Eating Kale in Boston

I recently went for a quick work trip to Boston (or “Bawston”). It’s a cool place, one that I’ll definitely have to return to for a proper vacation. Admittedly I didn’t do a lot of planning in advance, save for knowing that I wanted to wander Harvard and pretend that I was a student (someone stopped to ask me for directions and I almost hugged them).

Fenway ParkAfter a restful sleep at an adorable Airbnb and a solid jog around University of Massachusetts, I gave myself the day to wander the city without a set destination in mind. While I’m not a massive baseball fan I still felt the pull of Fenway and wanted to see the Green Monster up close, so I started the morning with a tour of the historic baseball stadium. As I waited for the tour to start, I noticed a number of concessions advertising salads featuring “Fenway kale”. Used to hot dogs and nachos when I hit a Jays game, this made me smile.

Flash forward to the halfway point of the tour when our guide stopped us in front of this:Green roof at Fenway

There is a rooftop garden at Fenway!! Be still my heart. According to the guide, the garden’s crops change seasonally but they grow herbs and veggies such as cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, kale, lettuce, peas, broccoli, cilantro, mint and rosemary. The garden provides the concessions at the Park with home-grown goodies and is also used as an educational facility for local students.

I would be lying if I said this wasn’t one of my favourite parts of the tour (hold your cries of outrage for a second – my favourite moment was in fact baseball-related). But I totally dig this – turning an otherwise unused space into a beautiful garden for the community to enjoy. Plus kale! Well done, Fenway.

My favourite part of the tour was when our guide pointed out the giant CITGO sign that’s one of the most identifiable landmarks in Boston. Joe Carter and the Blue Jays would consistently hammer the Red Sox, and a sports writer reportedly asked Carter why he always seemed to hit homers in the direction of the sign. His response was that he read the sign as “C-it-go”, and felt the need to follow the sign’s instructions and send the ball packing. As the only Torontonian on the tour, I appreciated this little nugget.

After the tour, I went and ate pancakes (not kale! Surprise!)

Boston – A+. I’ll be back.

72 Hours in: Washington

Almost three years to the day we first met, Steve and I went back to Washington for a long weekend in April. This time, I didn’t make him carry (most of) my boxes and drive my ass around (how kind of me). It was rather surreal to retrace our steps and reflect on how we randomly crossed paths – for once, my lack of preparedness really paid off quite nicely. While we were saddened to see that the piano bar where we’d first chatted had unfortunately moved, the rest of the weekend was pretty swell. Here are six things I’d recommend checking out if you have some time to putter about in this gem of a city/if you’re mulling over the possibility of striking up a conversation with the attractive individual standing across from you at a work event and want stuff to do after.

Nationals Stadium and the Bullpen
Live music, cheap(ish) beers, food trucks and a great atmosphere – the Bullpen was a grand spot to pre-game before the Nationals clobbered the Phillies. While the beer and food wasn’t as great as Safeco Field, it was still a fun stadium and our cheap seats turned out to have pretty good views of not only the game, but also DC. Look at me reviewing baseball stadiums, who’d have thunk it.

Founding Farmers
This turned out to be a nice surprise – a restaurant dedicated to local, healthy and simple ingredients. Steve had what may have been the most Steve-est of menu items – grilled cheese and tomato soup – with a side of fries. I devoured cauliflower steak risotto. There were no leftovers. We also enjoyed a delicious bottle of Oregon pinot noir which we were delighted to be able to take home and enjoy when we were less exhausted. All in all, great service and delicious food, and nicely located near the White House should you feel inclined to check that out.

Cherry Blossoms
FINALLY (also hello, 32-for-32 item). I’ve missed these every time I’ve visited, so it was nice to catch the last blast before they got scorched in the April heatwave. Head’s up – every visitor to DC wants to look at these suckers. Allow for extra time, pack a lunch (or at least a snack) and practice your best friendly smile as you will accidentally photobomb a lot of people.

Eastern Market
After a sombre visit to the Holocaust Museum, I needed a bit of a pick-me-up and wandered over to the Eastern Market. It’s the city’s oldest continually operated fresh food market, and also has a flea market which was full of doilies. Seriously. Doilie-to-antique ratio was off the charts. If doilies are your thing, beeline here. If tacos are your jam (coughs), you will also find delicious ones just around the corner. Following a wander of the market where I smelled fresh flowers and sampled cheese, I strolled around the Capitol Hill neighbourhood and popped into the quaint shops. There’s some great graffiti to be spotted if you hunt out The Fridge DC, a neat little gallery (wander the alleys near Matchbox Pizza and you’ll find it). When you’re full of graffiti and ready for a snack, be sure to pick up some delicious cupcakes at the Sweet Lobby. Unfortunately, said cupcakes don’t travel well if you’re planning to be all fancy and surprise your manfriend with a sweet treat after a long workday. Instead, you’ll give him a delicious cupcake with a glob of half-melted icing slowly sliding off the side. Ta da…

Duke’s Grocery
Full English breakfasts, simple foods and bottomless mimosas with footie on the TV. A small neighbourhood joint near Dupont Circle, this was an absolute gem with an East London vibe, and a lovely spot to kick off our last day in DC. While the patio gets jammed early, the inside is bright and airy if you don’t mind sliding up to the bar. The coffee was also A+.

Hirshhorn Museum
I thought I’d be museum and gallery’d-out, but the Hirshhorn proved me wrong. Initially I was drawn to it because of the quirky nature of the building itself – it looks a bit like a spaceship plunked down in the middle of the National Mall. Admittedly I didn’t spend a lot of time inside (tacos were calling my name, and I was getting a bit hangry), but I was very impressed with the sculpture garden surrounding the museum (hello Rodin!). Next time I’m in DC I’ll ensure I make a stop here to fully appreciate it.

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Do you have a favourite DC recommendation? Leave a comment below!