Posts Tagged With: Gus Rancatore

Day 511: All-request Weekend

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

  1. A number one
  2. King of the hill
  3. Top of the heap
  4. Head of the List
  5. Top of the hill
  6. (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?

Let’s go!

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 know you can’t see the Life Alive meal options* in the above photo, but I wanted to get Order* into this post, too.

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.



He was!

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).

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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