Boston Eats: Chowda, Cannoli & that Elusive Donut...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Because every trip I take seems to turn into a foodie trip, I thought I'd share some of the delicious eats I encountered on a recent trip to the beautiful city of Boston!

Before arriving in Boston, I wasn't really sure what the largest city in New England had to offer up besides seafood. I mean Chicago has deep dish pizza, Philadelphia has cheesesteak, but what else did Boston own the bragging rights to?

After a little online digging and a lot of hitting the streets and taste testing, it turns out there are so many local gems that Boston can be proud of. Here are some of the ones I discovered and at the end of this list, some of the spots I missed but will need to save for my next trip!

A visit to Boston wouldn't be complete without a cup of clam chowda! We stopped by Quincy Market where the chowder competition is fierce, eventually settling on a giant bread bowl from the award-winning Boston Chowda Co. Made with local surf clams, clam broth, fresh cream and hand-cut potatoes, the soup was rich and filling making it hard to want to share this New England classic with my tablemates.


From Tripadvisor to Yelp, everyone seemed to have an opinion on where to find the best cannoli in Boston's famous North End.  The general consensus pegged the top 3 contenders as Maria's PastryModern Pastry and Mike's Pastry. (They all had me at pastry.)

After stumbling upon Mike's Pastry first, we entered the melee of lines that flowed from the busy front counter straight to the doors. Posters of fourteen different cannoli flavours were pasted up high on the wall, but my favourite decor item was the gold-framed picture of Bill Clinton visiting Mike's Pastry that was hanging casually by the freezers.

We left with Mike's signature blue and white twine-wrapped box and after an obligatory Instagram pic (thanks parents!) they commented that "it was so crowded in there it was like they were giving away those pastries for free!" No luck on the free part my friends, but at $3.50 a pop, they were still the best cannoli I've ever had in my life :) 

From top to bottom: Chocolate chip (classic), Florentine (the best one!) and pistachio (excellent while the pistachio lasts!)


One of my favourite parts of travelling in America is the reliability of finding good, cheap comfort food. Thorton's Restaurant & Cafe in Back Bay doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it sure knows how to put together a mean breakfast plate that's worth a quick mention.  Pictured here is the special scrambled eggs with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cheddar, home fries and toast for only $6.45

For my veggie-snubbing friends, the standard eggs, toast and home fries clocked in at a super affordable $4.95 - go America! 

Just across the Charles River, Pinocchio's Pizza & Subs in neighbouring Cambridge is a cozy place to grab a stellar slice of Neapolitan (thin-crust) or Sicilian (thick-crust) pizza. Having fed hungry Harvard students for over 30 years, the restaurant also keeps late hours closing at midnight or later, seven days a week.

After perusing the menu, I settled on two slices of Sicilian and was rewarded with the fluffiest pizza I ever tasted with pepperoni, cheese and tomato sauce in perfect proportion.

Although the intimate interior would make a great, cheap date-night spot, if you're visiting during the day, I highly recommend you take the pizza on the road and grab a spot at a nearby park to take in the hustle and bustle of this charming university city.


On our last day, we ventured to Flour Bakery + Cafe, home of the famous sticky bun that won a Bobby Flay throwdown...

Covered in dark, sticky caramel and toasted pecans, one bite confirmed that this confection was indeed stiff competition.

What really impressed me on Flour's menu though was their healthy array of mouthwatering sandwiches! I opted for a half-serving of their classic BLT made with applewood smoked bacon, arugula, tomato, mayo and balsamic vinaigrette pressed and grilled to crispy perfection. The arugula added a great peppery kick to the sandwich and the availability of half portions reminded me of another one of my favourite sandwich shops, Pret a Manger :)


Armed with a shortlist of dessert 'must-trys' like J.P. Licks and Christina's Homemade Ice Cream, the one sweet I was most curious about was the mysterious Boston donut. Not only is Massachusetts home to the Dunkin Donuts chain, but (wacky trivia time) the Boston Cream donut was named the official donut of the commonwealth in 2003.

I sadly had ZERO donuts on this trip since I forgot to pack the exact address of the one donut place I wanted to visit while I was here (oops.) Should you choose to take up the mission, the one place that piqued my interest with its mom and pop shop feel and consistent, positive reviews was Verna's Coffee & Donuts up in (Boston-adjacent) North Cambridge.


How about you my fellow snackers? 

Have you been to Boston before and if so, what are your favourite Boston eats? :)

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