|Dessert at the Last Hurrah, Parker House Boston|
My love affair with the food scene in Boston is an open secret, so given our recent trip, Eating Around DC begins 2011 by showcasing some of my favorite Boston bites and sips. B and I put our--as well as friends' and family's--stomachs to the test in a three day marathon of eating around The Hub.
Our home away from home in Boston is the stately Parker House. Yes, I sound like an ad, but given the bills our family and we have footed here over the past few years (beginning with our wedding reception in 2006), my credit cards alone can assure you the praise is genuine. The accommodations are as warm and comforting as the Parker House rolls and the Boston Cream Pie the hotel restaurant gave birth to. The latter dish, coupled with a local Harpoon beer (pictured above), set the tone for this food field trip.
|Flour Bakery - Everything Brioche|
The first stop of our first morning in the city was Joanne Chang's Flour Bakery's original location in the South End. This light-filled storefront has the best pastries around. The star of the show is a simple, divine sugared brioche (far left in the photo above), and then many other variations on that theme. The service at all locations (we also went to their second location on the Waterfront) is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about the craft of baking.
|Flour Bakery Sticky Brioche Bun|
The next morning, there was no sugared brioche left, so I took the opportunity to be even more indulgent with a sticky bun oozing with honey so fresh I questioned whether there was a beehive in the kitchen. B actually prefers the Waterfront outpost--which occupies the first floor of a former warehouse-- to the original location, but I prefer the neighborhood cozy feel of the South End original. We learned that Flour now has a third location in Cambridge's Central Square, so if you are ever in greater Boston, there is no excuse to not to give this bakery a try.
|Beacon Hill Chocolates|
Our last trip, Beacon Hill Chocolates was a shoebox of a chocolate store on a corner of Charles Street, but this time we noticed it had moved into a larger location on the same picturesque block. While the chocolates are easy on the eyes, they dance on the tongue. We stopped in for a piece or two after lunch, but learned that you can hand select chocolates to fill in their vintage Boston-themed handcrafted artisan boxes online.
|Neptune Oyster's Hot Buttered Lobster Roll|
A year ago I dedicated an entire post to Neptune Oyster in the city's North End. But their hot buttered lobster roll is so out of this world (and their oyster selection second to none) that I can't let it go unmentioned. Not only is the seafood fantastic, but the atmosphere, while cramped, is cozy (in a good way) and charming.
|The Parker House's Apple Martini|
Where else do you get a martini presented on a silver tray, shaken table side by the seasoned (and unionized) waiters, accompanied with warm nuts for around $11 in an old world bar with standards in the background?! Cheers to the Parker House.
|Mike's Chocolate Chip Cannoli|
And while the cannoli debate continues among locals and tourists alike - Maria's, Modern, or Mike's - for me, I have always turned into the tourist-favorite Mike's for a fresh cannoli (though the ricotta is slightly sweeter than the other two). But you really cannot go wrong at any of the three.
But before you grab the cannoli, for an Italian North End dinner as genuine as it gets, I recommend the tiny, no frills Ida's. The family-run restaurant is only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and serves consistently excellent meatballs, chicken parmigiana, and veal saltimbocca, none of which comes in at over $18 a plate. Be sure to call about a week ahead for reservations. Donna, who has run the entire dining room since we lived there pre-2005, is a warm, wonderful Boston original.
Anna's Taqueria is not pictured, but let me assure you that it was visited. We manged to fit Anna's in a personal best of three times within a four day period! Spending close to $50 dollars total there over such a short period time is quite a feat, but I still contend this is the best burrito anywhere, due in large part to the fresh-made ingredients and some sort of magic that happens when the cheese is steamed into the tortilla. Please, please consider franchising in DC!
So now its off to the gym to dodge the New Years Resolutionaries and begin 2011.