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 …

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.

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Thai fried rice at Brown Sugar Café.

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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.

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Brandon in the Public Gardens.

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Awesome knotted tree.

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

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Chowder stop number one: Warren Tavern, in Charlestown.

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Hey look, Paul Revere!

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North End. Right before pastries at Modern.

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

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Outside Union Oyster House.

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

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Hockey people will know why this scoreboard is a fail.

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Marsh Plaza.

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Gustave in a BU cycling jersey.

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Dinosaur story time.

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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.

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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:

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Boston Public Garden.

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Swan boats in action.

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Paramount Theater in the theatre district.

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Granary Burying Ground.

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One of the many food cases in Quincy Market.

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Cannoli from Mike’s Pastry.

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

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

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

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

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Brown Sugar Cafe. Favorite Thai place ever.

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Playing with a lobster at Union Oyster House.

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

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Swan boats.

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More swan boats.