Boston is my second home. I love my hometown of East Grand Rapids but college was the perfect opportunity to get out and explore a new city full of different cultures and diverse experiences. After researching countless schools, I finally discovered Boston University – one of 200 colleges in the city of Boston. I had never been to Boston before but I figured if it was good enough for millions of students, it was good enough for me. I left Michigan at the age of 17 to attend BU’s School of Hospitality Administration. From the moment I signed my acceptance letter, my Dad made it very clear that he wasn’t sending me to the nation’s largest private university just to receive a degree – he was sending me to a large city where I could immerse myself in museums, historical sites, ethnic restaurants, unique neighborhoods and everything that is Boston. It was the perfect fit and I soon found myself at the start of a 9 year journey of exploration.
If you know me, you know that I am a foodie. I come from a long line of people who appreciate good quality food. I’ve been eating sushi with my dad most Saturdays since I was 7 years old. My mom’s family is Syrian and our Christmas dinner isn’t complete without my Great Aunt Genevieve’s famous hummus. My family has been buying produce at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market since I was a baby and we don’t buy bottled salad dressing. So, it would only make sense that most of my exploration of Boston revolved around food. Here is a list of some of my “Must Eat’s” in Boston. And in case you don’t think a Grand Rapidian is qualified to make this list, I am happy to report that my husband Rich, a native Bostonian, gave me the stamp of approval. Yes, he has a Boston accent no he can’t pronounce the letter ‘r’. Enjoy!
Best Clam Chowder: Legal Sea Foods has the best clam chowder in Boston. It doesn’t matter which location you pick from, they all have the same mouth watering chowda. Fun Fact: Legal Seafood’s clam chowder has been served at every Presidential Inauguration since 1981.
Best Authentic Italian: As long as you’re eating in the North End, Boston’s “Little Italy”, you can’t go wrong. Trust me – if there is one thing my husband and I miss about Boston, it’s the authentic Italian food. Stroll down the streets of this Italian immigrant village and follow your nose. Be sure to stop in the salumerias and bakeries along your path - it’s all part of the North End experience.
Best Shopping: Newbury Street is the first place I visit when I travel to Boston. It is the home of my first date with my husband – a perfect walking street full of boutique shops, ethnic eateries and coffee shops. Start at Mass Ave. and Newbury Street and walk until you land at the Boston Public Garden. If the date is going well, you’ll continue through Boston Common (America’s oldest park) on to Faneuil Hall (Boston’s number 1 tourist attraction.)
Foodie’s Shopping Delight: Charles Street starts at the flat of Beacon Hill – starting at the corner of the Boston Public Garden where Beacon St. meets Charles St. Right next to the Starbucks you will find my favorite wine shop, Charles Street Liquors, and cheese shop, DeLuca’s Market. These side-by-side quaint grocers offer everything you need to pack a perfect picnic: olives, cheese, breads, wine and chocolate are just a few of my favorites.
Best Oysters: Union Oyster House. Bill Clinton doesn’t visit Boston without stopping by America’s longest still-standing restaurant. Belly up to the bar to enjoy Boston’s freshest oysters – perfect alongside a pint of Guinness. The building is still situation on the original road – but be careful, stiletto heels and brick roads are not friends…especially after a few Sam Adams.
Best Cannoli: Modern Pastry. Insiders Tip: you never order dessert in the North End at a restaurant. Instead, you visit one of the many bakeries for a homemade Italian pastry. My choice? Modern Pastry. In addition to skipping the never ending lines of tourists at Mikes, Modern fills each cannoli fresh to order with sweetened ricotta. Pair it with a cappuccino and you’re good to go.
Best Fried Clams: If you do one thing outside of the city, explore the North Shore and discover the best fried clams in Massachusetts: the Clam Box of Ipswich, located just 30 miles north of Boston, this historical town is the perfect place to get your dose of a true New England experience while enjoying the best fried seafood of your life. They are worth every calorie – I promise. And yes, you will miss them when you leave Boston.
About the author:
Liz Della Croce is a national sales manager for Meetings Michigan. She and her husband, Rich, lived in Boston prior to relocating to Michigan. She is an avid cook and a wonderful eating companion due to her food knowledge and genuine love for cooking.