Fenway eateries burn down; Phoenix staffers may starve to death
And so Boston bids farewell to one of its brightest spots — the row of six diverse and delectable restaurants on Peterborough Street that were consumed by a four-alarm fire early Tuesday morning. I can't say I know for sure what the "alarm" in "four-alarm fire" refers to, but how I wish more were sounded. The inferno reportedly caused $5 million in damage, but who can estimate the damage wrought upon our souls and stomachs?
During the four-plus years I worked at the Phoenix's Kenmore Square office, I savored countless pieces of salmon sashimi at Umi, which served some of the freshest (and most affordable) sushi in the city. Oftentimes after work I'd treat myself to chicken Marsala at Sorento's or beers and apps outdoors at Thornton's. At Rod Dee I consumed curries of all colors. I even grabbed a Greek salad on a couple occasions at the relative newbie Greek Isles. But none of these establishments holds a special place in my heart and gut like El Pelon, home to the best burritos in Boston, hands down. (Anyone who tells you Anna's is better either has never been to El Pelon or is a four-alarm twit.)
I ate at El Pelon, on average, four times a week, every week, from the time I began working full-time at the Phoenix, in May of 2004, to this past September (when I left to freelance and play Rock Band full-time). Factoring in vacations, that's about 210 weeks, or 840 El Pelon lunches. (This is no exaggeration — ask the staffers who recognized my voice over the phone starting around week 23 or my Phoenix co-workers who rushed to console me around this time last year.) If it's true that you are what you eat, I'm, like, 21% pescado burrito, 16% El Guapo, 12% pescado taco, 9% caramelo, and 3% rajas tamal. Suffice it to say, I will never be the same. And neither will the scores of other El-Pel regulars and the many devotees of the other Peterborough eateries.
To borrow words from Charles Spencer's tribute to his sister Diana, Princess of Wales, "Today is our chance to say thank you for the way you brightened our lives, even though God granted you but half a life. We will all feel cheated always that you were taken from us so young and yet we must learn to be grateful that you came along at all."
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