That Wife in Boston

I wanted to write up a little summary of my culinary adventures in Boston, because I did one for New York and it’s been a great resource to forward on if people ask me what I liked about The Big Apple.

I flew in to Boston on Thursday afternoon and dropped my stuff off at The John Jeffries House. When I checked in, they asked me if I was coming for medical reasons, which is when I learned it’s a bed and breakfast right next to the hospital that families usually stay at when they are visiting a loved one. The studio room I stayed in was small (for American standards) but  nicely furnished, with a twin bed, kitchenette, and fairly large bathroom. I had more than enough space for me and all of my camera equipment. It advertised a contintental breakfast, which was really just pastries and fruit, but it’s the location that’s the real selling point. You couldn’t possibly stay any closer to the subway stop than you are at this place.

I dropped off my stuff, packed up my camera body and lenses (I never leave that behind when I travel) and headed to Cafe Crema to meet up with two readers. I didn’t ask if it was alright to use their first names, so I’ll use an initial for one and an internet ‘nym for the other. That’s S on the left, and Gogo in the middle. The place we ate at were Gogo’s idea, as she is a bit of a foodie like me. S gets props for driving all the way from Rhode Island to meet us!

I liked Cafe Crema, and would definitely recommend it for the Sweet Potato Sandwich they offer, which was an excellent vegetarian option. I’m a bit bitter toward them though, because we left a receipt and two things of lipgloss on our table while we went to order and they threw it out. Grrrrr.

Next stop was Burdicks. Yes, we went for hot chocolate in the first week of August. My only regret? Having this hot chocolate has made me realize how sub-par pretty much every other cup of hot chocolate is. If you like your chocolate dark and rich, get the Grenadian.

After our hot chocolate Gogo took S and me on a tour of Harvard. I learned not to touch the lucky foot of the Harvard statue. Freshman guys pee on it for fun in the middle of the night. Sadly, S had to leave us and drive home at this point.

Gogo and I ended the night at Toscanini’s, where I indulged in a goat cheese brownie+peach combination. I can see why people go so crazy for the ice cream at this place, though I admit I think I like sour cherry gelato better (best I’ve had in the US of A comes from Bella Citta in Utah). Gogo and I talked about being foodies and natural birth (she wants to be a midwife) and kids (she’s a nanny) and all sorts of other fun things.

The next morning I got up and ran along the Charles, dragged all of my camera equipment to the rental car place and rented a car, picked up Jen Ing (my second shooter for the day), drove 2 hours, shot for 8 hours, drove 2 hours home, dropped off the rental car at 1 am, and somehow managed to find a taxi as the drunks stumbled out of the bars around me.

No pictures from the wedding yet, but I’ll have a teaser up on Jenna Cole soon. I’m really excited about them. 🙂

Saturday I wasn’t flying out until the evening, so I hopped back on the subway once again and headed over to have brunch at Mrs. Corn’s house with a few of the Boston Weddingbee writers. They forgave me for being an hour late to a brunch I initiated (I was seriously wiped out from the day before) and I had a great time with them (as I knew would be the case). From left to right you see Mrs. Hot Cocoa, Mrs. Toucan (and her little one!), Mrs. Margarita, Mrs. Corn, and me, Mrs. Avocado!

I asked Mr. Toucan to take the photo of us, and may have insulted him with my several clarifications of what “making sure to take a picture that includes our head and our feet” meant. I don’t know why, but this is something that a lot of people don’t do naturally. When you’re taking a group picture, do a quick scan of what you have on your screen. If it’s a full body shot like this, don’t cut off the feet, and don’t cut off the head. 🙂

Apparently Mr. Toucan loves to play photographer and taken many, many, photos in a row to get the group laughing. I finally had to stop him because I didn’t want to have too many photos to edit. He did an awesome job though and the pictures look beautiful. Thanks Mr. T!

After the bee brunch I wandered over to the North End to kill some time and get something to eat. Everyone said it was the place to go to get good food, but I admit I wasn’t impressed. I realize I didn’t eat at the nicest places, but all I wanted was a simple caprese salad for less than $15 and that was really tough to find. I ended up sitting down at La Famiglia Giorgio (even though it broke my personal rule regarding pictures on the menu) because I had a nasty headache that screamed GIVE ME FOOD RIGHT NOW and walking around looking on Yelp for a good place was no longer an option. My caprese salad was just okay, mealy conventional tomatoes (I’ve been spoiled by heirlooms and mediocre mozzarella). I did love the olive oil+parmesan+pepper flakes dipping sauce they had and plan to replicate it at home. I also waited in line for 20 minutes for a chocolate-dipped cannoli with ricotta filling from Modern Pastry and I just didn’t really love that either. I’m not sure if it’s that the cannoli wasn’t good, or that I just don’t really like cannolis. Guess I’ll have to taste a few in Italy to figure that out, right?

I did love Boston (probably because I went when the weather was amazing) and can see why so many people are willing to brave the winters in order to live there. Thanks to all those who chimed in with recommendations on this thread here.


23 thoughts on “That Wife in Boston

  1. The husband and I discovered something about the Yelp iPhone app while looking for places to eat in Florida…most of the time it excludes $ in favor of $$ & $$$ places. We were using the “search nearby” feature. We were walking around Coral Gables in Miami trying to find something affordable and getting frustrated because everything that was showing up was way mucho dinero! Then we stumbled on a cute Burger place and had a nice, cheap lunch! I tried the search nearby feature on the app IN THE STORE and it still didn’t come up…I had to search for it separately to find anything–it was highly rated, too! Unfortunately, this was our last meal stop at the END of a 5 day vacation.

    I’ll never trust the Yelp App again.

  2. Perfect timing! I’m going to Boston in a couple of months so I’ll definitely be bookmarking this page and most certainly be trying that hot chocolate 🙂

  3. I am so so sorry I didn’t recommend the florentine cannoli at Mike’s Pastry in the North End (I’ve been out of town and my blog reading and commenting have been spotty at best). I’m not really a huge fan of regular cannolis, but the florentine one is to DIE for.

    Jessica Reply:

    I’ve only been to Boston once, but two friends had suggested Mike’s and OMG – to die for! Thanks for the reminder, I meant to go find them online and give them a stellar review 🙂

    Lisa Reply:

    Mike’s Pastries is THE BEST. I don’t like cannolis either, but man, they are out of this world good.

  4. I love the kind of posts that take me 15 minutes to read because I’m clicking through on the hyperlinks! I know they take longer to write, so know they are fun to read.

    I don’t really love cannolis either. On Mulberry Street in NYC, they are everywhere. I’ve been doing my own personal tour of the tiramisu and the cannoli options in our Little Italy, and I will say there is variety to be had. Will enjoy reading your perceptions of the taste-tour of Italy, too!

    I saw you linked to your second shooter in Boston. Did you use the second shooter boards to find Jen Ing, or was there a personal connection?

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    Jenna Reply:

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  6. Looks like fun! I went to a place in Provo last week called Mountain West Burrito and thought of you! It is this tiny little hole-in-the-wall place but SO good! Everything is made fresh (they have a sign up saying they don’t own a can opener) and all the meat and ingredients are organic (they offer vegan sour cream and cheese options as well). They even have signs up about where their beef and chicken come from and state it is all humanely killed etc. What amazed me was how affordable it was and how yummy everything tasted! I always think of places like that of being really expensive but a place like this makes it easy to support them. Anyway, I just saw your post on places to eat and thought I would share 🙂

  7. Yes! I want to try all of the above!!!

    I think cannolis are somewhat gross and I don’t taste like I think they should — if that makes any sense!

  8. You should have gone to Mike’s Pastries- that’s what the North End is known for and they make the best cannolis and gelato! And there are plenty of amazing little Italian markets where you can get fresh cheese, meats, bread for a pretty reasonable price.

    Gogo Reply:

    Oh! I disagree. I mean, Mike vs Modern is an ongoing debate among many, but I just don’t see the comparison. Modern is much more authentic and the choice of any native italian Bostonian. They fill the shells on order, unlike Mike’s where they sit filled in the case. They are smaller at Modern which I think is good because it’s such a rich dessert to begin with. The filling is better at Modern too. It is way too sweet at Mike’s so you don’t get any depth of flavor in the ricotta. Mike’s is more well known by tourists, but Modern is just better.

    Annie@stronghealthyfit Reply:

    I’ve never had anything from Mike’s that wasn’t absolutely amazing. And as far as I know, it’s hardly unprofessional to fill your cannolis before people order them.

  9. So glad you had a good time here in New England.. you got so lucky with the weather! This week is humid beyond anything possible. I hope the next time you make it this way, we can meet. I would absolutely love that!

  10. Mikes vs. Modern is an age-old argument…unjust don’t like cannolies. But lobster tails are awesome!! (yes, that actually is a pastry)

    The trick to the North End is to find the most hole-in-the wall place…kind-of like Venice.

    So glad to have had you here for the visit!


    Angela Reply:

    I agree…you just don’t like cannoli. 🙂 Consider yourself lucky, I guess?

    Coasting anon Reply:

    Sorry…I was commenting from my iPhone..that SHOULD have read, I just don’t like cannolis 🙂

  11. We were so happy to get some Avo time! At Burdicks, you really ought to have tried the Iced Chocolate. It’s AMAZING — like the most decadent chocolate shake ever. As for the North End, I shouldn’t have sent you off without restaurant recs — you’ll have to come back soon and we’ll go together. I stand by the cannolis at Modern, though . . . did you get the ricotta with chocolate? The cream ones are gross, but the ricotta ones are delicious. And unlike at Mike’s, they fill them on the spot at Modern; they don’t sit in the case and get soggy.

  12. Yay! I had so much fun with you and S. I’m glad the rest of your weekend was so great, as well. Maybe excepting your North End experience?

    The North End is a trying place for a foodie to go without a plan. It is just so restaurant and tourist filled that picking something from the street feels like a stab in the dark. I don’t think Yelp is that helpful in such a situation – I’d recommend you try Chowhound next time. Mostly used by foodies, Chowhound threads give you more refined selection to work with. My favorite Boston Italian restaurant isn’t in the North End, actually. It’s in the Fenway.

    As for cannolis, I’m willing to bet you just don’t like them (assuming you got the ricotta filling – Amanda’s right, cream is gross). My husband doesn’t like them either. He does like lobster claws though.

  13. Had so much fun seeing you this weekend! I should have sent you to my favorite North End Restaurant – Il Panino. doesn’t look impressive from the outside but its sooo good.

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