Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boston + Octopus + JT

To accomplish #2 on my 30 for 30 List (Go to a Justin Timberlake concert), I planned a long weekend trip to Boston with my beau. It has been seven years since I lived in Boston and almost five since my last visit. Let's just say, a lot has changed. 

We flew in Thursday morning. Though usually incredibly patient, David wasn't thrilled about being "that couple" taking in-flight selfies. So I was pleased to get his neutral face in this picture. 

We stayed at the Omni Parker Hotel, which is central to everything and right across from the Granary Burying Ground. One of the many attributes I love about this city is the access to history. Where else can you just walk in and see a historic grave like Benjamin Franklin's without a fee or pass or security? 

We walked through the Boston Commons. That's the State House in the background. It's shiny, metallic gold dome isn't very photogenic.

Next stop: Beacon Hill, specifically Charles Street. Some say Newbury Street is the best for shopping, but for me it's Charles with its quaint boutiques and local restaurants. Great consignment stores, too. 

We strolled through the Public Gardens to Back Bay. (You can see the swan boats in the background.) The weather was absolute perfection for our entire visit. We're talking 70 degree mornings and evenings with highs around 80. Needless to say, I was not eager to return to Alabama's humidity. 

After a full day of walking, shopping and therefore blisters, we ventured to the North End, or Little Italy, to take comfort in some Italian fare. This neighborhood can be extremely touristy, so finding a quality restaurant with good service and authentic food necessitates some advance research. Thanks to guidance from my friend Anne, we went to Bricco on Hanover Street. 

And, it is here that I knocked out #28 on my 30 for 30 List: Try a new food. Octopus is my new best friend. Great texture and sweetness like lobster, but a softer taste. David and I are obsessed. Here's the menu description: dry roasted with ginger and jalapeno crust, peruvian potato and string bean salad. Aka yumminess. 

After we inhaled the octopus and Amatriciana garganelli pasta (We're big eaters. Don't judge.), I had the Mallard Duck Duetto - a confit leg and seared breast, roasted yams, mango and frisee salad, sweet and sour mango soy sauce. Now, telling a southern Asian girl that she can have soy sauce, duck and yams (sweet potatoes) all on one plate...I mean...I had no choice in the matter of ordering.  

After our three-course meal, four if you count limoncello, we were in dire need of a walk. An understatement in the most extreme way. Near Faneuil Hall is the Holocaust Memorial. Very experiential and moving. This is one of David's favorite quotes. 

Before I left Boston, I worked on a statue dedication event to honor Mayor Kevin Hagan White, one of the city's longest serving mayors. He served during an incredibly turbulent time (1968-84) in Boston and was responsible for revitalizing much of downtown, including Faneuil Hall. It was only appropriate that his statue be placed here. 

Friday: more walking. They don't call it "America's Walking City" for nothing. We grabbed coffee and breakfast and walked through the Rose Kennedy Greenway down to the wharf. 

Another big change in Boston - the development of South Boston's waterfront. It was pretty much nonexistent ten years ago. Now, there's a high-rise on every block. 

Next stop: Harpoon Brewery. David and I debated if 11 am was to early to drink whilst on vacation. Then, we walked in and saw a full house. Apparently not. Eight years ago, this brewery was pretty much a one-room operation. Now, they have a beautiful bar with a gourmet pretzel station and brewery tours every hour on the hour. 

We had two samplers- a UFO sampler and a pilot brew sampler. My favorite was the grapefruit shandy, which consists of 80 percent beer and 20 percent grapefruit juice. 

This beaut is called 'Merica 'cause it's made with red, white and blue corn kernels.

We headed to my old digs in South Boston, including my first apartment. It was here that I truly learned  how to budget my money. And that was not because I had a choice. First job and first apartment demanded it!

Friday night, we joined my friend Anne and her boyfrand for drinks and dinner. To be more cultural, Anne suggested we go to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)'s Wavelengths event with Autre Ne Veut's live music. Included in the ticket price was access to the museum. So, we toured the special exhibit. Let's just say, we were all a bit too square for this exhibit. Below is one of the "pieces." Take from that what you will. 

We did, however, like the mosaic mirror items. This is what we call a contemporary selfie. 

The ICA is situated right on the waterfront. Here's the panoramic view of the harbor. 

And, a group shot....with David's eyes closed. 

Saturday breakfast at The Friendly Toast in Cambridge near MIT. Smoked salmon eggs benedict drenched in a homemade hollandaise. Sustenance for our next adventure....

...kayaking on the Charles River. Highly, highly recommend this. Great views of the city.

And, last but certainly not least, as it was one of our main reasons for the trip....Justin Timberlake concert. There are not enough exclamation points to express the excitement. 

Gettin' our pre-concert dinner on at Ward 8, a relatively new restaurant near TD Garden. Since we weren't going to a sports event, I didn't want your typical sports bar with beer and wings. So, we opted for this lovely restaurant. As soon as I walked in and saw the subway tile and wood-top tables, I knew it would be good. Who says you can't judge a book by its cover? 

Speaking of judging, how handsome does he look in this picture? White linen on a tanned gentleman. Doesn't get any better than that. 

We ordered a nice trio of appetizers - mussels, cheese steak dumplings and Asian duck wings. Then, seafood stew for entree. A great smattering of fresh seafood. Drinks, food and service were all a thumbs up.

About to go in to the concert.....

Let's just say, I screamed and danced the entire time like I was 22 16. Every video I took, there's an annoying girl screaming in the background. That's me. 

For one of his last numbers, he played his guitar and sang Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel. Elvis and JT? Be still my heart. 


Julia said...

You are too cute!

Mirabili Vestium said...

I tried octopus in Spain, and sorry to say I was disappointed:( Guess I could find a better place to try it... yours sure looks better:)