Iz & Irene's Beantown Adventure Continues

Boston offers a perfect balance of history, art, entertainment and every girls best friend, Shopping.


Legal Seafood

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by zabelle on November 26, 2007

Legal seafood has grown from one restaurant next to their fish market in Cambridge to over 30 restaurants in 8 states and the District of Columbia. What hasn’t changed in over 50 years is their dedication to serving the freshest fish available.

On Friday as we were waiting for the Trolley at Long Wharf we realized that facing us was Legal Seafood. We decided that we would return to have dinner there after we had completed our touring.

We arrived at 5pm. We thought that if we arrived early we could avoid having to wait and we were right. We were seated immediately and were placed our drink orders in a snap. We were given a basket of nice rolls and butter while we looked at our menus.

They have just about anything you could possibly want when it comes to seafood. There are raw choices, 5 types of oysters and 2 kings of clams or f you can’t decide there is the Treasures of the reef an assortment of shucked and chilled raw shellfish. If raw isn’t your thing, and it isn’t mine, there is smoked salmon, steamers, and mussels in a white wine sauce.

If you are looking for Chowda then this is your place with New England and Fish offered as well as Lobster Bisque. I decided to start with a cup of chowder and very good chowder it was. It was creamy but with that clammy brine that keeps it from being too rich and plenty of chunks of potato to enjoy.

Both Irene and I decided to try the same entrée, Legal’s Signature Crab-cake Combo. The combo has one lump crab-cake with grilled shrimp and scallops. It turned out to be a near perfect dish. The crab cake is just that crab, there was almost no visible filler just sweet juicy crab. The scallops and crab were also perfectly cooked, very simply but so perfect that there was not even a hint of the chewyness that is the result of over cooking. The fish was accompanied by a small green salad that was served on the plate with the fish.

You have the option of ordering many kinds of fish wood grilled. It is served with two sides and you can add spices or sauces to personalize your choice. They have many expected choices like popcorn shrimp and fried clams and some really exceptional ones like nutty wild salmon and red onion jam swordfish.

The only place they fell short was in the coffee department. We ordered two cups of decaf. Irene added two creamers to hers and it was still a very dark muddy color. I asked out waiter if it was the bottom of the pot and he said no it has to be new every hour. Well it was awful, I just couldn’t drink it. He took it back and credited our bill for both of them, a satisfactory solution but I would have preferred a good cup of coffee.
Legal Sea Foods
26 Park Plaza
Boston, Massachusetts, 02116
(617) 426-4444

Rabia's Ristorante

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by zabelle on November 26, 2007

What a lucky find this was. We planned to have dinner at Goody Glover’s Irish Pub but after sitting there for 10 minutes and being ignored we decided that the North End had way too many delicious restaurants for us to waste our time here. I had seen a sandwich board outside Rabias offering the stuffed fig appetizer when we walked by so it seemed like something we might want to try.

We walked in and were greeted and seated immediately. We declined the table for two in the window preferring to leave the limelight to someone else. We were seated at a banquette along the wall that had about 5 tables for two at it. We had a basket of bread and dipping oil in front of us while we decided what we wanted to eat. Irene order a house wine and I had a Pellegrino to drink.

The menu is eclectic running the gamut from the expected pasta dishes to the unexpected a raw bar and sushi. It was a hard decision there were so many delicious sounding dishes.
After some discussion between Irene and I we agreed to split a Caprese salad and the dish that had drawn us in to begin with the stuffed figs.

They arrived together and the figs were actually beautiful with the wonderful gorgonzola sauce covering them and a sprinkling of pinenuts. That gorgonzola sauce was so good that we used the bread we had left to wipe up the sauce. The Caprese was as expected with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella with the addition of slices procuitto. It was not large but was well presented and tasty.

For our main courses we went our separate ways. Irene ordered the pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli with the same amazing gorgonzola sauce and I chose the penne with broccoli and artichoke with a lemon, garlic and olive oil dressing. Irene’s portion was small but she was not complaining, actually she wasn’t speaking at all she was too busy enjoying her food.

My portion was more than I could eat but it was very good and the sauce was very light and lemony. There was a nice ratio of vegetables to pasta.

Service was excellent. We were taken very good care of. The timing of everything was perfect. We finished up with a decaf cappuccino being too full for dessert. Our neighbors who were two college girls in town for a comedy show shared a tiramisu and they let me photography it. It looked beautiful and they assured me that it tasted even better.

Our meal for two with appetizers, a glass of wine and cappuccino was $78. We thought that this was a very good price for the quality if the meal. We reluctantly walked back out into the cold dark rainy fall night and vowed to return to this little gem.

.
Rabia's Ristorante
73 Salem St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02113
+1 617 227 6637

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by zabelle on November 26, 2007

If your name is Isabella this is one of the times you will be really glad, all Isabellas get free entrance to this museum. Now being an Isabelle I tried to convince them that my Mom had just forgotten the “a” but they weren’t buying it. It has to be exactly correct so I am assuming that Isabela isn’t going to get in free either.


Isabella Stewart Gardner was one of the foremost art collectors of her time. She also befriended such greats as John Singer Sargent who did several pictures of her which you will see in her museum.

Before you begin to tour the museum I am going to suggest that you either rent the audio tour and/or ask them to borrow the little blue book that gives you information on the pieces in the collection. Without either one of these, unless you are my friend Joe, you will be at a loss. The items in the room for the most part have no marking so unless you are an art expert, you will be as lost as we were. We went back and got the headphone and certainly would have also taken the book if we had known about it before we got to the third floor. Unfortunately the docents are not experts and on the several occasions that I had a question about a particular piece were not able to offer me any information.

Entrance $12 Audio $4 if you visit the Museum of Fine Arts the same day a $2 discount. Both are also on the Go Boston card.

The house has three floor built in the Mediterranean style around a center court yard with a glass covering. The rooms around the courtyard have windows that open onto it.

Some of the Rooms are named for the painter whose paintings are on display in the room. There are Titian and a Veronese Rooms, others are more descriptive like The Early Italian Room and the Dutch Room. Many years ago the Gardiner Museum was hit by a major robbery and when you look around you at the treasures that are here it is hard to imagine that the best of the best is gone.

For that reason I am not going to talk about where any particular item is located but you will be stunned by the variety and quality of what is here. One thing that I noticed on this trip which I had not seen before was a piece of Mary Queen of Scots dress, it isn’t all about paintings here.

If you are looking for a nosh there is a café and I did some serious Christmas shopping in the gift shop which is extremely well stocked.

We parked at the Fine Arts Museum, there is also a parking garage. We paid $20 for 2 hours, a little steep but there really aren’t many options. There is metered street parking, good luck!
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 The Fenway
Boston, Massachusetts, 02115
(617) 566-1401

Maparium

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by zabelle on November 26, 2007

Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of Christian Science. I have to admit I know nothing what so ever about it and I had never heard of the Maparium. This was one of Irene’s choices and I am very glad she brought it to my attention.

The Maparium is a stained glass globe, three stories high that was built in 1935. It is done to a scale of 1 inch equaling 22 miles. One of the most amazing things about it is that it is a snapshot of the world as it existed in 1935. This was a time when Africa in particular was stilled ruled by its European Colonial conquerors. It is almost indistinguishable from the Africa that exists in 2007. It is, however, a lot like the Africa I knew in the early 1960s.

I am going to interject a warning here. If you are claustrophobic this is not the place for you unless your tour group is very small. You are guided through a door onto a glass walkway and we were basically crammed in like sardines. Part of the enjoyment is to be able to stand under the center and be able to hear your voice in surround sound and also to send your friend to the opposite end and be able to hear them as they whisper to you. This becomes almost impossible with the number of people we had on our tour.

You are greeted by a welcome in many languages and there is a video screen that I had my back to and wasn’t aware of until late in our visit. There is a lot of information coming at you while you are in here trying to take it all in. I felt a bit rushed and would have liked to have had longer. We were standing on the platform near New Zealand so it wasn’t easy with the number of people to see the southern part of the western hemisphere.

You buy your timed ticket as you enter the building and then you meet at the appointed time in the Hall of Ideas. While you are waiting you can read the displays telling about the construction of the Maparium and also marvel at The Fountain in the center of the hall.

There is a lot more than we had time to visit at the Mary Eddy Baker Library. You can go to the Quest Gallery and also the Christian Science Monitor Gallery. We were on the 3:15 tour and they close at 4pm on Saturday so keep that in mind if you want to get the most from your visit.

You can get off the Trolley at stop number 10 the Back Bay Hilton and easily walk to the Mary Baker Eddy Center. You can also take the green line T and get off at the Symphony stop.

I really enjoyed this and would like to do it again, on a smaller tour so that I could easily see everything.
Mapparium
175 Huntington Ave.
Boston, Massachusetts
(617) 450-3790

Harrison Gray Otis House-141 Cambridge St

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by zabelle on November 26, 2007

This house can only be visited on a guided tour.

Harrison Gray Otis was born into a prominent Boston family. He graduated from Harvard and then studied law. He was a Massachusetts State Representative and a United States Representative for the Federalist Party. He was also Mayor of Boston, District Attorney and US Senator.

This is the first of three houses where the Otis family lived in Boston. They only lived here for 2 years because the area was growing so fast that it no longer was fashionable, the new bridge to Cambridge made it a very successful commercial area.

This house was designed by Charles Bulfinch who is also known for designing the Massachusetts State House, St. Stephens Church and The Old State House in Hartford and perhaps most importantly for being the last architect on the Capital in Washington DC. It is built in the Federal style. The lines are clean and classical with symmetrical windows and a fanlight over the front door.

After the Otis family moved, the house was lived in by the Osborne family for 30 years. After 1833 the house became a boarding house and there was a business in the house. Doctor and Mrs. Mott ran a bath house and holistic medicine center for woman only.

By 1912 the house was derelict and was rescued by Appleton who was one of the founders of the Historic Trust. There are two shown in the slide show that show how much this neighborhood changed in the 1960’s. It makes you very grateful that this house was protected because there is nothing left of once was a historic area. Urban renewal has replaced all the beautiful buildings with what to me is urban blight!

We arrived just as a tour had begun so we missed the beginning of the slide show but she did stop long enough to have us put on our shoe covers. Our guide was very friendly but here knowledge of the house was almost non existent beyond her memorized script that was very disappointing. She tried to find answers to several questions posed by not only me but others in our group but was not able to answer any of them.

We began by visiting the first floor front rooms of the house. They have been returned to the time period of the Otis family. Most of the furniture in the house is of the period but not of the family. One exception is the dining room table which belonged to Mr. Otis’ sister. The room colors yellow and blue are original to the room because in their time they were the most expensive and they are typical of Bullfinch houses.

Mr. Otis’ office has wallpaper that was duplicated from the original (a piece was found and it had the maker and number on it) and also has an iron closet which is very much like a safe, for storing important documents.

One thing that is original to the house are the mirrors. There is one in the dining room and one in the parlor.

On the second floor we visit Mrs. Otis bedroom and the withdrawing room. In the bedroom there is a chair that belonged to Mrs. Otis and next to it are a pile of books since Sally was an avid reader and belonged to a ladies reading group.
Be on the lookout for the Gilbert Stuart portraits of the couple.

One room is dedicated to the Motts and their bathhouse. It gives a good idea of how much the housed had changed over the years.

This is interesting in that you get to see how a family lived in Boston, albeit a very wealthy influential family in the late 18th century. It is perhaps the next step beyond the Paul Revere House.

Otis House Museum
141 Cambridge St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114
+1 617 227 3956

Otis House Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by zabelle on November 27, 2007

141 Cambridge St.
Boston

If you go out the front door of the Liberty Hotel and go left around the corner you will be on Cambridge St. It is a very short walk up the hill to the Otis House.

This house can only be visited on a guided tour.

Harrison Gray Otis was born into a prominent Boston family. He graduated from Harvard and then studied law. He was a Massachusetts State Representative and a United States Representative for the Federalist Party. He was also Mayor of Boston, District Attorney and US Senator.

This is the first of three houses where the Otis family lived in Boston. They only lived here for 2 years because the area was growing so fast that it no longer was fashionable, the new bridge to Cambridge made it a very successful commercial area.

This house was designed by Charles Bulfinch who is also known for designing the Massachusetts State House, St. Stephens Church and The Old State House in Hartford and perhaps most importantly for being the last architect on the Capital in Washington DC. It is built in the Federal style. The lines are clean and classical with symmetrical windows and a fanlight over the front door.

After the Otis family moved, the house was lived in by the Osborne family for 30 years. After 1833 the house became a boarding house and there was a business in the house. Doctor and Mrs. Mott ran a bath house and holistic medicine center for woman only.

By 1912 the house was derelict and was rescued by Appleton who was one of the founders of the Historic Trust. There are two shown in the slide show that show how much this neighborhood changed in the 1960’s. It makes you very grateful that this house was protected because there is nothing left of once was a historic area. Urban renewal has replaced all the beautiful buildings with what to me is urban blight!

We arrived just as a tour had begun so we missed the beginning of the slide show but she did stop long enough to have us put on our shoe covers. Our guide was very friendly but her knowledge of the house was almost non existent beyond her memorized script which was very disappointing. She tried to find answers to several questions posed by not only me but others in our group but was not able to answer any of them.

We began by visiting the first floor front rooms of the house. They have been returned to the time period of the Otis family. Most of the furniture in the house is of the period but not of the family. One exception is the dining room table which belonged to Mr. Otis’ sister. The room colors yellow and blue are original to the room because in their time they were the most expensive and they are typical of Bullfinch houses.

Mr. Otis’ office has wallpaper that was duplicated from the original (a piece was found and it had the maker and number on it) and also has an iron closet which is very much like a safe, for storing important documents.

One thing that is original to the house are the mirrors. There is one in the dining room and one in the parlor.

On the second floor we visit Mrs. Otis bedroom and the withdrawing room. In the bedroom there is a chair that belonged to Mrs. Otis and next to it are a pile of books since Sally was an avid reader and belonged to a ladies reading group. Be on the lookout for the Gilbert Stuart portraits of the couple.

One room is dedicated to the Motts and their bathhouse. It gives a good idea of how much the housed had changed over the years.

This is interesting in that you get to see how a family lived in Boston, albeit a very wealthy influential family in the late 18th century. It is perhaps the next step beyond the Paul Revere House.

Otis House Museum
141 Cambridge St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114
+1 617 227 3956

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j69400-Boston-Iz_and_Irenes_Beantown_Adventure_Continues.html

©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009