Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kelleher’s Bar & Grill: Wherein my positive experiences in new places end

It was dark and kind of creepy in here.

It was bound to happen eventually. After weeks of new places and fantastic results, I found myself a pretty uncomfortable stinker of an experience.

After a few recommendations by folks on the Universal Hub forum, I decided to give Kelleher’s Bar & Grill in Roslindale a shot. I was looking for a place to grab dinner with some friends, and none of us wanted to go far. Kelleher’s wasn’t far, so we went.

The strip of Centre Street where Kelleher’s is resembles a lot of the street in Jamaica Plain, but a bit more suburban in feel. The bar itself has parking out front, and very little in the way of windows to give you a clue of what you’re getting yourself into. My party entered to find a large, 8-bit zero shaped bar, half a dozen TVs on a few different sports channels, and about fifteen of the eighteen people in the bar suddenly staring at us.

Continue reading after the jump

Monday, March 5, 2012

An Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe - A Historic Breakfast Joint I've Historically Passed On

Since I moved to Boston in 2001, I’ve walked or ridden by Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus St. almost every weekday. Over ten years, 300+ times a year, I’ve thought “what a cool sign. I should really stop there some time for breakfast.” Usually, this occurs to me on my way home from work, when I’m in no mood for sandwiches or eggs and they’re not open anyways.

I’d have been inside without issue back in the 1960s, when Charlie’s was a 24-hour hotspot for black jazz musicians (who I imagine played at places like Wally’s on Mass Ave.) and late-nighters. These days though, their hours are limited to mornings and early afternoons.

The trend of “should have, didn’t” ended one morning last week when I went for a ride before work. Riding by that classically designed sign reminiscent of Cheers, but more authentic, I made a U-turn and locked my bike up on a fence next to some renovated tenement-houses-turned-luxury-condos and went in.

I was greeted at the door by a college-aged man who informed me I could sit anywhere. The options were a long counter with diner stools that may have inspired a scene or two in Grease, or a variety of small table scattered throughout a small space. I scanned the room – a couple of elderly men chatted over coffee and eggs at one table. A family on vacation chatted at another over plates of everything. Two college kids sat at the counter. I opted to join them, taking up the second-to-last stool from the entrance to the very visible kitchen. A pretty but plain blonde girl who couldn’t have been more than eighteen asked if I wanted coffee and gave me a menu. I told her I did, and continued scanning the room. I spied a number of tacky but appropriate signs, a woman who seemed to be in charge scanning over the whole place but not really seeming to be doing anything, and an older man cooking over four different pans. Above his head, directly in front of me, was the same menu I was looking at written out on a whiteboard.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Tale of Two Ladies: Part Two – Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

I arrived in the Fenway on an afternoon that was colder than appearances let on. The sun broke in and out of the sky as I pulled up to the entrance of the Gardner Museum I’d used the two other times I’d come to the late lady’s house for a visit. Things had changed since my last visit though. In fact, it was the changes that prompted me to visit Gardner again.

To give some context if you’ve never been, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of those places that Boston tourist literature refers to as a “hidden gem.” Publications that locals actually read suggest otherwise: Not that it’s not a gem, but it’s hardly hidden. The pre-renovation Gardner Museum consistently appeared on Best-of-Boston lists. The reason is obvious enough: Equipped with a breath-taking garden in the spring and an interior garden year-round, the art is almost secondary to the architecture and interior design. At first glance, the visitor wonders how Mrs. Gardner – a famous philanthropist and contemporary of the previously written about Mary Baker Eddy – was able to accumulate all the statues, balconies, windows, doors, and other building parts without having an army loot most of Europe on a scale equal to the Crusades or Sherman’s March.
I was surprised to find the entrance was closed. Traffic had been rerouted through the new “wing,” so around I went to the recently opened glass box behind the historic Fenway Court.