Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mandy & Joes, Brighton, MA

328 Washington St
(between Academy Hill Rd & Waldo Ter)
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 254-9843

Being absolutely jealous of all of the HG options in New York and Chicago at all hours of the day, it inspired me to see what was close by in my neighborhood for some good, hard, deli-style grubbin.

I celebrated a rare weekday off by first going to the dentist, going to lunch, and going to get my taxes 'did.' Let me just say, lunch was the only part of the day where I felt like I wasn't getting my teeth yanked out!

There was an overcast to the afternoon, and the rain started to spit after the dental appointment. Here I was, on Hump Day, just barely holding on to cracking a smile. Mandy & Joe's was a beacon of sunshine on this dreary day.

I mean, look at this 'grandparent's basement' decor: How can this not bring you back to watching Wheel of Fortune with Nana on a February vacation Monday in Wilkes Barre, PA?

I sit down at a low counter at a place frozen in time. I feel I could just say "Malted!" to Brian behind the counter here, and he would say "I thought so, and your usual grilled cheese with a dry tomato and brown mustard, how you like it as well, sir?"

I'd reply with a "'Suppose so...," and this dude already has a blender and his spray Pam both at full blast.

Old men that admire Ian Fleming novels and consider Sean Connery as the 'new' James bond are talking tough stuff in here.

Check out my brah grubbin on eggs here. Fast forward 45 years and this is old Clay grubbin on some yellow scramble.

If you think I'm disrespecting this guy by snapping pics of him at Mandy & Joes, then I applaud you. It's practically all I can think about. This is all about respect and hard grubbin, I am not exploiting my friend here, he just wouldn't be able to understand that if I tried to explain.

I decide on the corned beef when longtime customer Phil walks in and is greeted as I described earlier. "Hey, Phil. We got pie today."

Phil casually, and I am almost certain non-verbally, orders his usual. Phil trades in 2 dimes and a nickel for a fresh quarter and after a trip to the news box, Phil is cracking open the Boston Herald morning edition.

Nostalgia and wondering why people aren't smoking cigarettes in here are not not the only charms of this hallowed diner. Breakfast all day is a major selling point, and there are couples, families, doctors, and regulars filling the seats here daily. I'm sure the menu has not changed in over 10 years, on the philosophy , "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Good strategy.

My sandwich comes. It's a simple thing, really. Corned Beef marbled with fat, my choice of yellow or brown mustard on a similarly marbled rye and white bread. Think pastrami but cold, and picture it on a plate that you remember eating Hostess chocolate cupcakes off of when it was your birthday in fifth grade. I second guess, and fear I may have made great missteps getting to this point in the meal already, but there was no turning back to get the open face turkey plate or a feta omelet. This is exactly what I want. This is exactly what I need. The 4 pickles are enough (though I usually demand more).

What better way to celebrate a good tooth cleaning than drinking coffee with white sugar and gumming up the in-betweens with salted meats and soft bread? I cannot think of a better way.

A quick call over to my H&R Block rep and I realize I have to bounce. The sandwich made it's way into my belly and I'm leaving an 18% tip for Brian before I ride the bike home to get my papers, full of food, and full of an honest nostalgia.

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