When on the East Coast: EAT LOBSTER!
But there’s a whole lot o’ day to live and work up an East Coast appetite before we get to that lobster!
Morning Coffee with Howie!
The day was so full, such wild fun, so information packed, and absolutely perfect in every way! First, the Boston Duck Tour with HOWIE How-Are-Ya?! Vanja and I always take a tour of each city we visit to get a sense of where things are road and space wise, and usually at least one walking tour to get a local hands-on perspective of the old town, or a specific cultural area. This time, we thought the Duck Tour would be a blast for our family, and it was! It was totally because of our guide, Howie, who is truly worth more than his weight in gold. If you go, ask for Howie.
The Freedom Trail was next
Boston is the historic centre of the USA, and an important part of our history, as Canadians. I was enthralled with the major sites along the trail that I have learned about, and taught about, all of my life:
- The Granary Burying Ground is the resting place of three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine. Not only that, but the victims of the Boston Massacre and Christopher Snider, a 12-year-old boy killed by a British soldier 11 days before the massacre, are also buried there along with Elizabeth Vergoose (1690), our Mother Goose! (And, how can one separate history and culture from food? Impossible! just across the street, and down a bit is the Omni Parker House Hotel that sells Boston Cream Pie to go. Yeah! Of course, we had to get one for our lunch planned at Quincy Market!)
- The former site of the Old Corner Bookstore, built in 1712 as an apothecary shop, is occupied by a jewellery store today.The Scarlet Letter, Walden , and the Atlantic Monthly magazine were all published there, and the building was an informal meeting place for many famous authors such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Charles Dickens. I definitely took some moments on the corner there, letting my mind go back in time. I looked at the same blue sky, and felt the same sun warm my cheeks. And I smiled, also inspired.
- The Old South Meeting House, built in 1729, was a Puritan house and is the site of where the Boston Tea Party began and where there are often enactments of that event.
- The Boston Massacre Site is directly in front of the Old State House commemorated by a circle of cobblestones which I actually MISSED seeing! I stood on that spot in the middle of the traffic and foot pedestrians feeling the stillness in the air. Tensions between the colonists and British soldiers erupted on March 5, 1770. The soldiers fired into the crowd and killed five colonists. It was the catalyst for much to come.
A treat along the trail! YUM.
And a little while later we came to Quincy Market and I had my “œChowda!”. (another entry)
- The Paul Revere House is the oldest building in downtown Boston, and was the home of silversmith Paul Revere from 1770 to 1800 remembered by me for his famous “œmidnight ride”.
- The USS Constitution was first launched in 1797 and was one of six ships ordered for construction by George Washington and defeated the British during the War of 1812. I wanted to play dress-up as soon as I stepped on the ship. Time machines DO exist!
We reached the end of the Freedom Trail, The Bunker Hill Monument, and actually had a good couple of hours before we planned to meet everyone for dinner. Back to the North End! Fun! Fun! Fun!”¦and on the way back, we spotted where we would be having dinner in a couple of nights. We walked right by Todd English’s Olives as we were leaving Charlestown, and so knew exactly where we would be heading on Monday evening, but for now,”¦“¦ a cocktail and some oysters at Union Oyster House, the country’s oldest restaurant. Just a nibble before running in the rain to the harbour to find the No Name Restaurant. And, yes, when we finally flagged a taxi for what we found to be the last two blocks of our “œwalk”, even he knew where the “œNo Name” was. Everyone did. (The oysters were indescribably fresh!)
TA-DA! An Evening at the NO NAME Restaurant on the Boston Harbour.
We arrived soaked, but early. The street was bare, and quiet. No cars. No one anywhere. Just some cement steps up to a walk way in what appeared to be an industrial area. We paid the taxi, skipped up the steps, and then I actually looked back to ask him if we were really going the right way, but he was gone. Then we saw a small, discreet sign, and opened the door to a completely empty restaurant. “œUpstairs” is what I took the nudge and nod to mean as the elderly woman looked up at us. There was a steep flight of stairs, so we went up. My curiosity was seriously heightened at this time, as I could not imagine why the entire place would be empty and they would be seating us upstairs. As soon as we reached the top, we discovered it was a landing, and then could see a small line up ahead. I forged on past it to see what was there.
What was there? A MAMMOTH room, every table filled with people seated in a rustic atmosphere, eating seafood. Walls were plastered with photos of the rich and famous (and I mean, FAMOUS) who had eaten here over the years. The same young man pictured on the wall in his 20’s was our host, in his 50’s. “œHow many”? “œSix.” “Everyone with you?” “œNo.” (I was used to this question by now. There was no going ahead to get a table in this town.) “œYou’ll have to wait “˜til they come.” We know. We know. People watching is fun. We enjoyed that for about a minute and then spotted a bar at the very back. “Can we have a drink at the bar and wait for our party to join us?” I knew he’d agree. I just glanced at the menu, ordered my diet coke when everyone arrived. That was fast!
Before we knew it, we were at a table, seated and served! Did we order? Yes, and within seconds, the food arrive. Ok, within minutes, but very few. Our waiter was hilarious. We asked him if he knew Howie. We were convinced they were related. See him tying up my bib. He got it on me before he even knew what I was having. I guess after all these years of waiting tables, he just knew that I needed massive coverage, no matter what I ordered. It was a fun, fun, evening. Again, primarily due to the jovial waiter, and the joy the fullness of our day had left us with. The food?
Mom’s haddock was heavenly. It was clearly fresh before being cooked that evening, and absolutely divine.
Ragan’s scallops? Well, what can I say? They were scallops. Frozen, for sure, thawed, and fried. She was happy.
Vanja’s calamari was really tasty. He was in heaven. It was tender, and exactly as he hoped it would be
My devoted waiter had me believing that the clam chowder and deep fried nuggets of some kind of fish were complimentary. I was so touched, and just full of myself enough not to question his “œgift”. It was when I read the menu again at the end of the evening I saw that they came with my meal. Blush! Anyway, The chowder was extremely delicious, but look at how rich it is?
Vanja was served deep fried clams by accident, so I got a little photo of them before they were whisked away. I had never seen anything like this before. I would have liked to have tried one. But, I think that is all. Each dish came with a huge side of coleslaw and massive pieces of garlic toast. You won’t go hungry at the No Name!
Lauren’s dish, I think was the best. She got the mixed seafood platter. Lobster, shrimp, and scallops. Her lobster appeared more tender, fresher, and more succulent than mine tasted. I was so happy to see everyone have such a wonderful time. It was too bad Jason stayed home to rest up for the next day as he was catching a cold.
I had the traditional lobster-in-the-shell dinner. Had I been more knowledgeable about the fishing industry, I may have ordered the haddock. Of course, it was not lobster season. Of course, it was frozen. I did not tell anyone at my table that as I was cracking and sucking on the “œsucculent “œshell, that the predominant flavour was freezer burn. Oh, well. The experience was still so memorable. We all had buckets of fun. I am still looking for that little hide-a-way East Coast restaurant that seats under 20, and serves fresh lobster right on a basin on a plastic table cloth, or just any place that serves fresh lobster. I think they have all been discovered, like this one has. Oh, my gosh, has this place had its hey-day. Sometimes it is still a whole lot of fun to spend some time with someone who has been around the block a time or two. The No Name is just like that. It has been around the block for more than a year or two”¦ since the “˜70’s actually. It is old, tired, worn, and not at all as fresh as it used to be. Neither is the food, I imagine. But, it still knows how to have a good time, and thought we may not be back, we shall never forget.
My gals are great sports, aren’t they? Lobster, oysters, haddock, clams”¦ not to be missed on the East Coast.