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, 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 …

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 …