20 October 2008

Road Food, Part 2

More stories about buildings and food! Another vignette from my trip to Boston in May, as a card carrying member of the AIA! Woot! Architects, represent!

The little pink fellow at left is Pants The Bear, aka PTB. He was my faithful companion in Boston. I promised the Wee Lass that I would take him with me, see the world, that sort of thing. (That's also him in the masthead). Light, quiet and easy to carry, in some ways he was an ideal traveller. Here he is resting against the pretty flowers that were on my table at Rachels' Kitchen (http://www.rachelskitchenboston.com/), a small eatery on Church Street in the Bay Village section. There was an intriguing entry on it in the travel guide I had with me so I resolved to get there at least once.

I had plenty of time before my first seminar of the day, which was good because it took me a while to find Rachel's. My fault, not them, I was navigating the T and buses and generally wandering. I finally found them although I almost walked right past it, it is in the ground floor of an end-of-the-row house. That's it at below right.

I borrowed the picture from their website. (I hope you don't mind, folks at Rachel's Kitchen!) It is a small place with the kitchen taking up the back half of the space and three tables in the front half. I got a good vibe from reading the menu, so went in reasonably sure I could get a good, non-Dunkin' Donuts type breakfast. I say that because I was still working off yesterday's gut-bomb breakfast sandwich I got from the DD near my hotel. Calories, yes, but wuff. Next time I won't run like hell to catch the T afterwards. Lesson learned.

I wasn't disappointed. The menu is simple, the place bright and cheery. There were three other people there and it looked like they were enjoying themselves. The two lovely ladies at the counter greeted me like a friend (nice, being alone on the road) and I immediately relaxed as I took the last seat across from the door. I ordered the 'maya b': a grilled tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, red onions and cheddar. Extras were salsa, hash browns and black beans. Pretty tasty, and pretty looking, although I didn't remember to get the pic until I was almost done (Urp. Yum.)There was also something called the 'big bad wolf': scrambled eggs with bacon, sausage, ham, cheddar, potatoes and hot sauce, all in a tortilla. I almost ordered that, too, but realized I was full and I still had to get across downtown and over into South Boston. Knowing my history with T trains, I reckoned running would be involved: not good with a full belly. I would have liked to make it back for lunch, but it wasn't meant to be.

And that was too bad. The food was good, the atmosphere cozy and relaxed, and it took the edge off of being in a new city and far from home. The ladies and I chatted a bit, and everyone got a chuckle out of me taking pictures of the food and PTB. The lady customer at the table beside mine confessed that she did the same thing while travelling. Nice to know I am not a lone weirdo. Pants The Bear even got a photo op; they let him help behind the counter.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say breakfast at Rachel's was a highlight of my trip. Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's would have been faster and easier, but they wouldn't have been as good. Fast food chains supply calories but they really don't supply PLACE. The food was really good, no doubt, but I also was able to locate myself in my surroundings. I don't remember the meals or (sadly) the servers in fast food joints, unless they have been particularly noteworthy in their lack of quality. Or even worse, in their aggressive mediocrity, which often makes me feel sad that I spent money there. I will always have a good memory of Boston, because of a place like Rachel's. The size, scale and the human beings there helped me make a connection, helped me feel like I was in a different room in my house rather than feeling too far from home. That sense of place is invaluable, and I hope to make it back. Rather than feeling like I flew a long way to see the same thing I could have driven a few blocks over for back home, I got to know a part of Boston and ate well in the bargain.

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