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Conference Widow's (Longish) Four Day Plan

Ok after much deliberation and a few curve balls here it is, my plan:

Saturday afternoon arrive in Boston we will explore briefly Newberry St and Boylston St. Any appetizers or pre-dinner recommendations in this area.

We have 10:00pm reservations at ICOB for our first time Raw Oysters experience. Will probably try and see if we can get an earlier reservation or we may end up sitting at the bar depending on how travel tired we are. Any particular dinner items we must try? I get from other posts we should avoid the lobster roll here.

Sunday Morning - Will walk to The Paramount for Breakfast via the Public Garden, Charles St and try and see Beacon Hill depending how early we get up and out. Want to get to The Paramount early to avoid a long wait. Banana Caramel French Toast? Any other breakfast food rec’s for the Paramount?

After breakfast we hope to continue exploring Beacon Hill, The Common and the first part of the Freedom Trail. Hopefully we will be able to grab a bowl of Clam Chowder and some Indian Pudding at Durgin Park before husband has to head to his conference. (Thanks for setting me straight on this Karl )

I will use this afternoon to wander and explore, possibly Chinatown and the South End. Any “just stop for a bite of take out” or treat places you recommend in these areas? For dinner we will head to The Druid for Fish and Chips and some Irish Fare. From there we will walk or take the bus to Harvard yard and Harvard Square where we will sample the Homemade Ice Cream at JP Licks
Monday – Grab breakfast at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe. Turkey Hash and Blueberry Pancakes good bets?
I will head to the North End for some sightseeing and hope to be in line at the opening of Galleria Umbertos day at 11:00. I know, I know arancinis and panzarottis  Will go to Mike’s for a treat during the day and hit Modern for a ricotta pie with the husband after dinner at Pizzeria Regina’s. What is the pie to get here?

Tuesday - I will be at Flour early for take out Sticky buns and Homemade Oreo’s.

I may go to the JFK Library this morning but haven’t been able to find to many rec’s for a good solo lunch in this area. Any idea’s? Otherwise, I know they aren’t anywhere close but, I may try and make it over to Castle Island and visit Sullivan’s. I really want to try a lobster roll and the one here seems to be on the good and cheap lists. Would you recommend it? I think I would prefer the hot with butter roll to the cold with mayo roll does anyone know which kind Sullivan’s is?
Another option for lunch is a Food Truck. Any that I must track down and what to order idea’s? I love me a good grilled cheese so depending on where Roxie’s is I may track them down.
If I end up staying closer to “home” I will definitely go get the burger at Sel De La Terre for lunch after a visit to Fenway, the Mapperium and the Museum of Fine Arts.
For dinner we have a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck and concert at The Institute of Contemporary Art. Don’t know what to expect food wise, anyone have any experience with WP catering? The museum alone sounds beautiful and worth doing.

Wednesday - Morning we will go to Mike and Patty’s for the fried egg fancy and whatever looks good on their new menu.
We have to check out of our hotel and we catch a train at 3:30 so we were thinking we would stick close to the Back Bay area. Maybe this would be a good day to grab that burger and view at Sel De La Terre.
Then we were thinking we would grab sandwiches - Chipotle Pastrami - at Sam LaGrassa’s to take on the train out of town.

I know things don’t always go as planned but it is a place to start.
You have all been so great to chime in and lead me in the right directions and correct my misunderstandings so far. Thanks again and keep all of it coming.
I will definitely report back after the trip!

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  1. At ICOB the lobster roe noodles are popular, and justifiably so. It's hard to go wrong there (besides the lobster roll...I've never tried it but I've heard it's not very good.)

    The one thing that sticks out about your plan was your desire to try the ice cream at JP Licks. If you're in Harvard Square already and you want ice cream you'd be better off taking the red line one stop to Central Square and going to Toscanini's. Their ice cream is wonderful, much better than JP Licks.

    I'm pretty sure that the lobster roll at Sullivan's is cold with mayo.

    Have a great time in Boston.

    10 Replies
    1. re: chefematician

      On the ice cream question: there's also Christina's a very short walk (about 45 seconds) from The Druid. I'd say (to the OP) try the ice cream there *and* at Toscanini's. You only live once, and if you eat this much ice cream it'll be a short life. Might as well make every moment count.

      1. re: chefematician

        I find the lobster roe noodles (and ICOB pastas in general) to be pretty bland/ tasteless, with only token bits of short rib/ lobster, and not very good value for $27. I would get the fried clams and the lobster roll, personally (and don't miss sampling their milk punch).

        1. re: barleywino

          Just as a third voice, I can't disagree with this strongly enough. The lobster roe pasta is one of the best things I've ever eaten, imho.

          1. re: Fly

            hmm, sometime try the lobster yee mein at, say, Asian Garden, or the monkfish marsala w/ squid ink pasta at Daily Catch, both somewhat similar dishes to the lobster roe noodles, but with so much more flavor (and better value imo)

            1. re: Fly

              absolutely. in fact, i cannot ever not order it here. sigh!

            2. re: barleywino

              Milk punch sounds yummy. What is it exactly?

            3. re: chefematician

              i am a fan of both Toscanini's and JPLicks, depending upon what i'm seeking. (Used to like Christina's for their superior Kulfi, but never go there now; staff too surly.) JPLicks has by far the better Maple Walnut, for instance. And some very excellent tangy frozen yoghurt. Tosc sometimes has one of my all time favs, Espresso Lemon, and generally is much more experimental in its flavors (Saffron, Earl Grey....) Wherever you go, make sure to get (free) tastes of things before deciding (I don't know if this is 'acceptable' in Canada, but it is common here!)

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                That's precisely why I never go to Christina's, ever. There's absolutely no excuse for the poor service that you encounter there. Although their ice cream is tasty, I take my business elsewhere.

                1. re: chefematician

                  same for the spice shop. I mean the service. I still go to spice shop because it's the closest source for me for many items I need. but what's up with the management that enables such surly service? At both places, you get the feeling you are majorly inconveniencing them for walking in. And this is compared to the usual Boston surly service.

            4. Maybe it's just me, but several times I've been foiled by the dreaded "We're all out" upon ordering the ricotta pie at Modern post-dinner. So if that's high on your list, go there during the day instead of Mike's. (There's nothing wrong with getting pastries from Modern twice in the same day. You have my permission.)

              3 Replies
              1. re: chevrelove

                Funny but ricotta pie at Mike's is one of the few things I really think they do well. But I get a whole pie.

                I'd go to Maria's over Mike's during the day. It will not be crowded. It's very old time. Best almond biscotti. And they now take charges.

                It's on Cross Street facing the Greenway just past Salem Street from Hanover.

                1. re: chevrelove

                  Depending on my time frame I may get the Ricotta Pie early and take it back to the hotel before dinner. I'm not sure we will have a fridge though so I'll have to play this one by ear.

                  1. re: kiki2U

                    just fyi, we always have food around when we travel. Very common for hotels to have a frig near the front desk/and/or in the staff room, and they label I.D.your food and ice packs and store them there. And many hotels have mini frigs available ,but you have to ask for one (i suggest you arrange for this in advance of your arrival.)

                2. If the weather is particularly cool/damp when you are in Harvard, you can't go wrong with a cup of Burdick's hot chocolate (get the dark) with whipped cream instead of (or after) ice cream. It's on Brattle St. World class.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: bear

                    I'm a fan of that hot chocolate, too. I think the OP's and her husband's best bet after a long day of eating is to take a cup back to their hotel. The contents will be cool enough by then and thick enough for them to spread on each other. There's no better way to go.

                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                      Ha, awesome advice. I may just have to take an extra cup home the next time we stop in. Yum on many levels.

                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        I love Burdicks hot chocolate. A few weeks ago, for the first time, I got a bag if their make at home prep and it was great! An idea might be to get a bag to bring home and then go for ice cream. I much prefer Toscanninis and Christine's to JP Licks. I never understood what was special about most of JP Licks ice cream.

                        1. re: catsmeow

                          Great idea. I often send visitors home with a bag of Burdick's.

                      2. re: bear

                        Burdick's was on my original plan but I thought I saw something about them not being open on Sunday which doesn't make any sense so this back on the plan.Especially after FoodDabblers awesome advice :)

                      3. If you happen to be in the hood during the proper extended weekend hours. . . this beignet rocks it


                        1. The kind of pie to get at Regina's is the plain cheese, but if you're not a purist, get only one topping, otherwise you'll sog out the crust.

                          For a place to stop for a quick bite in the South End, try Picco, especially if you like mac & cheese. I've studied the city's M&C and theirs is the best. If it's nice, they've got tables outside, away from the street. Also, you mentioned you like grilled cheese. If you don't get one from the food truck and are in the vicinity of Eastern Standard at some point, they've got a great grilled cheese: Grafton cheddar on rye with addictive fries.

                          I agree that Toscanini's is the best ice cream, but it's not near where you'll be and if you want something to eat while walking around Harvard Sq., JP Licks is very good, too. Or Burdick's as others have said, if it's cool and you like intense hot chocolate. (I'm not a Christinia's fan.)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: pollystyrene

                            I am a pizza purist. The plainer the better for me, so plain cheese it is. I also loooove Mac and Cheese...so I will be visiting Picco. Plain cheese, mac & cheese, grilled cheese...pollystyrene you discovered my weakness...Thanks for the advice.

                            1. re: kiki2U

                              I bear the burden of a vegetarian: total cheese immersion. Glad to meet you, fellow cheesist. Another visitor just posted about their disappointment with the Regina's pie because it wasn't like the pizza they had in Italy. (Also, they broke the no-more-than-one-topping rule and complained about the sogginess.) Don't expect a certified Neapolitan pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella and a wide, charred crust; Regina's is NY/NJ style.

                              1. re: pollystyrene

                                pizza is such a hotly contested topic. Funny what you say about Reg being not Neopolitan. I lived in Rome in high school, and came here for college. The first thing I said when i took a Roman fellow-student to Reg. was "It tastes just like in Rome!" and he grinningly agreed. We had ourselves a great time.

                          2. A couple of thoughts:
                            --In lieu of the burger at Sel de la Terre (which I've tried twice and never cared for, although I loved the one at its defunct sister location), I'd consider a burger at either Cuff's in the Back Bay Hotel (carmelized onion and cashel bleu cheese, super good) or at Abe and Louies across from Sel de la Terre. The bar service at Abe and Louies is that rare combination of personable and professional; not so much at SDLT Back Bay.

                            --Paramount: I like the spinach, tomato, feta omelette. And a bowl of fruit. You are no doubt familiar with their policy of not allowing tables to be reserved; the turnover works surprisingly well even when it's crowded. So don't fret about getting there too early. Even if you wait in line, it's fun to watch the line cooks doing their thing.

                            --Beacon Hill is tiny; it'll take you 10 minutes to check it out, barring time you spend in the antique and other shops. If you're done early, consider checking out the Otis House (Charles Bulfinch designed mansion) on Cambridge St, which I believe starts tours at 11am. One thing I remember from a tour there years ago is they still have the fire bucket with the family name on it; in the 18th century all families were required to help out during a fire, and the family bucket was left at the scene so names could be checked off the roster.

                            --For Monday, consider taking your lunch and pastry from the North End on a harbor cruise or whale watch. There are boat tours that pass Castle Island and describe the history of the harbor islands which is fasciniating. If you have 3-4 hours to spare, the whale watch departs Long Wharf at 10:30am, whereas the other cruises are of shorter duration with more frequent departure times. The whale watching season is gearing up, I was on one last weekend and it was excellent -- although as expected the food was not and we were glad we supplemented with our own.

                            --While in the Back Bay area, check out the Boston Public Library - the original building accessed from Exeter St, not the newer concrete side accessed from Boylston. There's a fountain in the center courtyard, and you can have afternoon tea there, or lunch in the Map Room. Also free wifi. Very pleasant there; one of my favorite spots in the city.

                            5 Replies
                              1. re: Niblet

                                Thank you very much for the suggestions Niblet. Some very fun ideas and food suggestions. The omelette sounds divine. The paramount's seating policy sounds very familiar to a very busy local restaurant in my neighborhood and it is crazy to see how it all works out.

                                1. re: Niblet

                                  Isn't it Dartmouth St, not Exeter?

                                  1. re: pariss

                                    Yes it is Dartmouth, right on Copley Square. We visit the food trucks outside on Boylston, Clarendon, or over on Stuart street and have our lunch in the Courtyard. Once the Copley Farmers' Market opens on the 15th, we sometimes pick up lunch there and sneak over to the Courtyard.

                                    Warning, the Friday lunch concert series starts June 1st, then it is really mobbed. You might want to pick a different day for a more peaceful lunch.


                                    1. re: BostonZest

                                      Shhhh .... dont tell everyone about that gorgious courtyard! I sneak over there too!!!

                                2. I would second the suggestion of a harbor cruise (on a nice day). It is a great way to keep sightseeing when you're tired. You can relax,enjoy the view and a good picnic lunch, too. My only other suggestion to you is to not stick by a rigid schedule. I am a total planner too when I travel, but sometimes things happen and you gotta just go with the flow. That said, you seem to have enough ideas of where to go so that no matter where you end up, you will be close to good food.

                                  1. I have always liked the JFK library.

                                    You can walk along the water from there to Castle Island or a 5 min drive.

                                    Another chowish lunch destination in that area is KO Pies on A St in Southie. A very quick walk from the Broadway red line stop.

                                    It's a hole-in-the-wall Australian savory pie joint with soups and saladie things too. And fries with chicken salt.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      It's a 4-5 mile walk, but taking the train to JFK in the morning, taking a stroll to Castle Island and then taking the bus back would make for a very lovely day.

                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                        Is it really thatt far? Ive done it with my dogs a few times and it didnt seem like that far .... but it's pretty and all along the harbor.

                                        But yes you can walk back down to the beach from Castle Island and in a block or so and catch the #9 bus back to Copley.

                                        Here's KO info: http://www.kocateringandpies.com/

                                      2. re: C. Hamster

                                        Mmmmm Australian savory pies sound very good. I will definitely consider this an option if weather doesn't permit or I don't end up wanting to walk all the way to Castle Island, which also sounds lovely. I'm still not really sure of how far things are or how long they will take so thanks for the input about that Bellachefa.