Friday, October 23, 2009
BOSTON VISIT: FRIENDS & FAMILY
I was in Boston for a week at the end of September. Since I lived most of the first half of my life in the Boston area, whenever I go back, I am torn between seeing friends and family and just being a tourist. This visit I managed to do a bit of both and even attended a high school reunion, my first-ever high school years after half a century (Yikes!)
This post focuses on the Friends & Family part of my trip.
I stayed in Brookline with Jonathan & JR. Their beautiful house is a block and a half from the T, which I used to get in and out of downtown Boston.
From their house, it was easy for me to drive to most of my other destinations. And, there are beautiful parks within walking distance.
Their neighborhood has some nice little restaurants and shops that I patronized, as well.
And, I had an entire suite to myself in their basement...I call it "the dungeon," but it is really the height of luxury. I am grateful to have cousins who are such gracious and welcoming hosts.
On my first night there, JR & Jonathan prepared a Brazilian Stew, Moqueca, which was delicious.
Other guests included their friends Annie, and José.
Bright and early the next day, I headed out for a day with Phyllis & Manny. We spent most of the day shopping at the very nice Wrenthan Village Premium Outlets...one of the best outlet malls that I have ever visited...lots of very nice shops and bargains...Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Williams Sonoma, Kate Spade, Banana Republic,and Swarovski, to name a few.
Phyllis even amused herself on one of the kiddie rides.
We took a break for lunch at the Cracker Barrel, a chain family restaurant with a country store. The food is hearty and service is quick...just what we wanted for a break while in the throws of shopping.
By mid afternoon, we were shopped out. Manny drove by the new Patriot's Stadium complex in Foxboro to show me how dramatically it has grown since I lived in the area. It now includes not just a football stadium, but also a hotel, shopping center and many upscale restaurants.
We took an afternoon break for coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts, which, according to Manny, has more outlets and is more popular than Starbucks in the Boston area. After hearing this "tidbit" of information, I began noticing Dunkin' Donuts shops just about everywhere I went and cups of Dunkin' Donuts coffee being carried everywhere around Boston. If my memory is correct, their donuts are very good and, according to Phyllis, they make a very tasty breakfast sandwich on a bagel.
Dunkin' Donuts was founded in Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of Boston, in 1950. Its web site states that it is the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain and, at the end of 2008, had 8,835 stores, worldwide.
After my day out with Phyllis & Manny, we had dinner at Jonathan & JR's with more family (Neal, David, Darlene) and Phyllis's former colleague and now family friend, Thandeka.
This evening we ordered Chinese takeout from Chef Chang's, another nearby restaurant.
On another night, I got together with Cheryl, with whom I used to work.
She lives in a suburb west of Boston and rather than both of us taking various transit into downtown Boston, we decided to dine near where I was staying. We enjoyed a leisurely and tasty Tapas meal, with lots of Spanish wine, at Taberna de Haro, which is walking distance from Jonathan & JR's house.
On my final day, before my high school reunion started, I had lunch with Phyllis and Manny at one of the many Legal Seafoods restaurants that are in the area. When I moved away from Boston, the only Legal Seafoods was a fish market with a small dining area in Inman Square in Cambridge. This is where chef Julia Child bought her fresh fish...and so did I. Today, there are about 30 Legal Seafoods scattered along the East Coast from Massachusetts to Florida.
We chose the Legal at Park Square where I ordered my favorite New England fish, Scrod.
A final note: Jonathan & JR own a lot of unique art pieces. It was this particular piece, a Swimmer in a Box, that captured my attention. It is kinetic art and the swimmer flip turns and swims around, all while being confined to her "box." I could not stop watching it and it certainly is a conversation item. The bought it from an artist in South Florida; the swimmer is his wife. Here are some shots of it: