Growing up in New York City you find yourself with many opinions of other cities, whether justified or not. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Most “cities” you don’t think twice about while others are relegated to pure stereotype. Boston is one of those cities. A once significant city brimming with history, which is now rather provincial, filled with poorly dressed college undergrads, very little diversity and nowhere to eat. I’ll be the first one to admit thinking this at certain times in my life. I’ll certainly admit I didn’t have the highest expectations when I set foot into Logan last week. It had been over a decade since I visited Boston and I distinctly remember finding it impossible to buy a bottle of wine on a Sunday and I didn’t see a whole lot of darker faces amongst the ocean of Caucasians. I also hate Red Sox fans. That’s non-negotiable and it’s always soured my opinion of Boston as a whole (unfair, I know).
Color me surprised then, when we arrived. The city of Boston, Red Sox fans not withstanding, is actually kind of cool. I’m sure hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents would agree with me. It’s charming and cosmopolitan at the same time. Brimming with history but modern. Sleepy yet buzzing with energy. It’s a great walking city, with many of the places worth seeing easily accessible on foot, including museums, theater, universities and much more. While the hordes of students may have made us all feel a little older, they definitely made us feel well dressed, which was a plus. The best part though? Excellent food.
Rather then boring you with a blow by blow of the weekend here are a few of the culinary highlights (please pardon the egregious use of collage). Should you find yourself in Boston and looking for a good meal, these are your best bets:
(Let’s go Yankees)
The Copley Square Farmers Market is beginning to fill up with early spring fruits and veggies, not to mention home made jams, pies, cookies and maple syrup
If you’re looking for breakfast in Back Bay Village the Grilled Banana Sandwich at the minuscule Mike and Patty’s is a must. Honorable mention also goes to the Bacon & Egg Fancy.
My lust for all things oyster is rarely sated. We did our best at Neptune Oyster Bar, slurping six varieties of East Coast ersters. We topped them off for good measure with some Clam Chowder, Halibut, Sardines and Buttermilk Johnnycakes
Chef Barbara Lynch’s The Butcher Shop is my latest and greatest obsession and makes me yearn for something similar in New Orleans. We enjoyed a house cured charcuterie platter, steak tartar, lamb ragu, roasted tomato soup and an incredible house made pork hot dog with bread and butter fennel and rosemary potato chips.
(Also be sure to visit Lynch’s B&G Oysters)
It was not always entirely prudent to snap pictures at many of the places we visited. I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention at least two of them.
As in New Orleans, the cocktail culture is alive and well in Boston. Drink is a celebration of the classic cocktail. The bartenders expertly pour everything and anything from an Old Fashion to an Irma la Douce and managed to maintain their expert composure while answering all of our stupid questions. Do not try to visit after 8pm on a weekend, you’ll never get past the long lines. If you are lucky enough to make it in, take a seat at the impressive bar and ask for Josie.
Last but most certainly not least, in honor of the end of the world, was an exceptional meal at O Ya. Chef and owner Tim Chushman prepares modernist Japanese cuisine with an artist’s flair and a chemist’s eye for detail. This is not the place for you if you are looking for chicken teriyaki. However, if you love the idea of sea urchin, raw eggs, squid ink foam and truffle slices O Ya is heaven, which is what the Rapture was all about, right? If you can’t decide between the 90 (that’s right, 90) items on the menu you can order the obscene and incredible 21 course tasting menu. It’s worth every penny. Plus, it was the end of the world and we weren’t worrying about our credit card bills. Oops.