We still watch reruns of Cheers on TV. We’ve seen Good Will Hunting 20 times; we love Aerosmith; we feel pride for the Patriots; we respect Harvard; we adored Julia Child; we are in awe of the Kennedys. And every so often we get a craving for a big platter of New England full belly fried clams at Legal Seafoods. Their code, “if it isn’t fresh, it isn’t legal.”
The flight from Toronto to Boston is a scant hour and a half junket and we arrive just in time for lunch to begin a three-day holiday to Boston and New York. I could have stayed at the stylish Kimpton Nine Zero, a hip and luxurious boutique hotel and perhaps bumped into Sarah Jessica Parker, or Jerry Seinfeld, or whoever. But I enjoy the sense of history at the Copley Plaza Hotel.
Imagine, suite 641 has the memorabilia of John F. Kennedy; 441, The Boston Pops; 341, Museum of Fine Arts. Besides, there is Fairmont Gold Club Lounge for complimentary breakfast, cocktails or to check e-mail. People-watching has its rewards.
I get what I came for at Legal Seafoods. Boston Scrod, lobster, and a big helping of the best fried clams in the world!
From the hotel it’s a hop, skip and jump across the street to the Copley Place Mall and the Prudential Center. At the Top of the Hub restaurant and Skywalk, we can see the city and its sparkling waterways, eat and drink, and listen to great live jazz. After lunch, a stroll along Newbury Street, the Fifth Avenue of Boston, the mecca for all that is hip, cool and cutting edge in men’s and women’s wear, home, beauty, plus a unique, important restaurants.
It’s a university town and home to renowned medical centers. The international college and graduate students who come by the thousands each year make this city definitively unstuffy. Walk around, clubs and cafes abound. Pick up the free guide, The Improper Bostonian and read about what’s happening. The Improper Bostonian is a bi-weekly glossy lifestyle guide for the city. Let it be your guide.
The Sunday drive to Cambridge along the Charles River banked by the venerated Harvard buildings is a lesson in American history.
Brunch at the award-winning Henrietta’s Table, in the Charles Hotel, in the heart of Harvard square. This is where both Hillary and Bill Clinton had their book signings, where favourite son Matt Damon is a regular, and where they serve real American cuisine: Red Flannel hash with poached eggs and creamed chipped beef on buttermilk biscuits. Farm to table was the focus of this kitchen before there was a farm to table movement.
In the funky shops that surround the area, tomorrow’s leaders buy their Harvard notebooks and sweatshirts. Just up the street from my hotel is Back Bay Station. Here at 9:20 a.m., lunch in hand, I board the Amtrak train, the smooth and quiet Acela. Should your cellphone ring in the Quiet Car, the conductor will berate you mercilessly and loudly.
At 12:42, I’m at Penn Station in New York, checking my bag in a locker. From there it’s off to Broadway for a Matinee, followed by a leisurely dinner at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne. No surprise to see some prominent Torontonians dining here. And yes, that is Al Gore and friends at the next table.
The 10 o’clock flight from New York to Toronto brings me home before midnight. Seems like I’ve been gone forever.
Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.