Female. Lives in United States/Illinois/Chicago, speaks English. My interests are Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking/Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.
This is my blogchalk:
United States, Illinois, Chicago, English, Female, Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking, Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I'm Back

I'm back and I missed you. Am I officially the nerdiest person in the world for saying that I missed blogging while I was travelling? Well, I did and now that I'm back I'm excited to tell you about my culinary adventures of the past couple weeks.

My trip was broken up into two locations: New Jersey and Boston. (Please hold all New Jersey jokes. I am a lifelong New Jersey defender. There are beautiful parts of New Jersey and they know how to grow a mean tomato there.) First, Lima and I flew to New Jersey to spend about a week with my parents. We had so much fun and it was great for them to be able to spend such a nice, long time with their granddaughter. On the eating front, my mom is an excellent cook and she fed us very well. She did a nice mix of some old favorites (her delicious lasagna, her delectable lemon squares) and new ones (grilled shrimp with a lemon dill marinade she had never tried before). We also did our fair share of takeout food from the pizzerias and Chinese restaurants I loved when I lived there.

After about a week in New Jersey, I switched travel partners. I left Lima with my parents and met Win for a weekend in Boston. My parents never mind watching Lima (they really do love it, especially now that she's a toddler and does funny stuff). Some friends of ours were getting married in Boston, so we decided to make a weekend of it and try and enjoy as much as we could of the city in addition to participating in the wedding festivities. We stayed in the Back Bay section of Boston (my favorite) and I loved looking around Newbury Street, Commonwealth Avenue, and the Public Garden (pictured above). We lived in a Comm Ave. apartment for three years and that part of town feels so fun and comfortable to me.

I was also happy to come upon the Copley Square Farmers Market. I used to stop by there now and then for fruits, veggies and some wonderful homemade bread. I was glad to see it's still going on and as busy as ever.

It was really hot on our first day in Boston, so I stopped at a tea shop I like called Tealuxe. I love bubble teas so I ordered an Apricot Arabesque Decaf Bubble Tea.

It was really delicious and refreshing. It was also a real treat for me because I very rarely spend money on coffee or tea to go. You probably have heard financial experts talk about the "Latte Factor"---that phenomenon where people make lots of small purchases (coffee, lattes, magazines, vending machine snacks) that really end up costing them quite a significant amount over time. For whatever reason, I am the anti Latte Factor. There's something in my brain that will not allow me to routinely purchase $4 cups of Starbucks coffee and other related fare. I'm not cheap...I'll gladly spend a lot of money on a nice dinner out or other large purchase if we feel like it...but when it comes to the daily coffee and tea scene, I can't bring myself to fork over the cash. So this delicious bubble tea was even sweeter because I so rarely get them.

OK, so I'm rereading this and realizing that my nerd quotient has increased even more now with the "won't pay for coffee" revelation. It's probably time I try and redeem myself and tell you about the terrific place we had dinner on our first night in Boston.

When Win and I were talking about our Boston trip, we realized that we had too many restaurants we wanted to hit and way too little time. So we had to develop a short list and The B-Side Lounge immediately jumped to our number one spot. The B-Side Lounge doesn't look like much from the outside. Inside, it's got nice leather booths and lots of tables and barstools to welcome you but the decor is rather minimalist. The waitstaff is heavily tattooed and pierced and if you were one to make snap judgements, you might write this place off pretty fast. That would be a huge mistake. The food and drinks are some of the best in Boston and the waitstaff is friendly, knowledgeable and eager to help. While we like their whole menu, Win and I have found that we actually prefer their large appetizers to their entrees. So we've made a habit of ordering a few appetizers to share when we go. This time was no exception. We went to B-Side with our friends Art and Kate and between the four of us we had:

*A mini clambake with lobster, clams, and sausage
*Fried calamari
*Fried heirloom tomatoes with truffle grits and a nice field greens salad on the side
*Baked gouda with crostini to dip in the gouda
*Mussels cooked in a delicious broth

Win and I dream about the gouda. If you go to B-Side, please have it. The gouda is melted in a skillet with sliced onions and probably a hint of other seasonings and then served with crostini for dipping. Our friends tried it for the first time with us and they loved it too. B-Side's menu is far beyond a standard bar menu and their food is absolutely delicious. They always use really fresh ingredients, showcase interesting flavor combinations, and put together delicious dishes.

Their cocktail list is immense and between us we've sampled quite a few. My favorite is the B-Sidecar, a sidecar that gets a cute little kick from the pink sugar on the rim of the glass. Win stuck with their lemon drops the other night, but he's been known to enjoy their rum-based concoctions too.

For dessert, we shared a grilled banana split and a dessert fondue which included fruit, pound cake, and candied fruit to dip in their delicious melted chocolate. So, so good.

I really can't emphasize enough how good the food and drinks are at B-Side. They get some famous clientele too...I once was watching "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and Matt Damon was one of Conan's guests. They told a story about how they both were back in Boston visiting their families one Christmas and ran into each other at The B-Side Lounge. Both raved about what a cool place it is. Check it out if you're in the Boston area.

Well, that's a review of the first part of our Boston trip. We did a lot more eating and sightseeing but I'll save that for subsequent posts.