Inspired by the thread on Rubin's and the fact that it is just freakishly warm today, I walked up to Coolidge Corner for lunch today at Michael's Deli. As much time as I spend in CC, I've never gotten around to eating lunch here, and I think that's going to change now.
I like a good corned beef as much as anyone, but I wasn't in the mood for a Rachel, my usual delivery system for same. So instead I went for my other deli standby, a chicken salad club on rye. As soon as I finished ordering the sandwich, I picked up a Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray and a bag of kettle-cooked potato chips from the front displays and paid my $9 and change, and by the time I was done with those simple tasks, the cook was cleaving my sandwich in twain and sliding the whole thing into a styrofoam clamshell. I'm pretty sure I was in and out of there in under 90 seconds.
Perched on a bench on that little plaza on Beacon Street just in front of Paper Source (yes, an al fresco lunch on January 8, that's how warm it was this afternoon), I unloaded my bag and noticed that the cook had snapped a large rubber band around the clamshell, which seemed odd. Until I took it off and the whole thing fairly exploded in my hands, that is. This sandwich was basically the size, shape and weight of your standard red construction brick, and filled enough with chicken salad, bacon, lettuce and tomato that shards of all of those things fell off every time I picked it up. The bread was a light seeded rye, lightly toasted and aromatic with caraway. The chicken salad was dense and unadorned, your basic combo of chunks of white and dark meat chicken bound with just enough mayo to hold it together and seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper and maybe a touch of celery seed, though that might have been coming from my soda. The lettuce was crisp and cold iceberg and the tomatoes were thin-sliced enough to allow me to overlook that they were January tomatoes. The bacon was the weakest link -- crunchy with just enough of a chew not to be shattery, but not the most flavorful I've ever had. Still, that's a minor complaint given the strength of the rest of the sandwich, and at $5.99, this large sandwich was a major lunchtime bargain as well. Coolidge Corner is just enough out of my way that I probably won't make this too much of a lunchtime staple, but it's definitely going to be a regular treat from now on.