I have done a fair bit of traveling in my lifetime,—more than many but less than I’d like—and my favorite thing about traveling is eating. Of course, I love to see the sights, but for me, to really experience a locale is to eat its food. You just never know what you will find. I have been to Italy, but the best Italian food I have ever had was in Costa Rica. Granted, the chef/waiter/owner was from Italy, but still, who would have thought it?
At the beginning of this year, I moved to Boston. I love this city. That’s why I moved here. And, as in any big city, there is an overwhelming number of restaurants. That is an adventure to me. I have, since moving here, wanted find the dives and holes-in-the-wall where amazing food lurks largely unobserved by the average passerby. But where to begin? So I decided to start on my own street.
I live in a Boston neighborhood called Jamaica Plain. As the name might suggest, JP has a very interesting and vibrant culture. JP certainly does not have your typical Boston culture. What do I mean by that? I’m not really sure—JP is just…different. But that’s not a bad thing; in my experience, vibrant culture often means vibrant food choices. True to experience, in JP you can find Cuban restaurants, Italian cafés, Ethiopian diners, Indian eateries, and then some. And I’m only talking about a single street in JP—Centre Street. I don’t know why it’s spelled like that. Apparently Jamaica Plain is too classy for standard American English spelling; we opted to spell our street name like the Motherland, Great Britain.
Back to the point: Because I want to really experience the street I live on and the community I live in, I am going to eat my way down Centre Street. I will start at Jackson Square on the Orange Line of the subway (called the T) and go…well, Centre Street is actually pretty long. I will go until Centre Street is no longer in Boston (at some point, I think it moves into West Roxbury).
Oh, one other important point. What will I order at each place? I figured it would be foolish of me to go in and try to order something that sounds good to me if that’s not what the restaurant is best at making. That’s no way to determine the quality of food at an eating establishment. So my approach will be to allow those at the restaurant to determine what is the best option. I will ask “What is your favorite dish?” or “What is the most popular item?” or something of the sort. And whatever the person says, that is what I will order.
Okay, last note: I am just a person who likes food. I am no food critic. I will write about the atmosphere, my interactions, what I think about the food. But I don’t know all the intricacies of food. I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like, and sometimes, I even know why I do or don’t like it.
Now, let’s go eat Centre Street.