The Cod is, well, devastated by the devastation in his hometown. It appears that doctors at the hospital where the Cod's corporeal host stepped on the scene back in the day spent a lovely spring afternoon performing emergency amputations. An act of terror, no doubt. If you have a dog in the exotic foreign terror vs. watery domestic terror, you are a small person and I want you to stop reading now, and find some other place on the Internet with other tinfoil hat people. Here, until I feel the need to switch to brown liquor and fresh air, an effort to celebrate the city I love, things that make us love Boston.. I was compelled to this by the mix that Phil Nel pulled together, and in a remarkable bit of bridgin the gap between my synapses and and YouTube, the medley of songs mentioning Boston that WBCN used to play. I sent money to my favorite Boston charity, and so should you, and give blood, etc, But, in an effort to extort a good feeling from a terrible terrible day, I will share an array of Boston stuff - feel free to dm or email suggestions. It's on the chicken soup principle, but chowder, because Boston.
(He invented new wave music. Dayenu. And thanks. And then he married the second most beautiful woman in the world, and produced many of the best albums of the last 20 years.)
The Del Fucking Fuegos:
Ms. Isabella Stewart Gardner, who did not give many fucks at all:
Buzzy's Roast Beef:
I'll bet that the families sweating out ER waiting rooms at Mass General would love to be able to step out for a roast beef sandwich instead of having a high end converted/prison/club there, but I digress.
And Ty Law, possbily waving to newlyweds and 80 of their nearest and dearest friends gathered at Ground Round?
So, Craigie on Main is open again tonight with a $39 special -- one better than a .38 special, for sure. It's interesting that placees that I know of that are open are neighborhood focused* (COM, Northern Spy in NYC), while the places that are shut, (too many to name) are not, by and large. It's not as if the Spies or Maws' guys are foraging lichen in the snow for tonight's meal, but it does raise a question about restaurants that is broader. We've all been talking for a long time about food miles, and foodsheds, etc. True enough, but this food does not a) cook itself or b) eat itself. If we care about sustainability (a strong maybe, maybe?), it seems worth it to add where cooks and servers come from, and how they get to the restaurant, and where customers come from, and how they get to the restaurant.
A restaurant that's not snowed in today got me thinking about this back in December. At my last meal at Husk, it seemed as if a large proportion of the patrons were eating there either as their first stop after getting off an airplane, or their last stop before getting on an airplane (there was luggage to be wrangled in the foyer). I like Sean Brock's food, and I'm glad the restaurant is successful, and is getting the buzz it warrants. However, given Brock's local focus, it's ironic that the equation has shifted from flying the food to the people to flying the people to the food. I guess what I'm trying to say is, Hold On Loosely:
*Yes, COM is expensive, and NS ain't cheap, but then, they're located in pretty pricey neighborhoods. Indeed, the great thing about the $39 special is that it gives a chance for folks who are within walking/mushing/XC distance to eat in a non-birthday/anniversary moment.
Where other chefs of his ilk hobnob with Padma, or open up steakhouses in Vegas, Tony Maws has moved very deliberately. When he moved Craigie St. Bistrot out of its home in the 02138 all the way across town to where La Groceria used to be, he closed his old place, and focused on Craigie on Main, a larger place, giving room for a bar w/ one of the most ambitious spirits programs in town, not to mention all sorts of pasta experiments, and any number of other things.
Now, news that he's finally opening a new spot, where the Kirkland used to be, next to Dali, (or next to where the Peasant Stock used to be, if you're nasty). A, B, and C represent the former, current, and future strongholds of the Maws empire, which is to say you could walk from the old spot to the new spot to the next spot in about an hour. Evidently the new spot will be more "rustic" and "casual," which frankly there is room for, next to Craigie. The dining room side of COM has always felt a bit less neighborhoody than CSB's, and the merge of the bar and dining room menu makes it harder to get a snack at the bar than it once was. No word if the signature burger will be on the menu at the new spot, but don't bet against a strong move hot dog wise.
For the Cod, Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note is a propos. The next two weeks hold nothing but incessant repitition of the world "Harbaugh," seasoned with higlights of especially inspirational club stabbings. But two chefs the Cod admires have similar SB specials in the pipeline:
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that some of the grits news coming out of the 02139 is not terrible.* Right catty corner from the grits pizza nightmare is Christina's Spices & SpecialtyFoods, an offshoot of Christina's Ice Cream, (aka the East Cambridge ice cream store owned by a taxpayer). When the Cod is lucky enough to shop here, he feels like Pee Wee in the magic shop. Hand to God, I had an inkling this would happen before I saw the sign, but Cantabridgians can now purchase Anson Mills grits over the counter. Prep instructions are a little finnicky, but Anson Mills is the Real Deal. One of the mantras at the day job is "retention," for much the same reason that casinos promote retention of their patrons by injecting oxygen into gaming areas and by removing clocks. As such, one cannot but wonder if access to non Quaker Instant grits might have been enough to keep Quentin Compson out of the Charles River, thus improving Harvard's retention numbers for the Class of 1910.
So, the aforementioned pizza w/ grits topping. It's creating complicated feelings in the Cod, as the grits pizza is at All Star Pizza, the kid sibling of All Star Pizza. Under normal circumstances, an idea as inherently bad as grits on pizza demands an immediate and total DQ of the resto in question, as it suggest leadership that is wildly indifferent to common sense, but could the people behind the delicious sandwiches across the street have totally taken leave of their senses. And, reliable informants like Rose's Lime indicate the pizza is good, and less precious these days than Emma's which seems to have caught a taking itself way too seriously bug from Franny's.
But! More important. This place. With world enough and time, would love to have a conversation w/ their FOH person:
The Gurgling Cod: "Your restaurant is called 'Thelonious Monkfish,' how come?"
Thelonious Monkfish FOH Person: "Well, Thelonious Monk was a jazz musician, and monkfish is a kind of fish."
TGC: "Ohh, Asian fusion is like jazz? Because both things were popular in the 1980s? And you have a jazz-themed sushi/curry/whatever AZN resto, and none of your soups are called 'Bitches Brew'? What is wrong with you?
We still you pix and stories from the trip the cinetrix and the Cod got to take to Island Creek Oysters. Long/short: a) these folks are not messing around (read Shucked, if you want to know where your oysters come from b) I'm sure the oysters they raise special for Thomas Keller taste nice at Per Se, but not as good as they taste coming right out of the water on a boat, in August, in Duxbury Harbor. c) If I get to pick, I am coming back as an oyster dog. See right.
And now they are hosting a Thing. If you can manage to gag down short plates from Rialto, Mary's Fish Camp, Formaggio, Gramercy Tavern and a host of other spots at either end of the Fung Wah corridor, and bear up under the burden of unlimited oysters, you could console yourself with knowing you are supporting aquaculture in Haiti. You can read about the bigger picture hurr. Were the Cod not previously committed to a Tiger v. Cardinal contest, would be there w/ bells on fins.