World-Class Roasted Lamb Sandwich at Flour

Roasted Lamb Sandwich at Flour Bakery + Cafe

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Readers know that I’m a big fan of the Myers & Chang family from my previous post – wonderful food, fun and informal atmosphere, friendly people – overall world class. Their Flour bakeries provide sensational and spirited places for baked goods, or a reasonable and delicious lunch or dinner.

One thing not to miss is the Roasted Lamb sandwich. It is a favorite of the Boston foodie blogging establishment, and it lives up to the hype. The Roasted Lamb is served with tomato chutney and goat cheese on a choice of white or wheat bread for $7.99. It is sublime – the lamb tender and not gamey, the lettuce just enough to add a little crispness, balance provided by the tangy rich goat cheese, and then there is Joanne’s bread… But if you are not into lamb, there are plenty of choices.

Menu Board at Flour – Fort Point Channel

Owned by Joanne Chang along with her husband Christopher Myers, there are now four Flour baker + cafes:  one in Fort Point Channel (these pictures, very near the Boston Tea Party Museum), one near Copley Square, one in the South End, and one in Central Square, Cambridge.

Flour Bakery + Cafe at Fort Point Channel

World-class food at a bargain, they make fantastic destinations for lunch or dinner sandwiches and plates. Seating can be challenging at lunch or around dinner times. If you go, don’t forget to try one of her famous sticky buns.

 

 

Myers+Chang – John Hancock Never Had Flavors So Exciting

Occasionally, you have a meal that is really exciting.  Not necessarily fancy or expensive, just exhilarating with memorable, often new and intense flavors. It might have been at a street vendor in Singapore, the bistro where you took shelter from the rain outside of Paris, the first time you had Thai food, or even that little restaurant where you first tried ceviche in Lima.

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I’ve had these meals, and I just had another one here in Boston at Myers+Chang in the South End. They have been around for a few years, and I can’t believe that it took this long to get here! It is a little out of the way for most Freedom Trail visitors, but the trek is worth it if you like exciting, Asian influenced food.

Public transportation is via the Silver line bus to the East Berkley Street station – SL5 Bus 9, link here. Metered parking is readily available on Washington and East Berkeley Streets. It is also walkable from the Theater District downtown. Although there is seating at the counter/bar, make a reservation, which you can do at Opentable.com, or call them at 617.542.5200.

It feels like a hip diner, e.g., it is not fancy and you don’t need to dress. But, it is fun, funky and has its own style and vibe. Food comes out when it is ready, so don’t plan on traditional coordinated courses. Order dishes to share – two to three per person. Save room for desert.

We ordered a number of the “standards.” The braised pork belly buns came out first. These are little sandwiches of tender pork belly, bao (a green) and hoisin sauce served on dough that almost had the consistency of memory foam – cool and delicious. The taiwanese-style cool dan dan noodles were in a creamy piquant peanut sauce; a great balance to the pork buns. The red miso glazed carrots (serendipitous, as we couldn’t decide what to order) provided perfect contrast. But the piece du resistance was the tiger’s tears (supposedly hot enough to make a tiger cry) – grilled sliced steak in a fiery sauce with plenty of basil and lime. It was not as hot as we expected, but it lingered in our mouths for a while, but not long enough.

Joanne Chang is a fantastic baker (visit one of her four “flour” bakeries if you get a chance), and we elected to share a sticky date pudding w/ginger crème anglaise. Whatever of the crème anglaise wasn’t used on the pudding, I ate with a spoon. I had a Patron XO Café (coffee flavored tequila) and my wife had a Fernet Branca (an herbal aromatic liquor), both on the rocks.

The bill with two drinks with dinner and the after dinner drinks was under $100. On the way out we chatted with the owners, who were both humble and charming; everyone was was welcoming and helpful. The pace on a busy Saturday night was a little frenetic, but it just added to the texture.

All in all, it was a fantastic blending of flavors; unexpected, pungent, sublime and a fun night. Go.

For bargain hunters, Meyers+Chang feature a Cheap Date Night on Monday and Tuesday nights with a $40 prix fixe “themed” menu for 2 people. This is a steal for an amazing culinary experience.

Prospect Hill – Key Fortress in the Patriot Lines

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When on the night of April 18th the British left Boston on their fateful expedition to capture Patriot munitions in Concord and the “shot heard round the world,” they marched by a hill just outside of Union Square, in what today is the city of Somerville. In 1775, Somerville was part of Charlestown and was located “just beyond the neck” that separated the Charlestown peninsula from the mainland. The hill is called Prospect Hill, and it was to play a key role in America’s fight for freedom from Great Britain.
In the British retreat back to Boston on April 19th, they diverted to go via Charlestown and they again passed by Prospect Hill, but this time in hurried flight and under constant fire from American militia that had gathered from over 30 miles away. (Prospect Hill was one of the last landmarks to pass before the British could reach sanctuary in Charlestown.) There was a major skirmish at the foot of the hill, leading to death on both sides. At the end of the day, American troops were posted on the hill to observe the British as they ferried troops across the harbor between Charlestown and Boston.

Two months later, immediately after the Battle of Bunker Hill, Prospect Hill was the sight of major American fortification and became the central position of the Continental Army’s chain of emplacements north of Boston. Its height and commanding view of Boston and the harbor had tremendous strategic value and the fortress became known as the “Citadel”.

On July 1st, 1776, George Washington had the new “Grand Union Flag,” the first official flag that represented the united colonies, raised at the top of the Hill. It combined the familiar British Union Flag with 13 red and white stripes. (It was not until 1777 that the more familiar flag with stripes and thirteen stars was adopted.) During the winter of 1777-8, after his defeat at Saratoga, General Burgoyne and 2,300 of his troops were housed as prisoners of war in barracks on the hill.In 1903, a castle shaped monument was erected at the sight of the primary American fortifications. Today, the view of Boston and the surrounding towns is still impressive.

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Jason Russell House – Site of the Bloodiest Fighting in the Battles of Lexington & Concord

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Arlington, then known by the Native American name of Menotomy, was the sight of the most intense fighting during the British retreat after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. About half of those who lost their lives, about 25 of the Americans and 40 of the British, died in Arlington. Of the American causalities, about half of the deaths took at the Jason Russell House.

The house was built by Jason Russell between 1740 and 1745, but had been doubled in size by the time of the 1775 battle. As it is located on Concord Road (now Massachusetts Avenue), the main street connecting Cambridge and Concord, it was strategic and was gathering site for Minute Men, as well as Jason and some of his neighbors, who wished to contest the British retreat. At the time the British were passing, about two dozen men had gathered around the Russell house and created a mini-fortress.

Although the group had effectively fortified themselves to be able to take pot shots at the main British column marching down Concord Road, they left themselves open to the flankers, who caught them by surprise. Trying to reach sanctuary in his house, Russell was shot down and died on his doorstep. Eight Patriots were cornered and bayoneted. About eight other Patriots effectively barricaded themselves in the basement. Although there were multiple British casualties, a total of twelve Patriots died in and around the Russell house – making this the bloodiest spot in a bloody day.

Bullet holes can still be seen in several parts of the house, which is open for visitors and part of the Arlington Historical Society. There is a wonderful and detailed write-up of the house and its history as part of the Historic New England’s Old-Time New England Articles section, available here.


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Freedom Trail Historic Boston Restaurant Guide & Map


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For those visiting the Freedom Trail and wishing the immersive experience, there are a number of historic restaurants directly on or close to the Freedom Trail.

The Google Map above displays these restaurants along with the sixteen official Freedom Trail stops and many other interesting sites on or near the Freedom Trail.  It is also available as a free Android app (iPhone/iPad versions to be available soon).

All these restaurants, sites and much is discussed in the eBook “Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide – Tip, Secrets, & Tricks“.

BTW, none of these restaurants should be considered “fine dining,” with the possible exception of the Chart House. But, all are fun and serve good food.  And, they will absolutely enhance your Freedom Trail experience.  Most have excellent lunch specials.  Enjoy!

1654 – Green Dragon Tavern

Green Dragon Tavern Boston on Historic Marshall Street

Green Dragon Tavern on Historic Marshall Street

The original Green Dragon Tavern was a around the corner at 84 Union Street. It was founded in 1654 and an active pub by 1714. The Green Dragon was a regular haunt for the Sons of Liberty and the site of the Boston Tea Party planning meetings.  It was torn down in 1828.

The current Green Dragon incarnation is fun and has decent bar food.  It is located on Marshall Street, one of the oldest most authentically historic in Boston.  Right next door is the Ebenezer Hancock House – which built in 1767 by John Hancock’s uncle, inherited by John and then given to his brother, Ebenezer.  Ebenezer became the deputy paymaster to the Continental Army.

Special at the Green Dragon Tavern Boston

Lobster Specials at the Green Dragon Tavern Boston

Good lunch specials, including lobster.  Everyone needs at least one lobster when visiting Boston!

Green Dragon Tavern website

617-237-2114

1742 (perhaps 1713) – Union Oyster House

 

Union Oyster House on Boston Freedom Trail

Union Oyster House

The Union Oyster House started serving in 1826. It is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the US.  The building, which dates from 1742 (although other references place it as early as 1713), started its life as a dress shop.  At that time, the harbor actually came up to the dress shop’s back door.  Since then, all the land you see has been filled in.

Old Bar at the Union Oyster House

Daniel Webster’s Seat at the Union Oyster House

The legendary Oyster Bar at the front of the restaurant is beautiful and historic.  Regular customer Daniel Webster sat daily at this bar and drank a tall tumbler of brandy and water with each half-dozen oysters – usually eating at least six plates.

Union Oyster House website

617-227-2750

1760 – Chart House

Chart House Restaurant - Hancock's Counting House - 1760

Chart House Restaurant – John Hancock’s Counting House

The Chart House was originally the Gardiner House, built on Long Wharf around 1760. Later, it was John Hancock’s counting house.  It is the oldest building still in use on Long Wharf.

For the pleasant weather, it has outside seating with a great view of the harbor and downtown Boston. It is the most elegant restaurant in this collection.

Chart House website

617-227-1576

1780 – Warren Tavern

Warren Tavern Charlestown - by Bunker Hill

Warren Tavern – by Bunker Hill

Built in 1780, the Warren Tavern was reportedly the first building raised after the British burned Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. It is named for Doctor and General Joseph Warren, the famous Patriot who was killed at Bunker Hill. It was visited by George Washington, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin.

Warren Tavern in Charlestown - by Bunker Hill

Warren Tavern – Historic and Good Pub Food by Bunker Hill

Good pub food and great slice of history.

Warren Tavern website

617-241-8142

1827 – Durgin Park

This iconic restaurant, housed in an old warehouse, has been around since 1827, although a restaurant has operated at this spot since 1742. Famous for its old Yankee recipes, it is a real flash from the past and one of the oldest places you can dine in Boston. Upstairs diners are seated communally at long tables with other patrons. For the pleasant weather, there is also outside seating overlooking Quincy Market.

Durgin Park Boston in Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Durgin Park Boston “a landmark since 1827”

It is a lot of fun and one of the few places you can get Indian Pudding.  The roast beef overflows the plate.  One of my favorites!

Durgin Park website

617-227-2038

1875 – Café Marliave

Cafe Marliave by the Province House Steps

Cafe Marliave by the Province House Steps

The oldest Italian restaurant in Boston, the Marliave dates from 1875. It has pleasant outside seating for the summer months.

It located right above of the Province House Steps (1679–1864). The Province House was the official Royal Governor’s residence during the Revolutionary period.

Café Marliave website

617-422-0004

For more information on the Province House

 

Lobster Sandwich – Best and Biggest in Boston Area


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There are few things as wonderful as a lobster sandwich, and this is one of the best. Full of meat, juicy, succulent, decadent, delicious – it is what summer in New England is all about. Absolutely worth the drive, but if your are in the Portsmouth area during a beautiful day, not to be missed. Make sure to ask for it without lettuce to get the maximum heaven.

 

The Beach Plum is a ice cream stand, and with commercial ice cream at that. But, their lobster and crab sandwiches make the Beach Plum a culinary destination par excellence. There is a seating area with picnic tables and umbrellas at the side of the stand, but the best place to indulge in your feast is on the sea wall across the street overlooking the ocean.

The foot long (pictured) will set you back about $28 (the regular is $17 as of 2010), but is easily enough to share.  A rock crab roll is only $11. The ice cream may not be homemade, but what a great way to end your feast!

A fantastic end to a fantastic day.

Lantana Cafe – Medford


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Warm, informal, romantic and eclectic Mediterranean restaurant with good, if slight rich food.
Very good value. See restaurant.com for coupons.
http://www.lantanacafe.com/

Isles of Shoals


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Visiting the Isles of Shoals makes a wonderful day trip out of Portsmouth harbor. Catch a ferry with the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company at 315 Market Street in downtown Portsmouth for the 9 mile ride out the Islands. The Steamship Company offers various excursions that include guided Portsmouth Harbor tours or stops for exploring the islands.

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The cruise out to the islands is a wonderful way to spend a few hours. The narrated ride passes through Portsmouth Harbor, which is beautiful and features history and sites galore. To port (on the Maine side of the Harbor – left on the way out to the islands), you will pass the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the abandoned Naval prison. Watch for submarine conning towers that may be visible as you pass by.

To starboard you will pass Fort Constitution at the mouth of the harbor. Fort Constitution is built on the site of Fort William and Mary, which was the site of the true first organized action by the Colonials against the British in 1774 – before Lexington and Concord! On December 13, 1774, Paul Revere (remember him from the Midnight Ride) rode 60 miles from Boston to Portsmouth and informed the The Portsmouth Committees of Safety and Correspondence that a British expedition that was in transit by sea to seize control of the powder and armaments stored at the fort. On the following day, a band of 400 New Hampshire militiamen assaulted the fort, which was manned by just 6 British soldiers. The British managed to fire three cannons at the Colonials, but were quickly overwhelmed. A large amount of gunpowder was captured along with some muskets and cannon. There were no serious injuries, but this was truly the first battle of the American Revolutionary War, a full four months before Concord and Lexington.

Site of Fort William and Mary - First Colonial Action Against British


The ferry will stop at Star IslandStar Island to drop off and pick up passengers. At the island, there is a retreat hotel run by the Unitarian Church. They offer day services including meals and it is possible to spend the night between mid-June and mid-September. The organization runs various retreats, workshops and conferences that run from photography to international affairs to family conferences. The facility is beautiful and a real throwback to the 19th century – Nathanial Hawthorne stayed here. Accommodations are pretty basic, but the location is fantastic. A beautiful and quite place to spend a day or a few nights.