Boston for foodies. I know the term “foodies” is unpopular amongst some, but what else are we going to call ourselves, something more technical like foo-con’s (food connoisseur)? It just doesn’t roll off the tongue like “foodie”. We will just have to go with foodies for now. I was considering titling this “Boston for foodies and winies”, but the wine scene is not real big in Boston. You can get great French or Italian wine, or over-pay for California wine, but not much beyond that. I was also considering “Boston for foodies and brewies”. The brew scene in Boston is big, but unfortunately spread out and difficult to appreciate when you are walking everywhere and maybe have not planed things out as well as you should have. Boston is all about history. You cannot go 5 feet without coming across something or someplace that has historical significance for our country, but if you have done all the tours and museums, or maybe that just not your thing, Boston still has a lot to offer, especially for the gastronomically inclined.
A trip to Boston for a foodie would not be complete without a trip to the north end. This is an old-school, and I mean old-school like few places in the US can offer, Italian district. Truth be told you could spend a week here and not get to all the amazing Italian places this area has to offer. A tip by a previous local lead us to The Daily Catch on our last trip here and we had to come back this time to see if this place was really as amazing as we remembered. No Alzheimer’s here, this is the definition of a hole in the wall with seating for about 20, a cash only policy, and a typical line half way down the block and with good reason. The food is knock your socks of good. You will be sitting about 10 feet from the stove where they make these classic Italian pasta and seafood dishes that make you remember that sometimes simple and basic can create a symphony of flavor.
Speaking of lines and flavor, across the street from The Daily Catch is Mikes Pastry. We noticed the line on our last visit but not being much for cannoli’s we skipped it last time. We knew we had to give it a try this time. They have multiple options as well as other pasties and cupcakes, but we went with the basic cannoli filled with ricotta as our litmus. I have never, ever had anything like this with the dough crisp and light yet not greasy at all and the ricotta filling with just enough sweetness and flavor without being over the top. You see people carrying their boxes all over this neighborhood and after you have been here you become like a pavlovian dog as your mouth starts to water every time you see a box.
As with any Italian district the “best pizza in town” signs are abundant, but in Boston the real bench-mark is Regina Pizzeria. Established in 1926, they have been making brick oven pizza here long enough to get it right. The crust is thin and crisp with the occasional tasty burnt spot you only get with the open flame cooking. The sauce is flavorful and abundant, not too sweet and the toping are all fresh, pick any you want, you cannot go wrong. Galleria Unberto also gets a lot of recognition but they are only open lunch hours and we were not able to squeeze it in on this visit.
While the theme in Boston dining is classic, we did find the answer for those looking for something adventurous in Shojo in Chinatown. An Asian fusion place that puts a modern twist on Chinese food and specializes in house infused vodka and gin drinks. From spicy to sweet, all the flavors are covered with their unique recipes and twists on the classics. They say that good service can make up for bad food, but here they do not have to. With an all hands on deck attitude, you will be made to feel special as they serve you their delectable food and drinks. Across the street is Winsor Dim Sum Cafe, a dim-sum restaurant and while good, I think you would have to work to find a bad dim-sum place among the many scattered around Boston’s Chinatown.
Hidden right behind Boston Commons is Scollay Square, a great place for lunch or brunch with outside seating, several styles of eggs benedict and a north east staple, the lobster roll. Lobster rolls come with many twists and varieties, but here (again the Boston theme) classic rules the day with a generous portion of tasty lobster in a soft roll and a little lettuce. Don’t try to fix it if it’s not broke, right. Finally, a trip to Boston would not be complete without a stop at Sam LaGrassa’s. The award winning and Guy Ferrari recognized deli in the heart of the city. Here you find the classic (again, that word) corned beef or pastrami piled high on rye bread, the type of deli that is famous and prevalent on the east coast but hard to find in the west.
Tips on how to maximize your adventure; stay somewhere in the downtown area and walk everywhere. Traffic is typical for big cities but its small enough that if you are centrally located you can get anywhere on foot and will likely beat anyone taking a cab. Also lines are common at all the best places. If you find yourself at a place without a line during peak hours you are probably at the wrong place. You can avoid the lines by going at off-peak hours. Troya and I found ourselves skipping breakfast (which does not seem to be a big meal in this town) and grabbing lunch around 11, right when everything is just opening. We would walk right in and then walk past a line of many on our way out when we were done. When ordering pizza, call your order in for take-out. You can then walk right past the line of people, grab your pie and go sit in a park, listen to the street musicians, or sit by the water as you eat while the others are waiting hours for a seat inside.