A couple of weekends in New England - Massachusetts & New Hampshire (with pics)

Filet Mignon
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2009/09/13 05:14:05 (permalink)

A couple of weekends in New England - Massachusetts & New Hampshire (with pics)

Saturday 07/25/09 - I made a trip up to Boston at the end of July for my godson's 5th birthday and managed to make a few Roadfood stops while I was there.  After getting off of the bus at South Station, I popped by the Honey Dew Donuts inside the station for a quick snack.  

A nice selection of donuts on display.
I picked up a Honey Dew and a Honey Dip Stick.
They were both cake-style donuts and they had a nice crispness outside and were had a great creamy/soft texture inside. Not sure how they would stack up the independents, but I was happy with them.
I made it to Chinatown on my way to the Orange Line of Boston's T Subway system.
I just HAD to stop at my favorite Chinatown bakery, Hing Shing Pastry!
There is so much to try here, that I barely scratch the surface whenever I'm in town. Lots of pies...
...and lots of buns too.
I opted for a hot dog bun and a pork bun. I'm not sure of the Chinese names for them.
A cross-section of the pork bun.
And of the hot dog bun. These were both great. I've had the pork bun many times before and I think it has onions in it too. Not sure what all of the ingredients are, but it has a nice savory/sweet balance and the slightly sweet dough bun is a nice touch. This was my first hot dog bun from Hing Shing (although It could have been a Chinese sausage bun, bot entirely sure). Assertive flavor in the meat and the sesame seeds added a welcome toasty, nutty element to the bun. It was like a Chinese "pig in a blanket". I'd have gotten a couple more had I know how much I was going to like it.
Good thing I didn't fill up too much as I was heading to my friend J.B.'s charity event, a "Peace of Pie", in the Jamaica Plain area. I'm not terribly familiar with J.P., as the locals refer to it, so luckily these flyers were posted I as got closer to the event site.
J.B. created the artwork on this banner for the event. He's quite a terrific animator in his own right.
The Grand Prize pie of the day - a cherry, almond coconut pie with a crumble topping. A most excellent pie entered last minute on a whim by a very nice girl I chatted with for a while.
I believe this was strawberry cheesecake.
My samples of pie. $15 got me all the pie I could eat and the proceeds went to any one of five local charities that I could choose from. I tried (clockwise, from top center) some Key Lime pie, the prize winning cherry pie, a berry cream pie, chocolate pecan pie, peach pie, strawberry cheesecake and a chocolate cream pie.
They also had a pie eating contest, and NO, I didn't compete!
The contestants dig in! The funniest part of this contest came just before they started. The emcee gave each of the contestants the mike so they could say their names and a little bit about themselves. One of the people said she was going to beat everyone there and mere minutes after she said that, she went to take the cover off of her pie and spilled the whole thing in her lap! Fortunately for her, they had a spare!

I had my heart set on paying a visit to the original J.P. Licks ice cream shop in Jamaica Plain, but wasn't sure if I would have time. It was a nice walk there, about 45 minutes and I managed to walk off at least SOME of the pie I ate! This place is much bigger than any of their other locations I have visited.

The line was pretty long and I had dinner plans with my cousin in Brookline a short while later, but I managed to get in and out and on the Bus to Brookline in time. I took a lot of photos inside, but had difficulty getting good shots that I felt comfortable posting.
After all of the pie and dinner coming up, I didn't want anything too heavy, but it was really hot that day and I was in need of something refreshing. A small Cantaloupe Sorbet was just the ticket. With bits of cantaloupe throughout and a great cantaloupe flavor, this was exactly what I needed as I waited for my bus.
My cousin has lived in Brookline for years and It was great to spend some time with her catching up. Dinner was okay. I took some pics, but I wasn't crazy about the food, so I won't go into too much depth about it. Two things though, they had started out as a barbeque place until the neighbors complained about the smoke, so they had just revamped their menu a couple of weeks before we ate there, so it's still a work in progress. What really impressed me was that our server noticed I had barely touched my food and asked if everything was okay. I told him what I liked and didn't like about the food and he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and he explained the change over at the restaurant and he asked if there was anything he could do. I politely declined as we had to get going anyway and thanked him for asking. It was a refreshing change from the indifference I seem to see in restaurants more these days. We stopped in my favorite neighborhood bookstore, the Brookline Booksmith, to pickup a Curious George book for my godson.
Oh, how I love this shop and it's creaky wooden floors!
Sunday 07/26/09 - The morning of my godson's birthday party, he, his dad and his cousin and I all took road trip to Plymouth, MA for a few hours. His dad suggested we walk on this stone breakwater in the marina and it provided us with some beautiful views of the boats and of the ocean. We all got some great exercise and lots of sun before the party.

At the very far tip of the breakwater, we met a couple sitting there with this very sweet and friendly dog named Gretzky. He was given that name, as the couple said, because he knows he is The Great One!!
We stopped into a place called the Cabby Shack for lunch before heading back home for the birthday party. I was glad to see that they call it a "lobster salad" roll on the menu. People know what to expect when they read that.
I thought this was a nice touch on the tables.
I went for the lobster salad roll with a half & half of fries and onion rings. This was really good and loaded with claw and tail meat. Sadly, it was my only lobster roll of the season.
A wide shot of my platter. The fries and onion rings were just ok.
Outside the Cabby Shack.
The birthday party that my godson had was an inspired deal. His parents put together a make-your-own pizza and cupcake party. Well, I knew I was in my element there!! We prepped the pizza dough, bought from Bertucci's, and rolled them out beofre the kids arrived. Bowls of sauce, grated cheese and pepperoni were good to go. Each child there had a chef's hat that they wrote their name on and an apron. The cupcakes were baked ahead of time and bowls of M&Ms, Nutter Butter cookies cut in half (for the ears) and tubes of frosting were put out. It was really special to watch the parents and their kids work together to make the pizzas and cupcakes and I'm sure the kids will have great memories from being part of making their own food. I know this isn't really "Roadfood" and I devoted a good chunk of this to it, but I think it's really special and I wanted to share.
Billyboy with his Monkey cupcake. My friend's mom read about it in a food magazine at Lowe's one day and thought it was be something fun and different from traditional birthday cake. Not really sure what happened to this cupcake as he disappeared shortly after this picture was taken and has not been heard from since!
My new buddy, Cosmo. A very energetic and playful Portugese Water puppy.
My friend John and his wife showed up in style in their MG (that he completely rebuilt) and I had to get a shot behind the wheel. They didn't have to shoehorn me in there, but I might be a bit big for such a vehicle. An interesting side note: I was talking to John about Roadfood as he had asked me foir some recommendations while he and his wife travel. I told him about Davyd's trip to Grand Marais and Ayersian's cross continental trip, both of which still continue to inspire and excite me. Somehow it came up that John grew up in New Haven, CT. Well, I asked him if he had ever been to Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napolitana and his face lit up. He ate there many times and went to school with one of the Pepe children. What are the odds?
Monday 07/27/09 - I had a few hours to kill before my bus back to NYC, so I stopped in at the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston. This place had been on my radar for years, being the birthplace of Boston Scrod, Parker House Rolls and Boston Cream Pie!
I wasn't up for a full meal, so I went with a cup of clam chowder, which was thick and rich with lots of clams and potatoes in it.
It came with a basket of Parker House Rolls, which were buttery and pillow soft and were the perfect complement to the chowder.
Spying baked beans on the menu, I ordered a side of them as well. They were pretty good and had some bacon, onion and were subtly sweet, but a wee bit too soupy for me. I prefer them a bit thicker.
A closer shot of the beans.
My ethereal roll opened up in all its glory.
I rolled into the hotel with my luggage wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. After I saw this room, I asked the host if it was okay for me to eat in there and he was really cool. I felt so underdressed.
For dessert, of course, the Boston Cream Pie!
I had expected a slice, but not my own "Mini-Me" version! This was nothing short of superb. Moist sponge cake (yes, it's actually a cake, not a pie. At least not in the sense most think of pie), vanilla pastry cream, chocolate icing, and toasted almonds made for a quartet of flavors and textures that reminded me of just how much I love Roadfooding!
I still had time (and room!) for one more stop, so I walked a short distance to the Union Oyster House near the Faneuil Hall marketplace. I love this miniature version in the window.
They've been around for quite a spell!
An iconic sign.

Mssrs. Webster...

...and Curser
Some Union Street history.
I love this dumbwaiter! They use this to send oyster bar orders up to the tables on the second floor.
Some more history.
I waited for about 20 minutes to sit at the oyster bar as they don't take reservations for it. You just have to wait for someone to leave and jump in when you can.
I grabbed a Sam Adams lager and the funny thing is that the bar itself is slanted towards the people sitting there and I kept thinking that I was going to end up with a pint in my lap.
One of the shuckers hard at work. These guys looked like they had been there a long time and had seen it all.
Raw oysters have always put me off a bit, but I wanted to try one (my second ever) and I asked if they could just give me one and that I would order something else too. He was very accommodating.
A bit of lemon juice and some cocktail sauce on the bar (not too much, I actually did want to taste the oyster) and it went down pretty smooth. Very fresh and clean tasting, but I can see why it would be an acquired texture.
A little more on Mr. Daniel Webster.
I thought about trying the oyster chowder. I asked what kind of oysters they used and the man replied, "canned". I was somewhat disappointed, but after thinking about it, if they have access to all of these fresh oysters, why cover them up in a chowder? I opted for the clam chowder instead. It was just okay. I thought it was a bit bland and light on the clams. The pepper on top was fresh ground on there by one of the guys wielding a massive, battered old pepper mill that looked like Ted Williams may have used it for batting practice during his rookie year at Fenway!
The bar menu.
Some classic New England style cornbread provided some solid fare to soak up my lager and the chowder.

Weekend #2 - Cambridge and New Hampshire

Friday 08/21/09 - This time I took the BOLT Bus from NYC to Boston to spend the weekend helping my friend, Doug, do some demolition on his house in New Hampshire. I arrived early on Friday and made plans to meet Ayersian ((Chris & Amy) at the All-Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, MA for lunch. While walking there, I stopped at Carberry's, one of my favorite bakeries, for a chocolate-orange scone, but they didn't have any, so I settled for a Maple-Oatmeal scone instead.
There was a nice moistness to this scone and nuttiness from the oatmeal and the maple glaze really had an assertive maple flavor.
I love this saying on the window. My thoughts exactly!
The specials board. Chris and Amy split the Funky Chicken sandwich.
We all split an order of poutine which was just awesome. I think Chris and Amy liked it and I know they've had far more poutine in their travels than I. I love that the All-Star uses cheese curds and they really nailed the chicken gravy. The fries were hot and crisp and the whole messy mix was quite addicting!
My side of Inner Beauty hot sauce. My sandwich came with it and Chris strongly suggested that I get it on the side. Good call, man!
The Funky Chicken sandwich. I tried some of this and it was just great mix of flavors.
My Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown sandwich. I was a bit nervous about trying this as I'm super picky about meatloaf and I usually don't like any restaurant version as much as homemade, but this was moist and perfectly seasoned for me. The Inner Beauty hot sauce on the side was fruity (mango, I think) and definitely packed a wallop. The grilled bread brought a wonderful crunch to it and I would get this again in a heartbeat. Thanks for the recommendation, Chris! It was so great to once again share a meal and good conversation with Chris and Amy and they went above and beyond by paying for my meal!
To say thanks, I picked up the ice cream next door at Christina's.
Always interesting flavors at this place.
I picked a mix of Vanilla-Cherry and Orange-Chocolate scoops. Both were excellent and I was especially fond of the orange-chocolate.
Chris and Amy shared Carrot Cake and Espresso scoops.
After our most delicious lunch, they most kindly drove me to South Station so I could catch my bus to Manchester, NH. Thanks again!! I got spend some quality time with another sweet dog, Bella, whom I have known for many years.
Sunday 08/23/09 - The day after a very exhausting, yet very productive day of bathroom/dining room demo, we headed to a spot I have wanted to try for a couple of years, The Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, NH.

The walls in here are covered with countless news articles about the diner in local papers.
The mascots of The Red Arrow, Moe and Dinah.
Sorry, this was the best shot I was able to get of the pie case. And yes, I had pie (two slices to be exact!).
The Breakfast Blue Plate board.
The specials board. Notice the Red Arrow virgin question on the bottom left. While we waited in l,ine, I snapped away furiously with the camera and the woman behind the counter yelled out, "Looks like we've got a virgin in here today!"
Cute clock.
This place was packed from the moment we arrived and still packed like this when we left. There was a great vibe in here and many of the folks at the counter were locals and the women were calling them by name. I'm still amazed they can pack so many people into such a tiny place!
Some history for ya!
This is what I went for on this morning. Of course, like the food geek that I am, I scoped out the website far in advance and knew I was getting this long before I even set foot inside!
Sounds like a pretty good special for a cold winter morning.
BB, Jeff, Marisa and Doug. Our waitress was a hoot and very willing to take some pictures of us.
I picked one of these up for the road.
The four of us started out by sharing a buttered and grilled bacon and onion corn muffin, a special on the menu. Holy Toledo, was this unfreaking-believeable!! Toasty, great corn and onion flavor and nice chunk of bacon throughout. It wouldn't do to eat it everyday, but it just blew us away.
Doug had the Mama-Kicks omelette with grilled chicken tenders, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese inside. I took a bite or two and liked it, although I thought the tenders could have had more flavor/seasoning to them.
Marisa went for the Crabcake Benny which we all thought was right on!
I picked up a side of beans and they were just how I like them: thick, soft with a bit of bite to them and just subtly sweet. I really do think these were made in-house and not from a can. I love my baked beans and I've never had anything from a can that was this good.
My breakfast of Pork Pie (with gravy), two eggs over easy and panfries. This was everything I had hoped it would be. I first had though the slice off pie was somewhat small, but given the amount of food on that plate and the heft of that slice of pie, it was pure Goldilocks (just right). I thought it was a cross between a shepherd's pie and pot pie. I loved the pot pie-like crust and the filling was very hearty. The gravy really complemented it nicely and those panfries were some of the best breakfast potatoes I've eaten in some time. Crispy on the outside on creamy on the inside.
Some very buttery cinnamon-raisin toast.
Our waitress is on the left and she couldn't have been nicer. Actually they both were very nice. I asked what kind of pie they had and she took me behind the counter and opened up the case so I could peer inside. They were out of Grape-Nut pudding, phooey!! On my way back to the table, she put me to work by telling me to bring Doug the takeout container he had asked for. I really love this place!
I picked up a slice of Hannah's pie to go. Lemon filling on the bottom and blueberry on top. WOW! This crust was definitely homemade and those filling were definitely made by someone who cares about what they do. I would go back just for another slice of that pie.
Of course, I had to get a couple of Dinah Fingers (homemade twinkies) to go.
The full-on shot.
This puts Hostess to shame. Totally fresh and homemade.


I can't begin to thank Greg, Jackie and the kids enough for their hospitality.  It was wonderful to be able to spend some quality time with them. 

Lynn, thanks for taking the time to break bread with me and for the ride to South Station.  It was much appreciated.  I'm very glad we got to catch up.  

Chris and Amy, thank you ever so much for the meal and I definitely owe you both on your next trip to the city or the next time I see you (whichever comes first). 

Doug and Marisa, thanks for putting mr up for the weekend, carting me around and keeping me well fed!  

It was a great couple of weekends in New England and I hope to do so again before the end of the years and maybe even share some meals with a few Roadfooders!

The 411:  

1.)  Honey Dew Donuts
      700 Atlantic Avenue (in the South Station Bus Terminal, 2nd floor)
      Boston, MA 02111
      Ph# 617-261-7111
      Website:  http://www.honeydewdonuts.com/index.html

2.)  Hing Shing Pastry
      67 Beach Street (on the corner of Beach & Hudson Streets)
      Boston, MA 02111
      Ph# 617-451-1162
      No website  

3.)  J.P. Licks Ice Cream
      659 Centre Street
      Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
      Ph# 617-524-6740
      Website:  http://www.jplicks.com/index.htm

4.)  Cabby Shack Restaurant & Pub
      30 Town Wharf Road
      Plymouth, MA 02360
      Ph# 508-746-5354
      Website:  http://www.cabbyshack.com/

5.)  Omni Parker House
      60 School Street
      Boston, MA 02108
      Ph# 617-227-8600
      Website:  http://www.omnihotels.com...arkerHouse/Dining.aspx

6.)  Ye Olde Union Oyster House
      41 Union Street
      Boston, MA 
      Ph# 617-227-2750
      Website:  http://www.unionoysterhouse.com/index.html

7.)  Carberry's Bakery and Coffee House
      74 Prospect Street
      Cambridge, MA 02139
      Ph# 617-576-3530
      Website:  http://www.carberrys.com/

8.)  All-Star Sandwich Bar
      1245 Cambridge Street
      Cambridge, MA 
      Ph# 617-868-3065
      Website:  http://www.allstarsandwichbar.com/
      Roadfood review:  http://www.roadfood.com/R.../all-star-sandwich-bar

9.)  Christina's Homemade Ice Cream
      1255 Cambridge Street
        Cambridge, MA 02139
        Ph # 617-492-7021
        Website:  http://christinasicecream.com/
        Roadfood review:  http://www.roadfood.com/R...erview.aspx?RefID=2056

10.)  Red Arrow Diner
         61 Lowell Street
         Manchester, NH 03101
         Ph # 603-626-1118
         Website:  http://redarrowdiner.com/...age&Itemid=1 

post edited by billyboy - 2009/09/13 23:30:43

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