December 17, 2006

All Star Sandwich Bar

An exciting idea to bring a bit more variety to the flagging sandwich.

I had something with gruyere in it. Why? Because I always do.

We chose take out, because the place was jumping. Here's problem #1. The open format kitchen is way too big. The customer area is way too small.

We ordered our delicious lunches and waited. A bag appeared with my name on it (Richard), but the flake behind the counter picked it up, and walked over to another guy who had been waiting as long as us.


This guy was not called Richard, but it did not stop him from prodding the contents of our bag. Our intervention fell on deaf ears and a two minute scrum ensued in the (still too big) open air kitchen.

Their stunning organizational plan appears to fall down when two people have the same name, or when a douche bag called Kevin chooses to be Richard for the day so that he can get a sandwich quicker.

The woman behind the counter was hopeless, as was the guy bagging the sandwiches. All you have to do is match the sandwich with the ticket.

Sandwich? Pretty good but not worth the $7 I paid for it.

Result. Not going back.


Oh Boy.

So we went here for Anne's birthday. It's a place we've walked past a bunch of times and it always seems to be filled with the usual Cambridge types you love and hate.

We made a reservation for 7pm, and showed up 5 minutes early. The maitre d looked at her book and then her watch and said it would be a few minutes wait. Technically I had no problem with this, but it was delivered with the style and gracelessness that only power crazed types can exude. She'll probably end up being a publicist.

There's a scene towards the end of Meet the Parents (a movie I did not particularly enjoy), when Ben Stiller's character wants to board a plane, and the Attendant will not let him on despite the fact he is the only one left at the gate. Why? Protocol, and our robotic maitre d had oodles of it. Hungry yet happy people were streaming in and she seemed to take great delight in puncturing their expectations.

It's great that you are full, just turn people away with a touch of humility OK?

7.20 we were shown to our table next to the staircase. Don't get me started.

The cocktails didn't match the food. It didn't stop me from combining a mint chocolate martini with clam chowder, but let's be honest, I'm in Daedalus so I'm no gastronome am I?

We had a priest sat near us. He was nice. There was also a drama concerning a stolen coat, plus the usual 'angry at their parents' brainiacs speaking too loudly.

Our waitress had no cadence. She had awkward timing when it came to asking our menu choices. I had a perfectly fine Penne with Chicken and Anne had Risotto.

The owner was around, and he looked like a good man, which is a shame because when he said goodnight to us that was the most pleasant experience of the whole night.

We went home and ate blue cake for Anne's birthday.

Sorry Daedalus. To Homer you were a skilled artisan, to us you were personified by a soulless maitre d.

Chart House (Longwharf Boston)

Housed in some old salty seadog building near the Aquarium and behind the oddly shaped Marriott, the Chart House is apparently a chain! Well if this one is anything to go by, it's a damn fine chain.

A colleague booked this place based on it's architectural excellence - never a good omen, but it turned out to have culinary excellence too.

11 of us showed up, and were ushered to our table on the brick exposed 2nd floor. Our waiter was called Greg or Grant, and either way he was very good.

He kicked us off with cocktails, beer and wine, and then suggested hot and cold platters of seafood. Nobody complained as we devoured the oysters, tuna, calamari, lobster, crab and shrimp.

Greg/Grant's suggestions for entrees were excellent, and his coup de grace was suggesting the miraculous desserts BEFORE we got our entrees.

I had blackened swordfish, with a crab and pico de gallo salsa. First up - it was excellent, but boy have I had enough of the whole pico de gallo thing. It means rooster's beak. It should have lots of good stuff in it, but it only ever seems to be chopped tomatoes to me.


Afterwards I had the chocolate dessert and everything was good in the world again. My colleague picked up the check, so I have no clue how much it all cost, but I will go again, hopefully with Anne next time.

Olé Mexican Grill

Tucked behind 1369 in Inman Sq. this was only our 2nd time there. The first time wasn't great but it was hardly their fault. We'd shown up a year or so ago wanting some quick in-and-out burrito action. This ain't the place for that.

So they have award winning guacamole. Who the hell gives awards for guacamole? None the less it is impressive as they mix it in front of you in a big stone mortar & pestle. Taste? Wonderful.

For cocktails Anne had some icy mango concoction, which hit the spot. It's raspberry companion wasn't so good. I went for a tequini, which combined the knock out qualities of tequilla with the added punch of citrus flavored liqueurs. I drank too many.

I had such a buzz going that by the time we ordered entrees I thought I could pronounce everything in my "3 years at school" Spanish accent. I had a chicken, bean and tortilla dish that was incredible.

Anne went for a steak and mole (imagine an accent above the e) dish so good she ate it all, but not good enough for her to remember the name of it.

Our waitress was great. Always there, but not rushing us or disapproving of my piss poor Spanish.

Well done Olé. We'll come back!