Boston Eats

I’ve been living in Boston for a solid few months now, and I’ve managed to make some good food finds. My busy class schedule and decreased budget has led to me eating out far less than I was last year in Jerusalem, but Noah and I have still had the occasional meal out!

One of the most exciting food finds in the city is the newly-opened Boston Public Market. Opening just this past summer, the Boston Public Market is an indoor food hall featuring local vendors. There are produce, meat, and cheese vendors as well as specialty food shops and a variety of prepared food stalls. The inside of the Market is busy and colorful with seating areas smattered throughout the floor plan:

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It was hard to choose what to get for lunch, but eventually Noah and I settled on some top-notch items. Noah got a mac and cheese from the Cellars at Jasper Hills (from Vermont!) stall:

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I ordered a smoked bluefish roll from the Boston Smoked Fish Company:

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The sandwich was messy – but delicious! Noah and I also shared a brown-butter hazelnut crunch Union Square Donut.

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Union Square Donuts is based in…you guessed it!…Union Square in Somerville, and it is an extremely popular, local donut shop with lots of funky flavors. The donut was certainly good, although I don’t think donuts are my favorite sweet treat.

Noah and I also discovered a great diner in Watertown – the Deluxe Town Diner. We went to Deluxe Town Diner in a little bit of a pinch. Friends were in town visiting and we had ignorantly assumed that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a brunch spot in Cambridge without a two-hour wait. Turns out reservations are a must, and we had to drive out to Watertown to find good food with friendly wait-times. By the time we were seated, our brunch had turned into lunch time, so everyone was hungry! We ordered coffees and milkshakes to start:

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Followed by an assortment of eggs, potatoes, toasts, and pancakes:

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So so so good. I would love to go back here from another brunch!

Speaking of brunch, after the failed attempts to go to a Cambridge brunch (as described above), Noah and I were eager to try one of the places we had originally intended to go to. On top of my brunch-planning game now, I made a reservation at Cafe Luna for a couple weeks ahead. When we eventually had a meal there, it was clear why it’s so hard to get in! The food is great, but the space is also pretty small so there’s not a ton of table turnover. Noah and I both ordered egg dishes and shared a half order of stuffed french toast (with lots of fresh berries!).

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Definitely another winner!

I’ve also had some great dinners in the area. Two of my favorites places so far are just around the corner from mine and Noah’s apartment. The first is Cambridge Common. It’s a very casual bar/restaurant with really high quality, homey dishes. Noah and I ordered a salmon and rice dish, cheese ravioli in a pesto sauce, and sweet potato fries to share:

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The other nearby gem is Giulia. Giulia is an Italian restaurant that is a bit more fancy but still reasonably priced. I would also generally suggest a reservation to eat there (we were lucky to get a seat at the bar!). 

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We shared pasta and fish (which was amazing!):

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And since we were celebrating (first week of the semester!), we splurged for dessert with a chocolate torte and affogato (ice cream and espresso):

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Giulia was an instant favorite for me – definitely a great date night locale.

Finally, City Girl Cafe in Inman Square was another instant favorite. The menu at City Girl is on the shorter side, but all of the dishes looked really good and it was hard to make an order decision. I went with a friend who recommended it, and we enjoyed sharing a few dishes: fried ravioli, a quinoa/vegetable bowl, and Nicoise salad:

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And…although it’s not really a restaurant, Noah and I had a fun date night at the Downeast Cider House cidery. We had a tour of the cidery (complete with samples!) and then enjoyed a couple glasses of classic and pumpkin Downeast Cider.

These are the fermentation barrels:

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And the bottling machinery:

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Enjoying cider! Can you spot the photo bomber??:

 

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Great times eating and drinking around Boston!

 

 

Quick Trip to Montreal, part 2

If you missed the first Montreal post, check it out here! The first full day in Montreal was Monday, and we woke up bright and early to grab breakfast at the hotel and then set out for a full day of exploration. The hotel restaurant was very cute, and we snagged a table right by the window:

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Breakfast included coffee, juice, bread, fruit or yogurt, and a choice of eggs, omelette, crepes, or french toast. I got the vegetable omelette and Noah ordered crepes:

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After breakfast, we set out for a walking tour of Old Montreal. Noah was the guide, using the guide book borrowed from his parents. We visited the Montreal Bank (the oldest one in the city!):

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The red building on the left side of the picture below was Montreal’s first sky-scraper, called the Ediface New York Life:

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While its eight stories were a wonder at the time of its being built, it’s now been outdone by the Ediface Aldred on the right (resembling the Empire State Building – both of which were completed in 1931).

The tour also included Montreal’s Notre Dame:

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And City Hall:

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Unpictured tour stops include the Old Courthouse, some street markets (which were pretty deserted on the drizzly morning of our adventure), and a few more churches. Noah and I were excited to see a cycle track bike lane on one of the roads:

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We finished the tour by the Old Port on the waterfront. We could see Habitat 67 across the water, a distinctive housing project built for the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal:

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It’s pretty far away in the photo above, so here are a couple other pics (not from me) that give you a better idea of its look:

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We also had a good view of some grain storage along the water:

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After a busy morning of exploration, Noah and I were excited to recharge with lunch. We headed to the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood for food and some additional exploration. Plateau Mont-Royal is an area full of shops, restaurants, and hints to the immigrant influences in Montreal. One such hint is an abundance of Jewish-style delis, restaurants, and smoked meats. Noah and I went to Beauty’s for lunch, a luncheonette opened in 1942 by Jewish immigrants in what was – at the time – the heart of Montreal’s Jewish garment district. 70 years later, Hymie (the restaurant founder in 1942) is still there, showing customers to their table himself! Noah and I had a wonderful lunch there before heading out for more exploration:

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In the afternoon, we explored Montreal’s Underground City – a system of tunnels that connects buildings across the city. In reality, it’s partially underground and partially above, but it’s a fun/useful way to help city residents escape the cold throughout the winter! Some parts of the tunnel system are fairly sparse:

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But in other areas the tunnels open up into shopping malls! We found this cool water fountain display in the middle of a mall area while we were exploring:

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Our day ended with a trip to a Montreal movie theater to watch the new Hunger Games movie (seriously, SO GOOD! Probably the best movie in the series) and a quick dinner of pizza and salmon:

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Montreal was the perfect vacation to celebrate the end of my semester and to spend some quality time with Noah before I headed to Israel for 2+ weeks. Speaking of…I am actually writing this from a Jerusalem cafe! It feels great to be back in Israel and this beloved city of gold. 🙂 More posts about Israel coming soon!

 

Quick Trip to Montreal, part 1

Noah and I have wanted to take a trip to Montreal for months. Noah had some childhood memories from visiting there in the past, and I had never been, so we thought it would be a great spot for a quick, fun getaway! Plus, now that we’re in our new home, we are not that far from Montreal. The trip didn’t take much planning because we could just hop in the car and drive there (don’t forget the passports!). On the way to Montreal, we were also able to stop in Montpelier and see Noah’s parents which was lovely – it’s so great to live near family!

We arrived to Montreal in the mid-afternoon and immediately headed to the Biodome. The Biodome is in the Olympic Park and is basically a zoo that is structured around different habitats. The first habitat is a tropical rainforest:

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The tropical rainforest featured a lot of fish, birds, alligators, frogs, and this pretty funky looking capybara:

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FROGS:

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The next habitat was the Laurentian Maple Forest – it was pretty brisk in the forest! There were otters, beavers, and this very active lynx:

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Plus, more birds:

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The other two habitats were the Gulf of St. Lawrence (lots of fish!) and the Labrador Coast (penguins!). I must have been so enthralled by those exhibits that I didn’t take any photos…sorry!

After the Biodome we walked around the Olympic Park a bit.

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The highlight of the park exploration was going to the top of the Montreal Tower (pictured above). Noah and me waiting for the funicular to start moving:

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…and we’re off!:

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Awesome views of the city:

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Photo op:

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After leaving Olympic Park, we checked into our hotel and then did some research to figure out where to go to dinner. We stayed at the Auberge Bonaparte – a lovely inn that Noah found. The room was spacious, clean, and comfortable, and the stay included a delicious breakfast each day at the hotel’s restaurant. Based on Yelp reviews and a guide book that Noah and I borrowed from his parents, we decided to go to Holder for dinner. Holy cow, this was a DELICIOUS meal! It was a little on the expensive side…but – hey – vacation, right??

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I ordered salmon and Noah had steak – we both loved our meals!

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And we couldn’t say no to dessert:

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Overall, a pretty decadent meal, but so very worth a splurge.

Our first night in Montreal was also the last night of Chanukah, and we discovered this public menorah in a square near our hotel:

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Happy 8th night!

Stay tuned for another post about the second half of the trip soon!

 

New Master Cook

Since my grad school schedule has been busy and I had class into the evening a few nights a week, Noah has been cooking more the past few months. And he is my new favorite cook! Noah has some classic dishes – such as tuna pasta – that he likes making all the time…

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But he’s also been trying his hand at some more challenging dishes – such as pizza! Noah makes the dough from scratch (yum!) and has been experimenting with different topping levels and baking methods. For Chanukah, he got a pizza stone (thanks Paul and Eve!) and the most recent pizza was oh so crispy! The role of the stone is to absorb heat in the oven prior to putting the pizza on top, so then the pizza crust cooks evenly and quickly from underneath – just like a brick pizza oven would do!

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Since we’ve been missing Israeli cuisine, it’s also been good to have Noah’s homemade shakshuka:

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Finally, this beet “reuben” was seriously one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had – roasted beets with melted swiss, sauerkraut, and russian dressing on a baguette:

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Thanks for all the great meals, Noah! I appreciate all the delicious food. 🙂

Holiday Spirit – Happy Chanukah!

Now that we’re in the midst of this year’s “holiday season,” the Chanukah lights have been sparkling at our house:

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Also, Noah gave me this great new sweatshirt as a Chanukah gift!:

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Even though the winter holidays are starting, my fall hiatus from blogging left a few fall holidays unaccounted for. The definite highlight of the fall holidays for me was Sukkot. Noah and I helped to build a sukkah at a friend’s house. We and few others spent the afternoon assembling/decorating the sukkah, and then we all enjoyed a wonderful meal outside together when the holiday started. I got some great photos of the sukkah-building process progressing throughout the afternoon. It started with the frame:

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Then we put up the walls and some lights:

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And finally we added the skach (the vegetation that covers the roof of the sukkah – skach must cover the majority of the roof but leave enough space left so you can see the sunshine and stars) and decorations!:

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Great holiday fun. 🙂

The last holiday to share a photo from is Halloween….Noah came back from a work trip just in time for Halloween, so we celebrated our reunion with some pumpkin carving:

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SpoOoOoOoOoOoOoky!!!

On that note, hag orim sameach (happy Festival or Lights), and hopefully I’ll check in again soon with some posts about our impromptu 3-day trip to Montreal (we’re leaving in the morning!!!).

Making A Home

This post is WAY overdue. So are a lot of posts…but the first term of grad school has really been a time suck. I’ve been missing my blogging outlets though, so hopefully I will have some time to catch up and get back into the blogging game soon! In my hiatus from blogging, Noah and I have moved to a wonderful apartment in Cambridge where we have what now feels a lot like a home! Crazy, huh?!?!

Moving itself was insane – we had a pretty full truck of things to move from storage in Vermont (thanks Paul and Eve!!) to our new apartment in Cambridge (the first picture below is Noah in the truck after we’d already unloaded a lot of stuff):

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Moving all the stuff out of the truck felt like a lot of work, but after everything was inside we realized the work had only begun! Where to put everything?!?!

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Slowly but surely, we started finding spots for everything, and Noah was a real star assembling and putting together all of our IKEA furniture:

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Unfortunately, our IKEA bed delivery couldn’t come until a few days until after we moved, so we had a few nights on an air mattress:

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We also discovered that moving takes approximately one gillion trips to Target:

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Probably the most eventful thing to occur during our move was the unfortunately-timed, mysterious activation of a deadlock in our front door to which there is no key. We had to wait for almost two hours to get in while the building manager sent someone who then eventually called a locksmith (pictured below) to let us in. At the time, it felt pretty frustrating because we were in the midst of moving things in from the van and trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but in hindsight it’s pretty silly and a good story!

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It was also a lot of fun to unpack and find all of our great stuff that had been in storage for a while when we were in Israel…such as our Dominion game collection!

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The last great moving success that I’ll mention was our fortuitous inheritance of this bike rack (please ignore the finger in the bottom of the picture frame…):

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When Noah and I visited the apartment as perspective buyers a couple months before moving in, we oohed and aahed at the bike rack in the former tenants foyer – it looked so cool and good at space saving! In between the time that we visited the apartment and moved in, we talked several times about how neat the rack was and how maybe we should try to buy one like it. Then, the night we moved in, after the locksmith extravaganza and an overall stressful day, we happened to notice some pieces of metal arranged in a weird way near the trashcan outside of the apartment building. On closer inspection….we realized that it was the disassembled bike rack! Miracle of miracles! Obviously, we excitedly gathered the pieces and reinstalled it in our foyer for our own purposes. YAY! All in all, a nice treat for a strenuous move-in day. 🙂

LegoLand: Adult Night

In the great landscape of injustices, the exclusion of adults from LegoLand unless they are accompanied by a child is pretty minimal. Nonetheless, it’s still pretty disappointing. Especially if you love Legos.

Noah has always been a big Lego fan and had mentioned his dismay at LegoLand’s draconian age restrictions a few times. So, imagine my excitement when I discovered that the LegoLand Discovery Center in Somerville has a solution to this very matter – Adult Night!

Yes, it is true. Once a month, on the third Wednesday of the month, you and all your childless, adult friends can release your inner master builder and go to LegoLand. And, it gets better. Every month there is a different theme for adult night. Last month, in November, the theme was Star Wars. This was basic math to me…. LEGOS + STAR WARS = BEST DATE NIGHT EVER. I kept the details of date night revealed from Noah for a little while but eventually couldn’t keep my excitement contained. Needless to say, he was also very excited.

A few Wednesdays ago the day finally came and we met after school/work at LegoLand.

DREAM.COME.TRUE.

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After getting inside, we immediately checked out the Lego mini-world of Boston. It was awesome! There were sports stadiums…

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…and historic buildings/landmarks…

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…and, in line with the Star Wars theme, there were some Star Wars figurines mixed into the mini-world, such as these little dudes coming up from the Charles River (sorry the pictures are blurry! The room was a bit dark and the figurines were small!).

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After thoroughly checking out the mini-world, we went to explore the rest of LegoLand. There was a master builder room where we could play around making our own Lego creations, a bunch of cool Lego structures/statues…

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…a few rides, including one where we got to shoot laser guns at targets to earn points. Noah beat me, unfortunately. We also watched a 3D Lego movie!

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One of the most fun touches of LegoLand was the presence of some members of the 501st Legion (Star Wars fan/costume club). They were floating around the adult night. #jus’chillen

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We made sure to snap a few pics with Darth Vader before we left:

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All in all, LegoLand Adult Night was great fun – A++ for anyone looking for a date night or childhood getaway. We even saw an adult birthday party while we were there!