Byline: Katherine Bowers, With contributions from Susan Watters, Washington
BOSTON -- The last thing that Pineo Maffeo, head chef at iconic retailer Louis Boston's Restaurant L, wants to serve Democratic National Convention luminaries next week is their umpteenth lobster roll.
Maffeo, in charge of edibles for a Wednesday party sponsored by the Creative Coalition -- set to draw Susan Sarandon, Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein, other Hollywood big shots and arts and entertainment activists -- has been tinkering instead with a menu that recasts street food as luxury nibbles.
"Kobe beef hot dogs with maybe a miso-onion relish...mocha or lavender [flavored] cotton candy with different toppings, like kafir lime leaves," he said.
Yet a distinctly unfestive spirit fogs the city as Democrats eager to defeat President Bush arrive.
Retailers have been worried for months about how the disruption of services, the closing of roads and the lack of traditional summer tourists will affect business, while the main police union is threatening to picket Democratic mayor Thomas M. Menino along his entire itinerary. Delegates from Maine, California, Tennessee and Ohio, all of which have strong labor ties, have been advised to boycott welcoming parties at which Menino is the host in order to stay clear of picket lines.
Consultations with the Secret Service and police have quashed several events. The city refused the request of Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and native son, for a free Boston Pops Orchestra concert and fireworks on the Esplanade, the …