Why not kick off this blog with a culinary adventure?
Here’s how it happened. Last week, I stumbled across the show Wahlburgers on my Directv app. It’s a reality show centered on the Wahlberg family, which includes Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. Although I am a little too old to have been a fan of Donnie from The New Kids on the Block or Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, I was aware that they came from Dorchester. Since I have lived in the Greater Boston area most of my life, I thought I would give the show a watch and see if I could recognize some of the locales.
Fast forward four days and I have binge-watched all seven seasons available. Something about this loving and charmingly dysfunctional family with the heavy Bahston accents roped me in and I could not stop watching. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching, the show centers around the family-owned restaurant chain, Wahlburgers. One of Mark and Donnie’s brothers, Paul Wahlberg, is a chef. He opened a restaurant called Alma Nove in Hingham (named after his mother), and later, with his brothers as investors, he opened the Wahlburgers burger restaurant.
Something about Chef Paul resonates with me. He seems very passionate about cooking, food and working hard to run his businesses. I think I recognize in him the same type of passion I have for all things crafty. I’m not much of a cook myself (massive understatement), but I really enjoy seeing people who love food create meals. Also, Paul’s famous brothers seem to delight in tormenting him, but he just soldiers on despite their antics. I began rooting for him in each episode as the series continued.
I also saw a lot of shots of his food. Obviously, they talk about and show the Wahlburgers menu items a lot. This show is fundamentally about promoting the family business as they attempt to open up Wahlburgers world wide. Not going to lie, the food looked really tasty. The descriptions sounded really tasty. The people eating the food looked like they were enjoying it. I’m a fan of a good burger, so I started thinking I would like to try one.
Fortunately for me, one of the three Massachusetts locations is about 15 minutes from my house. I got my mom excited about the whole thing (she also watches the show) and we headed out there this week for lunch.
I ordered the Our Burger, which featured lettuce, tomato, onion, “government” cheese (a shout out to the days the Wahlbergs ate food on government assistance), house made pickles and Wahlsauce. I have to say it was delicious. The buns are freshly made and just the right thickness — not too large, not too wimpy. The house made pickles were awesome. Everything tasted fresh and delicious. And the prices were great too! Mom ended up with a BBQ Bacon burger and she enjoyed hers just as much as I did. Based on the waitress’s recommendation, we ordered the onion rings, which were also pretty tasty. All in all, it was an excellent dining experience and we will definitely eat there again.
All of a sudden, my mom says “That’s Paul Wahlberg,” and sure enough, Chef Paul walks right past the table. The waitress told us to stop and say hi and that he would take a picture with us if we wanted. We definitely wanted!
Meeting the chef (and reality show star) definitely took our experience up to a whole different level. He turned out to be just the same in person as he is on the show. What are the odds that we would turn up at the restaurant the same day he happened to be there?
If you ever see a Wahlburgers, definitely stop in and get a meal. And if you get lucky, maybe you’ll meet the chef too!Advertisements