Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Your Choice For Lunch

I'm going to skip it.

"Legal Sea Foods launches ‘Pescatarianism’ ad campaign" by Taryn Luna Globe Correspondent  July 01, 2015

Legal Sea Foods advertisements have insulted MBTA employees, referenced “Brokeback Mountain,” and likened the word “chain” to a four-letter expletive.

Now, a new campaign from the Boston company attempts to establish a new religion whose members will be known as “pescatarians,” comparing them to Catholics and Presbyterians. A pescatarian is a person whose diet includes seafood but no meat.

Roger Berkowitz, the chief executive of Legal Sea Foods, calls himself the “high priest” of the fish-eating church. “I’m converted,” said Berkowitz, who is Jewish. “We love the idea that we’re elevating seafood to a religious experience.”

Legal Sea Foods is known for eccentric and sometimes controversial ad campaigns that push the envelope, compared with more traditional advertising. Most notably, snarky comments about the Green Line in ads seven years ago offended some MBTA workers.

DeVito/Verdi, Legal’s longstanding New York advertising firm, said the new campaign, starting this month, is meant to make people laugh. This time around, they don’t expect to offend anyone.

Ellis Verdi hopes the campaign rallies pescatarians everywhere and, in turn, draws attention to the business.

(Globe server bringing it to your table)

Berkowitz said that it is the widest-reaching Legal Sea Foods campaign to date, spanning all forms of media.

Ads in local magazines read “Moses split the Red Sea. We split lobster tails and drizzle melted butter on them” and “Jesus fed 5,000 people with a few fish. We do that every day.”

Television advertisements, which begin airing next week, feature stock video of peaceful waves rolling onto a beach, high mountains, clouds, and a prairie with the sun beaming in the distance. A male voice-over says catch phrases like “In our book, gluttony isn’t a sin. It’s a commandment.” The ads end with a call to become a pescatarian. 

(Blog editor pushes away plate)

A gag website for the would-be faith lists famous pescatarians (“Noah, probably”) and lays out the religion’s creed to spread its beliefs, shun imitation crab meat, and eat fish and seafood at all times.

“If I cannot find such items, or I am stuck in a landlocked state filled with beef and poultry, such as Nebraska or Iowa,” the creed states, “I shalt resist temptation and order a salad instead.”


Honestly, the $elf-centered $upremaci$m $tinks.

"Elite chefs now in Fort Point, so where are customers?" by Taryn Luna Globe Correspondent  July 01, 2015

The roster of chefs and restaurant owners in Fort Point reads like the starting five of a Boston culinary Dream Team: Barbara Lynch, Ming Tsai, Joanne Chang, Garrett Harker, and Seth Greenberg.

With talent like that, Fort Point should be the hottest dining district in the city. But it’s not — at least not yet.

The restaurant elite moved in early, before the burgeoning neighborhood could house a critical mass of residents to help fill the establishments. Today, there are more than four restaurant seats for every home in the area, according to city records. The South End, by comparison, is roughly the opposite, with nearly two residences for each restaurant seat.

Fort Point is a hopping culinary destination for city and suburban dwellers on weekend nights. But during the week, the daily neighborhood foot traffic is spotty, according to local chefs.

“We’re surviving for sure, but it’s a little bit of a grind,” said Louis DiBiccari, chef and co-owner of the hip Tavern Road on Congress Street.

You serve breakfast?

On one recent Thursday evening, there were several open tables and no waiting for tamarind-glazed lamb lollipops at Tsai’s Asian gastropub Blue Dragon. The host at Lynch’s Italian diner Sportello, known for its tagliatelle bolognese pasta, could seat two immediately.

The scene can pick up on other nights. But with the exception of Harker’s Row 34, wait lists rarely reach the hour-plus that diners endure at hot spots in more densely populated areas such as Toro in the South End or Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square.

Traffic is so slow on Sundays that some Fort Point restaurants don’t open at all, forgoing brunch business that is popular in many other parts of the city. Tsai said Blue Dragon doesn’t get enough customers, and he uses it as a day to give workers a break.

“There’s just not 10,000 neighbors who would come out for a Sunday brunch,” Tsai said. “Wait a year or two and we may be open on Sundays. It’s not quite a neighborhood like the North or the South End yet.”

In recent years, planners have worried that restaurant growth may be outpacing population density in Fort Point and the Seaport, said Jeremy Grossman, senior vice president and principal at CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors, whose clients include many restaurants. 

Or maybe the elite have gobbled yup all the dough? 

I mean, this is happening as the Globe bu$ine$$ section tells us Massachusetts is thriving!

Those concerns have been tempered by the recent construction of a few residential developments and the city’s forecast for 5,300 more housing units built along the waterfront in the next 20 years.

But Fort Point is facing competition right now for diners from hot new destinations on the waterfront, such as Mario Batali’s Babbo or the new Mediterranean small-plates eatery Committee, Grossman said.

“The first stop tends to be that true waterfront area of the Seaport,” he said. “The energy is shifting away from Fort Point.”

But Grossman said he expects traffic to balance out between the two areas as the market matures.

The Fort Point neighborhood boundariesare drawn along Fort Point Channel, down Seaport Boulevard and Boston Wharf Road to West Second Street. It served as a major manufacturing and warehouse district during the 19th century and the early 1900s.

After manufacturing declined, the neighborhood shifted eventually toward a mix of artist lofts and office buildings. Only recently has it become known as a restaurant hub.

Lynch is credited as an early pioneer of the Fort Point food scene. She launched two establishments, Sportello and the craft cocktail bar Drink, both on Congress Street, in 2008 and introduced the upscale Menton restaurant nearby two years later. She was unavailable for comment.

Chang had already opened Flour Bakery + Cafe on Farnsworth Street in 2007. Two years ago, Blue Dragon, Row 34, and Tavern Road opened. Pastoral and Greenberg’s Bastille Kitchen set up shop last year.

Chang said her catering and lunch business has flourished but store traffic slows to a trickle from about 4 p.m. until the bakery closes at 8 p.m. Flour locations in the South End, Cambridge, and the Back Bay continue to attract evening customers.

“There hasn’t been a lot of nighttime traffic,” Chang said of her Fort Point store. “We were just talking recently among the managers about closing at 7 p.m.”

DiBiccari and his partners at Tavern Road were drawn to the idea of moving into an up-and-coming neighborhood before rents skyrocketed.

But he’s still waiting for an influx of residents and other businesses, such as a full-service grocery store, a bank, a pharmacy, and retail stores, that he believes will drive foot traffic and build the neighborhood.

Two doors down, Todd Winer of Pastoral has a similar problem. Winer, a former executive chef at Olives and The Metropolitan Club, said the flow of traffic to his industrial Neapolitan pizza joint is unpredictable.

“I can’t figure it out,” Winer said. “Usually there’s a flow at restaurants.”

Greenberg, who previously established Mistral as one of Boston’s premier upscale dining venues, is “bullish” on Fort Point. He said Bastille Kitchen is thriving, due in part to private events hosted by nearby businesses.

Harker, who runs Row 34, said the eatery isn’t as busy as some of his more established restaurants, Island Creek Oyster Bar and Eastern Standard. But he said it’s still doing well and exceeding expectations.

“Look, we all knew what we were getting in for,” Harker said. “It’s a bet on the potential of an already pretty exciting neighborhood, and we think it will only become that much more compelling.”


Waited so long the meal is cold. 

Too bad Remy's wasn't still open. Maybe bu$ine$$ will come back soon.

This guy will be picking up the tab:

"Middlesex court official faces inquiry over bail money" by Sara DiNatale Globe Correspondent  June 17, 2015

A longtime assistant clerk magistrate in Middlesex Superior Court is facing allegations that he mishandled more than $10,000 in bail money, put public funds in his own account, and possibly broke federal law, according to a letter from the Office of the Inspector General.

That's a hell of a tip.

Michael Brennan, who has been an assistant clerk magistrate at Middlesex Superior Court in Lowell since 1979, blamed “bad bookkeeping,” “slacking off,” and “stupidity” for the myriad of allegations he’s facing, according to the June 11 letter from Inspector General Glenn Cunha to Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey.

But Cunha said Brennan’s practice of putting bail money into his own account for at least six years was a serious breach of his responsibilities.

“He had access to a large amount of cash and he did not handle it properly,” Cunha wrote in the letter. “Brennan’s actions exposed the Commonwealth to potential liability and the Trial Court to potential theft.”

Brennan has voluntarily agreed to stop handling bail funds while his supervisor determines if any disciplinary action is appropriate, according to a statement from the Trial Court. But he continues to serve in his $98,000-a-year post as an assistant clerk magistrate.

Cunha found Brennan may have broken federal law when he collected more than $10,000 in cash and didn’t file the required form disclosing the collection to the Internal Revenue Service or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

A clerk’s willful failure to file such a report could result in a federal felony punishable by up to five years in jail, the letter says.

“If other violations are found,” Cunha wrote, state officials should refer the matter to the IRS.

Brennan also collected $48,301 in cash bail from 30 people during a single week in April 2013, but instead of depositing the entire amount promptly, he made five separate deposits under $10,000. That prevented banks from filing federally required transaction reports, which are required for amounts greater than $10,000.

Indicates he knew it was wrong.

Cunha’s letter says his office reviewed Brennan’s bail magistrate bank account records and found that from January 2007 to 2013 he had commingled more than $9,000 in personal checks with bail money.

Brennan said, according to Cunha’s letter, he didn’t know commingling the money “was wrong” and that he didn’t know why he deposited money in increments under $10,000. He did, however, admit he knew to file the IRS notification forms for cash amounts of more than $10,000 in drug cases, but he failed to do it anyway in April 2013 when he collected $15,000 from someone arrested on a controlled substance charge.

Brennan claimed he never received formal training on the rules or laws pertaining to his job as a bail magistrate since he was appointed in 1984, according to the letter.

Cunha recommends that state bail administrator Catherine Coughlin should conduct a review to see if Brennan “violated any additional laws, regulations or rules” and “institute disciplinary proceedings as deemed appropriate.”

“The Trial Court has implemented procedures to ensure fiscal accountability in the administration of bail, and is carefully considering every recommendation made by the inspector general,” according the Trial Court’s statement.


You wanna head over to the (GMO-free?) pantry?

You have a place to stay for the night?


Want to try African (although it did take a long time to get a waiter)?

Something wrong with the fish?