Letter from the Drinking Town 15 – Livia’s Dish

Dear Worcester

I went to a place I couldn’t get to during the original tour two years ago. This place was Livia’s Dish. I heard they had a full bar but the dinner time ended quickly and I couldn’t get to it before it closed so I gave it up for too much work. I mean, I ain’t paid for this. Hell, I am paying for the right of creating these letters. One cocktail at a time. This is the kind of thing that professional writers shun: do not pay for the permission to be a writer. They also say: don’t drink too much or you will turn into a writerly cliche. Well, looks like I’m batting a thousand on what not to do.

Today, because I knew I was leaving work early and had no committments, I looked up places I might go to. I checked out Livia’s Dish and read that they are now a brunch only place. They go to three every day of the week. And yes, they still have a full bar. Of course they do. How else could they make the necessary mimosas? I figured I could get there by two and why not? Let’s try another gin and tonic and another place I have never been. It’s pure evolutionary science. Man comes out of the muck, then man makes ridiculous goal that revolves around alcohol.

I got there and it was a very nice looking place. There is a ground floor and then quickly steps going to a second level where there is a bar and additional tables. Guess where I went?

The place was winding down. There were two parties at tables, finishing off, talking and lingering. I was by myself at the five seat bar. It was wide and presentable. There was a flatscreen showing a cooking show. The waitress slash bartender gave me a menu and greeted me warmly. Now, my problem was, this was a brunch place. At no time does it feel like the kind of place you walk into just for a cocktail. That’s just strange. So I decided to order something for lunch. This violated my rule, but I didn’t know who to avoid it.

Scanning the menu, I knew I wanted a salad. But first. I ordered the item that brought me here in the first and only place: a gin and tonic. It was almost a treat that the woman didn’t ask me what kind of gin. All they had was Tanqueray and Tanqueray was what I was to have. There is a pleasant sensation in surrendering decisions to the bartender. “Just make it.”

The drink came for seven dollars and I took a sip of it before I ordered my food. It was a nice cocktail. I liked it. Maybe not top ten gin and tonics in this tour, but hey, I would not spit this out with disgust. Sometimes you want a cocktail to taste like the cocktail always has, and this was it. You want a decent gin and tonic. This was it. And dealing with the vagaries of cocktail manufacturing in this day and age, getting a decent cocktail is a beautiful thing.  This is just me saying, if you need to go to a brunch place and have a drink, then you can a order a gin and tonic here and you will be pleased.

Then I ordered a salad and she told me that the pecans that are supposed to be in the salad are not available and they will have walnuts instead. I am allergic to walnuts and I am sad to report I felt a little put out. Not for anything they did, people run of pecans, it happens, but because I was probably pissed that I have this annoying allergy. So I looked at my choices and said, “You know what, I am cool, I will stick with the gin and tonic, thanks.”

This was kind of relief. It meant I could continue with just having a drink and no food for this tour. The bartender apologized a few times, but I was happy and told her so. I said a gin and tonic is three or four tiers of the nutritional pyramid.

Behind me, a group of dentists were telling horror stories of the trade. They had just come in from playing golf. Another couple was in the front room. The two waitresses and I were in the bar watching the mid-day news. The weatherman was wearing a buttoned sports coat that didn’t fit him. It strained against his belly. “There are scores of people around him, why wouldn’t someone tell him to unbutton that thing. Or get a jacket that fits.” I said.

The bartender said, “Yeah, he has put on some weight. Why wouldn’t someone say that that is not a good look.”

The other waitress said, “Of course the weather women don’t have that problem. They are all so thin and wearing dresses that show off too much. None of them should be bending down too quickly.”

“But what is it,” the bartender said, “with them. Even the ones not in good shape, they all have really toned arms. Every weather woman have these scutlpted arms. Like they are doing curls with weights before each time they go on air.”

The conversation went on. We talked about weather people and weather and that this is a nice place to work at. “Not too many people here right now though,” I said.

The bartender said, “It’s after two in the afternoon, we close at three. It’s the end of the night for us. Last call.”

Nothing important was said in this conversation. No one opened their souls. No one learned something important. But everyone had a nice moment chatting, killing time, enjoying the end of the night – in the middle of the afternoon.

The thing about what I do, is that it is not a comprehensive review of a place. But I get an impression. I really liked being at Livia’s Dish. The place was bright and inviting. The staff was terrific. The food looked good and they made a fine gin and tonic. I will definitely try out the brunch with my family soon.

It is always fun to talk smack about a place, but it is more satisfying to speak well of a restaurant.

Until Next Time



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