Hello from Boston (Newton, at the moment, if we’re being technical)!
I planned to update this at the end of my week in Boston with descriptions of amazing food and some pictures, but then it occurred to me that I can’t wait that long or I’ll forget half of what I ate. Also, Dan is watching the Stanley Cup game and I need to babble about food!
I got in two days ago (6/13) around dinnertime. Dan’s mom made flank steak with fresh tomatoes and peppers from the garden, served over brown rice (yummy). We took the T into Boston to meet my brother for drinks a bit later and went to the Charlesmark Hotel. While Jonah and Dan drank some ridiculous concoction with Patron XO Cafe and vodka (too strong for a lightweight like me), I tried an espresso/chocolate martini (it had coffee beans on top! So cute!) and a Negroni, which is gin, campari, bitters, etc. Both delicious, but I made the boys help me finish them. :)
So yesterday (6/14) was my 22nd birthday! Dan and I took the T into Boston and met a maintenance guy at Jonah’s apartment (he forgot his keys there). We went on a swan boat ride at the Public Garden and then shopped on Newbury Street forever. I bought a shirt at Marshall’s and some stuff at Forever 21 (my favorite store). The Forever 21 store was 4 stories and the line for the fitting room took over ten minutes…ridiculous!
I also tried Pinkberry frozen yogurt for the first time — coconut flavored, with mango, raspberries and blueberries. The fruit was good, as was the yogurt, but overall I think it was a bit overrated. So we shopped and killed time for awhile before heading to Cambridge, where we shopped at the Cambridgeside Galleria mall and met Jonah for dinner at The Helmand, an Afghani restaurant.
Now, I’ve never had Afghani food before. My brother loves it and he took my dad there when he visited Boston recently. We ended up ordering three appetizers, a carafe of house red wine, and three entrees, in addition to the bread. So much food! I’m not sure I can do it justice from memory, so I’m using the menu to refresh my memory about what exactly was in each dish (and maybe copy the descriptions):
So the bread was similar to a flat sourdough focaccia, I would say. They baked it in a brick oven right in view of the dining area and served it with three dipping sauces: a yogurt-mint sauce (similar to raita or tzatziki), cilantro-vinegar, and hot chili pepper. All three were delicious. I tried not to fill up on the bread! Then the appetizers arrived. We had kaddo (“pan-fried baked baby pumpkin seasoned w/sugar & served on yogurt and garlic sauce, Topped with ground beef sauce”). This dish blew my mind. It sounded really strange and was so, so delicious. We also had mantwo (“homemade pastry shells filled with onions and beef. Served on yogurt and topped with carrots, yellow split peas and beef sauce”) and sabzi (“spinach sauteed with onions, garlic, salt and black pepper”).
The entrees were called qabelee (“pallow rice baked with chunks of lamb tenderloin, raisins and glazed julienne of carrots”), chowpan (“Half Rack of Lamb marinated, grilled and served on a bed of Afghan bread with sauteed eggplant and pallow rice”) and Ma-He Berian (“filet of trout pan fried, served with sauteed eggplant and rice seasoned with dates and walnuts). SO GOOD. Pallow rice is one of two ways they prepare rice (“rice boiled then drained of water, seasoned with canola oil,cardomum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin seed and black pepper and then baked”). So we were stuffed to the gills and then got back to Dan’s and had a cake that his mom bought — really dense dark chocolate with some fruit filling, maybe raspberry?
That brings us to today. We ate brunch before we left Newton and then shopped on Washington Street for a few hours. By four pm, we were both hungry and decided to split summer rolls and a shrimp vermicelli entree for a late lunch at Pho Pasteur. I only remembered to take a picture when we had finished the meal…oops. Afterward, we continued shopping before taking the T back to Newton and going to dinner at C. Tsar’s Mediterranean Bistro with Dan’s parents. Dan and I split a Greek salad to start, then had shrimp/asparagus/caramelized onion/fontina flatbread pizza and pasta with white beans, broccoli rabe and homemade chicken sausage. Unfortunately we barely made a dent in our entrees but made up for it when we got home by having more of the delicious birthday cake. :)
That brings us up to speed! More foodie descriptions and maybe some pictures tomorrow (there are some on my Facebook already). We’re planning to go for a run at the track, shop in Newton, and then go to dinner at Tantric India Bistro before going to the Boston Pops. Julia Murney is the guest artist for a Broadway-themed evening…I’m incredibly excited!