For my mom’s birthday, Ryan and I bought her a ticket to come visit us during my favorite time of year, the fall and my birthday! I have been trying to get my family up here in the fall for 5 years now! Turns out that my sister was going to make the trip too. So I started itinerary planning. The weekend that ensued was filled with some of the best food and foliage imaginable…
My mom flew in at 6:30pm and my sister wasn’t due in until 11:30pm, so what else would we do but hit up our favorite Sushi haunt Blue Fin in the amazing Porter Exchange. As always, the service was slow but amazingly friendly and attentive, and the sushi was the best around!
The itinerary had us heading to Mystic, CT. But first, a stop in Providence, RI for breakfast at The Liberty Elm Diner, which had fabulous Yelp reviews. We ordered the house special, which included the beans and an amazing jalapeno bacon cornbread, and tried johnny-cakes for the first time. The place was charming, and we left pleasantly full, not stuffed, and happy!
Next stop was the beautiful Mystic, CT. After browsing through the amazing boutiques, we stopped for a snack at S&P Oysters which has an amazing view of the bascule bridge. Some prosecco, calamari and chowder later, and we were on our way.
Another quick Yelp search proves that there is only one place we should dine for dinner, The Captain Daniel Packer Inn. This was one of the best meals I have had in ages. The service, the atmosphere, the food, all perfect! We shared the autumn vegetable soup (which sounds boring but tasted unbelievable), the strawberry champagne salad, and the hazelnut chicken in frangelico tarragon cream. Yeah, it was as good as it sounds!
Not much to comment on food-wize here. We did stop at the Nichols Candy House in Gloucester, which was pretty awesome. We then had a lack-luster and poorly serviced meal at Lobstah Land (I know, the name should have said it all). BUT, we did get to meet former Bruins Ken Hodge, so that was something at least.
It’s Head of the Charles day in Cambridge! A small snack for breakfast and we are out to the festivities! There were so many samples to be had! Dunkin Donuts, Pop Chips, Ronzoni, Chobani and so much more were tasted, that always makes for a fun day!
It was time for a real meal, so we wandered into Harvard Square and ended up at Algiers. This was a lovely surprise, and the menu was packed with our favorite Moroccan and Mideastern treats! Since we weren’t too hungry, we shared the cous-cous with stewed veggies. We also got the Mint Tea and a Mint Coffee. I would definitely recommend all of these, and will go back to try more. For dessert we headed to LA Burdick for some liquid chocolate (I get a demi, dark chocolate w/ skim milk).
After some shopping, we headed to the Wheelock Family Theater to see their fantastic rendition of our very favorite childhood show, Annie! During intermission I did a quick google search to see what ethnic treat would still be open for dinner after the show. YES!! I had been dying to try Ariana Afghan restaurant in Allston. Ariana did not disappoint. We ordered the Bowlani appetizer and for entrees the Mourgh Challow and the Korma Challow. While we waited we enjoyed some bread with various chutneys and sauces kept us more than happy, and yes, we asked for refills more than once! Our meal was, once again perfect, and the service was friendly and fast. This is going on my list of new favorite restaurants.
My favorite activity of the year was today! Riding the ski lift at Wachusett Mountain through the foliage during applefest! You are not a true New Englander until you do this, trust me, it is SO worth the drive! It is always an added bonus that it falls on my birthday weekend every year! But first, I did a little research to find a great little breakfast spot, Country Side Cafe in Sterling, MA. The place was adorable and filled with friendly local regulars. And it was CHEAP! The owner asked me to please report that they will be closing for the 1st 2 weeks of November and then re-opening as the Over Easy Cafe. All the staff and food will remain perfect!
After an amazing day at the applefest, and a stop at the Smith’s Farmstead Cheese booth, we were ready for another ethnic experience. This time my research brought us to Annapurna in Porter Square. This was another amazing meal, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out the Himalayan food is a combination of my two favorites Indian and Afghan!
Monday morning rolled around, and it was time to head to the airport…AT 5 AM! In between trips, the early morning fog was shaken off by an always satisfying trip to Kupel’s! My whole-wheat everything bagel was still hot, and perfect topped with light jalapeno cream cheese, tomato and onion. Since everything was fresh out of the oven, I HAD to pick up a fresh, hot chocolate pastry too. I mean, I had no choice!
Wow! I didn’t even realize how much amazing food we had until I look back and see how long this post was! I stand behind each and every one of these recommendations. A great dining experience really can make a whole trip! When can we do it again?