Wednesday, 22 July 2009

It's Not Just a Great Place to Visit...

I feel utterly decadent. The last three meals I have eaten (except breakfast this morning), I’ve had lobster. Where I come from, lobster is pretty hard to come by, and it costs about fifty dollars a throw. It’s not the sort of thing you get to eat very often. In fact, the last time I had a whole lobster was about three years ago. I’ve had lobster bisque and things like that, but not anything that had more than a couple tablespoons of lobster meat in it.

But yesterday for lunch, sitting on the harbour front in Boston at Legal Seafood, I had one of the best lobsters I have ever eaten. It was served whole, on a bed of fresh pasta with garlic, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Then for dinner I had a fresh lobster roll at Stephanie’s on Newbury, and today for lunch I had another lobster roll back at Legal Seafood on the harbour front – although this time we sat inside as it was raining.

Of course, it is no secret that Boston is a great place for seafood. You are pretty much right on the coast, so most fish you get haven’t had to travel very far, and is pretty much as fresh as it can be. But actually I’ve found that Boston is just a great place for food in general. We have yet to have a bad meal here, or even a mediocre one, and we have been here for nearly three days now.

Boston has a pretty rich history when it comes to food. From Boston Baked Beans and Parker House Rolls to Boston Cream Pie, there are a lot of traditional dishes that Boston can lay claim to. And that helps to make it a really delicious place to visit.

We arrived on a Sunday evening, and as the restaurant in our hotel was closed we decided to go for a walk. We found ourselves at Cheers bar, which is not far from our hotel on Beacon Street. We had a wonderful meal here, delicious food beautifully served. Despite my worries that it might be a tourist trap, it was nothing of the sort. The food was reasonably priced and portions were generous. The menu was really varied too – I had a fantastic chicken salad, my husband had a seafood platter and my son had a cheeseburger. It was a good start.

We’ve been breakfasting at our hotel, the Nine Zero Hotel on Tremont Street. It’s a Kimpton hotel and the menu here is the same as at their Cyprus Hotel in Cupertino, California where we stayed recently – although I have to say the food is better here. You can get a mean Eggs Benedict (with the hollandaise served on the side if you like it like I do) for around $13, and the coffee is good too. If you prefer something a bit sweeter, try their Brioche French Toast at $14, which is served with caramelized bananas, hazelnuts, and Vermont Maple Syrup. I’m informed by reliable sources that it is incredibly delicious.

There is no shortage of good restaurants around Boston for lunch or dinner. Legal Seafood, where I had the wonderful lobster pasta dish on Monday, has become one of our favourites. There are branches all over the city, but we have stuck to the one down by the harbour. Whether you sit outside in the sunshine or inside at one of their tables or the buzzing lunch counter, you will be treated to some delicious seafood. Their menu is creative and offers a fantastic choice – also watch out for their daily specials which offer really good value for money and fantastic flavor. The pasta dish with the whole lobster I had there on Monday only cost $17.95 and their delicious lobster roll was served with French fries and a lovely light coleslaw.

Stephanie’s on Newbury was recommended to us, and after our visit there on Monday night I can understand why. It was not just my lobster roll dinner that was outstanding. Their menu offered a huge choice of good basic dishes – things I would describe as comfort food – served fresh and delicious to order. My son had a beautifully presented burger and my husband had some outstanding fresh fish and chips. There were several other things on their menu I would like to try; we will have to return on our next visit to Boston.

So where did we go for dinner on our last evening in Boston? Believe it or not, we headed back to Cheers. The place I thought I would like the least has ended up being one the one we enjoyed the most. We all had different dishes this time, and once again we were impressed. It’s basic pub food, but it is done really, really well, and sometimes that is all you really want. It was a wonderful way to finish off our visit to Boston, and get us ready to head off for the next stop on our summer road trip.

One thing is for sure, Boston is more than a great place to visit; it’s also a wonderful place to eat!

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