A few weeks ago we joined John and Erin at the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party. Because excellent barbecue is hard to come by here in Boston.
Erin was smart and purchased cheap tickets in advance, but Ian and I were stuck buying tickets at the gate ($10 per person just to get in = ouch). As we waited in line, a guy walking past handed us a ticket for two. He'd apparently bought a pack and had extras ($0 per person just to get in = amazing).
We met John and Erin inside, assessed the options, then formulated a plan of attack.
We each took an assignment. Erin: Aussie ribs + shrimp. Anna: Texas brisket. Ian: pulled pork. John: sausage.
We reconvened in the beer garden to snag a table (only later did we find the non-beer garden seating), which was a little too close to the speakers blasting Savage Garden. But chatting took a back burner to the food. Notable was how much I enjoyed the "shrimp from the barbie" since I'm not a big shrimp fan. Good call Erin!
Stuffed with meat and sauce, we headed away from the music to the plaza with a perfect view of backstage.
We marveled at the piles of meat and contemplated what to do with the rest of the day: stay all afternoon for barbecue round 2 at dinnertime, or wander around the North End. Since the only entertainment seemed to be a midsized Ferris wheel, we opted for the latter.
We first headed to the Harbor Islands Pavilion, where Erin and I had fun in the gift shop with the scallop puppets while John and Ian talked shop.
Hanover Street was our next destination, and we arrived at Modern Pastry (our first visit) just in time to see a gigantic wedding cake go out the door. After waiting in a ubiquitous North End pastry line, we ordered cannoli and cupcakes.The cannoli are a bit smaller than Mike's, making them a more manageable one-person dessert, and John was impressed with the red velvet cupcake.
We indulged as Erin got her bargain face on at Haymarket ($23 for around 20 pounds of produce). Thanks to Boston Organics, Ian and I had a stocked fridge, but we did pick up 3 pounds of tomatoes for $2. Haymarket can be a bit overwhelming for an mildly obsessive–compulsive introvert like myself, but they offer great deals, especially at the end of the day. (Tip: bring cash in small bills.)
Full of barbecue and mascarpone and laden with corn and fresh herbs, we hiked back to the green line and headed home. Thanks to John and Erin for the invite to a great day downtown!