T U E S D A Y
I’m not a big fan of the red-eye — and when I was working I wouldn’t take them — not worth a damn the next day. But… happily retired, I have grown fond of the jetBlue non-stop Reno JFK. Staggering through the next day is not so bad, when all you’re seeking is pleasure. Both RNO-JFK and JFK-BOS flights FULL but on time. There’s a little over an hour wait at JFK… I call it “safe time.”
Eric and Alison drove down from their Portland manse to pick us up at Boston Logan Airport. “Text us when you arrive JFK. We leave then, get to Logan by the time you walk out the door from baggage.” (We beat ‘em by about 10 minutes.)
They took us to our hotel, out on Commonwealth Ave where we checked in and left the bags and the car. There’s no need for a car in Boston.
I bravely pulled out my iPhone and clicked on the app UBER, my first time. It swept around, showed my location on a map, and asked that I verify where I am, by address. Where do I want to go? (Faneuil Hall Marketplace) Then it says, “3 minutes” and displays a driver’s name (Ahmed) , car (Toyota Camray), and the first 4 digits of license plate. On my iPhone screen I can see UBER cars in the vicinity and one is headed for me.
Car drives up. We get in and are driven to FHM. When we get out, we say “Thank You” and he (or she) says “Thank you,” and drives away. No cash. No tips. A short time later, I get an email receipt showing cost of the trip and asking me to rate the driver, one to five stars.
We found ourselves at the end of North Market Street and started walking.
We’re looking around and remembering… I was Project Architect for FHM from about 1970 until North Market Building (the final of three phases) opened in August 1977. My last visit here was in 2012. Things have changed, but not much. Good Bones.
We stopped at Anthem Kitchen & Bar at the Faneuil Hall end of South Market Building to cool our heels a bit and get our bearings.
There are plenty of places to eat at the Marketplace, but I felt like this was my day in my place and suggested Regina Pizzaria in the North End. They have a branch in the Quincy Market Building, but the original store in the North End is the real deal. My FHM team and I walked there for lunch from time to time during construction of the Markets.
We took the long way through Waterfront Park, where seasonal flowers led the way. Alison was looking at her phone for directions, Carol had a tourist map and I was going by instinct. My instinct told me it seemed farther than it was 40 years ago.
But the pizza and the place haven’t changed much. There’s still the line outside — at 3pm on Tuesday — and there’s no waiting list, just get in line. When the guy has an opening, he comes out and says, “first four, come on in.”
The place is just as crowded and smells just as good, and the pizza — it tastes as good as it looks. YUM.
We UBERed back to the hotel to move in and get settled. Eric and Alison took their car and stuff to Alison’s cousin in Belmont where they’re staying.
Fairstead Kitchen sits in a lively block of Brookline’s version of Beacon Street. Their acknowledgement of our Open Table Reservation stated;
“We are a small neighborhood restaurant with only 9 tables. Please ensure a valid phone number is left where we may reach you… To be fair to all diners, if we are unable to reach you, the reservation may be cancelled.”
Not a problem. On this fine evening, the outdoor dining easily doubled the size of the restaurant for our 7 O’Clock reservation.
Fairstead has a short, but very interesting menu. It is definitely a food place, and yet the beer, wine and cocktails lists take up 3 pages of the 4-page menu. And the beers are listed by style, which guides the patron and saves the staff a lot of explaining.
I can describe my food: sausage, grilled with casing removed, served with vegetables, greens and a lovely sauce. And another small plate of roasted cauliflower. I guess if you asked me my favorite foods, I would say, “any kind of sausage; any preparation of cauliflower. And a nice cold draft Lager.
This was our first real meal of the trip and I didn’t make notes of everybody’s food, suffice to say we were each very pleased with our food and amazed by the poise and knowledge of the young woman serving us — this place and the meal fit the evening and the evening was in a fit with the whole outside, it seemed.
WEDNESDAY — Lunch with friends in Newton, Fenway Park and Red Sox v Giants