: The burritos at Chipotle are huge, but try it with extra chicken and add some fajita vegetables.  Like I said, the guacamole is out of this world, so adding the delicious chips and guac as an extra certainly won’t hurt.

Must have: Burrito bowl with white rice (I’m bias and spoiled by BoLoco’s brown rice) – fajita vegetables, black beans, lettuce, mild tomato salsa, corn salsa, and a hint of the spicy stuff.  A glob of guacamole on top for good measure and you have a healthy (enough) option that will be the perfect hangover cure and invariably a day maker.

Try it: Chipotle has tacos – who knew? They’re good.  Try them.

Eagle’s Deli: You’ve all seen Adam Richman, the man in the jacket, do his Man vs. Food challenge at Eagle’s.  And even if that sort of thing kind of freaks you out, Eagle’s Deli should not.  For it is perfect in all of its greasy goodness. 

For a bigger meal: Well, anything.  If you’re particularly hungry, you could do the Eagle’s Challenge.  Just watch out for the fries.  If you’re only moderately hungry (compared to what it would take to complete the Eagle’s Challenge, at least) go for the Godzilla burger - 1lb of burger, 4 slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and ½ lb of fries – that should do it.

Must have: This one is pretty straight forward.  Get a burger the way you want it, and it’s bound to be delicious.  The Bianco burger is especially nice.

Try it: Not feeling the burger?  The Eagle’s Delight is an amazing alternative.  Chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and honey mustard on a wonderful bulkie roll – mmmmmm.

Vegetarian note: The veggie burgers are GREAT.

Pinos and Prestos: Well, I can’t even go there.  I am not a pizza eater and this is totally a matter of taste.  Go for the place you like best and stick to the pizza, from what I understand.  And the mozzarella sticks at Prestos are supposed to be pretty good themselves. 

So when you’re sick of the Chestnut Hill grill at the dining hall, or if one more BC dining pizza is really going to put you over the edge, venture “downtown” to the land of Cleveland Circle and indulge yourself in one of the several choices that lies right under your nose.  From sushi to pizza to Mexican and definitely back to pizza, whether you want to take the BC bus down there or have them bring it right to you is inconsequential.  Break it up a bit, try something new and take a step out of the BC Bubble into an under-the-radar culinary haven.  And if you’re feeling really motivated, you might even take it a step further to one of the billion restaurants the rest of the greater Boston area has to offer.  That’s if you can find your Charlie Card. 

Photo Sources:
http://www.metrorealtycorp.com/cleveland-circle-apartments
http://martinlieberman.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html

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