Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Beginning Of Our Boston Adventure

Yesterday morning Veronica and I got up around 4:15 in the morning so that we could begin our Boston adventure.
After finishing up the final packing of the car, we drove the 1 1/2 hour drive to Norfolk Airport. We got to the airport in plenty of time to get some coffee and relax before our flight took off.
The flight was a little over an hour and we arrived in Boston around noon or so.
There was a limo/shuttle service awaiting for our arrival and for a few others to arrive, at the baggage pickup area at Logan Airport.
After an approximately 10-15 minute drive, we arrived at the Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf.
We checked in, were given our room key and then escorted up to our room along with our luggage.
The hotel room was nice and it offered quite a few high quality amenities.
This hotel had nightly turn down service, a full service Spa, a large complete fitness center with trainers on duty, a steam room, a sauna, a rather large lap pool and a couple of restaurants to name just a few of the amenities within the hotel.
Here are some photos of our hotel room:






  






Here are a few of the views from our room window

 This is a view from behind the hotel.
After Veronica got registered and checked in for her event, we decided to take a walk and see some of the sites in Boston. Below is one of the several ships used for harbor and various dinner cruises. 

 This is a view of the back of the hotel we stayed at

 Below is another ship used for scenic harbor and various dinner and meal cruises 
 
 During our walk, we came across this long pier that was bustling with activity. Not sure what kind of business was in there but they were busy. We also came across these two weathered boats docked on this pier. 



 Another view of the back of the Boston Harbor Hotel and the harbor/dinner cruise ship
 I found some interesting architecture in downtown Boston
 I saw these rental bikes lined up waiting for people to put money in the tall machine in order to rent a bike out. Upon seeing this sight, my thoughts immediately went back to some cities we had been to in Europe, where bike rentals are a major form of transportation.
 More architectural photos of Boston

 We had made dinner reservations, via the hotels concierge, at a Italian restaurant in the Little Italy section of Boston, which is also known as Bostons Historic North End. As we were walking to the North End, I came across this street/alley and found it to be interesting.
 After taking our time walking, we came to the North End. On the street where our restaurant was located, we saw restaurants, stores and bakeries lined up one after another. Although a few of the restaurants were kind of empty, a majority were pretty well packed with people eating at their favorite restaurants or lined up outside their favorite Italian bakery awaiting the opportunity to buy their deserts or whatever else they were craving. The area had a great feel to it and we really enjoyed our time in the North End. We went to a restaurant called Cantina Italiana, which has been doing business and is the oldest Italian restaurant in Bostons North End since 1931. 
I did a little research and loved the background story of how the Chef and Executive Chef came to America and founded this restaurant. Here is what is written on the Restaurants web site:
The Chef- Fiore Colella
Born in Avellino, a small rural town in Southern Italy, Fiore Colella, learned at a very young age that his passions in life lie far beyond the borders of his small hometown.
In 1970 at the age of twelve Fiore immigrated to America. At a little restaurant on Hanover Street in Boston’s North End neighborhood Fiore was given a job as a dishwasher. Realizing that being a dishwasher was not enough to quench his insatiable desire to make his life better Fiore concentrated on learning English and learning how to cook. Through perseverance and determination he was promoted to pizza chef. Within ten years Fiore took the biggest gamble of his life and bought this little restaurant when it went up for sale and made it into one of the most recognizable landmarks on Hanover Street. Many restaurants have come and gone since Fiore bought Cantina Italiana, but the authentic quality of the food, combined with the comfortable Mediterranean atmosphere have kept the customers returning year after year. In 2000 Fiore realized another dream when he opened Ristorante Fiore in the location he had walked by on his way to wash dishes as a teenager believing that one day his restaurant and dreams would stand in the place of the music store that occupied it.
When asked where Fiore learned to cook he won’t admit the hard work that has led him to the point in his life he is at. However, watching him in the kitchen either creating special dishes for friends or customers you not only get to experience the passion that led him to be as successful as he is, but you sense the love he has for food.


The Executive Chef- Chuck Colella

Born in a small town in the South of Italy, Torre Le Nocelle, Avellino, Charles Colella whom most know as "Chuck" went to the Academy of Culinary of Modena.  Afterwards he served as a chef and pastry chef.  He says his inspiration was his brother,  owner and chef, Fiore Colella of Cantiana Italiana and Ristorante Fiore.
He has been working for his brother for over 25 years he embraces every day of it.  He says he learned something new every day.  That is how Chuck became one of the most preferred Chefs in the North End and is asked for my many repeat customers day to day. 
Veronica and I split a Cesare Salad - Romaine lettuce, tossed with homemade caesar dressing, served with garlic croutons and shaved parmigiano cheese. Veronica said that it was the best that she has ever had.
Here is Veronica awaiting the great meal which is about to start. 

 Veronica is slowly having enough of me being a shutterbug
 And here is Veronica letting her eyes yell me that I should put the camera down and let her enjoy the best Cesare salad that she has ever tasted. I am not a big Cesare salad eater but that salad was really good and if we ever go back, I will be getting a bowl all for myself.

 Veronica had the Parmigiana di Pollo -  Our traditional Chicken Parmigiana, served with rigatoni pasta

I had the  Bombolotti con Aragosta - 
Homemade Bombolotti pasta, tossed with shrimp and lobster meat, all sautéed with fresh garlic and olive oil in a plum tomato sauce
 The waiter was kind enough to take a photo for us

The atmosphere at Cantina Italiana was great, the service from our server Renee great and the food was excellent. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to go back there again before we have to leave Boston. If you are ever in Boston, give this restaurant a try. You won't be disappointed!

Before walking back to our hotel, we decided to stop off at a fairly well known and rather popular Italian Bakery called Mike's Pastry
It was rather busy in there but we waited our turn to place an order for various goodies to take back to our hotel.
Below are various night time photos of the Boston area as we were walking back to our hotel.
  


 Upon returning to our room, we found out that the room attendant had visited our room for our nightly turn down service. Slippers were placed on mats on each side of our bed and there were bottles of Fiji water and glasses on each of our night stands. Both Veronica and I could get used to this daily pampering but as we kind of pleadingly looked at each other and thinking to ourselves...maybe he/she would do this nightly for me...a few seconds passed and a small smile appeared on our faces and then we both shook our heads at the same time and came back to reality...no way...this was only going to happen while we stayed at this hotel. 

 And last but not least...Veronica and I dug into our goodies that we had purchased at Mikes Pastry. Veronica loved the cupcake with the white icing and my favorite was Mikes own Pistachio Nut Macaroon which I believe had just a touch or hint of Inise in it. Man I have got to stop watching those Food Network shows


Let me tell you....Veronica and I had a great 1st day in Boston and we both went to bed with full tummies and a smile on our faces.   

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