Monday, October 28, 2013

My 5 Favorite Things About Boston (and 5 Least Favorite)

Last week I picked on LA (My 5 Favorite Things About Los Angeles...and 5 Least Favorite) and this week it's Boston's turn! A couple years ago I had the opportunity to move to Boston after receiving a great job offer. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and I had actually never even stepped foot in Massachusetts! But I was up for the adventure so off I went!
Today I am back in LA and I honestly  didn’t think I would miss Boston as much as I do. But I often find myself thinking about it as I eat a terrible West Coast version of an Italian sub or see the price of lobster at the grocery store.
Like any city, there were things I loved about it and some I didn’t. So today we talk about all things Boston!
My 5 Favorite Things about Boston
1. Lobsters – Since a photo is worth a thousand words….


2. Food – You know I like food and I have been fortunate enough to eat at some delicious restaurants, so when I say the food in Boston is amazing, I mean it! The European food is especially delicious. There are some incredible French and Italian restaurants, the latter being my very favorite. I spent more time then I’d care to admit in the North End. I went on a personal mission to find the best Bolognese and ate everything else in the process. Fried zucchini flowers, foie gras, carpaccio, bruschetta, truffle pasta, seafood risotto, well, you get the picture. What was my very favorite? The dish that I dream about? That would be the truffle pasta at Vinoteca di Monica. I love love love truffles and this is hands down the best truffle pasta dish I have ever had.  And which Bolognese did I crown as my favorite. That would be the classic Bolognese at Terramia Ristorante. And don’t even get me started on the canolli’s and lobster tails at Mike’s!

3. Sense of Community – Boston proper is quite small so it’s understandable there is a sense of community, but it actually extends far beyond the city limits. It’s a tangible feeling that was most apparent after the Boston Marathon bombings. The world watched the events of that tragic day unfold and I cannot describe what it was like to be there. I just got chills typing this. The days following the event the people of Boston came together in a way I had never seen. Strangers on the street stopped to ask me if my loved ones were ok. I had only lived in Boston for about a year at that point but I felt like Boston became a part of me after that day. On a lighter note, I have no idea where the term “masshole” came from. Everyone I experienced was delightful, polite, and I made lots of wonderful friends while I was there.

4. History – I am no history buff but in Boston you can’t help but learn about it because you experience it everywhere you go. You can eat a meal at America’s oldest restaurant, the Union Oyster House, walk along Battle Road, or stand on the North Bridge where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. You can visit Plymouth Rock or stand under the Old State House balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time. Visit Paul Revere's house and the North Church where the lanterns let him know “One if by land, two if by sea." Even the little town of Waltham, where I lived, was a major contributor to the industrial revolution! And did I mention the New Kids on the Block are from Boston?

5. Public Transportation – As a Los Angelino, Iv'e learned to live in my car, but I must admit, I loved having public transportation available in Boston. As I just mentioned, I actually lived a few miles outside of the city in Waltham where the T did not run. However there is an extensive Commuter Rail system that runs deep into Massachusetts. On a Friday night I could catch the 5:30 or 6:30 train, have dinner (and wine of course) in the North End, then hop back on the train to get home.
My 5 Least Favorite Things about Boston
1. Traffic – Surprised? I know I was. Traffic is not quite as horrendous as it in Los Angeles, but it is still pretty bad. My commute in Boston was a shorter distance than I had in LA but it actually took me longer. I was not expecting to sit in traffic on the 95 (BTW I got made fun of all the time for saying THE 95 – you know who you are) for 40-50 minutes every evening and what was even more infuriating was that there was never a visible cause. No road work, no accidents, no nothing. Just traffic.
2. Terrible drivers – I feel bad about this one but I have to call you out. Boston people: You are terrible drivers. You are polite, but terrible. People there just aren’t in a rush so they stop for a full 3 Mississippi’s at every single stop sign. They don’t pull into the intersection when making a left. They constantly bust out “The Boston Left.”  That’s when you are stopped at an intersection going on straight and the car across from you is making a left. The light turns green and the car across from you busts out a left right in front of you. I don’t think they do this to be rude, I think they think the other car is being polite and letting them go first. Here’s where the polite thing comes into play. I never had to wait to be let into a line of cars and making a left out of a parking lot is a breeze because cars on both sides will stop for you. However, this can get dangerous because cars are suddenly stopping in places they shouldn’t be.  Lastly, the roads were also built for horses, not cars, so the streets can get crazy confusing.

3. Sensibility over Style – We have all heard that Bostonians are terrible dressers, but I wouldn’t go that far. It’s not that they are terrible dressers, it’s that they dress for the weather. You dress to stay warm/cool/dry/whatever and fashion and style goes out the window. The same goes for beauty treatments and products. When my legs only see sunlight 3 weeks a year and I’m always wearing a giant puffy coat, I don’t care if my legs are shaved or if I’ve applied self tanner.  So much of the year is spent in doors or in a puffer coat, you just stop caring. This may also be the reason why I could never find my favorite hairspray, dry shampoo or find a salon that offered Brazilian Blowouts. And the ones that did charged 3 times the LA price. I admit, I too stopped caring after a while, but I always got my blow out when I visited LA.

4. Sushi – This is going to sound strange because we all know New England is famous for its delicious seafood, but for one reason or another, I could not find any decent sushi.  One problem might be that there very few pure Japanese restaurants. Most restaurants were “Asian” and served sushi as well as sweet and sour chicken and pad thai Also, there seems to be a demand for fancy sushi rolls packed with tempura, cheese, imitation crab meat, and above all, crunchies. They put crunchies on everything!  I once ordered a plain old tuna sushi and there crunchies under the fish! They make a mean lobster but seriously need some sushi education.
5. Weather – This is the number one reason I had to leave Boston. I just couldn’t handle the weather. And I’m not just talking about the cold weather but the hot weather too. During the summer it is incredibly humid, muggy, and buggy.  My hair was in a pony tail and headband every single day (example of style going out the window). If I wasn’t wearing insect repellant, any exposed skin would be immediately attacked.
And of course, winter is cold. It was regularly in the teens and occasionally got down to the single digits.  Every day I wore long underwear, several sweaters, boots, a puffer jacket, hat, scarf and so on. I felt like a stuffed sausage. But the worst thing about winter, the thing that made me curse out loud and has given me nightmares ever since: The static. During the winter, it is very dry and when you are wearing Uggs and a puffy coat you get the perfect ingredients for a shock sandwich. I was constantly getting shocked. It got to the point where I would just stand next to my car starring at the door, I couldn’t bring myself to touch it, it hurt so bad. I would have to close my eyes and just do it. I don’t know how Bostonians do it. They endure the weather and continue to talk about how much they love the seasons. And you can judge for yourself how Dino liked the winter.

If you liked this post, or just want to share your thoughts about Boston, please leave a comment!


  1. In general, Boston sushi is bad. But there are a few great places. Oishii, and...(you'lll have to come back to discover the other 3-4 excellent places).

    1. I will definitely try it next time! I'm already missing some of my favorite restaurants =) Now if we can do something about snow, it will be perfect =)

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  2. I was Born and Raised in Boston, most of what you talk about is true, and I don't miss it. I miss friends and people that I love and knew. To answer your question about where "Masshole" came from, it's the way we drive and Massachusetts is also known for their potholes. I have lived in another state for 8 yrs now but I'm back there 2-3 times a year. I hope you will go back and visit.

    1. Yes! I miss the friends I made there a lot! I've been gone about month but I'm already plotting my next trip back! And yes there were a lot of pot holes but I was impressed with quickly many of them were fixed!

  3. Sonia-- this post is hilarious-- I love the part about the crunchies!! I hope you're enjoying better sushi back in LA! I linked this post to your Boston shopping tips!

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  5. OK - I know this was written some time ago, but I just came upon it, so I think I'll comment: if you're unfamiliar with origin of where the term "Masshole" comes from, then you don't follow Boston sports. There is no greater delusional collection of arrogance on Earth. Having lived in NE my entire life and attended college in RI, I can tell you with no hesitation that NE sports fans have never truly grasped the concept of sports - to them, if Hitler was a high-end wide receiver for the Patriots, they'd cheer him on.