THE A, B, CUISINES OF MY HOOD!

Written by  ,     March 21, 2022     Posted in Uncategorized

As dinner time approached, I looked to the East out the window of my downtown condo and began to get both anxious and excited—oh the world of possibilities! What will it be tonight…

African, Brazilian, Cambodian….

As I completed this column the night before Lowell’s St Patrick’s Day traditions, my mouth salivated for native dishes from some of our earliest immigrants—The corned beef n cabbage “boiled dinner” (they joke that water is the Irish’s favorite spice!) but also the Shepard’s pie and those golden beer battered fish n chips!

I was not sure if I would partake at my own restaurant—quality control doncha’ know—or venture to the plethora of other locations around the city indulging their Irish heritage. Let the rainbow show me the way!

Irish, Greek, Mexican….

With the seemingly endless options on any given night, one might think that I still lived in New York City’s East Village. But these days… There’s a lot to like about Lowell!

American, Portuguese, Colombian….

If I consider a one-mile radius from our front door— there are no less than two dozen internationally inspired destination opportunities for which to engage my fork, spoon or chopsticks!  (When I drive, the options easily double within three miles).

Indian, Argentinian, Egyptian…

The decision most often comes down to whether I’m staying onsite
(while also seeking drinks, service and atmosphere) or taking my treasures home. I calculate and ponder; Am I in the mood for spicy, or rice’y, soupy or Udupi!

Korean, Kenyan, Caribbean, or Cajun…

I could tell you my favorites, after some hard thought consideration, but what good would that do as tomorrow my mind will most assuredly change. Adventures await! Some days decisions are easier than others—where I clearly know in advance that this day I will be adding (too much!) Sriracha to my Pho (and then complain to myself), “Whoa!, That’s spicy!” while my rice noodle-slurping splash-spots my shirt. (Nothing that a little Shout can’t get out).

Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian…

The Southeast Asian options are terrific and prolific! Curry or Beef Loc Lak, I get a little high on Khmer!  Hispanic? No panic… empanadas, tacos, pernil, burritos and sofrito are just blocks away.

French, Italian, Dominican, Puerto Rican…
Coq au vin, chivo, asopao.
Ramen, gyro, bhan hoi and bhan mi!  District Five I’ve dreamt about you.

When I first moved to Lowell three decades ago and opened our first restaurant soon thereafter, I embraced the ‘immigrant city’ status of my new home while secretly bemoaning the limited cultural culinary representation throughout these once cobblestoned streets. I took comfort in thinking; “It will happen someday…” and maybe we can help pave the way.

Back then, Cobblestones menu included items like Chicken Satay to our mostly American ‘steak and seafood’ menu in an attempt to infuse some New York inspired cultural representation. Unimaginable now but we struggled to sell our Mid-eastern inspired Hummus Platter!

Bao, tostones, acai, pad thai….

The Lowell food scene, sans a single chain restaurant, has evolved beyond any comprehension we could have had back when a blend of chick peas, garlic, lemon and sesame was considered ‘exotic.’ The result is nothing short of delicious, inspirational and fulfilling.

Slainte, salud, saude, chúc mừng and cheers!

See below for my Top 10 ‘walk to’ options

Chef’s Short Rib Pho w/ an Italian options! Sizzling Kitchen

Spanikopita, Baklava, Opa! The Athenian Corner

Beers and the other best burger in town! Warp and Weft

Curry in a hurry?! Food Shines

The Hidden Gem on the outskirts Fork Included

The best frickin’ ribs and chicken! Mill City Barbecue

I get Thai w a ‘lil help from my friends Viet Thai

Kenya Dig It? Wham’s Cafe

Some late night eggs, bacon, pancakes and coffee Dave! Club Diner

Fish and Chips and a side of great Craic! Old Court Pub

Oh, and also:

Olympia (Greek), Mandarin Sushi, Ramen 1981, IV Seasons Portuguese, Holly (Cajun) Crab, The Purple Carrot for amazing fresh bread, and Olympus Bakery for incredible pastries and giant sandwiches, Life Alive for the original, incredible organic and vegetarian, “feel good” options and the very best Bhan Mi sandwich amongst many, District Five

Comments

5 Responses

  1. Ken Gonsalves says:

    Scott, I never knew you had these thoughts, keep up the blogging LOL.

  2. Karen Connors says:

    And behind every great man is an extraordinary woman who lets you fulfill your dreams as she navigates the paths of your girls. Your family. Your business. You are one lucky man

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