I wonder if you recognize the term in my title today: “All-request Weekend.” I don’t know if radio stations, where you live, do those on holiday weekends.
In case you request a definition, All-request Weekends are when a radio station counts down — from some number (like* 500) to #1 — songs that people request. When I was regularly listening to All-request Weekends, “Hey Jude” by the Beatles was often #1.
Perhaps (I humbly request), as you read this post, you might remember your own top song countdowns.
Oh! I haven’t told you, yet, why I think “All-request Weekend” is such a great title for today’s blog post. Yesterday’s post, Day 510: Order(s), featured one reader’s request that I smell some flowers. In response to that post, WordPresser Plant Electrician* requested that I smell some chocolate (and Diana Schwenk* added to the request that I taste the chocolate, too). Since I followed all of those requests — and because this is Memorial Day* Weekend in the USA — Voila! It’s an All-request Weekend!
Is everybody with me?
After the requests came in, yesterday, from Plant Electrician and Diana, I asked myself:
What chocolate would I choose — from all the available options — to smell and taste, today?
… which was not the easiest question to answer. First, I thought of the cupcake shop I visited a year ago* on Charles Street in Boston, but that place is currently closed.
The next thing I thought of was ….
For anybody who has attended MIT, Harvard, other local schools, or is at all familiar with the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Toscanini’s is
- A number one
- King of the hill
- Top of the heap
- Head of the List
- Top of the hill
- (ice) Cream of the crop
… and so on (including other superlatives Frank Sinatra has sung in his hit, New York, New York*.
Speaking of New York, New York, the NY Times has rated Toscanini’s “The Best Ice Cream in the World.”
Speaking for myself, I used to habituate Toscanini’s all the time, but haven’t been there in many years.
May I request that you accompany me on my trip there?
I made a brand new start of it* yesterday in Cambridge, like so:
And, like old times, I wanted to be a part of it, right through the very heart of it*:
… a heart, which as you can see, has a LOT of LIFE.
Before the chocolate at Toscanini’s, I wanted to have lunch. And it seemed like Life Alive would give me a healthy balance for the sweets to come.
I requested “The Emperor” (which is #2 on the menu):
Then, when I saw familiar sights on the walk down Massachusetts Avenue to Toscanini’s, I remembered to let them into my heart:
I also saw new things, and remembered to let them into my heart*, too:
As I turned onto Main Street and neared Toscanini’s, memories of past amazing ice cream flavors showed up. Counting those down:
#5 Chocolate Pudding
#4 Chocolate Chip
#3 White Chocolate
#2 Belgium Chocolate
#1 Some amazing flavor with giant chunks of delicious chocolate cookies, perhaps the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.
Where was I? Oh, yes, approaching Toscanini’s, yesterday. As I got closer, topping my Toscanini-memories was the place’s owner: Gus Rancatore.
Why? Because Gus Rancatore:
- is an incredibly friendly, nice guy.
- was somebody I used to see a lot, in the 1980’s, when he, I, and several friends were REALLY into Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong films.*
- is somebody I haven’t seen in a long time, and I wondered if there was any chance he would be there, on Memorial Day weekend.
Gus and I reminisced about the old days and — before I could even request anything — he gave me a sample of a brand-new, super-rich vanilla ice cream:
… which was amazing. When I told Gus about my requested mission, he gave me samples of his top recommendations for the day’s chocolate choices …
… which included:
- Belgium chocolate
- Chocolate Pudding
- Ovaltine* (not sampled), and
- Chocolate sorbet, which was milk-free and, quoting Gus, “for people who are lactose intolerant or just intolerant.”
Gus and I discussed possible top-of-the-list chocolate orders* for me, and we decided on a micro-sized sundae with
- Belgium Chocolate ice cream,
- Salted Caramel ice cream,
- a chocolate shell, and
- whipped cream.
Request completed, deliciously!
After I said goodbye to Gus and Toscanini’s, I decided to make the day better, better, better, better, better, better, yeah! … with additional familiar — and new — Cambridge sights.
As I was finishing my chocolate-inspired adventure, I encountered one more request, to stop:
That’s Iris, who told me about this new Cambridge space, where there’s art, music, stand-up comedy, and more, throughout the week. Upon my request, I also got a photo of her, Amanda, Jess, and Rilo …
… but, as you can see, I barely had time to focus, because my phone was about to die. However, I requested a few more shots at EMW:
…. and then my phone died.
Maybe I’ll honor Iris’s request, and visit there again, soon.
Thanks to Plant Electrician*, Diana Schwenk*, David Frost*, the Beatles*, Frank Sinatra*, Gus Rancatore, chocolate, Iris, people who inhabit and/or have memories of Cambridge, anyone who makes (or fulfills) requests, all those observing Memorial Day, and to you — top of the heap! — for requesting and reading this post, today.
* Something or somebody I’ve requested you link to, in this post.
** That first photo of street signs includes a play on words, and is dedicated to all my pun- and classic-movie loving readers*. My last request of this post: that anybody comment on that (or anything else).