Lunch at Bostonia Public House

Bostonia frontA little over a month ago, my friend Karen (Boston area food blogger Fussy Eater) and I had a wonderful lunch at Bostonia Public House. The plan was to catch up over dessert and coffee. But both of us arrived rather hungry, so we ended up having a full lunch.

Bostonia neighborhood

The day was hot and humid and we both needed to cool off fast. Since we decided to really get a feel for this restaurant with a full meal, we both decided to have cocktails. Sure it was only mid-afternoon. But it was a Saturday and this is one of the perks of being an adult. There sure are a ton of responsibilities, so we might as well have fun when we can!

Karen arrived first and she was sipping on a mint julep, when I walked in. While not on the drink menu at the time, she ordered it anyway and was very pleased.

mint julepAs I read over the drink menu, I was intrigued with Pimm’s #617. I’ve read good things about Pimm’s, but have never tried it. I was pretty excited to order it, but unfortunately they were out. I ended up ordering a French Martini instead. Loved it!

French Martini

We both took pictures of our drinks with our phones and I can definitely see that I need to upgrade. But for now, at least you can see what the drink looks like. The pretty pink color was a pleasant surprise! By the way, service at Bostonia Public House was excellent!

The ambiance of the restaurant is very nice. My only comment was that there were many TVs with sports on. That is not my preference, but a public house or pub is like a sports bar where the focus is on drinks and sports. Given the name, they do the “extras” very well and probably won’t be turning off the TVs anytime soon.

Also, I’m not a fan of the seemingly growing trend of restaurants having tall tables with stools, which is how we were seated. I’m fairly short at 5-foot-3, so I have to make a fair effort to sit on the stool and never feel very comfortable. Karen didn’t find it a problem, but she’s also much taller than I. Is the trend to focus on taller people? Are there no short people making restaurant purchasing decisions??!! This is quite curious to me. But, I digress….

warm lobster rollBack to our lunch. We both had lobster rolls. There was a choice between warm and cold, which was quite nice. I had the cold and Karen had the warm, which is pictured above. They were a hit regardless of temperature!

Both Karen and I have a big focus on desserts with our blogging, so we were eagerly anticipating the sweets offered here. We decided to share, so we could try both.Boston Cream pieThe “Bostonia” Cream Pie was good and an interesting twist on the traditional Boston Cream Pie. It was beautifully presented, but I wished there had been more of the chocolate ganache. After much Boston Cream Pie tasting, I’ve realized that I prefer the messy, gooey and sloppy, which does not align with a pristine presentation. I think a less than perfect looking homemade Boston Cream Pie is the way to go and will probably not be ordering anymore in restaurants.

Now, if you take nothing else from this post, please remember this. If you value your own happiness and appreciate that life is short and fleeting, you must try the Berkshire Bourbon Glazed Sweet Potato Doughnuts. Do it now. We don’t know what tomorrow brings.

sweet potato donutsThis is one of the best desserts of my life. The doughnuts were served hot. They were tender inside with a soft crackle of glaze outside and reminded me of French toast.

Lunch was a real treat, but way more expensive than what I can justify on a regular basis. However, I will be going back for those doughnuts and I hope you do too.

*Updated 10/16/2014* I forgot to mention the generous portion size of the doughnuts. Karen’s post reminded me. Take a look at her thoughts over here.

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Photo Credits: Karen Zgoda photographed the mint julep, lobster roll and doughnuts.

Is Legal Sea Foods a Restaurant Chain?

poll about restaurant chainHave you seen any of the commercials that are part of Legal Sea Foods “Not A Chain” campaign? They’re rather clever. But after watching them, I can still only think, “Really? Thou doth protest too much.” As much as Legal’s doesn’t want to be considered a restaurant chain, it is considered a chain restaurant by many, if not most. At least according to this poll pictured above. Boston.com’s article, “When Does a Restaurant Become a Chain?” discusses this very issue.

For full disclosure, I cast a vote in this poll and said that I consider Legal’s a restaurant chain. When I took the screen shot of the results, there were 601 votes and 87.69% also considered it a chain. Also, at least at the time of this writing, if you look up Chain store in Wikipedia, there is a section for restaurant chains. Below is an excerpt with links removed.

A restaurant chain is a set of related restaurants in many different locations that are either under shared corporate ownership (e.g., McDonald’s in the U.S.) or franchising agreements. Typically, the restaurants within a chain are built to a standard format through architectural prototype development and offer a standard menu and/or services. …

Fast food restaurants are the most common, but sit-down restaurant chains (such as Timber Lodge Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse, T.G.I. Friday’s, Legal Sea Foods, Ruby Tuesday,and Olive Garden) also exist.

Legal Sea Foods is listed as an example on the page right now, although I would not be surprised if their name is soon removed.

I remember when Legal Sea Foods was new and special, because you could only find it in the Boston area. Going to the Park Square restaurant was a really big deal. At least to me. The food was always wonderful. The service too. I haven’t been to a Legal Sea Foods in years, although I have planned to try one of their new concept restaurants. They do know how to keep things fresh! While their locations may be branded differently, they are still under the umbrella of Legal’s and part of their family. That is why it seems like a chain to me. Their restaurants are all still related.

Years ago, when I learned that you can find Legal’s restaurants not only outside of Massachusetts, but also outside of New England, I was a bit disappointed. They were no longer special to us in this region. One of the things that I love about travel is trying someplace that I cannot find at home.

If I’m in Florida or California, I generally don’t want to go places that I can find here in Massachusetts. Unless of course, I need a quick cup of coffee before my caffeine withdrawal headache starts and I can’t find a local coffee shop. Then I will go into a Starbucks.

What do you think? Do you consider Legal Sea Foods a chain? Have you been to one of their locations recently? Tried one of their new concept restaurants?

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Photo Credit: Boston.com

Edgar Allen Poe Statue in Boston

Edgar Allen Poe Square in Boston

We had another unseasonably warm day in Boston yesterday. Since I was already downtown meeting with someone for an article that I am working on, I decided to enjoy the weather and walk around a bit afterwards.

Edgar Allen Poe is a favorite writer of mine, and a new statute of him was just unveiled in Boston this past Sunday, October 5th.

Edgar Allen Poe Statue in Boston

I walked over to Edgar Allen Poe Square and took a look for myself. It’s so much smaller than I expected! There were a few other people walking around looking and taking pictures too.

If you were walking and not paying attention, say looking down at your phone, it would be quite easy to smash into it and take quite a topple.

The directions that I was given by various people were sketchy at best. Let me give you the benefit of my wandering around and make it easier for you to find.

If you take the T, get out at Boylston Street on the Green Line. After you exit, cross the street onto Boylston Street and walk away from Boston Common towards Charles Street and looking at Park Square.

While I was admiring the statue, I couldn’t help but think about all the negative comments Poe made about the city of his birth. He was not fond of Boston.

Does he like this or is he rolling over in his grave? Something to think about with Halloween arriving soon and the man who wrote to terrify now conjured up and walking amongst us. The “Do Not Enter” sign appearing before him might just be taking on a whole new meaning…..

Visiting + Eating on Nantucket: Part 1

Nantucket house through the fence

Last week I shared some pictures from my trip to Nantucket. Since then, I’ve had time to go through all the pictures. Because there are so many things I’d like to share with you, it will take two posts to fit in everything. Even with all the pictures I did take, I realized there were a lot of pictures that I did not take. I can tell that I’m in the moment and relaxing when I forget to take pictures. Especially of my meals! Sometimes it’s also bad lighting or I’m just too hungry!

My mother and I have gone on several trips together over the years. We’ve been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Miami. The last one was a short day trip to Block Island a couple of years ago. We’re thinking about Puerto Rico for the next one, so I guess we have an island theme going at this point!

mom on balcony + restaurant guideWhen my mom was a child, a close friend of the family had a house on Nantucket, so she and her brothers and sisters visited often. When my mother got married, 52 years ago, she and my father had their honeymoon there. That was my mother’s last time on the island. She said that it has changed quite a bit since then. More than half a century passing can do that!

Nantucket flowerboxSince my family has such a strong history with Nantucket, I might be assuming that everyone has heard of it. For those who haven’t, here’s a little background.

Nantucket is part of Massachusetts, but it’s an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod. The name is from the native Wampanoag tribe and means “The Faraway Land.” It’s a very small island, 14 miles long and 3 1/2 miles wide. Over 40% of it is conservation land with many public beaches. There are also some beautiful golf courses.

Even though we were still in the same state, because we were visiting an island, it felt like we were taking quite a trip! We had to drive south to Cape Cod, then take the ferry. There is a high-speed ferry, which for a bit more money will get you to Nantucket in an hour. We took the traditional ferry and it took a little over two hours. What’s interesting is that not long after getting on the ferry, you can see land.

nantucket lighthouseAfrican-Americans are very much part of the history of Nantucket. Enslaved Africans arrived on the island in the 1600s. In 1764, the first official count of the black population was 44 people. In 1773, Nantucket abolished slavery. Like many others on the island, African Americans worked “as tradespeople, laborers, sheep and livestock raisers, and later as whalers and mariners.”

Many may not be aware that the Museum of African American History has branches in Boston and Nantucket. You can take a tour of the Black Heritage Trail to learn more. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take it. White Elephant Hotel room

My mom and I arrived on the island in the late afternoon. We stayed at the White Elephant, which was just a quick ride from the ferry. I had emailed ahead when we would be arriving and a hotel driver was waiting for us as planned. The hotel is known for being quite luxurious and expensive. But if you visit off-season and look at each day online before booking your trip, you can get relatively low rates. When I was looking, some of the rates were more than five thousand dollars a night. Needless to say, our rate was nothing near that.

Our room was really comfortable and we had a nice balcony overlooking marshland. I love the White Elephant pillow! Too bad it wasn’t a parting gift. But they did give us bottles of water and granola bars as we left for the ferry ride home. Also, there is complimentary bottled water each day, among many other things. I wasted room in my overnight bag by packing slippers and a robe. They are provided by the hotel and I have to remember to never do that again!

walkway from hotel to restaurantMy mom and I spent some time talking about where we wanted to eat dinner and decided that we’d take it easy and eat at the hotel restaurant, Brant Point Grill. It was just a two-minute walk outside and around the corner. The quick walk was so pretty that I had to take some pictures! Looking back, I realize that I didn’t take pictures of the front of the hotel.

Brant Point Grill

We made an excellent choice! Brant Point Grill is definitely on my list of best restaurant experiences. By the way, this is Restaurant Week on Nantucket, so if you want to go today or this weekend, it’s a great time to visit.

The service was top-notch. The food was happiness and joy in my mouth. Large servings. So large that we didn’t have room for dessert. An amazing bread basket. I even got the recipe for one of the breads that I will be sharing with you soon!

My mom and I toasted my birthday with cocktails. I finally got to try Pimm’s! Yum!

The ambiance was perfect. Dimly lit with lots of flickering candles. Not great for taking pictures though, so I just got one grainy picture. As we were led by the hostess to the main room, I saw that we were at the back of the hotel on the water. There was a clear plastic covering, so the chill in the air was kept out, but we could see the lights, water and boats and hear the fog horns.

It was just getting dark as we arrived and we could see the final bit of daylight turn into the night. While we were walking, I could feel warmth from above. I looked up and saw orange heating lights. As someone who is always cold, this was just perfect for me.

Brant Point Grill is is a great place to take someone that you want to impress. A business dinner. An engagement. A surprise anything. It would be cool to take someone on a ferry and have them not know where they were going, then end up here for a wonderful meal. I loved this place!

After our meal, we went back to our room and watched some television before going to sleep. For Part 2, I’ll take you along for the rest of our trip.

*Updated 10/22/2014* Part 2 is up. Take a look here.

A Feeling of Fall at Houghton’s Pond

Houghton's Pond

Last Sunday, a friend and I took what now seems to be our annual hike at Houghton’s Pond. The pond probably looks larger than it is. We walked around it twice, at a leisurely pace, stopping along the way to talk and take pictures. It took us about an hour and a half to walk a little more than two miles.

The picture that I posted on Monday for the weekly quote was taken that day as well. It was nice to catch up, get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. The day was hot, humid and in the upper 80s.  A real treat for this time of year!

But the red, yellow and orange trees betrayed the real season. The fall colors are bright right now and seemed to happen in just a few days. If you’re looking to visit Massachusetts to do some leaf peeping, Houghton’s Pond is a wonderful place!

Enjoy the view!