The Hunt for Delicious Seafood (and Beer) in New England

As shared in my previous blog, the first half of our Boston trip was not exactly smooth.  That included no seafood for me, which made me very cranky.  However we still had another 5 days to spend in the area, and our next stop was to my husband’s best friend’s house.

Tony’s childhood friend, Brian, and his wife, Sam, live in Newburyport, Massachusettes.  Their home is one of the cutest I have ever seen, looking like it belongs in a home decor magazine.  Each room showcases a bit of New England flavor, from the nautical curtains to the posters of cities in Maine.

Arriving at their home was an extra special occasion, as their daughter was born only 3 weeks before Matilda.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect if we had planned it.  It was adorable to watch these future best friends interact with each other.  It was even better to see the two new dads and lifelong besties in action with their baby girls.

Besties for life

Da Bears

Our time with Brian and Sam was wonderful and relaxing.  We finally had the opportunity to do some of the things we had attempted with my family.  This included eating oysters and lobster, and drinking quality New England beer.   It also included doing some Halloween-type things given the proximity to the holiday.

On Friday night, we hit up two different seafood restaurants.  We started off at Sea Level Oyster Bar for the delicious oysters.  I seriously ate about 12 on my own.  It had been such a long time since I’d enjoyed quality oysters and I relished every briny, tangy slurp.  I wanted to keep ordering more but Tony quickly reminded me of the price tag so I slowed down.

seafood

seafood

After our oysters, we drove to New Hampshire for dinner.  That is one thing I always find so cool about New England – you drive for 20 minutes and you’re in another state.

We were introduced to Petey’s, a divey-looking seaside restaurant.  The decor and look of the restaurant almost gave it more credibility in terms of the food we were about to eat.  It was right by the sea, and the outlet focused more on the quality of food than the decoration.  It’s exactly the type of place you know will satisfy your taste buds.

seafood

seafood

seafood

LAAAAAABSTAAAAAA – Finally!!!

Tony ordered a stuffed lobster and I ordered the “lazy man” lobster (no shell).  I was trying to feed Matilda while enjoying the food.  It was just as amazing as I had hoped.  We coupled the dinner with pumpkin beers (cinnamon rim even!) and went to bed that night with full and happy bellies.

Saturday was our last full day before flying back to Zurich, and we took the opportunity to really celebrate Halloween.  We started off at a pumpkin patch where we captured the most adorable photos of the baby girls with pumpkins.  There were also fresh and warm cinnamon sugar donuts to be tried, and I almost passed out from the delicious taste.

We then drove to Salem, the city best known for the witch trials in the late 1600s.  The Salem Witch trials have a lot of controversy and intrigue attached to them.  Salem as a city itself had a spooky sense about it, with magic stores, fortune tellers, and stores dedicated to witchy-ness on every street.

I made a stop over to the cemetery and saw headstones dating back to the early 1700s.  The cemetery also had a section bricked off and dedicated to those that were hanged in the witch trials.  Everything about it felt eerie.

Part of the memorial for those killed in the witch trials

Salem also hosts a small and delicious brewery called Notch Brewing.  The bar is held in an old warehouse garage, and the beers are all German or Czech inspired.  It was surprisingly child-friendly, but they made sure to post plenty of signs about “no running” or “minding your children”.  I guess it’s a good thing Matilda can’t walk.

Matilda knows the value of a good bar

We ended up leaving Boston extremely happy and satisfied.  We spent time with my family and great friends, and enjoyed some delicious seafood and beer.  I hope our next visit to New England is sooner rather than later.

 

 

Eating and Drinking My Way Through Mumbai

I am now onto the India leg of my journey, with the first stop being in Mumbai.  I arrived on Saturday, the 16th, and my good friend Pratiti was ready and waiting to show me the sights.

We found ourselves at the latest and greatest bar concept, The Bar Stock Exchange.  Upon Googling this outlet, it appears to have popped up in cities around the globe.  The concept is an interesting one, so it’s no surprise if it is taking the world by storm.  The prices of the alcohol changes depending on the supply and demand.  There are screens everywhere, a stock exchange ticker behind the bar, and even an app to keep you updated on the prices of drinks.  This was coupled with delicious Indian food and made for a really lively, local and fun experience my first night here.
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Indian Pizza

Indian Pizza

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We spent a few hours here, as it took about that long to get a table for dinner.  We then made our way to an all natural ice cream parlor to end the night on a sweet note.  It was called Natural Ice Cream of Juhu Scheme, opened since 1984.  Ice creams were made directly out of fruit (I had coconut) and some of their flavors varied depending on the seasonality of the fruits in the region.  There was a line out the door upon approaching, and it really was the perfect ending to a lively Saturday.

Naturals Ice Cream

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Sunday found us traveling through South Mumbai, across the gorgeous sea link bridge.  We wandered through Colaba Causeway shopping, and then stopped for a beer at the Leopold Cafe.  I had only seen it from a distance up until this point, but being inside was a bit surreal.  I was still able to clearly see some of the bullet holes left from the 2008 terrorist attack.

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Bullet hole can be seen in the yellow paper underneath the “Above Leopold Cafe” sign

It was such a delicious and fun visit, even though it was only for a few days.

Next stop, Pune!

Interlaken: A Day Trip

One of the best things about Switzerland is their train system.  It’s almost always on time, runs smoothly, and can take you all around the country.  One thing we didn’t do much of last year was visit within the Swiss boarders, and we are making an attempt to do more of that in 2014.

Yesterday we visited Interlaken with some of our American friends, starting the day off early with Starbucks.  The ride down is about 2 hours with a connection in Bern.  The weekend was sunny and amazing, the first signs of spring, so it was the perfect time to go.  The entire trip we were engulfed by beautiful hills, mountains, and lakes on either side.  We probably would’ve been just as satisfied riding the train there and back without actually getting off because the scenery was so beautiful.

When we disembarked, however, we instantly found ourselves slightly confused.  We saw the mountains but couldn’t figure out how to get there.  Our first attempt at a funicular (trolly car up the mountain) was a bust, and in our attempt to find a second, we ended up in what looked like an alien-probing laboratory parking lot.

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We also passed a llama farm – llamas?? In Interlaken?

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Well, when in doubt, stop and eat.  We wandered back into the cute center of town and plopped down at an outdoor Irish pub for some food.  Being outside in the sun was such a treat in and of itself that I could’ve stayed there all day.

The other plus side of eating at an Irish pub?  There is most often at least one actual Irish person, aka someone who speaks English.  They were kind enough to help us better understand just how to get up those gorgeous mountains to enjoy the rest of our time in Interlaken.

First we jumped on a very crowded bus that was packed with the elderly and their walking sticks.  Side note – if you want to live forever and remain active, move to Switzerland.  The elderly are faster than me walking up a steep incline and that image is always great at shaming me into exercise.

One of the bus stops was along a lake with a stunning mountain view, so we took a pause in our ride up and sat along the lake.  My one friend and I stretched out along this wide stone ledge and fell asleep.  I felt like I was in Heaven – magnificent mountain views by a crystal clear lake, a slight breeze in my hair, the sun on my cheeks, sleep.  I wondered as I drifted off what I had done to deserve such wonderful experiences in my life.

IMG_4132Then I was jarred awake because the bus was back and we had to continue our journey.  We rode up and up and up until we got to another funicular to take us even further into the sky.  When we reached the top, all we could do was stare and say dumb things like “wow, look at how beautiful it is”.  Those words don’t even do it justice!  These mountains right in front of your face are works of art, crafted by our Creator himself, there for our enjoyment and viewing pleasure.  These rolling mountain peaks topped with snow looked fake, and I felt myself jump a little every time I turned my head to catch a peek of the peak – haha, I made a pun.

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By the time we headed down I was beyond happy and ready for bed.  What a joyous, fun filled day on top of some of the most beautiful mountains I had ever seen.  And yet I have a feeling Switzerland still has even more to offer me.

 How to Visit Interlaken:  Looking to make a trip of your own?  From Zurich, head to the main train station (Haupbahnhof) and book your tickets at the office.  You will most likely connect via Bern.  The train will drop you off at either Interlaken West or Ost (East) – either is fine.  I recommend heading to the tourist office to get as much information as possible.  Sadly we were in that weird time between winter and spring so some of the funiculars were closed.  We ended up on a bus to Beatenburg from the Interlaken West station.  Leaves approximately every 1/2 hour and if you don’t have the 1/2 tax card is 8.00 CHF one way.  Took us all the way up to the most beautiful views.