In early December, we left Dublin for a break in Boston and New York. We had been planning to do this trip for so long but it never really fell into place properly. When I looked up the flights last Spring it was cheaper to fly to Hong Kong return, so we went to Asia instead. Eventually the stars alined and we booked our America flights.
We spent three nights in Boston, which was plenty for us to get a good feel for the city which has such a laid back feeling to it and even though it was early December it was pretty quiet so we were able to get around easily. We stayed in the Back Bay area of the city in the Lenox Hotel, which is one of the top rated hotels on Trip Advisor. We loved the complementary hot apple cider and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in the evenings. Apple cider is not the apple cider that we know of; that would be hard apple cider. The American apple cider is like cloudy apple juice and we came across it a lot on our trip.
I had checked out a few places on the Trip Advisor Forum and Yelp to help decide on eateries and we didn’t go far wrong. Our first dinner was just a five minute walk away from the hotel at Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar. The restaurant doesn’t take bookings but they let us wait at the bar for some amazing cocktails (spicy cucumber margarita anyone?) until a table came free. We started off with a complimentary sorbet doused in tequila and then we shared ahi tuna tostada, tres ceviches, I want it all guacamole, garlic ribeye tacos and blackened mahi mahi tacos. Everything was delicious, probably the best Mexican food that we’ve ever had. We were so full that there was no way we could have managed dessert, but our waiter brought us some complimentary apple candy floss with popping candy, which we managed to leave a big dent in before rolling back to the hotel at 9pm consumed with jet lag. We loved this place, it has a great atmosphere and the food and cocktails were superb.
The next morning, super early thanks to our friend Mr Jet Lag who stayed with us for most of our trip to Boston, we took a short walk to Newbury Street in the snow to Wired Puppy. This is a great local neighbourhood coffee shop that we went to every morning for breakfast, they take their coffee seriously here and they have a good selection of pastries, cakes and healthy stuff to start the day.
We decided to do the Freedom Trail, which is a 2.5 mile walk around the city through historic sites. It was snowing hard so we took frequent hot chocolate stops to keep warm. The Freedom Trail brought us to Quincy Market which is a great marketplace with all types of food stalls and a seated area. We had some great chowder (chowdah) and a lobster roll to share. That kept us going until we got to Mike’s Pastry in the North End, which is the Italian Quarter of town. We joined the massive queues and picked up some canolis and Boston Cream Pie. The almond cannoli or cannolini as I kept calling it was delicious, but we were disappointed with the pistachio one which ended up going in the bin. The Boston Cream Pie was good for breakfast the next morning at silly o clock.
I had asked for some Twitter recommendations for Boston and Sportello came up as one to visit. We arrived early for our reservation and were seated straight away, I had the pork jowl which was just a piece of compressed pork fat with coleslaw, which I left most of. I had the mushroom gnocchi which just tasted of truffles, which wasn’t listed on the menu; I’m not the biggest fan of truffles and probably wouldn’t have picked it if I had known it would solely taste of truffle. We were in and out within an hour after having two courses. The service was just fine. And it was expensive for what it was. We had planned to go to Drink afterwards, which is owned by the same company as the restaurant, for a cocktail, but we were hit hard by jet lag and just went back to the hotel.
On our last day, we went out to Harvard and enjoyed a lovely brunch there. On our way back to the hotel we stopped for refuelling at Georgetown Cupcakes on Newbury St and joined the huge queue. The DC branch of this cupcake chain is the location for the reality show ‘DC Cupcakes’ and the sisters now have branches in a number of major US cities. We picked out a rudolph red velvet, eggnog chocolate, peanut butter fudge, snowball coconut and peppermint chocolate cupcakes. I have to say they were the best cupcakes I have ever tried. Definitely worth the queue and hype. That night we went to Neptune Oyster for dinner, as I had read such great reports of it. We arrived about 7.30 and the tiny restaurant was jam packed, they put our name on the list (they don’t take reservations) and we dropped into a local bar for a drink. We returned and got seated at the bar straight away. We ordered a selection of oysters which were some of the best we’ve ever had and a lobster roll with butter. If going again I would order the roll with mayonnaise as the roll just disintegrated with the melted butter. Chub loved the local beers served there too.
The next morning we took the train from Back Bay Station, which was only a five minute walk from the hotel, to New York. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to fly between the two cities when the train service is so good. I booked the non express train which was much cheaper than the express, it took about 3.5hrs for us to get to our destination (which was half an hour outside Manhattan), we had really comfortable seating and wifi and the views travelling down the coast were spectacular. Would definitely recommend it.
To be continued……
The photos above are from my iphone, apologies for the poor quality!