Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shipping up to Boston

This past week/weekend, I went to Boston, Massachusetts.

I had never been to
beantown before, but I had expectations built up in my head. Historic buildings and architecture, classy neighborhoods, cold weather, good food, and, um, cultured people. And to my delight and dismay, most of those assumptions were correct.
On my first night in Boston, I was greeted by my best friend from high school, Emily, and she helped me hop the
T--still not sure why it's called that--to my parent's hotel, the Taj. After dropping off my luggage, we headed out to meet everyone at a local seafood restaurant, Legal Seafood. My brother, his friends, and my parents were all a couple drinks in and still waiting for their food, so we joined the festivities. A couple samples from each person's dish, and I was convinced that Boston would have a promising food selection, and I would have to divulge in a full meal the next day. After dinner, Emily and I headed off with my brother and his entourage to a place called Foundation Lounge. Your pretty average loungy bar and hot night spot. We received bottle service--pretty classy right?--and relaxed on couches reserved for our group. After Emily left because she worked early the next morning, the bar continued to thrive with more and more people arriving. But what became clear was that this was not really my scene, and the people were not all that thrilled with our presence there either. My brother began dancing around tables and got a couple sharp glances from the local crowd. Apparently some behavior is just unacceptable in Boston.

After stumbling back to the hotel at 2 a.m.--so not my style on a Wednesday night--I crashed until about 9 a.m. or so. Once showered and a bottle of water in hand, my parents and I hit
Newbury Street--the Michigan Avenue of Boston. Expensive clothing stores, cute boutiques, and fashionistas galore lined the street as we walked through the chilly fall air. Since it was almost noon when we finally started our day, we headed to a highly recommended restaurant on Newbury called Stephanie's. The warm setting, with a cozy fireplace and white linen table clothes, was welcoming for a group of tourists. After scanning the menu, which listed things from lobster salad rolls to citrus crusted salmon, I opted for an old classic which I have never had the opportunity to taste--New England Clam Chowder. Just a cup of this creamy mixture, and my entire body felt warm and satisfied. Definitely an item I will be eating again. The rest of the afternoon was spent scouring the shops for dresses--mostly for my mom--and I am happy to report that after four hours of searching, she finally found one she liked.


That night we all got dressed up for my brother's movie screening--the whole reason I went to Boston in the first place. Emily, her roommates, and I quickly dolled ourselves up in dresses and heels, while munching on cheese and crackers and sipping pinot grigio. Then we headed over to Cambridge--just across the river from Boston--to the theater where the movie was showing. We were greeted with free drinks and a spread of food. Once most guests had arrived, we moved into the theater, took our seats, and waited for the movie to begin. The Lonliest Road in America is the product of over a year of hard work and dedication from my brother, Colin Day, and his friend, Mardana Mayginnes (forgive the harmless plug). And it seems it was received with plenty of praise from the Boston crowd, and they aren't the easiest people to impress. The night ended with an after party at a local Irish pub with more drinks and food.

It's pretty clear I was well fed on this trip.

My last full day in Boston, I went sight seeing with my parents. We pretty much saw everything one should see while they're there: Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston Common--to see the colors change,-- The Massachusetts State House, the Old State House, Faneuil Hall, and Quincy Market. At first, we had every intention of just making our way through Boston Common, and then we were not even sure what we would do next. But as it turns out, and this surprised me, Boston is not that big. Once we got through the Commons, there was the State House with its famous gold dome. Then we realized we were close to downtown, and it was an easy walk to the Old State House and Quincy Market. It was actually a very pleasant walk--minus the rain that seemed to follow us through the day. And while the city is not the easiest to navigate because the streets were not built on a grid system and there is no logical order to how they are set up, we were able to figure out--with help from street maps and my mom's GPS on her iphone--where we were and how to get to the next place. When we arrived at Quincy Market, we were starving. So we found a little cafe under the building called Salty Dog Grille and Cafe (sorry, couldn't find a website.) Now because of the location, it was pretty much known as a tourist spot. But we were hungry, it was raining, and we just needed some place to rest. We didn't want to wait for a table so we just sat at the bar, which turned out to be the best choice. It felt a lot more personal and comfortable, and the bartender was extremely friendly. My parents both got fish and chips and I opted for the crab cakes--another meal I was told I had to try while there. We each got a Sam Adams brew--them the Boston Lager, me the Oktoberfest--and they were very enjoyable.

After a long day of sightseeing, we headed back to the hotel, relaxed, showered and got ready to meet Emily for our last dinner in Boston. We went to a french restaurant that was recommended to us called Troquet. A quiant little place perfect for the theater crowd. A little fancier than I anticipated, but wonderful nontheless. My parents both ordered the lamb, Emily sampled the langoustines, and I nibbled on a rich pasta dish with mushrooms and truffle. If ever you're in Boston and you have a little extra money to spare, check this restaurant out, it is delicious.

Before my flight left on Saturday, there was still one more thing I had not done in Boston. I needed to go to the Omni Parker House and order a Boston Cream Pie--a round cake split and filled with custard and frosted with chocolate--the official desert of Massachusetts. The hotel apparently invented this sweet confection, though it is difficult to prove, so I figured why not go to the place where it all started. So after a large brunch with Emily and our friend Erik who came up to visit from New York, we headed over to the hotel. We ordered one piece to pie to share, and when it was placed on the table we all gazed in awe at its beauty. I almost didn't want to dig my fork into the perfect frosting...but I did! And heaven never tasted so good.

So maybe the people could have been nicer and the weather a little less dreary, but overall the trip to Boston was memorable. Add family, good friends, beautiful sights, strong drinks, and scrumptious food, and you've got yourself a darn good time in beantown.

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