Just got back from four fun days in Boston. It’s probably been at least seven years since I was last there, and parts of the city looked totally foreign to me. Thankfully my friends and family there are still the same.
I stayed with my sister in Cambridge and it was a blast getting to play with my niece and nephew all weekend. My nephew is a total Wii junkie already and as he tried to explain how to play Lego Star Wars, I came to the sad realization that somehow I’ve grown into a stereotypical adult that cannot grasp how to play a video game. How did that happen?! Meanwhile my niece is just so cute and she uses it to good effect, knowing exactly when and how to charm her parents to keep them from getting angry. And when she doesn’t get her way, she performs an adorably exaggerated move where she slumps her head and shoulders and marches away in a sad/angry pout. Just too cute!
While I wasn’t playing with the kids, I was playing with my friends. Thursday night was a reunion of my ex-Thomson coworkers at the Barking Crab. We had a nice turnout and other than the fact that people had to wait in line to get in because it was so crowded, it was a really great time. Amazing how some of my friends, in particular Bob, Ro, Julie, Lovely Liz, and even Joce’s mom Elaine don’t seem to have aged one bit after all these years! It was fun drinking with everyone just like old times again. By the end of the night, Swede was in fine clownish form, wearing a Barking Crab T-shirt over his long sleeve dress shirt and toting a shiny handbag as the bartenders wondered what was wrong with him. Ladies and gentlemen, Ole Skool Thomson in the house!
In terms of eats during this trip, my sis took me to Elephant Walk so I could have their Amok, a seafood stew in a spicy coconut milk based curry which used to be one of my favorite dishes. They seem to make it differently now though. It used to be made with catfish but now seems to be a mix of many different types of seafood, mainly shrimp and scallops. Still good, but doesn’t quite feel as homey as it used to.
Also had a fine dinner at Petite Robert. French classics at very inexpensive bistro prices. We had seared foie gras, pate and mussels for apps, and I had the skirt steak au poivre for my entree. All nicely executed, delicious non-pretentious food; exactly the sort of stuff I probably wouldn’t be able to resist having every week if I still lived in town.
After Petite Robert we headed over to the North End so I could visit my good friend Casey who was bartending at Lucca. One of the most popular guys I knew back in the day, it was good to see him still holding court behind a bar, entertaining everyone and making kickass drinks. If you are ever in Boston, catch Casey at Lucca or their sister restaurant Sasso and ask him to make you an espresso martini. Absolutely fantastic.
The following morning I was feeling a little queasy after the long night of indulging in a wide array of Casey’s fine cocktails, but still met Ben for brunch at Eastern Standard. We had had pre-dinner drinks there the night before and I was very impressed by their cocktails, especially the Au Provence which is made with Rain Vodka, tarragon syrup and lime juice. Alas I was too hungover to attempt a hair of the dog, so I opted just to get food instead. For some reason when I’m hungover, I really crave raw stuff, so I went for the halibut ceviche and the steak tartare. Both were outstanding. I had never had ceviche with halibut before, but it turns out to be the perfect fish for it- retaining a nice resiliency to its texture even after curing. The steak tartare was seasoned perfectly for my taste- heavier on the capers than the onions so that it has more saltiness than bite. I wish I had more of an appetite so I could try more of their menu, but I was impressed with what I had and will make a point of returning the next time I’m in Boston. Great cocktails, great food, and oh, the most distractingly attractive staff I’ve seen in any establishment in a long time. Maybe they only hire models there or something.
But the main reason I was in Boston was for my friend Chris Yen’s wedding banquet on Sunday. There I got to see even more friends who I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade. It was such an awesome vibe, everybody being able to catch up, share some laughs and celebrate Chris’ wedding. She married a really great guy and they are such a perfect couple. Can you imagine a couple that is so overtly crazy about each other yet they are just such awesomely chill people that their constant glow doesn’t make you want to barf? No, of course you can’t, but I’m telling you, that’s how they are. I love em both and am so happy to have been a part of their celebration. By any measure, this was a truly excellent weekend.