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Trip Report - Part 1 (more to follow)

Trip Report – Boston – July, 2012

I will start with Day 1 today and hopefully be able to finish the rest soon. My favourites of the trip were East Coast Grill, Oleana, Finz, Paramount, Neptune Oyster and Toscanini’s. My least favourite was Erbaluce – perhaps it was my choice of meal or perhaps it was the fact that Italian can sometimes be a little “boring”. I far preferred Toascanini’s ice cream to Christina’s. Here is the report from Day 1. More to come.

Day 1 – Pizzeria Regina, Emack and Bolio’s, Erbaluce

Our lunch at Pizzeria Regina was delicious. The atmosphere at Regina’s takes you back a few years – I enjoyed the wooden booths and old style décor. We shared a Margherita pizza and both had a glass of wine and really enjoyed it. The sauce was the perfect consistency and flavour. Toppings were okay. The crust was done just as it should be – a little blackened and slightly crispy. The service here was a bit inattentive at times and we practically had to flag the waitress down to get our bill. I would say this pizza was almost as good as the pizza from Keste in NYC. Definitely in my top 5 pizzas of all time and I will be back!

We had a snack at Emack and Bolio’s – I tried the maple walnut and co-traveller had a blueberry smoothie. Both were good and the place is worth a visit but it was not my favourite Boston ice cream.

For dinner we went to Erbaluce. I had the Wild Boar pasta and a nice glass of pinot grigio. The pasta was cooked soft but not soggy and the sauce was very flavourful. I believe they brought us a mini dessert platter and the truffles on it were amazing! The waitress was attentive and helpful but I did not find her to be overly friendly. The hostess was excellent though - very friendly. The atmosphere here is kind of sterile – I think they need to redecorate. My meal was good but I would try somewhere different on my next trip.

Day 2 – Sorelle, East Coast Grill, Christina’s, Oleana, Toscanini’s

Day 3 – Finz, Legal Seafood

Day 4 – Paramount (was supposed to go to ICOB but had a headache and didn’t feel like seafood so just grabbed a bite at the game)

Day 5 – Flour Bakery, Neptune Oyster, Legal Seafood (yes again – as our flight was delayed and it was a decent option at the airport)

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  1. Looking forward to hearing more details on the rest of your days.

    Please keep it all on this thread as it is difficult to follow when people split up their reports on multiple threads.

    1. 150+ posts and this is where you ended up? Sounds like your trip fizzled out foodwise after day 2.

      4 Replies
        1. re: barleywino

          And people wonder why tourists don't report back. The OP did manage to hit up some Chowhound favorites Day 4 and Day 5.

          I'm looking forward to reading more from the OP about their trip since this first report has been so detailed.

          1. re: barleywino

            Huh? Fizzled?? Nothing wrong with taking a breather day in the middle of the trip. Flour and Neptune are both stellar choices (Day 5)...hope they delivered on the visits there.

            1. Curious to hear what you thought of Finz. I have only been to the now closed dedham location and thought it was horrible and overpriced.. Also curious to see what you thought of East Coast Grill, a place that has a cult following on this forum but never impressed me the slightest.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hargau

                I was going to say that I feel ECG is much, much better for brunch than dinner - and then reading the report for day 2 it looks like they went for brunch. Who knows if that would have affected their thoughts on the matter.

                1. re: jgg13

                  Yes it was for brunch - and we loved it. The place was packed.

              2. Trip Report Days 2 and 3 - still more to come...

                Day 2 – Sorelle, East Coast Grill, Christina’s, Oleana, Toscanini’s

                I picked up a lemon-cranberry muffin and a coffee at Sorelle to start the dat, mainly because it was right around the corner from the hotel. Nice little place – the muffin was large and tasty – not too sweet, and my coffee was good as well.

                After visiting MIT we headed to East Coast Grill for brunch. I had the Smoked Pork Carnita Enchiladas and she had the breakfast platter. She enjoyed her breakfast platter. I absolutely loved the enchiladas. I savoured every bite – it was so delicious I am salivating as I remember! It came with a tomato-avocado-mango salsa on top and the flavours of this with the enchiladas were amazing – every mouthful was a delightful blend of sweet and savoury. The Crispy Jicama Slaw on the side was also delectable. There was cilantro in it which is an herb I adore, and it added that perfect bit of uniqueness to the dish. The service here was fantastic and I will return to this restaurant next time I am in Boston.

                We stopped at Christina’s (it was next door, how could we not?) for ice cream. I tried the burnt sugar and Mexican Chocolate. The ice cream was delicious, but I preferred the creamy texture at Toscanini’s. It is definitely worth a visit here to try some samples and enjoy a cold treat.

                After a heat-waved afternoon exploring Harvard we went to Oleana for dinner. We arrived before opening and quite a line formed before they welcomed us inside just after 5:30. We chose to sit inside as we were roasting from all the walking in the 90+ degree weather. I tried the deviled eggs and the muhammara, and I had one of their specials which was Grilled Scallops with Four Star Farms' Fresh Corn Polenta, Corn Broth, Spicy Harissa Green Beans and Almond Crumb. The starters were very good but it was the main of scallops and polenta that really won me over. The scallops were soft and flavourful and extremely fresh tasting. The polenta was smooth and creamy. It came with green and yellow beans which also tasted incredibly fresh. There was a sprinkle of almond crumbs and spicy harissa. The spicy harissa had finely chopped red chilli peppers which were really hot. I endured because it was so good – lots of water and some bread helped. The atmosphere here was lovely and the service was outstanding – our water glasses never reached empty. This restaurant reminded me a lot of Aziza in San Francisco which I also loved.

                We left the restaurant and started walking in the direction of Toscanini’s. We stopped a young man on a bike and asked if he could give us directions. A huge smile spread across his face at the mention of Toscanini’s and he gave us directions, told us to ask for samples, and told us it’s the best ice cream in Boston. We sampled a few flavours and I chose Chocolate #3 and Burnt Caramel. The ice cream was silky smooth and I enjoyed every bite.

                Day 3 – Finz, Cobbs, Legal Seafood

                We caught the early ferry to Salem and visited the Witch museum. The history was interesting. We decided on Finz for lunch. They have a really nice patio that looks out on the water. I had wanted to try the fried oysters but was not in the mood for it so I ordered the crispy fish burrito. Co-traveller had the pan seared scallop salad. My burrito came with black bean corn relish salad that was very tasty. The burrito was very good as well – flavours mixed nicely, however I felt there could have been more fish and less rice. I had a strawberry fields cocktail which was really good and not too sweet. Our waitress was pleasant and helpful.

                After a visit to the Witch village, where our guide was very informative but seemed in fast-forward mode, we walked out to Cobbs at Salem Willows Park. I had blueberry and maple walnut ice cream. The maple walnut was good and blueberry was incredible. It was creamy and the flavour of the blueberry was good, and naturally, not sugary sweet. I also got some of their buttered popcorn, molasses popcorn and a few flavours of the salt water taffy. The popcorn was great - freshly popped with mouth-watering butter. I have yet to eat the molasses popcorn and the rest of the taffy – I tried the banana taffy and it was really good.

                After returning to Boston and having a rest at the hotel we decided to go to Legal Seafoods for dinner as it was a close walk. We both had the fried fisherman’s platter which was good, but a LOT of fried! I wouldn’t order this again here, I would get fish or scallops or something else. And I likely would only eat here again if it was at the airport location (best option there) as I have now had it three times and am ready to try something else.

                11 Replies
                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                  Loving these reports. Keep 'em coming!

                  1. re: bear

                    Glad to know someone is reading! Thanks!

                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                      so glad you liked oleana, one of my absolute favorites. I love the meze/appetizers but when she is on, all her seafood dishes can be amazing. I'd love to try that scallop special.

                      keep them coming!

                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                        Not only are we reading now, but reports like yours come in very handy for other visitors.

                        I'm glad you enjoyed Boston! And, I've saved your report for future reference.


                    2. re: TeacherFoodie

                      I am crazy for the food found at Salem Willows. The stand with the screened in dining area makes great hamburgers and hot dogs. And I agree, the popcorn, ice cream and taffy are all great.

                      1. re: CookieLee

                        not to mention it's one of the few places left to find that old new england foodstuff, the chow mein sandwich!

                        1. re: passing thru

                          There are no chow mein sandwiches at the Willows. The Willows specializes in the Chop Suey sandwich, which is a different beast, based on pictures I've seen of the chow mein sandwich.

                          1. re: Fly

                            ack! you're totally right, it's the chop suey sandwich out that way at the Willows. The chow mein sandwich is more a Fall River thing, my mistake.

                            1. re: passing thru

                              Have you tried the one in Fall River (I think) that Emeril likes?

                              1. re: walker

                                nope, unfortunately I've never been to that place. Though I can admit to having a couple of boxes of local fave Hoo Mee Chow Mein Mix in my pantry...

                      2. re: TeacherFoodie

                        Great report. I like the anecdote about the biker!

                      3. Thanks. This is so great to read.

                        1. I love it when people report back and you are knocking it out of the park with the detailed reports! This thread will be helpful to other visitors to Boston.

                          1. Here is the last of my report! Glad that someone is reading! I have to admit that when I started planning this trip and first posted my itinerary, I was worried that I wouldn't get as many helpful responses as I did for SF. I was glad to find out that I did - and thank everyone for their input. For comments on my trip report I have received a lot more here than on the SF board with the trip report I posted there. Thanks Boston (and non-Boston) hounds!

                            Day 4 – Paramount, JP Licks (was supposed to go to ICOB but had a headache and didn’t feel like seafood so just grabbed a bite at the game)

                            After doing a little shopping in the early morning, we took the subway and got off near the Liberty Hotel. We continued on to Paramount. I had the Fresh Banana and Caramel French Toast. It was incredible! So delicious! The portion was enormous and the French toast was a tad crispy which is how I like it. The caramel sauce was amazing – definitely not something poured from a jar. Co-traveler had the blueberry pancakes and also enjoyed.

                            And as if that wasn’t enough sweetness for the day – we backtracked to JP Licks and I had a peach ice cream (I realize there are other flavours that are good – I even sampled a few of them, but seeing as I had just finished a super sweet brunch I decided to go for something on the lighter side). I also left my itinerary here! Perhaps someone else picked it up and made use of it! If you click on the link below you will see a picture of my French Toast. I actually dreamed about it last night – heavenly. I’ve had a few food dreams lately, must go with the territory.


                            I really, really wanted to go to ICOB either before or after the game – but I had a pounding headache and settled for a fruit cup at the game (please note my wording “settled for” in acknowledgement that I missed something delicious). I was feeling nauseous from the heat and was quite happy to arrive back at the hotel after the game and enjoy the air conditioning. ICOB is on my list for another time. The game was great despite my condition.

                            Day 5 – Flour Bakery, Neptune Oyster, Modern, Maria’s, Caffe dello Sport, Legal Seafood (yes again – as our flight was delayed and it was a decent option at the airport


                            Got up on our last morning and walked across the bridge to Flour Bakery. Someone in line said the pop tarts were good just before I ordered so I opted for one of these. I also had their raspberry seltzer which was great. The pop tart was good – flaky and sweet (could have had more filling) but I will try something different the next time I’m here.

                            We took a quick ferry from Long Wharf to the USS Constitution as we had not seen that area of Boston yet and then headed over to Neptune Oyster for lunch. We put our names down and then went to Maria’s for Cannolis. I got ricotta filled and chocolate filled and ate them at the airport. They were amazing. I would definitely stop back here again for more.

                            Back at Neptune, we were seated at the bar at the front of the restaurant. These seats have their good and bad points. Nice window seat but people kept hitting us in the back walking by – some apologized, and others didn’t, including one of the waitresses. I had the chowder, which I wasn’t all that impressed with, and the hot lobster sandwich – which was really delicious, however, some parts of the lobster that were in the sandwich seemed like the parts they should have thrown out. I would say 1/3 of the meat wasn’t as high a quality as the rest.

                            We headed to Caffe dello Sport and I got a lemon gelato which was really good. It was very refreshing after a rich meal of lobster. From there we headed to Modern where I picked up some almond biscotti and some nougatine with chocolate. YUM! Best almond biscotti I have ever had. They were sweet, crispy but not dry, and had just the right amount of slivered almonds. The nougatine was also delicious. It was chewy but not tough, and the chocolate made it even tastier.

                            We went up the Custom House clock tower to the observation deck for a spectacular view of the city. The custom house is a great place for a view of the city and you can go up for only $3.00 per person every day at 2 pm. You must be there by 2 pm to go up the tower. The thunder storm started while we were up there and it was really cool seeing the lightening in the distance. Unfortunately this meant that when we arrived at the airport, we found out our flight was even more delayed than before and so we went for dinner again at Legal. We started with chowder, which sadly, was much better than at Neptune, and then split an order of scallops. We had garlic mashed potatoes and onion strings with it. IMO those are the best sides available. They actually split the scallops for us which with our glass of wine was perfect.

                            It was a great trip to a great city. Bostonians were helpful before and during the trip. Hoping to return in October for round 2, and will start planning the itinerary as soon as the plane tickets are booked!

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                              well, as all my aussie friends say, "good on 'ya", teacher! i was happy to see many of your ultimate choices, because you worked hard to figure those out. As to Neptune Oyster, i was sad to read that you had their chowder, an unfortunate holdover from the previous chef. While ICOB will surely be a highlight for you in Oct.,i am not a fan of their chowder either. ( Best clam chowder I've evr had, outside of New England, is at Hog Island Oyster in SF Ferry Bldg.)I've never read a problem w/the NO lobster roll, so sorry to hear about yours.I always order the less trad dishes and My Love always gets their scallops.

                              Thrilled that you loved the Modern Almond Biscotti (our Jones there, for sure!)And isn't that JP Licks Peach a beautiful thing? They do a no fat Frozen Yoghurt they call 'X' and I just brought home a quart of the Peach X last night(they change those X flavors(and others) monthly, so hording can sometimes be in order!)

                              Also really happy to see you loved ECG and Oleana and Toscanini. Did you get to see the chapel at MIT? I didn't know the Custom House had scheduled 2pm obervation deck tours, and that experience is one of my favs here, so now i can rec it to CH visitors. Did they tell you about the long-resident falcon couple? were you able to see the nest(one-way glass)?

                              I was thinking of you during that brutal heat; glad you survived it. Oct. is a real glory here so i hope you will return then. Maybe you'd want to rent a car and do day trip/s to Plymouth Plantation, Concord, Newburyport or the historic lower Rt 6A part of Cape Cod.

                              I'm possibly coming to Toronto for the Kahlo/Rivera show this fall , in which case I will be posting Toronto CH inquiries myself!

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                My visit in October will likely be a 3 day long weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving) so probably no time for day trips? I was in Cape Cod last summer - beautiful place. My dream is to rent a place on Nantucket for a week sometime and just relax!

                                I actually can't remember if we saw the chapel at MIT! Perhaps that is due to the warm temperatures while we were there. We did miss the North Church (oops) and I plan to visit the aquarium and the JFK museum as well on my next visit.

                                Thanks for all your recs!

                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                  Sadly, I am not making it back this weekend. Hopefully another time (soon)! I miss this great city!

                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                    Picked up your whole string of posts and replies...outstanding! We are new to Boston and will be using all of the suggestions fellow foodies have given you as well as your planned and actual itinerary. Hope to read your suggestions about Toronto someday!

                                    1. re: Chikklinlittle

                                      Thanks so much Chikkinlittle!! I am glad that my research can help someone else! I love researching restaurants. I am currently researching Chicago and am completing my itinerary for a trip mid-August.

                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                        Found one of your Chicago posts. I am kinda old and have never followed anyone. Is it ok if I follow your posts? I cannot seem to find where that was offered right now, but with your ok, i will try to follow your posts! You seem to do more in one day than we do in a week!
                                        Thank you!

                                        1. re: Chikklinlittle

                                          I would be honoured!! I would recommend following nsxtasy (Chicago), Robert Lauriston (San Francisco), karendor (New Orleans), Gizmo56 (not sure of hometown), and opinionatedchef (Boston) as well.

                                          I have lots of time now because I am a teacher and it is summer! In the fall, my activeness on the boards will start to dwindle a little!