Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fishy

There’s no mystery how my purple shirt got so dirty. I was hugging the fishes all night.

Swimming with the fishes

For whatever reason there was a lot of fighting in the restaurant. I got into two different confrontations myself. In one, the other person said they wanted to shake me like a bad baby. In the other, a British bear told me to piss off, yeah?

The one that didnt get away

The high chair is the worst invention since the atomic bomb. An old school French host at Bubala’s on the Bay in Provincetown said that, and oh boy was he ever right.

Beautiful wild striped bass

I have achilles tendonitis. I can’t run until its better. There is tenderness at palpation.

Tupelo Honey

Eliot and the pies

Eliot and I went to the new Inman Square restaurant Tupelo for dinner tonight. It was so, so good. To start we split fried oysters with pickled green tomatoes and tartar, fried grits and steamed mussels. The oysters were big and juicy, the broth for the mussels was buttery, and those little fried grits were too good. A few guys that work in East Coast Grill’s kitchen saw them advertised on Tupelo’s sandwich board but misunderstood the lettering… thought it said, “Special – Fried Guts.” For my main course I had the gumbo, which was nice and spicy. The gumbo was served the traditional way, over white rice, with plenty of okra, andouille sausage and chicken. Els had the fried catfish over parsley mashed potatoes. The fish was slathered with a fantastic pickled jalapeno aioli.

Since quitting the sauce, dessert has become a common vice for me. This is where Tupelo steals the show. We had to choose from a list of Southern style pies, finally deciding on a fluffy coconut cream with bittersweet chocolate and peanut butter crunch candy, and a slice of brown butter pecan pie with a scoop of tupelo honey ice cream and blackberry sauce. Eliot tapped out midway through the desserts which meant I had to bat clean up. This I did not mind. In the end, there was nothing to take home, and our server called me the M.V.P. (most valuable pig?) of the table. It was my favorite restaurant meal of the year so far, and I recommend it to anyone that likes Southern food. Best go hungry.

Captain’s Wharf

At 7AM I rode my bike from my basement in Harvard Square to the Boston harbor, where I boarded the high speed ferry bound for Provincetown. On the other side, my friend Genevieve was waiting for me. We ate breakfast at Chach. I had the fried oyster eggs’ benedict, probably because Genevieve called it intense. She told me to stop trying to control my universe. Sometimes I need that real talk.

My bike got me from Boston to the Outer Cape

Around noon I rode my bike down to Truro, and watched the R. Kelly video for “Real Talk,” for the first time. We headed over to my good friend Emerson’s pad. He was weed wacking sans shirt beside a koi pond. The largest of the colorful koi were worth thousands. They ate the fresh cut grass as it fell into their pond.

Emerson weed wacks beside the koi pond

Genevieve and I passed Rosie O’Donnell walking down the street in Provincetown. She was wearing grey sweatpants and an inch and a half of her roots were showing. We said nothing and made our way to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for an artichoke and roast mushroom pate Genevieve planned to make for the cocktail party later that evening. I helped her cook all afternoon. I chopped the mushrooms, cashews, basil, washed all the dishes, and ate hundreds of artichoke leaves.

Genevieve and I on the Captains Wharf

That evening, Emerson hosted a cocktail party at a residence way out on Captain’s Wharf, in P-town’s West End. It began as a classy affair with Truro-grown arugula salad, Wellfleet oysters, beef carpaccio, and our delicious artichoke and mushroom pate. The people drank gin and St. Germain cocktails, and champagne, and one person wore a tie. I spoke to a Lithuanian girl about basketball behind the Iron Curtain. In the early evening it was low tide but as darkness fell the tide rose beneath us.

Provincetown from the West End

We left early and when we got back to Genevieve’s house she made us dinner, and put on Slumdog Millionaire. I was very grateful to escape the party because parties are not my thing and I was very tired. In the morning Genevieve made lemon-maple granola with fresh coconut, cashews, pecans, and dried blueberries. She sent some home with me and its great. Back in Cambridge now, I’m reflecting that it was amazing to get away from the city, with a little help from my bike and a boat and a good friend, even only for a day. Thank you!

Practice Twice

Christina with an awesome sign

We did it! This morning Sharon and I ran the half marathon, and although we didn’t finish top three, together we crushed it. Only in the fourth or fifth mile did I momentarily lose focus and jabber about Gordon Ramsay. Lucky for us, Salaam, who works at Christina’s Ice Cream, appeared on the horizon at that exact moment and it quieted me. Salaam was in elite form, in yellow hardcore glasses, and we called out to him.

The Run to Remember route on top my ten mile training route on bottom

Training for this was the most important. The route on top was the 13 miles today, and the bottom is my 10 mile training route. The entire time we followed Memorial Drive along the Charles River was very familiar to me; a familiarity that helped me pace myself.

Denim on Denim on the Waterfront

I had to go down to the Seaport hotel today to check in for tomorrow’s 13 mile Race to Remember. After picking up my number, I sat on a bench by the water and cleared my mind. The back half of this week has been rough. I fell ill with pig flu. My foot went bad. I got into a spat with my friends. In my denim armor I emptied my thoughts into the sky.

On the waterfront

It started with the jean shorts. I had denim on the brain, and I was out shopping, and this denim shirt leapt off the rack at me. I had to pair it with dark blue jeans… I was compelled. I could roll off a speeding motorcycle in this outfit and be alright.

Denim on denim

I was really angry when these pictures were taken. My mind was caught up in this feedback loop of bullshit. I reached out for help, but the only answer was time. Now time has passed, and all the bullshit is behind me. Its really something to move on. Tomorrow morning, with luck, my training and a good friend, I will put 13 more miles behind me.

Inexact concrete geometry

Swine Fever

When I ran 6 miles yesterday morning it was really, really hard. I felt weak, achy, dehydrated (my lips were cracklin’ dry after just a couple miles) despite drinking loads of water. Its possible that I have the swine flu virus. I do eat a lot of pork. And when people sneeze on me, I generally get it on my hand and then raise my hand to my mouth and lick it. I am at high risk…. The Center for Disease Control website says the following… “Can people catch swine flu from eating pork? No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.”

Doctor Jimmy says I may have swine flu and recommends cigarettes as cure

Last night my friends Cat, Jim and Jessica and I went the Boston Pops. In the first act, Michael Dukakis was onstage and read Abraham Lincoln quotes while the symphony performed “Lincoln” by Copland. I did not allow myself to cry. I did allow myself to order a pitcher of lemonade and a piece of oreo ice cream cake. Hey, the tickets were free. After intermission, high school students who had won a “battle of the orchestras” were honored and played their pieces on stage with the Boston Pops backing them up. Unfortunately, half the acts could not make it because they hailed from Boston Latin High School, currently under quarantine for swine flu.

Look at my sore snout

“What are signs of swine flu in pigs? Signs of swine flu in pigs can include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed.” This sounds like me except for the “going off feed.” If anything, I have been eating more. Feed a fever, starve a cold, yeah? I have been working on an experimental vaccine for the swine flu… sleep, OJ, and Cap’n Crunch Berries. And bananas, and chocolate. Its helped, but I’m not cured yet.

Lovely ladies by the christian scientist reflecting pool

After the symphony the four of us took a long stroll through Boston. The air temperature was lovely, in the high seventies. We passed the Christian Scientist complex and its long reflecting pool of black water, the Prudential Mall and continued down Huntington Ave. until we reached the Scrod Hut. Although they were closed, I stopped in and said hi to everyone for the first time in four years. I guess times are tough all over; the Scrod Hut lunch and brunch have been shut down for over a year. No more #1 Lunch Server in North America…

Jean Shorts

Jessica and I went to the mall today. I bought two pairs of jean shorts. I really need jean shorts for the warmer weather. I can work in them, ride my bike without rolling my pant leg, and maximize denim air flow. Jess was psyched because the mall had a Forever 21 store, into which she disappeared for an hour. I didn’t mind because I shopped in Marshall’s and Old Navy. Then I waited in the car.

Jess and her Forever 21 dance

This evening we went to High Street Grill in North Andover. We had the buffalo shrimp, baby back ribs and a delicious cobb salad amongst other dishes. What can I say, I am a P-I-G, pig. It was too cold to sit on the deck tonight but that probably won’t be true for any other night this week. The sun has come out in force!

Sunset in north andover by the high street grill

I’m excited about the coming week… on the agenda already is the symphony, the half marathon, a ride along the Cape Cod bike trail, Grey Gardens at the Lyric Stage… season 2 of Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu… and now I’m wearing jean shorts, all bets are off. God only knows what else is coming down the tracks.

Be Somebody

That’s what Mr. T says. Because if you’re not somebody, then you’re somebody’s fool. This is good advice that I had not considered before tonight. But tonight I was somebody, in fact. I was a shining example to my new Saturday hosting partner, as it was the first time that we worked together. I showed her how to screw up the menus, so that customers aren’t sure what the specials are, and how to under-quote table times, so that we end up with lots of late tables. And I did it all in a blue Hawaiian shirt.

Party of 100 no problem come on in

Now that she has seen the wrong way to do things, next week I will show her the right way. The Hawaiian shirt is from Aruba. When I was a fat kid in middle school, my mom, aunt, sister and I took a trip to Aruba. Kate and I rode horses on the beach. My mom and aunt read lots of books. We went shopping and they bought me this shirt, and it still fits. The hotel was all inclusive , and I nearly had to be hospitalized because I drank so much grape soda down by the pool. I’m not even joking; I was in a lot of pain. We’re talking gallons and gallons of grape soda.

B Rock coming in for a bite

My facial hair matches Paul Pierce’s. He is the Truth, the captain of the Celtics. I hope that they win tomorrow night in Boston, but even if they do not win they have had a hell of a ride in these Playoffs. With all the injuries they sustained and the tough games, any other team would have folded a long time ago. The Celtics must listen to Mr. T.

Brisket over succatash

This was my dinner. Brisket over succatash; doesn’t get much better than that. This Saturday marked the first night this spring we’ve had fresh corn on the cob in the restaurant. We served the grilled corn cobs with seared monkfish, fried green tomatoes and saffron aioli. Okay, that dish may be better than brisket over succatash. Just by a little.

Parachutes

Today I ran 10 miles through the historic town center and down to the beach. Afterwards my aunt and I brought the dog to Chaffinch Island, a park named for its resident bird, the Chaffinch. The park also had many dandelions, dried out and fuzzy, parachutes ready for liftoff. The word “parachute” comes from a French word with a Ancient Greek prefix: “para”, meaning “against” or “counter” in Ancient Greek, and “chute”, the French word for “fall”. Therefore “parachute” actually means “against the fall.”

Standing in a field of dandelions prior to liftoff

For dinner tonight my aunt and I went to our favorite local restaurant, The Place. We ate grilled corn on the cob, clams with BBQ sauce, catfish, salmon, a vegetable kabob, key lime pie and a chocolate ice cream sundae with hot fudge and whipped cream. It was awesome. We drove down to the pier for the sunset, conversation and digestion. I am still digesting. Weighing myself, I realized that since I started running I have gained twenty pounds. Perhaps its all new leg muscle, or because I eat horses.

Somebodys all smiles in the bird park

The family time was much needed, but tomorrow its back to Cambridge, my bike, and work.

Innocent When You Dream

I spent the day with my aunt’s spaniel, and tapped into my inner canine.

Wild eyed and wily

Roxie and I played with and broke her rubber squeak toy called a “Wubba.” We tore it in half during an intense tug of war. In these pictures we are play-fighting over a pink furry dog-snake.

Googly eyes oggles me snarling

Battling over alpha status is exhausting. We compromised; I would accept my role as beta dog if Roxie allowed me take a nap.

Snoozing with my cutie

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