Where I Ate in Boston
I was in Boston recently, speaking at the Women in Travel Summit and, of course, while I was in Beantown I had to check out the food scene. Food is often one of those things that I remember best about the places I visit. It was unlike me, but on this trip I winged it rather than researching where to eat in Boston and it turned out pretty well. Over the past decade the city has been experiencing an emerging foodie scene focused on local ingredients. There’s a lot more going on than just clam chowder and it was fun exploring a few different neighbourhoods sampling everything from cannoli to bbq pork buns…and chowdah.
After long travel days, myself and new WITS friends Jessica, and Kristen took the recommendation of the front desk staff at HI Boston and headed out in the rain to find the nearby jmCurley – a busy, cozy burger and beer gastropub named for a former mayor of Boston. The beer selection is large as are the food portions – best order the “kim-cheesesteak” with a friend. I ordered the pulled pork which came with a mountain of spicy slaw and fries. As with most pulled pork sandwiches, it was messy as hell but I’d order it again. Between the craft beers, the bacon flavoured popcorn instead of bread, and the old-timey logo, this place couldn’t get much more hipster.
Regina Pizzeria touts itself as Boston’s best pizza since 1926 and my visit there did nothing to disprove this statement. I ordered the Meatball Pomodoro Fresco (mmm…meatballs), which came with marinated tomatoes, meatballs, mozza, romano, and parmesan cheeses with garlic sauce and fresh basil. I was taken aback at first seeing the thin slices of meatball rather than the round balls I was expecting but the pizza was exceedingly delicious. The crust was on the thin side and struck just the right balance between chewy and crispy. You’ll surprise yourself with your ability to devour the entire thing is an astonishingly short amount of time. Or maybe that was just me.
Initial attempts at North End Italian food were thwarted when we arrived at Giacomo’s to find the line for the tiny restaurant stretching out the door and down the street. Apparently, this is typical. Our trio promptly hauled out our phones and fired up Yelp to find an alternative. Gotta love technology! The winner turned out to be just down the street. Maurizio’s is a tiny restaurant featuring Sardinian dishes. The parmiagiana was really tempting but I finally decided on the Spaghetti Al Salmone – fresh and smoked salmon, diced plum tomatoes, scallions and fresh basil in a lobster tomato cream sauce. It was rich and flavourful without being too heavy.
There has been a long standing cannoli war happening on Hanover Street in Boston’s North End: Mike’s Pastry vs Modern Pastry. While I didn’t indulge in both I did have my very first cannoli at Mike’s. Both shops were bursting with people on a Sunday night but we were served quickly. The staff behind the counter are super efficient and it’s fun to watch them sprinkle on the powdered sugar and wrap up the to-go boxes with string stored in big metal balls hanging from the ceiling. It’s obviously not their first rodeo. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the cannoli shell was crispy without being greasy and the ricotta filling was light and not overly sweet. I wish I could’ve brought a dozen home with me.
This hip little indie spot in the South End was a late night snack after the Saturday night WITS party. They serve their own interpretations of traditional Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. I ordered the Braised Pork Belly Buns (my first ever bbq pork bun) and it was all that I could hope for. The bun was pillowy soft and the pork was tender and sweet. If I find myself back in Boston, I’d like to visit Myers+Chang and try more of their delicious food.
Legal Sea Foods
You know I couldn’t leave Boston without trying some New England clam chowder. It was my last night in town, I was tired, and didn’t want to venture too far from where I was staying in order to get said chowder. Luckily, Legal Sea Foods, despite being a chain, ranks on a few “best chowder in Boston” lists. In fact, their chowder has been served at Presidential inaugural celebrations since 1981. I gotta give it props: it was rich but not heavy and very tasty. A mix of a well seasoned seafood broth, cream, pork salt, onions, potatoes, and clams fit for presidents.
Before a day of shopping on Newbury Street I decided to carbo-load with lunch at Parish Cafe. The restaurant features sandwiches and other comfort food in a casual atmosphere. Had it been warmer it would’ve been nice to eat outdoors and people watch. I chose the meatloaf club sandwich which came with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. The meatloaf was moist and worked surprisingly well in a club sandwich with crispy bacon and spicy chipotle aioli. I’m going to have to try this combo myself at home. The mashed potatoes seemed over-blended but were real vs instant. All in all, a great location with good, simple food.
Do you have any great Boston restaurant recommendations?