Boston, new love of my life. Just kidding, as if London would ever lose that distinction. While our affair only lasted a mere five days, I fell a little bit in love nonetheless. It had the vibe that was a little bit London, and a little bit Philly, and that I guess means it has a unique personality all its own. I’m sure some would disagree with my assessment because after all, I was only there for a short time, but I could see very much how I’d fit right in there like a glove. I was even asked for directions, something that, as a tourist, always flatters me.
Before heading out, like any self-respective food blogger, I collected from multiple sources recommendations, and I’m proud to say that I hit at least one thing on everyone’s list. Since these are trusted sources, I will share all their suggestions, and maybe if you head to Boston, you will pick up where I left off. Despite not hitting everything, the fit of my jeans suggests I was a success nonetheless.
Mom came along for the ride, so we’ll also be sharing some fun see the world things, too. Having more days to play than I, she did a little better. So here’s what to do, what to eat.
Talk a walk down the Freedom Trail. It’s a short one, but it’s astounding how much history is packed into a mere 2.5 miles. Though you’ll be easily spotted as a tourist following the brick red line through the city, it’s full of historical fun facts and good food. It does, for instance, traipse through the North End (aka Little Italy) all the way to Bunker Hill, and on that path you’ll find some most excellent food.
Since Mom and I resolved to eat nothing-but-seafood in our time out East, we made our way to The Daily Catch, cash-only family-run (our waiter was Son #5 out of 7) hole in the wall that boasts little more than 20 seats, and all is cooked on what is basically one range stove and a hot plate. As we filed in to eat, we were seated at the same table as a charming old man named Abe, 86 years young. What a treat, and from him we learned what else we needed to be eating while we were in his fabulous city.
Here’s what we learned:
If you eat at The Daily Catch, clams casino (stuffed clams) is the way to go (check!) as well as the squid ink pasta.
Looking for a dinner spot? Head two doors down to Pomodoro’s, also cash-only, and also family run. Ask for Shivon, and tell her Abe sent you.
Mike’s versus Modern Pastry is the great debate, but Abe recommended going to Modern since Mike’s is “where the tourists go.” Clearly we needed to do a scientific comparison to discover the best cannoli, and the jury was split; I preferred Modern’s, while Mom went with Mike’s (citing the fact that it was closer to Auntie Betty’s cannoli, a fact against which I could not argue).
While walking the trail, we found that any establishment along it serves the same signature brew, though I stupidly can’t remember the name of it, but if you’re a beer person, try it because it’s delicious. Plus, you won’t find it anywhere else. If beer is your thing, Boston boasts more than a few breweries. I do love me a good brewery tour.
As the weather continued to be The Best Ever, all the walking continued. We started our Saturday at The South End Buttery, where I’m pretty sure all the neighborhood locals go for a weekend Cup o’ Joe and catching up with friends. Fueled by the good avocado fats and delicious coffee, we made our way from The South End to Cambridge.
It seemed like it’d be a shame to go to Boston and not see the stories ivies of Harvard University. We strolled along the Charles River under the blue blue sky and set out for an epic five hour walk-a-thon. It was a lot of walking. Naturally, we needed sustenance. A cannoli was the obvious choice.
I couldn’t bring myself to be that impressed since I did go to the best school in the country, but I appreciated what I saw (was that snobby? Perhaps.). Our walk also took us past and around MIT and the aura of each campus could not have been more different. Still, a lovely day.
A day that required some good food and great atmosphere to cap it off perfectly. Read: tapas and sangria. With a few suggestions in hand, we headed to Barcelona and squeezed our way into two bar seats to settle in with a HUGE (like. SO HUGE) pitcher of sangria, bread, pork, crab and the most buttery cod. Oversimplified description, but it’s everything (food, atmosphere, staff, energy) cannot be overstated. So good was dinner that we decided to cap off the trip with a repeat on Tuesday eve. (Note to DC- you’ve got one, too).
Work for me started on Sunday but that didn’t stop me or Peaches from taking advantage of brunch options. If you’re into it too, head to The Beehive where you’ll be treated to some delightful jazz, fizzy drinks and delicious fare.
Sunday evening, we made our way back to Cambridge with Peaches for an early Mother’s Day 8-course dinner at Craige on Maine. Peaches had been there for his brother’s wedding reception and had been raving about it. It did not disappoint, and all of us left with not room for a spoonful more. If you’re looking for the same, head there on Sunday night after 9 for the Chef’s Whim.
As conference things were in full swing, coffee and sugar were necessary, and Flour proved the perfect supplier. Their steel cut oats for breakfast were also delicious and may help balance out the guilt from all the desserts.
The final noteworthy stop on the Buddha Boston Culinary Tour was recommended by two friends, Myers & Chang. This Asian eatery, made more famous by its Top Chef celebrity, combines the cuisine of China, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Head there for lunch to grab a quick bite and recharge for the rest of the day. The Thai Ginger Chicken Salad won the meal (and look for my version later this week).
If you’ve got more time than I had to be footloose and fancy free, I sent Mom out on assignment to come up with some things to do. Here are a few more highlights:
Joining the floo network at…
Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour (which will take you not only down the Freedom Trail, but also past Fenway Park if baseball legends are your thing)
One of many a harbor tour
Besides being a fun-time place, Boston proved to be more delicious than I expected and left me hankering for east coast flavor that I’ve done my best to replicate at home (but sadly, cannot). Like I mentioned, I got so many other recommendations that there was no time to hit them all. If you’re heading out there, here is a list of the places I missed. While I can’t personally vouch for the establishments listed below, I trust my foodie friends whole-heartedly, and have no doubt that that they are great.
Anything by Barbara Lynch
Like I’ve said before, any time I go somewhere, I eat where people tell me to eat. As if I know better? In the grand scheme of a city’s restaurant directory, my choices may not be the most fancy or hip, but that doesn’t make the food any less delicious. Good food is good food and it really is as simple as that.
So there’s Boston through my limited by rose-colored view. Should you hop over to that area, I hope you give some of these a try.
Been to Boston? What are some of your faves?
Written during Dancing with the Stars. I still love it.