Boston — a foodie kind of town

January 19, 2014

They knew our names when we left there!

They knew our names when we left there!

Yeah, I could eat my way through Boston, really easy. And I wouldn’t even weigh 400 pounds, because I would do like all the rest of the Bostonians, and walk everywhere, and burn off those marvelous calories.

I’m back from a week in Boston. I ate in no five-star restaurants (though several should have been, in my humble opinion…). That would also explain why I haven’t posted in, well, way too long. But I do have two more posts to write tonight I can dole out during the coming week while I’m gone, so maybe that’ll make up a  bit….

And if not, well, you’ll miss the good stuff.

Arrived in Boston bad late on a Friday night, after two delayed flights and a crab cake at O’Brycki’s in the Baltimore airport. Delayed flights can be redeemed. O’Brycki’s is up there with Pappadeaux and Paschal’s as the three places in airports that are fit for anything other than staving off hunger long enough to get you to your destination. O’Brycki’s will, in fact, make it worth your while if you have a delayed flight. Particularly because they have Yuengling on draft.

So, we got up and hit it bright and early on Saturday morning; we had Boston to see, and had to do so before 3 p.m. Sunday, when class started. Which is to say, we got from the hotel to the coffee shop by 10 a.m. Coffee shop makes a mean artichoke, feta and spinach quiche, I might add.

We forked over the cash for the tourist trolley — good for five days, hits all the high spots — and wandered about the Boston Common for a few minutes waiting for one to show up, watching the skaters on the Frog Pond.  Went out through the Back Bay area, saw Fenway (I’m still fond of the Sox, even if they DID beat my Cardinals in the Series last year). Made our way down by the waterfront, saw Old Ironsides, got off the trolley and wandered a bit. It was coming on 2 p.m., and the quiche was wearing thin, so we stopped in the Granary Tavern, in what looked like a REAL old building, and had lunch.

Caveat: Photo is after I ate most of the lobster out of it.

Caveat: Photo is after I ate most of the lobster out of it.

Lobster roll. Got to try a lobster roll. I was going to eat roll and all and deal with the effects later, but there was so much succulent looking lobster meat I wasn’t going to fill any of that space up with bread. (Bread looked excellent, though; what looked like a big thick slice of a sizeable brioche loaf, split most of the way through to make a pocket, then toasted. Stuffed full of lobster chunks that were oh-so-lightly dressed in a mayo sauce.

Sweet baby Jesus. If God made anything better than lobster, He kept it for Himself. I ate the lobster, the pickles, and drank a Sam Adams winter lager, and did NOT feel the lack of the bread, I am here to tell you. Eighteen bucks is a bit stiff for a lunch entree, but how often you gonna get fresh lobster? I thought so. I’d do it again, and likely will, next time I’m there.

Back to the hotel and a drink or two later, we struck out for the North End, to an Italian restaurant that a friend had recommended — LoConte’s, on Salem Street.

I don’t remember the last time I had two Sweet Baby Jesus meals in a day, but Sunday was one. The menu was chock-full of all the Italian standards, plus a few chicken preparations of which I had not heard. I made up my mind about six different times, and finally settled on the eggplant parmesan, because I do so dearly love that stuff. We ordered a couple of appetizers — some bruschetta, and some arancini. The group I was with didn’t know what arancini was, and I was kinda proud because as a would-be foodie, I do — balls of yesterday’s risotto, wrapped around a chunk of fresh mozzarella or some other delicacy, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep friend.

Neighbor's plate. Swordfish and clams. Marvelous.

Neighbor’s plate. Swordfish and clams. Marvelous.

They did not disappoint. Crispy coating, creamy rice, rich, oozing mozzarella in these two-bite babies, accented by a nice marinara. I could’ve made a meal of them.

But I’m glad I didn’t because then I would’ve missed the eggplant. The slices were MUCH thinner than I’m used to; no more than a half-inch, probably closer to 3/8. I don’t think they were breaded; likely just broiled or quickly seared in some olive oil. Then they were stacked, lasagna-style, with some cheese in between; the entire stack covered with marinara, topped with more cheese, and baked. Came with a side of pasta, which I ignored, as I did half the eggplant; those folks must be used to feeding stevedores from the docks.

A couple of my neighbors at the table had a couple of the entrees I’d contemplated, and passed on; the shrimp and ravioli, and the swordfish. The swordfish was good, albeit not all THAT good; the clams that accompanied it were, however, just primo. The shrimp and ravioli was wonderfully, sinfully rich in the alfredo sauce, and I’m glad I didn’t get it, because I’d have been able to eat less of it than I managed to eat of the eggplant.

Next day, we betook ourselves to Quincy Market, down behind Faneuil Hall, for brunch. Now, Quincy Market is the food court to end all food courts. It is the most astounding food court you’ve ever seen — on steroids.

Scallops and bacon. Yum. Too rich, though.

Scallops and bacon. Yum. Too rich, though.

Two of us made a pact to sample as much as we could sample, sharing dishes as we went. So, brunch involved:

  • A baseball-sized arancini, with a filling of meat, tomatoes and peppers
  • Peshawari naan bread
  • Scallops wrapped in bacon
  • A massive candy apple
  • Clam chowder
  • A coconut macaroon the size of a hockey puck

And some other stuff I forgot.

The naan was among the best I’ve ever had. The arancini was OK. The scallops wrapped in bacon were good, but did not go together as well as I had thought they would; the combo of the two was just too rich, and needed some sort of tart element to cut that.

There were more great meals, including a burger at Mr. Barkley’s Burgers in Cambridge, and a beer at Cheers (yes, I had to!), but they’ll wait until another time, perhaps. And I will wait until my next chance to go to Boston, because if you can go there in the winter and love it, I’ve got to think it’s a fine place in the spring. Or fall. Or summer.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em go, if you get a chance. They’re nice to Southerners, too. I’m sure Charles Sumner is doing back flips in his grave (gratuitous history reference — y’all look it up.).


One Response to “Boston — a foodie kind of town”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    I realize you were there out of season, but Fenway is best experienced during a Sawx game, with a beer and kielbasa at hand.

    I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already figure out a priori. 🙂

    It was there I learned that a Dennis Eckersley fastball coming to rest in a catcher’s mitt makes a sound remarkably like a gunshot. And whirling my head over to see where that gunshot came from, I was able to look Eck straight in the eyes. (Where I was sitting I had a straight line of vision right towards the visitor’s bullpen mound. Ah, memories.)

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