07 July 2010

Boston Eats

I made my glorious return to Austin on Saturday and spent that afternoon with Colby and the babydog. We made a quick jaunt to North by Northwest Brewery for lunch and then Central Market for some necessities since Colby managed to make it two weeks without eating a meal outside of the house and without going grocery shopping. He figures that if we rationed well, we have enough food for about 6 months without one trip to a grocery store. I'm glad that one of us can be thrifty.

Upon my arrival home, I was extremely grateful for air conditioning, my kitchen, and my dog. It's starting to feel like home now and things that I associate with a place that should be home (e.g. familiar haunts) are starting to accumulate. This is not to say, however, that I did not enjoy my time in Boston. Quite the opposite, actually. Foodwise, it was pretty awesome. Sciencewise it was absolutely incredible. I could tell you all about the progress I'm making on my paper and the new science-y things I'm learning, but we all know that you're (and by you, I mean the two of you who read this) here for the food.

The Boston Must Eat list included the clam chowdah at Turner Fisheries, a burger from Bartley's Burger Cottage, and cannoli from Mike's Pastry. I was not led astray in any case (thank you to Kyle, Alexis, Jim, et al. for your suggestions!) although, I must say that my favorite was Turner Fisheries. It's one thing to be tasty, it's another thing to border on a religious experience.

I went for lunch since it was a) cheaper and b) less awkward since almost no one was there. I ordered the chowder because it was highly recommended and voted as Boston's best clam chowder by Boston Magazine. Now, I'm not really a clam chowder fan. Usually it's presented as goopy potato soup with little rubbery, gritty pieces of overcooked clam and if you're unlucky, it reeks of a fishy aroma which makes even seafood lovers turn away in disgust. Perhaps my experience comes from living far, far away from New England, but I approached this with an open mind. And wow, what a treat. It was not potato soup with extras, but rather a rich, velvety smooth soup with an underlying clam flavor that ties it all together. And the clams! Never again will I assume clams are the seafood equivalent of pink pencil erasers. I'm just going to blame everyone who has ever made me clam chowder before for the crime of overcooking. They were tender, slightly chewy, and delicious. Served with (house made!) oyster crackers, it was an enlightened chowder experience.

I followed this with the lobster roll with fries and mixed greens and it never had a chance. It turns out that not even lobster can salvage mayonnaise for me. Mayo belongs in the background of only a select group of salads and lobster salad is not one of them. Regardless, it wasn't bad, but I'm unlikely to order it from anywhere else any time soon. I'm glad that I tried it and the fries were quite excellent, so that was a nice treat as well.

After stuffing myself at Turner's I navigated my way through Boston's transit system and went to the Museum of Science. So. Freaking. Awesome. I have a ton of pictures, but that's for another post (soon!). I ended up spending like four hours there or something ridiculous and so I was sort of hungry again... at least, I was hungry enough for a cannoli, so it was off to Mike's Pastry.

I don't understand how everyone in Boston isn't like 400 lbs, because the CANNOLI. Wow, it was so rich and creamy. I got a pistachio cannoli, which had a sweet ricotta filling with the ends dipped in nuts. My only complaint is that the pistachios were dyed green. It almost ruined it for me because I'm weird about food coloring, but I just closed my eyes and dug in. I'm going back to Boston in a month from now, so I'll definitely be bringing a cannoli kit back for Kyle and Colby (and yes, myself).

A few days later, I found myself with no lunch plans, so I made my way to Harvard Square for a burger from Bartley's Burger Cottage. It was tasty, but perhaps I've been spoiled with Texas beef because I didn't find it life changing, as had been suggested. I ordered the Ted Kennedy, a burger served with cheddar cheese and mushrooms. I think the biggest problem with it was that the mushrooms were clearly canned. I vowed to never eat another canned mushroom after leaving a home in which they were regularly served with steak. Ew. No pictures of this meal because I walked from Harvard Square back to the Center for Astrophysics with it in a bag before eating it, so it was a little worse for the wear after. Despite not being bowled over, I managed to eat almost the entire burger with about half the fries.

More Boston stories in later posts. And now, it's back to writing that paper that I started.

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