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JP's Favorites Part 2 (Pearl Jam Remix)


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Seeing Eddie Vedder last night at the Boston Opera House was absolutely insane. Being in such a great, intimate venue with only about 2500 or so other fans was something a lifelong fan such as myself should not ever miss. In-freaking-sane!!! In honor of Pearl Jam, I'll be referencing their songs in this post. I'll try to keep it food-related, but once I get started, who knows where my mind will lead us.

(BIG SIDE NOTE : Proof that people are the same everywhere you go in America, that there are douchebags in every city. There was only one thing wrong with the concert that put the slightest damper on the night, the freaking crowd. 95% of the crowd was great. Just like my buddy Vivek and me, they were happy to see Eddie in such an environment, not the jam-packed sports arena or concert hall that we have seen Pearl Jam in before. But the other 5%...the people that came in from Revere or Franklin or wherever these freaking New England Meatheads are from, they sucked major ass. Seriously. The Friday night performance the night before, Eddie got heckled by the fans in between songs. Screaming for him to play classic Pearl Jam hits instead of the Into The Wild stuff he was playing. I guess that really pissed him off and so they decided to cut the bar off at 8:30 to hope that the Saturday night crowd will be better behaved. Well, I guess Eddie didn't know that this tactic wouldn't affect the typical Boston douchebag, and would in fact make him/her more douchebagish. Sitting right in front of Vivek and me was this group of meatheads in their nicely pressed oversized button down white shirts, smelling of Old Spice and Axe, and they were not pleased about not being able to consume alcohol for the next 2 hours while Eddie performs. I don't understand the point in dropping over $70 to go see a show, and then scream out obscenities and mocking jokes at the person performing. Screaming out "I'm thirsty" after every song played is not funny. Neither is screaming out "Obama Sucks!" when a banner for Obama runs across the stage. I just don't get it...does this douchebag really think he's funny? Is this a tactic that works for meatheads to get laid? Is there some female two or three rows back that hears your stupid yells and thinks "There's the man I'm going to let bang me for the next 6 months while he beats me cause I'm in LOVE!" Is this mating ritual, that is completely unknown to me, the reason why there are so many douchebags being born everyday, to the point that they are overtaking all of us regular human beings that just want to go on with our own lives and not take away from other people's joy? Also, this rant goes to screaming d-bag's friend "dude who texts all night long at the concert". They turned down the lights at the opera house making it extremely intimate with Eddie. Then, every 30 seconds, a god damn phone flips open and the dull blue backlight lights up our view of the show. Seriously, even Granny McPhee who was sitting next to Vivek screamed at you to put your phone away. I mean, sure she was annoying with her "I love you Eddie" screams every other song, but at least she was enjoying the performance instead of texting and checking the time every 30 minutes. You are at a freaking concert dude! Your sister and your in-bred son can wait to hear from you after you get home from drinking and trying to get into fights with your buddies in the big city. I am reminded of the Patton Oswalt bit about watching Cops and enjoying the rednecks on the show knowing that no matter how bad things are going for you, that at least you will eventually get out of it, where as those rednecks will have to continue living their life until they die. I did a bad job of paraphrasing that bit, because how he says it is closer to hard-R and I tried to keep things PG-13 on this blog. If you want to listen to the bit, it's right below.)

Now back to the post...

It's nothing as it seems,... the little that he needs,... it's home

This goes to Vinny's at Night in Somerville. It's a little quickie mart by day, with subs made to order on the side. At night, the back opens up and it's a little Italian joint with a huge antipasto bar and tasty menu. I've only been once, but I remember being blown away by the portions we received and the prices being very reasonable. If you can't make it to the North End, give this place a try.

Who's got the brain of JFK?
What's it mean to us now?
Oh, it's sound insurance
But I can tell you, this is no lie

The whole world will be different soon
The whole world will be relieved

This goes to Toro in the South End. Before I moved to Boston in late 2004, I remember reading food magazines and seeing on the food network and travel channel that the next new wave of restaurants will be tapas related. I remember going to Spain and loving the idea of tapas. Going tapas-crawling in Madrid or Barcelona is a great way to sample various Spanish specialties in a night. Dim sum works well, so I guess tapas should work in theory in the USA as well, though I had my doubts. In Spain, these plates are given out free whenever you order a drink, or are only one or two euros. Here in America, I had a feeling that these new restaurants popping up all over the country would not survive charging $1-$2 per plate because these small plates are going to be showcases for the future Daniel Boulud's of the world. It'll be closer to $6-$10 per plate and this might make going to a tapas joint too expensive for a true dinner. And while I do think these places are slightly overpriced, I cannot deny the fact that every time I've gone to Toro, I did not regret a single thing. Ken Oringer's tapas restaurant on Washington St close to Mass Ave, is gorgeous. I mean that everything about this place is gorgeous, from the hostesses to the bartenders to the fireplace, and of course the small plates of innovative-twists on classic Spanish tapas. I love coming in here just to grab a drink and watch people eat and see there expressions as the food comes out. Some people say Dali in Somerville is the best tapas joint in the area, but I'm gonna stick with Toro. Everything from the garlic shrimp, ox tail, beef tongue, to the huevos rancheros at brunch is perfectly cooked and seasoned. I've never had a bad meal here, and I don't ever expect to. And yes, the tapas craze has hit all over Boston. I've enjoyed Dali in Somerville, the new Estragon down the street from my condo, and also Flatiron near North Station, and all three of these places are worth a trip or two or three...but Toro will still hold the spot of #1 Tapas in Boston for me.

and I listen, yeah,
for the voice inside my head
nothin', I'll do this one myself

Probably my favorite Pearl Jam song, from the Singles soundtrack...this goes to wings. I love wings, be it buffalo, Caribbean jerk, or plain. And I think I make the best wings in the world. My fry-o-lator is grimy and nasty and permanently stained with grease, but it cooks the best french fries and wings in the world. It's so cheap to make wings yourself. Hell, Abby's even gotten good at breading chicken tenders, and when those come out of the Euro-pro fryer, they are more golden brown and delicious than any chicken tenders from any bar in Boston. However, whenever I don't feel like making a big mess in my kitchen, I'll go to Wings Over in Somerville or Brookline to get the best restaurant wings in the area. Their boneless wings are large and all the different sauces available is sure to please everybody. If only they delivered to the South End.

I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate
Perhaps that's what no one wants to see
I just want to scream...hello...

Whenever I think of small towns, I think of diners. I haven't been to many in the area, maybe because Boston really doesn't have the dinner atmosphere, though there are plenty in the burbs. I think the best ones Mike's Diner and Victoria's Diner. I believe they are owned by the same people, but I could also just be making that up. Good diner food done well. Nuff said. You know how you can tell a good diner from a bad one? The line outside the door on a Sunday morning, and trust me, if you catch either of these places during the "after-church" rush, then you will have to just be patient and wait for the goodness inside. Large pancakes, homemade sausage, perfectly cooked eggs await you once you get a table. The waitstaff is usually older and have been around for a long time. They know what it means to get turnover and still refill your coffee right when you finish the last drop in your mug. Never been to either for lunch though, since I hold by the adage of diners are for morning or late night eats. So I can't say much for the lunch menus, but I've seen their sandwiches and they look huge.

and I wished for so long...
I cannot stay
All the precious moments...
Cannot stay
It's not like wings have fallen...
I cannot say
Without you something is missing...
I cannot say

To R.F.O'Sullivan and Sons where you will wait a minimum of 20 minutes for your cooked to order 1/2 lb burger. And trust me, the long wait is well worth it. I've debated back and forth trying to figure out where the best burger in town is, and it's a closer between first and second between RFOS and Bukowski's Tavern in Inman Sq, but RFOS gets the nod. (For chains, I gotta go with Red Robin which includes bottomless steak fries and Ruby Tuesday for their sliders and great salad bar.) RFOS also has great pitcher prices and their fries aren't too shabby either.

So that's basically my top list for the area. Since Abby's not back from her trip to Vegas until after dinner tonight, I'll be making something completely unhealthy tonight: Chicken Fried Steak. I'll post later with pics of my dinner. Also, restaurant week is coming up so that means some reviews will be coming.