Queuing up for food makes me suspicious under normal circumstances. I see people getting in line, and I’m positive that whatever is so popular has to be overrated. Of course, I learned my lesson in Budapest at Bors GasztroBár that sometimes those queues are worth every single second of waiting.
This was the line at Neptune Oyster (the navy awning in the distance) in Boston’s North End at 11:13am on a Saturday (yesterday, to be exact); the restaurant opens at 11:30am. It seemed almost all local folks, which kept me in line. Almost everyone was waxing poetic about Neptune’s lobster rolls, which is the reason I was there after reading numerous articles about those sandwiches. Boston Magazine named it the best lobster roll in Boston, as has everyone else in the known world.
Unfortunately, I just missed the cut-off for the first round of seating–it would be at a 45 minute to one hour wait. I considered it. I really did. But with only about five hours to run around Boston, there was only one choice: I bailed.
My stomach screamed at me to stay. And yes, today–knowing I could have scarfed down a majestic lobster roll–I sort of regret leaving the line.
Pauli’s, almost next door, has a good reputation for lobster rolls, as well, but the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the winds were calm: if I couldn’t have a Neptune Oyster lobster roll, I wanted to sit on an outdoor patio and people-watch. On to Ristorante Fiore, only a few blocks away, recommended by a work friend.
I love me an old school Italian restaurant, complete with older Italian waiters. Boston reminds me of Philadelphia a lot anyway, and Fiore would absolutely be at home in South Philly. The patio is lovely, with a retractable canopy that the staff will adjust to your liking–especially if you have the patio all to yourself, which I did. Bread and very good olive oil are delivered with your wine. My lunch was Fiore’s gnocchi con salsicce (Italian sausage, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, white wine, and Pecorino, with sage and potato gnocchi), which was incredibly good. Service was attentive without being too attentive, and staff were great about me being a solo diner. Of course, I could only finish about half my gnocchi–huge servings!
After a few hours of walking off the gnocchi, I was feeling peckish. And since I found myself in the Back Bay area, I stopped off for a Bloody Mary at MET Back Bay. They have a fabulous make your own option, which provides a ton of choices–everything from rimming salts to various vegetables to bacon strips and sliders. My own concoction was regular Bloody Mary mix with Ketel One and sriracha, a rim of salt and pepper, a celery stalk, a raw oyster floater, and a skewer of cheese wedges wrapped in salami.
It was just enough to fill me up and put me in a good mood for a trip back to the airport and through airport security, which is always such an exciting time. Ha! And it seems Boston’s Logan Airport xray scanners are far more sensitive than Philly’s–I had the privilege of getting a very intimate pat-down by one of the TSA’s finest because of the zippers on my jeans.
It’s an easy flight and back, so I’ve convinced Mr. Pretty that it’s imperative that we take a trip, perhaps in November, to Boston and get to the Neptune Oyster line by 11am. I’m determined to eat one of those lobster rolls!