Boston February Letter

Two days before this issue went to press, Rebecca Dorr, one of our ace fact-checkers (and a fine writer in her own right), came into the office carrying a black overnight bag. From the way she was listing under its weight, it seemed as though the bag might be filled with car parts, or maybe a microwave. “Llllotta documents for this story,” she said. And with that it was obvious what story she meant.

The article she was working on was “Lost and Found,” and after lugging the materials home with her, she was lugging them back for one final vetting session with its author, Francis Storrs. Their meeting marked the end of an epic undertaking he had shouldered after seeing an August 2005 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office about a prostitution bust; following his gut, he’d suspected there might be more going on there. A whole lot more, it turned out. After gathering a stack of court records, police reports, and trial transcripts about 2 1/2 feet high, he was able to bring to life the ugly inner workings of one of the biggest sex trafficking networks ever to operate in New England, and paint a nuanced portrait of the maverick FBI agent who, by refusing to give up on one of its teenage victims, ultimately found a way to put it out of business. The result is a sobering, riveting read and, above all, a testament to the power of old-fashioned reporting.

Though it’s not as apparent, an awful lot of shoe leather also went into this month’s cover story on the 25 best dishes around. During the nearly two years since she joined Boston magazine, food editor Jane Black has gone out to eat at least four nights a week (once, on deadline and running a fever, she drove from the South End to Newton to have back-to-back dinners, a war story that doesn’t engender quite as much sympathy among her colleagues as she thinks it should). Her most memorable meals join a few other staffers’ tried-and-true favorites on our list of the area’s top bites. And because there are plenty more reasons to love dining here, we also point you toward 27 other things to savor about the Boston restaurant scene. Those picks, as you’ll see, are entirely personal (though once you try them, I’m pretty sure you’ll share our favorable assessments). If we’ve missed any menu offerings or out-of-the-way spots that you think make this a great food town, drop a line to —James Burnett, editor