Unless you are a freshman, you likely recall walking down Mass. Ave. toward Central and seeing for the first time the large white and blue sign that proudly declared “Pu Pu Hot Pot.” While I never set foot inside Pu Pu Hot Pot, when I saw that the banner had been replaced by a sleek new sign, I felt bereft. The walk to Central would never be quite as funny as it used to be. However, I had a hunch it might be tastier, as the new sign announced that a new restaurant would be taking its place, Patty Chen’s Dumpling Room. I love a good dumpling, and dislike going all the way to Chinatown to get good ones. The thought of homemade dumplings close by was incredibly enticing, so I headed over as soon as it opened.
Boston is famous for its fantastic fish, clam chowder, lobster, crab rolls, and oysters, but I was raised on different sort of food. My home state, Texas, is famous for its Tex-Mex and BBQ. When I get homesick for Mexican food, there are plenty of restaurants that will sort of fill the void until I can go home. But when I’m craving real BBQ, when all I want is a brisket sandwich on jalapeño toast and drenched in sauce, I can only sigh, think of home, and move on. The other day, though, I happened to walk by Sweet Cheeks Q, a restaurant near Fenway proclaiming Texas-style BBQ. I had to stop in right away. What I found both delighted and disappointed me.