Friday, December 30, 2011

Seven Offbeat Food and Restaurant Stories from 2011

With the end of 2011 approaching, a number of end-of-year lists are making the rounds, including a few from this blog and our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants). Most of the lists that we have created are pretty straightforward, including best restaurants, best dishes, etc., but we would like to end with one final list that focuses on the odd and the unusual. So without further ado, here is a recap of some of the strangest food and restaurant stories of 2011:

1) 400-Pound Crucolo Cheese to Make Its Way Through Concord
Yes, the town of Concord celebrated the arrival of a huge piece of cheese to its community in December, complete with a parade through the business district. The cheese finished its journey through town at--where else?--a cheese shop.

2) Thelonious Monkfish Opens in Cambridge
There's nothing strange about this new Asian fusion restaurant in Central Square, that is, except for its name, which plays upon the name of a famous jazz pianist (and a delicious seafood item). The restaurant opened in February.

3) New Study: Boston Is the Drunkest City in America
Perhaps not such a surprise to those who happen to be walking around Allston or Faneuil Hall at 2:00 in the morning, this recent study from The Daily Beast is nonetheless a bit of an eye opener, considering how our fair city beat out such big drinking places as Milwaukee and New Orleans. But as a few people have said over the past day or so, we're #1 (for better or worse).

4) Ninety Nine Restaurant in Billerica Creates 3,999-Pound Plate of Nachos
Back to enormous portions of food for a moment--yes, the Ninety Nine actually put out a plate of nachos that weighed two tons earlier this fall, and some of the figures were staggering (825 pounds of Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, 199 pounds of jalapeno peppers, 8 pounds of chopped cilantro, etc.). The creation of this monstrous dish was for a good cause, helping to raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs.

5) British Pub Batters The Black Rose's Record for Largest Serving of Fish and Chips
Sticking to this topic for just a big longer, The Black Rose in downtown Boston was sad to see its fish and chips record go down the tubes, as a pub in North Yorkshire) created a plate of fish and chips that came in at just over 100 pounds (smashing the Black Rose's old record of 78 pounds). One mouthwatering(?) fact about the British dish--the piece of halibut was dipped in more than four gallons of batter.

6) Ben and Jerry's Produces Schweddy Balls Ice Cream
Perhaps not the most appealing name for a dessert treat, Ben and Jerry's newest ice cream flavor nevertheless did very well when it was first released, that is, when it could be found. Turns out that some markets decided not to carry the flavor apparently because of its name, which stems from a famous 1998 Saturday Night Live skit.

7) 12 Years Later, a Back Bay Restaurant Remains Unopened
It can indeed take a long time to open a restaurant, but 12 years? That seems almost Big Dig-like, and some people (including at least one politician) are apparently getting tired of the whole thing. So will Saratoga restaurant ever open in the Back Bay? We will just have to (continue to) wait and see.