SATURDAY MAY 16TH-DAY 2
While staying on the South Shore with my friends, I got to play with Comet, one of my favorite cats! We had a nice picnic at a local park then Jackie and the kids said goodbye as they dropped me at the T station and I made my way to Harvard Square for my first Roadfood meal of the day.
The street spray painter in Harvard Square. It is absolutely amazing the beautiful art that can be created by a few cans a spray paint.
One of my favorite newsstands, Out of Town News. Papers and magazines from all over the world.
A wide shot of Harvard Square. I spent a lot of time here when I lived across the river (Wordsworth Books, I still miss you).
Musicians in the pit. This area just outside of the T station has served as a gathering place for artists, musicians, students, skaters and as a place for just about every malcontent to sound off about what is bothering them in the world. I thought I heard pan flutes in this group. Just down the street, there was a a seriously angry group ranting about how the government is trying to put microchips in our brains and how the devil is out to get us all. I wisely chose NOT to take a picture of them!
Outside the Harvard Book Store. One of my favorite independent shops.
A shot of the front window. I usually pop in, but I was on a mission today.
My first stop of the day was Mr. Bartley's
In Harvard Square. Some folks call it Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers or Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage. I've always just thought of it as Bartley's. I had come here a number of times in the past and interestingly enough, I've never been a fan of the burgers at all. My roommates loved them but I always found them to be very charred on the outside and way too rare on the inside. They do have interesting names though, reflecting local politics and sports of the day (Dice-K burger, Tom Brady, Mitt Romney, Mayor Menino, etc...) I am, however, a huge fan of their turkey dinners and hot covered turkey sandwiches. Just behind this sign is the one for the Hong Kong, which is a great place to catch stand-up comedy. I wasted many a night there and saw some really amazing fall on the floor comedians ply their trade.
I saw the waitresses wearing these and just HAD to ask for a photo op. Classic!
Lots of great food here.
Filling bellies for almost 50 years.
I love the clutter inside this place and the vibe is great too. It was packed and no tables were available, but since it was just me, I was able to snag a seat at the counter. The orders were being yelled out throughout the place and there definitely was a sense of controlled chaos to it all.
I started out with one of my favorite summer coolers, a Raspberry Lime Rickey. I think this may be a New England thing (not sure). It's raspberry juice, simple syrup lots of fresh squeezed limes (they squeezed them right in front of me) and seltzer water. A nice balance flavors: tart, sweet and fizzy. Very refreshing, especially on a warm early summer's day.
The listing of puddings. Grape-Nut pudding? Maple Bread pudding? I am so there!
This was the best shot I could get of the Ted kennedy caricature and next to it, a very cool rendering of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson playing together as babies.
My Conan O'Brien sandwich. I'm definitely a food geek as I knew I was getting this by scoping out the menu online about a week before I made this trip. A hot covered turkey sandwich with garlic mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Mmmmmmm.....comfort food! This was really, really good. The turkey is thin sliced. I'm not sure if they roast their own there, but it sure tasted fresh. They lost a point as the cranberry sauce was somewhat frozen, however, the hot gravy took care of that just fine and many places don't include cranberry sauce, so it was all good.
When in New England, try the baked beans. These were exceptional, tasted homemade and were just the way I like them. soft, yet not mushy and ever so slightly sweet. I could have made my way through an even larger bowl of them. Highly recommended.
And the burger menu.
The Grape-Nut pudding at Bartley's was not to be today as I received a call from Stephen Rushmore Jr
. I few minutes later, I was back on the T headed over to the Porter Square section of Somerville, MA. When I arrived, he was there with one of my heroes of Roadfood, Ayersian
. We made our way to R.F. O'Sullivan and Son
for some burgers and fries.
The Phantom Gourmet review and interview. Very insightful. O'Sullivan's is very picky about who works for them and how their burgers are cooked.
My order of 1/2 fries and 1/2 onion rings. I think my burger came with fries, but I asked if I could get it 1/2 & 1/2 instead. I respect any place that is willing to do that. And these were some seriously great fries and rings. The rings were big, battered and slightly sweet with a good onion flavor. Not THE best I have ever had, but they rank pretty high in my book. The fries were nothing short of amazing. A place that serves fries that actually LOOK and TASTE like the original potato they came from! Slightly crisp on the outside and creamy inside, I would run, not walk back there to have these again.
My Cheddar & Onion burger (cooked medium). Stephen and Chris shared a burger. Stephen asked me how I liked mine cooked. When I said medium, his reply was, "You'll be getting your own!"
They really take their burgers seriously here. This was one big hunk of meat. Just enough pink for my liking, it was a bit hard to get my mouth around it, but man, what a reward! A nice char from the grill and lot of juice dripping out of a burger that tasted of great quality beef. The onion sauce and cheddar were both good, but I would have just been happy with a burger with nothing on it. I was going to say plain, but there was nothing plain about this burger. The bun was nice seeded, slightly toasted and substantial enough to hold up to the meat and toppings. I had initially said that I usually prefer a griddled burger at restaurants and like my grilled burgers when I go camping, but after having some time to reflect upon it, this one has changed my mind. I hope to find other grilled burgers out there as exceptional as O'Sullivan's.
Even though I had just polished off most of one of these burgers, I still couldn't believe how big they were when I went to take this shot!
Feeling the need to walk for a bit, we parked in Harvard Square, walked around and I saw this delightful sign.
Our next stop was at L.A. Burdick
for some hot chocolate. There is a review on the RF site for the location in Walpole, NH, but this outpost is in Harvard Square, near my beloved Brattle Theatre. a great independent cinema that has a Bugs Bunny Film Festival each year as well as screenings of many great classic films, just for starters. I usually would sip a cup at Burdick before catching a film there. I know, hot chocolate in the summer? Believe me, it was totally worth it. Carnation and Swiss Miss, this is not! I ordered the small Dark Hot Chocolate. Honestly, the first time I tried this years ago, I was not a fan as I hadn't come around to dark chocolate just yet. But on this day, it was as if the best chocolate bar had been put in drinkable form. I had it topped with whipped cream and it danced nicely with the slightly bitter chocolate. Money well spent. Willy Wonka would be green with envy!
The guys were kind enough the let me snap a picture of them. I believe they both had a Demi which is about the size of an espresso.
The interior of L.A. Burdick. They offer a wide menu of pastries, chocolates and drinks.
Close-up of the hot chocolate menu.
The famous Burdick Chocolate Mice.
After savoring our hot chocolates, we walked a bit further to Herrell's
in another part of Harvard Square for some ice cream. The menu.
Ayersian's Pecan Cinnamon Caramel Swirl ice cream. I tried a sample of this and it was very good. Tasted like a cinnamon bun in ice cream form. The only downside was that the pecans weren't crunchy. They would have been better served added in as a "smoosh-in" or on top, rather than as a part of the batch.
Herrell's is in an old bank and they have a vault that you can sit inside of and enjoy your creamy treats.
Inside the vault. Stephen had some of the Chocolate Pudding ice cream (I only sampled a spoonful of this as I had one more big RF stop to make!) and I must implore each and every one of you to try this ASAP! I have been eating this flavor since 1997 and it is nothing short of amazing. Imagine someone took the best homemade chocolate pudding (not the Jell-O instant piffle so abundant these days, but the stand-over-the-stove-and-stir-it kind) and turned it into ice cream. Oh, yeah!!! Stephen, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet you and share some really great food with you (and Chris). Excellent call on O'Sullivan's!!
As much as I had eaten so far, I still had one more stop to make. Stephen and Chris couldn't believe I had met them for burgers when I said I was meeting bethgrd
, her husband Steve
for dinner! I took the Red line to the Park Street station and walked over to Faneuil Hall to meet up with my fellow Roadfooders. I stopped to check out these breakdancers along the way, which may have been a mistake as I think my stainless steel water bottle fell out of my bag at some point and is now (presumably) part of the Boston landscape. They were pretty good though and this guy was spinning like a top!
Takin' a break from breakin'.
I wasn't sure what to get for Beth & Steve as they were putting me up for the night and carting me around on the Western MA tour. So I called Beth and asked her if she had heard of this place called the Boston Chipyard in Quincy Market and if it was any good as I thought I might buy some to take back to NYC. She said she really liked them. Aha, so clever! I'd eaten my fair share of these during my tenure in the Bay State, so I picked up a mixed tin of cookies for my most gracious hosts.
The cookie menu.
These next four shots are of the different cookies the Chipyard offers.
Outside Durgin Park.
Lots of great Yankee cookin' inside.
I love this sign. That says it all.
Our waitress started the table out with a basket of very tasty cornbread. Simple, no fuss, straightforward cornbread.
We ordered a bowl of baked beans for the table. I wished that I liked these but I wasn't a huge fan. Beth really enjoyed them, but I thought they were way too sweet and not as soft as I like. I would try them again though to see if they are any different on another visit.
A close-up of the beans.
Steve and I both went with the Boston Scrod (Baked, I believe). This is a filet of cod and baked with seasoned bread crumbs and served with lemon wedges. A very clean, light tasting fish and a real winner for me. It was a huge portion and sadly I was only good for about 1/2 of it.
My sides: a baked potato, cole slaw and carrots. the potato was good, but I felt it could have been baked a bit longer, I didn't try the slaw (it automatically came with the dish) as I'm not a big slaw person and the carrots were nice and soft, just the way I like 'em.
WJ had the Yankee Pot Roast with mashed potatoes and butternut squash. This looked incredible and I sampled a portion of the pot roast it just about melted in my mouth. I think I know what I'm getting on my next visit!
Beth had the Roast Loin of Pork with dressing and applesauce. I tried some of the pork with the dressing and it was juicy with lots of good pork flavor and the dressing was pretty good too. I need to take notes more often when I eat.
Beth's sides: mashed potatoes and cabbage and the applesauce.
This INDIAN PUDDING was a big part of my reason for coming here. When Beth found out that I had never tried it...well, there was no question where we were going to be eating! She was pretty excited to see my reaction to it firsthand and to tell the truth, I was a bit nervous what with the build-up. What if I didn't like it? Not to worry, dear friends, it was everything I had hoped it would be. My initial reaction was "Wow, there is a LOT of molasses in this!" WJ and I split an order and when I scooped some, I could see the steam rising from it. If you are a big fan of cornmeal mush, soft polenta, grits or cream of wheat (as I am), then this dish is for you! I think I would still love it without the ice cream, but that definitely adds another dimension to it that just knocks it over the Green Monster! Hot and cold, smooth and grainy just seem natural together. WJ passed the bowl to me with quite a bit left in it and not wanting to waste any, I went to town on it. Far from the "prettiest" belle at the ball, Indian Pudding has got a heckuva personality!
A group shot. wanderingjew, Billyboy, bethgrd and Steve. That wide-eyed look on wanderingjew's
face came moments before he fainted from the shock of witnessing me actually
eating "regionally correct" Roadfood (and in his presence, no less!).
A shot of the kitchen. There was definitely a feel of the noisy, controlled chaos going on here and I really liked it. Our waitress was really nice and I really didn't get the brusque, elbow-to-elbow experience I had heard about. No matter though, as I really love how this place feels and the quality of the classic food they've been serving for decades.
After dinner, we did a bit of window shopping at Quincy Market and I just couldn't resist a shot of these t-shirts. I know WJ absolutely loved
While I would never buy or even wear one of these, I can certainly appreciate them, what with the Sox being on the receiving end of Yankees taunts for years!
The perfect end to this evening was to be able to see my good buddy, Benji, again and give him lots of scratches and belly rubs. I stopped petting him for a moment and he reached out his paw and tapped me on the arm to say "I'm
not done yet!" He looks good with his new haircut! Beth and Steve, thanks so much for hosting me again, I really do appreciate it! WJ, as always, it was great to share a meal with you!
The pics and narrative from the Western MA portion will be coming up soon after this commercial break and a word from our sponsor! The 411
1.) Mr. Bartley's
1246 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Ph # 617-354-6559
Menupages listing: http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/mr-bartleys-burger-cottage-/
2.) R.F. O'Sullivan and Son
282 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02431
Ph # 617-492-7773
3.) L.A. Burdick
(Harvard Square Cafe)
52-D Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Ph # 617-491-4340
Menupages listing: http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/la-burdick/
15 Dunster Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Ph # 617-497-2179
Menupages listing: http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/herrells/
5.) The Boston Chipyard
257 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Boston, MA 02109
Ph # 617-742-9537
Menupages listing: http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/boston-chipyard/
6.) Durgin Park
340 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Boston, MA 02109
Ph # 617-227-2038
Roadfood review: http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/320/durgin-park
Menupages listing: http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/durgin-park/
<message edited by billyboy on Mon, 05/25/09 4:38 AM>