A Day in Back Bay

This guest post comes from current student and president of the Gastronomy Student Association Payal Parikh. Are you curious about what Gastronomy students like to do in their day off? Looking for Gastronaut-approved activities in Boston? Read on! 

A few weeks ago, fellow Gastronauts, Sarah Critchley, Sarah Hartwig, Neema Syovata, and I set out on a day of fun in Boston. As new-ish Bostonians we thought it would be nice to explore our town. If you ever need a fun, yet educational day of fun in Boston, here is your path, feel free to mix and match as you may see fit.

We started out the day with bagels from the new and popular Medford spot, Goldilox Bagels. The bagels are definitely in the running for best bagels in the area. We enjoyed them on the steps of the Museum of Fine Art, or the “MFA,” as the locals call it. Boston University students get in for free so it was nice to go in and see as much as we wanted without the pressure of seeing the whole museum in a day, and one could easily spend the whole day there if given the opportunity.

We started with the new exhibit about Ancient Nubia and played a fun game to see who could find the first piece of “gastronomy” related art, there was a toss-up between an ancient dining room set and a watermelon necklace, but in the end, we decided no winner was to be had and continued the search. We then wandered over to the Women and Art exhibit where we were greeted with a stumper of a question – could we name five women artists…it took a bit but the collective group was able to do it! We were all a little embarrassed with the time it took to do so. It was in this exhibit that we came across a wonderful painting of cabbages, that was the clear gastronomical winner!

Cabbages by Polly Thayer, 1936

It was at that point we decided it was time for lunch, we walked from the Fenway/Kenmore section over to Back Bay with our eyes on Saltie Girl. The seafood restaurant known for its large selection of tinned fish was at an hour wait for our party so we put our name in and decided to move on. Sticking with the newly decided theme, we walked over to The Salty Pig, which we were able to sit at right away. We shared some pizza and salads while taking in the neighborhood sites, as it is situated on the corner of a little shopping plaza. During this time, we also received a call back from Saltie Girl saying our table was ready. Even though half the group had to leave to go back to their regularly scheduled day, Sarah C and I soldiered on and decided to have a second lunch. Walking through Back Bay was very enjoyable at that time of day and we soon arrived back at the bar at Saltie Girl. We ordered a couple of small, delicious plates and I also had a daytime glass of wine (it was a mini-vacation after all). The wine was good and reasonably priced but the real excitement came from the glass it was served in, a small tumbler, which was out of character for a $$$ restaurant, instead of a seafood shack. 

After closing out, Sarah had to head to work and I was on my own for an hour. I walked over to the Boston Public Library to check it out as I had never successfully been inside of it. It was as beautiful as all the pictures I had seen. It was surprisingly busy with tourists taking pictures instead of people looking for reading material. I had an enjoyable time perusing the shelves and walking through the courtyard in the slightly chilly October day.

For the evening, fellow Gastronaut Kate Cherven met up with me at Eataly for some Italian food perusing. After a riveting discussion of canned truffles and a self-directed dried fruit tasting with an employee, we sat down for some much-needed espresso and planned our next move. Kate’s husband Stefan met up with us and we went over to a nearby bar that had been on a dive bar list of the area. The original Bukowski’s Tavern, inspired by Charles himself, where they don’t serve Bud Light and the chalkboard is full of funny quotes from Yelp! reviews. After finding out we missed trivia, we hung around for a bit, had some beverages, and snacks and decided more future visits were in order. We ended the night at a little Vietnamese place nearby, the name was forgettable but the soup was good and we all made it home before the rain came down. It was a wonderful Back Bay day indeed.

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