I'm in Boston this weekend and instead of checking out the Freedom Trail, Harvard Square or other sceneries, what do I do? Eat, of course. Lots of eating.
Clam chowder, lobster, ice cream, Italian fare and sushi? That's only the start. So far I've eaten some great Italian food. One of the first stops was at nebo, located in the North End neighborhood of Boston. The area is known for its long history of Italian immigrant families and more importantly, to me, some of the top Italian fare in the United States.
At nebo, sisters Carla and Christine Pallota are almost always there running the front and back of the house. My friend and I devoured this cream-filled mozzarella drizzled with a balsamic fig glaze served with prosciutto atop some garlic-grilled bread. We also couldn't stop scarfing down a tagliatelle with seared sea scallops. But even more than the good food, I noticed how much the sisters interacted with customers. They said "thank you" and "good bye" to all customers individually. Can you imagine Jean-Georges or Bobby Flay doing that? What the Pallota sisters showed me was that there are still chefs and restaurateurs who are deeply passionate about their food and business. It's a refreshing sight.
The eating is done, however. I still have a few days left here. At one seafood eatery, I inspected a bowl of clam chowder before sniffing the aroma of fresh-shucked clams swimming in a hot bath of broth and heavy cream. I haven't eaten clam chowder often but if every bite was like this one I sampled, I could be an addict. This was followed by sampling lobster, shrimp and crab tacos. It's remarkable when the seafood tastes fresh (and as we learned in school, we can tell this by the taste, smell and texture of the items).
I think going to culinary school has helped me appreciate good food even more. When a chef does it right, you don't care where you're at. You just know you're happy to be eating.