From Boston’s Chinatown to Little Italy

Yesterday we went to Boston’s Chinatown for Dim Sum at the Empire Garden. It was quite exciting, because it was something that I had never experienced before. Dim Sum is a Chinese brunch, and how it works is everyone sits at big tables that seat around 8 people, and servers make their way through the large space with metal carts full of food. They have things like barbecue pork buns, pineapple rolls, dumplings, duck, etc. it was pretty tasty, and quite interesting. It just bothered me a little bit that not many of the servers had very good English speaking skills, and it was difficult to decipher what they were trying to convince us to take. But overall it was a nice new experience.

After our afternoon in that part of town, we came home to make our dinner. We had just bought some striped sea bass the day before, which has a very short season, and some plump looking red raspberries. We brainstormed for a bit, and then decided to make a pan-seared sea bass with a soy-raspberry coulis, smashed sweet potatoes with jalepeño and smoked cayenne, and fresh green beans that Adriene had grown seared with some lemon and nasturtium petals. It was all quite delicious. Afterwards we went out to see a movie.

Today, my last day, we tried to fit in a lot of things. This morning we went to Christina’s Spice and Specialty Foods to explore. I ended up amassing some toasted chipotle flakes, rose tea, espresso brava salt, and chili verde salt that I’m very excited about. I can’t wait to find ways to use them when I get home! After that I wanted to make our way to Petsi Pies again because I loved it so much the first time. We picked up a mini strawberry rhubarb crumble and a mini peach blackberry pie, as well as another lemon scone for me to take with me to the airport tomorrow.

Once we stowed our goods, we went to the north end where we were scheduled for a pizza tour. We stopped for slices at three different places in Little Italy, and received a historical tour along the way. The first stop was at Regina’s. The pizza was fantastic. The dough tasted so incredibly fresh, and even had that bit of yeasty flavor like a French bread does. The next place I wasn’t as much of a fan of; their pizza was considerably thinner. The third was called Ernesto’s, and it was quite good, but the first was still my favorite. Once the tour ended I wanted to get some gelato and a cannoli- what better place than little Itlay? So we got some gelato, which ended up being only okay. It was rather icy and sort of syrupy, so I didn’t finish mine because I wanted to save room for more scrumptious desserts. We then made our way to Modern Pastry. As the tour guide told us, the tourists go to Mike’s Pastry, the locals go to Modern. And Modern was Adriene’s favorite. Oh. My. Gosh. The cannoli was the best cannoli I have ever had in my life. We both got the shells chocolate dipped, and filled with the traditional ricotta filling. The chocolate adds a nice sweetness, and the rich, creaminess of the ricotta stands up to the bulk of the fried shell. $3 well spent. I also bought a sfogliatella, which I am still too full to try. It’s a pastry similar to their “lobster tails” but smaller. It’s a flaky crust similar to a croissant filled with a ricotta and cinnamon filling. I can’t wait to try it.

Unfortunately, 3 hours after all of this eating, we had our dinner reservation. We weren’t very hungry, but it was the last day! So we went to one of Adriene’s favorite restaurants, Bergamot. We each did the three course prix fixe, and although we may not have been hungry, it was still delicious. For starters I had the roasted crimson carrots with ricotta and figs, Adriene had the charcuterie. The charcuterie had small crostinis with a whole grain mustard, a salami, a country paté, and another duck liver mousse mixture. It was all quite good but I had to make sure to not think about what I was eating and just focus on flavor. I then had sea bass again, (short season!) and she had a pasta with fresh summer vegetables. Both were excellent. My fish was tender but the skin was crisp, and it had water chestnuts and a soy glaze. Hers had fresh tomatoes and zucchini with some mozarella and it was also lovely. The desserts were even delightful, despite how full we were. We had the lemon mouse atop a pistachio financier with tart cherrries and some vanilla bean ice cream, and a bourbon bête noir with pecan pralines, raspberry sorbet, and mint julep ice cream. The mousse reminded me of a cheesecake with a pistachio crust, and the bête noir of an ultra-rich brownie filled with chocolate mousse. Yum. (I also had some of the Bergamot tea)

So at this point I still have the two mini pies, lemon scone, and sfogliatella to eat, but luckily I looked at TSA regulations and baked goods can make it through security. Hurray!

New York bound tomorrow!20130723-001424.jpg20130723-001450.jpg

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