Red Burtts Place

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Location: Maine, United States

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chinese Food

When I Grow To Old To Dream I'll Have You To Remember:
The sun is setting, "time and tide wait for no man"

Cambridge Mass 1945:
When my wife and I first met we were in our teens, on Saturday nights we used walk behind Wilsons Meat Packing Co on Waverly St and cross the Railroad Tracks to Vassar St then through a small field out onto Memorial Dr across the street from the Charles River by the BU Bridge, there was a Howard Johnsons located there and during the 1940's if you wanted Fried Clams this is where we went unless of course we all decided to take the hour and a half Subway/Trolley trip to Revere Beach, Revere was where the "Real Clams" were but Howard Johnson did a pretty good job with them also.

For some strange reason my wife liked Ice Cream with Clams, we would order two small clams to go and then my wife would always have to have her Coffee Cone to eat along with her clams, we would walk the Charles all the way up to the Weeks Bridge (walking bridge no cars) and then all the way back to the BU Bridge (cottage farm bridge then) where we would climb down the hill by the bridge and sit in the tall grass talking and listening to the Trains being shifted and hooked across the river in the Brighton Rail Yards, life was much simpler then life was much safer then, I wouldn't want my teenager sitting in that spot today at Two O'Clock in the afternoon, but, nothing is forever, during those summer months in the 1940's on a hot evening you could walk along the Charles River for hours without seeing another person, there were times right after we married and had our first baby that on very hot nights we would take some blankets, pillows, a thermos of Kool Aid and spend the night sleeping by the river (don't try that one today) now back to the Chinese Food.

Fried Rice:
Something new happened, while sitting in our favorite little Beer & Wine hangout, (this place would serve 10 year old kids) the Cops never bothered this place, on most days the only Cop in the area, The Beat Cop, would be in the back room with his coat off and his Gun Belt hanging on a chair, he would be half drunk and sound asleep (1946).

On this day the new thing happened, one of the local neighborhood guys came in with a terrible Hangover, he gulped down three beers in three seconds then he sat down with us in our booth and opened a paper bag he was carrying, inside was a white box with a little wire handle, he asked the bartender for a spoon, when he opened the box the odor from that box was one of the most beautiful feelings I have ever had in my life, I said "what the hell is that" he said "fried rice" I started laughing, I said "who the hell fries rice, your supposed to boil it" he said "Chinese, it's Chinese food" I got a spoon and tried it, that was 65 years ago, I have been a Chinese Food Freak ever since.

The following Saturday night I ironed my one white shirt then I ran downstairs and jumped into my old 1932 Ford (w/rumble seat) I drove down to Waverly St and picked up my girlfriend, we then traveled up Brookline St towards Central Sq, we stopped at Harry Katz's gas station, I told the guy to "put in 25 cents worth" gas was about 18 cents a gallon then, my future wife said "where are we going" I said "are you hungry" she said "yes I want my clams" I said "the hell with the clams" she didn't say anything, in those days my wife always did what I told her today she just grunts and walks away, I drove up Massachusetts Avenue to Harvard Sq and parked in front of the "Hong Kong" chinese restaurant, we were hooked for life, that very first day I had my first Monsodium Glutamate Seizure, I have had thousands since, these seizure's come on just as soon as you leave the restaurant and walk out into the day light, the symptoms are little colored spots flashing in your eyes, I loved them.

Large Orders:
Shrimp With Lobster Sauce
Fried Rice
Spare Ribs (with bone)
Chicken Wings
Pork Strips (if they have them)
Duck Sauce/Mustard Sauce (mix mustard into duck sauce)