On tour in Boston

Ben and I recently met up in Boston for a Music Hackday, we took the chance to do explore the local area, and follow some recommendations. Here’s a round up of the best bits.

Breakfast

It’s a meal I usually skip, it comes with usually getting up late. But armed with some local recommendations and fond memories of Sanfranciscan brunches an effort was made to check them out. As I noticed after my last trip the the US, Breakfast and brunch is a serious business and a proper meal in itself.

First up was Sunny’s Diner, small friendly and literally a block or two from our hotel. I went with the pretty standard homefries, eggs, coffee and juice – all of which was quite satisfactory. The thing I like about US restaurants is infinite and quick coffee top ups, I don’t think I even got half way through a mug before it was topped up.

By far the best breakfast was at Zoe’s, up towards the Harvard campus. A “quintessential fifties diner”, with vinyl booths and cream soda. We had to queue for about 30 minutes to get a table, but once we did the service was super fast and friendly. It was a Sunday, busiest day I guess, but it was packed and obviously very very popular. I went all out with homefries, double scrambled egg, bacon, an enormous pancake, coffee and a cream soda. Perfection. I can’t recommend this place enough.

I still don’t really get the “homefries” thing, they vary from almost chip-like to crumbly (or burnt) sauté potatoes – it’s not really a breakfast food is it? One thing I will be cooking at home in the coming few weeks will be American style pancakes, I miss them already.

Dinner

A recommendation from Ian Hogarth, the Barking Crab is best described as a seafood shack on the docks, . Between 5 of us we ordered 4lb of lobster and 5lb of crab, plus some coleslaw on the side. It gets served on one big plate and you each get a bucket and a bib. The seafood was magnificent, huge juice crab legs, some of the best I’ve ever tasted. If you’re anywhere nearby its worth a trip, but you might have to wait a bit to get in.

The food low point was at the Middle East, a double gig venue/restaurant combo. Curious about an east-coast take on middle eastern food I was sadly disappointed. Everything was just a bit poor, from dry, flavorless falafel, to poor quality olives and pitta bread. I’ve spent quite a lot of time around Edgeware Rd in London, so I have a fair idea of tasty and authentic middle eastern food – this wasn’t it.

Beer

After the Music Hack day wrapped up everyone retreated to the Cambridge Brewing Company. A local brewery/restaurant and while the food wasn’t anything special the beer was wonderful. There were 4 or 5 types available including a delicious pumpkin ale and a nice strong belgian-style beer. The highlight were the 7 pint beer tubes, allowing you to pour your own pint.

Coffee

We like coffee and write about it quite a bit. So it was a bit of a shame to find Boston lacking in the coffee department. Maybe we had bad luck, but it didn’t feel like there was much of coffee culture – sure there were plenty of coffee shops, but it was all pretty mediocre.

Think I’m wrong? Let us know were you think is good for coffee in Boston.

The only upside is that it’s got me drinking sludgey drip-pot/filter coffee at work again. There’s something quite comforting about that dark and bitter coffee in the morning.

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