My friend Arthur was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the beautiful city of Boston last fall. Arthur shares my passion for food and is an excellent photographer, so when I heard he was in Boston I asked if he would want to write up something sharing some of his experiences for my blog. And he did– thanks Arthur!
It wouldn’t feel right posting about Boston and not addressing the recent tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon. Like everyone else, I am absolutely horrified that a day that should have been a celebration of hard work and accomplishment ended in such devastation and heartbreak.
Amidst the tragedy, however, there have been so many stories focusing on the helpers; from those who ran into the chaos to aid the injured, to the people of Boston who opened up their homes, to medical staff who worked tirelessly to save lives. It’s a welcome reminder that despite such evil, there is still a lot more good in the world.
So, I want this post to celebrate the wonderful city of Boston– a place that I look forward to visiting one day. Here are Arthur’s thoughts on Boston:
This past October, I had the privilege of spending 3 weeks in Boston working at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Simulation Education Program. I had a chance to learn from some of the world leaders in the field of medical simulation, and worked with some really cool technologies to simulate patient encounters in a controlled educational setting. More importantly, however, I found myself in one of the oldest, coolest cities in North America at a rather beautiful time of year.
Accordingly, the food scene was also very impressive. I indulged in many great meals, and have picked a few highlights to share.Shalimar Indian Food and Spices571 Massachusetts AveCambridge, MA
For those living in Edmonton, a majority of food from the Indian subcontinent tends to hail from more northern regions of Indian, particularly Punjab. There are a few notable exceptions (Savoy’s Health Cafe and Kathir Food Experience) that specialize in more southern fare. This little restaurant is tucked in the back of an Indian grocers (hence the name) and serves up some of the best dosas I’ve had. Flavourful curries and crisp savoury dosa are name of the game here. The lamb dosa (seen here) was one of my particular favourites and brought me back on more than one occasion. There’s just something very satisfying about stopping by on the walk from work to fill up on a hearty, home-cooked meal, and emerge from the store absolutely reeking of masala.Baraka Cafe80 Pearl StreetCambridge, MAContinuing with a decidedly Eastern flavour, next up on my list of places of dine is the Baraka Cafe, tucked neatly in a small residential spot just off Massachusetts Avenue near the Central Square Station. Specializing in North African and Algerian/Tunisian cooking, this place is a gem. Small, with only a few tables, it’s best not to show up in a rush. Food is prepared traditionally – and it shows in it’s outstanding blend of flavours and spices. To start, I had the lemonade. Not a particularly stunning choice at first, but this was no ordinary lemonade. The Cherbat, as it is called, is Algerian in origin and takes a humble lemonade, and adds spices and rose petals. Outstanding.
The Zaatar (a traditional Mediterranean galette served on Berber bread) is a unique version of the more Lebanese flavours that I’ve grown accustomed to in Edmonton (Sunbake Pita Bakery, Al Salam Bakery and Deli). The addition of caramelized onions and sage made this richer, slightly sweeter zaatar a delight.
For the entrée I opted for the chef’s special. It featured a traditional vegetable stew topped with yoghurt on a bed of couscous. Two delicious lamb shanks rounded out this meal, served in a wooden bowl and a wooden spoon. Flavourful. Unique. Prepared to the same calibre as lamb in some of the choicest restaurants in New Zealand.Four Burgers704 Massachusetts AveCambridge, MAFor those seeking more classic American Fare, Four Burgers is an excellent choice. A tiny venue that serves up great burgers. You pick what you want on it, and how you want it done. Simple. Fresh. The American Way. My burger featured the usual vegetation, topped with sautéed mushrooms and a fried egg. The patty: medium rare. It’s the only real way to enjoy a burger. Yes, all you germophobes will get antsy about E. coli and stuff, but it’s fine if their meat is sourced properly and you’re willing to risk a little digestive upset for the best piece of ground meat between 2 pieces of toasted, fresh buns. The fries were pretty standard stuff – salty and crispy without being crisps, but nothing particularly outstanding.
That doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Boston has to offer. In fact, these select establishments are all in Cambridge – Boston proper has so much more on hand to try and enjoy. If you ever have a chance to visit this town – go.