Monday, April 16, 2012

Boston Birthday

I was lucky enough to spend the first week of travel break, also the week of my 21st birthday, in the lovely state of Massachusetts with some of my favorite people in the world!

This was the absolute best for a number of reasons.  Not only did I get to surprise Amy at Stonehill, as well as most other Stonehill friends who had no idea I was coming to America, but I also got to see my friend Samantha who has been one of my closest friends since 2nd grade and of course my parents!

...And I got to turn 21 in a country where it was actually significant.  C'mon, you have to give me that, it's pretty exciting.

Definitely one of the best birthdays ever thanks to amazing family and friends!  Here are some highlights of our adventures:

  • Fire and Ice:  If you've never been to this restaurant, I would highly recommend it!  They have a few locations over the US, but over the summer my friends and I went to the locations in either Boston or Providence.  Check out the website if you're interested, but basically the concept is that you pick out a bunch of food from a "salad bar" type thing- pasta, veggies, meat, fish, sauces, etc, and you take it to a huge round stove ("fire"... get it?) in the middle where the cooks prepare your creation right in front of you!  (And it's all-you-can-eat so obviously I love it).  Samantha might have mentioned that it was my birthday, so the cook called me behind the counter and had me mix up my own meal while all the other customers sang to me.  Embarrassing, but I loved it.  My parents even treated me to my first legal beverage (the "ice" part)- the specialty of the day, a lemon blueberry margarita.  In retrospect, I don't know why I chose this particular drink, as I don't really care for blueberries, but the waitress seemed enthusiastic about it so I decided to give it a try.  It wasn't too bad after all!

  • Mike's Pastry:  Another Boston favorite, and one of the most famous bakeries in Boston's North End.  DELICIOUS canoli.  Whenever we go to the city, we insist on making a stop there.  Since Samantha had never been, it was an absolute must.  We were stuffed, so we took our canoli to go, and we went back to the hotel to enjoy dessert.  My family back in PA had surprised me earlier in the day with an edible arrangement and a bottle of pink champagne- they're the best, and they made sure I finished off my birthday in style!

  • The Sam Adam's Brewery:  Like I said, I love brewery tours.  Being newly legal, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to check out a US brewery.  The tour itself was good, and the samples were enjoyable, but the most memorable part of the event was what happened on our train ride into the city.  Danielle met up with us at the train station, and together with Samantha and my parents, we hopped on the Red Line.  After about two stops, a local character boards the train and sits down next to my dad.  As we plod along, she begins removing pieces of what might have been the greasiest fried chicken in the world straight from her purse.  Okay, lunch on the go, whatever.  But as she finishes extracting all the meat from a chicken wing, she not-so-subtly reaches down and tosses the bones under the train seat.  Needless to say, we were revolted, but what could we do?  We continued to sit there across from this woman, with my poor father right next to her.  Finally, she realized a man was staring at her and proceeded to ask if he had a problem, and he could clean it up himself if he wanted to.  I could think of about 578493 things that man would probably rather have done.  Anyway, she finally exited the train, leaving traces of her snack behind.  I don't think any of us will ever see a chicken wing the same ever again.

  • Doyle's:  After the brewery tour, the lovely people at Sam Adam's are kind enough to provide a trolley to take the impressionable tourists to the restaurant they are closely affiliated- Doyle's.  At Doyle's, you can get some varieties of Sam Adams on tap that aren't available anywhere else.  Pretty cool, and we were pretty hungry, so we decided to take advantage.  We boarded the trolley, and our enthusiastic driver explained the menu at Doyle's, made some recommendations, and then proceeded to transform our vehicle into a party trolley, blasting "Fireburnin'" by Sean Kingston through the streets.  They were right though- I ordered half cherry wheat beer and half of the "Chocolate Bock" which tasted pretty similar to a chocolate covered cherry.  Delicious.
Parents on the party trolley

Early Saturday morning, it was time for Samantha to head back to Pennsylvania.  :(  My flight to Iceland didn't leave until 9pm, so I met up with Amy to have lunch and grab one last coffee before packing up my things and taking off for one more month abroad.

With that being said- even with all the fun beverages I enjoyed in moderation over the week, NOTHING compared to my medium french vanilla iced coffee with milk.  Dunkin Donuts- you win.

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