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.
 photo 4-14mos_zps6ynvq9fi.jpg

 photo 4-14mos4_zpsxpoggmm1.jpg
The evolution on how people have thought T-Rexes to have stood/walked.

 photo 4-14mos6_zpsdrjvadfl.jpg
We built our own fish.

 photo 4-14mos8_zpsqmcrzive.jpg
Because who doesn’t remember/like playing with these?

 photo 4-14mos10_zps5cbhfrzc.jpg
In a space capsule!

 photo 4-14mos14_zpssrdjexgo.jpg
Second T-Rex with a bib.

 photo 4-14mos15_zpszfeodasl.jpg
Our own baby T-Rexes in a T-Rex footprint.

 photo 4-14city_zpsecwuvgjg.jpg
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.

 photo 4-14union2_zpspicywftw.jpg
Brandon trying oysters.

 photo 4-14union3_zpsejmjd5fa.jpg
Hey, trick lobster! It can hold stuff!

 photo 4-14union4_zpso4xsfl9w.jpg
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.)

 photo 4-14union6_zpsqsajc8j7.jpg
Trying oysters.

 photo 4-14union7_zpsmugwfnvl.jpg
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.

 photo 4-14bpl2_zpsoq8ou2pn.jpg
The lights outside the BPL are the best.

 photo 4-14bpl3_zpsdoym8uda.jpg
I am a sucker for spiral staircases.

 photo 4-14bpl4_zpsw1oflufh.jpg
The main hall.

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

 photo 4-14city3_zpsgkj3abgv.jpg
Oh Brown Sugar Cafe, I miss you.

 photo 4-14city6_zpsihke7t3o.jpg
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.

 photo brown_sugar_lemon_chicken_zps7cqovhey.jpg
Brandon had the lemon chicken.

 photo brown_sugar_thai_fried_rice_zps4z1ktysp.jpg
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.

 photo angora_frozen_yogurt_zpsx0rdb9mb.jpg
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.

 photo mikes_cannolis3_zpsvdsqxp5n.jpg
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.

 photo tanthonys_meatball_sub_zpsezrilzmw.jpg
Brandon had a meatball sub.

 photo tanthonys_chicken_parm_zpsfbfnkpwb.jpg
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:
 photo spikes_poodle_fries_zpskbar8rtq.jpg
Oops.

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

 photo mikes_cheesecake_zpsgu25yif1.jpg
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.

 photo tanthonys_pizza_zpszozlhr5r.jpg

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

Images of Boston: 2013 Edition

After Ironman, we went to Boston for a few days. Brandon’s team, the University of North Dakota was playing mine, Boston University, in hockey. Since we couldn’t go to Grand Forks last year when BU played up there, we decided to take a few extra days after Arizona and head to Boston.

It was a simple trip – not too much touristy stuff – we mainly walked around a bit on a clam chowder tour of the city – four cups of chowder in two days. But it’s Boston, and we both love the city, so it was worth it.

 photo boston_zpse1286c1a.jpg
Thai fried rice at Brown Sugar Café.

 photo boston2_zps6b812e63.jpg
All my time in Boston and I somehow never noticed this in Copley Square. All the names of the marathon winners (male and female, able-bodied and wheelchair) are engraved around it.

 photo boston4_zps201721a7.jpg
Brandon in the Public Gardens.

 photo boston5_zpsdf056713.jpg
Awesome knotted tree.

 photo boston6_zpsf409d31c.jpg
Bobby Orr “Goal” sculpture outside of the new Garden.

 photo boston9_zpsf1249717.jpg
Chowder stop number one: Warren Tavern, in Charlestown.

 photo boston11_zps923d2d31.jpg
Hey look, Paul Revere!

 photo boston12_zpsc756a8ef.jpg
North End. Right before pastries at Modern.

 photo boston13_zps91b65deb.jpg
Chowder stop number two: Union Oyster House. Cornbread was fantastic alongside it. This was probably ultimately our favorite of the four.

 photo boston14_zps4d68f66b.jpg
Outside Union Oyster House.

 photo boston17_zps9a153dbf.jpg
BU dino Gustave at Agganis Arena for the first time (for a hockey game).

 photo boston20_zps2a9dc9d6.jpg
Hockey people will know why this scoreboard is a fail.

 photo boston21_zpsa4f87091.jpg
Marsh Plaza.

 photo boston23_zpsdb74427b.jpg
Gustave in a BU cycling jersey.

 photo boston24_zps747f59bf.jpg
Dinosaur story time.

 photo boston28_zpse474f748.jpg
Chowder stop number four: Boston Chowda Co. Not pictured: Legal Sea Foods.

Order of preference?
1. Union Oyster House
2. Legal Sea Foods
3. Warren Tavern
4. Boston Chowda Co.

 photo boston29_zps18c21089.jpg
Lone remaining Boston Marathon bombing memorial in Copley Square.

On April’s Boston Trip

Ooooh boy did I get behind in writing this damn blog.

I did have a good reason for a while; mainly, I crashed my bike (link takes you to the triathlon blog I share with my hubby and includes the gory photos). This put me out of commission the week before we went to Boston and then … well, the boring parts of life get in the way and not happens in terms of fun exploration.

Ha. That was cheesy, I know. I’m sorry.

In any case, back in mid-April, we went to Boston to watch our friend Kris run the marathon. For me, it was also a homecoming of sorts, as that’s where I went to school and spent four years of my life. I also got the chance to show Brandon my version of Boston, much like he showed me his Grand Forks in April 2011.

The city was both the same and different, much as I expected it to be. 95% of the food I remembered was outstanding with very little of it disappointing. It’s really funny to see how much campus has changed and how much of it hasn’t. Of course, things changed drastically over the four years I was there; colleges and universities are constantly evolving. Brandon thought it hysterical how the both the evening and morning staff at one of my local college haunts, T. Anthony’s, still remembered me even though I hadn’t been back on campus in five years. Granted, I spent enough money in the place for them to remember me, but y’know.

Going back was also nice in that it reminded me that, as much as I love Boston and I loved my time there, I really have no desire to move back. I am a Colorado girl, born and bred, and there isn’t anything that’s going to change that. The lack of humidity out here doesn’t hurt, either, though.

Watching the marathon was a whole new experience from when I was in college. I truly didn’t get into the Marathon Monday experience until my senior year (and the year after when I came back for it), what with all the drinking and partying in South Campus (marathon comes right through south). The only running I did back then was when the hockey team forced me to for dryland or I had some crazy urge to go knock out a mile or two.

Now, I’m a part of that community. I’m nowhere near fast enough to Boston-qual, but I’m a triathlete. I run regularly and have completed two half-marathons. I now know what work it takes to get into a marathon like that, the dedication in either training to be fast enough or raising the amount of money you need to for charity to earn one of those spots. It’s something that I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do. The Ironman World Championships in Kona are similar, and yet I feel like that’s more in reach than Boston is. Of course, that’s part of the Boston mystique.

But this trip wasn’t about running (we had hoped to run a 5K, but me literally breaking my face the week before nipped that thought in the bud). It was about cheering Kris (and Mark, in the BAA 5K) on. It was about seeing old friends. It was about food. It was about reconnecting with a place I had fallen in love with in September 2001 and sharing that love (and food) with my husband.

I’m going to share the rest of my experience through pictures, but I’ll mention the foooood first.

Friday night: nothing. Got in too late to enjoy anything
Saturday: Breakfast: Some little place in Allston with my best friend from college, Brian. I honestly forget the name of it. Lunch: Boston Chowda Co., in the Prudential Center. Dinner: T. Anthony’s. Still the best chicken parm on the planet. Followed by frozen yogurt at Angora Cafe, which is not replicated ANYWHERE out here and it makes us both very sad.
Sunday: Breakfast: Hotel. Mmm, free crappy breakfast sammich. Lunch: Brown Sugar Cafe and that Thai fried rice I’ve been trying to replicate. Followed by ice cream at J.P. Licks with Brian and his fiancee, Phelan. Preceded by cannolis from Mike’s Pastry. Dinner: Fire and Ice. The one truly disappointing meal. Fire and Ice has gone way downhill the past few years.
Monday: Breakfast: Dunkin’ Donuts/T. Anthony’s. The latter was definitely better. Lunch: T’s Pub on campus after our Agganis Arena tour. Dinner: Legal Harborside. Not as good as one of the regular Legal Sea Foods’ restaurants (in my opinion), but it’s one of their more concept-type restaurants.
Tuesday: Breakfast: Free hotel food. Lunch: UBurger. A new burger joint that’s popped up on campus and around the city, and came highly recommended by Brian. Also had poodle fries with cheese from Spike’s Hot Dogs, which are some of the best cheese fries out there. Dinner: Sunset Grill and Tap. Mark wanted a place with lots of beer and this fit the bill. It also served as a great trip culmination, with Brian and Phelan as well as my old roommate (and bridesmaid) Courtney joining Brandon, Kris, Mark and myself. Followed by more Angora. Mmm.

Now, photos:

Boston Public Garden
Boston Public Garden.

Boston Public Garden
Swan boats in action.

Downtown
Paramount Theater in the theatre district.

Granary Burying Ground
Granary Burying Ground.

Faneuil Hall
One of the many food cases in Quincy Market.

Mike's Pastry's Cannolis
Cannoli from Mike’s Pastry.

Boston Marathon
Runners in the Boston Common waiting for the buses to take them to Hopkinton, Mass., to start the marathon.

Paradise Rock Lounge
Paradise Rock Lounge, a Boston fixture (located handily on the BU campus).

BU Campus
The best part of Agganis Arena, hands down. BU/Hockey East people know why.

Boston Marathon
Kris with a mile to go, running through Kenmore Square.

BU Campus
Brown Sugar Cafe. Favorite Thai place ever.

Downtown
Playing with a lobster at Union Oyster House.

Boston Public Garden
The “Make Way for Ducklings” statue (with dinosaurs).

Boston Public Garden
Swan boats.

Boston Public Garden
More swan boats.