Spring has sprung in New Hampshire …and it is glorious indeed! First came the forsythia bushes with their rays of cheery yellow. The daffodils seemed to open up their little trumpet petals overnight and proudly line the many historic stone walls that border so many historical homes in New Hampshire.
I had great fun tagging along with my friend, Jennifer, to take photos of her son, Alex’s high school prom at Lake Sunnapee Country Club. It was a bright sunshine filled day and the high schoolers were gorgeous in their stylish prom dressed and suits. What a rite of passage for so many American kids and I enjoyed trying my hand at photographing things that MOVE…like teenagers!
We’ve stayed twice now in Sonder Apartment Rentals in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston. We’re adjusting to our new schedule of living in Boston Monday to Thursday for 1 year and spending weekends back home in New Hampshire. We’re taking our time exploring each of the very distinct neighborhoods of Boston and having a fabulous time doing so. I love having the juxtaposition of rural life mixed with urban life and my personality craves both and we certainly find new levels of appreciation for the offerings of each lifestyle.
Boston’s Chinatown is wonderful! It is cozy, authentic, and brimming with fantastic Asian restaurants. It is a microcosm of Asian Chinatowns all over the U.S. and is certainly a terrific place for the Asian-American population to live, work, and play.
Our two Sonder apartment rentals were smack dab in the fun of everything central to being the ultimate tourist in Boston. We’re not afraid to be tourists because there is so much in downtown Boston that clearly identifies us as tourists.
Chinatown is a certain draw for us as we adore asian food. Everything from Szechuan chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese restaurants are tucked away in the narrow cozy streets of Chinatown. Bakeries are noticeably abundant and we’re having no trouble trying everything from the egg custards, stuffed soft pillowy bread rolls, and the red bean paste filled moon cakes.
Boston is such a wonderfully manageable city when playing the tourist. From Chinatown, it is only about 3-4 blocks walk to explore the Theatre District. Shops, restaurants, and theaters create an upbeat lively atmosphere with several streets like Summer Street established as pedestrian only.
We were back home in New Hampshire for the long Memorial Day Weekend and our son, Riley, treated us to some of his hand made sushi rolls. They were delicious as well as was this Shiratake Noodle Asian Shrimp Dish that I made. The noodles are made from Japanese yams and the taste and texture is very much like rice noodles.
I cannot wait to share our experiences in the other neighborhoods of Boston but the lure of the Chinatown neighborhood has a hold on us for a while. The Sonder apartment rentals in this area make moving around as a tourist easy, the T stops are so convenient for getting to work, the Boston Commons is 2 blocks one way, and South Street Train Station is a 7 minute walk the other way.
One rainy day on the streets of Chinatown. Loved how the city looks and feels in a spring rain in the downtown neighborhood. Also, playing around on my camera for a bit of impressionist fun
Our favorite spot for soup dumplings is now locked in. Appropriately, it is called The Gourmet Dumpling House. Aptly named, the soup dumplings as well as the stuffed dumplings there are fabulous and it is hard to resist going back again and again. But, we’ve promised that we will not be stick-in-the-muds and will try out more restaurants.
Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood.
We’ve also been experiencing the deliciousness that is a Chinese dish called Hot Pot. A wonderfully seasoned broth is brought to the table in a large bowl and set on an open burner in the center. Many spices and seasoning are floating in the broth and it smells divine. Beef or pork are usually the protein options to accompany the broth as well as an array of wonderfully fresh vegetables, fish balls, and various noodle options. We tried the hot pot option at Q Restaurant in Chinatown and thought it was a definite do-again. The meat is swished in the simmering spiced broth for a few minutes and then flavored further with several Chinese condiments that are brought to the table in tiny bowls. After all the proteins and noodles are eaten, the broth is deliciously flavored and nice and hot for sipping. Hot Pot is a wonderful dish to enjoy on a cool rainy day in Boston.
Only about 4 blocks over is the Boston Commons and Boston’s Public Gardens. It still amazes us how much Boston changes from month to month and makes us appreciate living in a part of the country that has such distinct 4 seasons to enjoy.
The tulips were all in bloom and were spread out in the Public Gardens in swaths of brightly colored sections. People in the park were enjoying yoga lessons, walking their dogs, and just circling and staring at the beauty of the colorful tulips.
Above is our second Sonder Apartment rental near the Theatre District and Chinatown. This one I’ve declared my favorite studio apartment because of the deep sea blue palette with soft woods, greys, and taupes. Sonder decorates their apartments in a style very much like the store West Elm, which my daughter likes very much, so I am getting many decorating tips for her from each stay. The use of overlapping textures of wood, cement, steel, natural fiber carpets, and stitched pillows all blend together to create a very cozy urban vibe in each apartment.
This poster (above,right) certainly made me stop in my tracks while wandering around Chinatown. When I looked closely at the captions of each photo, I read: blood antler tablets, deer tendon, oxtail, and ….er…ummmm…deer penis. Hmmm…we’re adventurous eaters, but I’m sure I am looking at our LIMIT.
Above: Hot Eastern Chinese Cuisine (restaurant name). Sianking Stye Chicken and Noodles (dish)
We thought we would try out one restaurant that seemed very authentic among Chinese diners. It is called Hot Eastern Chinese Cuisine. Tinsel wrapped garland ushered us down a cluttered poster decorated staircase into the lower basement level of one building.
We were the only caucasion couple seated in the restaurant and the waitress certainly strugged in english to answer our questions about items on the menu. Undaunted by these few road blocks, we decided to wing it and point to several dishes on the menu.
We first had Szechuan style dumplings which came sitting in a wonderfully aromatic sauce and had to be eaten like soup dumplings. They were fabulous and full of layers of flavor so we then anticipated the main course based on the appetizer. We didn’t get too adventurous here but ordered the Sianking Style Chicken and Noodles. The portion size was huge so thankfully we were splitting it. Tiny bite size pieces of chicken, bone in, were stewed in a bed of peppers, onions, potatoes, and noodles. Lots and lots of nibbled on bones later, we enjoyed this homey dish very much but probably won’t go for something so oily next time.
I took a little trip on the Orange Line T to see the Somerville neighborhood. The entire area has truly been razed and everything there is brand spanking new. They are building the neighborhood in sections and it flanks a beautiful harbor area. Everything one could desire is landing in Somerville including a big beautiful Trader Joe’s, Yankee Candle, Tatte’s Bakery, Paul’s Bakery, upscale apartment complexes and restaurants galore. The entire area is pedestrian friendly, filled with pocket parks, and bordered by boats bobbing in the harbor. It one wants the best of suburbia with quick access on the T train into Boston…this is it. I couldn’t resist picking up a Yankee Candle and doing a bit of shopping at the Trader Joe’s.
Recipe for this delicious Asian inspired Shiratake Noodle Dish with grilled Shrimp coming soon to the blog (when I get back home to New Hampshire where the recipe resides)
Mentions in this post:
Corner Café and Bakery – Chinatown Boston
Gourmet Dumpling House – Chinatown Boston
Hot Eastern Chinese Cuisine – Chinatown Boston
Trader Joe’s – Somerville, MA
Sonder Apartment Rentals – Boston
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 TBS Sesame Oil
- 3 TBS Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp siracha
- 1 TBS Rice Vinegar
- small cucumber
- 1 carrot
- ¾ cup Edamame
- Fresh Ginger
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 2 - 3 Scallions
- Fresh Cilantro
- 1 package Shiratake Noodles
- 20 large or medium shrimp
- olive oil
- coarse salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse and trim the cucumber, then grate on a box grater. Put cucumbers on dish cloth and squeeze out extra liquid. Peel the carrot, trim the ends, and grate on a box grater. Peel the ginger and grate it finely. Peel the garlic and mince. Peel and trim the scallions, thinly slice the white and light green parts. Finely chop the cilantro.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, siracha, and 2 TBS warm water. Season with black pepper. If the sauce is not creamy, add another TBS of warm water to reach the consistency of heavy cream.
- Pat dry shrimp with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat up a grill pan and brush with olive oil. Grill shrimp about 3 minutes per side and remove to a side plate.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Drain the package of noodles in a colander and rinse under cool water for about a minute. Add the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the noodles really well!
- In a medium bowl, toss together the noodles, sauce, cucumbers, carrots, and edamame.
- Divide the noodle mixture between serving bowls. Top with grilled shrimp, sesame seeds, sliced scallions, and chopped cilantro.