Epic journey finds me here until 4/23
So after my first red-eye and lots of shuttles and subways and 11 hours, I'm here in Boston through Tuesday night (which I think I've already designated "oyster binge night").
What can I ABSOLUTELY NOT MISS, the true Boston experience, the food I simply cannot get in the Southwest (ABQ to be specific). So let's skip the Mexican, the Thai, the Vietnamese... how about some New England... some... weird ethnic that I don't have at home... anything!
I'm headed to Toscanini's after a nap, so that's done.
dunno what you have or don't have in abq, so with that in mind, i'd recommend portugese (many places in east cambridge), the bakeries (canto 6, hi-rise, clear flour are my favorites) and fried clams (many of these places require a car to get to, however.)
also dunno about new england-specific food, like "boiled dinner" and "indian pudding." i've been here a couple years now and have never been tempted; the discussions on this topic on the board often have the character of, "is new england cooking really terrible and gross, or is it merely kind of terrible and gross?" but maybe i'm biased.
we have some decent chinese, if that's of interest--fuloon in malden jumps to mind. and for what it's worth, i think the ny times recently gave o ya a big thumbs up as one of the few places that manhattanites may permissibly deign to consider dining at while abroad in the provinces.
Recent rundowns on Portuguese here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/497919
There's Cambodian, the most accessible being Floating Rock in Revere and a Cambodian/Thai place in Allston (haven't been there and can't remember the name, it's on Harvard). Sort of like Thai but different.
You might go for the local (north of Boston) style of roast beef sandwich: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378048
Search the board for "fried clams," there's a thread pretty much weekly. Likewise for lobster rolls, here's an example: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/304016
Good Shanghaiese, Sichuan, and Shandong Chinese if you're looking for non-Southern (also good Southern).
Having recently moved here FROM Albuquerque, I would recommend as much Italian (house-made pasta, a must) as possible, even pizza. Albuquerque has nothing even close. Also, if you have any craving for non-chain produced donuts, very rich ice cream or Italian pastry, you should definitely indulge while you're here. I'm vegetarian, but I know the fish/shellfish should also be superior to anything in ABQ. As far as ethnic food, there's a Tibetan place, Rangzen, in Cambridge; Addis Red Sea (Boston and Cambridge, right?) for Ethiopian; a Himalayan place, Martsa, in Davis Square; Machu Picchu, Peruvian food in Somerville, none of which I have been to yet, but have been wanting to try based on postings here. Also, if you have time, browse our Boston area posts. I have been extremely pleased with the restaurants I have tried so far, after researching what my fellow Hounds have written. Have fun; the weather's great right now, too!
I'll happily vouch for PChicky's ethnic suggestions. Rangzhen, Martsa, Addis Red Sea, and Machu Picchu are all well worth a visit. Also consider Portuguese spots in Cambridge like Atasca or Casa Portugal for the classic version or Muqueca for a Brazilian seafood hot pot version, Helmand for Afghan cuisine, or Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill in Boston for Persian food.
Chinatown, Jumbo Seafood, Dim Sum or almost any place, look for lots of people. Pizza, Santarpio's, Regina's or Galleria Umberto, Seafood, Neptune Oyster or fried clams, Calamari at The Daily Catch, Just stay away from chains. Good for a start.
It isn't Chow, but... well let me put on the body armor first... there... Durgin Park is very Boston. DP goes back to the 19th century; it is in Quincy Market, which was right by the docks in Boston Harbor when it was built back around 1820 (until they dumped more landfill in the harbor). The food is okay - definitely not spectacular and not bad - but the menu is loaded with traditional specialties you will not find in New Mexico. If you eat there you should definitely have the Indian Pudding - it is very regional and very good. (If you like a scoop of vanilla ice cream on hot gingerbread you get the idea, except we are not talking gingerbread here.) If you are deeply into eating beef, the prime rib is very nice, but beware, the portions are huge.
It's been a while since I last ate there, so I can't estimate the price of a dinner. However in the past the price was middle-of-the-road, not inexpensive and not a budget-buster. The seating is at long tables, which is something that I actually like when I am traveling alone. Durgin Park has a reputation for surly waitresses but I don't think they are that bad. Yeah it is touristy, but my out of town guests enjoy Durgin Park and given what you are asking for you might too.
This wouldn't jump out, smack you in the face and make you think New England, but perhaps for lunch one day try a roast beef sandwich. There are lots of places, one of the best known is Kelly's. While I've never had a bad one, some are better than others. Along with threads about best burger and pizza in the area, this is another polarizing topic of Boston Hounds.
If at some point you find yourself in the mood for a superlative cocktail, I would suggest the bars at No. 9 Park and Eastern Standard.
There's also a lot of great recommendations already in this thread