Thursday, September 18, 2008

Praise Be to Al

Oh happy day. Oh so very happy day. It’s a big deal in my world when a new lunch place opens because even though I like my favorite places (like Sam LaGrassa’s or the former Kingston Deli, for example), I do get bored. Today (or maybe it was yesterday), a new place opened on the corner of Essex and South streets, Al’s South Street Café. If that sounds familiar, it’s because there’s also an Al’s State Street Café. This is absolutely fantastic news. What’s so great about this new place? Well, both Al’s Cafés are owned by the same people who own one of my all-time favorite lunch places, the Italian Café on Broad Street, which I used to go to all the time when I worked at Faneuil Hall and now go to every once in a while on “special” occasions. So now, because the places share the same menu and food, it’s like having the Italian Café right around the corner and I don’t have to decide it’s worth the walk. Woo hoo!

To celebrate Al’s opening — and I suppose I should mention that I didn’t know about the Italian Café connection until I got there — I headed on over today for lunch. I only had a half-second to get past the excitement about what it was, because there was a huge noisy crowd of hungry workers to deal with. There were separate lines for hot and cold subs, and a mob of people waiting to pick up their orders. I was unlucky enough to stand behind a non-English speaker who had no clue what she was doing and didn’t understand when I asked if she had ordered yet or was waiting to pick up. When her order was ready, they called her number three or four times and she still didn't get it. (And I wasn't feeling charitable enough to tell her.) Anyway, I ordered a large steak pizzaiola, which is a two-foot-long sub of steak, marinara sauce, and cheese on excellent bread (strangely, it's French bread, but no matter). It only cost $7 and you’ll probably be happy to know I was unable to eat it all. But it was gooooood, and so worth the discomfort it'll cause my stomach later this afternoon. Folks, I like to think I know good lunch places, and Al's is a great lunch place.

Someone I work with’s eyes practically popped out of his head when he saw how large my sandwich was and how good it looked. Suffice it to say, we’re going back tomorrow.

Oh happy day!

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