Our second day in Boston began at Sofra, a Turkish bakery and cafe in Cambridge. I had thick, creamy yogurt with layers of rich, slightly bitter, apricot preserves, and grano (similar to wheat berries). I ate every single bit. The real star of the show was the spiced donut, covered in a thin layer of vanilla icing, toasted coconut, and sprinkled with cumin.
No one else thought it was the best breakfast they'd ever had, but then on the way out we saw all of these amazing cast iron skillets full of something tomatoey, with some greens, and an egg on top. I don't think we knew exactly what to order, and the place was so packed that we felt super rushed when it was our turn. Plus I didn't get a good chance to look at all of their spices and other goodies on those shelves.
We ventured over to Blue Hills Reservation for a morning hike. I half expected to see a small elfish creature scatter in front of us and run back into a small abode in a large tree trunk. (I was instantly taken back to a book I read in Elementary School called The Ancient One.)
There are trails for hikers of all ages and abilities! We ended up trying out parts of several different trails. Two of them were quite difficult. A wall of seemingly vertical rocks led us to the highest point of the park where we saw a spectacular skyline view of Boston, including the harbor. The other one was a staircase of granite colored stairs wrapped around a giant slab of rock. I definitely plan to come back with more water, better shoes, and enough time to explore the reservation.
That evening we walked along the second part of The Freedom Trail, which is probably the most publicized touristy 'thing to do' in Boston, aside from the swan boats. We ventured through Faneuil Hall which served as the meeting place where oratories inspired Americans to seek independence from the British. (Thats the coolest part of the building, to be honest, unless you like to fill your house up with anything and everything that says Boston) If you love seafood (Chris and I do not), you must keep walking out the back of Faneuil Hall and into Quincy Market. According to my Boston-born friends, this is a great place for lobster rolls and clams! Truth be told, I thought it resembled a normal food court and was raring to get the heck out of there. Too many slow walkers and people trying to stop to read menus.
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park is a beautiful area worthy of a picnic and some people watching. There is a park and lots of room for kids (or adults) to run around and play. The waterfront area is also a prime location for engagement and senior photos. Keep your eyes peeled for the original poses.
I saw some of the most beautiful sail boats I've ever seen in my life at Boston Harbor.
From there, we walked to Boston's North End, passing the loveliest waterfront apartments and fervent window flower boxes. (You might be tempted to call this area of Boston 'Little Italy'. DON'T DO IT. You will instantly be recognized as an outsider.) Italian immigrants started to arrive in this area around 1860. During 1880 - 1900, the numbers of Italians skyrocketed, and and the neighborhoods could soon be segregated by the settlers original Italian regions, Sicily, Milan, Genoa, and Naples. By 1930, the area was inhabited by almost 100% Italians. There are beautiful Italian restaurants lining the streets, bakeries with lines out the door, deli's with cases full of meats and antipasti options.
For dinner we walked over to Barcelona. This was my favorite dining experience in Boston. Flour does not count because they are so different from each other.
We ordered a variety of tapas, and I was blown away. Vegetarians, you will most definitely be delighted. The two best tapas dishes we ordered were vegetarian.
The first dish that arrived at our table involved wedges of heirloom tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, topped with thinly shaved slices of pecorino. The tomatoes were just barely sweet and the cheese added a perfect amount of sharpness and saltiness.
The second dish was Spinach and Chickpea Cazuela. I don't usually like dips, but I do like to try new things, and I am so glad I did! Creamy without cream, warm, hearty, smoky, with a little kick. This was on my list of things to recreate when I get home!
Now. Dessert. Not something I would ever order but was blown away. Dulce de Leche Bocadillas. ]A 'bocadilla' is a spanish sandwich, in this case it was 2 tiny sugar cookies with rich, creamy dulce de lece filling, sprinkled with large flakes of sea salt. The perfect amount of dessert. Also on my list of things to try and recreate! Barcelona Wine Bar needs to be on the top of every 'Where to Eat in Boston' list!!
Stay tuned for inspired recipe recreations!!!
What are your favorite things to do in Boston??? Leave me a comment below!!