Today my mom and I explored some new-to-us areas of Boston. We woke up at the crack of dawn and caught the 6:29 commuter rail. It was dark and gloomy out (any raining) so getting up was especially hard. After a hop skip and jump onto the red line and then the orange line we finally found a shuttle to the Navy Yard. Phew. Only took us about an hour and a half. Not too shabby. I find that I enjoy train rides, but not so much buses. The Navy Yard proved to be gorgeous! We didn't do too much exploring because of the weather, but we did walk along the Charlestown Harborwalk. The buildings around there are so beautiful. I have no idea what they are used for, but I didn't mind looking at them! The wind was fierce though.
I had in mind that I wanted to get lunch at Pier 6, which is literally at the end of the pier and the website showed beautiful views of Boston and the Zakim bridge. Unfortunately, the view was hindered by the fog, rain, etc. So onwards, my mom and I walked. We made sure to make the most of it by stopping to take in anything that we thought was interesting or pretty and of course talking while walking.
Or next lunch spot of interest was called the Brewer's Fork. It smelled delicious as we rounded the corner, but it wasn't set to open for another half hour and there was nothing else around. Therefore, I used my phone to guide us on a mile walk to the North End. We would have hopped on the subway, but the Navy Yard isn't connected via the subway. Despite the rain it was a fun walk because we ended up on part of the Freedom Trail! If it had been nice out I really wanted to walk the Freedom Trail. That will just have to go on my bucket list
We crossed over a bridge and into the North End. Now let me tell you about the bridge. It's old. And cars drive over it. Leading up to the bridge I was all giddy about being on the Freedom Trail. Then I stepped on the bridge and looked at my feet. Terrible idea. The bridge was open, as in I could see the ocean below the "mesh" wiring or whatever it was that held this bridge up. I yelled "don't look down" to mom and mentioned to her that it was too late for me. My legs felt weak and I felt a little nauseous since we had quite a walk to get to the other side. Of course my mom thought it was fascinating and walked towards the cars to see if it was "open" under the cars too. Sure enough it was. I was so happy to get to the other side.
Getting through the North End was the hardest part because my phone was almost dead and kept losing signal for my directions. I came to the conclusion that I need a physical map when I move here so I can step into it like Joey on Friends when he is in London. Yes, I am serious.
Finally, we got to the destination of interest. I had led my mom to Panza. It's a small Italian restaurant on Hanover Street which I went to a few years back. I have such fond memories of this restaurant because of the quaintness, the company, and the food. I was so happy to be back.
We split an appetizer of mushroom and goat cheese spring rolls with a honey thyme sauce. Goodness. These. Were. So. Good. Perfectly crunchy and so flavorful! I love mushrooms and goat cheese. The honey was a bit strong for me.
For my entree I ordered the chicken "panza". It had sundried tomatoes (a whole boatload of them), mushrooms (I wonder what my vitamin D level is...), spinach and pine nuts on top of chicken in a balamic marsala sauce. It was very delicious, but I found the flavor of the sundried tomatoes to be a bit overpowering (in a sweet way). By no means does this mean it was not extremely delicious, but I think my taste buds wanted something a bit more savory. The dish came with a side of penne pasta and marinara sauce and I dipped some bread in the sauce and immediately wished I had gotten something with that sauce on it. Boy was it fresh and delicious. My mom went with the chicken piccata. Also a great choice. What I loved was that the dish was all protein and vegetables with the pasta on the side. With a dish like that the pasta can get lost. I went with the bread for my carbs instead of the pasta simply because the bread was so dough-y and amazing, just like I had remembered.
We chatted for a while before heading to a pastry shop. I told mom I wanted to take her somewhere and she immediately guessed pastries. She was looking at a map to find a T station and asked if we were going to Marco's Pastry and I told her that's for amateurs. Mike's Pastry was literally a block away. And NOT CROWDED! We couldn't decide and ultimately went with three cannolis...for two people. When in Rome people. Yes, I eat dessert and sometimes I buy a dozen donuts or 3 cannolis. I'm normal. And I enjoy food.
We took our box to go and headed towards Boston Public Market where I was in heaven. Neither of us had been there before and it's right by Haymarket and Fanueil hall. I write those names like I am familiar with them, but alas they are going to go on my bucket list once I research them some more. I found my favorite street by the market which is actually the street that the Union Oyster House is on. It's so cute and curvy.
Anyways, I love that the market is indoors and that it houses local products only. We saw donuts (yup!), cheese (LOTS of Jasper Hill! Love <3), homemade pasta, fresh cuts of meat, seafood (SO happy to be by the ocean!), bagels being made right before my eyes, chocolate, etc. etc. Our favorite stop was called American Stonecraft. They gather stones from local farms in New England and polish them up for sale. The name of the farm is on the back and some are used for cooking and others are used for serving food or as coasters. Mom and I went on a mission to find stones from Vermont. We found some from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro! So exciting. Another thing I love about Boston Public Market is the community kitchen and the wellness activities held for the community. Going on the bucket list!
Around 2pm we walked the wrong way to find the T station, but quickly laughed about it once we saw the big round T sign where we ultimately just came from. It took maybe 5-7 minutes and one subway switch to get back to South Station where we had some time to kill before catching the commuter rail. Therefore, we dug into our cannolis! I had the Florentine and I am never going back. It's a plain ricotta with chocolate chips but the shell is made with almonds and honey (I think). It's a bit crunchier of a shell and that is what I like. I ate half and took a bite of mom's amaretto but was soon stuffed. So I then finished making my flashcards for the day. Gotta keep studying for the RD exam. Vitamins and minerals are kicking my butt...
Like a true commuter I fell asleep on the train back to Halifax. I so enjoy the commuter rail and look forward to when I get to take it. Overall today was a fantastic day and I am so glad my mom came to share in my excitement for all things food and local! Boston is going to be such an exciting place to live. I only hope I can budget my restaurant outings and trips to places like Boston Public Market!