Exploring Boston’s North End (and some tasty lunch)

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Today marked the first day of my first full week of “unemployment,” or “fun-employment,” as a friend tried to convince me to think of it as. I understood and appreciated her efforts; however, it’s difficult to completely ignore some of the feelings of disappointment and disloyalty that my recent turn of events have dredged up.

However, since I wrote about it as my “weekly goal,” in my application to the BSS, I decided to venture out into the cold (felt like 21°) and get myself a delicious Italian lunch. I joked with my roommate that it wouldn’t be a problem that it happened to be MLK Jr. day and interestingly Obama’s second inauguration into office, since Italians in the North End don’t care about such holidays (it may scare you when you see how right I was).

Moreso than the holiday causing a problem, it turns out most  North End eateries don’t serve lunch. Eventually, with some help from my wannabe Boston restaurant connoisseur roommate, I lucked out and found that his 3rd choice was serving lunch. I grabbed my cold weather gear and headed out. In terms of my mild self-pity about having just been fired, it certainly helped that most of my friends and other people on the street weren’t headed off to work.

It also helped that this restaurant was only a few short minutes from Haymarket station. Part of my weekly goal was to explore new parts of Boston and presumably this would include some aimless wandering to see help discover places. However, I felt more compelled by my distaste for wandering around a cold city than my weekly goal of exploring.

Upon arrival, I took in the casual, family like scene, with the only other lunch patrons actually being one large multi-generational family taking up several tables, a loud-mouthed couple (mostly the woman was loud-mouthed, but her date didn’t seem to be bothered by this), and one stiff sitting at the bar, who either conducted business for the restaurant or was possibly a lawyer enjoying a liquid lunch (or perhaps both).

Very promptly, the wait-staff delivered a warm loaf of Italian bread along with some excellently seasoned Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, all of which I polished off in short order. After a quick glance at the menu, I opted for the Linguine Ai Frutti Di Mare with a plum tomato sauce. While I would’ve preferred a slightly thinner pasta accompaniment (when given a choice, I almost undoubtedly go for Angel Hair), the dish was delicious-

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Not only did the dish arrive steaming hot, with a generous serving of clams, mussels, calamari, and shrimp, but the sauce was a perfect mixture of sweet, spicy, and garlicky. I would have had no chance of missing this final pungent ingredient, as several of the mollusk shells were filled with sauce-covered chunks of delicious white garlic.

Besides the food, I thought I might get to enjoy some entertainment, as our 44th President of the United States was set to deliver a speech during his 2nd inaugural ceremony. The timing of which, a friend who happened to be visiting our Nation’s capital, reminded me about.

When I first arrived, every TV in the restaurant was tuned to various parts of the festivities, albeit with little to no detectable volume. After some time, I heard one of restaurant managers chatting with the imbibing businessman and still the sole patron at the bar-

“Isn’t there a B’s game on today? When does that start?”

Though I’d consider myself a casual hockey fan, I certainly don’t follow it closely and especially not when the Bruins are playing. However, I had noticed several passengers on the T rocking their bumblebee Black and Yellow sweaters. It would have been one thing if this elderly Italian woman had changed one of the televisions to the game. However, she did not change just one, but rather changed each one away from an important political moment in the history of not only the African-American community, but that of the entire political history of our country. Conveniently, this key moment happened to also fall on the birthday of one of the greatest Black Civil Rights Leaders of all time. What’s more, she not only switched off Obama for some afternoon puck, but she did so after exclaiming, “I just can’t stand seeing any more of HIM on TV,” emphasizing her distaste for Obama in the expression.

While I have to admit, I’m also not the biggest proponent of politics or political television being shown in restaurants, I was a little disappointed in how this exchange almost to a T fulfilled the racial joke I had made earlier about North End restaurants not being concerned with the celebration of MLK day. In the end, this wasn’t enough to ruin my experience, but I decided not to publish the name of this eatery out of respect for their privacy. However, if you’re seeking out some delicious seafood and pasta, or moreso, a nice Italian spot open for Lunch during the week, just contact me.