Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Off the Map: Don't Make the Mistake of Ordering a Whole Pizza

Boston Bibb and Watercress Salad -- Figs, Boston, MA

Before Vodka can go any further into her Boston Best Thing I Ever Ate eating adventures, she needs to describe how she spent the morning prior to her lunch at Figs.  Specifically, how she took a trolley tour of Boston by herself.  And by "by herself," she does not simply mean "without a companion" (though this was also the case).
Somebody Come and Play
No no -- Vodka took a two-and-a-half-hour tour of Boston aboard a trolley with NO ONE ELSE PRESENT.  Well, except for the driver/tour guide, otherwise known as Vodka's new best friend.
This Would Be Humiliating If It Weren't So Hilarious
Being that the image of Vodka's solitary Paul Revere-like ride through Boston is pretty much the entire punchline of that tale, there is not much more to relate.  But needless to say, Vodka has now not only cemented her place as a) a Trolley Tour VIP, b) a Trolley Tour annoyance who refuses to hop on OR off, and c) an overall lunatic.
You're Welcome for the Tourist Dollars, Boston
After Vodka finally deigns to depart her fateful tour, she wanders across Boston in search of Figs, where she is meeting another college friend in order to consume Duff Goldman's favorite NUTTY dish, the Boston Bibb and Watercress Salad, featuring toasted walnut dressing and Maytag blue cheese.
Well, "Blue" Is Relative in This Case
Despite her lengthy one-on-one escort through the Boston streets, including the very one that Figs is on, Vodka at first walks right by the place and then has to do some major backtracking down the quaint ambiance of Charles Street.
For Christmas, Boston Bought Me a Building
When she eventually arrives at Figs, the place is packed with lunchtime diners, and it is, unfortunately, dreadfully loud.  Restauranteurs really need to start looking into acoustics when they design their spaces, or Ginger and I are going to be deaf by the time this eating tour is through.
Deaf and on a Doctor-Imposed Low-Carb Diet
In front of me, two middle-aged women are badgering the hostess about when a table for three will open up.  The hostess tells them a half hour and offers them the option of three bar stools instead - an option that would completely ruin my immediate life as only four bar stools are present.  Luckily, the women take just long enough pondering their decision for me to hop on two of the remaining stools and await my (apparently one and only, based on the morning's trolley tour) friend.
That's What Friends Are For

When my friend arrives, we set about ordering our lunch - Vodka the Best Thing I Ever Ate salad and her friend, the gnocchi.  Though the pizza looks luxuriously tempting, Vodka's former roommate had warned her that morning, "Don't make the mistake of ordering a whole pizza" (a mistake which, ridiculous as it may sound, the roommate had obviously made at Figs before), and so Vodka is conscientious not to do so.  After all, she still has a full evening of Boston eating ahead of her.
And She Has Already Gotten Sidetracked by a Non-Itinerary Bowl of Chowder Earlier in the Day
When our lunches arrive (along with, naturally, our wine, presented in Ginger's hated teardrop glasses), Vodka instantly writes the gnocchi off as being mushy, though her friend finds it enjoyable (frankly, no gnocchi will ever be able to compete with the scrumptiousness of that served at Jane).
Dear Restaurants, Please Study What "Al Dente" Means and Start Applying It to Gnocchi
The salad, in contrast, is full of crunchy texture and is exceedingly fresh.  While each ingredient tastes as if it were procured mere minutes before, the combination of them all is slightly off-putting to Vodka's tastes.  First of all, the blue cheese, as blue cheese tends to be, is pungent.  Very pungent.  So pungent that it would take a very strong flavor to overtake it, which the salad tries to do in the form of the overtly sweet walnut dressing.
Holy Lot of Cheese, Batman
Unfortunately, while I like sweet and salty things together, I take less of a liking to sweet and pungent couplings, and I begin trying to eat each component of the salad, including the actual walnuts, separately.  Finally, there is the issue of the crouton-like bread fixtures scattered around the plate, which are not garlicky enough to really be croutons and seem to be jam-packed with raisins or cranberries (which is a whole other mismatch in flavor).
Are They Croutons or Olive Garden Bread Sticks?!
I will say that despite my friend's warning, the pizza looks like it is the best thing on the Figs menu, and I would venture back again if only to try it (the bathroom, however, is so teeny that I fear I wouldn't fit inside after such pizza consumption).  I would also make it a point to arrive after 2:00pm, when the restaurant became all but silent and I no longer felt like I was dining in a middle school cafeteria.
Cafeteria-Style Plating? You Be the Judge
After we leave Figs, we head to the Cheers gift store down the street so Vodka can purchase some "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" shot glasses, proving that, once again, she has never met a tourist trap bar she doesn't like.

Especially one that is featured along Vodka's very own Boston trolley route.
Whether or Not They're Always Glad You Came
Figs's Boston Bibb and Watercress Salad: 3 stars

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