Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My Boston Weekend

As many of my Long Live Locke readers know, I was in Boston this past Thursday through Sunday for my graduate school reunion. Since I have spent the majority of the past nine months at home with my dog every day, typing away in silence, I knew that I would go into some sort of shock if I attempted to participate in ALL of the reunion events for three days straight. I just simply can't be "on" that much anymore.

So instead, my husband and I spent the bulk of the weekend visiting our favorite spots in Boston and Cambridge--it was the first time we'd been back in five years. On Thursday night, we had time before the Lost finale to head over to the North End, which is the city's Italian area. Our favorite restaurant there is Villa Francesca. We are fanatics for their calamari, which is prepared the way they make it in Thailand--perhaps because the owner cooked for the cast of the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies in the Land of Smiles. (My husband and I spent about a month backpacking in Thailand in 2001, and I pretty much only ate calamari and ice cream--don't ask.)

I was very happy to be reunited with my beloved calamari dish, as you can see.

No visit to the North End would be complete without a stop at Mike's Pastry, one of the several dessert-only shops that line the main drag, Hanover Street. Diabetics, please do not even look at the pictures below, seriously. They contain 100% sugar!

I selected a huge slice of Oreo cake and a black/white cookie "to go" and was happy to walk with the famous Mike's Pastry white box back to the subway. These treats helped get me through the Lost finale... and kept me up all night with a sugar high.

The next day we walked around the rest of the city. The weather was gorgeous, so we decided to take the extremely slow "Swan boats" around the lake in the Public Garden. We got in line right before hundreds of small school kids showed up--phew.

Below is a close-up of one of the Swan boats, and then a wider view of the very pretty lake. I was all excited because not only did we see two real live swans, we also saw a ton of little baby ducklings and some turtles taking in the sun.

We walked around the Boston Common a bit more, and then made our way through Chinatown to find the lunch spot I'd been pining for since May of 2003--Shabu-Zen. If you have never eaten at a Shabu-shabu restaurant, you need to do so as soon as possible--the food is just incredible. Basically you cook your own meat and vegetables and noodles in a boiling pot that's encased in the table in front of you. It is delicious.

Here are a few shots of the counter and our meal, before we got to cooking...

Afterward we were full, but not TOO full, so we hiked over to Faneuil Hall for dessert.

Finally... you can't go to Boston without at least cruising by Cheers, right? So that's what we did.


- e


Anonymous said...


Thanks for making me really hungry AND wanting to visit Boston.

Calamari done right is just the best thing in the world. Yums.

The Other E

Anonymous said...

Boston is one of my favourite American Cities. I've been lucky to spend several weeks there on business and enjoyed myself immensely whenever I had some free time to explore. What a clean and safe city. Thankfully the Big Dig is over!

Erika (aka "e") said...

That's right... I forgot to mention the biggest change from when I lived there... the Big Dig IS complete! It was really weird to ride to my hotel almost completely underground...

- e

Anonymous said...

Villa Francesca is my favorite! I'm so jealous about Mike's Pastry - but no cannoli?? We were at both places w/ A last summer!