Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mini-Vacation in Boston - Part 1


I've been on a mini-hiatus, so I'm going to backtrack for this (and the next) entry to my Memorial Day weekend. I did have a chance then to post a quick picture of the game I was lucky enough to go to on that Sunday, but not much else...
I adore Boston. Seriously. I am originally from the central coast of California, Morro Bay to be exact. For you oenophiles out there, this is actually very close to the central coast wine country (Paso Robles and the Santa Ynez Valley - of Neverland Ranch and "Sideways" fame). Though I do miss sunsets over the ocean, fish tacos and mild temperatures (in that order), Boston grabbed ahold of my heart five years ago and has not let go. The view of the skyline makes me happy even when it's -2F outside. Unfortunately I'm not in the city all that much. I do live right inside the Boston city limits (and will be moving a little closer to town), but my lab is about 25 miles west of the city. When I am out and about in town, I'm usually at the same places - which I love, but it's always nice to get out and remind myself about the rest of the city.
Enter the three day weekend, a close friend visiting the area and one completely exasperated-with-lab-and-all-things-research Lissa. I decided to take the weekend off (gasp!). I know for you non-graduate students out there this seems silly, but, at this point, three weekend days in the lab is three days sooner to being able to finally leave - so, leisurely weekends in the city are not often on my to-do list.
Saturday morning found Jonathan and I at Haymarket, the biggest local farmer's market in the area (held every Friday and Saturday from 6am into the evening - though I wouldn't recommend it after 2pm).
It is a place where you can get any fresh vegetable or fruit you can imagine sold extremely cheap by large men with tatoos taking turns at leering (at the tourists) and yelling (at the people poking their fruit). In addition to produce, the market also has a great seafood section with fish most likely brought to the stall straight off the boat that morning. Smaller tables also sell cheeses, herbs, lentils and even goat (freshly killed of course). Haymarket is definately one of my favorite Boston activities. It is easy to get to (Haymarket stop on the T), a cheap outing and highly entertaining. I usually do a walk through first to see what the goods (and prices) look like; it can take a while to find out where the deals are. What is super fun about the entire endeavor is that here I get to see all of the heirloom and seasonal vegetables I read about on other blogs and in food magazines - and produce items I never knew existed... purple and orange cauliflower? who comes up with this stuff? no wonder they call them frankenfoods... (well the orange at least)
I've seen the orange cauliflower discussed on another blog (the details are escaping me at the moment) and I think I remember that the orange is due to enhanced beta-carotine. However, purple cauliflower was completely new and a bit of a shock. Apparently, it's completely natural and due to anthocyaninis, the same compound that makes red cabbage, well, red. Because I knew that my organics box was coming later in the week, I held back somewhat and only bought a few things (missing from the picture was a bag with a dozen habenero chiles for Josh, only $1)

After the market, Jonathan and I picked up Sue and ventured westward where we had lunch plans with Josh (for habenero delivery) and his wife, Jennifer. It was my hope that we would come across some nifty holiday weekend yard sales, but it seems everyone was out of town - or had no energy to set up a tag sale.
Later that afternoon, I picked up Jack (the visitor) from South Station (and the Fung Wah bus), we had dinner at the Local Tavern (the shrimp tacos again for me), dessert and coffee at Athans (mmmm, rice pudding and moist almond cake) and caught up on San Diego gossip. It was great to have a friend visiting me in Boston. Because all of my family and friends are in sunny California (and are convinced it is blizzarding here 9 months of the year - really, it's only 6) I rarely can convince them to come to me. I was so looking forward to sharing the city I've come to adore with someone new. Within the theme of a restful vacation weekend, Jack and I parted ways early in the evening; we had baseball tickets for the next day and I was looking forward to a good night's sleep with no alarm clock... ~Lissa

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Any time you want to go again, let me know, if only to see some purple cauliflower. Good stuff.