Avoid your family! Eat at Boston Market for the holidays
Some of the best holiday memories are made in the kitchen. The wafting aroma of ham and reheated Hawaiian rolls, the rush to make sure the cream of mushroom soup moistens that green bean casserole, the agonized sighs after reading the calorie count on the Sara Lee pie box. And, if you are me, the screeching sound of various family members asking me if I'm still a registered Democrat, and why President Obama is trying to take away their guns.
J. Wohletz Merry family-less Xmas!
But if all of that is just too damn stress-inducing and you don't want to mortgage your home to order half of a Honeybaked Ham for Christmas, Boston Market is the perfect place to get your holiday feast on the cheap -- plus extra creamed spinach and no questions about your sexual orientation or lifestyle.
When I stopped in this past weekend, the Boston Market at 500 Grant Street was warm -- steamy, really -- and inviting with the aromas of steamed broccoli and pot pies. Approaching the huge, walled-in steam table made me feel a lot like Christmas -- except better because, I had no family members asking me if I'm ever going to get a real job. Matter of fact, the nice lady at the counter didn't ask me why I've never wanted a condo and a Lexus -- she just asked me if I wanted chicken, turkey, pot roast or meatloaf. I liked her.
J. Wohletz I recommend starting with the giant plate of brownies.
Boston Market does cater, and it does sell price-fixed holiday meals to go, but I wasn't ready to commit, because I hadn't eaten at the Market for years -- so a couple of individual meals would be sufficient to get my homestyle holiday meal tastes. I chose a half rotisserie chicken with macaroni and cheese, and garlic dill new potatoes; meatloaf with loaded mashed potatoes, cinnamon apples and creamed spinach. I was disappointed there wasn't any of Boston Market's signature cheesy baked zucchini-squash casserole, but apparently that's a regional thing, and I wasn't in the right region.
Watching the nice lady drop scoop up creamed spinach gave me a serious case of the holiday warm fuzzies. She filled my portioned plates, didn't tell me how much weight I'd put on or ask me why I still shopped at Hot Topic even though I'm thirty-six. She didn't bring up that time back in high school when I stole my mom's Chevrolet suburban and wrecked it. And she didn't chastise me for wandering off while she was scooping: I'd discovered something I hadn't seen before at Boston Market; giant plates of brownies over by the register.
J. Wohletz Mmmm...chicken skin.
For five measly quatloos I got a plate heaping with fresh-baked brownies -- the good, cake-like ones with chocolate chips instead of walnuts. Ho, ho, ho!
Boston Market was founded as "Boston Chicken" in Massachusetts in 1985, got a name change and is now headquartered in Golden -- so I was, in a way, eating at home for the holidays. The early '90s weren't kind to this chain; accelerated growth and expansion caused the company to file for bankruptcy in 1998, and McDonald's purchased the chain in 2000, reportedly with the intent of picking the bones for real estate -- but when execs discovered the chain still had some life in it, McDoo sold it to Sun Capital Partners in 2007.
Boston Market seems to be doing fine at the moment...and has a far less dysfunctional history than my family holidays.
J. Wohletz There's nothing like meatloaf for the holidays!
I won't lie -- I ate a brownie before I ate any of the dinner food. It was so incredibly moist, rich and chocolaty and just the perfect balance of soft and dense that I had to celebrate the holiday season by eating another one immediately.
I was so ecstatic at the idea of being able to eat a holiday season meal without listening to anyone talk about how socialism is ruinng the country, or how women get too many abortions, that I almost forgot to eat my meatloaf and rotisserie chicken before it got cold.
Boston Market does some fine-ass chicken. It's roasted with crisp, garlicky skin, not too salty, as is the case with many restaurant rotisserie chickens; the white meat is moist as the dark meat -- another rare treat with chain roasted chicken. And although folks don't usually eat meatloaf for Christmas -- even though they really should -- these slices were smothered with a hickory-ish tomato sauce and brown gravy -- why pick just one? -- and fall-apart fork-able.