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Boston weekend?
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yum beth



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:57 pm    Post subject: Boston weekend? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I recently found C&Z and I've been reading the forums like crazy. I feel like I know some of you already, so here a bit about me: I'm a 24 year old grad student, I live in LA with my boyfriend who works in post-production, and my 6-month old kitten Captain Crunch (not so named because of any fondness for overly-sweetened kids cereal)

Anyhow, we're going out to Boston in October for a wedding, and though we're only going to be there for the weekend, I was hoping to get a bit of the local flavor while we're there since it's my first time, and who knows when I'll be back? So... does anyone have any suggestions about must-eats during our short stay? We like everything, from hot-dog stands to white tablecloth restaurants, but we'll probably be flying by the seat of our pants so something that needs to be reserved a month in advance (or at all, for that matter) probably wouldn't work.

OK then... thanks all in advance! Laughing
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Pockymonkey



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Northfield, MN

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi yum beth,

welcome to the forums!

No doubt you'll get recommendations about the best places to get seafood and chowder and all that delicious stuff in Boston, but I wanted to recommend a visit to Little Italy in North Boston. It's a fun neighborhood with good energy and some great places to eat. I especially like relaxing in one of the cafes with some excellent coffee (and I'm not even much of a coffee fan) and a delectable pastry or to-die-for gelato.

There are a few bakeries and cafes to choose from, but I like Cafe Vittoria . For restaurants, I have had a good experience eating at Lucca, on Hanover Street. If you're interested in seeing their menu, you can find it here

Enjoy your trip - Boston is a delight!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Durkin Park is a hoot and it's authentic Boston from the turn of a couple centuries ago. It's in Faneuil Hall in the market district and got it's start cooking the freshest market fare for the wholesalers. Here's their link: http://www.durgin-park.com/

I was also going to recommend Legal Seafood but I haven't hung around the Boston/Cambridge area since college so I had to check and see if they were still open. I came upon this assessment of their standards. See what you think. http://www.chowhound.com/newengland/boards/boston/messages/74344.html If that sounds too iffy, you might read a little more there or see if someone there will give you good current recommendations.
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swan



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 450
Location: a Dutchie in HongKong

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

welcome, yum Beth!

I've spent a week in Boston as a visitor in June and loved it. I'll think of the goodies and share them with you later today (I just got up and need to try to get body and brain awake first Smile )
But fort starters is pockymonkey right about little Italy: great!

oh, and the city is not so big, I did most of my sightseeing, shopping and walking around the best way you can do in a city: by foot. (but then again, I'm not american Smile (no offence!). The 'T' (metro) works pretty well and helps you cover the longer distances.
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yum beth



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all! Yum, I can hardly wait. The latest news: my boyfriend has been asked to officiate. No, he's not a minister, but there's an online church where you can be "ordained" for the purpose of performing weddings. Weird I know, but I've known several people who have done it. I think it can be a nice personal touch to be married by someone who knows and cares about you, if you don't have a church official in your life who fits that criteria. *Anyway,* Aj being more of the shy retiring type, I don't know if he'll go for it, but it is his best friend so he just might come through. Thing is, he's already doing the processional music, are they going to have him play his ukulele standing at the altar? (He's playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the same version you've probably heard on all the commercials with the humming.) Funny thought. Well, it's their wedding...

Anyway, not that that has anything to do with where we'll be eating while we're there, I guess I got lost on a tangent. Little Italy sounds delish, as does Legal Seafood... I will go for anything that comes out of the ocean (yum yum!) I know Boston is known for its clam chowder also, does anyone happen to know where to get a really good bowl? Mmmmmm....
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Pockymonkey



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Northfield, MN

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Yum Beth,

It's off topic, but the couple getting married might want to double check that online-ordained ministers are able to marry couples in Massachusetts - apparently, some states recognize these sorts of "credentials" and some don't. Wouldn't want such a thing to ruin the happy day.

Mmm, New England clam chowder can't be beat. Last time, I had some at Legal Seafood, and it was mighty good, but I'm sure there are smaller, out of the way places that make it even better - will have to defer to more knowledgable folks for recommendations. I love it when they serve the chowder in a big bread bowl. Double the treat: lovely soup, and then chowder-soaked bread to nibble on at the end.
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me



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Yum Beth,

I also just found C&Z and have been browsing the forums.

If you're interested in clam chowder, you might try No Name's (fantastically fresh seafood) or the Union Oyster House, also located in Fanueil Hall, which first opened its doors in 1826. The UOH has pretty standard fare, but the clam chowder is good.

Here is a completely random list of food-related places to look out for:

Chocolate: Burdick's in Harvard Sq. (Cambridge). Hot chocolate so thick, it could be its own dessert. And do try their signature chocolate mice.

Ice Cream: Despite the cold weather, people eat alot of ice cream around here, and the area is blessed with some great independent shops. J.P Licks is a chain, but the Boston branch on Newbury St. has the best/largest selection of flavors. Toscanini's is another local chain that serves up tasty, creamy ice cream. But my personal favorite is Christina's in Inman Sq. (Cambridge). The BEST overall selection of flavors; the burnt sugar is to die for.

White Tablecloth Restaurants: I'm a big fan of No. 9 Park. A table in the main dining room might be tough without a reservation (but you don't have to make it a month in advance), and you can get the same menu in the bar area. I also like Troquet, a French restaurant in the Theater District. They suggest a number of different wines with each item on the menu. And they import butter from Normandy! (that extra 2% fat really does make a difference!). Hammersley's Bistro in the South End is also another wonderful spot.

Macaroni and Cheese: Silvertone near Downtown Crossing/Park St.(Boston). Piping hot and very cheesy! Another plus: their wine is priced at $10 above cost, a real bargain in this town.

Caipirinha: My husband likes to drink these and there seems to be scant few places in Boston that serves them. Troquet & No. 9 Park make good ones, as does East Coast Grill (Inman Sq., Cambridge).

Cannoli: Mike's Pastry in the North End. After dinner, everyone runs over to Mike's to grab a cannoli. But there's not much room to eat here, so everyone walks out eating their cannoli as they go...

Brunch: East Coast Grill. Their brunch is Latin-themed, which is pretty cool & goes well with their specialty: grilled anything (dinner here is pretty heavenly, too -- and you can walk to Christina's for ice cream after). Zaftig's Deli in Brookline serves an excellent traditional brunch. Also, Davis Sq. in Somerville seems to be a popular brunch spot: Johnny D's, the Joshua Tree and the Rosebud are good bets.

Coffee: Diesel Cafe in Davis Sq. The most gorgeous foam on cappucinos I've ever seen.

Unique Ingredients: Prose in Arlington. The chef changes the menu daily and always uses produce that's local & in-season... and oftentimes, unusual: ramps, sunchokes, wild nettles, Mexican corn truffles...

Pizza: There's a number of great places to grab a slice of "gourmet" pizza -- Upper Crust in Beacon Hill, Croma on Newbury St., Cambridge 1 in Harvard Sq. But my favorite for their creative toppings is Emma's in Kendall Sq. (Cambridge).

Brewpub: John Harvard's in Harvard Sq. Nice choice of home-brewed beers and good pub food in a "traditional" English tavern setting.

Decadent Dessert: Finale (Boston & Harvard Sq.) Pricey but very good and artfully arranged desserts. And if you wish to dine at Finale, they offer a few light "pre-desserts" so that you have room for the... er... finale.

Ok, I think I'll stop as I'm gettting hungry now. But I hope this helps as you plan your trip.

Cheers!
Shoma
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Pockymonkey



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Northfield, MN

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shoma,

that is such a fantastic collection of recommendations. I'm seriously thinking of hopping in the car next weekend for a road trip to Boston (so it's a 12-hour round-trip drive, so what? Burnt sugar ice cream sounds totally worth it Wink)
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me



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pockymonkey wrote:
Burnt sugar ice cream sounds totally worth it


It is... :) Of course, since you're driving all that time, you should reward all that hard work with Mexican Chocolate, Adzuki Bean, Carrot Cake, Ginger Molasses (an intense gingersnap cookie), Cinnamon, Blood Peach, Sweet Cream, Coffee Toffee, Green Tea, Khulfi (pistachio & cardamom)... they've got some 40 flavors available at any given time!

Cheers,
:) Shoma
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pockymonkey wrote:
Burnt sugar ice cream sounds totally worth it Wink)


You may not need to drive to Boston. Check out this recipe that the Amateur Gourmet shared: http://www.amateurgourmet.com/the_amateur_gourmet/2005/05/i_say_unto_you_.html
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yum beth



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, wow, wow, Me... Thanks for all the great recommendations. I can't wait for my trip now, maybe we'll have to stay a few extra days to try everything! (And fast for a few days afterward to make up for it Wink )

I have one question though, what is a Caipirinha? I'm guessing it is some kind of cocktail but I don't think we have them way out West. I'm intrugued though - what is in it?

OK, I'm going to check on ticket prices now... thanks again me!

~Beth
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stephencooks



Joined: 21 Aug 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Maine, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 12:35 pm    Post subject: boston weekend Reply with quote

I can't believe no one has yet mentioned the Daily Catch - it's directly across Hanover Street from Cafe Vittorio...one room, including the kitchen, no reservations, you'll likely have to wait a while on the street for a seat (there are only about 20) but it's worth it, and you'll likely meet people from all over the world in the line...I lived in downtown Boston for twenty years and now when I go back it's my first choice...no desserts there, so after Daily Catch you go to Cafe Vittorio for a canoli or some gelato...see http://www.dailycatch.com/ for more info (by the way, I've never found the experience at their other locations to be quite as good for some reason - you really have to go to Hanover Street for the good stuff)...one other piece of visiting-Boston advice: don't drive! Stay in town and walk or taxi everywhere...following this piece of advice can mean the difference between a pleasant time and a weekend spent struggling with traffic and an impossibly incomprehensible street pattern....have a great time!
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jessa



Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was at Legal Seafood in late May (during the Red Tide, of all things). That aside, it was really good. I wouldn't feel dodgy about it at all. Do make reservations, though. Without them, the wait time is a matter of hours. You can always make a reservation and break it. Which is rude, but, trust me, they'll fill your table. We had to wait 15 minutes even with a reservation - I think they just run two separate lists and don't really time-plan.

They had a great butterfish with a wasabi something-or-other that was interesting and different. I'm from Philly, so we have plenty of fish, but they had a lot of varieties that just aren't standard at mid-Atlantic restaurants.

I wouldn't get the Thai calamari, as it's a bit limp and oily, even though they recommend it. All of our entrees were lovely, though, and the drinks were good other than the lack of sugar cane with the mojito (the hell? They were out of sugar cane?). I probably wouldn't bother with dessert there, as I found it to be unexceptional.

For real Boston, definitely the whole Fanueil Hall thing. Be forewarned that it's really big, really crowded, and that there are almost too many choices. I mention it only because I have trouble with that sort of thing sometimes. But, it's anything but a standard food court and I think you have to at least visit. Do watch the prices though. Some things, like the ice cream, are ridiculously priced. You can get an inexpensive and interesting lunch if you're attentive. The fried clams tend to be particularly good in Boston, so that's what I would recommend if fattening food doesn't send you running.

I'm going to go against every tour book and say to skip the Union Oyster House. I thought it was really not good. Everything was just overfried, oversauced, and unnecessarily heavy. I know that a lot of people love it, so no offense to them. Our tastes may just be different. To me, though, it wasn't worth the price.

I didn't eat in Little Italy, mainly for wine-allergy-related reasons, but it's my understanding that it's well above the national standard in quality and taste. And possibly price. Smile

Have fun! If you haven't booked yet and need a hotel, take advantage of the Expedia sale on the Langham. The rooms were really nice and comfortable. Definitely five-star at three-star price.
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tea leaves



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 57
Location: boston, the home of the bean and the cod

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject: Greetings from Boston Reply with quote

would second the motion on No. 9 Park! Also would suggest the Hungry i on Charles st on the back side of Beacon Hill; very romantic and they serve a wonderful "lapin en croute de moutarde" in the fall and winter. ( Also known as "bunny pot pie"). Seriously wonderful venison there also. They have been around for ages. Tiny kitchen, closet sized bar, outstanding service, great location. They used to do brunch, but we haven't been there for many years on a sunday am. Troquet is also good, Pigalle is good, i'm still a fan of the original Olives in Charlestown, but not the Todd English empire outposts like Bonfire and Kingfish Hall. If you find yourself in Marblehead, go to Delphines pastry and see if they have Peche..oh my. And most importantly, and this is from a native who hates to see people suffer, do not drive. You can walk from the Back Bay to the Harbor in less than an hour, there's no need. And as much as we natives decry public transportation, it is fine for you and will get you to where you need to go. I also strongly suggest just "sitting" in the public garden, on the waterfront by columbus park and the longwharf marriott/ in front of the fountains in copley square/church.....sunny fall weekend days in Boston are the best...that's why I got married on one! Enjoy!
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tea leaves



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 57
Location: boston, the home of the bean and the cod

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:22 pm    Post subject: p.s. Reply with quote

sorry, forgot a couple of things.
Traditional best bet... I vote for Locke Ober's. Legal Seafood, love the food, hate the attittude, but will suffer it for the time it takes to pick up a take out order of smoked bluefish pate. Lumiere in West Newton is also fabulous, and Grill 23 on Berkely and St. James for a good steakhouse if you need one. You can get lobster and chowder anywhere, if you have wheels head to Cape Ann and the lobster in the rough joints. Enjoy!
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