Food from around the Puget Sound. It is about good sources, great eating and unusual foods.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Off before dawn

Trying to get to Logan before a 7:30 AM flight shouldn't be a problem except for all the traffic, it's 6 AM and dark. It turns out that Boston starts pretty early, I am driving to get to the tunnel and find myself jockeying around traffic just to get to the freeway. Then the really driving begins, for all the places I've driven, Boston seems to take their driving to a go out and take no prisoners attitude. If it were not for the fact that all the roads seem to be marked differently than most places, the locals obviously have the upper hand. But make it we did and I said good bye to my wife and she wished me the best on the first leg, telling me that I should stop for coffee. As you can imagine the adrenalin is pumping and it is still dark, you just got to go for it.

As I got out of the city the traffic started to build until it was packed bumper to bumper going into the city and almost as crowded going north out of the city. There was more than once that I figured stopping and getting something to eat would add an hour to the trip north to Freeport Maine were I was going to pick up a co-pilot and see some old friends. As I was driving I started to think about the last time I was in Maine, 26 years ago, I was wondering how much it had changed. As it turned out the whole trip had moments that brought back the same thought, and just like the Professor in the Wizard of Oz said "I can't come back".  But sometimes you can, even though things have changed a lot.

Coming into to New Hampshire I had really only driven through it in the past, so I was going to take the opportunity to stop off in Portsmouth. As daylight finally came I stopped at the first rest stop, Seabrook, one of  many to come. Up to that time it was very overcast and threatening rain. It was showing signs of clearing and the temperature was still reasonable for this time of year. The fall colors were vibrant and I was looking forward to breakfast in NH. I checked out the maps and realized how much I had missed in the state. But it turned out that I didn't add much more to my knowledge of New Hampshire, getting off in Portsmouth and touring the town left me with no place to eat and a feeling that Portsmouth was just a series of businesses set up for the tourist season. Maybe next time I will try to hit it in the evening and see if there isn't more of a local feeling and some place that might be open.

 So it was off to Maine and hopefully some food, it wasn't long and I was taking the exit for south Portland driving into the harbor and there it was the first sign that I had arrived. Fresh seafood, live lobster $4.99 a pound, I had made it to Maine. Right past the sign I couldn't resist stopping at Becky's Dinner. Open 4 AM to 9 PM! Breakfast was calling and it was a great way to start seeing Portland again. I drove up and down the water front looking for the changes and then climbing up through the streets looking at all the new improvements but recognizing most of the old buildings. Many of the buildings had the same facades and some even had the same businesses in them. Mostly I noticed that the city looked much more prosperous, it's amazing what 26 years can do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On the Road Again

I just made it back from the east coast, I went to see my daughter for parents weekend in Boston and picked up the van she drove out this summer with her friends. It was a great time to see her in school and get the tour of all the things she is so exited about.

We arrived Friday night with windy and cold conditions but it didn't stop her giving us the tour of the North End and eating an Italian meal, of course no visit there doesn't finish with an Italian desert. Walking quickly through Faneuil Hall Market Place, mainly to get out of the wind, we cut through the light crowds to emerge into packed streets of Friday night revelers. We not only there with groups of Parents and their kids, but that weekend was the Head of the Charles Regatta and a lot of rowers were carbo loading. After the meal we were taken to the place for desert, Mike's Pastry, everyone had cannoli's except me, I had a selection of macaroons.

The next day we met up with her as she was giving a tour of the campus for perspective students and parents. Some great questions and a great job of providing information for potential students. We then walked over to Newbury street and had a great brunch at Charley's Eating & Drinking Saloon. the price of brunch included you choice of beverage and it was worth half the cost of your meal.

Next it was off to retrieve the van for me and shopping for the others. I was off to Randolph by public transportation, up the orange line and down the red to Quincy Center Station and on to the #238 bus until the stop in front of the storage place. If you ever have to store or park something in Boston I can highly recommend Extra Space Storage, I shopped around and they offered some real bargains.

Once I had the van I drove back to our "neighborhood" and explored all the streets on foot, it is the South End, Boston not to be confused with South Boston. Right next to the Back Bay, it was centrally located and walking distance to most things. I do think they work on making it hard for the none locals with naming of all these tiny neighborhoods.

The up side was some great restaurants but very little parking. I rounded up the girls and we had dinner at a near by restaurant, being a Saturday night it was not just a hard choice of what we wanted to eat but how to get in. So we settled for the wait and restaurant we wanted, Hamersley's Bistro on Tremont street which had restaurant after restaurant. This meal was cooked precisely, presented professionally worth the wait and the money, we would recommend it. If you would like to get to a more of a neighborhood experience in Boston this is it.

On the way to meet Isabel the next morning, we saw the usual sights and monuments you expect to see in Boston. History is everywhere.

 She met us at the Christian Science Plaza reflection pool in the Back Bay. We wanted to see the Mapparium which is in the Mary Baker Eddy Library, if you don't know about it read about it on the link and if you get a chance take the tour to see it. You get to stand inside this three-story glass globe of the world as it was in 1935. You see another perspective of our world and see how close we are in proximity to each other. My daughter made the observation the it is because we usually see the world from the outside as in a globe, not from the inside out. The building is also a great example of fine architecture and craftsmanship.


 From there it was a walk to the Commons with a stop at the Thomas Moser store next to the Arlington Church just as the bells were tolling. Then is was on to the Swan Bridge, over the lake nearing Beacon Hill, then my wife want to see Joy street and Louisburg Square, when she was young she read about Boston through Frances Parkinson Keys, as an added bonus we saw where Louise May Alcott stayed when she first came to Boston and later stumbled on her own residence and Robert Frost's house all on Beacon Hill. We learned about the back filling of the bay and the Black freedom trail, a lot of history in on morning.

 And then more food, we met up with my daughter's friends and waited in line for what seemed like days, for a wonderfully late brunch at the Paramount on  Charles Street in Beacon Hill. The usual fare, but I had Reuben on Marbled Rye, good and filling as the rain started to come down and the wind picked up, just what you would expect in Boston.

Back into the Commons and on to the other side we called it a day and rested for dinner. The it was off to a local restaurant and an early evening for a 6:30 flight and a road trip waiting to happen.