Saturday, June 28, 2008

Charley's, Boston

The FCC is worried that gullible Americans might be tricked into buying stuff by embedded advertising, a sneaky form of product placement that's woven into the plot so that (a) you don't think it's an ad, and (b) you can't skip over it with your TiVo. Instead of watching a Kirstie Alley weight-loss ad during an episode of Cheers, you watch Rebecca Howe telling Sam she owes her sexy new look to Jenny Craig. You get the idea.

But don't be fooled. Jenny Craig is not the answer. I have a much better strategy for weight-loss: start the day with breakfast at a place that serves really disgusting home fries, like Charley's, 284 Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay, Tel +1 (617) 266-3000. It's easy to cut back on the carbs when the potatoes are cold, soggy and smothered in white pepper. I hate white pepper. And I really hate it on cold soggy home fries.

Luckily, the filet mignon benedict was much better than the home fries. Take a traditional eggs benedict, swap the ham for a couple of slabs of tender beef, switch the hollandaise for a nice tarragon-infused bernaise, and as Gordon Ramsay would say... done. It's great if you're in the mood for meat.

Although the staff at Charley's were all very chipper and friendly, they really had no eye for detail. We ordered Irish breakfast tea to come out with the food (extra tea-bags please, if that's all you've got), and out came a single tea bag of English breakfast. I asked for little or no ice in my bloody mary, and I got enough to sink the Titanic. And when the eggs benny arrived, the fruit garnish was topped with a bonus piece of somebody else's left-over, yolk-soaked muffin. How it fell off an inbound plate and onto an outbound plate is a mystery which nobody could explain, but the manager was very apologetic, and they didn't charge us for the meal (nor for the extra scrap of vintage muffin).

Nonetheless, as long as you keep an eye out for foreign objects, Charley's serves some pretty decent food in a very pleasant setting (the outside tables are especially pleasant). They even throw in a bonus bloody mary, mimosa or Bud-light with each of the brunch specialties (eggs, french toast, pancakes, omelettes, etc).

But whatever you do, don't eat the home fries, or you might end up looking like this.

12/20 "homeless fries"


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mike's City Diner, Boston

I really wanted to pay tribute to the Celtics victory with a nice plate of green eggs and ham. But I had to settle for plain old eggs and ham. They don't do green eggs at Mike's City Diner, 1714 Washington Street, Boston, Tel +1 (617) 267-9393. Which would make the eggs at Mike's about the only thing in Boston that hadn't turned green in the aftermath of the Celtics destruction of the Lakers in game 6 of the NBA finals.

Mike's is also one of the lucky venues not to have been destoyed by rioting Celtics fans in the aftermath of game 6. But I digress...

Back to Mike's Special of ham and eggs. The ham was extremely good (thick, meaty and tasty). The fried eggs were average. The home fries were extremely bad. And my side of french toast was a bit dry and crusty.

A better choice might have been the Emergency Room, with two eggs, three sausages, grits, toast and a couple of blueberry pancakes (a bargain at $8.50). Or the Intensive Care, with 3 eggs and a 10oz steak. Or maybe, if you want something green on your plate, an East Springfield omelette, with spinach, broccoli, tomato, mushrooms, onion and cheese.

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