Monday, February 27, 2006

Beantown, Beantown, the magical fruit...

Knucklehead and I hopped in the rolling iron and took off Boston friday. Seems the Punkasaurus was turning 30, and I hadn't had some good chowdah in a while, so we made a weekend out of it. Plus, I'd been promising the cru I'd visit for ages, so it was time.

First off, we were graciously hosted by Knucklehead's uncle and aunt in a lovely apartment just off Boston Commons. We can't thank them enough for their wonderful hospitality (thanks alot!). Their apartment was great, immaculate, and a nice respite from a frustrating week in my hometown. Plus, they had PBS (a pleasure Knucklehead and myself haven't been afforded in a while) just in time for wall to wall Monty Python specials for Knucklehead and I to watch at odd moments.

We arrived a little later than we had hoped (but never underestimate the importance of clean underpants!), and called out to the cru, and after some hemming and hawing, decided on the Baraka Cafe, just off Central Square in Cambridge. Tiny little spot, maybe had room for about 20 diners at a time, but just phenominal. My first time having Tunisian and North African food, and it was just delicious. Plus, the owners, seemingly either an older couple or a brother and sister, were so familial, bordering on being an aunt and uncle. The woman, after I asked what soda they have (because I don't like lemonade, even if it IS spicy and award-winning), reminded me just how bad for me soda is, and that I could clean my silver in it. After I declined the soda (because they only had Coke anyway), she then sent me a can, as if to test my resolve. It was great! Try the Zaatar Coca appetizer, a flat bread with a thick paste of sesame seeds, sage, lemon juice, and carmelized onions. Man, i could eat those all day.

Saturday afternoon we met up with a friend of Knucklehead's to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Great museum, focused substantially on Italian art from the 1500s through the turn of the 20th century. Actually, it was her house before it was a museum. Nice work if you can get it. And, as I noticed to Knucklehead, there was a lot of Jesus there. A lot of fantastic pieces, definitely worth checking out.

Saturday night was the party of the Punkasaurus. And it was awesome! A lot of great people, great music, great food (what else would I expect from the Punkasaurus and her sister?!). One of the roomates had a Rhodes organ and the changes from "Drown in My Own Tears" on it, so I kinda went a likkel nuts playing that for a while up there. I had a fantastic time, as did Knucklehead. And not only that, but two great people actually gave us a ride back to where we were staying so we didn't have to wrestle with the T and worry about missing the last one. Oh yeah, the T closes in Boston. What's up with that?!

Sunday morning, we closed out the trip by meeting the CRU again, this time at another awesome spot in Central Sqaure called Brookline Lunch. Right across the street from the Middle East, this place did breakfast well and cheaply priced. As a maker of homefries, i'm always a tough critic of them. Theirs could've been cooked longer, but they were experimental with zucchini and squash in them (and I dug that a lot!). If you're up in Cambridge, check them out.

On the way back, we stopped by the parents' place, where Momma K, on hearing we were meeting DrHnotR for dinner, suggested going to Dominick's on Arthur Ave. And man, what a great suggestion. I'm sure it looked just the way it did the last time Momma K went there. No menus, instead the waiter told us what we could have, and helped us through. And what bread! We were there at the end of the Sunday dinner rush, so they made me a special chicken parm dish, and Knucklead and DrHnotR split Ravioli and Stuffed Shells, plus some awesome broccoli with garlic and a little oil. Wow. The Marinara there made me realize just how far I have to go with my cooking. Wow. 2335 Arthur Avenue, a little ways down from 187th Street.

What a great weekend. And not just because of the food. :-)


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