Al's Cafe

When driving on Bellville Avenue, near the old brick mills that remain a source of controversy (tear 'em down? don't tear 'em down? historically significant? eyesore? future artist's studios? or gentrified apartment complex? or rat haven?), keep one's eyes open for Al's. It is triangular, as if it were New Bedford's beer-budget answer to the Flatiron Building, but it is not without its' particular charm. A red, Coca-Cola influenced sign hangs above the door with the name of the no-nonsense joint, along with a one word legend: CACIOLA. The casual reader may have reason to believe that "Draft" is not a Portuguese name, but rest assured, Mr. Draft's paternal grandmother (his "Nana") was named Isabella Roderigues and she was born in the Azores. Mr. Draft grew up with Nana's kale soup, and much linguica, chourico, fava beans and codfish. Mr. Draft has eaten alot of Portuguese food. Including caciola (prounounced "ka-serla"). It is stew beef or cubed rump roast, marinated in red wine, and cooked with garlic, onion, red pepper flakes and other ingredients until it crumbles apart, served on a roll or with a boiled potato and a simple vegetable. And Al's is known for it's caciola. Some say it is the best in town. But alas, on the night of the Barflies' visit, it was too close to "just ate dinner" to indulge, so Mr. Draft will return to check it out another time, with Mrs. Draft in tow. As a bar, Al's looks intimidating from the outside and has a deserved-or-not reputation as a biker bar...but it looks to the Barflies to be another dark, comfortable, working-class, neighborhood bar. But with caciola. Served by a barmaid named Cecilia. (Mr. Draft doesn't make this stuff up!) Al's rates a 5.5, but the caciola could knock it up a notch... Roll Call: Mr. Draft, Mr. Mix, Mr. Sazurac, Mr. Greyhound)

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