Ben Kochman | Between the Slices
Enter the Blue Zone
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 02:03
Most of the time, I crave a sandwich that makes me think. But late Friday night was not one of those times.
On Friday night, I wanted comfort food. My housemates and I had just finished hosting a social gathering, and the kitchen was in a far too dire state for me to cook anything. I wanted something warm and melty, a food with powerful flavors that would shake me out of my party-induced stupor.
It was a golden opportunity to sample perhaps the Tufts student body’s favorite late-night staple: buffalo chicken blue cheese calzones.
Well, maybe “try” isn’t the best word. “Revisit” works better. I’ve had these calzones before, particularly the “BlueZone” at Helen’s Roast Beef, which is located a block away from campus on Boston Avenue. The BlueZone has helped me through many long undergraduate nights. It’s messy, it’s chewy and it must be just awful for the arteries. But there’s something about the combination of buffalo sauce, breaded chicken and blue cheese that squarely satisfies the late-night munchies. Each of these elements is delicious is its own right, but together, the result is damn good eats.
Now I know what you might be thinking: A calzone? Is that really a sandwich? To this I say: well, sort of. Though there are no slices of bread in a calzone, each section is enveloped in a sandwich-like pocket of crust. A calzone is at least as much of a sandwich as a pita pocket is, if we’re splitting hairs. But late Friday night is not the time to engage in existential sandwich discussions. I’ll table those for another, more sober column.
I tried two buffalo chicken calzones on Friday: the familiar BlueZone from Helen’s, and the offering from Davis Square Pizzeria on Highland Avenue, which a housemate recommended for its tasty crust. Both are good, though there are subtle differences. The Davis Square Pizzeria calzone does bear a more substantial, chewy crust, and the breaded chicken within tastes slightly more like chicken. Blue cheese dressing is offered on the side, and is passable. But Helen’s version has blue cheese already built into the calzone — this is what truly makes it a BlueZone — as well as cheese baked onto the top of the crust itself and even more blue cheese dipping sauce placed conveniently next to the calzone. Helen’s is also open until 3 a.m., seven days a week, which adds to the convenience factor.
The richness of the blue cheese-buffalo sauce combination is what sets both of these calzones apart as ultimate comfort food. The breaded chicken is nice, but becomes irrelevant next to the collision of spicy, vinegary hot sauce and creamy, savory blue cheese on your taste buds.
A BlueZone is best eaten as soon as it emerges from the oven, so it’s better to eat it at the restaurant, if you’re capable of such movement. These calzones are also built to be shared with friends, and luckily a few of my housemates were around Friday night to help me out. Leftovers are not the play here. I’ve found that BlueZone for breakfast does not work nearly as well as cold pizza, unless you plan to spend the day wallowing in self-pity on the couch.
And please: eat these calzones in moderation. They are not part of a healthy lifestyle. I have yet to fully recover from eating two of these beasts Friday night.
Only consume a BlueZone in an extreme late-night craving circumstance, and only once or twice a semester. Otherwise, the BlueZone may consume you.
Ben Kochman is a senior majoring in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @benkochman. Want to see what Ben ate this week? Check out his video column on Jumbo Slice at blogs.tuftsdaily.com.