Mike’s Pastry: Cannoli & Coffee

Mike's Pastry in BostonChocolate Chip Cannoli   Cannoli at Mike's

When visiting Boston, go to Mike’s Pastry in the North End– they are legendary for their cannoli. This place is tried and true, bringing large crowds to this Italian neighborhood throughout the day for their sweet treats. Their decades-old glass display cases were filled with colorful cannoli, cookies, and powdered deliciousness. We decided to only go for the cannoli; it is what we came for after all. We ordered the hazelnut, Florentine, classic, and chocolate chip cannoli. The vibe was authentic and the North End is filled with charm.

 I read some Yelp reviews that said they waited for over an hour in line and it was hard to see the display cases because the place was so packed. I happened to visit Boston off-season, when it was still intermittently snowing in the early days of March. We walked throughout the city from the Common Grounds to the North End visiting the Paul Revere house before making it through to cobblestone streets to Mike’s Pastry. The large ageing yellow sign lets you know you’ve arrived right when you turn the corner onto Hanover Street. The ladies at the counter had accents, but I didn’t recognize where it was from, I just know I didn’t associate it as being an Italian accent. I ordered a macchiato, and the coffee did not impress, but then again I guess that’s not their thing. I kind of wished I had had a coffee next door to Mike’s with an old-fashioned Italian espresso machine shining in the window.

    Ladies at the Counter                 Colorful Cannoli

Truly though, the cannolis were fresh, stuffed with ricotta, and generously sized. I’m not a true lover of cannoli, but I would come back next time I visit Boston for these crunchy and creamy Italian desserts.

Mike’s Pastry

300 Hanover St • Boston MA • 02113 • (617) 742-3050

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The Harpoon Brewery

harpoon-flight

The Harpoon Brewery in Boston was awesome, and would have been even better if their tours hadn’t been sold out. Regardless, after the 1.5 mile walk to get here, we sat upstairs in the brewery at their sunny bar with long, wide windows overlooking the harbor. The space was huge- the central focus of the room was the long wooden bar with taps of Harpoon and UFO fresh beer flowing freely. From the ceiling hung large wrought iron ‘candelabras’ adding to the ‘Bier Haus’ feel. Songs from Beck and the Beastie Boys were playing as we ordered from the friendly bartenders. As I received our beers, a trainee was learning how to pour the flight- all four taps at once into the small 4 ounce glasses- timing each pour as to not spill. It reminded me of my days working at a bar in Germany. Ah those Germans, they love lots of foam on their beers.

Pretzel-Harpoon-Breweryharpoon-beerboston-marina

There was plenty of seating at the German Bier Hall-style tables and a private party room on the far end near an open bakery serving up fresh hot salted pretzels with delectable dipping sauces. Disclosure: I LOVE pretzels…especially the giant hot soft ones, not really the hard Snyder’s kind. We ordered these huge pretzels to come with the IPA Cheese sauce and the Ale Mustard. I could not get enough of the IPA Cheese sauce. I almost wish I got double the sauce instead of the Ale Mustard, righteously delicious in its own right, but this cheese sauce was on another level.They were hot and salty and fabulous. While eating my pretzel I was looking through the windows against the wall that gave guests the opportunity to peer into the brewery. I have to admit I got a little buzz from their strong delicious beers, but the ridiculously good pretzels helped curb the alcohol.  If the Harpoon Brewery were in my neighborhood I would come back again for a beer and of course, a pretzel.

What we drank:

UFO Flight featuring:

  • UFO White                                          4.8% ABV
  • UFO Pale Ale                                      5.3% ABV
  • UFO: The Big Squeeze                      4.5% ABV
  • UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen             4.8% ABV
  • Harpoon German White
  • Harpoon Purple Heart

Amber-Harpoon-Beer

 The Harpoon Brewery

306 Northern Ave • Boston, MA • 02210 • (617) 456-2322

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The Parish Cafe in Boston

Vegetarian Corn Cakes
  The Parish Cafe Bare Branches The back wall at the Parish Cafe
The Parish Café & Bar in Boston certainly loves their sandwiches, and so do I, especially when they are creations of renowned local chefs. Sandwiches are my go-to, and I seriously believe that “the sandwich is the ultimate expression of American individuality”. Situated in the Back Bay neighborhood, this local staple overlooks Boylston Street and stands out amongst the aging colonial style buildings that are all over Boston.

I visited the city between that awkward endless winter/emerging spring time period. The air was frigid and the trees were bare, but I imagine that in the full-on spring and summer time the view from their outdoor patio would be lush and amazing. Luckily we snagged a sunny table along the window, window tables are always prime real estate in restaurants.

Our server, I think his name was Tim, let us know we arrived at the perfect time. We had apparently just escaped an hour-long wait, and he assured us they would be on another wait by evening. This sandwich-lovers haven is bustling everyday with eager diners, but I am thankful we missed the rush! The sandwiches were glorious and unique, the service fast and friendly, and the ambiance made you want to be a regular here. I wish I had more time to come back to this inviting spot, clearly loved by locals.

 Clown Shoes ClementineGrey Lady BeerWhat we drank: Clown Shoes Clementine, 6% ABV-           $9

  • A Massachusetts brewed beer
  • Belgian White Ale
  • Taste of sweet clementine, coriander essence, warm spices, crisp

Cisco Grey Lady, 4.5% ABV-                         $6

  • Nantucket Island beer
  • Belgian Style, but a lighter, gentler spice
  • Nice spice, reminiscent of Lady Grey Tea (you know, Earl Grey’s lady)

The D Bar Sandwich      Zuni Roll

What we ate:

Vegetarian Corn Cakes $10

The corn cakes came two to an order, sprinkled with scallions and resting on a bed of salsa, mixed greens, and fresh avocado. The cakes were crispy and the salsa fresh.

Zuni Roll                               $12

This sandwich was perfectly hot, the tortilla nicely toasted and filled with turkey, crispy bacon, scallions, and Havarti with a cranberry chipotle sauce and sour cream.

The Bristol                          $13.25

The bun for this sandwich was amazing, perfectly baked and crunchy with thyme, lightly buttered and toasted with a lemony herb mayonnaise. The chicken was marinated with classic flavors of rosemary, thyme, and garlic. The Boursin cheese was soft and creamy. Personally the tomato and lettuce were unnecessary, I think the arugula and Parmesan salad was enough green to go with the sandwich. This sandwich would taste amazing pressed as well. Oh and I forgot to mention it was HUGE.

The d Bar                             $14.25

This sandwich was my favorite of the three. It was HOT and FRESH. On a cold day it warmed you right up. The pan fried veal was flavorful and tender. The bread was toasted and made the Gruyère melt slightly against the applewood smoked bacon. The baguette was smeared with a tarragon-grainy mustard aioli. The tomato-caper relish on the veal really made the sandwich.

Cheers!

The Parish Café & Bar

361 Boylston St • Boston, MA 02116 • (617) 247-4777

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