Long weekend in Boston

This was a first trip to Boston to learn a bit of history and sample the local cuisine.

Innovative sushi

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by artslover on September 27, 2012

Since Boston is a port city with access to lots of fresh seafood, we thought we'd give sushi a try while we were visiting. A review of websites suggested o ya as one of the best sushi places in Boston.

It is located in the Leather District near the South station for the train, bus and subway. There are a lot of other restaurants and bars in the area which is not far from what seemed like a lot of office towers.

The restaurant itself is not large but was filled and kept the many servers busy.

Our reservations were at the sushi bar which allows you to watch the sushi chefs prepare your dishes as well as others. There is also a kitchen area where cooked items were prepared and brought out to the counter as needed. We could see that everything was made individually and nothing was cooked or sliced in advance. Very time consuming but also made everything very fresh.

We opted for the smaller of the tasting menus. Still, that included 17 different items some of which were very untraditional, others more traditional but with a twist. The sushi included truffle and foie gras and other not usually seen ingredients. One came topped with squid ink foam. Despite the unusual results, the taste was fantastic.

The meal was quite expensive even discounting the imported beer we tried with the sushi, but the experience was well worthwhile.
O Ya
9 East St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02111
(617) 654-9900

Best oysters ever

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by artslover on September 27, 2012

We stopped here for an early lunch before a Red Sox game because the restaurant is just around the corner from Fenway Park.

The restaurant is attached to the Commonwealth Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel. The space is very open and light filled, and very large. We arrived early but as the meal progressed the place became very full.

Walking to our table, we spied the oyster bar so had to have a sample. Being near the west coast and getting mostly oysters from there, we tried four east coast oysters. In general, they are larger in size than west coast oysters. The four we tried were all different but two, the Island Creek and the Shoal Coast oysters were the best we had ever had. We followed with baked beans and bacon, and fried clams with fries. Although it both of those dishes were quite filling for lunch, we also sampled the dessert special and ice cream sandwich.

It was a very enjoyable lunch which kept me filled through out the following hours at the ball park.
Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts, 02115
(617) 532-5300

Superb tasting menu

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by artslover on September 27, 2012

This is very high end dining from one of the city's celebrity chefs, Barbara Lynch. The menu is blend of French and Italian which reflects the restaurant’s namesake, a French seaside town near the Italian border.

The restaurant's decor is formal yet understated and modern. There was a hush of anticipation in the room as you felt you were in for something special.

We opted for the chef’s tasting menu and the wine pairings. It was a real treat. So many of the small bites were incredibly delicious and the wine pairings worked well. The bites are small but still a lot of food. I did not finish every bite to avoid being ridiculously overfull by the end.

Each dish is served and explained as are the accompanying wine pairings. Service of course was meticulous with so many servers available and all seemed very knowledgeable.

In the end, a special experience.
Menton Boston
354 Congress Street
Boston, Massachusetts, 02210
(617) 737-0099

MFA enhanced by a Context Travel seminar

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by artslover on September 27, 2012

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has one of the USA's oldest and most important art museums. The collection spans millennia and the globe, so it is too much to see on one visit. We tried to make the best of it by going with a Context Travel docent, an art history scholar, so we could concentrate on some of the major holdings of the museum, including it's Renaissance and Baroque European collections, the modern galleries, and the American Collection.

We were able to admire the recent major renovations and expansion. Our docent gave us some insight into the patronage frequently behind the holdings as well as social and political forces behind many of the artworks.

We focused on Western art and the European and American collections; but also had a quick visit to the Asian galleries and the ancient Egyptian collection, both of which are tops in North America.

The new Art of the Americas wing was particularly interesting with the museum's collection of colonial art and works from early artists such as Copley and Revere as well as 19th century works by Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.

There was a lot which we only glimpsed but after four hours, we managed to see a lot to admire and came away appreciating the MFA.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts, 02115
(617) 267-9300

Incredible stay at a luxury boutique hotel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by artslover on September 27, 2012

This is an excellent boutique hotel in a very central location in Beacon Hill. The lobby is a modest size and understated in its décor as are the hallways, but the rooms are replete with extras. The marble bathroom rooms provide amenities beyond shampoo, conditioner and soap, such as lip balm, a tv and heated towel rack. The bath sheets are plush as are the bathrobes. The mini bar and snacks are extensive and include wine glasses (very important for me). We were able to have a Nespresso machine upon request.

The bed was comfortable and faced a working gas fireplace as well as flat screen tv. Turn down service included turning on the stereo in the room. The room included a comfortable lounge as well as desk and chairs. There was no real view from the windows, just other buildings, but the draperies worked well to keep out the morning light.

Other extras included the shuttle service provided by the top of the line Lexus vehicles and fast internet connections.

The restaurant Mooo is attached and also provides room service.

Service was uniformly friendly and helpful.

We considered other boutique hotels in Boston but were glad we chose XV Beacon. For us, the location was perfect and we cannot say enough good things about the service from the staff.
XV Beacon Hotel
15 Beacon Street
Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
(617) 670-1500


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