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Fourth-year Bodo’s orders — creative or catastrophic?

Does “the older you get, the wiser you are” apply to Bodo’s orders, too?

<p>This week, my friends and I tried five of the most intriguing Bodo’s sandwiches recommended to us by our fourth-year friends.&nbsp;</p>

This week, my friends and I tried five of the most intriguing Bodo’s sandwiches recommended to us by our fourth-year friends. 

A pit stop at Bodo’s Bagels is a must-do at the University. Students swing by Bodo’s on the Corner to fuel study sessions, cure hangovers and catch up with friends over a weekend brunch. Though more conventional orders — like a bagel with cream cheese or an egg sandwich — are common, many students concoct more peculiar orders. This week, my friends and I called upon more seasoned patrons for Bodo’s inspiration, trying five of the most intriguing Bodo’s sandwiches recommended to us by our fourth-year friends. Some of these orders demonstrated the elderly wisdom of the eldest class, but others made us wonder whether these soon-to-be graduates — and their palates — are ready for adult life.

With 10 bagel varieties, 19 spreads and 35 toppings, the menu at Bodo’s yields nearly endless possible sandwich combinations. Developing a Bodo’s order has become somewhat of a local craft — students will try their hand at a number of different bagel creations, and once they discover their favorite, they often never look back. Chances are that if you ask a student for their Bodo’s order, they will instantly have it on the tip of their tongue — and salivate at the thought.

After just a handful of conversations with some fourth-year friends, we had assembled an eclectic selection of five sandwiches. The orders ranged from seemingly innovative to bizarre — and we couldn’t wait to sample them all.

We arrived at Bodo’s on a Friday morning. Over the lively din of chatter and kitchen activity, the man behind the counter called out our order number, and we grabbed the bag and scurried to a table. After filling our camera rolls with photos of the spread, we dug in.

We started with the most offensive-sounding order — turkey, American cheese and horseradish on a cinnamon raisin bagel. Our faces simultaneously soured as we bit into the incompatible flavor combinations. Though the pairing was not as repulsive as it sounded, it was still largely unconvincing. The turkey and cheese paired well with the horseradish, but the cinnamon bagel and the strong, spicy horseradish horribly contradicted each other. My friends and I ranked this bagel a measly four out of 10. After years of bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, we understand that some students are ready for a side quest bagel — but this one might be a little too strange.

The first bagel set the bar pretty low, so we naturally put faith in the next suggestion — a salt bagel with fig jam, ham and provolone. This bagel was immediately met with praise — we agreed that it tasted like charcuterie in bagel form. The smoky meat and sugary fruit spread beautifully complemented each other, and the flaky salt on the bagel provided a crunch among the chewy contents. It reminded us of the delicious Chicken Cheddar Fig Panini from Feast, a cafe located just down the road on West Main Street. The bagel is perfect for anyone craving a sandwich earlier in the day that is both sweet and savory. The creative combination earned this pick a nine out of 10.

Next was a classic PB&J with a twist — peanut butter, bacon and jelly on a cinnamon raisin bagel. The flavor dynamic among the sweet and salty layers reminded us of the childhood lunch staple, and we could imagine why a nostalgic fourth-year finishing college might crave the comfort of a PB&J. Though the sandwich successfully struck a cord of sentimentality, we agreed that there was too much peanut butter and not enough bacon and jam. We also agreed that a salt bagel might have brought out the saltiness of the bacon, making its flavor profile more apparent. If you are looking for a PB&J, you’ll likely want to make it yourself or stick with an Uncrustable instead. This bagel came in at a five and a half out of 10.

After getting a sip of water to reset our palates, we braced ourselves for a bagel that we knew would bring the heat — jalapeño lime cream cheese and sausage on a plain bagel. Often repelled by spicy foods, I was skeptical of the pale green spread on the surface of the dough. However, the bagel pleasantly surprised me. It was not too spicy, and the tangy sausage and velvety cream cheese was a welcome combination — my friends and I said that it would create a versatile base for any sandwich. This bagel was simple and tasty, and we agreed it deserved an eight out of 10.

At this point, the charcuterie bagel was securely in first place, and we doubted the last bagel could take the cake. But we were wrong. What our fourth-year friend called the “PPP” — pastrami, pesto and provolone on a poppy seed bagel — boasted a hearty blend of flavors. The aroma of smoky beef filled the air as we bit into the sandwich. To our delight, the combination tasted even better than it smelled, with the dense pastrami and provolone oozing together atop the oily basil spread. It was perfectly savory, and everyone was content with the ratio of the contents. When — not if — we order this again, we will enhance the sandwich with a thin layer of plain cream cheese to balance the garlicky, herby pesto. This bagel is sufficiently more filling and satisfying than the charcuterie bagel, making it a perfect post-graduation meal to kick off the festivities. The PPP bagel outshined all of the others, earning a 10 out of 10.

While this selection of bagels had winners and losers, it is safe to say that the Class of 2024 has taken full advantage of the Bodo’s menu over the years. Their orders — whether brilliant or questionable — are a reflection of their inventiveness and individuality. It was inspiring to taste even the wackiest of these sandwiches, and I hope our newest graduates will return to Charlottesville to place their orders at the Bodo’s counter again soon.


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