After two years of sampling every style of restaurant our
area affords, I'm moving on. Now I can look forward to simply
reading the column every Thursday, as opposed to writing it.
It's fitting that I learned of the writing opportunity over a
"I just heard about the perfect job for you!" my
friend Julie exclaimed over D'Anna's Café Italiano's delectable
Julie had accompanied my predecessor, Robin Parks, on many
review meals and knew that the columnist was ending her tenure.
I was a full-time freelance writer at the time, but food had
not been a subject I'd written about. Home design? Plenty of
experience. Business profiles? Done to death.
I knew a lot about the subject, but I wasn't confident I
could adequately apply appropriate adjectives to every devoured
dish on a week-by-week basis.
The art of preparing and presenting food had interested me
for years, starting with my days at Better Homes &
Gardens a decade ago, when I would walk past rows of test
kitchens daily. Photo shoots of carefully crafted dishes were
fascinating to watch, as high-end cooking gadgets grew
exponentially in my house.
I couldn't pass the possibility by, so I put together a
portfolio of my published works, dropped it off at The Herald
and crossed my fingers. Somehow, I won my editor over with my
decorating articles, and she gave me the gig.
At first I was thrilled, and then I was nervous.
Thinking back over the two years of reviews I've written
overwhelms me. I sat down to write my first column showcasing my beloved Calumet and stared at the blank page,
convinced my editor had made a mistake in hiring me. After much
struggle, I turned in a piece I thought was passable, but
couldn't imagine pulling it off week after week.
Luckily, it got easier over time and never grew boring. There was
always a new restaurant around the corner, or an old favorite
that I hadn't yet tried.
Regrets? I've had a few. Most involve restaurants that I
didn't get to try.
Earlier this summer, I had my eye on Sadie's Tea For All
Seasons, a tea house on Meridian Street that charmed me each
time I drove by. I added it to my schedule, but the week I was
to go, it closed for renovations. I waited and waited, even
adding it to my calendar a couple months later, well after the
posted sign said it was set to re-open, but the date came and
went. By the time it finally re-opened, my final calendar was
I've also been looking forward to Mannino's move from
downtown to Fairhaven for well more than a year. When the
remodeling of the new space began, we lived in the neighborhood
and watched the changes with anticipation. But a year later,
we've moved to another neighborhood, and Mannino's is still in
its downtown locale.
When it finally does make the move to charming Fairhaven,
I'll be one of the first to make a reservation.
Sadly, I missed reviewing both of these eateries, but I look
forward to my successor's take on them, if they land on her
schedule at some point.
One person who won't miss my columns is my husband. He loves
food and is a voracious (yet frustratingly fit) eater, but even
he hit his tolerance point for going out to eat so often especially since it was increasingly
an eatery he wasn't interested in trying. He has his favorites
and doesn't like to deviate from them.
A big thanks goes out to him and all the people friends, family, co-workers who joined me for review meals, even
when the restaurant in question wasn't high on their must-try
A casual meal turns into something else entirely when the
person you're eating with takes notes on the sly and asks you to
wait before you dig in, so she can commit to memory each dish's
One thing I won't miss? The tab. In the interest of
objectivity, I paid for every meal that I wrote about over the
course of 100 columns.
Some weeks I only just broke even between what came out of my
checking account and what The Herald's payment put back
in. But I'd do it all over again without hesitation.
I am going to miss hearing from my readers. I've kept
every note you wrote, good and bad, and was shocked to dig
through my files yesterday and find nearly 200 e-mails and
The raves far outweigh the razzes, but I appreciate each of
you who took the time to share your opinions with me. Thank you
for letting me do the same for the past two years.