Hello all, here's my recap of my fews days in Boston on the week after July 4.
(FYI, I am a Cantabrigian that relocated to Seattle. My date's first time in Boston.)
Monday evening- Pre-red sox game drink at Eastern Standard.
My first time there. Very nice atmosphere, even though it's new it feels like it's been there for a long time. Even amongst the game madness, the service was great and the drinks, delish. We got a fried calamari, which was light and nice because they friend the cherry peppers right in the same batter. Nice touch.
My date had a sausage from the Sausage guy at Yawkey/Landsdowne. He was impressed.
Tuesday - lunch at the Daily Catch (North End). Impeccable, as always. No squid ink pasta available, which was a bummer, but we were in heaven with the littlenecks (raw), calamari salad, and the Aglio o'lio. Pasta was cooked to perfection and the flavor of the pasta itself was amazing... The sauce was light and garlicy, not too heavy which was good because it was a excruciatingly humid day. A mid-day Moretti or two didn't hurt, either :) My date was amazed at the quality and character of the Daily Catch - good Italian is hard to find on the West Coast and the Daily Catch/North End in general really was a treat for him. The son was working and he was as charming as ever. Then we trekked over to Regina and although the pizza was good in itself, I think it was just too hot that day to really enjoy a piping hot slice. I always seem to enjoy pizza in the winter months, I realized.
Dinner was at the Blue Room, Kendall Sq. I was thoroughly impressed. Service was very good, they sure knew their stuff. Our waiter made good recommendations and was generous with wine samples/tastings. Apps - we got a branzino carpaccio with watercress and citrus vinegar - delicious and summery, and grilled sardines - also delicious, nicely charred and not too 'fishy'. Dinners were the salt cod and the duck. Both proteins were prepared perfectly... the mashed potatoes accompanying the duck were way too watery/thin and looked unappetizing. The flavor was okay but again too thin. The salt cod plate was very good all-around, but kind of a bland presentation. Maybe a garnish of fresh herbs or lemon would have done the trick... but it needed something to please the eye. Dessert was a strawberry tart and espressos. We're used to awesome espresso (being from Seattle) so we were a little disappointed in the quality but we understood. The strawberry tart was a little unbalanced - fruit was too mushy and pie dough was a little too dry. Overall, a nice night. I would go back but probably skip dessert.
Wednesday - lunch at Moqueca in Inman. What a gem. It has always been a favorite hole-in-the-wall for me, and my date (never had Brazilian food) savored every bite. I recommend the traditional fish moquecas with the addition of the hot sauce - absolutely fantastic caramelization on the onions and fish. Fresh cilantro brightens it up, and the hot sauce has a unique flavor. Fabulous! Very reasonably priced and adorably friendly service. Peeked in Christina's for a quick post-lunch treat, but honestly none of the flavors really got us excited. I was expecting a lot of fresh summery choices but they seemed to have a lot more "fall" flavors - rum raisin, chai, cardamom, cinnamon, etc. I was looking for something llike their lavendar or even just a plain strawberry. Nothing really caught our eye, so we skipped it. Oh well.
We had a beer at Charlie's (Harvard Sq) and I was shocked at the patio they put in - wow! We decided to do it old-school and went upstairs to watch the Red Sox win over some Guiness pints. Yum.
Dinner we went to River Gods and got a solid, well-priced, well-prepared meal for excellent prices. Burgers and veggie sandwiches for most of the crew (4 of us), plates of frites, and two beers a person for $90 total. Can't beat it! It was good because it wasn't too crowded. My date said he finally found an excellent medium-rare burger there - he says in Seattle they always overcook them.
Drinks afterward at Green Street. Drinks were prepared with excellence - I was impressed at all the choices. Remember to ask for the full menu - because at the tables they just had the small one. The only off-putting thing was a weird "dishwasher-y" smell when we walked in... not sure if there was an issue or if that was the norm... anyway it was off-putting but not enough to ruin a good drink (or two or three...)
Thursday - a late breakfast at Bagel Rising in Allston, which was very good. I hadn't been there in years so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the bagels are still quite good. They had a crisp (but not too-crispy) exterior and a nice crumb that was not too doughy/chewy. A little bummed they didn't have tomatoes (isn't the tomato scare over yet?).
We got a little off-track for lunch and I couldn't come up with anything creative so we went to the Union Oyster house for the Boston basics. My date had never had a lobster roll before, so that was kinda fun to see someone lay eyes on it for the first time. I was a little disappointed they used a bulky sandwich roll and not a hot dog roll... it was too bready. But he didn't seem to mind and devoured it. I got some chowder - not the best chowder I've ever had but it hit the spot with the cold beers. Service was horrible - lobster roll came out first, beers up second, chowder up third? How hard is it to pour chowder in a bowl? It was strange and they were'nt apologetic at all. I guess I would be in a bad mood too if I had to deal with annoying tourists all day long, so I cut them some slack.
Dinner was planned for Chez Henri but my date begged to go back to the North End for more Italian. We went to Pomodoro (mostly because we didn't have a reservation anywhere, and it was already 8:00 and long waits), and were pleasantly surprised. The ambiance was a little stark but it had it's charm. Antipasto was delicious, especially the prosciutto and the white beans. We had a mixture of entrees (4 people) - from baked cod to zuppa de pesce, linguine and clams to shrimp scampi. Everyone was pleased and cleaned their plates. Wine was very good and reasonably priced. Service was attentive and sweet.
Tiramisu, wine, and espresso followed at Caffe Paradisio. A fun, lively place as always. THat place hasn't changed at all, has it? That's a good thing.
I wished to have made it to Chez Henri, Chinatown, No.9 Park, Oleana, Sel de la Terre, and a proper Irish pub, amongst MANY other places, but we just didn;t have enough time!
Now I just gotta find a way to move back to Boston...... :)