After four days of eating in Boston and Cambridge I feel justified in saying I LOVE THIS TOWN!! Actually I was only in Boston like 2 hours when I called my husband in Va. and begged him to move here. I started out working up my appetite with a visit to Trinity Church and followed that with a visit to Mike's Pastry. I'd say both were spiritual... the stained glass transported my soul and the cannoli transported my tummy.I was further blessed when Galleygirl met me at Mike's and escorted me to some of the best-tasting Boston spots, including raw oysters and clams in Haymarket, with a fresh red onion, garlic, lime, cilantro, and Thai bird pepper salsa, (WARNING to oyster-juice sippers: the salsa juice is highly flavorful but INCINDIARY!!! Sip with caution, cause there is NOTHING available in this area in the way of chile-soothing food or drink) We followed this with fried clams at Barking Crab(not as fat-bellied as one could have wished but plenty good, with a hint of nutmeg in the batter, according to my erstwhile and clam-obsessed guide), shopping for Chinese sausage at a market in China town, then a few Taiwanese comfort dishes at Taiwa cafe. These went down with varying degrees of yummyness. The spicy salty soy milk was neither spicy nor salty, though it did contain lots of crunchy crullers. GG suspected it started out life as sweet soy milk and evolved to "salty spicy" only when we asked for it at nearly 3 p.m. The mung bean flour oyster pancake was not to my liking, although the oysters were fat and juicy. The pancake was not very crispy, but was very greasy and very gooey.HOWEVER, DO NOT MISS!!!! the soup dumplings.These are under the appetizer menu at #34 or 35, listed as steamed pork buns. By that name I would not have ordered them, but under GG's guidance, and being a dumpling fanatic, I tried. There were 8 big fat steamed dumplings; the dough was brought up and twisted over the top with a little hole left to vent stem. Inside each one of these pockets of deliciousness was one rustic pork meatball, a swish of sesame oil, and about 2 tablespoons of rich, succulent broth. You perch one one your spoon, nip a hole in the side, sip out the broth CAREFULLY so as not to burn your mouth, and then enjoy the savory combinaiton of the pliant dough and meat enriched with the deep notes of the sesame oil. I understand these are not very commonly available... I have certainly never seen them but I will look for them in the future.
Also went with co-workers to Khao Sarnh and I can second everyone's opinion of the miang kum. The combination of dried cocunt, dried shrimp, peanuts, chopped lemon grass, and lime with the rind on, perched on a fresh spinach leaf, with the fishy-sweet sauce, is inspired. It's something you have to work on... the dried ingredients and the lime and lemongrass require some chewing but with each chomp, new things keep happening in your mouth. I followed this up with the entree steamed in the banana leaf, can't recall the name... it comes in salmon and chicken. I got the chicken. The meat is minced and mixed with curry spices and coconut milk, so that the texture is almost mousse-like. Rich, decadent, and surprising... and enough for two!!! I recommend the mango and sticky rice for dessert.
Dinner at East Coast Grill consisted of a killer mojito, the tuna taco (black and blue tuna, avacado, and a red onion salsa with cilantro), and a sesame crusted grilled wahoo topped with a soy glaze and shredded fresh ginger dipped in a sweet and salty tempura batter and fried. This came with white rice topped with a spicy cilantro sauce and fresh spinach sauteed with garlic. The raspberry flan was unremarkable, I'm sorry to report.
Finally, a trip to the North End began with dinner at Pomodoro and ended at Modern Pastry. I had fried artichokes for an appetizer; these were cut into small portions, batter dipped, fried and served with a hot rustic tomato sauce. Totally greaseless and wonderful with a squeeze of lemon. I followed that with cod in a sauce of lightly cooked halved plum tomatoes, capers, green and black olives, sauteed onion and garlic, with a side of garlic and olive oil linguine. The sauce was lovely, very fresh tasting as it was barely cooked, with the sweet tomatoes playing well off the salty olives and capers. The cod was meltingly tender, fell apart in big moist flakes and SO mild. This was a HUGE portion, as were all the portions I received in this town. How come every Bostonian isn't gargantuan???Pomodoro has 2 kinds of wine... white and red. The white (can't remember the appelation) was light, crisp, very juicy with a lot of citrus, kind of reminded me of a softer pinot grigio. I can add my opinion to the cannoli debate as well; I think Modern Pastry's is better. I can't explain exactly why, but it seemed fresher and little less sweet. Very rich ricotta filling unadulterated with chocolate of any kind.
I'm coming back to Cambridge in nov. and this is one business trip I'm looking forward to with great anticipation. Thanks, Boston!!!!