Her sweet Babbo

Jennifer Che reports on her visit to Mario Batali's new pizza place on Fan Pier, where pizzas are cooked for just 90 seconds - in a 1,000-degree oven.

It doesn’t replace the North End by any stretch, and if you’re a visitor looking for one place to enjoy Italian food in Boston, I would probably still head to the North End. However, if you work or live in the area (or are attending a conference at the Boston Convention Center), it’s an excellent place to enjoy a great meal.

First piece of Forest Hills overpass to come down on purpose next week, as traffic diversion begins

State officials say next week is when workers take the first real bite out of the Casey Overpass - they're scheduled to remove a piece of the abutment on the rotary side of the hulking, crumbling bridge.

Along with that comes the first overpass-removal detours: Traffic heading from the rotary into Jamaica Plan will be diverted onto the temporary road that's been built alongside the Arborway bus depot - which means the gazillion traffic lights the state has installed will blink into use.

The current Casey site doesn't specify which day the switchover will happen on, but notes workers will first have to finish their installation of pavement and then put down lane markers.


Traffic seeking to access Shea Circle from Forest Hills Street southbound will be routed via Cemetery Road.

More parks along the VFW Parkway? Road could get special commission to look at improvements

Legislators from Boston and Dedham are proposing a VFW Master Plan Commission to look at ways to improve the VFW Parkway from Centre Street in West Roxbury to the Dedham line and Providence Highway in Dedham between the Boston line and the Washington Street rotary.

State Sen. Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury) and state Reps. Ed Coppinger (D-West Roxbury) and Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) want the commission to conduct:

(1) An evaluation of the pedestrian, public transit, and automobile network including traffic patterns, signage, and signaling; (2) an analysis of existing federal, state and local funding sources, including grants and loans; (3) an evaluation of both private and publicly owned land that may be used for active and passive recreational use; (4) potential beautification and aesthetic improvements to the parkway.

The commission would include the three legislators, US Rep. Steve Lynch, City Councilor Matt O'Malley, business owners along the road, the chairman of the Dedham board of selectmen, public-works officials from both communities, a MassDOT representative, three Boston residents and two Dedham residents.

Full text of S. 1874.

West Roxbury could be launchpad for chain of kosher hotels

Trabelsi with rendering of his proposed King David Hotel.

Developer Nissim Shimon Trabelsi says he's talking to several hotel management companies - including the one that runs the King David Hotel in Jerusalem - about running the chain of hotels he hopes to start with one on VFW Parkway in West Roxbury at the Dedham line.

At a community meeting called by the BRA tonight, Trabelsi told both the local union construction workers and the members of Temple Hillel B'nai Torah of West Roxbury who made up much of the crowd that he's very willing to hire union workers to build the 69-room hotel where the old McDonald's used to be - and to then staff the hotel with union housekeepers and maintenance workers.

The temple's rabbi, Barbara Penzner, said members of her congregation are looking forward to a place where their relatives can stay and where they can get a glatt kosher meal - if they can be assured that the people serving them are unionized. In addition to a glatt-kosher restaurant, the hotel will also have his and hers mikvah baths for observant Jews - along with a swimming pool, ballroom and pool.

Although union members and Penzner pressed him to sign agreements now committing both him and whatever hotel-management firm he hires to go 100% union, Trabelsi said he doesn't want to sign any binding agreements until after he wins approval from the BRA.

The BRA board has yet to schedule a vote on the proposed hotel - and will be accepting comments from the public for another two weeks. The hotel does not need approval by the zoning board.

With the union issue out of the way, Trabelsi then had to answer to a West Roxbury resident who said she just couldn't understand why he wanted to build a hotel in her "kind of dull and boring" neighborhood of single-family homes occupied by quiet people who just pay their taxes and send their kids to school.

Trabelsi said the old McDonald's site - sandwiched between a car dealership and a pet-supply store, just up the street from Boston's only trailer park and within a short walk of both a large apartment building and a six-story condo building - "is the most beautiful lot on the whole VFW Parkway."

He noted it's just 300 feet from the Charles River, is bordered by woods and is right across the street from both a McDonald's and a Burger King. "We have everything there," he enthused.

A member of West Roxbury's Jewish community said he, for one, is looking forward to a place where he can put up his relatives that is closer than Newton or downtown - and where he can get a meal that doesn't involve a trip to Brookline or downtown.

The meeting got briefly testy when one of the union members noticed another person in the District E-5 community room was videoing the presentation with his cell phone and demanded he stop. The man said it was a public meeting. A BRA rep said you could only record if you let people know at the start of the meeting, the man protested again, but agreed to stop when the police officer sitting behind him agreed with the BRA rep and told him to stop. Then the union guy said that was good, because otherwise, he would have stopped the recording himself.

DA seeks postponements in OUI cases involving Breathalyzer tests

Word comes after it turned out two of the machines used by Suffolk County prosecutors for evidence "gave readings during calibration tests that were within the manufacturer’s guidelines but outside the narrower range imposed by the Code of Massachusetts Regulations," the DA's office reports, adding it is working with state experts to try to figure out what to do about the results.

Also, Suffolk prosecutors will:

Undertake two additional steps to ensure that the evidence from those machines is reliable. First, they will seek to have all Breathalyzer machines currently in operation in Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop tested and calibrated at the earliest opportunity to ensure their proper functioning moving forward. Second, they will undertake a review of OUI convictions that used Breathalyzer evidence since the current machines were introduced. While we have no reason to believe that the very small number of affected Suffolk cases will increase, we have every reason to seek certainty that past convictions are based on reliable evidence.

Bird, Ortiz not enough to win the Olympics: Boston 2024 hires two sports consulting firms, too

GamesBids.com reports the local Olympics group has hired British and American consulting firms that have experience working with cities bidding for Olympics games around the world - although not the 2024 ones, natch - in addition to putting Larry Bird and David Ortiz on their board of directors.

One of the firms, Teneo Sports, has a Web site that is fully buzzword compliant:

Teneo Sports delivers a full suite of advisory services to the world’s leading corporations, properties, events, personalities and governments to help address their sport-related business issues and opportunities. We leverage the full spectrum and resources of the Teneo platform. Whether an organization has a financial, political, reputational, or growth challenge or opportunity in the business of sport, we are uniquely positioned to provide solutions.