Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good Mood on Moody

I spend a lot of time on Moody Street -- that's not a euphemism for the blues, it's a fact of life and geography. Waltham has a Main Street, but to me it's all about Moody. It runs from Moody-and-Main -- where the Sovereign Bank lives, the Cafe on the Common, and the Common itself, in back of and around the City Hall -- down past the historic mills and over the Mighty Chuck, where it boasts a dam and riverwalk area, along into a gritty and sometimes pretty amalgam of furniture stores, pubs, ethnic restaurants, martial arts ventures, nail salons and Indian groceries.

I'm making it sound tawdry, and perhaps to some it is. But I get it all done on Moody Street, where my going-on-ten-year love affair with martial arts and working out hard at Perry's Tae Kwon Do is still happening. I found Queen Cleaners, where it's so convenient to drop my dry-clean-only stuff some weeknight and pick it up on Saturday morning. When Steve and I need to reconnect for a few minutes in all the busy-ness, a pint at The Skellig is a welcome respite. We're a known quantity at Bison County, where we get some good 'cue on occasion and the best turkey tips around. It's hard to get a bad meal on Moody, and there are so many options, from Ponzu to Guanachapi's to the venerable Tuscan Grill.

My pal Susan and I spent a few hours on Moody yesterday. First we got our pizza on at The Upper Crust, whose Moody Street outlet does not disappoint. Being the chief home executives that we are, we realized we both were in the market for vacuum cleaners. Mr. Sweeper on Moody let us play with the fancy Mieles (yeah, that's why their floor looks so clean, 'kay?) and even offered a trade-in discount. We hit Compleat Gamester on the even-numbered side of the street and played with puzzles and brain-teasers (slightly less work than vacuuming up sand at Mr. Sweeper). We traded restaurant and drink recs as we passed The Lincoln (wicked good Dirty Martinis where Frosty's used to be) and Tom Can Cook, which is fabulous for pan-Asian (but not fusion as it advertises - go to Ponzu for that). Next stop was Back Pages Books for a re-nunion (yeah, I said it) with Patrick, Steve and Alex Green (the owner). I scooped up great used volumes recommended by friends on Good Reads and didn't feel the least bit guilty (my credit from selling Alex some books earlier in the year kinda helped).

The street is a scene and it's always changing. It makes me so happy, how much it's changed since my days at Brandeis when Grover Cronin was crumbling and you only went to Moody for Indian food and then got the hell out. I forgot to tell Susan we needed to get to Gourmet Pottery for cool gifts and cards, but she remembered to check into an afternoon tea reservation for next week at The Tea Leaf, a delightful place we explored for a few minutes in our jaunt.

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