Monday, October 6, 2014

Cannoli Queen of the North End

A young couple pushing a large stroller paused on the narrow North End sidewalk and peered into the bakery, only to see an impenetrable horde of people filling it from display case to display case.  Clearly the place was popular, although they had never heard of it.  But was it worth the battle to get in and place an order?

A man emerged from the melee and stepped down onto the sidewalk.  He noticed the young couple vacillating, and advised, "Just get one of their cannolis.  Best in the North End."

The young man stared blankly and said, "I don't know what a cannoli is."

(Note: This falls under the category of things you should NEVER SAY when you're in Boston's North End!)

The man, in true Boston fashion, reacted loudly: "What??  You've never had a cannoli?  What are you even doing here?"

People paused.  People stared.  Other people chimed in about the mandatory requirement to try a cannoli.  The young man became quite flustered and embarrassed.

Desperate to divert attention from his cannoli faux pas, the young man glanced around and spotted my friend and I standing in the street.  We must have looked friendly, or pitying, or nonjudgmental, because he zeroed in and asked us where they could just get a slice of pizza.  We sent him back down the street to Ernesto's and continued to wait for our other friends to escape the bakery craziness with our order of--what else?--cannolis.