Starbucks Employees Are Literary Like Me!

Here’s the thing about my friend Ben: he’s an avid reader, a voracious film-goer and a lover of music. He also, in my opinion, happens to look a great deal like Jonathan Franzen, but blonder. I’ve never ever informed Ben of this, for no particular reason, so imagine my delight when I received the following email from him:

from: Ben
to: Nayiri
subject: My afternoon conversation with a Starbucks barista.

Barista: Grande iced soy latte for Ben.
Me: Thanks.
B: Do you know who you look like?
M: No. Who do I look like?
B: Do you know the writer Jonathan Franzen?
M: I do.
B: That’s who you look like.
M: Oh. Well… thanks… I guess…?
B: [shrugs] He’s a good writer.

Hysterical.

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Dinner at the Paramount.

I hadn’t seen my friend Lauren in months, so I was really excited to meet up with her for dinner at The Paramount on Charles Street. Now, The Paramount is kind of a sentimental place for me — I used to live around the corner on Beacon Street during college; my friends and I used to walk over all the time for their huge breakfast plates on the weekend. Since then, The Paramount has gone through a few changes, mostly in décor, but it’s still a spot I like to visit every now and then for old time’s sake.

I was absolutely starving, so I knew that I was going to be ordering a lot of food. The nice thing about The Paramount is that the salads and the pastas come in half- and full-sized portions, so you as a diner can sample a few dishes without feeling as though you are going to explode at the end of the night.

I kept that in mind when I decided to start with the grilled apple and blue cheese salad, which was tossed with candied walnuts, mesclun greens and a balsamic vinaigrette ($5.00 for a half-portion). The blue cheese was tangy, the walnuts had just the right amount of sweetness and the greens were nice and crisp. It was a satisfying start to the meal.

For my entrée, I selected the spinach and cheese ravioli, which was served under a veritable coating of the roasted tomato and basil cream sauce ($7.00 for a half-portion). Generally speaking, I don’t like heavy dollops of sauce encumbering my food; before I had even taken my first bite I found myself eyeing my plate and determining the best way to scrape off some of the plentiful sauce. In the end, I did end up eating most of it, but not for lack of trying. I couldn’t help but think that the ravioli’s fresh flavors were a bit smothered by the overpowering sauce.

It was a hot and sticky evening, so Lauren and I decided to cool down with some milkshakes after dinner ($4.00). I chose chocolate and Oreo, and was so very pleased to see that it was served in a tall glass. (I have, on many occasions, dreamily described the perfect hot fudge sundae. It always includes a parfait glass and a long spoon; so this was very exciting for me.) After I gave my Oreo garnish to Lauren — I don’t like the cookie itself but love it smashed up in ice cream or, apparently, in milkshakes — I all but dove in. While I was incapable of finishing the drink, it was definitely the most perfect way to end dinner, and certainly worth a visit to The Paramount in itself.

The Paramount
44 Charles Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
617.720.1152
paramountboston.com

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