Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boston: The South End

We headed into Boston's South End on Saturday.  As one of its oldest neighborhoods, it's home to some of the loveliest Victorian brick row houses in the city. Back in the early 1800's renowned architect, Charles Bulfinch, designed these elegant bow-front town homes with wrought iron railings and small gardens which attracted the younger upper class families of that day to the area. By the turn of the century the well to do moved on to the Back Bay, or out to the suburbs, and most of the homes turned into tenements and lodging houses. In the 40's the area began attracting the gay community, and in the 60's residents began to refurbish the town homes to their former glory. At this same time the South End Historical Society was formed to protect and preserve the architecture of this historic district. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places as the largest Victorian neighborhood in the country. As we strolled down this gorgeous street we met a friendly couple who had just returned from a bike race on the Cape. We chatted about the race, their lovely neighborhood, and shared a laugh about how we had traded places for the day.

Our next stop was the Stanford Calderwood Pavillion, at the Boston Center for the Arts, to see The Drowsy Chaperone.  This clever homage to the American musical is told by a narrator, know only as man in chair, who sits in his tiny apartment and brings his favorite old musical to life. While deconstructing the characters and elements of the show he delivers witty commentary on the farcical, yet poignant message behind each performance. It was laugh-out-loud funny, and pleasantly introspective, which meets my criteria for an enjoyable performance.  It runs through the 19th, and it's worth a trip.

We headed over to Stella on Washington St. for dinner, which made the girls happy as they love Italian. My nephew recommended it, along with a few other spots which will come in handy on a return visit...

The contemporary, well decorated dining room was at the pre-rocking stage when we arrived. We do eat on the early side, but I could definitely feel it picking up as we dined. As you'd expect the wait-staff is young and hip, friendly and efficient.
David and I were going to split the Parmesan Arancini / buffalo mozzarella / in a  spicy pomodoro fondue as a starter, but when the girls got a look at those gorgeous golden-brown rice balls it ended up being a four way split.  More like an amuse-bouche for the table, which actually was the perfect palate teaser and left me with plenty of room for the main course.

I had the Seared Local Scallops / sweet pea risotto / fava beans / with tendril salad and it was perfect! Just look at it. It was the essence of early summer on a plate. Tender juicy scallops over risotto, with fresh crunchy fava beans and sweet peas:

David order the Honey Glazed Salmon / spaghetti squash / cherry tomato / with a citrus vinaigrette. He was pleased, and I was very pleased with the spaghetti squash. The girls has pasta; Tagliatelle / bolognese / reggiano and Stella Homemade Gnocchi / tomato / basil / reggiano. Both were delicious. We skipped dessert as the girls wanted to head over to Newbury Street for a little Pinkberry, but this gives us a good reason to go back. 

As we strolled back to the car we passed the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Splashed with the glow of the fading sunlight against the brilliant blue sky, it was quite a site.

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