We strolled Newberry Street, eight blocks of shopping with a mix of trendy, common and unique stores located a couple of blocks away, easily accessible by foot. We spent two hours weaving in and out of stores, dreaming, planning and mocking—but not purchasing. After a time, Kyle and I found ourselves staying outside while the ladies explored, enjoying the weather and marinating in the rush of discovering a new city. It is unclear if we spent an appropriate amount of time walking off lunch but, regardless, conversation soon turned to food and we spotted a restaurant that offered outdoor seating which seemed a prerequisite on such a perfect, nothing-like-Florida fall day. We voted unanimously to engage in meal number two. Or was it a snack? With us, there is not a large difference between the two. Sometimes, Shannon will refer to one of the middle meals as a “nosh” which makes us feel better but has nothing to do with the amount of food consumed. Our request to be seated outside was, surprisingly, met with resistance which was met with a firm but polite pushback by us, the patrons. [A note of advice to restaurants: if the only reason you don’t want to sit someone at a certain table is because the server for that table is getting ready to go on break, point one, don’t verbalize your internal angst with the paying customers and, point two, we don’t care.] Despite the eye rolls and the attitude, we sat down, warm in the glow of victory, and immediately ordered a lobster roll. Joe’s American Bar & Grille on Newberry was now on the clock to impress us with their version of the Boston food mascot.
I was excited. The trip, the food, the company—all of it was swirling together in my soul and making me warm inside. I attacked the day and recklessly dove into every meal and event like a college freshman during rush week. Unfortunately, at some moment in the midst of the swirling and enthusiasm, my common sense toggled off and I lost all oversight of pace and timing. I dove into each moment and splashed around without thought of anything but the present. Eat, drink, eat some more. For someone whose constitution is normally sustained by salads and baked chicken, I should have been more judicious in my consumption. The day and evening went well. The early morning hours were not as kind but that was several hours away and not remotely on my radar.
After our shared lobster roll, we enjoyed an appetizer of fried calamari along with drinks. It was a good lobster roll, not great, and we agreed it would probably taste better late at night, a couple or three bourbons in, when everything tastes better. Of course, making any judgment based on two samples is wholly unfair which is why we referred to this as an unofficial taste test; rules were fluid if existent at all. I ordered a tureen of chicken potpie as well as a drink made with ginger beer and bourbon. I am, for the most part, a simple man with simple tastes and the appeal of mixed drinks has always baffled me. So many flavors masking the fine, stinging taste of two fingers of bourbon always seemed silly. But I succumbed to the strong waves of peer pressure at the table and agreed to try something new; excitement and enthusiasm won the moment. The drink was good and, dare I say refreshing, but I remain convinced that a little ice is all that is necessary for bourbon. My southern snobbery was intact. After a quick trip to the bathroom, I discovered a fresh ginger beer and bourbon drink near my empty tureen, thanks to Shannon ordering a second round for the table. I sipped it in gratitude but left most of it in the glass. I am polite but I have standards. It was nearing five o’clock when we paid our bill so we began planning where we would eat dinner. That is what we do. While eating breakfast we plan lunch. While eating lunch we plan dinner. Our vacations consist of little events squeezed between meals; we apologize to no one. Fortunately, our dinner destination was just a few blocks away.