While we are never happy that some of our closest friends live far from us, we do like taking advantage of the built in vacation that comes when visiting them. Lauren and I were college roommates and over the years and with the distance, I can say that not only has our relationship grown stronger, but has also grown to include Kevin and her soon to be husband, Ben. Ever since our first visit to Boston, I was immediately hooked to the city and we try and go up as often a we can when rare gaps in coordinating four busy schedules occur!
Now that Kevin and I have tested the weekend trip limits- from driving to Vermont for Beer Christmas to an overnight in Disney World- Boston was easy (minus all the Connecticut traffic).
Packed and ready to go after work, we started our drive around 5PM and made great time arriving shortly after 10PM. With the promise of dive bar vibes and burgers, the granola bar for dinner had definitely worn off- Toad awaited.
The tiny whole in the wall was already packed with people but within a few minutes we were able to score one of the handful of tables. We ordered drinks and had the simple choice of food- burger or Toad burger which had the additional Toad sauce and fried onions. We all picked Toad burgers and I think I was so hungry I ate through the curried flavor of the Toad sauce that the rest of the group loved- burgers hit the spot.
As we ate, drank, and caught up, rocking the small stage was LUX the band jamming a funky, jazzy, all of the above tune. It was honestly the perfect genre for our group and reminded us a lot of the bands we saw at the Red Bean earlier this year. A saxophone, 8 string guitar, drums and a trombone- fun sound.
We headed back to the apartment and introduced Troon Brewing (since they just started canning) to Lauren and Ben- craft beer is our fifth wheel- and we were thrilled that they enjoyed. That will be a must do when they come to visit us around the holidays.
Falling asleep sitting up in the middle of our conversation, I called it a night.
After a great night of sleep… even sleeping in… we made breakfast and sat in their lovely breakfast nook with omelets, sausage and English muffins (and this boysenberry jam that I could have scooped like ice cream).
Since we decided to spend all day in the city, we embarked in full costume for Halloween weekend. Lauren had her cat ears and tail, Ben had a shark hat, and Kevin and I rocked out with these 80s rock star wigs around Boston.
Our first stop in the city was meeting on of Kevin’s work associates who took us up into the State Room building for a panoramic view of Boston.
On our way out we noticed quite a crowd around Faneuil Hall and it was clear after only a few seconds of investigating. The Halloween Pet Parade and Costume Contest was taking place and we were amazed by these creative costumes. A Starbucks cup, a pilgrim, Marilyn Monroe, Donald Trump, various super heroes, Star Wars and Disney characters, to name a few that we got glimpses of- glad we were not the only ones in costume (ha).
In our car over, I spotted a food truck that was calling my name… The Cookie Monstah. Featuring freshly made cookies and premium ice creams (from Richardson’s Farm) that offer you whichever combination of the two your heart desires. Kevin and I split a chocolate chunk cookie with “Way Milky with Milky Way” ice cream- malted light chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, Milky Way® bars, and a caramel twirl. Lauren and Ben did the same but swapped the cookie for a double chocolate cookie. For the price it was definitely a good value and the portion of ice cream and the cookie were large.
With dessert in our bellies, we made our way to the Trillium Bier Garden to indulge in a typically unobtainable delight (though we still have a bit in the refrigerator from our pit stop at the brewery!). I grabbed a white wine blend while each of them got a different beer (Kevin- Scaled Up Double IPA, Lauren- Vanilla Pot & Kettle Oatmeal Porter, Ben- Blackberry Super Soak American Sour Wheat Ale). The place was mobbed so we were happy for our standing room only space while the line for entrance into the fenced area continued to grow.
We strolled the city parks enjoying what may be the last of fall we may see- it was a gorgeous day and everyone seemed to be outside.
Demanding recaffeination, we stopped by Pavement Coffehouse for a break. I have to say, and I think we all agreed, that it was way overpriced. Kevin’s small cold brew was $4 and probably two gulps worth of liquid- it was kind of ridiculous. I was baffled at the mini plastic cup that was given to him in exchange for that much money. It also took extremely long for the other beverages to be completed. Overall disappointing and considering the coffee market is saturated, I am surprised the customers continue to support the crazy prices.
With a Halloween party in the future of the evening, we decided to grab drinks and small plates at Lolita Tequila Bar. The bar in the back had room for us to stand with a generous corner to ourselves.
- Crispy empanadas- beef & pork picadillo, monterey jack, and tomatillo salsa bottom right
- Los Tres guacamole with tortilla chips second from top right
- Fresco- tomato, roasted serrano, red onion, cilanto, and lime
- Tocino- smoky applewood bacon, pico de gallo, and cilantro
- Especial- jumbo lump crab, Maine lobster, and garlic herb butter
- Yellowtail Ceviche- tomatillo vinaigrette, fried pumpkin seeds, cara cara orange, and cilantro crema second from bottom right
Everything we ordered was delicious and the drinks followed the same pattern. Everyone tried some different things on the drink menu, my favorite was the strawberry sangria (rosé, orange blossom, mathilde peach, strawberry, organic vodka, and lemon).
It was time for the Halloween portion of our evening at one of Lauren’s coworkers place. It is safe to say this was the best executions of a “Pinterest party”- mummy hot dogs, cups of dirt, Frankenstein guacamole, one eyed cupcakes, and petri dish jello shots. Very impressive dedicate to theme.
Since we were not going to the DJ club with the group, we walked around noticing the lines to get into the bars were kind of ridiculous, not to mention who knows what kind of cover was on tonight. Instead, we opted for our favorite comfort food at Saus for hand-cut fries and innovative dipping sauces made from scratch.
- Basket of hand-cut fries with three dipping sauces: truffle ketchup, secret saus, and beer mustard far left
- Poutine topped with local cheddar curds and Saus gravy bottom middle
- Crispy chicken sandwhichs with beer brined chicken breast, scallion slaw, dill pickles, Saus mayo on a Central Bakery bun top middle left, far right
- Waffle with salted caramel saus top middle right
Yes, everything is as great as it sounds. I remember out first time here, which was actually on our first trip to Boston, and it remains perfect sober (or drunk as most of the people coming in tonight) comfort food.
Back at the apartment, the boys had a nice guitar jam session before we all passed out as it was way past all of our bed times.
Sleeping in was an understatement- we over slept until almost 10AM (insane!). A quick slice of toast with that delicious boysenberry jam and we were off to our 12PM activity.
The Taza Chocolate Factory was a short drive away and offer tours of their chocolate making process of making stone ground chocolate. The tour was very informative covering all the stages including the cacao pods and beans, fermentation, the purchasing of the beans, and the transformation of the beans into chocolate. Along with the education came a lot of chocolate samples comparing the different percentages of dark chocolate and the different processes that created alternative textures. And the samples were very generous.
While chocolate for breakfast is never a bad thing, we were feeling the hunger pains for more sustenance and the nearby All Star Sandwich Bar was calling us in. Offering all sorts of sandwich varietals, it was the perfect lunch option.
- Kevin ordered a cup of Texas State Penn chili, perfect for the cold rainy day bottom left
- For his sandwich Kevin got beef on wech with house roasted beef, extra hot horseradish, real au jus on a kimmelweck bun bottom middle
- I ordered the croque monsieur with baked ham, Swiss cheese, bechamel sauce, red onion jam and Dijon mustard on grilled rustic white bottom right
- Ben ordered the BBQ cheddar burger with BBQ rubbed grilled all beef patty, apple-wood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, fried onion rings and BBQ sauce on a grilled sesame brioche roll top right
- Lauren ordered the veggie cubano with mojo marinated grilled eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, portobello mushrooms, Swiss cheese, sliced dill pickle, yellow-Dijon mustard and cilantro aioli pressed on french bread top middle
We all really enjoyed our sandwiches and would happily check this place out again in the future- the menu had a lot of awesome items to chose from.
As Sunday afternoon rolled around, it was time for us to head back south for a dreary drive through the tropical storm plummeting the northeast coast. A successful Halloween weekend trip in the books!