Childhood memories of restaurant dining
I've been flooded with memories recently with the news that Anthony's Pier 4 in Boston is closing next month after 50 years of serving Bostonians and tourists seafood with a history and a view. Although I haven't been in several years due to it's decline as premier dining destination I have many fond memories from childhood. When my parents would ask what restaurant I wanted to celebrate my birthday I often chose Pier 4 because of the wonderful popovers that started every meal, the celebrity photos lining the walls of the entryway, the view of the ocean and the deep dish apple pie for dessert! Yeah, I loved to eat even as a kid.
Had another great memory tonight as I ate a quick dinner of pasta shells with marinara sauce and a slice of buttered bread. Almost every summer we would go to Cape Cod for a few days and always dined at least onece at what I believe was called the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Always got the same meal, pasta shells with marinara and meatballs, served with a roll and butter. It's probably why I still love pasta shells today, always reminds me of Cape Cod.
And I'm always haunted (in a good way) by the many meals my family ate at Howard Johnson restaurants. I remember the bread plate contained a white roll and a piece of date nut bread. As a kid I hated that date nut bread but my mom loved it and ended up taking all the pieces nobody else wanted to eat. Now I wish I could go back in time and have those slices. Date nut bread has become one of my favorites! What I wouldn't give right now for a Hojo Blueberry Toastee!
I thought I was an elegant little three or four year old, so I would never, never order a kid's meal, I would always order what I just knew was the most sophisticated and elegant meal around -- soup and salad. I always wanted a cup of chicken noodle or vegetable soup and a little iceberg, etc. salad with thousand island dressing and Saltines. I thought soup and salad was the epitome of fanciness.
I remember eating the tails from my parents' catfish at Shaw's catfish house -- crunchy! I would get a catfish burger (fried catfish filet on a bun) and the best hushpuppies in the world.
I remember a place that i went as a child called Sea Ketch. Even though it was a seafood restaurant, they were known for the chicken cordon bleu and chicken Kiev. I aways got one of these with the clam chowder and roqufort cheese dressing. So fancy.
And for breakfast it was Cypress Inn for pigs in a blanket. Syrup on sausage? What?! Yes, please.
And Fung Wongs for mu shu pork or sweet and sour chicken.
Such a treat as a child
When I was very young, my parents took us to a cafeteria in the downtown of a small suburban city. We would go through the line and each choose a meat, but my parents would buy veggie sides and later split those with us at the table. I don't think we we were allowed to get dessert.
Later, I remember that we found this casual burger place that made several "special" burgers--one had "everything" on it and a special sauce. It was topped off the two sweet pickles on toothpicks in the shape of a T.
I don't think I was ever taken to a nice place to eat when I was young. But later, after we kids flew the coop, my parents adored eating out. And the did so all over town.
My favorite memory is of having dinner at a red-boothed steak house at the shore in New Jersey. My great aunt and uncle each has a cocktail; I of course had a Shirley Temple. As was my practice, I sipped the drink, saving the maraschino cherry for last. But before I could eat it, the waiter whisked my drink away. I started to cry and then told my great uncle what had happened. This being their local place, he got up and spoke to the waiter. A minute later, the waiter returned with a pony glass filled with cherries--just for me.
I have popover memories, too - at Patricia Murphy's restaurant on Long Island, which was the only place my parents ever went to for our rare restaurant dinners. My mother did not drive, so going to Gertz department store in Queens involved a lot of walking and bus transfers. I was probably 4-5 yrs old at the time. We always had lunch at their restaurant. It had large B/W murals of the NYC area. I remember one with a woman in mid-air, above a diving board. There were C-shaped dark green leatherette booths but the only food memory is the kid's dessert, the clown head made from a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a cone as the head, raisin eyes, and a maraschino cherry nose. Aerosol whipped cream was the hair.