Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boston's North End

Boston is such a charming city! It's been a few years since I've traveled to the east coast but this city did not disappoint. In particular, I will be focusing on the North End of Boston in this post because I was surprised to find out that some of Boston's best eats were located in this part of town.

On our second day in Boston, we decided to take the "T" a couple of stops east of downtown Boston into the North End. I was so excited to be in Boston and could not wait to go exploring. We or rather I was also on the hunt for some delicious pre-race carb. The "T" was very crowded that day. I think maybe because of all of us tourist trying to get around Boston. It was standing room only by the time we hopped on. I don't use public transportation too much here in Socal so it is always an interesting experience when I have to use the subway system in other states. Apparently, I'm not very stable on my feet because everytime the train came to a stop I would almost fall over. I guess I'm also pretty fragile because I got motion sickness. Eventually, we do make it there despite my dramatic recount.

The street is called Hanover and it runs through Boston's Little Italy. Who knew that one could find some of the best Italian food and pastries this side of the Atlantic here in Boston. Not me! I mean baked beans, seafood and cream pies...yes...but Italian food as good as something you can get from the motherland? That just sounds like something I have to see taste to believe.

One of the first things we see getting out of the subway was this group of children playing violins at a small park as a part of some sort of fundraiser. They started to play Canon in D so we stopped to listen because my hubby loves that piece. They were so adorable and talented!

We walked into a deli which was located just across from where the kids were playing their violins. It was filled with meats and cheeses, fresh and dry pastas and all sorts of other yummy Italian groceries but we were on vacation and our hotel room did not include a kitchenette so we didn't buy anything but it smelled amazing in there.

Then we walked over to Hanover street.

Our first stop was Mike's Pastry. They are known all throughout the land for their amazing cannolis. I mean just look at that line to get into the store.

It was equally crazy on the inside!

They are a full blown bakery...

...but cannolis are what 'brings all the boys and girls to this yard'! I have to confess that I'm not a big cannoli fan. Please don't hate me if you are. I mean it's just cream in a pastry shell but even I have to admit that the cannolis at Mike's Pastry was out of this world. First, I can tell that they make the pastry fresh in the store because it was crunchy and it tasted fresh. Second, the cream filling had this incredible richness and there was lots of it. We selected the pistaschio crusted cannoli and as soon as I took a bite I understood why there is always a line to get into the store. Bellissima!

After our cannoli feast, we decided to walk over to the Paul Revere Mall not to be confused by a shopping mall. It's more like a side street. We lingered around this statue for a bit taking photos. I think there was a museum at the end of the mall but we decided to skip it.

Around lunchtime, the aroma of Italian food start to waft through the crisp air of a beautiful Boston spring day. We started to get hungry. Sister K turns to me and asked if I was in the mood for a delicious Italian sub...well yeah...who wouldn't? She tells me that Monica's Salumeria, which was fairly close to where we were standing at the time, made one of the best Italian sandwiches around. It was indeed close by but it took us quite some time to find it because they had recently moved a couple of shops down from where they use to be located.

Let me tell you that this sandwich was worth the walk. I though it was wonderful! The bread was not too hard or soft. The meats and cheeses were fresh and paired perfectly together. We asked for no lettuce because we don't like lettuce but I insisted on keeping the tomatoes against Sister K's wishes because I love them, even if they are a bit out of season. There was no seating inside or outside the deli so we took our sandwiches back to the Paul Revere Mall and parked ourselves on a stone bench against some old building and ate our sandwiches. We must have really been into our sandwiches because a couple of groups of passer-by-ers came up to us to ask where we got the sandwiches. Yeah it was that good!

After lunch, the sun somehow disappeared from the sky and us thin-blooded West coasters started to get cold. We ducked into Caffe Vittoria to get some warm drinks to bring some color back to our cheeks. We would never survive a winter here I thought to myself. I think that was one of the reasons why my parents moved away from here many years ago. I had on a big coat with layers and a scarf and was still shaking in my boots. I do not like the cold.

But these drinks fixed us right up! What a delicious day that was! I wish I was back on Hanover street now.


Nobel4Lit said...

I think I told you this was the only part of Boston that I got to see... So worth it! I was dumb and didn't get cannoli for the same reason as you.

Pam said...

We never made it to the North End. I'd really like to go back to Boston next year but, we'll see. Would you believe me if I said I never tried a cannoli before? When you mentioned Mike's Pastry I thought I'd try my first one there. Have a great weekend my friend. :)