Retirement Trip

Also known as Boston and L.A. May 2017.

But wait, retirement, you might say?

Yep. Thanks to B getting a job with an ACTUAL airline (a mainline carrier as opposed to a regional), he let me quit my soul-sucking barista job so I could finally free myself from customer service hell. My CS shelf life? Waaaaay overdue.

Cinco de Mayo was officially my last day with the company and while it was bittersweet in some respects, I have no regrets about leaving. None.

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My farewell cake.

I was in theory supposed to do a race that weekend, but since I had taken a good chunk of the spring off due to mental health AND B had a Boston overnight … I decided to join him in Boston instead and then go back to L.A. with him to play for a day. Since I could now do such crazy things.

My original plan was to take a red-eye from DEN to JFK Friday night and then catch an early flight from JFK to BOS Saturday morning. Well, all of the latter flights filled up for whatever reason and then my red-eye got delayed … so I left the next day and connected through MSP. Whatever.

I landed in Boston, dumped off my bag at B’s hotel (he wasn’t getting in until much later that night), and immediately met up with one of my old college roommates, Courtney. We hung out for a while before parting ways. I headed down into the city and had quite possibly the worst lobster roll ever (somewhere in Quincy Market. I don’t even recall which stand).

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No lobster roll picture, but found this in City Hall Plaza.

I felt so gross afterward that I headed back to the hotel to sit and read for a little while. My stomach settled enough around 7ish that I felt comfortable heading back out for some dinner. Nostalgia directed me straight back to campus.

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Heh. My kind of graffiti.

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I can fully believe that Target can be the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Thai fried rice (and a glass of wine) at Brown Sugar Cafe was awesome on my nearly empty stomach (hadn’t eaten much all day). I felt enough belly space to hop across the street to T. Anthony’s for a slice – where my boy Paul STILL recognizes me, 12 years post-graduation – and then a few doors down to Angora for the best fro-yo on the planet.

That took up enough time for me to get back to the hotel and read a bit more before B’s flight got in. He got in and I got to finally get some WONDERFUL SLEEP.

(I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the few days previous.)

Sunday morning, we tried breakfast at some place on Boylston – I don’t recall the name – that had apparently just started a breakfast service. They need to improve on it, for it was highly mediocre. We were considering going for a run after that, but since it was gorgeous out – that weekend was the one sunny spot in Boston in like two weeks – we decided to just put on our shoes and walk around the city.

I took him down through Fenway to the Back Bay Fens, part of the Emerald Necklace. I’d talked about going down there back in school, but had never taken him there, so we did that. We then stopped at the BU Bookstore just because and obviously I walked out of there with some stuff! I found a pair of capris on clearance (workout capris for $30? Yes please!) and a wonderful comfy new Under Armour hoodie while B found a new pair of workout shorts. After that, we strolled downtown where I got to redeem my lobster roll disaster from the previous day at James Hook and Co.

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We were hoping to meet up with our friend Ann at some point, but unfortunately, it was not meant to be. So, we went back to the hotel to shower and pack up. I decided to leave before B and get to the airport a bit earlier just in case.

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Hi husband doing his walkaround!

Unfortunately, the BOS-LAX flight he was flying was oversold, so guess who got to stay behind?

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Airport life. Featuring: new hoodie!

B offered to get me a hotel, but I just didn’t want to deal with it. I treated myself to a ridiculously expensive dinner at the Legal’s Test Kitchen in the airport (chowder, a glass of Pinot Noir, and one of my top-three lobster rolls) before attempting to settle in for the night.

Except apparently Logan doesn’t let you sleep in the concourses; no, it kicks you out pre-security. I went from a quiet, cozy, carpeted corner to a cold, noisy, tiled floor that was being cleaned for seriously two hours. Or so it felt like. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. I managed an hour before I got booted out, maybe another broken 90 minutes on the tile, and then about 75 minutes at what I thought was going to be my gate once I went back through security at 4:15am.

Luckily, I made the morning LAX flight just fine, watching “Moana” and “Hidden Figures” on the way, being crowded in my middle seat by two manspreaders stealing the armrests.

B had rented a car, so he picked me up at LAX and took me to see his crash pad there (also so I could change). I inadvertently passed out for about an hour while he booked us a hotel room for the night. I woke up, changed, we headed off to our hotel, and then went to the Strand and rented cruiser bikes.

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B biking the Strand.

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Wall of succulents.

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Toes in the sand.

We went back home the next morning. Although it included not a lot of sleep and had a lot of stress, it was a wonderful mini trip to celebrate my “retirement” from coffee slinging.

Boston 2016, Days Three-Five

That title … looked a lot less awkward when I wrote it out … Oops.

Not a lot of pictures these days, so that’s why they’re all combined into one post.

Saturday, April 16, was our 5K, which if you really care how it went, go here. Pre-5K, we went back to the Busy Bee for breakfast, and post-5K, we stopped at Starbucks and Dunkin’ for some sugary goodness.

The Starbucks we stopped at was the one on Boylston right near the Marathon finish line, and it had some pretty cool stuff inside …

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How neat is this?

We went back to the hotel to shower and then grabbed a disappointing lunch at Sunset Cantina before heading to Walter Brown to watch my team’s alumnae game.

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I’m really thankful I didn’t play, as there were NO former club players who played; just ladies from the D-1 era. I would have gotten my ass kicked. The whole day really was kind of depressing …

After the game, we headed back to the hotel for a minute before going back down towards Copley to meet Nic for dinner at Legal Sea Foods.

On Sunday, April 17, we went for a literal donut and coffee run.

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Seen in Coolidge Corner.

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Twin Donuts.

Got back to the hotel, showered, and busted our ass over to Porter Square to check out the deliciousness that is Bagelsaurus.

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Ha.

We took our bagels to go and transferred over from the Red to the Orange line (quite possibly only the second time in my life I’ve taken the Orange) to head to Somerville to see my first college roommate, Courtney. We hung out with her for a couple of hours before needing to head back to our hotel to change and get ready for Blue Man Group. Blue Man doesn’t allow photography, so that’s why you see nothing here.

Blue Man, by the way, was a first for me. Brandon had seen them before (and had been trying to talk me into going for years), but I hadn’t. I’m glad that I went. I loved the music and the artistry of it. We joked that it was musical theater for men. Now that I have gone, I do say that I would go again, but not for several years, especially since Brandon said it was a very, very similar show to the last one he had seen years prior.

We got a bite before Blue Man at D’Angelo’s, but that was really just enough to stave off hunger; we were ravenous after the show. Off to T. Anthony’s it was (and Angora …) and a stop in a bookstore in Coolidge Corner on the way back to the hotel.

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Coolidge Corner Theater.

Monday, April 18, was Marathon Day (also Patriots’ Day). We woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then headed over to FitRec to get in a nice lift at an amazing facility … that opened up way too late senior year. Silly BU. After that, a quick stop back at the hotel to shower and change before heading down to our cheering spot between 40K and mile 25.

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Neely Spence Gracey, first American woman.

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One of the top men. Look at that form!

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That mascot head is Sam the Minuteman from UMass(-Amherst). Kind of fitting he was out and about on Patriots’ Day …

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Norm coming in for a hug. He raced the 5K with us on Saturday and took the Marathon easy … which for him was still a 2:50.

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A friend of ours from Colorado, D.J., going through a rough stretch.

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Friend and realtor Susie leaving us. She later said we were her “Mile 25 angels.”

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On the left in white, our MaccaX buddy Simon.

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Kidlet perspective.

After cheering, we were pretty hungry, so we grabbed some pizza from T. Anthony’s and then headed to Spike’s for their cheesy poodle fries.

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Dinner … ended up not really being a thing that day, but we did grab a drink at the iconic Dugout Cafe on the BU campus.

Boston 2016, Day Two

We woke up fairly early on April 15th and headed over to T. Anthony’s for breakfast (and then to Starbucks for coffee). After breakfast, we went for an easy peasy run around the BU campus and along the Charles River before heading downtown to start our day.

I’m pretty sure (it was two months ago; I can’t quite remember) we took the T down to Copley to meet up and walk with Lindsey for a tiny bit before going our own way.

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State House, you look good.

We headed downtown to meet some friends of ours for lunch. We got there a tiny bit early so we split a snack from Au Bon Pain before meeting Norm, Emily, and Ann at Anna’s Taqueria.

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After Anna’s, we essentially walked Ann back to work before heading off to the North End. I had heard about the Boston Skinny House (okay, seen it on Pinterest) and never knew about it before. It’s definitely something you have to be looking for or you won’t see it …

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We continued walking through the North End and came upon a memorial garden at the Old North Church.

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Since we were in the neighborhood, we kind of had to stop and get a cannoli …

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From the North End, we headed toward the waterfront, as Brandon heard from one of the FOs he’d flown with who was a Boston local. Brandon asked if I minded meeting up; I said no, so off to James Hook and Co. we went.

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Window artwork.

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Inside James Hook and Co.

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Outside James Hook and Co.

After splitting quite possibly the best lobster roll in Boston and sharing some conversation, it was off to the Barking Crab for, if you remember, some mediocre chowder and a beer.

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Loved this sign, though.

After the Barking Crab, we headed back towards Copley and the Prudential Center to hit up the Marathon expo. We already had our stuff for the 5K, but expos are free and we also wanted to say hi to friends.

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Bench outside the firehouse on Boylston (just around the corner from Mass Ave.).

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Brandon and Lindsey at the adidas area (with Nic in the far right of the shot).

After the expo (where we found some cheap 2xu socks!), we decided to walk back to the hotel.

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So many memorials (reminders?) still around …

We stopped for a quick snack of veggies and fruit at Whole Foods and wandered back to the hotel for a bit before we went back out for dinner at the Busy Bee.

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After dinner, we met up with my friend Brian, BU’s SID, for a drink (okay, I didn’t drink, but B did) and for me to give him some Broncos’ Super Bowl Champion stuff. Brian is weird in that he’s from Maine, but also a huge Denver Broncos fan. After the Super Bowl win, I asked Brian if he wanted me to get him some championship stuff; obviously the answer was a yes. So, two months later, I finally got him his shirt and Denver Post.

We didn’t stay out too late, though, as we had a race the next day …

Boston 2016, Day One

Okay, technically Day Two as we got in super late on the first day, but we’ll call it Day One as it was our first full day in Beantown.

April 14th, we woke up at our Holiday Inn Express down by TD Banknorth Garden, ate pancakes from the awesome pancake machine, grabbed coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, ensured we had a late checkout, and headed over to the Museum of Science. Not your typical tourist destination, I get it, but it was FREE with our DMNS membership. We’ve talked about this reciprocity. It’s awesome.

Outside was our first taste of the Marathon, and a dinosaur.
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The evolution on how people have thought T. rexes to have stood/walked.

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We built our own fish.

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Because who doesn’t remember/like playing with these?

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In a space capsule!

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Second T. rex with a bib.

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Our own baby T. rexes in a T. rex footprint.

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Street art just outside the MoS.

After the Museum, we headed off to our actual hotel, the Holiday Inn Brookline, to check in. We dumped our stuff and headed back downtown to meet our friend Lindsey for lunch. Lindsey works for adidas and was in town to work the Marathon expo. Lunch, as you might remember from my food series, was at Union Oyster House.

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Brandon trying oysters.

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Hey, trick lobster! It can hold stuff!

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Me: Presenting, lobster.
Lobster: Presenting, human.
(The guys were very impressed with how much the lobster liked me. I am the lobster whisperer. It’s a thing.)

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Trying oysters.

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Lindsey getting on the oyster bandwagon.

After lunch, we dropped Lindsey back off at her hotel in Copley, randomly ran into our friend Nic (who, to be more accurate, literally almost ran into us; she also works for adidas), and checked out the Boston Public Library.

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The lights outside the BPL are the best.

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I am a sucker for spiral staircases.

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The main hall.

After the library, we headed back toward Brookline and Boston University (campus! home!) for our hotel and dinner.

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Oh Brown Sugar Cafe, I miss you.

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Ivan with the Oreo Angora and Gustave with the coffee Angora.

Day one, in the books …

Dining in Boston: Part Three

Also known as the other stuff we ate. I didn’t remember to take pictures of everything, but I got most things.

Day One, if we recall, started out at the hotel for breakfast (and a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts), with Union Oyster House for lunch. Dinner that night was at my favorite Thai place from college, Brown Sugar Cafe.

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Brandon had the lemon chicken.

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I still dream about this fried rice. I cannot find ANYTHING like it here in Denver. I’ve tried recreating it in the kitchen with no success. I adore this dish so much.

Afterward, we went to Angora Cafe for the best frozen yogurt around. Most places have x amount of machines with flavored yogurt. Not Angora. Angora has a plain yogurt that you can mix in whatever flavor you want. I want coffee? They mix it together with ACTUAL coffee. It’s amazing.

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Brandon’s Oreo on the left, my coffee on the right. Perfect way to end the first day.

Day Two we mostly talked about in the previous two posts of the series, but we had a bite at Anna’s Taqueria with friends (I ate a chicken quesadilla) and we also split a delicious Oreo cannoli at Mike’s Pastry.

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Oreo is the way to go.

Day Three we tried Sunset Cantina on the BU campus for lunch, but it was a strong disappointment. I remember it being loads better. Maybe our mistake was going there as opposed to Sunset Grill and Tap (same company, about a mile up the road), but it was a lunch of disappointment after a race of disappointment and preceded my alumnae game of disappointment.

Day Four started off with the strong breakfast game, got a bit weaker as we quickly snarfed a mushroom cheesesteak from D’Angelos before we went to Blue Man Group, but the night picked up with delicious dinner from T. Anthony’s.

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Brandon had a meatball sub.

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I had the chicken parm, which is just as amazing as ever and is still (in the humblest of opinions) the best chicken parm on the planet.

Day Six, Marathon day, was a lot of grazing (really not a lot of eating), but we did hit up Spike’s for their amazing poodle fries with cheese. I snarfed most of them before I realized, crap, photo:
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Oops.

Day Seven saw us split another Oreo cannoli from Mike’s, and we also tried their cheesecake.

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It … wasn’t bad, but I believe I’ve had better. Maybe it was because we’d been carrying it around half the day before we finally dug into it.

As this was also the disappointing lobster roll and dill chowder day, we decided to end Boston on the highest of notes with another stop at Brown Sugar for Thai fried rice, Angora for more froyo, and T. Anthony’s for a slice of the reason I don’t really eat pizza in Denver.

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Boston, you have spoiled me, food-wise, for so many things. Never, ever change.

Dining in Boston: Part Two

As part one was breakfast, I’m dedicating part two to seafood, because Boston has a lot of it and it is delicious.

However, since this *is* me, eating seafood in Boston mostly means clam chowder and lobster rolls. So y’know …

The seafood started on Day One with a stop at Union Oyster House for chowder. Brandon also tried oysters (missed a picture) and I tried their lobster roll.

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The lobster itself was really good, the bun was accurate; the only thing “off” was the use of lettuce and tomato. Which I generally like on a sandwich, but does not belong on a lobster roll.

On Day Two, we split a lobster roll at James Hook and Co., one of the places I read had a good one. The list was accurate here, as this may have been my favorite lobster roll of the trip.

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We headed off to the Barking Crab next as Brandon said they had good chowder, but I was disappointed (and, so was he). Consistency was all off; it almost felt like a cheese soup as opposed to a chowder.

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Day Three led to a trip to the ever-awesome Legal Sea Foods for dinner. While we enjoyed gluten in our food (chowder, their delicious rolls), our friend Nic, who we went with, has celiac disease. Legal’s went above and beyond making sure everything was gluten-free and wonderful for her. From gluten-free chowder to gluten-free rolls and even a specific extra staff member to help her out, they were outstanding. So, if you have celiac disease and are in Boston (or any of the other cities Legal’s has an outpost in), head to Legal Sea Foods – they will treat you well.

Continuing on, Brandon and I both had a cup of chowder, because of course.

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Both Brandon and Nic had the Grilled Assortment, which was a chef’s choice of three fish (salmon, swordfish, and tuna), shrimp, and scallops. It was a ton of food.

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I chose something a bit different, and got the Nutty Faroe Island Salmon, which was almond-encrusted salmon sauteed in a lemon-butter caper sauce served with spinach and (which sold me) mushroom ravioli. The ravioli? On point. The salmon? Pretty good, but I don’t know if I’d order it again. Plus, capers? Ew.

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Our next seafood adventure wasn’t until Day Six (we needed a break). I had heard from multiple sources (online, one of the guys at Union Oyster House) that the best lobster roll in town was the hot roll (Connecticut style) at Neptune Oyster. I also read that the place filled up super quickly so we got there before they opened, still waited in line, and barely got seated. The place is a teeny tiny hole in the wall in the North End. We, and most everyone in there, ordered the hot lobster roll.

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To be perfectly honest … I’ve had better. The bun, as you can see in the picture, is incorrect, and it made a difference. The roll also fell apart more than it should have (too much butter?) and the taste? Off. Both Brandon and I wondered if everyone loved it solely for the fact that a hot lobster roll is simply hard to find in Boston. The fries, however, were perfect seafood fries, though I wonder if I think that solely because they’re very similar to what’s served at a seafood restaurant here in town …

After Neptune, we headed to Boston Sail Loft which supposedly has some of the best chowder in town. It might … if you like dill in your clam chowder. Which we definitely don’t.

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Aaaaalll the dill.

We couldn’t even finish our chowder. We could tell the waitress was concerned as she kept asking if everything was okay. I over-tipped her with a note on the receipt saying that nothing was her fault; we just don’t like dill!

There were a few more lobster rolls I would have liked to have tried (including Legal’s, but I would have had to hit them up for lunch for that), but I think I hit my limit on the trip. Next time …

Dining in Boston: Part One

Back in April, we went to Boston for the Marathon weekend. That, and to eat. A lot. Because I adore Boston food and miss it terribly.

Therefore, for your reading (and drooling) pleasure, I present to you a short series: Dining in Boston. This is part one – breakfast.

Day One we simply ate the hotel breakfast (Holiday Inn Express) and then shared some Dunkin’ munchkins. Simple.

Day Two we went to one of my favorite college hangouts, T. Anthony’s. Eggs, bacon, toast, home fries. Simple, tasty.

More importantly, since we were racing the BAA 5K the next day, we needed breakfast for dinner. Brandon found a gem on Beacon Street near the St. Mary’s T stop called the Busy Bee Diner (no site; just trust me on this one). It was fantastic.

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An authentic Frappe.

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All of the food.

Tasty, delicious, totally Greek. I also have to add that this place made the most perfect over-medium egg I have ever had. Seriously. Over-medium are so hard to get right and the Busy Bee nailed it.

Day Three we headed back to the Busy Bee right as they opened to grab some eggs before the race. Solid move once again.

Day Four we split our morning into two breakfasts. Clearly the way to go. Back in college, I saw this doughnut place called Twin Donuts, but never went. If I had realized how close it actually was, I may have actually gone.

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We split a chocolate-frosted (pretty solid) and a honey dip, their version of a glazed, which was outstanding enough to almost want to get another one.

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We also split a ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich for some protein. Neither of us was expecting much out of it, but it was really actually pretty good.

From there, we ran down to Starbucks for some coffee (blasphemy in that town, I know) and then busted ass to the hotel to change and head over to Bagelsaurus.

Bagelsaurus was going to be another new Boston experience for both of us. I had read some list about 50 foods in Boston you HAVE to eat blahblahblah and Bagelsaurus caught my eye … and not only because of the name. It’s located in Porter Square, a couple block walk away from the Porter stop on the red line. We got there relatively early on a Sunday morning, but clearly not early enough as we waited in about a 45 minute line to get in. But oh, was it totally worth it.

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Like at Twin Donut, we split the two things we got. This was a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. SO. GOOD.

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This was the classic jumbo sandwich with added bacon and avocado (so egg, cheddar, mustard butter, bacon, and avocado) on a plain bagel. It was good, but I think I preferred the bagel and cream cheese. Hell, this place had good enough bagels to go back and just snarf one plain, with nothing on it. They were that good.

Day Five we finally ate the buffet at our hotel (Holiday Inn Brookline) and Day Six was back to T. Anthony’s, this time for their French toast, which was as good as I remember it being back in college.