Offensive Player

Boston secrets from the man who dissed football

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ocal author and humorist Steve Almond shared his disillusionment with football in his book Against Football: A Reluctant Manifesto and what he calls his drooling fanaticism for rock’n’roll in Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. Among other things, Almond, who lives in Arlington, channels our inner groupie and insufferable need—come on, you know you do it—to force our musical tastes on anyone in earshot. The book recounts how music figures into sexual liaisons, lists “Rock’s Biggest Assholes,” and brings us inside the minds of rock stars Almond, as his journalist alter ego, has interviewed. Also the author of My Life in Heavy Metal, Candyfreak, The Evil B.B. Chow, (Not That You Asked), and, with Julianna Baggott, Which Brings Me to You, Almond also has published a collection of very short stories and essays on writing called This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey. Here, Almond shares his drooling fanaticism for his favorite Cambridge, Somerville, and Arlington secrets:

1


The Winter Hill Bakery, Somerville. I used to live around the corner from this fragrant treasure. I still swing by every week for some Portuguese rolls. Light, airy, dusted with flour, they’re crack to a carb addict. I eat two before I get home. The pizza dough, turnovers, and cookies are also great, and cheap.
 

2


The Middlesex Fells Reservation. Who knew there was an historic park in the middle of Medford with gorgeous hiking trails, a sweet view of the city, and a reservoir? I sure didn’t, until I had a kid and started looking around for places to expend her boundless energy. This is one of the best.
 

3


The Edith M. Fox Branch Library Thrift Shop, East Arlington. I’m a huge fan of the library, especially with two voracious little readers at home. But the thrift shop is a total find. My daughter Josie—who scored a princess dress for a pittance—is also a loyalist. Long live the branch library!]
 

4


Memorial Drive at 3 a.m. If you want to see downtown Boston’s skyline reflected in the winding, inky black Charles, this is your best shot. Just watch for crossing geese.
 

5


Vinny’s at Night. A Somerville classic: located in the back of a convenience store, huge portions, low prices. Show up early if you want a seat—they don’t do reservations.
 

6


The Somerville VFW Hall. Next time you’re planning a blowout party, call the VFW. The space is huge, there’s a cool little bar, and the price can’t be beat.
 

7


Growing Your Own. Making the move from Somerville to the Lower East Side of Arlington was tough. But one unexpected dividend was a home garden. Because most of Arlington was farm land not long ago, the soil’s supercharged. We harvest enough tomatoes to feed the neighborhood.
 

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