Archive for the ‘Out and about in Boston’ Category

Looking for Authentic Chinese Dinner in Boston

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Look no more.
About once a month the team at bnbboston.com heads out into Boston to sample new restaurants and to revisit old favorites. This month our host at Abigayle’s Bed and Breakfast treated  us to her culture and cuisine, a Shanghai, northern Chinese food, dining experience at Shanghai Gate restaurant.

Located in Boston’s Allston Village, Shanghai Gate is the real deal. Their world class chef from Shanghai serves up authentic Shanghai cuisine, as well as many familiar Chinese restaurant favorites, that tingle the taste buds with every bite. We didn’t even look at the menu. We just asked our gracious host and chef to choose for us. And, wow, did they choose well. They put together an amazing selection of hot and cold appetizers, as well as scrumptious dinner specialties. Everything was served perfectly and you could truly taste the freshness of the ingredients. The unique thing about Shanghai cooking is the lightness of everything, from the dumplings to the sauces and spices. This is not primarily the hot and spicy Sczechuan style of cooking, though the restaurant does offer several choices if that is your preference. It is simple, fresh, and delicious. We could have stayed eating all night long. It was that good!

What did we have? Here’s our menu selection:

  • Four Treasures Tofu (cold, braised with wood ear and peanuts)
  • Wild Vegetable and Bean Curd (cold, fresh wild vegetables)
  • Sweet and Sour Baby Ribs (marinated and braised in a special sauce, served cold)
  • Steamed Pork Bun (a warm vinegar dipping sauce adds an interesting tang to the flavor)
  • Pork Dumplings (a light dough makes these warm dumplings extra tasty)
  • Black Bean Chicken Wraps (warm, served family style with lettuce leaves for wrapping)
  • Crystal Shrimp (more warm vinegar dipping sauce gives lots of flavor to simple shrimp)
  • Ginger Scallion Tilapia (a whole fish served with a light brown sauce that melts in the mouth)
  • Double Nuts Chicken (much like the classic cashew chicken but with peanuts too!)
  • Sweet Corn Pancake (a little sweetness to finish the meal!)

But don’t just take our word for it.  The Boston Globe previously wrote, “What you get at Shanghai Gate plain and simple is a chef who really knows how to cook.” Not enough? See what others are saying on Yelp.

Shanghai Gate is located at 204 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 02134

What do you think? Let us know.

North End Feast this weekend

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

If you are heading to Boston this weekend, don’t miss attending the St. Agrippina di Mineo Feast in the North End to experience Italian heritage and culture, Boston style. St. Agrippina di Mineo Society Feast Celebration takes place on Battery & Hanover Streets. This historic neighborhood shares its tradition with food, fun, and so much more.  Can’t make it to Boston this weekend. No problem. The North End has feasts throughout the summer season. Check out the schedule all of the North End Boston Feasts.

Boston Celebrates Africa’s Independence

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Part II of II

Mamadou in Boston

The 1st Annual African Festival of Boston – July 17, 2010

As I mentioned previously, we stumbled into an array of color, music, and excitement as Boston celebrated the 1st Annual African Festival. Hosted by the Shalupe Foundation, the city was alive with entertainment to celebrate the 50th birthday of 31 countries celebrating Africa’s independence. It was also an opportunity to celebrate our city’s diversity and to educate Boston African’s on their rich history.

We were greeted with the sounds of Mamadou Diop, a local African artist, who’s rich music filled the plaza and provided the backdrop for one of the featured speakers, Ayana Pressley, Boston’s At-Large City Councilor, and the first African American elected to this post. International African artists headlined as well including performers Teeyah from the Ivory Coast and Bouro Mpela from Congo.

The organizers hope to turn this into an annual event. Based on the turnout I’m sure they will succeed in their endeavor.

Visit Boston as a Local Tourist

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Part I of II

Newbury Street, Boston

This past Saturday, my husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by visiting Boston as tourists. So we strapped on our backpacks and took a delightful 40-minute boat ride into town on the Salem Ferry. Boston is definitely a walking city and I highly recommend leaving the car at home or skipping the rental if you are staying in the city.

First stop off the ferry—The Landing Bar. Given that the temperature in the city was pushing 90 °F, a frozen Mango Margarita was just the thing to cool us down and prepare us for our two mile hike to the Back Bay. We wanted to spend a day in our city as if we had never visited here before so we chose to walk from one end to the other.

A short walk to City Hall Plaza brought an unexpected treat. We found ourselves in the middle of the 1st Annual African Festival, hosted by the Shalupe Foundation. Music, dance, food, and lots of color transcended us into another world. (More on the festival in part II.)

Boston Swan Boats

We continued our walk down Tremont Street, past the historic cemeteries and landmark buildings, stopped for contemporary ice-cold refreshment at Starbucks, then off through the gates of the Boston Commons and the Public Gardens to visit the swan boats. My husband had never experienced the swan boats so we enjoyed a romantic ride along the pond. Next, onto Newbury Street, with its plethora of sidewalk cafes and shops, it’s always a sensory experience.

Time to eat again? We headed to Uni at the Eliot Hotel for some of the best sashimi I’ve ever had. If budget isn’t a major concern I would highly recommend it, as it is quite pricey. Our chef, Christopher, tickled our palates with the most amazing array of fresh fish and sauces (not the standard picked ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce) and a delightful Riesling to compliment the taste. We couldn’t resist heading back to Newbury Street for an ice cream sundae at an old time favorite, Emack & Bolios. Yum!  Finally, we stopped in at Crossroads, a local Irish pub for a cold Guinness and to take in the Red Sox game.

On the walk back to the pier the next day we ran into some friends heading to the swan boats with their children. Just goes to show how small a city can truly be. Over Beacon Hill we stopped to enjoy the amazing architecture of a bygone era, with beautiful brownstone townhouses and quaint gardens tucked in between, and through the North End for Boston’s rich Italian heritage…not to mention more amazing food.

Now it’s your turn. Head to Boston, whether you are a local or a tourist, and experience all the rich history and culinary experiences this spectacular city has to offer.

Aerosmith and J. Geils Band at Fenway Park

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Fenway Park and the entire Boston Fenway neighborhood will be rocking out on Saturday, August 14, when Aerosmith and The J. Geils Band take the stage together in this amazing open air venue. This Boston concert is part of the “Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock US Summer Tour that begins on July 23rd in Oakland, California.

According to Aerosmith’s official Aero Force One web site Steven Tyler said, “I thought it was time to get my MOJO back, by rockin South America and Europe with a little HOME RUN at Boston’s Fenway Park thrown in and then off to the rest of America to do what we do best! We’re gonna rock you into the middle of next week!”

So get ready to rock and roll, Boston style with Aerosmith and The J. Geils Band. And if you want to spend the weekend to soak in the entire Fenway Park experience, check out our Fenway accommodations near Fenway Park and Kenmore Square. It’s a night you won’t want to miss.

Boston Parking…the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Monday, January 18th, 2010

At this time of year, we typically get a lot of questions about parking in Boston and how wintry weather will impact a city that is already a little tricky for visitors with cars. Okay, so let’s break it down a little…according to the city of Boston’s official website, there are approximately 7300 electronic parking meters offering two hours of on-street parking in Boston. Sounds like a lot, but those of us who like to pop into the city for dinner or a little Boston shopping know that it can be challenging to find somewhere inexpensive to park…inexpensive is the operative word here, because there are certainly plenty of lots and garages around if you don’t mind paying the rates. This past Saturday night, I went into the Back Bay around 6pm to visit my brother on Marlborough Street, and it took us around 15 minutes to find a meter about 3 blocks away. Not bad, right? Regardless, my advice is always this: If you don’t absolutely need your car, then by all means, leave it at home. Boston has a wonderful public transportation system and is an extremely walkable city. And the reality is that you probably won’t be able to park right by your destination unless you get lucky and find a meter or are willing to shell out a chunk of change for a garage. That being said, there are plenty of insider tips out there on websites like http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Massachusetts/Boston-794476/Warnings_or_Dangers-Boston-Parking_Driving-BR-1.html, where one blogger shares, “There is lot’s of free parking to be had in Boston. You just have to know where to look. I have lived in Boston for years and have never payed to put my car in a garage. Good areas to find spaces are Charles Street between the Public Garden and Boston Common, Newbury Street and Boylston Street in the Back Bay (and any of the side streets that run between Newbury and Boylston),Harrison Avenue in Chinatown, and most of the side streets in and around Post Office Square.
NEVER park ANYWHERE you may see a Resident Parking sign…” At this time of year, be sure to check out the city of Boston website we mentioned earlier to learn how snow emergencies impact parking….there are many more rules during big snow storms and the risk of being ticketed is that much higher. All that said, if you’re coming to Boston and you and your car are a package deal, here are a few popular hotels in Boston that offer parking: Abigayle’s B&B (M263); CL’s South End Bed and Breakfast (M363) ; The Hilltop B&B (M611) and Cambridge Accommodations (M857).

Bed and Breakfast Associates Bay Colony
PO Box 57166
Boston MA 02457 USA
781-449-5302
fax: 781-455-6745
Toll Free: 888-486-6018

Boston Activities on a Snowy Saturday!

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Okay, so while the snow sculptures may still be standing, First Night is packed up and put away, we’ve ushered 2010 in with style, and yes, we’re still pretty fired up about the Bruin’s overtime victory at Fenway Park! Today the city is being blanketed in a perfect snowfall, and you may be looking for things to do in Boston or Boston events on this first weekend of the 2010. Here is our idea of the day! Head over to the Frog Pond at the Boston Common for an afternoon of skating with the kids, and then warm up at tourist favorite, Cheers, http://www.cheersboston.com/pub/, or at Starbucks on Charles Street. Need somewhere to stay this weekend? Abigayle’s Bed and Breakfast is a cozy retreat with a classic Boston feel.

Bed and Breakfast Associates Bay Colony
PO Box 57166
Boston MA 02457 USA
781-449-5302
fax: 781-455-6745
Toll Free: 888-486-6018

Theater in Boston…A Must See This Week!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Having had the opportunity to see Mamma Mia at the Colonial Theater Boston this past Saturday afternoon, I really must weigh in to say, if you’re coming to the area this week and have an interest in Boston theater, you must check it out! “A mother, A daughter, 3 possible fathers – and a walk down the aisle you’ll never forget! Now enjoying its 10th year on Broadway this smash hit musical brings the classic sounds of ABBA to life with this enchanting story.” We went to the matinee at 2pm and were back out on the bustling city streets by 4:45pm. Sadly, we had to head back to reality in the suburbs, but if you’re lucky enough to move on to dinner, there are oodles of Boston restaurants within a block’s radius, close to the Wang Boston and the Opera House Boston. I recommend PF Chang’s if you’re in the mood for Chinese, or Maggiano’s for amazing Italian (don’t miss the chopped salad!). And, if you need a place to stay, the following fab digs are open this week: A Little Paris on Beacon Hill (furnished apartment Boston) ; Booth’s Beacon Street Condo (Boston apartment); and Verona’s B&B (Boston bed and breakfast) , a particularly good deal at $99/night in December. Pull your plans together pronto — Mamma Mia moves on to New York on the 28th!

Bed and Breakfast Associates Bay Colony
PO Box 57166
Boston MA 02457 USA
781-449-5302
fax: 781-455-6745
Toll Free: 888-486-6018

Haunted Bed and Breakfasts Spooktacular

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Haunted hospitality? Close encounters over coffee? Does it get any better than that?? We’ve all heard the stories (and having seen a few episodes of that new show, Paranormal State, on A&E, this blogger is even more of a believer!) about shadowy figures passing through a room, unexplained energy and orbs, and strange movements in the night. For whatever reason, and perhaps it’s merely because so many B&B’s are friendly and welcoming and located in older homes rife with history, there do seem to be an awful lot of urban legends about ghosts stirring around getting acquainted with guests. We hear that some travelers stay exclusively at Boston bed and breakfasts and historic inns where ghostly enounters are more likely to occur! If you’re one of those adventure seekers, and you’re coming to stay in a Massachusetts bed and breakfast, you’re in luck. You can crash in the home where the ax-wielding Lizzie Borden “took care” of her mother, join the ranks who have heard a bump in the night in quaint Concord (ask us for details on that one!), or brush up on your Civil War knowledge (ghoul-style) at our own popular Copper Beech Haunted Bed and Breakfast. This historic home once served as a safe house in the Underground Railroad, and a kind and helpful slave who died in one of the rooms has been known to come back to the place she was hidden to provide guidance for those struggling through difficult times. Visit if you dare!