I was visiting a Boston neighborhood with deep roots – Charlestown. Settled in 1624 and home to many Boston landmarks Charlestown went through a tough streak in the 1960s, as emphasized in the Ben Afflick’s movie The Town. However, the 1980s was a time of massive gentrification opening up the neighborhood to fine restaurants, art galleries, and yoga studios. Today it’s not unusual to see tourists, nannies pushing strollers, and dog walkers on its once mean streets.
I was enjoying the softer side of Charlestown at one if its finest restaurants, Tangierino with one of my favorite artists. The cuisine at Tangierinos is a fusion of North African (Moroccan) spices and techniques with French, American and Mediterranean styles. Inside you will find a collection of cozy dining rooms with walls painted a rich reds or rust, cozy arm chairs, Middle Eastern art and décor and exposed brick walls and mood lighting.
Laila was one of my most enchanting friends. I had studied art at Sorbonne and not only loved art but artists. Laila was an artist who specialized in a Persian miniature style of painting. She was currently showing at the MFA and I was thrilled she had looked me up when she came to town. I met her at the entrance of the restaurant. She waived and then gave me a kiss hello. She looked exactly as I expected with long straight hair worn loose. Her tunic that was a blend of rich desert colors with cascading sleeves. Her smile was always generous and perhaps a little mischievous and her eyes never ceased to draw you in during a conversation.
Digging into our tapas Laila began telling me about her exhibitions and in between mouthfuls of, roasted eggplant with pita bread and potato crab cakes with harissa-aioli and the four layer tuna tartar. I enlightened Laila about my latest move to Boston and no sooner than we had started conversing than our entrée arrived. Mine was a braised lamb shank, in honey and rosemary, spiced merguez, with a medley of s even vegetable couscous while Laila had ordered the roasted salmon, in harissa, with baby carrots, bell peppers, olives, and charmoula.
Laila like a free spirit was constantly traveling from place to place and from love affair to love affair, with people like Laila the world would always be an interesting place.
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