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JP's Boston Bests Part One


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Abby gave her favorite spots in the previous posts, so now is time for me to give mine. In honor of Bill Simmons and his use of referencing shows and music that he enjoys into his writing, here is the list of JP's favorite places in and around Boston using all his favorite geeky interests.

Darth Vader: If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me *you* killed him!
Darth Vader: No. *I* am your father.
Luke: No. No. That's not true. That's impossible!
Darth Vader: Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!
Luke: [anguished] No! No!

This goes to Monica's Trattoria and it's spawn Monica's Restaurant. My favorite restaurant in all of the North End (excluding strictly sub and pizza shops) is actually two separate places that are owned by the same family. I believe the story goes that the original Monica's started on Prince St, then moved to Richmond St and changed the name of the original to Trattoria. Either way, both places offer fantastic Italian dishes with homemade pasta and amazing specials that change daily. The Prince location is more intimate with only a handful of tables, making it the perfect location for any Valentine's, birthdays, anniversary or other special occasions. The menu at the Richmond location is larger and at both locations, most dishes are made with local produce. They even have a shop on Salem St that you can purchase their home made pasta and sauces.


I'm not sure what this quote from The Crow really ties in with Bonfire, other than it has "fire" in it. Todd English's South American Steakhouse boasts, in my opinion, the best gourmet tacos in town. (Just like pho, I hold a few other food pricing rules, and tacos are one of them. I've been spoiled in that I've had some of the best roadside tacos in Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and southern California...all them priced in the $0.25-$0.75 range. A taco should consist of two small tortillas filled with steak, shredded beef, or shredded chicken, some cilantro, onion and lime juice condiments and maybe a lime wedge. That's it...ok, I'll allow some salsa too, but if done correctly, you won't need any hot sauce at all, and you'll just hide the great flavors if you do douse too much spiciness into the taco. So I'm going against my own rules in advertising Bonfire's tacos, but trust me, it's well worth the extra costs.) Priced around $12, you get three tacos that have skirt steak, tuna tare tare, halibut, lobster, or pork as the main attraction. The tacos come with a dab of guacamole sauce, that is paste-like in nature, but unbelievably flavorful. But Bonfire has more than just tacos: steaks, kobe burger, local seafood and even paella. This is not the cheapest of restaurants, but they do have some deals, such as $2 beers for the entire baseball season. Normally in Boston, such deals mean plastic cups filled with watered down Miller Lite or Molson, but at Bonfire it's Sol, Dos Equis and other fine south-of-the-border cervezas. That, including the Park Plaza location, makes Bonfire a surprisingly good place to pre-funk before heading out to meet the friends at whatever club/bar they are at.

(Another side note, why they hell do people call it "pre-party"? I'm sure everyone is familiar with this term. Before going out, you get together at some one's house or a cheap dive bar, and get your drink on cheaply before spending $8 per beer later on that night. On the west coast, we called it "pre-funk", but when I moved back to Oklahoma for grad school, everyone I met called it "pre-party". I just thought that was the dumbest thing ever, and the worst part was they looked at me funny whenever I used the correct euphemism of "pre-funk". Let's face it, "pre-funk" is just cooler to say mainly because you can say "funk". In the list of cool-ass words, "funk" is right up there in between "pimp" and "chump", and below "bourgeois". So how surprised I was when, after relocating to the east coast, that people out here used "pre-party" as well? When was it decided that everyone not from the west coast is just ass-backwards? But I digress...)

Bender: You're the kind of guy that visits Jerusalem and doesn't want to see the Sexateria.

Dino's and Ernesto's. Just like Bender of Futurama fame wouldn't miss out on the Sexateria in Jerusalem, neither should you miss out on the these two delicious havens whenever you are in the North End. Dino's has the best subs in town and their subs make John Holmes' famous appendage look like a freaking baby's pinky. At 16 warm and toasty inches, these subs can sometimes be your lunch and dinner. When I first moved to Boston, these subs were priced at $6.25. Now they are $8. Still, this is a bargain like no other. The steak and cheese sub (Steak Italiano) is my favorite, but I've been known on occasion to get the Italian Sub whenever I'm in the mood for a cold sub. Their salads are so large, they would even appease to Jabba the Hut, and you can add grilled chicken to any salad if you are in need of protein. Ernesto's is a pizza joint, nothing more nothing less. Located on Salem St, you can get the largest slice of pizza in town. A quarter of a pizza starting at $3.75 for one-topping. The classics are all there, but the various combinations will have you coming back wanting to try every single last one.

The Harry Potter Guilty Pleasure Award

Yes, I enjoyed the books immensely. I've thought the movies were executed well even when they deviated from the books. These are not the hardest books to read, mainly one-day reads, and J.K. Rowling can deny all she wants about not stealing other people's material (dementors = ring wraiths anybody?) but whenever I don't want to watch TV or play a video game and am too lazy to go work out or play basketball, I'll grab one of these books and just start re-reading. My mind goes blank and I'm sent into a world filled with teenage wizards and witches. (Yes I'm 28 years old...) What does this have to do with food and restaurants? Well, whenever I'm not in the mood to cook or clean up cooking and just want something substantial and completely unhealthy that will fill me up, I head to either Taco Bell or KFC. I probably just got my application for wanting to be a foodie declined by admitting to this fact, but god-damn I love T-Bell and KFC. And talk about a money saver!!! I can get 3 crunchy tacos and a been burrito for under $5 and be all full for the next 4 hours or so. And who can deny the fried goodness of KFC chicken? I mean, the skin alone should be a freaking national delicacy. I think Joey from Friends had the suggestion of making a KFC chicken skin sandwich, and I am completely surprised that I have not tried to make that myself. Also, KFC makes my all-time favorite cole slaw. No cole slaw even comes close to the very wet, probably machine made "veggie" side dish (and I say "veggie" but I have no idea if there ever were vegetables used to make the cole slaw). My favorite comedian has a great, great bit on the famous KFC bowls, and I have to agree with him, those things are disgusting. I mean, I wouldn't refuse to eat any leftovers someone else might have if they couldn't finish their meal...it is KFC after all and I can't pass that up, but putting everything on their menu into a bowl and selling it for $3.99 to all the fat-ass Americans is just plain evil.

Professor Farnsworth: You're not going to believe this, but the secret ingredient Helmut Spargle gave you was water!Yes, ordinary water, laced with only a few spoonfuls of LSD.

Ok, so I've already declared Ernesto's as the best pizza place in Boston...and I could side-track and claim that because this place is in Harvard Sq, it's not technically Boston and it can be included in my list, but that's just cheating. Aw, screw it, it's my blog and my list, so here it goes: Whenever I want pizza, and I don't feel like heading to the North End, I go to Oggi Gourmet in Harvard Sq. I'm not one to eat my crust normally when I eat pizza, but at Oggi Gourmet, you come near my crust at all and I will turn into a crazy Wayne Brady and start wondering outloud "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?" The crust at Oggi Gourmet changes daily. Sometimes it's garlic and herb, sometimes it's pink, who cares, it's always damn good. Their pear salad with walnut is fabulous as well. Only thing I wish I could change is the location...I'd rather have it along Tremont St in South End, just so it's closer to me.

(From the same 30% Iron Chef episode of Futurama, there is this quote which has nothing to do with any of this post, but it's damn funny:
Hiroki: Aki, what's Elzar making?
Aki: Well Hiroki-san, when I asked him, he asked what business it was of mine and conjectured that my mother was a prostitute.
Martha Stewart: In the English countryside, many prostitutes decorate their rooms with festive gourds. )

Ok, I'm off to play video games at a friend's place before heading to the Opera House to see Eddie Vedder. I'll get part two later.