We got back from the annual Crazy Boston Trip Tuesday night. It was astonishingly smooth and stressless. Despite the long flights, the tight scheduling, and the thoroughly discombobulated sleep schedule, at no point did I feel that bone-tired, stretched-thin, soul-sucked feeling I have come to associate with long-distance travel and that trip, especially.
The worst thing that happened was having to opt out of the backscatter machines at BOS, and subsequently getting interro-groped. The new talk-screening would be hilarious if it (and the rest of the process) weren't so infuriating. Our screeners (and the others I observed while avoiding eye contact with the woman patting me down) totally failed at the friendly chat they've been framing this as. The questions were rapid-fire and accusatory, but about the most trivial of things, and the juxtaposition is startling enough that it seems almost impossible to respond in a non-suspicious manner. ******************************
While we were planning the trip last month, I had been feeling a little cranky about the fact that we never do anything new or different when we go, just the usual routine of traveling, the marathon, recovering in the hotel room, and the same couple restaurants before and after. After talking about it some with Paul I resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn't going to happen unless we scheduled some extra time, and that doesn't really work out for us--not least because I don't actually want
to spend any more time in the cold than necessary. But just a couple days before we left I was chatting with a dear friend about the upcoming trip, and she insisted we had to check out Journeyman
. I trust her taste in food implicitly, so I called and made reservations for a very late dinner the evening we arrived. They impressed me right from the start, because I was concerned about having to cancel if our flight was late, and they were very sweet and kind about it, assuring me that they'd understand, and wishing us a safe flight.
We made it on time, though, and had an absolutely amazing experience. One of the top 5 meals of my life so far, hands down. The 7-course tasting menu showcased strong flavors, local foods, and an interesting variety of techniques: a little bit of modern American, a little bit of classic French, and a little bit of modernist/molecular. The beverage pairings, which included beer, wine, and vermouth, were all perfect. And it was exactly the right amount of food--we left thoroughly satisfied but not feeling like the chefs had been preparing to harvest our livers.
Between the day of travel and the generous beer and wine pours and being delirious with the sheer pleasure of the meal, some of the details are fuzzy, but there are a few standout dishes that I am still daydreaming about:
- Our first amuse-bouche: egg foam with salmon roe, lentil salad with mustard, and a ridiculously delicious pastrami-spiced veal consomme.
- Celeriac custard with celeriac foam and chive oil
- Spheres of some deliciously stinky Italian cheese atop potato puree, with crumbled potato cookies and shaved black truffles
- Cold foie gras torchon with (freeze-dried?) chocolate, rye bread, and some sort of dark beer reduction
- The pre-dessert palate cleanser: a disc of lemony Greek yogurt, bruleed.
It was all fantastic, though. The only thing that wasn't absolutely perfect for me was the bergamot ice cream in the final course, which, after working with bergamot oil in other contexts my whole life, my brain just could not process as foodstuff. Paul liked it a lot, though.
I am not going to mind the routine so much if this becomes a part of it. ;)