At the corner of Armitage Avenue and the Kennedy expressway, some only see a Volvo dealership and a neo-Georgian red brick office building, a bland dereliction of architectural duty. Though it has long been demolished, I instead see myself at 3 a.m. sitting in the corner booth at Marie’s Riptide lounge where minutes ago I’ve dropped a dime and conjured Patsy. The gifts of Willie Nelson and my bourbon-addled brain are en fuego as Cline does her glissando slide amidst a honky-tonk piano tinkle into the opening line… CRA-zeee! Shots roll from the bottle, proffered by THE Marie (Wuczynski), the bar’s snowy-bouffant-crowned namesake. Though she is geriatric, she is always game. She pours one for me, and one for her. I am, whether I like it or not, and oh, God do I, paying for both.
Through eating, we sometimes seek, crave, and desire transport, a mental whisking toward another time and location, to places of comfort, the spots which may now not be near, but where we once were when we experienced profound happiness. For you, this may be your mom’s kitchen, the state you grew up, in or the European city that changed your life. We are not always physically able to return to those places, but in a local bite, we might still experience a reasonable mental facsimile.
I didn’t know it, but I’ve waited all my life for this. And by this, I mean a real French person saying the words “Mountain Dew.” First, I want to apologize for America. No one from the land of champagne should even be aware of the neon-green soda.
Having written about restaurants for a while now, I’ve developed a system of indisputable rules. One of the most rock-solid principles I’ve observed is this: Restaurants that feature their address—either numerals or street—in their name usually aren’t very good.
Are they crazy?