Trip Diary: Boston

In early May, I went up to Boston for work, to attend the Medical Libraries Association conference. It was neat to get to stay in the heart of the Back Bay, though also emotional to walk by the finish line of the marathon.

Slept at: The Sheraton Boston, attached to the Prudential Mall and the Hynes. I enjoyed the standard Sheraton experience, including Starwood’s thing where you can get points for declining housekeeping. (More places should do this!) I don’t always get to pick my hotel, but I think Starwood properties are my jam from here on out when I do.

Ate at: I had a lot of options for lunch when I arrived on Saturday, but I wound up at Thai Basil on Newbury Street, where I enjoyed some spicy panang chicken. There were some other places I was interested in, but I had neglected to consider that for the two days I was free at lunch, it would be the weekend – thus brunch, and a lot of Newbury Street’s brunch spots are very busy. Dinner that evening was at JJ Foley’s, an old haunt that I was glad to revisit, with a few local friends.

Sunday I was lazy and had breakfast at the hotel. Lunch was at the Wagamama inside the Prudential Mall, as I didn’t really have time to potentially deal with finding a place that wasn’t overwhelmed with people at brunch. I wound up ordering a few small things and enjoyed it – they were pretty empty. Sunday evening I went out for dinner at the Back Bay Social Club, which I very much enjoyed. I wasn’t feeling great for much of this trip and so I skipped a drink with dinner, which was a shame as they had a very interesting cocktail list. I did enjoy my meal, which was salmon cooked in parchment, with a nice lemony wine based sauce.

Monday was a busy day – breakfast was at Au Bon Pain after my 7am presentation, where I learned that they sell oatmeal – very good to know since I don’t care for Starbucks’ oatmeal anymore. For lunch I was over behind Kenmore square and went to Basho with a small group – we all ordered one of their lunch bentos, which came with a nice miso. I forget exactly what I got – I think two kinds of sushi? – but they had plenty of options. They also have a really lovely, calming atmosphere. Monday evening I went to Cafeteria Boston, which was fine. I was getting sort of a weird vibe – it came across as an upscale place, but if you looked closely (at the decor and food) clearly it wasn’t. It took me a while but I eventually figured out that they’re going for the student market – someplace that seems nice but isn’t expensive. That’s fine, I had a good enough meal, and the waiter was friendly.

Tuesday morning I walked over to Pavement Coffeehouse, which used to be Espresso Royale Cafe. There were a few ERC’s scattered around the city, one of which was smack in the middle of my undergraduate campus. I have very fond memories of ERC and like to stop by when I can. Pavement is still great, but definitely has more of a focus on upscale coffees (delicious cappuccino). I also wandered into LA Burdick, where of course I picked up some chocolate mice. For lunch I ventured up to Mission Hill and met some folks at Penguin Pizza, which I enjoyed. Their pizza slices are huge.

Travel: I took the T around town – getting between the Back Bay and the airport does involve two transfers, which is kind of a hassle, but overall certainly not a big deal. The Silver Line bus from the airport is free, but at least in Terminal E, they do have fare machines – they’re tucked out of the way, though, past the currency exchange in what looks like no man’s land. My Charlie Card from when I lived there had expired, but I had time to stop by the card office in Downtown Crossing and got the funds transferred from that to a new one very easily & free of charge. Annoyingly, they weren’t able to do the same with the paper farecard I’d used in October, which had somehow lost its ability to be read by the machines. If I’d been able to present the credit card I made the purchase with they could have helped me (that account was closed due to fraud) but without that, I was out of luck. I decided to assume there wasn’t much left on it anyway.