Drowning My Sorrows at NECI


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Last week, in the midst of one of the longest weeks in my life, I got inebriated during the day. It was just what I needed. Not only did I numb my feelings, but I was also now in a position that even if I had wanted too, I couldn’t have been responsible. It’s easy not to do homework when you’re just too drunk. A classic excuse, but really, it never gets old.

I chose a bottle of red wine and a pulled pork sandwich to soak up said wine at NECI commons on the top of Church St. I arrived there at 11:45 am, one of the first customers, and definitely the only one drinking a bottle of wine to the dome. My waiter did not pass obvious judgement, or look at me strange for ordering red wine at 11:45, which I took as a good sign of class on the part of the establishment. No restaurant wants to turn away a wino with a pocket full of money, and clearly they have taught their staff this very important lesson. Upon arriving at my table for one, I began to write in my journal; I wanted to look like I had something to do besides drinking before noon. I’m a writer, I thought to myself. That makes this ok. I don’t think anyone bought it, but that’s fine. It helped me avoid eye contact.

The bread was delicious, which pleased me to no end. The NECI bakery is by far one of the best in the Burlington area. It was crispy on the outside, yet moist enough to soak up my tears. It was also warm, which really boosted my sprits. Hey, I thought, the world isn’t over yet. I can still get good, warm bread. The pulled pork sandwich ($6.95) is perfect for anyone hoping to fill the gaping hole in his or her soul with food. It’s sticky with barbecue sauce, sweet and smoky. Served with French fries on a bulky roll, the combination of pig, grease, and sugar was almost enough to make me feel like a man again. I greatly enjoyed it, but felt awfully guilty afterwards. Back to the wine.

Man, that wine was good. A bottle of Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet ($23), a good crisp Shiraz from eastern Australia, warmed me right up. After two glasses, I felt like I could look people in the eyes again. After the bottle, the warmth of the wine had me feeling like I had found my home. I could sense the waiter looking at me from the corner of my eye, and although my first impulse was to jump up and attack the smug bastard, I then remembered that these things are not to be done, so I conned a phony smile and asked for the check.

I felt guilty for my rage by the time the waiter arrived, so I gave him a good tip and walked out filled with grease, fat, and wine. It was 12:30 PM, and I was wasted. Good, I thought, I have an excuse to go back to sleep.

If you want to drown your sorrows early in the morning, but you don’t want to feel like an alcoholic, go somewhere classy with a good wine selection, like NECI Commons. They won’t stand you sobbing loudly. It’s okay if you do it softly, but no boo-hoo stuff. That makes the other customers uncomfortable. This is also a very good date location, but I would not recommend taking anyone out if the early morning bender is on the menu. That’s more like private time.