The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Tag: restaurant

Restaurant Review

Okay, I’m not a restaurant reviewer , but I had a good experience last night, so I’m giving it a shot.

Last night Tom and I were looking for a restaurant that didn’t have an hour wait. (Good luck, at 6:30 the Saturday night before Mother’s Day.) While turning around in a gas station we spotted a little place called Prelude behind a Dunkin Donuts. “They have a spoon and fork on the sign! Let’s go!” (I am a sucker for giant flatware.)

The lobster fettuccini was the best meal I’ve had in ages. Huge chunks of lobster and fresh fettuccine. the portion looked small but I couldn’t finish all the pasta. We shared a sweet potato bread pudding for dessert. I asked that dessert to marry me, but ate it up before it could give me an answer..

Prelude, in Methuen, is owned by Tommy Grella, a finalist on Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” (http://m.yelp.com/biz/prelude-methuen/). He’s a charming guy, I can see how he made it to the finals.

When he asked how we’d heard of the place, he was probably expecting me to mention TV or a magazine article, not “we saw your sign from the gas station”. He laughed and complemented my honestly. More people should do that, damn it.

Make reservations if you’re going on a weekend, as the place is tiny. And consider bringing me with you. Please.

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Hope for Parents of a Fussy Eater

Hi, my name is Jody and I am the parent of a recovering fussy eater.

For years, my son would only eat one or two foods. Those foods would change over the years: where once he would only eat chicken fingers, he switched over to pasta with red sauce and never wanted chicken fingers ever again. He basically loved beige foods: chicken nuggets/fingers, french fries, dinner rolls, apple sauce, bananas, green grapes, dry Cheerios, toaster waffles, pancakes. All beige/yellow. All carbs (excepts, I guess, for the chicken, but really, processed chicken is probably more a carb than a protein.)

The boy was breast-fed (for 11 months), made the transition to solid foods at the normal time. He’d eat anything. Green goo, orange goo…it was all good. He loved his rice cereal mixed with apple sauce. To the point where he had it for breakfast every day for about 4-5 years, until he made the switch to toaster waffles, where he stayed until they discontinued his favorite brand a few years ago.

When he was being fussy, we worried and took him to the doctor. He was off the charts for height and weight (but in proportion) for his age, ate a ton of fruit, and only had red sauce (tomatoes) on his pasta, so the doctor declared he was actually a pretty healthy eater, all things considered. So he told us not to stress about it, because making food a source of stress is never a healthy thing to do. So we didn’t.

My son didn’t like hamburgers or meatballs until he was about 10. Then he loved them. He suddenly started loving salad with Italian dressing. No creamy dressings. Nothing creamy. In general, he rejected all dairy as something he didn’t like. We later learned he’s lactose intolerant, but seriously, when we went out for ice cream he would pick sorbet because that’s what he wanted.

I remember going to Disney with him when he was four, and planning every meal around whether or not the restaurant could serve pasta marinara. Any restaurant that has ANY kind of pasta dish can usually pull it off. Disney is the greatest place to take people with food allergies, etc., because they go so far above and beyond to make sure there’s something for you to eat. I will ALWAYS remember we went to the buffet at Crystal Palace and they only had mac and cheese on the buffet. Our server went down Main Street to Tony’s Town Hall restaurant to fetch my son a plate of pasta with sauce. (My friends, THIS is why Disney rocks my world.)

We had heard people say their kids outgrew being fussy eaters, but when you live with one for 10+ years, you start to think maybe they just meants small changes; and quite frankly, those were welcome. He added steak to his list of okay foods, which opened up a LOT of restaurants. Hell, even adding burgers did that.

But then something happened last spring. He was 12, and we were again at Disney, traveling with my sister’s family. My sister’s kids were always bottomless pits for trying new things. My BIL had a hard time understanding why we couldn’t just force my son to eat new things. He never lived with a fussy child so I suppose I shouldn’t have expected him to understand.  Prior to the trip my son and I talked about the restaurants we’d be visiting, and my son declared he’d use this trip to “try new things”. I thought that was a great idea.

What happened during that trip was that I had to start a log of all the new foods he’d tried, because nobody could believe it. Sushi (he loved), scallops (he loved), bison (he loved), etc. etc.  There was NOTHING he wouldn’t try. We were all floored. And then it continued. He went on a trip with his father and tried pot roast and lamp chops – loved both. He continued the trend by ordering things even I thought he wouldn’t like. Trout at Longhorn Steakhouse. On another trip this past January, he ended up trying 4 different kinds of new fish (flounder, mahi-mahi, smoked salmon). He’s since ordered mahi-mahi at the local Mexican place. He orders these dishes and cleans his plate. Last Saturday we went to a Tapas place in Waltham and he tried everything – including a cold crab and mango salad, a shrimp and lobster ravioli, ceviche, duck, an onion and potato omelette and goat cheese. He loved almost everything he tried. He’s starting to freak me out! He orders his burgers (previously plain only, not even ketchup on them) with onions, pickles and mustard! He’s also become quite the expensive date compared to the days of chicken fingers and ziti with marinara sauce. But my God, the options for restaurants!

I’m not saying this will happen to every fussy eater; my son may have be a statistical aberration. But his father is now officially fussier than he is, and food is no longer the biggest issue in our house. It’s really a different world now.

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Food Review: Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos

If “burning” was a flavor instead of a feeling, that would cover these.

Every time I try to figure out what the flavor is (I think closer to Cool Ranch except, of course, for the Cool part) the Blazin’ Buffalo kicks in. This isn’t really a flavor, though, is it?

I’ll say that if you like spicy, you’ll probably like these okay. Me, I prefer my Ranch cool and my buffalo heat with blue cheese. (What kind of neanderthal restaurant chefs decided to pair buffalo sauced products with ranch? HEATHANS! I shall not darken your doorstep again!)

So I give these a 5 out of 10, but only because I don’t like mouth blisters.

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Food Review: Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos

If “burning” was a flavor instead of a feeling, that would cover these.

Every time I try to figure out what the flavor is (I think closer to Cool Ranch except, of course, for the Cool part) the Blazin’ Buffalo kicks in. This isn’t really a flavor, though, is it?

I’ll say that if you like spicy, you’ll probably like these okay. Me, I prefer my Ranch cool and my buffalo heat with blue cheese. (What kind of neanderthal restaurant chefs decided to pair buffalo sauced products with ranch? HEATHANS! I shall not darken your doorstep again!)

So I give these a 5 out of 10, but only because I don’t like mouth blisters.

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Time Stands Still

Apparently, there was a report of a pipe bomb on the side of the on ramp to route 2 from Route 12 in Leominster. We had made arrangements to meet my parents for lunch at UNOs at the Twin City Mall at noon, so we gave ourselves an extra 10 minutes to get there, assuming there would be some extra “NEXT TO THE LAST SATURDAY!” Christmas shoppers out there.

We did not anticipate route 12 being shut down while the police and the bomb squad dealt with the pipe bomb issue. We did NOT allow ourselves enough time to get through the horrific backups that the pipe bomb caused. For those of you familiar with the area, it took us an HOUR to get from the Brooks Pharmacy on Main Street (near Prospect St.) to Unos. We were just trying to go down Main, turn right on Hamilton Street, straight through the lights at North Main (Route 12) and up Lindell.

Problem is, everyone trying to drive toward Fitchburg on route 12 was being sent either up Lindell or down Hamilton. That is, when the cop directing traffic decided to actually let people from Hamilton Street move forward. Can someone explain to me what would possess the guy directing traffic to let us move 1/2 the number of cars as the other lanes? We were backing people up all the way to Main Street! Plus, with people trying to pull out of streets and parking lots (the Shaws back entrance, the cheerleading place), there was a level of gridlock forming that would not be relieved unless he actually allowed some of us to flow through the intersection. Dude, you see how they are all backed up? That’s because they can’t go anywhere. If you keep letting people take a left, and they get stuck, we will be blocked and nobody will be able to move for the rest of the day. Do you understand that you are CAUSING this problem?

Do they not teach “directing traffic effectively” anymore in policeman school? As we went into insulin shock in the car, I mentioned to Mr. Dump about the time I was stuck at “7 Corners” (or whatever it’s called) in Lancaster and the guy directing traffic literally let each street completely empty (like 4-5 minutes, no lie) before letting traffic on the next street move. I sat there TWENTY MINUTES without moving, and this bozo was actually directing traffic. And *I* was on the only street that actually had the legal right of way (no stop signs).

Do officers have to pass some kind of test on the best way to direct traffic at a major intersection before they are allowed to do so? I am not trying to be mean. I am trying to prevent them from being run over by hundreds of drivers experiencing police-induced road rage.

So I’m glad the police detonated the “bomb” (results pending) and nobody was hurt and my parents only had to sit in a restaurant for 45 minutes waiting for us to make the 5 minute drive over. But what a damper it puts on the day.

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