As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t posted much in the past week, save the quick posts in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday. That’s because I’ve been on “vacation” this past week. My roommate and I traveled all over Boston and beyond to do some of the more touristy things that get forgotten when you just live in Boston. We never actually took any time off of work, so everything we did had to be close enough to do in a few hours before bedtime, except our weekend excursions. I owe you a long post now, so here we go!
We saw Hope Springs, the new Meryl Streep movie (very cute– go see it) and hung out at our favorite locale, BerryLine. I know, I know, I work there, but we can’t help it! It’s so good!
We went to a lovely evening Mass at St. Mary’s in Brookline Village (because we couldn’t go the next morning, see below). Since we were out there, we decided to get dinner and drinks at two local cool places. We wanted to go to Kookoo Cafe, but they had already stopped serving real food, so we stumbled upon Olea, right across the street. They had the best menu selections I’ve ever seen for all types of eaters (diners? palates? tastes?).
The cafe also focuses on local and handmade ingredients, and everything was reasonably priced (for a college budget!). They had everything from breakfast sandwiches, to cider on tap, to veggie paninis and burgers, to coffee, and gelato. Which covers all of my favorite foods. The waiter was also the spitting image of Alfredo Linguini, but with Irish brogue. So good.
I got a panini with butternut squash, goat cheese, and bacon with homemade chips. It’s far beyond the best panini I’ve ever had anywhere else. My roommate got the avocado swiss burger with handcut fries, which proved equally satisfying. Then we wandered over to Matt Murphy’s, which we were expecting to be a lot different then it was. I was expecting a pub, based on the super Irish name, but instead we ended up in a very posh, clean, classy bar and restaurant. I felt compelled to order a Bordeaux instead of beer, which evidently was a good decision. We still wanted ice cream, but everything closes really early on weekends in Brookline, so we sauntered down to Coolidge Corner (about .75 miles) for ice cream at JP Licks, iced coffee at Peets, and a leisurely browse at my favorite bookstore, the Brookline Booksmith. I ended up getting another cookbook (used, of course), the cookbook by the AND: Eating Healthy Across America. It’s been on my list forever, I’m so glad I finally got it!
This was our big day that we’d been planning for forever. We woke up early and stopped by my favorite coffee shop (though I’m a bit biased), Newbury Street Coffee for iced coffee and a lemon lavender biscotti. Whoever makes those should get a raise 😉 (No, but really, I had never had a finished one with coffee before. I usually just taste the product post-first-bake to make sure the seasoning is good, but the whole “bi” in “bi-scotti” makes a big difference. No wonder people like them so much!). Then we made our way down to Newport, RI, where we had a second breakfast at the Coffee Grinder, which had only ok food but fantastic views:
Then we got ice cream. Weird, I know, but there were already people at the bars, so we thought an 10:30 AM ice cream was justified.
Fueled by our coffee and ice cream, we went on the Cliff Walk, which is quite a workout but extremely worth it for the beautiful vantage points it gives of the ocean and some of the mansions.
We were exhausted after that, but that didn’t stop us from going to a vineyard! My camera had died by then, but the tour was fantastic and the wine sampling was even better. The server (sommelier?) remembered after the first wine that I preferred dry wines and was very good at giving follow up recommendations, despite the 40-or-so other people there. I have yet to crack open the cider that I bought there, but I’m very excited to taste it!
We made our way back into Newport proper for dinner. We had a couple of recommendations and a few places we noticed as we were walking around, but we were stopped in our tracks by an awesome looking building.
Turns out this restaurant, the White Horse Tavern, is the oldest tavern in America, constructed in 1652 and opened as a tavern in 1673. Even though the prices were a little steep, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this. We got in a little early, so we had to go sit at the bar. Oh, bother. Out of curiosity and classiness, I ordered the prosecco, which was quite nice.
When we were seated, we noticed that everythingon the menu sounded good. They also listed the exec chef and some ingredient sources, both good signs. We both settled with the cheapest thing on the menu (rather, we thought we settled), the burger with porter cheese and caramelized shallots with fries.
First shock- the waiter brought us bread and apologized because it had just come out of the oven, and so it was hot. WHAT?? Anyway, it was some of the most flavorful bread I had ever had… definitely a worthy way to spend white-bread calories.
Then we got our food… again, we weren’t expecting
much. It’s a burger. Woopdedoo. Oh, man, were we wrong!
The ingredients were all top-notch (even the tomato on the side and that awkward olive on top), but the one thing that really got me was the seasoning. A normal burger can be made mediocre or fantastic by way of salt alone, and this chef got it sooooo right. The fries were just right too. As in perfect. I’d definitely go back the next time I’m in the area. We couldn’t stop ourselves from literally licking the plate clean, so we were too full to just sit in the car. A stroll through the town led us to People’s Cafe, where we got yet another fantastic iced coffee that lasted until we got home, exhausted but feeling like I had finally been away from work.
And this is getting really long, so stay tuned for part 2!