a big THANK YOU to the hounds who helped me eat my way through a bit of boston last weekend. i had a fabulous time in no small part to you folks. this is going to be long.
THURSDAY: lunch: chacarerro at downtown crossing for lunch. did not realize that there were two lines (there was no line to pay at the time), so i got in the "pick up" line. a nice chick behind me asked if i had paid yet. ooops. as instructed by hounds, got large chicken w/ extra green beans cut in half. YUM YUM YUM. i ate half of it at the square and wrapped the other half back up for later, eating at the public gardens.
dinner: peach farm for soft shell crab. tasty. i had three cantonese-speaking guys with me, so that helped navigate the menu. we also got clams with black bean sauce (salty but good), some kind of tofu/seafood clay pot, and crab e-mein noodles. all of that divided by four came out to around $25/person. probably should have just gotten the ss crab and the e-mein.
FRIDAY: lunch: mr and ms bartley's burger cottage in cambridge. got a survivor chicken burger, companions got various cow-based items. a fine time was had by all. however, the "fresh fruit lemonade" was god awful. first time it appeared, it was so full of grenadine that it was bright red. sent it back with requests for 'not sweet at all' (waiter admitted it did look a little sweet), and received a slightly less red version. neither incarnation tasted like lemon. conclusion: lemonade sucked, but my friend's lime rickey was good. Also, good cole slaw, not mayonnaise-y or watery.
snack: Toscanini's main store, where they make it. after a mostly patient clerk allowed us to try many flavors, settled on hazlenut. delicious. on the way out, tried guiness, which tasted just like the foam of said beer. yum!!! companions also reported best chai ever, not sweet.
SATURDAY: breakfast: farmer's market in faneuil (sp) hall, where i was introduced to the honey jade plum, very nice. also nectarines and oranges and great scenery.
lunch: after a stint at the MFA (not sure that the lauren car show was worth the extra $), companion (who moved to boston in march) selected the Summer Shack near Newburry, claiming he "heard it was good" (from WHO I asked), and that it won some people's choice awards (and most people are morons, I countered). This was NOT on the list I had compiled from you folks, and alarm bells are ringing in my head as I see it sells t-shirts with saucy slogans, and has narry a Boston accent among the customers. Not Good Signs. I was overruled despite protests and endured a lukewarm, gloppy clam chowder with chewy chewy clams. Ugh. The cornbread was dry and old, and the rolls were bought at 7-11. My sole tragic meal on this trip.
dinner: No Name fish restaurant... not really sure where I was (some pier), but great atmosphere, great staff. Boston accents everywhere, clearly where the locals go. chowder was too watery for my taste, but a nice film of butter on the top and LOTS of fish with good flavor. Got the fried platter and definetely felt I got my money's worth out of it. Freshly fried, and tasty. Companion got a sauteed platter, and I had a bit of it... not recommended. Sauce tasted strongly of white wine with very imbalanced flavors. Good diner-style garlic bread, freshly toasted and hot.
SUNDAY: lunch: Woodman's in Essex. A fabulous place, despite the tourists (yes, I know I was one of them). The fried scallops were outstanding, as were the steamed clams. clam cakes were good dipped in the clam juice cup from the steamed clam order. onion rings were standard, and popcorn shrimp was ok. chowder had good clams in it (not chewy), but was slightly thin for my taste; nevertheless, tasty. Also got a lobster, of course, very delicious. I really appreciated that the lobster was dead before it was boiled in front of me (being boiled alive is a horrible way to die no matter what you are). Lobster guy was friendly, matter-of-fact. Skip the fried shrimp and onion rings, go for the scallops. A rather hefty bill (there were no lobsters smaller than $24), but good stuff worth the splurge. Apparently there is a raw bar upstairs that we totally missed. Next time!
dinner: Men Tei off Newburry. If this is what passes for good ramen in Boston, I'm sorry for you guys. They were obviously dried noodles, not fresh, and the broth was flatly flavored. The noodles weren't overcooked, but they lacked that nice chewy texture which a major hallmark of good ramen. Dinner special was a mini donburi (meat over rice) and a basic ramen for like $10. I guess if that's the best you have, oh well, but I wasn't impressed at all.
Monday: lunch: back to Chacarerro (I couldn't find the Pita Kabob place) this time knowing to wait in the pay line first, and then the order line. I felt quite cool as I instructed someone else on what to do (at their questioning). I forgot to order extra green beans and definetely noticed their absence. They're a must; I wish they weren't an extra $1.
snack: Cafe Podima frozen yogurt. I have since repeatedly kicked myself for waiting until the last day of my trip, since it was about a block from my location. I had no idea how good or how cheap it was. For around $3.50, I got a nearly pint-sized container full of my custom yogurt. I agree to the doubling the flavor that you order. I got raspberry and lemon, and wished for more raspberry. Double raspberry would have been the way to go. I'm hoping to find a similar place somewhere in San Francisco, but I am not holding my breath.
Thanks you guys for a fabulous time. The "Summer Shack incident" clearly demonstrated what could have happened had I not checked with you all first. BOSTON ROCKS! THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!