Put down the Ding Dongs; there’s a better way
I have a drinking problem. No, not the kind that could scramble my brain, chew it up, and spit it out with a side of liver (at least not yet); just the kind that leaves me lurching down convenience-store aisles in the wee hours, looking for treats in all the wrong places — among the pork rinds, the turkey jerky, the Ding Dongs. If you, too, have picked up your share of snacks that didn’t love you back, if the junk you down when you’re drunk has you moaning in the morning, take it from a recovering grub-gobbler like me: there are munchies out there that can meet the needs of both the carouser and the connoisseur in you. Here are a few of my personal faves. Just do me a favor in return and straighten up before actually entering any of these fine establishments, will ya? Make me look good.
Karisik Pide, Brookline Family Restaurant
(305 Washington Street, Brookline, 617.277.4466)
You can have your pizza parlors and your late-night greasy spoons; we’ve got a place that’s both in one, and Turkish on top. Brookline Family Restaurant looks for all the world like a small-town diner, and it acts like one at breakfast, slinging hangover helpers aplenty. (For more on culinary cure-alls, see sidebar on page 34.) But from midday to nearly midnight (11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, to be precise), enormous — and generally excellent — platters of Eastern Mediterranean noshes are the norm. While the juicy kebabs are superb, skewers and impaired dexterity probably don’t mix — which brings us to the Turkish pizzas. The lambtopped pie called lahmacun is justly popular, but I’m partial to the megameaty karisik pide, or combination pita ($14.50). The warm, glistening kayak-shaped crust is French-bread smooth. Piled atop it, on a bed of creamy cheese that’s similar to mozzarella but less stringy, are goodies galore: disks of slightly spicy smoked sausage, ground beef fried up with bits of onion and green pepper, and scraps of pastrami — which may sound odd but adds a neat salt tang — plus slices of fresh tomato and green pepper. And when you polish that off, traditional pastries await, messy with shredded wheat and syrup. How nice to take home something that’s even more disheveled than you are.
Hot garlic-sauce pork pockets, New Shanghai
(21 Hudson Street, Boston, 617.338.6688)
New Shanghai’s heyday may have passed, but its pork pockets ($10) still pass muster with this manic muncher. Granted, the five bright-white pockets themselves take some getting used to; they’ve all got a soft, spongy texture and no exact flavor. But that’s just as it should be: their job is to soak up the rich, chili-laced (but only lightly spicy) garlic sauce in which the julienne of tender pork, Chinese mushrooms, and bamboo shoots is cooked. Your job is to wolf it all down, so the protein, fat, and carb-heavy combo can soak up in turn the alcohol swamping your system. Trust me, your task is easy.
Fried potato rings, Kings Restaurant
(50 Dalton Street, Boston, 617.266.2695)
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