Monday, October 13, 2008

Boston State of Mind

Although Noe and I are about equal distance from Boston and New York City (maybe even a little closer to Boston) we find ourselves in New York much more often. This is mostly due to the great museum perk Noe gets for working for big pharma (and my overwhelming desire to see a giant Christmas tree).

This past weekend, however, we were handed a great excuse to head in the opposite direction. My good friend Sophie was in Boston visiting her sister, a grad student at BU. Noe and I both wanted to see Soph, and we both wanted to explore Boston, and to top it all off the weather forecast was calling for absolutely incredible - if slightly warmer than usual - fall weather. We didn't think too long about it. Noe picked me up from the aquarium on Saturday afternoon, we grabbed some lunch, and away we went.

Beantown as seen from Long Wharf

We were able to catch up with Sophie and her family on Saturday night for dinner in the North End, Boston's Italian enclave. Basically, since there were six of us wandering around without a reservation, we meandered down the street until we found a restaurant that could accommodate our party. Most of the restaurants are small Italian joints within a variety of price ranges. Figuring any of these places were bound to be decent, we weren't too picky. Eventually we ended up at G'vanni's, mainly because they were able to seat our party within ten minutes. We were not disappointed.

Soph and I both ordered pumpkin ravioli in a burnt butter and sage sauce. It sounded like fall, and when it arrived the aroma of sage almost knocked me out of my chair. Although the smell was strong, the sage was not overpowering. The light butter sauce let the sweet-ish flavor of the pumpkin come through. Noe's pasta carbonara was also good - the cream sauce had a good consistency and was neither too bland or overpoweringly cheesy.

(I did not drink any wine at this meal - I know, weird for me, isn't it? But I was not with my wine drinking crew - no one else was drinking - and truthfully, I was pretty ravenous by the time we sat down to eat, so I wasn't even thinking about it.)

Saturday morning Noe and I hauled ourselves our of bed and back downtown (we were staying on the outskirts; hotel rooms in Boston are pretty pricey) and out to Long Wharf to go whale watching. Yes, I know this is a touristy thing to do, but I have never seen a whale other than our aquarium belugas and I wanted to see these huge animals out in the open ocean.

On the boat, looking for whales

Once again, not disappointed. Boston Harbor Cruises took us out to Stellwagen on a high-speed catamaran, and we saw dozens of whales. None of them breached (beaching is when they come completely out of the water) but we saw many of them come partially out, including a mother and her calf. We saw humpbacks, finbacks, and minkes. These animals are amazing. It helped too that we had insanely gorgeous weather - a great day for a cruise on a boat.

One of the first whales we saw -
it is hard to get good pics of them without a good camera

Once we were back on dry land, Sophie met us at Fanueil Hall/Quincy Market, where we grabbed some lunch, then it was back to the North End. Noe and I had decided we couldn't let another Boston trip go by without a visit to Mike's Pastry, and everything Sophie's family told us about their own visit just whetted our appetites more. After all, as far as desserts go, there is nothing I like more than good cannoli.

Noe with our glorious box of cannoli from Mike's Pastry

We joined the throngs of tourists in the long, long line (which moved very quickly, considering) and were soon out the door and sitting across the street from Paul Revere's house indulging in some truly decadent desserts. Mike's cannoli deserve its stellar reputation. I ordered the ricotta filled with chocolate chips, and Noe ordered the chocolate mousse filled with chocolate chips. Both the sweet ricotta cream and the airy, fluffy mousse tasted much lighter than any cannoli has a right to taste, and the crispy, freshly made shells provided a satisfying crunch. The chocolate chip-dipped ends and the dusting of confectioner's sugar were the perfect amount of sugary sweetness. I would weigh 300 pounds if I lived near Mike's Pastry.

Soph and I in across from Paul Revere's house

We walked ourselves out of our dessert coma by following the Freedom Trail a bit and wandering around one of the old cemeteries, then it was time for Soph to rejoin her family and Noe and I to head back to CT. But I hope we'll be heading back to Boston very soon.


Becky said...

I'd be so broke if I lived where you do! I'd be in NY and Boston every other weekend, not to mention the fact that my goddaughters would demand weekly visits. I don't think I could get enough of broadway shows, museums or ballets, but I also don't think I could get enough money!

I liked Boston when I was there, but Jason and I did the Boston experience with a 12 year old and a 6 year old, so some of our activities were pretty limited.

Amy W. said...

I am broke! Which is why we have only been as few times as we have and have yet to get to a my mind before we moved we were going to be seeing EVERYTHING on Broadway :)

Amanda said...

Next time you go, you have get Pizzaria Regina pizza. Its my favorite pizza ever! Also, the aquarium,the museum of science and Boston Common are cool.