Boston trip, day 0/1 - Nothing to See Here
Mar. 18th, 2006
09:13 pm - Boston trip, day 0/1
Left SJC at 8:15 last night, arrived in BOS at 4:50am. Had forgotten to print out information on the hotel that maeglin73 was staying in -- D'OH -- which meant I had to do some sluething from the airport to get the address of the hotel and confirm that I had the right hotel, as I was then to go to his hotel, bang on the door, waking the poor fellow, and kip for a couple of hours on the extra bed in his room. Woke up at 9am local (6am Pacific--yuck! I should probably have spent more than 0 minutes sleeping on the flight out and less of it making code 64-bit clean, watching DirecTV [a bit of Dr. Who; a show on BBC America called "Black Books" about a comical trio involved to varying degrees in running a behind-the-times book shop in England], watching video on my laptop [an episode of Futurama; an unaired episode of Kitchen Confidental] and lisening to my iPod) and drove to wizzu's hotel, via a stop at *$$ to grab something to keep me going until late lunch a few hours later.
Stopped at wizzu's hotel, which happens to be my hotel too (free 'net access -- woot! Not that I'll use it a lot, given how I need sleep, but there is this post anyhow), where I succeeded in checking in about 4 hrs before normal check-in time. They don't have beds larger than "full size" (the size smaller than queen), but the room's really quite nice and comfortable, and the bed's quite big enough for me really. Managed to get wizzu on the phone, waited a bit while he finished getting ready and came down here (to the 7th floor, from the 9th), gave him a copy of Serenity (R2!) for his birthday, and hit the road for ... PROVINCETOWN! :) maeglin73 had said we were thinking of going to Cape Cod, and I said as long as it didn't involve border crossings, fine by me! I had forgotten and did not quite connect the dots that Cape Cod ==> Provincetown! When I heard "Provincetown", I instantly remembered that this was where Anthony Bourdain got his start. It was amusing/odd, since I had already been talking about Kitchen Confidential (book and TV show -- damn Fox!!!) quite a bit. Wacky!
It's a 2hr drive to Provincetown from Boston, so a 4hr round trip. We listened to an assortment of music from my iPod (using a little portable iPod dock speaker thingy I have--alas, no jack input on maeglin73's rental car stereo, not that I would've expected it -- oh! ... but his rental car [Pontiac Vibe] _does_ have ... an AC outlet in the dash!!! Weird! AC inverter built in to the car! So strange, and so cool), including Harvard man Tom Lehrer. I evangelised an annoying amount about Battlestar Galactica and a variety of TV programmes. I was probably quite boring. Oh, I also antiranted about a bunch of music and hopped around my iPod's music library playing tracks for them.
In Provincetown, we ate at a "Portuguese-American" dinerish place. It was ok. The Portuguese kale soup with linguica in it was really good, mind you. After that, we went to find the actual ocean (well, a beach), walked on the beach, I tried to skip stones (most of which skipped 0-1 times, and the best of which probably only did about 5 skips. I am teh sux0r). They took photographs. I picked up pebbles. We watched entropy!!!1! (sand dunes eroding in real-time in front of our eyes) Somebody had written "2006" in the sand, so I wrote "2641" in the sand next to it, to confuse time travellers. I mean, really, they have the advantage of a time machine, so one must do what one can to even the playing field.
After arriving back in Boston, we dropped stuff in our respective rooms and checked movie listings, as wizzu and maeglin73 had it in mind to see "Ultraviolet" (maeglin73 had seen it already, but was happy to see it again), and I thought that sounded like fun. I also wanted to get a nice meal in, as I had come armed with restaurant recommendations (sorry, delphinus. I suck. I should have thought to ask you). There was a 10pm-ish showing, and a 7:55pm showing. It was 7:35pm. Hm. Meal might not be possible in time for the later showing, but ... well, it was a 15 minute walk away.
We hoofed it post haste. Got there a few mins before showtime, waited in line while stupid people individually bought their tickets from the machine, slowly and stupidly. Some people shouldn't be allowed to use computers. Oh! Saw a guy standing a few feet away in a Universal-created brown Serenity logo t-shirt (ooh! cool!) but didn't have time to say hi and ask him if he was associated with NE Browncoats or whatever. D'oh! Got in to the theatre (11) a few minutes after showtime, but as expected it was trailer time still. There was plenty of space, somewhat surprisingly for a Saturday night around 8, even if it has been out a week or two. The movie was, IMHO, really good! It was certainly a lot of fun! :) I really liked the over-the-top comic book style. Fantastic. :) I'll definitely be happy to see it again with urox when I get home.
Got out at 9:35-ish, as it's a short movie. Had no idea how to find the restaurant "71 Park" which was meant to be on Park St. and in the same area of town. Asked a taxi driver sitting in his cab outside the theatre how to get there, and he told me, so we hoofed it post haste once again. It was pretty chilly, but it was a brisk walk, so was fine. We arrive at the street. It's only 1 block long, and the highest number in 11! We ask valet guys outside "No. 9 Park", a restaurant, about "71 Park". They don't think there is such a place. I look at the menu of "No. 9 Park". YUM! I tell the other two I'll buy, since it's wizzu's birthday not long ago and maeglin73's birthday soon, and maeglin73 wouldn't accept any donation towards the cost of his room for the night I shared part of. It turns out they have a cafe section with cafe menu (looked really yummy too), and a dining room section with more complex foods. I thought some of the things on the dining room menu looked really intriguing, so went for that. It was pricey, but worth it. They explained that they were about to close, so if we could do the kitchen a favour by ordering reasonably quickly, it would be greatly appreciated. It was only a few minutes before 10pm, so fair enough. That said, nobody rushed us in the least, and dessert was still available at the end. I had prune-stuffed gnocchi (better than it sounds!) with seared foie gras ... then incredible lamb (the other two both had braised short ribs; tried a bit, along with the sweet potato/ginger puree it came with -- YUM!), medium-rare with crackling, some complicated sweet potato and cashew and stuff croquettes and another preparation of lamb (um, perhaps braised?) on top of a chunk of vidalia onion. [Insert Homer Simpson noises here] Didn't think I'd get to dessert, but the portions were very sensibly sized and they gave us dessert menus and there was NO WAY at that point that I could NOT have dessert. There were so many incredibly intriguing options! I ended up having a layered milk chocolate mousse napoleon with dark chocolate sorbet, foamed milk, burned (well, toasted really, but they called it "burned") cinnamon, and thin wafers in between. Oh! And a little pile of cubes of espresso gelee!!! YUM! The whole thing was meant to be somewhat remeniscent of a cappuccino. Yeah, I could see that. Our server described one of the other desserts as coming with "salter butter ice cream". I perked up at this, and asked if I could have just a little to try, along side my dessert. He said sure, and it was a full scoop (small scoops, as is the fashion at high-end restaurants, but the same size as you would get with a dessert) on a separate plate, on top of a wafer. It was really intriguing. I suspect it would have been really great paired with the right dessert. I had to pass (because I was only going to get one dessert) on the amazingly intriguing black pepper cheesecake, one of the desserts our server strongly recommended. I decided not to get any dessert wines despite their having quite a good selection, as I thought I'd enjoy the dessert alone best. I think it was a good choice. Got copies of the menu. Server put them in an envelope for me, said he'd included his card and to call if I was in town again. Presumably this makes it more likely that one will return (I'd return regardless, if I were in town. Yum!) or something. The service was really excellent, including flawless water service (really good iced water too).
Did quite a bit of brisk walking (hotel -> movie; movie -> food [both very brisk]; food -> hotel [less brisk]) to make the yummy meal slightly less of a bad thing.
Tomorrow, we are thinking of going to an Italian place (perhaps one of the two recommended to me -- Villa Torino (? can't find it on Google) or Artú. Both are meant to be reasonably priced, I think, as opposed to the "fine dining" tonight, and very good. Hopefully we'll find one or the other. Called Tale from the road to Provincetown (because I am lame and spaced and forgot [well, not so much forgot--I knew--but didn't connect the dots] that he works in Boston these days!), so sounds like we will hopefully have dinner with him tomorrow (Sunday; day 2) night. :-) Yay! It'll be good to see Tale. I haven't seen him in a while.
Tomorrow, we also plan to go and watch the St. Patrick's Day parade (huh, it's on Sunday, not on Paddy's Day...). I don't think I ever bothered to go to a Paddy's Day parade when I lived in Ireland. The Americans make so much bigger of a deal out of it than the Irish. :-) Afterwards (apparently, "before" had been considered, but it's LATE and so none of us want to wake up really early), planning to go to Harvard, walk around and take photos (well, them, not me. D'oh!), then go to dinner, hopefully with Tale. After that, no idea. Maybe it'll be late enough that we'll all want to sleep.
Speaking of sleep. EXHAUSTED!
Sleep. Now. *THUNK*
 Oops, should probably expand that -- "Starbucks".