Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Let's just say, we ate well.

Not everything on our Boston trip was for Sophie, of course. Specifically, her parents are too consummate of foodies to let her dictate their meal choices (if she did, we would have spent the week eating various permutations of cold pasta, chicken nuggets, miso soup, rice, bread, green beans, french fries, tofu, corn, hotdog, chicken noodle soup, and cantaloupe). There were several places we knew we wanted to (re)visit and some others that we stumbled on a little more serendipitously. Like a Korean restaurant in Westborough we just decided to go into on our first night because it was next to the grocery store we went to get Sophie's necessities. Imaginatively named Westborough Korean Restaurant, this placed serves hands-down the best Korean food we've ever tasted. Even though we only ordered the soondubu jigae (seafood tofu stew) and pork bulgogi, they were enough to blow our minds. Oh, and did I mention the ELEVEN side-dishes that came with our meal?...

Best Korean food ever!
Count and weep... 
Breakfasts were basically a wash on the trip since 1) we wanted to take our mornings easy and rushing out to get in line for breakfast somewhere just didn't make sense; and 2) we had bought one of those single-serve variety pack cereal for Sophie and she wasn't going to be able to finish a 12-pack all by herself.

We lucked out for lunch our second day when our friend, Jenn, helpfully told us that Flour Bakery, one of the places on our list, is conveniently located next to the Boston Children's Museum. And so after Sophie had all her fun, it was her parents' turn to indulge. Even though the roasted lamb sandwich and chicken burger special we ordered were delicious, it was the sweets that had our hearts a-singing.

Crème brûlée and sticky bun at Flour
Behold the swoon-worthy crème brûlée and sticky bun at Flour
We didn't forget about Sophie- we got her a vegan chocolate muffin as a tea-time snack that I then had to fight her for because it was SOOOO delicious. I nearly took it away from her because I didn't think there was anyway something so moist and rich could be vegan...

Vegan chocolate muffin as a tea time treat
Obliterating her chocolate muffin
That night, dinner was with Jenn at Summer Shack, where we all ordered a lobster roll each (except Sophie, who had chicken noodle soup, a butter-less corn on the cob, and several dinner rolls...). The lobster roll wasn't anything to write home, which only made Jude and I even more determined to have a good lobster roll before we left New England.

Our next good eat after that was not a meal so much as a treat. It was the day of Hurricane Irene and we stayed in most of the day (and ordered room service for lunch). By the evening though, everyone was going a little stir-crazy and we decided to go for a walk/drive around Cambridge. Pretty much every other shop was closed, but thankfully, not Toscanini's, and so in we popped for yummy gelato while Sophie got a strawberry sorbet. The last time we were here, I got a honey lavender gelato, the memory of which still lingers in my mind. They didn't have it this time, so I settled for a combination of burnt caramel and malted vanilla. So different, but still oh so good...

Burnt caramel and malted vanilla
Our rather rich room service lunch (fish & chips and a steak sandwich) on top of that gelato meant that we didn't really need a heavy dinner. Jude suggested some kind of soup and as I searched Yelp for recommendations for good soups in the area, I found several good reviews for Le's in the heart of Harvard Square. Jude and I never came across a bowl of pho we didn't like but we were still really full and so we decided, just one large bowl for the three of us. We ordered it to go, together with a couple of desserts from Finale, which we knew we wanted to return to after our last trip. The verdict? If our daughter had her way, she would have finished that bowl of pho all by herself. It was flavorful, hearty, and thoroughly satisfying- perfect for a stormy, rainy day. And the desserts, I think they speak for themselves:

Crème brûlée
Crème brûlée
Ultimate Chocolate Cake
Ultimate chocolate cake

And testimony to how good they were? We bought the EXACT same ones again the next night!

We satisfied our lobster roll craving the next day when we finally made it to Alive and Kicking for their lobster sandwich. Nestled in a tiny neighborhood, this fishmonger is located on the same street as where our friend, Terence used to live when he was at Harvard and when we visited him in 2007, I trudged 2 long city blocks to get to it. But they turned me away because it was too early in the morning. Let's just say it was worth the 4-year wait... It doesn't look like a lot of lobster nor does it appear to be as impressive as the stereotypical New England lobster roll but this is the REAL DEAL, folks. Fresh, succulent, and nothing added to it but just a tinge of mayo- no fillers or celery. Jude and I chomped our sandwiches down in complete silence. It was OUTSTANDING.

Lobster sandwich from Alive and Kicking...
So worth the wait...
One thing we knew for sure we wanted to go back to was Sapporo Ramen in Porter Square. Oh ramen- how you have a hold on our hearts- the one noodle dish we love more than pho... Thankfully, they had onigiri on the menu for Sophie- I don't think we would have given up eating there just because Sophie can't have egg noodles (we would have just bought her something from one of the other Japanese food vendors). I was enjoying my Tan Tan ramen so much I didn't remember to take a photo until I was more than half-way through.

Tan Tan Ramen

That was our last dinner in Boston. Our flight was at noon the next day and I figured we probably won't have time for any foodie excursions in the morning. But a combination of efficient packing the night before and an early rise for everyone meant we managed to squeeze in one last excursion to Flour on the way to the airport :) We got Sophie a vegan cinnamon-cranberry muffin and we bought a sticky bun and sticky bun bread pudding for the flight. But what got a resounding, "Holy cow!" from Jude at 9.00 in the morning was this ingenious creation:

flour's idea of a breakfast pizza
Flour's idea of a breakfast pizza
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a breakfast pizza with smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, roasted peppers, capers, and get this,... a half-baked whole egg. Yes, you read that right. And it tasted as amazing as it sounds and looks. Crazy good, that's what it was.

Crazy good...

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