I am so behind in this blog it is ridiculous so I may as well use the winter months when I am stuck inside at home to revisit my Fall trips to wonderful destinations with great friends and great food.
Getting to Boston was no small feat. Remember that horrific storm that ravaged the Carolina coast in the Fall. It made travel cumbersome and provoked delays that impacted many traveling. This included me in a minuscule way as I sat on the runway texting my Charlotte friends telling them that there was a chance I was going to be stranded in their city and would they come rescue me from the airport. I was lucky enough to run like O.J. Simpson through the Charlotte airport and catch my connecting flight and the kind man who was about to lock the gate door to my connecting flight let me Erin, who sounded remarkably like Darth Vader after a multi-concourse run enter the almost departing flight to Boston.
I sat down huffing and puffing and was lucky enough to be seated with the nicest guy named Greg. He was sadly returning from Florida and his father’s funeral. He was part of a hard rock band called Steel Assasins. ( I think he is the 4th on right but not sure!)
We talked all the way from Charlotte to Boston, which was great because I was a bit nervous to go meet an old dear friend Stefan who I had not seen in 16 years who was planning (quite literally) our marriage and life. It was a little scary. Apparently, I had made a promise on a handshake that if we were not married at 50, we would get married. We reconnected and he told me I had three years to find an alternate husband or I would be getting married to him. After all, a promise is a promise. The fairy tale part of it was fun and the fact that he was German royalty and I would have a title was fun. But ya’ll remember me? I can travel to Russia and China alone, but put me with men and couple that with love and I become the wimpiest creature to roam the planet. Why does love scare me so? Who bloody knows!!!
I was greeted at the airport by my friend Noel and he and Heather’s three kids: Anna, Calvin and Hazel.
They took me home and Heather went so far beyond the call of duty. She remembered that I used to eat Trader Joe’s mango granola…so she had a box there for me. Not knowing I had gone gluten free and after she went through that much trouble to have it for me…I had to eat it. It would have been rude NOT to try it! Then…she made the most killer peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies that her kids called ROCKS. Rude not to eat those too! They were dynamite. I came home and tried to replicate them. Her cookies reminded me of LeVain’s cookies in style, size and taste, and I thought I did a good job with taste, but mine didn’t look like LeVain’s OR Heather’s in size. No rocks here! Not sure how to do THAT part of the recipe!
The weather in Boston was complete crap the first 24 hours. I was able to cuddle on the couch with their pooch, Oscar a combination of Chinese crested and weiner dog. My dog is half Chinese crested. Their dog, like my dog…a lover!
We watched two seasons of Sherlock Holmes. We ate, we talked, Heather made mocktails. Oscar and Hazel spent a lot of time in my lap.
It was a lot of fun!
The sun came out and I asked if we could go get cider donuts. Oh how I love and have such fond memories of cider donuts. There was a long line to get into Wilson Farms..
but once inside…heavenly…
The flowers, the fruits, the potato blaster for gets to shoot off potatoes, the hay maze, watching the cider donuts come off the conveyer belt, the donuts, the gourds, the hot apple cider.
I love the Boston sky…look out how blue it can be….
And just driving in New England that time of year is heavenly.
When I lived in Boston they were working on what seemed like the never-ending BIG DIG project. I wanted to see what it looked like now that it was complete…we did a quick drive by. I can’t wait for more time and better weather to walk in the parks above it. I couldn’t take pics to do it justice. You will just have to go see it yourself…
We drove through downtown Boston
Kendall Sq. has changed so much!! It has just flourished! Here’s a architectural treat in Kendall Square.
One day, we all went exploring in Harvard Sq. and then I went back on my own to explore some more and walk through the Harvard Yard.
I passed my old apartment building on Mt. Auburn Street. It was wrapped up and was being remodeled or may just a facelift. I most surely couldn’t have afforded it after its fix-up.
I loved the location of it. I was right in Harvard Square. I could walk to all the shops, restaurants. I could catch the T in 5 minutes or be on campus to get to my classes in ten minutes or less. But when I lived in that apartment building. Across the street was a CHILI’s restaurant. Now, it was being converted to a FLOUR.
Oh FLOUR how I love thee…thank goodness it was not there years ago or I would have weighed 500lbs.
I left Cambridge for Beacon Hill. I did two years in each town. I loved both for varying reasons. I probably loved Beacon Hill more for the accessibility. I took time to explore my old neighborhood there as well. I walked by my old street. Primus. I loved Primus. That is where I met Stefan. Charles Street, which is the main drag there is a completely different animal now. We didn’t have a quarter of the cute shops that are there now.
Then I walked The Public Garden, which was a park I felt safe walking in day and night. I would walk there when I was stressed out working on my thesis. It is where I got the idea and the setting for my children’s book, The Wish Giver.
One night while in Boston, my friend Jenny and I went to Chef Ming Tsai’s place in Wellesley. I even ran into a neighbor from Cincinnati at the restaurant. My friend Melinda who lives on the 6th floor, and is also a foodie. Small world.
Jenny and I have been friends for over 20 years! I love Jenny!!! She is such a wonderful and special human being. I remember when she and her now ex-husband we used to meet up every 4-6 months and go try a new restaurant in Boston. I remember when they adopted their first child from Russia. I remember when she got pregnant with her second child. I lived with them for a month before moving to New York. I just think the world of Jenny so it was so fun that we had an evening to go eat and eat good food in Boston or in this case Wellesley.
I have been DYING to go try Chef Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger. I have seen him on television. I have been beyond curious. I think he is the sexiest Asian man I have ever laid eyes on in my life! I have that va va voom for him. If he had come to the table and said, “Do you…” I would have said yes! He could have been asking if I liked the meal or if I knew I had spinach in my teeth but I would have said yes, just in case he would have said do you want to run away with me. YES!! Yes, I would love it.
He has a reputation for being in his restaurant a lot. I find that impressive for a celebrity chef. He cares what happens and what transpires in his kitchen. I admire and respect that and him for it.
Jenny started with a pumpkin soup with granola, thyme-maple syrup and pickled shiso. I started with their well-known Bigeye Tuna Poke with crispy sushi rice cake and microgreen – tosaka salad. The presentation was better than the taste. I liked the taste and the crunch of everything but the fish.
We shared a Sake-Miso Marinated Sablefish more commonly known as Butterfish. That was melt in your mouth good.
My last night in town Heather and I went to Mr. Bartley’s so I could get a burger, fries and a shake. It is a Harvard/Cambridge institution.
I had a burger called “CAITLIN JENNER “YOU GO GIRL” with a fried egg, bacon & cheese with a side of sweet potato fries. I love their sweet potato fries.
Then we both got milkshakes to drink while we walked around Harvard Square. I can’t believe how the old memories of being there and living there flood back to me at every turn.
I drank too much milkshake and ended up with a terrible belly ache.
We went back to Heather’s watched television and then the next morning it was time to meet my old friend, Stefan, at FLOUR.
He checked out the girl sitting next to me and there was no chemistry there at all. Almost the opposite of chemistry and like that the fairy tale was done.
I bought a scone for the train trip.
He walked me to the train and off I went to my beloved New York and another adventure. I love trains…like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory. I love to look out the window….
Until we meet again…
Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….
Last night, January 2017, a handful of months after my visit to Boston, I went to see Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg’s PATRIOT’S DAY. I was moved to tears and sadness seeing this film. It impacted me deeply. I walked down so many of those Boston streets. As I said above I lived with my friend Jenny and Bill for a month before transitioning from Boston to New York, and they lived in Watertown. This is where the boy was found in the boat at the end of this travesty. I think Berg and Wahlberg captured the beauty of this city with their cinematography but also the heart and soul of it’s people. Every year, I would go to the Boston Marathon. Many years, I stood at the finish line. I could have easily been there that day. My friend Bill was in one of those restaurants near the site of the explosion that horrific Patriot’s Day. It breaks my heart that anyone can find that kind of terror acceptable on any level, for any reason. But it does demonstrate the strength and hope of Bostonians and makes me proud that for four years, I was one of them. My heart goes out to all those that tragic day. Patriot’s Day is a film not to be missed for so many reasons.