This week at work, a colleague was listening to me wax rapturous about food and said, “You should start a blog! I would read your bog!” I made the typical noises about being inconsistent, and not having enough time, and not really going out anymore. But I’ve never been one to ignore a compliment, or a challenge, particularly when it fingers a desire I’ve been resisting. So here I am. Again.
Having dived back in, I find myself getting a little breathless looking at the chaos of my ‘posts’ section, which gives me the urge to tidy up. So part of being here -again- is going to be posting of all my old drafts, trying to keep the bones, or at least the genes, of what I initially said. It will keep me posting even when I don’t have fresh ideas, because now I have a goal.
This is the oldest unpublished one -a mere two years out of date (*ahem*). The fact that it still applies speaks to the sense of home one can build in places that are distinctly public. The fact that it’s not exactly what I do anymore speaks to how quickly and often I take a hammer and chisel to my life.
Formerly called “The Circuit” this post was a restaurant name-dropper, hoping to to stir debate about the best drinking trail in “Boston.” I’m going to use it today to (loosely) join together some fun wisdom, some community, some charity, and yes, name some of my favorite places.
“Make a scene!” is meant to urge you to a) go out and b) become a part of where you go out. In this way you will create a social network that gives back to you in many ways. And if your scene is the food industry you will be well fed and deliciously beveraged.
If going out in Cambridge is easy for you, Craigie should be part of your scene. I also recommend Bergamot, Belly, Casa B, Red House, Oleana, Back Bar, Sycamore and Drink. And that’s the abridged list.
There are a number of reasons to go to any eatery (or drinkery), including the quality of the food, the quality of the service, and the atmosphere. What sets great restaurants apart from good ones is delivering in all of these areas. And even great restaurants can notch up by delivering in all of these areas consistently. All of the places I mentioned above meet all the quality requirements, and have a specific atmosphere that they rigorously, but warmly, maintain.
I also have to admit that I know owners and/or staff at almost all of those places, and thus the experience is sometimes a little different for me (mostly I get teased :) But that is the reason to create your own scene.
Many communities of work, especially ones that don’t fit the 9-5 grind, develop brotherhoods. Boston being the size that it is and engendering such fierce loyalty and pride of place, the food service community here is exactly that. Case in point.
On Friday when I walked into Craigie the two folks I know best walked right up and gave me a hug before I sat down; were pouring a drink before I even ordered; made sure to introduce themselves to my companion; and when time allowed we stole an actual conversation about what matters -Are you healthy? Are you happy? Are you getting what you want out of life? Yes, hospitality. Also friendship.
You need not befriend every server to become a regular or be appreciated at any establishment. And the truth of hospitality is impeccable service even if you are jerk. But real human warmth, genuine interest and pleasure in your food, drink and experience (and good tips), are easy coins of the realm. And the relationships built are priceless. My scene was built by genuinely desiring the company of those behind the bar and in the kitchen. I never want to go too long between seeing friends who add sunny moments to my life.
So go out and make your scene. In case you didn’t follow the jump (Case in point), you could start by raising a glass to (or for – order a Vin d’Orange) Alex Homans. Ask about him, or learn the history of the drink. And follow where these simple human connections lead. Make friends, make a scene and be merry!