Monday, December 12, 2005

Travels with Chapstick

December 9th was Ann Marie's birthday. I went with Ellen's family to a restaurant called H2O. I had seared Chilean sea bass, which was served on top of cooked spinach and a potato pancake with a tomato-caper sauce. The Bass was very flakey and it was good. It was on the really expensive side, so I am not sure if I'll get back there anytime soon.

On Saturday, Ellen and I took my car to the Port Jefferson ferry, and took it to Bridgeport, CT and drove up to Boston to see the Boston Pops. On the drive up, we stopped at a Roy Rogers. All the Roy Rogers places on Long Island closed years ago, and I hadn't eaten in one probably since I was five years old. I was rather disappointed in my meal on Saturday, and it was, by a wide margin, the worst fast food I have ever eaten. It was only by some miracle that both of us didn't get sick from all of that disgusting grease.

But on to Boston. We stayed at the Hilton in the Back Bay area, not far from Symphony Hall. We got to the city a little early and had some time to kill. Looking trough one of those books/guides/advertisements you frequently find in hotel rooms, we decided to walk to the International Poster Gallery on Newbury Street. It turns out Boston is really cold in the winter (who would have thought that?), but we were sufficiently bundled up. What we were less prepared for was the treacherous sidewalk conditions. The main problem was stepping off the side walk into the street when crossing, where large lakes of deep slush had formed. I got a nice sneaker full of slush at one point. Some of the sidewalks also had nice layers of slush and snow packed down and dirtied by heavy foot traffic, making for an interesting walk. Newbury St. is a very interesting area and tourist destination. There are a tremendous variety of stores and boutiques packed in to the first floors and basements of brownstones and rowhouses. The International Poster Gallery is one such store. They display and sell actual vintage posters, which are in amazing condition from the looks of things. They have gigantic ones that seemed to hover around ten-thousand dollars all the way down to little ones in the hundreds of dollars, all of them vintage prints. I was really cool. We walked back trough the slush to the hotel, stopping to take a few photos as the sun set.

After we were ready to go to Symphony Hall, we decided it might not be a bad idea to take a taxi. Walking trough the Boston slush was hard enough in sneakers and boots, let alone shoes. We sat at a table in Boston Symphony Hall, and we ordered some snacks. The show was a lot of fun. They had an opera singer for some of the songs, and that was fairly amazing. There was a sing along at the end, which I tried to take part in. It seemed I knew the first few lines of each song and not much more. After that, I mumbled along when I knew the tune, but I mostly sat there quietly. Santa Claus even made a visit to the hall, carrying a big sack of what might have been his laundry. After the show, we walked back to the hotel (only a few blocks but sit very difficult in shoes). We decided we had had enough of the Boston winter, and went to the restaurant inside the hotel, Boodles.

Boodles is advertised in every hotel elevator, in several places throughout the room, and elsewhere as well. I had already known about it from my searches for brew-pubs and restaurants in the Back Bay area. We had some expensive Lobster salad sandwiches, which were awesome and worth every penny. I also had some Allagash White, a hefe weizen from Maine. It was really good. So good, in fact, that it could go toe to toe with its best Belgian or German cousins. There were even cute little pouring instructions on the bottle, to make sure you got the full flavor of the yeast that may have settled on the bottom (see Wheat Beer). Boodles is a go.

As we fell asleep (or tried to), it seemed like there was a riot going on on our floor. There must have been a wedding party. The ride home was uneventful. We didn't take the ferry on the return trip. It was a fun little excursion.

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