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Suzanne F

Micromanage my life

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We will be in Boston for a friend's concert on Monday, January 16, 2012. Arriving around 5:40 PM at Back Bay station (Amtrak and god willing). Hotel is Boston Park Plaza (Park Plaza at Arlington Street). Concert is at 8:00 PM at First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street (between Berkeley and Clarendon). The whole setup triangulates neatly.

 

I just don't know restaurants between the hotel and the church--maybe something on Newbury? When I was last up there, I ate at La Voile, which was okay but it's too far away given our time frame. All suggestions will be welcome. TIA.

 

(And if you're interested in coming to the concert--it's our composer friend Larry Bell, who now teaches at NEC and Berklee--I'll be happy to share the info. :) )

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Can't help at all, but I will forever love the Boston Park Plaza. Was staying with a cousin somewhere out of town, on the floor. Took a day trip into town and realized how far away I was. After a long day of walking around, walked up to the reception counter and asked about a room for a few nights. I was 27 (and looked about 23, very casual), no luggage. They didn't blink an eye and gave me a room overlooking the park at a reasonable price. Went back to my cousin's, got my bag, and returned. The room was on the small size, but I loved it and my time in Boston. Fond memory.

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My first choice would be Erbaluce but unfortunately they're closed on Monday.

 

Bistro du Midi would be my next choice. Keeps your distances very short. I don't know how well you know Boston but BdM is the old Biba; which had a long run as the the top and most innovativerestaurant in town.The current chef was a top sous chef at L Bernardin.On the Common with a comfortable bar area or you can eat in the reg DR. Monday, I'd eat downstairs in the bar.

 

I liked La Voile (the sail) and knew them from France; been to the Boston branch and enjoyed it but BdM is several cuts above.

 

You didn't ask but for Tuesday breakfast, you're a short walk to Charlie's Sandwich Shop..a Boston institution; open since 1927. I like the turkey hash...429 Columbus..and then a short walk to the Amtrak Station.

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The area you ask about is tough. 9L has given you, I think, the best possible

advice, although I haven't eaten at BdM myself (ate at Biba and loved it, but

that's useless information now). If you'd had the time, I'd have suggested

Chinatown, not too far away. You could in principle take the Geeen Line T

to the Boylston stop, walk 2 or 3 short blocks to the heart of Chinatown and

eat in about 30 minutes. If you're traveling light, you could even take the train

to South Station, eat at Chinatown, go to your concert, then go to your hotel.

Depends on whether you and your husband are the types to want to "freshen

up" / "powder your noses" after a train trip or not. On the off chance that you're

traveling first class on the Acela (you can recover the extra $70 it will cost you

in the free booze they provide) there's a splendid lounge above South Station

that you have access to. You can freshen all you want there.

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Thanks, all.

 

I ended up making a reservation at Bistro du Midi, since it fits both geographically and (I hope) timewise. Too bad it's not Biba any more; I recently had some dealings with Lydia Shire and so would have liked to try it. But if BdM is "a cut above" La Voile, so much the better.

 

Thanks for the tip about breakfast; do need that info. We usually go out of BBY in the afternoon, when it's easier to find stuff to eat. Am I correct in guessing that it's named for the song about Charlie and the MTA?

 

If we were taking the Chinatown-to-Chinatown bus, we'd probably eat there. Done that before--my first experience with hand-shaved noodles, long before anyone here in NYC started making them. But we also missed the much of a concert once because the bus got stuck in a backup due to an accident, so we prefer to train it now.

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Charlie's Sandwich Shop -- a wonderful wonderful place (near my then-girlfriend-later-wife's law school apartment) -- far predated any folk/pop songs about getting lost on the MTA.

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If the weather is good and you are in the mood to walk/explore a little bit in the morning, I would go to Flour on Washington (near Blackstone Park) for very good pastries and coffee.

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Suzanne F: not that you should change your plans, but the "Chinatown" bus brings you

to South Station at the Boston end, on the edge of Chinatown, just as Amtrak does (the

stop after Back Bay).

 

Having taken the NYC-Boston trip every way possible, except walking, I can cheerfully

tell you that no form of transportation is entirely reliable. I've been on buses that ran late,

buses that ran on time, and buses that ran early. I've been on trains that ran late, trains

that ran on time, and -- once -- a train that arrived early.

 

Also, for possible future use there now buses from near Penn Station (Bolt and the

pleasantly double-deckered Mega) to South Station, and a bus (WorldWide -- same

company that lost the heads of several passengers on another route) from Penn to

Cambridge.

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Thanks for the info. I guess.

 

We arrange our mode of conveyance based on its departure from near where we are, and its arrival near where we have to be. And on comfort, as we are oldish farts. While the Chinatown buses are closest for our departure, their arrival (if and when) and comfort level leave much to be desired. Amtrak to BBY has been our choice for lo these many years, as 1) our closest friends live within walking distance, 2) the car rental we use when going elsewhere in New England is out the back door, 3) other than Downtown Crossing, the Silver Line goes nowhere we tend to go, 4) commuter trains come to BBY, and one can connect to North Station easily via the Orange Line, and 5) trains are the most comfortable way to travel, bar none.

 

But thanks for your words of wisdom about the realities of intercity travel. I'm sure they'll be useful to someone. :rolleyes:

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There and back already. Had a quiet train ride and a nice meal at Bistro du Midi: spicy lamb tartare and [braised] octopus with artichokes for apps, garganelli with wild boar ragout and a grilled pork chop for mains. Too bad we didn't have all that much time, or I could have killed two birds with one stone and gotten the roast chicken for the two of us.

 

The concert was excellent. It started snowing while we were partying afterward, so the walk back to the hotel alongside the Common part of the way was magical. Several inches accumulation, but all melted by this morning.

 

We got up too late to have breakfast at Charlie's. Maybe next time.

 

Good, on-time train ride home, and now back to normality, whatever that is.

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