Strolling Boston, One Bite at a Time

Today was our first full day in Boston and we made the most of it. The weather was beautiful (mid-upper 80s, with a nice breeze, low humidity) and made for a perfect walking exploration of Boston’s South End.

But first we needed to get to the starting point of our tour. So we added an adventure that we had not anticipated. We thought our inn offered a shuttle for us. And they do, but only to the nearest train station. So my wife and I took the train in to the city. A first for us! (Hey, don’t laugh. Mass rapid transit doesn’t exist in Wisconsin.)

We survived our first encounter with a large city mass transit system (it was actually fun) and walked a few blocks to meet the rest of our tour. We were taking a strolling tour of Boston’s South End, focusing on local eateries and regional architecture. And before I start talking about some really excellent food, let me tell you about the tour.  Alyssa Daigle is a director for Bites of Boston Food Tours and it turned out to be one of the most satisfying events my wife and I have ever joined. We had 10 other guests in the party and we covered about two miles in just over three hours. Along the way we sampled great foods from six unique eateries, learned about the history of the city, looked at some wonderful architecture and enjoyed a simply beautiful city.

The Parish Cafe

Our first restaurant, The Parish Cafe was also our meeting point, sitting on the corner of Tremont Street and Massechusettes Avenue (When we asked for directions how to find it, we displayed our Wisconsin ignorance. Tremont is not pronounced “TREE-mont”, and the other is simply “Mass Ave.” Oh well. It’s nearly impossible for a tourist to hide that fact. And I don’t even try anymore.)

The theme of this restaurant is that all the meals are the unique creation of regional master chefs. That results in a menu that simply sings with creativity and wonder. We were treated to a sampling of one of the restaurant’s signature dish, Sean’s Meatloaf Club. A slice of chipotle meatloaf, bacon, chipolte aioli, lettuce and tomato with a side of mashed red skin potatoes and gravy. THIS is a meatloaf sandwich to write about! It is a creation from chef/owner Sean Simmons, and if a meatloaf sandwich can be this good, I can’t imagine how good everything else is.

A delicious taste

Our next stop was a smaller restaurant, Orinoco, a Venezuelan cafe located on the ground floor of a brownstone first built in 1912.  With old painted ceiling tiles, and seating for about 20, it is a small and comfortable place to enjoy a unique meal.

We were given datiles, bacon-wrapped almond-filled dates.

The datile, as delivered
Mmmmm, so tasty. I will make these at home!
Boston people are so caring of their city signs. Here, our guide Alyssa is showing us the knitted sign post “cozies”  that renegade knitters create and attach to area sign posts.
Okay, so we had a meatloaf sandwich and a delicious date. The only thing to follow that would be a fantastic cookie! Our next stop, Flour Bakery and Cafe, provided that tasty treat.
 
If you ever stop there, try the Chunky Lola, a chocolate chip cookie, with pecans, coconut and oatmeal. Really, really good!
Our next stop was the Morse Fish Company.
They sell fresh fish as well as offer cooked fish to eat there or for take-out. I’ve had clam strips before, but what we had were unlike any frozen clam strips that have passed through my mouth. Fresh, crispy and chewy, they tasted fantastic.
Fried clams, like none available inWisconsin!
But I think Alyssa knew that I was feeling a touch homesick for the green lands of Wisconsin. She couldn’t take me to “Wisconsin Fields Cafe” or some other goofy place, but she could take us to South End Formaggio.
I wept a little when I walked in.
Two different cows milk cheeses. Rich, smooth and nicely aged and they only way they would have been better is with a glass of wine. The cheese that are already stuck on the picksis LLandaff, an artisanal cheese from New Hampshire. It was my favorite of the two, with an grassy note on top of a slight tartness, similar to yogurt. The Rupert, also very nice, is an artisanal from Vermont, with a slighty sweet taste, a touch creamier and a long finish to the flavor with a hint of walnut. (But nothing from Wisconin, where real cheese is made! Maybe next time!)
Our last stop was The Upper Crust Pizzaria.  We all went in and enjoyed the air conditioning as we were given a piece of their specialty pizza, John “Chief” Bucyk (pepperoni and mushroom, on their incredibly thin and crispy crust pizza.)

I could have eaten a lot more than one piece!
You’d think that after all that food, I wouldn’t be able to eat another bite … but you’d be wrong. We got back to our motel and decided to make it easy and eat at the attached Mexican restaurant (The Fat Cactus). We sat down to relax to enjoy a margarita. (Really good after a long day of walking!)
My wonderful wife, Tammy, patiently putting up with me taking her picture.
 Tammy had the Lobster Quesadilla.

I had the Bistec Cubano.

Dessert? Why not? We shared a nice rice pudding.

Okay. It was a long day.We walked over 12,000 steps according to my Fitbit, with 15 flights of stairs climbed. It also included a LOT of food (I blew my daily budget, and I don’t care!) We both had a fun, relaxing and educational day. I want to again thank Alyssa Daigle and Bites of Boston Food Tours for providing one of the best vacation days in recent memory. If you and your plans take you near Boston from April to November, and your plans will allow you three hours of free time in the afternoon, I really encourage you to consider adding this event to your plans. Just wear comfortable shoes and bring an empty stomach.

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One comment on “Strolling Boston, One Bite at a Time
  1. debio says:

    Fantastic post! Goodness I want a cookie and pizza now!! Not to mention the date! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Enjoy the rest of your visit!