Hot!Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining

Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
Author
kaszeta
Double Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 684
  • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
  • Location: Grantham, NH
  • Status: offline
2013/05/08 16:45:51 (permalink)

Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining

On May 4th, 2013, I did the Boston Death March.   Like Last year's thread on Chicago, every year a group of my friends (primarily people from Tivocommunity.com) has an annual tradition of picking a major metro area, then finding a nice 20+ mile walking route through the city that takes you through a large number of neighborhoods, and then basically walk it all in a day, stopping frequent to eat, drink, and otherwise enjoy the parts of a city you might not otherwise explore. We call it a "Death March".  This year, our destination was.... Boston.  Here's the route:

 
This year, we had the luck to also have Roadfood's Chris and Amy join us for the walk, along with their  friend Yvel.   Dale & Sandra joined us for the last segment of the walk as well.
 
I'll start posting about the walk and the various food establishments we visited along the way.  While the March is mostly about walking and seeing, it involved more than a little eating.  On the March, we visited:
 
1. Sullivan's Castle (alas, arriving a wee bit too early for Lobster rolls)
2. Liberty Bell Roast Beef
3. El Triunfo Salvadoran Food
4. South End Buttery
5. Super 88
6. Toscanini's
7. Durgin Park
 
We also visited Elephant Walk and Craigie on Main as extras (the night before and the day after the walk)
 
post edited by kaszeta - 2013/05/10 15:36:11
#1

41 Replies Related Threads

    lleechef
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7392
    • Joined: 2003/03/22 23:42:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: online
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/08 17:11:34 (permalink)
    What a beautiful walk!  You'll be going through my old neighborhood of South Boston and around Castle Island.  You can always stop for a cool beverage at Sullivan's on Castle Island.  Enjoy!
    #2
    agnesrob
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1790
    • Joined: 2006/06/04 17:27:00
    • Location: Park Ridge, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/08 19:54:03 (permalink)
    Can't wait for your report!
    #3
    buffetbuster
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10517
    • Joined: 2002/05/09 13:42:00
    • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    • Status: online
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/09 09:31:41 (permalink)
    We did give a little bit of thought to joining in, but the amount of walking involved is beyond me.  Can't wait to read about what we missed.
    #4
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/10 14:10:27 (permalink)
    So, the very first stop was at the start of the March.  We decided to start gathering at 7am at McKenna's Cafe in Dorchester, about 100 feet away from the Savin Hill T station.  I picked Savin Hill as a nice place for a scenic start to our walk, and discovered that it's actually a fairly nice and quiet neighborhood in Dorcester, one that seems off of most people's radar (even amongst the current and former Boston residents in the group, most of them hadn't been to Savin Hill).

     
    In any case, McKenna's is a nice, cozy neighborhood cafe, the exact sort of cafe you expect in a neighborhood like this. Walk in, get greeted by the staff, and quickly get seated with some coffee to peruse the menu.  he menu at McKenna’s is your basic American breakfast joint menu, with pancakes, French toast, omelets, scrambles, and the like. One notable difference from many other places is that they also have a lot of Irish breakfast items (bangers, black and white pudding, and the like), and a few healthier options (several egg white specials, several turkey dishes, and such). After some review, I settled on one of the healthier items (the Energizer, an English muffin with layers of egg white, turkey, and Swiss) and a side of home fries to balance it out. I had to be somewhat reserved, since I was expecting to eat at over half a dozen places during the day. Carol decided to order up some French toast and share my home fries.
     

    It's one of those menu items that doesn't lend itself to good food photography (the colors are a bit bland), but the Energizer was actually a very good breakfast sandwich: a nicely-toasted English muffin, several layers of moist turkey that had been lightly grilled, some fried egg whites, and two layers of Swiss cheese.  The result was a nice combination of egg, cheese, and turkey, without being too heavy.  I'd certainly get this again if I was in the mood for a breakfast sandwich.
     

    Carol's French toast was quite good as well.  She had opted for the granola-crusted French toast, and the result was two substantial slabs of nicely-fried French toast.  The inside was light and fluffy, the outside crunchy, and the granola added some pleasant texture.  I'm not usually a French toast fan (having suffered through too many bad renditions of it), but here it's good, and I'd be happy ordering it.
     

    The home fries, however, were the real surprise.  One of the big disappointments I had moving to New England is that most places up here don't do hash browns (shredded potatoes), but home fries (fried potato chunks).  Done well, home fries can be excellent (in particular, up my way the Tumble Inn Diner and the Fairlee Diner both do some boss home fries), but all too often a place either (a) breaks out the Sysco bag and fries them up, or (b) just dices some potatoes up and throws 'em in the fryer.  Either way, the result is usually a pile of fairly disappointing starchy or waxy lumps of potato.  Well, McKenna's goes down as another place that knows how to actually cook home fries correctly.  My home fries were nice and perfectly fluffy in the middle (with no waxiness or starchiness), warm, and having the perfect crispy exterior.  These weren't just good home fries, but probably the best I've had in Massachusetts.
     
    So, a good start to the walk.  After that, it was off walking through South Boston to Castle Island and Sullivan's Castle...
    #5
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/10 14:11:50 (permalink)
    ...and then arriving at Sullivan's Castle, we discovered that while they were open at 9:50 in the morning, they didn't yet have lobster rolls (I missed this on my scouting trip, on which I got started later, so I had arrived at 10:30 just as they started serving Lobster rolls.  Oh well, live and learn).
     
    We did get some nice tater tots, however:

    #6
    pnwchef
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2535
    • Joined: 2011/03/16 14:15:00
    • Location: Kennewick, WA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/10 14:46:37 (permalink)
    4 words I never want to hear "Sorry no Lobster Roll" .....is the March in March ???? I'll be in NYC in a few weeks, I'll make sure I have one for you....great start to the report, hope you ad the gang had fun on the Death March.......... is the March in Death March a hint on when the March is ??? if so I can figure it out..................Thx ...pnwc
    #7
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/10 15:35:27 (permalink)
    We did the March last weekend, May 4th.  I'll put this in the top post.
    #8
    ScreamingChicken
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5236
    • Joined: 2004/11/05 14:36:00
    • Location: Stoughton, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 10:17:43 (permalink)
    Tater tots always improve a bad situation.  And that breakfast sandwich is more than a match for anything the Golden Arches serves up!
    post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2013/05/12 10:19:06
    #9
    mar52
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 8401
    • Joined: 2005/04/17 18:50:00
    • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 12:49:39 (permalink)
    Like your food choices so far. 
     
    Walking would leave me out.
     
    Why do you call it the death march? Do you know the neighborhoods prior to planning?
     
     
    #10
    ayersian
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 903
    • Joined: 2003/08/16 18:49:00
    • Location: Boston, MA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 14:41:21 (permalink)
    Mar52, it's because we felt like death afterwards!  My legs would not respond to my brain's commands.  Even though Rich had walked the route before the march, the whole point of the event is to explore neighborhoods new to everyone.  I told my colleagues about it, and they (most of them are Boston-born and raised) said that they'd never been to some of these places!    Chris
    #11
    pnwchef
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2535
    • Joined: 2011/03/16 14:15:00
    • Location: Kennewick, WA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 16:19:10 (permalink)
    ayersian

    Mar52, it's because we felt like death afterwards!  My legs would not respond to my brain's commands.  Even though Rich had walked the route before the march, the whole point of the event is to explore neighborhoods new to everyone.  I told my colleagues about it, and they (most of them are Boston-born and raised) said that they'd never been to some of these places!    Chris


    Mar and I are working on a RF lazya_s Segway approach to doing this. We figured each Segway will have a Condiment try that can also be used as a ipad, on the front, so we can post as we go. We are working on a Porta potty version for the roadfooder that doesn't want to miss a trick. ...............pnwc
    #12
    mar52
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 8401
    • Joined: 2005/04/17 18:50:00
    • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 17:16:16 (permalink)
    Chris, is this route one that my niece (Going to BU in August) could walk?
     
    Bill, we can't forget the drink holders.
    #13
    pnwchef
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2535
    • Joined: 2011/03/16 14:15:00
    • Location: Kennewick, WA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 17:44:38 (permalink)
    Mar safety first.........Hard hat, our hands must be free for food handling and no texting while segwaying.......
     

    #14
    wanderingjew
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7967
    • Joined: 2001/01/18 18:49:00
    • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/12 18:41:29 (permalink)
    Sandra and I made the last leg of the trip, we began our leg and made it to the end....I regret not getting off at the Ruggles T Stop since we could have met up with the gang as they were approaching Fenway but neither Sandra or I had been to Harvard Square in years and we wanted to walk around to get ourselves re-acquainted with it again...
    #15
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 09:12:04 (permalink)
    ayersian
    Mar52, it's because we felt like death afterwards!  My legs would not respond to my brain's commands.  Even though Rich had walked the route before the march, the whole point of the event is to explore neighborhoods new to everyone.  I told my colleagues about it, and they (most of them are Boston-born and raised) said that they'd never been to some of these places!    Chris

    This is it in a nutshell.  The idea is to explore a city on foot, seeing as many neighborhoods as possible, including the areas between them.  I've discovered sooo many neat little areas in NYC, SF, Chicago, and now Boston.  But to do so involves rather more walking than most people like---we lost more than a few people on this years walk to the sweet siren song of beer at Boston Beer Works by Fenway.
    #16
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 09:24:11 (permalink)
    mar52
    Chris, is this route one that my niece (Going to BU in August) could walk?

    So far, none of the Death Marches have gone through parts of town that are terribly high on my "bad neighborhood" meter. The only possible part of the Boston walk that was at all questionable was Allston when we took the ped bridge over the turnpike, where ayersian and I did see a drug deal...  Re-routing around that area by staying on Harvard would be no problem.
     
    Otherwise, all of the walks have been pretty nice.  NYC was almost entirely nice neighborhoods (and most of my NYC friends hadn't even really explored much north of 125th, so it was new even to some life-long New Yorkers).  Chicago got a bit colorful, but nothing risky.  San Francisco was also almost entirely nice, although that was due to planning: for those familiar with SF, it's rather difficult to get from Union Square to the Mission District on foot without crossing some bad parts of town.
     
    It's worth noting that I usually don't know all the neighborhoods that well on these things.  One main reason we did South Boston on the walk is that I had never really explored that far into Southie except for a trip to Fort Independence as a little kid.  Flying into BOS several times I had noticed Pleasure Bay, and decided that should be part of the March.  So it was.  :)
     
    The neat thing about walking these things is that you get to see the areas between neighborhoods you already knew, and often start to realize the connectivity of it all.  Several times on the Boston march people made comments about how they didn't realize two particular places were so close together.
    post edited by kaszeta - 2013/05/13 09:36:48
    #17
    Twinwillow
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5120
    • Joined: 2006/04/15 23:17:00
    • Location: "Big D"
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 11:06:57 (permalink)
    I've never spent a lot of time in Boston but I do remember on one short visit being taken to Durgin Park and despite being somewhat "touristy" I loved it!
    #18
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 13:08:59 (permalink)
    While stop #1 at Sullivan's was a bit of a bust, the time spent stopped there was good, since it allowed us to arrive at our next stop, Liberty Bell Roast Beef, right as they opened.  (As an aside, when we did the pre-March, we stopped at American Provisions down the road for some excellent aged ham sandwiches, but they were slow enough that I didn't want to risk a stop there on the real March).
     

    If I had to pick one particular sandwich that represented Massachusetts, it would have to be the roast beef sandwich. Sure, the Lobster Roll is a contender as well, but that’s more of a “Coastal New England” thing, whereas a quick trip through Massachusetts will show that there is no shortage of roast beef places. The epicenter is the North Shore, with no end of places selling roast beef sandwiches from small restaurants and shacks (most of which sport someone’s first name, like Nick’s or Kelly’s), but they are found throughout Massachusetts, with Boston lying on the bottom edge of what I call the “Roast beef sandwich belt”. And Liberty Bell Roast Beef was right on our route, so it was obligatory that we stop there for a break. 
     

    Liberty Bell is one of those typical MA roast beef shop: a basic shop with tile floors, somewhat spartan furniture, and an ordering counter, and little else. Like most of the other roast beef places, Liberty bell has the standard roast beef shop menu: about a half dozen varieties of roast beef sandwich in different combinations, and then a gazillion options for “all things fried”, with a lot of seafood. But for me, the choice was obvious: I came here for a roast beef sandwich, and a roast beef sandwich is what I ordered: a “King Size” with horseradish sauce:
     

    A good North Shore-style roast beef is really a simple sandwich: rare (it must still be pink!) roast beef, sliced thin, piled onto a soft onion rolls, and doused with either BBQ sauce or horseradish sauce (I prefer the latter, especially if it’s a good horseradish sauce). And the King Size from Liberty Bell was a particularly good exemplar of the type: a nice onion roll with a bit of crispiness to it, a substantial inch-thick layer of thin, pink, and juicy roast beef, and a rather pungent horseradish sauce with detectable bits of grated horseradish in it. A particularly good roast beef sandwich, and it even had a particularly good price tag ($6.95, which at most places around Boston these days only gets you a meager “small” sandwich).
     

    As an aside, the staff at Liberty Bell was particularly friendly. A group of 18 or so people, most of us with cameras, descending upon a small restaurant like this and taking over all of the seating often gets a comment from the staff, and Liberty Bell was no exception. The woman at the counter was very pleased that Liberty Bell made our itinerary, and she was a gracious host explaining the history of the joint and describing the clientele.
     
     
    #19
    ScreamingChicken
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5236
    • Joined: 2004/11/05 14:36:00
    • Location: Stoughton, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 13:54:37 (permalink)
    That is indeed a good-looking sandwich!  Do roast beef shops usually have a good variety of rolls or is it basically "plain or onion"?
    #20
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 14:08:01 (permalink)
    Usually just "plain or onion".
    #21
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 14:45:11 (permalink)
    The next stop after that was as we crossed into the South End, with a stop at El Triunfo, a little Mexican/Salvadoran place that's in a weird little semi-industrial block on Berkeley Street, near, well, not much in particular:
     

    El Triunfo is one of those classic hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints, in which the restaurant consists of a single storefront with an ordering counter and a few (in this case, exactly three) stools at a counter for on-site eating. So it’s almost entirely takeout.   They've got a fairly wide menu of Mexican and Salvadoran food, the latter including some nice-looking pupusas.  So various people ended up ordering tamales or pupusas (served up with curtido (pickled cabbage)).
     
    One of the joys is watching the staff throw a pair of fresh-pressed pupusas on the grill for cooking.  A few minutes later they served these up as well with a baggie (literally a ziploc bag) of curtido.  The result is a good pupusa, fresh, flavorful, and nicely crisped.  And the curtido was tasty as well.


     
    I also did a tamale, which was quite flavorful, but not very appealing to photograph.  And, as those around us could attest to, the sidewalk in front of El Triunfo is not the best place to try and eat food that requires multiple hands... next time, we'll go around the block to the park (where often Roxy Grilled Cheese can be found, just not that particular day) and grab a table.
    post edited by kaszeta - 2013/05/13 14:48:13
    #22
    mar52
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 8401
    • Joined: 2005/04/17 18:50:00
    • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 14:53:43 (permalink)
    Thanks for the explanation of the areas.
     
    When this trip is finished (hoping it's not soon) I'll forward it to my niece. 
    #23
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 15:07:32 (permalink)
    mar52
    When this trip is finished (hoping it's not soon) I'll forward it to my niece. 

    The full route (with turn-by-turn instructions) is here.  We didn't deviate much from that.
    #24
    billyboy
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2464
    • Joined: 2005/01/23 02:28:00
    • Location: New York City, NY
    • Status: online
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 17:03:23 (permalink)
    Lookin' good, kaszeta!  Count me in that list of people who didn't explore some of these neighborhood or eats in the 6 years I lived in Boston.  Shame on me! Were the home fries at McKenna's done on the flat-top?  That seems to be the best way to achieve the maximum crusty/creamy balance.  I worked on A Street near Fort Point Channel for 3 years and Congress Street for another 2 years and barely set foot beyond work in South Boston.  That roast beef sandwich looks dreamy.  I do love to add some bbq sauce to the mix if it's a blend they make or is really spicy/peppery.  Can't wait for the rest of the report!  Will you be doing this again next year?  Would love to get in on it.
    #25
    mar52
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 8401
    • Joined: 2005/04/17 18:50:00
    • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 17:16:52 (permalink)
    Thanks again, Kaszeta!
    #26
    love2bake
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1492
    • Joined: 2008/08/10 23:03:00
    • Location: SFBay Area, CA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 18:01:01 (permalink)
    The other big challenge about walking SF is that when you're planning your route you can't tell where the steep hills are, and they definitely change the experience and timing!!
     
    kaszeta

    mar52
    Chris, is this route one that my niece (Going to BU in August) could walk?

    So far, none of the Death Marches have gone through parts of town that are terribly high on my "bad neighborhood" meter. The only possible part of the Boston walk that was at all questionable was Allston when we took the ped bridge over the turnpike, where ayersian and I did see a drug deal...  Re-routing around that area by staying on Harvard would be no problem.

    Otherwise, all of the walks have been pretty nice.  NYC was almost entirely nice neighborhoods (and most of my NYC friends hadn't even really explored much north of 125th, so it was new even to some life-long New Yorkers).  Chicago got a bit colorful, but nothing risky.  San Francisco was also almost entirely nice, although that was due to planning: for those familiar with SF, it's rather difficult to get from Union Square to the Mission District on foot without crossing some bad parts of town.

    It's worth noting that I usually don't know all the neighborhoods that well on these things.  One main reason we did South Boston on the walk is that I had never really explored that far into Southie except for a trip to Fort Independence as a little kid.  Flying into BOS several times I had noticed Pleasure Bay, and decided that should be part of the March.  So it was.  :)

    The neat thing about walking these things is that you get to see the areas between neighborhoods you already knew, and often start to realize the connectivity of it all.  Several times on the Boston march people made comments about how they didn't realize two particular places were so close together.


    #27
    pnwchef
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2535
    • Joined: 2011/03/16 14:15:00
    • Location: Kennewick, WA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/13 21:52:22 (permalink)
    Seattle and Portland would be good walks..........Seattle. North and South, climbing a few of the hells you almost need a rope to pull you up...................Portland is  a great foodie town and a great food truck/cart  town............
    #28
    kaszeta
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 684
    • Joined: 2006/07/18 09:14:00
    • Location: Grantham, NH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/15 10:56:41 (permalink)
    pnwchef
    Seattle and Portland would be good walks..........Seattle. North and South, climbing a few of the hells you almost need a rope to pull you up...................Portland is  a great foodie town and a great food truck/cart  town............

    Any thoughts on a Seattle Route? I've thought about it, but I'm having a hard time finding a reasonable route that is (a) 16-20 miles long, and (b) Not crazy hilly.   Seattle itself is fairly compact, in my experience.
    #29
    wanderingjew
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7967
    • Joined: 2001/01/18 18:49:00
    • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
    • Status: offline
    Re:Boston: 21.7 miles of walking and dining 2013/05/15 11:01:45 (permalink)
    kaszeta

    pnwchef
    Seattle and Portland would be good walks..........Seattle. North and South, climbing a few of the hells you almost need a rope to pull you up...................Portland is  a great foodie town and a great food truck/cart  town............

    Any thoughts on a Seattle Route? I've thought about it, but I'm having a hard time finding a reasonable route that is (a) 16-20 miles long, and (b) Not crazy hilly.   Seattle itself is fairly compact, in my experience.

     
    As far as Seattle, it can be done, if you want I can ask my friend Alan for his thoughts on a plausible route- in fact he would probably be interested in participating in a Seattle Death March.

    #30
    Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1