Boston: Defiantly Delicious

By Brian McGrory |

I hope I don’t sound slightly disrespectful, but I think maybe our beloved Mayor Thomas Menino has completely lost his mind.

To give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe it’s just a midlife crisis, politically speaking. How else to interpret his move to dedicate half the parking spaces in the Back Bay to mopeds and motorcycles? What else to think after he’s launched this massive bike share program on our famously fragile streets?

Yesterday I was driving past City Hall and saw some oversized power outlets at a curb on Cambridge Street. I called Menino’s very patient spokeswoman, Dot Joyce, to inquire as to what they were. “Oh, that’s where you plug in your electric car,’’ she said.

Of course. My electric car.

What’s next, the city’s own professional Ultimate Frisbee team? Let’s do away with all those signs that say, “Thomas M. Menino, Mayor,’’ and make it, “Tommy Menino, Totally Cool Dude.’’

None of this withstanding, the thing that’s been one shade over the rainbow is Menino’s push for food trucks, which from my own limited understanding is food, inexplicably served on a truck.

Don’t get me wrong. I like trucks. I like it when they deliver supplies to the restaurants I patronize every day – nice restaurants, average restaurants, cheap restaurants, but all having things like walls, kitchens, typically tables, and notably, restrooms that the staff can use.

Why exactly do I need my food cooked in the crowded back end of a dilapidated truck by cooks who are constantly banging into each other as they try to roll a burrito? Dude?

So I set out to put a bullet in the program yesterday by visiting some of the roughly 20 food trucks that are licensed across town – places like Kick*ss Cupcakes, Redbone’s, Lefty’s. The good news: Once they get rid of these trucks, Menino can use the curb space for foosball games.

First stop: Go Fish, parked on Belvidere Street between the Christian Science complex and the Prudential Center Mall. The first thing I notice: the dramatic tattoos all over the guy who took my order. The new Menino, I’m thinking, would love this guy.

The second thing I notice is all the crab in the crab and Verrill Farm corn chowder. The lobster slider was filled with sweet, supple meat on a grilled roll. There is no one in America who has consumed more French fries than I have, which allows for some authority that these little numbers, thin, crisp, and slightly overdone, were exactly as a French fry is meant to be.

Diners, and there were many, were lounging at city-supplied tables set in the shade on the wide sidewalk as the swoosh of the fountains filled the air. “People have accepted it with open arms,’’ said Rich Cambriello, the sous chef.

Not one to give up, I headed into the Back Bay, to a truck on Clarendon Street called Grilled Cheese Nation. Heavy, greasy block of cheese, come to daddy.

Then a nice guy hands me a smoked turkey grilled cheese on Iggy’s pain de mie bread (I don’t know, either) that is light, airy, virtually void of any oil, and knee-buckling good, for $6.

I head to the Marine Industrial Park, to a silver truck called Pennypacker’s, where I find myself in the company of a perfectly seasoned sliced grilled chicken sandwich with mesclun on a fresh Iggy’s roll that is the final torpedo in my sinking ship of a critique.

I surrender before trying the legendary rosemary fries from the Clover truck at City Hall Plaza, the place where Menino, word has it, once raved about the BLT, having no idea he had just eaten soy bacon.

Doesn’t matter. He wins, again. I’m just praying there’s an open socket to plug in the electric car I’m about to buy.