Odds & Ends – Boston edition


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Beautiful weather &
a row of homes on Commonwealth Ave.,
where we stayed

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Pavement Coffee 
Voted some of the best coffee in the US!
(proof)
Surprisingly inexpensive.

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Historic Burrage House
Literally situated on the same row of homes where we stayed!
Tom Brady & Giselle used to live here!
Can I live here, too?
Read about it here, here, & here.

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The North End.
Very far left:  unremarkable brown house was Paul Revere’s.
love the cobblestones ❤

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Cannoli’s from Mike’s Bakery, North End.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge.
Where I could’ve met:

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I’m not especially patient enough to be the 333rd person in line.
For anything!!!

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So character.  Such charm.  Much vintage.
shops on Newbury St.

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stairways at Boston Public Library/an entrance at Old South Church,
Copley Square

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IMG_5730Granary Burying Grounds
RIP:
Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock & Crispus Attucks
FYI:  Benjamin Franklin is not actually buried here!

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Building at Harvard.

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Back Bay at night.

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Massachusetts State House

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pretty spot at Northeastern Univ.

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Commonwealth Ave. Mall,
right in front of the apartment ❤

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Trinity Church, Copley Square

Some Tips for Boston:

Apps I Recommend:

  • If you’ve never been to Boston, I would highly recommend downloading the EMBARK BOS App to get around and to navigate the city with public transportation (mostly the subway). In addition to mapping out your subway route, it also shows you the nearest T station to you.
  • ProximiT app to get train times if you are frequenting the red, blue, or orange line.
  • If you’re only in for a few nights and didn’t have time to plan, the Hotel Tonight app had some great deals.
  • Another great app, especially for food truck enthusiasts is Street Food Boston.  This app shows you food truck schedules and also, maps their current or prospective location(s).
  • Yelp and Urbanspoon are both essential to restaurant reviews.

Where I stayed:

  • I needed to stay in Back Bay, close enough to my university so I wouldn’t have to take a cab to graduation.  Hotels are insanely expensive in this area.  I used AirBnB to book a completely awesome apartment for a week.  I saved $1000+ and the apartment was super nice.  It didn’t have concierge, house keeping, or a continental breakfast but that didn’t matter to me–I saved over a thousand dollars!  Our place was relatively quiet (except for the traffic and constant honking, I mean, what is with that?!), extremely comfortable and soooo cozy!  The kitchen was stocked with everything we needed (fridge, microwave, full sized oven/stove, dishwasher, dishes/cups, wine bottle opener–important!, etc) and we had access to free laundry services, free wifi (fast) and the roof.  Additionally, the apartment was only a block away from the T station and proximal to Newbury and Boylston Streets.  Score!

Food:

  • I thought I was going to spend a fortune in Boston, but that was not the case at all!  There are affordable options everywhere, even in Back Bay, an affluent neighborhood.  I felt like a lot of money was wasted ordering in and paying the delivery fee for food [for my parents].  If it were just me, I could have easily made do with food truck meals, banh mis, or a burger.  In fact,  McGreevy’s on Boylston St. has $1 burgers on Tuesdays and $1 build your own 10″ pizzas on Thursdays, both after 4 pm!
  • See my post on what I ate in Boston.
  • Online order & delivery sites:  Foodler, Eat24

Helpful Links:

Etcetera:

  • For us country bumpkins who aren’t used to walking everywhere:  comfortable shoes!!!  I didn’t have any and I must say, I was not Boston strong.
  • Pack a light rain jacket.  I checked the weather prior to my flight and didn’t see rain on the forecast, so I was unpleasantly surprised when it was cold and rainy for a couple days!  In June!!!  “That’s New England weather for ya!” said a friend of mine.  Luckily, I packed this rain jacket and this light fleece. Both of these items are light and can be easily packed in a tote.
  • Don’t be a fool; buy a Charlie Ticket for public transportation! Especially if you are staying for a few days.
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Boston Eats


 

I’m. SO. Hungry.

boston eatsSo, let us recap what I ate in Boston: clam chowder, Banh Mi, and lobster rolls. That is all…pretty much. There was beer and wine also! It was all “wicked” good!

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The first thing I ate in Boston was clam chowder at Jacob Wirth, in the Chinatown area. The chowder had a great flavor, the clams were nice and big, but there were too many potatoes for my taste and it was too thick. Supposedly, there is a huge difference in cup to bowl size with only a $1 difference in price! Get the bowl! Also, on Tuesdays (not sure if there was a time range) there were 25-cent hot dogs!

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Word on the streets (internet) was that Boston boasted some of the best banh mi’s EVER. I did some Googlin’ and found Banh Mi House. It took me about 15 minutes of wandering around Winter Street to finally find it…Situated in an enclosed sort of alley way, next to a sketchy looking electronics repair…hole? Even so, it was far from disappointing. A place I’d refer to as “dank,” except it totally doesn’t mean that, per Urban Dictionary.  Anyhow, my parents, who are super critical of Asian food, even liked it. “It is better than Fort Smith, but not as good as Laos.” Like, duh. We had the classic (because I love paté) and the grilled beef. Mmm. I can’t stop thinking about it. I ate here twice during my short stay!
Pros: The mayonnaise was authentic and there were no pickled daikon radishes (ew) and they give you free water as a “new” customer. I got free water twice ;). Also, they add green onions and Maggi sauce, which gives the sandwich a greater depth of flavor and elicits much more mouth watering. It’s located across the street from Boston Commons, where you can take your sandwich and free water and people watch!
Cons: They were out of pork meatball every time I went.  Though from the photos/description on their site, I’m glad I was so fortunate as to miss out.

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My parents, for whatever reason (the rain, the cold, the walking, maybe?), did NOT want to leave the apartment. Not even for food. They only wanted Chinese/Asian food and wanted me to take the train all the way to Chinatown, from Back Bay, to retrieve food. Um, no. Then, they wanted to order pizza, which was unacceptable to me. Luckily, my friend Karen suggested Thai Basil on Newbury Street, who thankfully delivered. Again, my hypercritical parents loved it. My dad was feigning for some duck, which they happened to offer in a variety of dishes. He ordered the Siam Duck—duck breast in tamarind sauce with broccoli and carrots. Mmm. He said it hit the spot. I ordered a duck dish also, the Duck Choo Chee, which was essentially Duck phat phet or curry stir-fry. ‘Twas also really delicious. The duck in both meals was really tender and plentiful. My mom ordered Seafood Basil Lo Mein. Mmm. That was really yummy and aromatic. They didn’t skimp on the seafood either! B ordered the Seafood Madness, which I liked. It reminded me of my mom’s cooking. Again, the seafood was plentiful and cooked really well. I really liked Thai Basil due to their originality. They had quite a few dishes that you wouldn’t normally find on any standard Thai menu, yet they still maintained their authenticity. A+. P.S., no pictures, too busy inhaling my food.

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After my graduation, my parents ordered in, AGAIN. B and I trekked to Yankee Lobster, Co. in Southie, because it was vital for me to have a lobster roll. And it was soooo good. I let him finish my lobster roll so I could order some fried whole bellied clams. They say you should always order whole bellied clams. “More flavor!” It DID have more flavor, albeit an interesting one. B also had the soft-shelled crab sandwich and we both had stuffed clams and clam chowder.  It was my favorite clam chowder (sorry no photo)!  Sufficient amount of potatoes, lots of clams, and the broth was not overly thick..or thick at all, which I prefer.  Everything was so fresh, considering their fish market is in operation out back. I especially noticed a huge difference in the soft-shelled crab. It was more like…crab, instead of like the crunchy fried cardboard served in sushi back home. I wish this was closer to our apartment so I could’ve tried more of the menu, but it was exhausting getting there and trying to figure out how to leave. #n00b

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On Saturday, our friend, Andy, B and I toured the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain. Our tour guide was hilarious and I actually learned a lot about the processes involved. Also, free beer. Of the beer we tasted, my favorite was the Black Lager.  Our tour guide was a hoot!  His name was Kyle and I would highly recommend going on his tour!

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After the tour, we took a trolley to Doyle’s Cafe, driven by an eccentric gentleman who played weird Irish, heavy metal music? And was also a Doyle’s enthusiast. Apparently, several major films have been filmed at Doyle’s (21, the Departed, etc). Aside from that, Doyle’s was the first place to sell Samuel Adams beer, so with your tour ticket you can go to Doyle’s, get a Sam Adams and have a free glass. So we did. And we ate more lobster rolls. The interior was old and interesting and unchanged. Great atmosphere. We had a lot of fun here.

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One day for lunch, B and I ate at Lir on Boylston Street.  Not sure why I didn’t take any photos of our food here, but it was pretty good.  The atmosphere was nice, very Irish mob, which insatiated B’s obsession with all mafias.  We shared their clam chowder (my second favorite) and it was excellent.  I’m starting to think there is no such thing as bad clam chowder in Boston.  I believe Brando had the steak tip sandwich, paired with a Guinness, and I had a cheeseburger with caramelized onions, paired with local Sea Dog Wild Blueberry beer.  Blueberry beer was pretty prevalent here and I was very OKAY with this.

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Cheers!  I really fell in love with Boston and am hoping to go back many, many times and very, very soon!  So many things I didn’t get a chance to see!