Saturday, November 3, 2012

Boston Highlights

When we arrived at the station in Boston, my stomach growled and my head ached from whacking my head on the low overhang above the Megabus seats (something every Megabus passenger experiences at one time or another). Dave was sniffling from allergies and drowsy from napping in awkward positions over the sound of the archetypal crying infant on a bus. Yet in spite of waiting for an hour behind a sign on the sidewalk that read “Bostof,” we arrived at the intended destination.

Our trip was short – if it hadn't been, we would have been stuck in Boston through the duration of the hurricane. I certainly would not have complained.

Our first night, we went looking for some spectacular clam chowder. Quincy Market was all lit up like a Christmas tree. I described it to Dave as an endless food court with better food.

We found a little seafood restaurant called Boston Chowda and Dave ordered a bread bowl full of clam chowder. Dave decided it was the best clam chowder ever. Clam chowder makes me reminisce about a restaurant I used to go to with my Grandpa where bloated exotic fish blow kisses at you from behind an enormous glass tank as you slurp your soup.

A big sopping mess of chowder.
Dave and I resisted a multitude of candy coated brownies under glass cases and continued to the North End, the Italian neighborhood of Boston.

The main street was bustling, crowded with travelers, accordion players, and a clown twisting balloon animals. We were lucky to find a seat in a twenties-style café called Cafe Vittoria. Dave ordered a cappuccino with a frothy chocolate surface and I savored a square of tiramisu. Beyond the vintage signs and curling gold chairs a football game played in the background, confusing the ambience.

On our way back to the hotel that night we stopped to browse costumes and thrift shop clothes at the Garment District. The costumes were almost cleaned out but for a few mascot heads, fairy wings, and top hats. You could still get any size, shape, and color of fishnet tights you can imagine, but otherwise the Halloween hurricane had already come and gone. Savvy ladies dug through racks of vintage prom dresses and 70s skirts to construct Jackie O and Esmeralda costumes. Sequestered in a musty dressing room with a bulging stack of garments, I found the ideal sweater for a Cheshire cat costume. Halloween may have been derailed, but next year I’ll just need a pair of furry ears.

The second day was another food adventure. The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival deserved its own post, you can read about it here.

We walked to Boston Commons and the public garden. As we crossed Boston Commons we passed a man in a Dalmatian costume with three dogs in T-shirts. A one-man-band performed in the public garden, some amalgamation of a guitar, harmonica, drums set, trumpet, and a washboard. Dave fed the ducks in the pond some leftover cracker samples from the vegetarian fest, starting a feeding frenzy. We have more pictures of ducks eating crackers than anything else.

Dave photographed random strangers, perfecting the art of creeping around with a camera.

That night we went to Harvard Square for our next adventure. Our hotel was next to the MIT campus and as we walked around we assumed that every person our age must be someone brilliant studying quantum physics and neuroscience. It was much the same around Harvard, even with everyone dressed up as video game and Adventure Time characters.

We got a latte in the Harvard Coop, which turned out to be a poorly masked Starbucks within a poorly masked Barnes and Noble. In its defense, the coop really did contain real students quietly reading textbooks and looking rather tired.

We found a little shop with an impressive chocolate collection and I stumbled upon something I thought I would only see again in the Czech Republic – Mozart Kugeln. I bought two little pistachio truffles to be enjoyed on the ride home and reveled in Prague nostalgia.

I expected Harvard Square to be filled with shops and restaurants with names that allude to literature and the periodic table. In this I was not disappointed.

Dave and I had dinner in a bar called Grendel’s Den. Inside, Harvard students in costumes and funny hats drank beer in the reddish glow of the table lamps.

Dave had a steak with a Greek salad, prettily proportioned on the plate. I ordered Peruvian quinoa and got my first taste of chayote squash smothered in warm white cheese - easily my favorite meal in Boston.


  1. Took three years but: thanks for the kind praise of our little den!

  2. Took three years but: thanks for the kind praise of our little den!