Boston – Sam LaGrassa’s

Sam LaGrassa’s TripAdvisor’s best-rated restaurant/food spot in all of Boston. Is it all that it’s hyped up to be?

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Over rated food at its finest

We arrived around noon, the place was completely packed – always a good sign in my eyes. We asked what the most popular sandwich was and went – surely it would be the safest bet? We were told it was the ‘Chipotle Pastrami’ (I think), we also chose the ‘Santa Fe BBQ Chicken’. Oh did I mention? These sandwiches don’t come cheap, they set you back 13.95 USD before tax.

I stood and waited for the sandwich, you don’t get served due to the huge amount of customers. Our sandwiches arrived and they looked amazing – well the ‘Chipotle Pastrami’ one more so than the BBQ chicken, but they looked good! This is when the disappointment kicked in. Maybe my expectations were too high from all the views I read about the place. The sandwiches tasted like they had been sitting in the sun for an hour, which they weren’t – it was raining and I saw them being prepared. They lacked flavor and most importantly freshness. They felt greasy and almost dirty. I will add – which may make my opinion slightly biased, I don’t really like overly fatty or overly smoked meats and the taste they leave in your mouth. Pastrami is usually soaked in brine and smoked so this could explain why I didn’t enjoy it as much as others might have.

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Not impressed with Sam LaGrassa’s – although it is a pretty photogenic sandwich… I’ll give them that

I didn’t think this place was the worst in the world, not even the worst in Boston, I just felt it didn’t deserve the top position on TripAdvisor. I went to lots of nice places during my stay in Boston that were a lot nicer, like Boston – Abe & Louie’s & Boston – Giacomo (Potentially the best Italian outside Italy)

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This is one of the reasons I started this blog, although I have found some amazing places through TripAdvisor and think it is a really good resource. I don’t believe it always gives a true and fair view, so I am trying to make my way through as many restaurants and holiday destinations and give you all honest opinions through the eyes of a student.

Hope you enjoy,

The Girl on the Go xx

Boston – Giacomo (Best Italian outside Italy)

I’ve only been to Italy once, myself and 3 of my friends took a detour to Venice this summer while interrailing around Europe.
After spending the first 19 years of my life eating what I thought was Italian food, I got a taste for the good stuff, the real stuff. Since experiencing the authentic and fresh food Italy has to offer not much ever came close to those meals I had during the 4 days I was there.

.. until last week I was sitting in Ottawa airport on my way to Boston and I was looking up restaurants in the city that I wanted to visit. I knew Boston had an Italian community so I thought what better place to find a nice little romantic Italian restaurant. All signs pointed towards Giacomo.

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This North end little restaurant gave me everything I longed for since I left Venice (apart from the romantic part – I’ll explain later). Boston being beside the sea meant that seafood was a huge component of the menu and not just any seafood. It was the freshest and tastiest seafood I have had in a long time.

I had seen in many articles that they were known for their Calamari, so when we arrived we knew the calamari was a must. We ordered a ‘small’ (but not so small) portion of their fried Calamari to start between the two of us. I didn’t get a picture because I was just too hungry to be messing around with my phone. Being a calamari lover I was confused when I took a bite of it, I was expecting that typical elastic texture you get a lot, a sign of poor quality. But it wasn’t there. It was smoother and almost melted in my mouth.

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Their menu is simple, they don’t do pizzas only appetisers, pasta and there may have been one or two meat dishes – I’m not entirely sure, but everyone in the place opted with the pasta. They give you a menu that allows you to pick a type of meat (I picked mussels and calamari), you then pick a sauce and they make it with linguine. Or you can pick one that is on their pre-set menu, but I think most people went for the ‘build your own’ option.

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Best pasta in Boston – it was the only pasta I had but come onnnnn! Look how good that looks

(How amazing does that look? Well it tasted even better!)

This is not the kind of place you can sit down and have a long chat, you will be in and out before you know it – hence the ‘not so romantic’ comment above. This is not the place to sit at a candle-lit table and drink wine all night. You’ll be asked to leave. The staff aren’t rude, but they are prompt about getting you in and out. So don’t expect to be waiting very long for your meal. Their table turnover is huge, I read in warmer months there is always a queue out the door. This place is cash only so make sure to bring your bank card. However, there is an ATM just across the street if you don’t have it handy.

I honestly can’t recommend it enough! (Sorry for the lack of pictures of the food, was too hungry to do a photo shoot)

Food:                    9/10

Atmosphere:      8/10

Price range:       $14-22 USD (Main Course)

The Girl on the Go xx

Boston – Top 5 things to do in Boston

1) Predential Tower – go up to the 50th floor of one of the city’s highest buildings and see the amazing view. Don’t worry if it’s cloudy, we went up despite the clouds and within 5 minutes of being there, they cleared – this won’t always be the case but go up and ask the person at the desk if it is worth paying in, they were honest with us. (Student discount with valid student ID) or if you want a drink or a bite to eat the 52nd floor has a bar called ‘Top of the Hub’. As far as I can see from their website to go and have a drink there has a 26 dollar cover charge for the table after 6pm but not before.

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View from the Predential Tower Boston

2) Old Town Trolley Tours – bus tours might seem overly touristy and sometimes a bit of a rip-off but I think they are a great way to cover a large amount of space in a short amount of time, especially if the weather is terrible! I love ‘hop on hop off’ tours, you learn the history of the city through a local’s eyes and can go explore the places you want to see more of. These kind of tours are generally a lot more popular during the summer so they usually do deals on off-peak months. With this company, if you buy the tour pass it enables you to travel on the trolley for not only one but two days (only valid for two consecutive days). So the first day we used it for the tour and the second day we just used it as free transport. Our bus ticket also gave us free entry into the Boston Tea Party Museum and the ships, however, we didn’t have time to go in the end.

3) Go to a sports game – Boston is home to many famous sports teams from the New England Patriots (American football) to the Red Sox (Baseball) and more. Most American sporting events are more a day out than for avid sports fans (however, enjoying the sport would help!), I went to a Boston Bruins game (ice hockey) and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of entertainment for people who don’t necessarily know what is going on in the game.
Couldn’t get tickets to a match or they are too expensive? No problem. I didn’t have time to do a tour of Fenway park, but I plan to be back in May and hope to do the tour and go to a Red Sox game. From what I hear it’s supposed to be really cool, this way you can experience a bit of the American sporting culture while saving a whole lot of money.

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TD Garden

4) Walk around the Boston Commons – right in the heart of the city you will find a 50-acre park where the residents of the city used to keep their cattle. It is now a pedestrianized park with a ‘duck pond’ which turns into an ice skating rink in the winter. Right beside the Commons are the Boston Public Gardens. This place is full of squirrels who (warning) don’t seem to be scared of people so have no problem walking beside you as you stroll through the park. The Public Gardens also have a lake, and in the summer there are apparently swan boats you can hire.

 

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Boston Public Garden

5) Freedom Trail – the freedom trail is something I didn’t get to do while here in Boston but if you do any google search on ‘what to do in Boston’ it will come up. However, I was talking to the bus driver of the trolley and he said it isn’t worth doing in the rain (it rained the whole time I was there!) But I hope to do it when I am back later on in the year.

I am a huge history fan and Boston is definitely one of the most historically dense cities I have ever been to (Berlin coming a very close). I couldn’t  recommend it more. I had an amazing time, it was just a shame about the terrible weather.

If you are looking for places to eat, check out my Instagram page: thegirlonthego9 or check out my review  Boston – Abe & Louie’s more to come in the next few weeks!

Hope you have a blast!

The Girl on the Go xx

Boston – Abe & Louie’s

Any vegetarians reading this post please stop now, this one is for the meat lovers. This place is a carnivore’s heaven – but you better make sure you have an empty stomach if you are going to visit Abe & Louie’s. Their famous Ribeye weighs in at a whopping 26oz (including bone – around 18oz without the bone).

This Boylston Street hotspot is the perfect balance between casual and fine dining. While the dining area is quite fancy, the bar is casual and loud, making the restaurant seem a lot more casual and giving the place a good buzz. The staff are extremely friendly and you almost get the feeling you get to know each other throughout your meal.

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While we were drooling over all the options on the menu, trying to pick our favourites, the waiter arrived out with this ‘heaven on a plate’. These super soft, still warm, oiled and salted bread rolls were all eaten before the waiter even managed to get the plate onto the table. They are the kind of things I will end up dreaming about.

For starter, I got a small cup of the Seafood Chowder and Josh got the Steak Tartare (pictured below). Both were extremely tasty, my chowder came in a small cup, which once I got my main course I realised it was more than enough. Josh’s Tartare was ginormous, it would have been enough for both of us easily!

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We both felt due to being in one of Massachusetts best steak houses we would be crazy not to get a steak. I definitely overestimated how hungry I was and went with the 26oz Ribeye. I generally like my steaks rare, however, when I went to order the ribeye rare the waiter explained that it is a lot nicer medium rare due to the marbling and that the thickness of it would mean it wouldn’t be hot in the middle. I am so glad I took his advice. The steak was out of this world, so juicy and tender that it felt as though it melted in my mouth. For our sides, we got garlic mashed potato – which was also a massive hit and the green beans were lovely too.

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This place without a doubt is now in my top few favourite restaurants, the food, the atmosphere and the service were all absolutely faultless. I will add it is quite expensive, especially for two students, but if it is a special occasion or you are a huge meat lover I do think it is worth the extra few dollars than you would spend in a mediocre steakhouse.

Very unlike myself to be a quitter, but I was so uncomfortably full I couldn’t even think about ordering a dessert, however, their dessert menu looked amazing! There was a ‘Skillet Cookie’ that I would love to try so I am going to try and see can I get one at the bar before I leave. Keep an eye on my Instagram page (thegirlonthego9), I will post a picture up there if I get to go back and try it!

Food:                       9/10

Atmosphere:        9/10

Price:                       31$ – 54$USD (For Steak/Chops main course) – pricey but worth it!!

NOTE: Booking is mandatory based on the day we went which was a Saturday, it was so busy!

NOTE 2: The waiters will I.D. you before taking your drinks order, even at the tables.

Hope you get a chance to visit this amazing place!

The Girl on the Go xx