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Cannoli-Eating, Patois-Speaking, North End Good and Evil

Sunday was sunny, so I went for a walk around the adjacent neighborhood–the North End. I was on a pilgrimage ( of sorts) to the Church of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, which incidentally, I had visited before, but had not gone into for reasons that I don’t recall. Anyway, there I was, standing off of Hanover Street in a plaster-fawn encrusted courtyard. The church was very ornate inside, and pretty in a wabi-sabi way, with murals and statues and candles that are run on batteries. It was very quiet. 

Back out on the street, passing cannoli-eating, patois-speaking, masses on the sidewalks, I made my way past three favorite eateries: Neptune Oyster, L’Osteria, and Monica’s looking for this cafe I really like, which has wide windows that open to the street and a ceiling covered in football (euro, not american) flags. It’s called, Cafe Paradiso. I guess tourists like it but so do I. 

By then I was getting a little hungry, so I stopped into a Gigi Gelateria. What a tourist trap. I say SKIP IT, mostly due to their extremely rude staff. After being ignored for a good five minutes, I asked if, having never been there before, I could taste a flavor. I tasted the chocolate hazelnut ( not great, not very flavorful). Could I try the mint chip? No! Only one taste per customer, he said. Excuse me? I said. Only ONE taste per customer, he said. What, did he think I was just trying my darndest to get as much free gelato as possible and that an effective way to do it was by the quarter-teaspoonful? So, not wanting to get stuck with a six-dollar cup of something that was as equally gross as the one flavor I tasted, I left without buying anything. Good sales tactic, guy–way to reel in the new customers!

So then I moved on to the tourist trap next door, Vittorio, which I love because they have excellent cappucino and I take everyone there who comes to town to visit me. However, on my latest visit, I got an annoying waitress. I understand that you only get paid $2, waitress, i have been there. But believe me that is more than I am getting paid now. So, just let me enjoy my Cappuccino in peace, ‘k? After delivering the check, she told me that she was closing out, could I please pay now? I was in the act of getting out my wallet, so I am not sure what she thought I was doing instead…so as I am taking the money out, I lay it on the table, and was just fishing for the tip when she came up and grabbed the check and the cash I had already laid out, and walked away. All of you out there who are waitstaff–rule of thumb is, let the customer put down ALL their money first, THEN take the bill away. Poor girl thought I probably stiffed her on the tip. Well, after my negative gelato experience, I wasn’t about to run after her with my two dollars. 

So that is the North End for you. Full of pushy people and overrun by tourists and the shopclerks who hate them. But if you are willing to be brave, and maybe stop and say a little prayer, it can be worth it for the day out. (Especially if Ben Affleck is there shooting his newest movie….)

This guy is not doing it right

Middle East Rocks, but you knew that already

Mean Creek at the Middle East DownstairsI am embarrassed to admit it, folks, but as a music and art afficionado, it was my first time at the Middle East Downstairs in Central Square this past Saturday, for an excellent and eclectic show from Mean Creek, Drug Rug, and others. 

As my friend put it,” What a great city we live in! We just saw an amazing show that was as good as a concert anywhere else, for 12 bucks!”

I concur. 

I thought the Middle East Downstairs was surprisingly atmospheric and, well, hip! It had columns, stained glass windows, good lighting, and a floor reminiscent of a roller-derby or jitterbug days. It has a lived in, well-worn sort of feel that makes you want to relax, have a PBR, and get into the music, maybe while dressed in plaid or something from American Apparel. It helped that it was packed with hipsters, art-school types, and young, creative people with outfits and haircuts I will probably be trying to emulate in days to come.  The acoustics were good, though not great. Once it was packed with people it  was better, but some of the less experienced bands, who don’t realize how important sound adjustments are to their sound (duh) just crank up the volume so that even if you screamed someone a foot away still couldn’t hear you ( I tried it). 

The music itself was great though–a really good show. I would definitely go again. Though next I will be hitting up the Middle East Upstairs, which is not in fact, the Middle East itself, where there is always music inside the picture window, and it is not above the Middle East,  but is down two doors at the other Middle East and at the back by the bathrooms and up the stairs above Zuzu…why they don’t just give the places completely different names is beyond me, but then, that might kill the eclectic treasure-hunt quality of establishments that Boston has refined so well….


photo credit: Mean Creek at the Middle East.

Boston joins Google Transit…just in time!

I saw this on today, and was more than a little excited. A month ago when we started the process of moving to Boston I noticed that MBTA was absent from the list of systems that Google Transit offered. As a newcomer to the area on my way to a job interview I used the trip planner, which was, let’s say, functional.  But clearly not Google. I use the big G’s maps on my phone regularly, and having transit as an option will definitely make my life a little easier.

At first glance of some test addresses thrown in to Google Maps, I notice the time schedule. What’s the next bus/train to come by? What time will you arrive, given the transfer over to the red line? Miss that one, and how late will you be? This is the future, people! Put those accordion folded bits of paper in the trash where they belong, and pull out your high tech portable communication device of choice.

Go, play.

On My Way

Hi! My name is Lukas, and I’m moving to the Boston area with my family in about 3 weeks. I’m excited to be a part of Metblogs, as a way to discuss our experiences and hear from others who live in this great city.

Here’s what I think you can expect from me:

1. Wonderment. Just about every place we visit we’ll be seeing for the first time, so expect a bit of awe and wonder in my posts. I’ll do my best to flesh that out with more descriptions, but my focus will likely tend towards “things that are awesome.”

2. Family. We have 3 kids, and we’ll be living in a tiny apartment. Most places we visit leave a strong impression based on how family-friendly they are. Do the men’s rooms have diaper changing facilities, or just the women’s?

3. Baseball. I know there are plenty of other places to get sports news, but I’ll probably mention the Sox.

4. Personalities. This is not our first time moving to a new city, but I never tire of local flavor. Expect to hear something about the interesting guy next to me on the subway, or see some camera-phone pictures of action on the street.

Sound good? Sound horrible? Say hello in the comments, tell me what makes this blog great.

Hi Neighbor!

Hi all metblog readers. I am hollygolightly and I’ll be posting on metblogs Boston now and again!  I have been living in the Boston area since 2004–First in Cambridge’s Central Square and Inman Square and now in the Beacon Hill area. I am a grad student in Fine Art, so I have a good sense of what is happening on the Contemporary Art front in Boston. But I am also interested in general goings-on about town–and will appreciate your comments!

This week, on the forefront of my thoughts is, of course, the recent elections. I am optimistic about the sea change–and am thankful to be living in a Blue State where every other young person I talk to seems just as head over heels about Obama as I am.

Let me extend a proverbial pat on the back to all you MA residents who got out there and voted! It is your right–and I am glad to hear that the voting turnout was 90%….ladies and minorities especially, generations of people fought hard for your place at the ballot box. Way to exercise the right!

I am wondering what you all are up to this coming weekend in light of the recent elections because I’m feeling this to be a cause to celebrate, aren’t you? Any ideas to commemorate the Obama-rama with cakes, parties, champagne, fundraisers, balloons, public displays of affection, walks in the park, music, etc? I expect the general good mood to overflow into the wee hours of the weekend and am wondering if anyone has heard of anything particularly geared towards celebrating the democratic victory. If nothing else, I’ll be eating 10 cent buffalo wings at the Red Hat–but that won’t be until monday, of course.

Hello, Boston.

Technically, I joined the Boston Metblogs team twenty-five days ago.

For the last twenty-five days, I’ve not slept a wink. Instead, anxiously sweating my nights away, draft after draft of “Boston Metblogs First Post” littering my floor, I’ve fallen prey to one of the most crippling bouts of writer’s block in my life.

And I’ve tried everything. I sank myself into a deep, Fitzgerald-esque inebriation, hoping to loosen my tongue and facilitate the words. I attempted to invoke Poe with a hazy night of opiate indulgences and merely ended up ordering a cheese pizza. Stream-of-conscious notes failed me, only dredging up the most painful memories from the abyss of my psyche.

Writing in a turtleneck didn’t work.  The French beret I bought was too big, but it probably wouldn’t have worked either.  Writing in the nude certainly did not work.  Taking up smoking could not alleviate my struggle, and now I’m developing a cough.

At times, it felt as though I were a forgotten cosmonaut left over from 1975, endlessly floating through the eternal midnight of space, praying to the Holy Ghost for a black hole to put the young fool to rest. Desperation had set in. Two nights ago, I almost posted the entire first book of The Odyssey as my own work. The next morning, I hit rock bottom when I came to the absurd conclusion that jogging would remedy my ailment.

I’m going to be fired, I thought to myself. They’re going to call from Los Angeles and not even be formal about it: “You’re gone. We brought you on board twenty-five days ago and you promised us three posts a week. You haven’t published a word. Pack your goddamn bags, kid, and get outta here. We think you’re a qualitatively bad person.”

Have you ever been fired from an unpaid writing position on a blog network?  It can only be the most terribly degrading of experiences.

Hopefully, it won’t get to that point.

My name is Michael. I’m a Massachusetts born-and-raised, twenty-something-year-old. I’m just wrapping up the move to beautiful Somerville, Mass., where I look forward to bringing you the word on all things Boston.

If you’re interested in subscribing to my posts via RSS, the feed is:

Thanks for reading.


Hey everyone! I just wanted to introduce myself as one of the new writers of Boston Metblog. I’m Lauren. I’m from Jamaica Plain, but I returned to the area after nine years of working in Washington, DC and New York City to be a graduate student at Harvard. I’m studying Higher Education, but I have a deep history in the theatre, so I’m looking forward to sharing with you my adventures in the arts in Boston and hearing your thoughts.

Talk to you soon!



Who Knew?

The Globe has a Prop 2 1/2 blog.

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