Tagged: boston

Storrowing credit for a neo-neo-neologism

This morning the estimable editors at UniversalHub described a truck as “freshly storrowed,” meaning that it had been driven under a famously (but not famously enough I guess) too-low overpass on Storrow Drive and either gotten stuck or had the top ripped off or both.  Bostonians know this phenomenon all too well, mostly around the traditional moving seasons at the start and end of the academic year.

The earliest (easily found) search result for this use of storrowing is a Tour De France blog post by Dave Chiu from this past summer with a photo of a bus that had tried to squeeze under some signage that was not high enough.  Over at Urban Dictionary, there’s another sense of storrowing that is probably as old as the hills in practice if not in name, and also a portmanteau of steal and borrow.

to borrow something intending to not return it or to borrow something and decide to keep it.

More searching uncovers what might be an even earlier meaning for storrowing that also comes with a handy opposite in astorrowing which apparently is to be avoided if possible.

STORROWING PEATS: Three weeks after cutting the peats are ready to be storrowed – that is placed on end in little wigwam like piles so that the air can circulate freely round them. In a wet year those piles sometimes have to be taken down and built up again, outside in. This is known as “astorrowing” and no one does it if they can help it. After another three weeks the peats should be ready to come home.

What would James J. Storrow think? Maybe his ancestors were in the peat business back in the old country. One hopes his descendants are careful when driving trucks on the family road, though the headline writers would certainly love it if they weren’t.

— Update 10/15 —
Some time after I wrote this, somebody added Storrowed to Urban Dictionary using the same UniversalHub story as the basis. Also, a video.

One fish, two fish, Red’s Best, Cod Squad

Occasionally, you can smell the ocean from outside my office near the North End. Maybe it’s just a nearby fountain or open hydrant or the aquarium, but it serves to remind me that Boston has a seafaring heritage. That said, if you’re not careful buying your seafood here, you can get scrod.

We all know that Anthony Bourdain warns against ordering fish on a Monday, but as it turns out, Monday is my go-to double header fish day with two quality establishments: lunch at Captain Marden’s Cod Squad Food Truck followed by a trip to Red’s Best Seafood at the Boston City Hall Farmers Market to pick up something to cook for dinner.

Haddock sandwich from Captain Mardens Cod Squad truck

I’ve praised Captain Marden before, so I’ll be brief today. I was on the fence between fish n chips and the tuna melt. I asked for the chef’s choice and ended up with the haddock sandwich. $11 got me the sandwich, a ton of fries, cole slaw, onion, lettuce and tomato, and a nice touch, a lemon wedge. I was offered cheese, too, but declined. The haddock was delicate and flaky, and was neither overwhelmed nor cheated by the crust. Delightful if a bit much for a lunch, maybe they can offer a “just the sandwich” version sans fries in the future. Cod Squad also offers a range of salads topped with seafood.

Red's Best Local Fish at the City Hall Farmers Market

At Red’s Best, you can get a variety of fresh – not frozen – seafood, all caught by local fisherman and monitored all the way along the chain to make sure that you’re getting the kind of fish you think you’re getting. There’s a good variety of fin fish and shellfish, but if you don’t get here on the early side, things have a way of selling out. I scooped up some scallops ($22/lb) that were super sweet and went very well with the kale from a nearby farm stand. If you’re concerned about the source and sustainability of your seafood, I recommend a Red’s highly. The hardest thing for me is remembering to bring the fish home after stowing it in the fridge at the office for the afternoon.

Now you T it, now you don’t

Do you know what you were doing five years ago today? Well, according this this blog, I was in Santa Monica, but according to the MBTA, I was unboxing a brand new Charlie Card. I know this because today, five years later, that Charlie card, suddenly and without warning, expired.


By “expired” do I mean kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible? Apparently not, because the helpful MBTA resurrectionist customer service person in the station keyed in a secret code on the Charlie card vending machine, tapped my card and read off the balance and passes on it.

So what gives? Well, it seems that what gives is that older Charlie cards like mine have a replicant-like five year lifespan. A new one you get today will last ten years and unlike mine, have the expiration date printed on it.  Why does it expire when the electronics inside are still working? Why do I get no warning in advance of this expiration? That’s not for me to ponder, it’s for me to drag my sorry early-Charlie-card-adopting ass to the one and only “Charlie Card Store” at Downtown Crossing three days before the end of the month and get my paid-for passes transferred to a fresh card. I’m sure it won’t be busy at all, since it operates during the commuter-friendly hours of 8:00am till 5:30pm, Monday through Friday.

In New York City, you can exchange an expired MetroCard for a fresh one (as long as it’s less than a year since expiry) at any token booth with a customer service agent, and I’ve seen those in nearly every station and at all hours of the day and night.

On the way home this evening (after 5:30), the MBTA employee let me through after verifying that my card had a pass on it. In the morning I’ll probably have to pay to get to Downtown Crossing to get this fixed.  What are the odds that I’ll get my fare for that trip reimbursed?

Bus stop, T woes, stop goes, speed grows

Via the estimable newsmachers at UniversalHub, a report that the MBTA is eliminating some stops on 15 of the busiest bus lines in the city this summer. The idea is that snipping out some redundant stops and refurbishing others will reduce end-to-end trip time and cut back on bunching. One of the stops to be eliminated is right in front of limeduck world headquarters, but the T maps show it to be as little as 260 feet from the nearest stop, so I can hardly complain.

Kudos to the T for what seems to be a data-driven harvesting of low-hanging fruit. People close to the soon to be former stops will be inconvenienced, but probably only at one endpoint of their bus journey, and substantially all riders of these lines will reap benefits.

What the always entertaining comments at UHub don’t bring up (yet) is what will happen to the former bus stops? Will more (metered?) parking be created? Bike parking? Ghost stops where parking is prohibited but buses never stop? Pocket parks? Time will tell. Until then, watch this:

This chocolate pudding could be A+

I’ve called out food trucks before for obfuscating the name and content of common dishes, but when Mei Mei Street Kitchen put Sanguinaccio Dolce on the board, they helpfully, if bluntly, glossed it with “Taza chocolate, John Crow farm pigs blood.” $2, what could possibly go wrong? If there’s going to be blood in my dessert, I’d rather it be local.

Mei Mei Street Kitchen Menu

Sanguinaccio Dolce (don’t you just love saying that?) is a traditional carnival dish of the Basilicata region of Italy, the arch of the foot of the boot, if you will, or maybe a spat, since it has coastline on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. It’s more or less chocolate pudding with some fresh pig’s blood in it, sometimes served with biscuits.

Mei Mei provided no biscuits, but did include a nice dollop of cream and some sesame(?) seeds. The characteristic flavor and texture of Taza chocolate was evident in the apparently creamy pudding. There was no obvious or intrusive blood or pork flavor, not even the saltiness that I was expecting. It’s just a subtle twist to the chocolate, a bitterness that I doubt you’d even be able to identify as blood if some evil person gave it to you without disclosure.

Sanguinaccio Dolce

Ingredients aside, $2 for such a small serving of pudding may seem a little steep, but you do get to say that you ate it. Plus, how much chocolate pudding (and blood) belongs in a balanced diet? If you need to load up, go get yourself a venti chocolate cookie frappuccino with two strips of bacon. [N.B., at the time I wrote this I was as yet unaware of the Dunkin Donuts bacon egg and cheese on a donut breakfast "sandwich".]

I applaud the Mei Mei team for putting something different out there and also for making an effort to use the whole animal. Their menu is ever-changing and seasonal, so get your sanguinaccio dolce while you can. Maybe as summer heats up they’ll add ice cream and call it Sundae Bloody Sundae.

Also, if you haven’t heard, Mei Mei is opening a brick and mortar restaurant, and you can support them on kickstarter.