Boston took me by surprise. Until last week it was one of the few Great American Cities I’d yet to visit and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. A bigger, wealthier version of Jamestown, maybe? I dunno. I’ve never been to Jamestown.
Anyway, Boston turned out to be about 1,200 times more urban and 16 times less cobblestony than I thought it would be. In a good way! There’s history to be found in the city, to be sure, but it mostly felt like I was in any other shiny metropolis, albeit with a bit more character. For reference, we stayed one night in the charming Back Bay area and the rest of the trip in Beverly, MA with a friend – “30 minutes” outside the city. Helpful hint: when a Bostonian tells you something is 30 minutes away you should tack on another hour or so because OHMYGOD WHY IS THERE SO MUCH TRAFFIC IN BOSTON.
I digress. It was actually my first trip to New England so I was tickled pink by all the historic downtowns and totally nonchalant “Built in 1720” signs I saw. I’m from Georgia and feel like plantation homes from the 19th century are really old, so Boston was uber-cool in that regard.
As for the food: Boston, keep it up. I’d be hard pressed to think of a bad meal I had in Bean Town which is more than I can say for some other touristy destinations. The food made up for the fact that everyone I encountered seemed to have the attitude of someone who just got dumped and also the 55-degree weather in mid-June. Boston is almost is Maine which is almost Canada which is almost the Arctic Circle which is just colder than my mind can wrap itself around.
Here’s a short list of some of the scrumptious things I ate in Boston in case you’re making a trip. You’re welcome in advance for being that obnoxious patron that takes pictures of their food in a restaurant!
My Indian food-obsessed brother-in-law was unreasonably excited that we ate Kashmiri Indian cuisine but apparently upon recounting the menu he was disappointed at how ordinarily Indian this place was. But it was delicious! And a buffet! I was so uncomfortable I could hardly move all afternoon but this little Back Bay find on Newbury street was a heck of a deal for lunch. Also nearby: Robin’s Candy where the candy is superb and Robin is so sweet you’ll melt (ugh, candy puns.) She literally gives you a toothbrush with your purchase!
Without a doubt, this was the best restaurant we ate at all weekend. Legal Seafood is a Boston institution and this place is the (slightly) cheaper, less fancy-pants version where they literally test out the recipes before they make it to the big time. Every single thing we ate here from the bread to the three (it was a flight, don’t judge!) glasses of red wine I had at lunch was amazing. Click through the gallery for the pics.
Editor’s Note: The parking lot next door which our friend Mike (pictured!) assured us would validate parking did not. It cost, in fact, FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS to park there unless you were eating at a place called “No Name Seafood” nearby. After a failed attempt at backing out the entrance of the parking lot (my idea; reminder – 3 glasses of wine) Mike had to go buy some chowder to-go at No Name to get them to validate. Don’t do what we did.
Newbury street is just the cutest. Brownstones, historic stuff, retail. All the usual. I can’t imagine how much it costs to rent an apartment there. We stumbled on this creperie and all bets were off as I have an insatiable lust for crepes. One goat cheese, chicken, and tomato crepe later (plus a salad, I’m not a barbarian you guys) and some red wine and we were full and happy. The lady in this picture sitting next to us was the owner! She was delightful and from Savannah, making her all-the-more more delightful.
This gem of a brunch place was located in Gloucester, Mass. (pronounced “Glosta,” against your better judgement) which I’d wanted to visit. It’s where they shoot “Wicked Tuna,” you guys! Such a quaint town I almost burst. Before brunch I bought FOUR bottles of specialty olive oil and vinegar at Cape Ann Olive Oil because Tom has forbidden me to buy souvenirs so I buy food instead. The Man can’t keep me down.
Anyway, brunch. Cheap, massive portions, and endlessly local, Sugar Magnolias was terrific. I had the crab cake benedict on cornbread, the boys had omlettes and Mike’s girlfriend Jenny (who suggested this place – good call Jenny!) had some unbelievable carrot cake pancakes. Oh, and we split some pineapple fritters because Fat Kids.
How great was Harpoon Brewery? So great. It’s literally exactly what you want from a brewery experience! Tons of seating (beer-hall style), a super-informative and candid beer tour that lasted a full hour (including 20-minutes of all-you-can-drink tasting of all the beers they make) and BAVARIAN PRETZELS. The best thing about the pretzels is that there were about 576 sauces to choose from and I am nothing if not a slave to condiments. Harpoon beers are great, too! My pallet hasn’t reached an IPA place yet but the Hefeweizens were lip-smacking. If you go to Boston, do this. (Another gallery below)
What did I miss? We have more friends in Boston to visit so I’m sure I’ll make a return trip soon…