Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Boston Blogs: Where We Ate

Boston in the Fall.  Ahhhhhh….this was not a vacation we had picked but still one we were pretty excited about because of how cheap it would be.  My husband is a radiation therapist and every year his company sends a few people to their annual conference, going down the line in order of seniority.  We last went to Miami five years ago and it was a wonderful trip.  Before we knew our destination for this year, we spent probably way too many hours discussing what we would do with Luke, how we would make it work.  We have a pretty strict “don’t spent 2 consecutive nights apart” rule that we’ve stuck to for 10½ years of marriage and weren’t in any hurry to break.  When we found out last fall that this year’s conference would be in Boston we were pretty excited.  We could take the Amtrak there, we were already planning to take it to New York in the spring (which we did) and it would be affordable and it would all work out.  We (me) could stop worrying about how we’d make this trip happen.

Well, the entire Boston story is coming, including why we didn’t take the Amtrak despite professing a pretty deep love for it, later this week.  Today we’re just talking about food.  Really important things.  I had been to Boston before, but it was 21 years ago with my family and I couldn’t tell you a single thing we ate.  I didn’t have a list of foods or restaurants I really wanted to try in Boston but I hate that 5pm “where should we eat” panic that we’ve had many times on many trips (including this one, despite my planning).  So I turned to my favorite source for restaurant ideas – Pinterest.  Specifically BuzzFeed type lists with “50 best things to eat in Boston” or something like that (like this one and this one).  I went through many of those lists, picking places that sounded good, in our price range, and close to where we would be.  We hit some of them.  Some of them we did not.  I learned while we were in Boston that some of our favorite NYC eats are there too – Shake Shack, Earl of Sandwich, and Pret.  All places I would have definitely eaten if we didn’t already have plans to eat somewhere else or had been in the right place at the right time.

Bonus for this trip – all of Matt’s meals would be paid for the whole trip, we just had to go dutch.  But still, we are waiting on a pretty nice reimbursement check so no complaints.  

I didn’t document some of these as well as I did NYC but still, here’s where we ate:

This was our lunch at the Indianapolis Airport right before boarding our plane.  We only had about 20 minutes at our gate before boarding and this was right next to the gate…so it was picked.  I had a burger wrapped in lettuce that was sufficiently greasy and delicious, even wrapped in lettuce.  We shared some fries and Matt & Luke shared a shake.  It was delicious.   The fries were good.  If you are ever at the Indianapolis Airport in terminal A I would recommend.  I’m also assuming they have an actual restaurant on 96th Street…but we haven’t been there.

The night before we left I was looking at Google Maps around the hotel and I noticed a restaurant called Luke’s Lobster.  Well, obviously we were going to have to stop there.  Which we did on our first night.  I’m not a big fan of lobster, but I’ve only had it once on our honeymoon cruise forever ago.  And it was named after our son.  So we still went.  I had their Wild Blue Salad which looked impressive but wasn’t the tastiest (and it turns out I’m still not a fan of lobster).  Matt had the Taste of Maine plate which turned out to be rather small given how many different things were on it.  His coworker had a lobster roll and she might have had the winner.  Matt also had this spicy ginger soda which, like the name, was spicy! Really spicy!  Luke was still talking about it weeks later when we stumbled across the exact same stuff at Aldi.  We did not buy any then.  This place had a nice atmosphere but was pretty small, we were lucky to get a table.  The prices were decent though and I would go again to try something else, and not just because it shares a name with my lovely son.

Sunday morning was the first time Luke and I were on our own.  Matt had classes all day, including through lunch, so we had a lot of time to walk around Boston.  We started at the Flour Bakery which had a location almost right around the corner from the hotel.  It was a really chilly morning and turned out to be a busy morning at the bakery.  Per my Pinterest recommendations, we shared a sticky bun and also a raspberry pastry, both of which were fantastic.  Really really good.  I’d take a bite of one and decide that was my favorite and then try the other and decide that was my favorite.  I also had a crimson berry tea and Luke a milk.  I tried to get him milk at least once a day while traveling.  We were mostly successful. 

In New York we didn’t eat a single breakfast out, rarely do when we’re traveling so this felt like an extra treat and a nice little time to spend with my boy.

We were walking the Freedom Trail over lunchtime and stopped at the Quincy Market for lunch.  I had already searched out my options online and got some Lobster Bisque for us to share at Boston Chowda Co.  We ate outside as the day was starting to warm up and it was just really nice.  The soup was really good, Luke even liked it!  I think this I how I need to eat lobster – mostly in soup form.  Very good.

We then kept walking and stopped at Saus for some fries.  This was right along the Freedom Trail (literally, the only turning off it was to walk in the front door) and a nice chance to sit down and have a little break from all our walking and being on our feet.  We didn’t get any sauces because I’m not really a sauce person and they were also extra with the small size I had ordered.  But we still really enjoyed our fries.  And the free water dispenser.  We really took advantage of that.

When google-mapping our hotel, I noticed a Cheesecake Factory almost right across the street.  We stick to our “no eating anywhere on vacation that we can at home” rule pretty well and this was a little bit of a stretch because we do have a Cheesecake Factory in Indiana but it’s 2 hours away so we were still good.  Plus, cheesecake.  We went there with Matt’s coworkers and some other therapists they had connected with from home.  I was trying to be healthy and ordered a salad but it wasn’t good.  Really didn’t settle well in my stomach two hours later when I was torturing myself with treadmill running.  That was two nights in a row of trying to eat semi-healthy (salads) and it not going too well.  We did get some cheesecake to go and took those back to our room (which so helpfully had a mini fridge) for later.  Those were delicious, when we finally got around to eating them (Matt’s disappeared much faster than mine).
The second morning Luke and I headed off for a decently long walk to our breakfast destination.  This was another Pinterest/BuzzFeed recommendation, specifically the crepes.  It was near Fenway Park which we were walking to see anyways so breakfast here made sense, even if it was 10:30 (after a slightly lazy hotel morning).  We shared the Raspberry Jammin' crepe which Luke decided he didn’t like and a chocolate pastry that we both enjoyed.  And white rose tea for me and milk for Luke.  It was more out of the way than our first breakfast stop but since we were in the general neighborhood it was worth a little detour.  And I kinda loved carrying around the to-go cups of tea on the chilly Boston mornings. 


We’ve never ordered room service in our lives, this is the closest we’ve been.  While Luke and I were walking back to the hotel from our morning adventures, I placed a to-go order for a pizza from the hotel restaurant.  Matt would only have about 45 minutes for lunch and so we didn’t really have time to go anywhere with him.  We met him in the hotel lobby, got our pizza, and had pizza and beers (for Matt & I) in our room.  It wasn’t incredible pizza but it wasn’t bad and only $12.  For what we needed (convenience) it was perfect.  Plus pizza + beer is a pretty nice Monday morning lunch.  Then Matt went back to class.

I had a seafood place picked out but then Matt decided he doesn’t really like seafood so we needed a new place for supper.  This one was near our hotel and in the right price range, and billed itself as kid-friendly.  When we got there and they saw Luke they told us they needed to go print some kid menus.  SO maybe not as kid-friendly as advertised?  Although they also brought him some coloring sheets and crayons so that was nice.

I tried the Lobster Bisque here since I had liked it so much the day before but a little to-go restaurant in Quincy Market definitely had better Lobster Bisque than this semi-fancy sit down restaurant.  I’m not sure I finished it.  I was 0/3 on picking suppers!  I don’t think the adult dinners we were surrounded by really appreciated Luke’s not so quiet dinning either (he was definitely short on some sleep).  Would not recommend.  

This was our last Matt-less morning and Luke and I headed back to our first breakfast stop.  It was close and good.  That’s enough for me.  We tried oatmeal this time (I liked it, Luke did not) and a berry scone (we both liked it) as well as some tea and milk.  It was busy and we barely got seats for the two of us but we did and Luke ate and it was delightful.  Worth the little bit of stress of taking a 3 year old out to eat in a strange city by myself.

This was another Pinterest/Buzzfeed rec and was also right around the corner from the hotel AND connected to the T stop we needed to get near the harbor.  Win win win.  It reminded me of the Shake Shack in New York (and apparently Boston but we didn’t know that until it was too late) with good, greasy, delicious burgers.  If you are in the area and craving a burger, I’d recommend this.  Hard to go wrong with a good, greasy burger (on occasion, obviously very much could go wrong internally if you ate these daily!).  This was a good pick.
Again, the seafood I had picked wasn’t flying with Matt.  We ended up here because it was near the end of our Duck Tour and in our price range.  We ate outside which was good with the Luke factor and this was my best supper of the trip.  Matt started with the Garlic Chips & Dip appetizer (of course Luke and I ate none of the food he ordered) which (looked) greasy to me but Matt liked them.  I had a Hawaiian Flatbread which was basically Hawaiian Pizza and delicious.  Also good, the couple sitting behind Matt who appeared to be on a first date.  I found them fascinating.  They were probably our age and the more wine they drank the less awkward it got (we were sitting close enough that we could pretty easily hear it all).  I find dating habits of whatever generation we are in to be fascinating.  Hahaha.  (Matt was much less interested in spying on the neighbors than me.)

Breakfast the last day was  a bit of a bust.  I had wanted to get Union Square Donuts but they were sold out by the time we got there around 7pm the night before.  It was pretty late.  I ended up with a random chocolate pastry (not too many complaints from me) and Matt bought a loaf of bread that him and Luke had almost no problem getting through.  We had jam in our hotel room, to go with the bread Luke had bit through the package while at a grocery store for a beer run our first night.  So Matt and Luke had jam and bread.  No special breakfast out of the hotel but it was still nice to not be rushing out the door and all get to sleep later than the ~7:30 Matt as leaving every morning.  Also, Luke brought me breakfast in bed almost every morning - applesauce squeezies for our 1st breakfast before heading out.  So not fancy but it was fine.

On our first night none of us left Luke's Lobster very full so we stopped at a grocery store across the street from the hotel for some snacks that turned into a beer run with a 3 year old.  We bought the aforementioned loaf of bread that Luke bit through the package (it was Matt's breakfast the mornings he had to leave really early) and some jam, which is still in our fridge at home.  We also bought a case of beer and a 6 pack of these hard ciders.  The beer was just Bud Light with Lime (as seen above) which we buy at home sometimes too.  I don't want to admit how big of a case it was though because we did get through the whole thing in our 4 night stay.  As well as my 6 pack of cider.  Which was fantastic.  Seriously the best hard cider I've ever had, Ireland included.  Highly recommend if you are in the area!  (This is picture is at this point in the post because it's me drinking my last can before we checked out and headed home.)

Airport Lunch
We had our last Boston meal while waiting to board our flight, this time with a lot more time than in Indy.  It was a bit of random things not worth mentioning but did include Dunkin Donuts which, while we (maybe?) can buy here, they are such a Boston thing that eating them there felt just right.  I had some sort of Caramel Apple one that may have been the best donut I’ve ever had in my life.  I get why people go gaga for them.  Definitely the highlight of my lunch (as it should be, a good donut would almost always steal the show).  

Then it was just more airplane snacks (I have a lot of very similar pictures to this from almost every flight we've ever taken...)
Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper reviewed here
And a stop at the Chik-Fil-A at the Indy airport before getting our bags and driving home.  By that point I was completely over fried food so I didn’t eat much and was just ready to get back to my normal eating schedule.  

I think we did a little better with our restaurant picks in New York but we still had some winners here (any of our breakfasts out, Tasty Burger, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, Luke's Lobster, Dunkin Donuts, hard cider).  The Pinterest/Buzzfeed method of searching for good restaurants has yet to steer me wrong, it’s when I start picking outside those that I fail.  And if I had know some of our New York favs were nearby I would have definitely planned on those.  Things to know for next time we go to Boston!

Next up is a very long post with too many pictures about where we stayed and what we did with our 3 full days in Boston.  Mostly featuring Luke and myself, since Matt’s time in hotel conference rooms wasn’t very exciting (but appreciated because it sure made for one heck of a cheap trip!). 

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