A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mexicali dials it up!


I reviewed the Mexicali Grill in Spencer for the Sturbridge Times Magazine June 2011 issue. The link is here. The food is tasty, but the general temperature is moderate. Some like it hot, c'est moi. In doing the review, I asked the managers about that. They said they could ramp it up to order.

The fam went there this week and as a hotness lover, I asked them to dial it up on my Cali Burrito order. This was a test of the emergency heat capability. They probably thought they were increasing the temp as far as a gringo could stand it and it was much warmer. The waiter made it a point of asking if I was satisfied. When I told him, it was good, but could be higher heat, he did not hesitate in bringing out a tasty habanero sauce. He then came back with more after I had put the whole dish on the burrito.

The Mexicali is a fine establishment. They are accommodating to the diner. However, taste in heat varies such that you have to speak up to the level of torridness you desire. It is worth it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Au revoir - Death of the Casino

Update-Masslive has an article about Ware going after Fred. I am no lawyer, but I would love to see Fred engage a contingency fee attorney with the instincts of a shark. The destruction of his theater smacked of eminent domain without taking title. I hope he has a cause of action. The town probably did consult a lawyer beforehand so I'm just engaging in wishful thinking.

Actually, though Fred might be morally justified in going after the town, he would not be punishing those who destroyed the Casino, but the average Ware resident. None of the town officers stands at risk for any action they took in office." Again, these are the words of a non-attorney.

The Casino has been torn down for a while now


. The Town of Ware has a hole in it. I am not talking about the vacant lot. I’m talking about its soul.

Okay, maybe towns don’t have souls. Maybe the community that some people think exists is merely an agglomeration of individuals. Still, it is sad to think that there is no real social glue.

I do not want to assess blame. People work to their level and sometimes something happens and sometimes it doesn’t. That said, there are some reflections that will be noted below.

First up is Fred McLennan. Fred is the favorite whipping boy. Yes, he did not deliver, but he was the only one to step up to the plate. He flew on no budget so what little he accomplished was something. The arguments the town had against him were valid enough, but no one tried to engage him on terms other than adversarial.

At the demolition, I heard some fellow sneer, “I hear he didn’t even pay the dollar.” Yeah, a lot of people repeated that. It was usually said with an air of triumph.
“I’m so smart compared to that idiot, Fred.” Brilliant. Anyone who slagged Fred needs to tell us what they did for the theater. Health advisory, do not hold your breath.

Next is Mary T. I had only one conversation with her. I would say everything she said was correct. Fred did drop many balls. In the weasel words of Winston Churchill, everything Mary said was “true, but not exhaustive.”

Mary T is a bureaucrat. One would guess there is nothing in her job description about having “vision.” She does not have to think of the families who in the future might have had the joy of taking in a movie together. Legally, she can’t be faulted. You got what you paid for, Ware. If only there had been a little enterprise, some creativity (I hate that word). There probably was no one out there to replace Fred, but no one looked.

I want to compliment Pauline and Julie and anyone who might have helped them. You love your town far more than it deserves. I want to also tip the hat to everyone who joined the facebook page. You all had lives elsewhere, so even being on facebook was an act of heart.

Generations ago, there was a civic minded class in these old mill towns that could get things done. Now that class gets up in the morning and goes to work in Springfield or Amherst and is much less engaged where they sleep. Ah progress.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Le Mirage Café-Restaurant Review


Hollywood in Sturbridge is about Southwest Worcester County. So what are we doing reviewing a Wormtown eatery. Well we had one of those accounts that you get hooked into and some points so we bought a discount voucher. My daughter expressed an interest in Le Mirage Café so Monday evening early found us there.

Le Mirage has a pleasant, neat dining room. We were seated at a June Street window and had a fine view of the passing scene. I did have a question for our efficient waiter. The daughter pointed to the top of the window. There was what appeared to be a bullet hole. I asked our good man if it was something someone said? He took it good-naturedly.

We had not come to engage in battle but to eat. The cafe bills itself as Mediterranean. We decided to give the south shore of that sea a try and shared an order of the Baba Ghannouj. The BG was delicious, but was a little too chilled. The flavors would have been brighter if it had been served closer to room temperature.

For her main course, my young empress ordered the Chicken and Shrimp Casablanca. The pasta and sauce were perfect, creamy and bright, but the very large shrimps and pieces of chicken were a bit overcooked and tough. The accompanying salad had a pleasant, tangy dressing.

My choice was the baked Kibbe with Fatuoush Salad. I asked for the added Feta. It has been a long time since I've eaten kibbe and enjoyed on Monday. The salad with the pieces of pita bread through it was also good.

The cafe does not have a desert menu. Instead, one goes up to the display case and chooses. If you don't handle temptation well, it is not for you. My daughter asked for the Chocolate Soufflé. It was heated for her, but was nothing like a soufflé. Not a problem as it was more a delicious, dense, mini chocolate bundt cake. As for moi, the most dangerous place on this planet is between me and anything with Key Lime in its name. I had the cheesecake.

Le Mirage is BYOB. I have no problem letting my inner sommelier out.

We left sated and will be back. I'm not worried about the bullet. It was small caliber and they aimed high. Not a dull place.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It was a mighty storm!

My Dorothy Gale moment and loving la vida dull

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paul Girouard is the Guitar Stradivarius of Sturbridge

The Stradivarius of Sturbridge

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sturbridge Times Magazine is out, Shameless Self Promotion-August edition


Ah August. Less oppressive heat, but the occasional morning with the nip in the air the portends fall and then....... Forget I mentioned that.

I've beaten this drum before. Stubridge and environs has more going for it for movie locations than just about anywhere. In light of the State's generous incentives, why are other regions getting more, dare we say it, exposure? See Page 2 for why a film bureau would help.

Flapjack Willy's is the traditional American breakfast and lunch spot. A genre quickly passing. Still flourishing in North Brookfield. See review on Page 12.

My column on Page 18 is about my affair with J.K. Rowling. Okay, it's not what you think.

There are many other writers with articles in the Sturbridge Magazine, so look for it on a newstand. If you don't find one, you can download a pdf at http://sturbridgetimes.com/