Sunday, October 9, 2011

A 'tour' de force!

There are many different tours going on around Boston's various neighborhoods.  As summer has drawn to a close, I really wanted to get one more good one in before the weather shifts for good. I was presented with a perfect opportunity this Saturday as Audrey, Founder of Boston Food Finds and dear food blogging friend of mine, invited me to join in on her Back Bay/Beacon Hill tour.
It was a perfect, perfect day for a walking tour and I had the best time! Here is a stop by stop itinerary...I got a bit picture happy...

Our first stop after a brief introduction was Scampo at the Liberty Hotel.  Talk about starting off strong! Scampo, whichs means 'escape' in italian, is one of Lydia Shire's most famous restaurants...and little wonder why. Everyone is so invested in their work there and the food...well, it set the bar pretty high!

Once we had all introduced ourselves, we were greeted by practically all the staff and given a tour of the space. There were only six of us altogether, so we were actually taken into the back kitchen, where chefs were chopping away at huge cuts of meat, making sauces and the like. It really smelt amazing and I would have been happy to be a fly on the wall for a while..we were also shown the outdoor patio where they apparently have a doggy day care Wednesday.. 
Due to our small size, we all fit comfotably around the chef's table overlooking the brick oven and the tandoori oven.  Our first course was their potato and chestnut gnocchi which, as stated by one of our fellow tour-ers, should be renamed something along the lines of 'pillows of sweet serenity'.  Topped with brown sugar, sage and sliced, crispy chestnuts, this dish was probably one of the tastiest things I have eaten in a while...and to think that this is the very first stop Audrey organised for us!

Next, Chef Simon Restrepo, put together a fabulous Lobster pizza, which, consequently, was voted The best pizza in Massachusetts! Small wonder why, this baby was cooked to a perfect crispness, topped with a delicious, cheesey, creamy sauce with chunks of juicy lobster and other herbs. It too, went down a treat and left the other guests and myself really wanting more:)

Our next stop delivered just as well, but from another angle. Beacon Hill Chocolates welcomed us with their international selection of chocolates and confectionnary and we were all given samples of their milk chocolate ganache, a chili and lime chocolate and a piece of dark chocolate.  The highlight of course was our choice of a smore's on a stick, or a brownie pop. I went for the later...and have not, as of yet, indulged in it:) (I had to leave something for later!)

Our tour was then taken through the Public Gardens and on such a lovely day, this interlude was a nice treat...a non-culinary one too!

Out of the park we went straight to Bacco's Wine and Cheese, a ten month old provision store sourced from local and international culinary artisans. 

In here, after a brief exploration of their unique goodies, Bob Bacco (owner) gave us a mini wine and cheese tasting with some delicious macaroons and introduced us to some of his special ideas.  My favorite was his version of a 'bento-box'.  It comes at 7.50 and offers a serving of Iggy's fresh baguette with a daily selection of salumi and cheese and whatever antipasti has just been made that very morning. What a delicious idea to take out for a lounge in the park, or a nice european-style snack during the day!

Newbury street's Sabatino and Co was our next stop. In here we were presented with infused olive oils, truffle oil honeys, infused salts and sugars and some of the most delectable spreads.  The communal favorite was their pistachio spread which, coming in a very intersting pale green, creamy color, tasted like a sweet but hearty nutella. I had a couple spoonfuls of that one:)

You may wonder at this point how we can fit so many different things without getting uncomfortably full. Well, this is the genius behind Audrey's tours.  The key word would be 'walking' and in case you have not kept track, we have already walked all the way from Liberty Hotel, along Charles Street, through the Public Gardens and, by the second to last stop, found ourselves at Turner Fisheries in the Back Bay. The reason behind this stop? Their award winning Clam Chowder.  I know, you are probably thinking that this is what all seafood restaurants call their clam chowder. However, at Turner Fisheries, their clam chowder is so good, that they were asked to no longer participate in the annual clam chowder contest...seeing as they kept winning!
My verdict? The consistency, the big, meaty clams, boiled poattoes and salty crackers made for a mighty fine clam chowder to me:)

Finally, after much walking, chatting and chomping, we made it to our final destination...Sweet Cupcakes.  Here, we were actually able to pick out our cupcake preference.  I went for their seasonal Pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese was delicious. We were also offered a take home box...which I politely declined as I somehow managed to find some extra stomach space for my cupcake.

My experience of Boston Food Finds walking tour has been a long time in the making, but I can now say with utter confidence that the wait was worth it. I highly recommend it to visitors to the area and to locals, as I myself found some interesting new places that I had either not heard of, or never been in. Audrey is a delight as she has created personal  ties with every spot on the tour and looks to create new friendships with all of her guests.
Boston Food Finds is a gem in itself!


  1. 1) nice change of pace on the post. 2)Any idea if there's a list of food tours anywhere? 3) Sorry I didn't get to say hello at MJ's the other night, keep up the good work!!

  2. Looks like a perfect Saturday! I'm so looking forward to going on one of Audrey's tours! And all your stops look very worthwhile.

  3. Yes, it is a deifinite must do:) Even for bostonians!
    It was great to see you Amanda:)