Monday, December 22, 2008

The 99, aka Heaven on Earth

Today I took the Fung Wah bus from New York to Boston. The Fung Wah has a long-standing tradition of being fast and out of control, but so much fun! In my 5 years of taking the Chinatown to Chinatown Express, I have sat next to a Hungarian, a yoga instructor who critiqued my posture, and a conspiracy theorist who declared that the Citigroup building would be next to go (I was working there at the time). I love these experiences because dealing with the crazies gives me a good story to tell, and it makes me hungry!

Which is great when I'm going back to Boston because usually it means I'm visiting my parents and they are all about buying me food!

Today was no different. My dad and brother picked me up at South Station. It took us almost 2 hours to get back to the greatest town in the Merrimack Valley, North Andover! Home of the Scarlet Knights and Sam Waterston! North Andover is also the home of many fine dining establishments, including the distinguished Harrison's Roast Beef, cougar hangout Burton's, and the always venerable The Loft.

My preferred place, however, is a Simons family favorite. It is not only a place where everybody knows your name, it is also the place where you will see 5 generations of North Andover drinking together. It is also the place where you can get free popcorn and bright orange spreadable cheese and crackers. It is the place where you can order the most delicious appetizer in all the land: Gold Fever Wings.

Yes, I'm talking about the 99.

The 99 is a New England tradition, and by New England I mean New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It's a super awesome chain, yet every particular location is very local. For example, I would never set foot in the Andover 99. That's like an Italian kid from East Boston going into Southie during the busing years. We're talking Sharks/Jets action here.

So Barbara (Mom), John (Dad), Droo (Droo) and I piled into the station wagon to head to the Nines. When we got there, my brother pointed out 2 of my friends from high school, Kristen and Eric. Woohoo! I talked to them for a few minutes at the bar, then I joined La Familia at a booth just in time for the aforementioned popcorn and cheese and crackers. Five minutes later, the Gold Fever Wings arrived at the table. Surprisingly, they lasted more than 5 minutes. The waitress came back to take our order, I got a Sam Adams Winter Ale and turkey tips with butternut squash and mashed potatoes. This is about as high brow as you can get at the Nines.

We finished our meal and said goodbye to my friends at the bar. Just to think I have 2 more weeks of free food with my parents gets me all warm and happy inside!!!

No comments: