We weren’t really planning on a honeymoon. We didn’t have a lot of time to travel, but we skipped off to Boston, MA on a lark. We were thinking of going to Montreal, but, well, Montreal is kind of our default vacation choice. And darn it, we wanted to try some place new.

Albany John and I did the touristy things. He’d been there before, I’d never been. We went to Quincy Market and such. It was ok, nothing really called to me, but it’s one of those touristy things to do, so we did it.
We also went to the Aquarium! That thing rocked! It’s $19.95 per adult (less for kiddies) and they stamp your hand so you can come in and out as you please.

We went on a weekday, so it will probably be much busier on weekends, but woah mama – it was kid central there. Screaming babies and kids running around everywhere. Maybe it was a class field trip? Then again, I wasn’t much better “oohing” and “aahing” at just about everything, heh heh.

When you first walk in, you see the penguins. EVERYWHERE. PENGUINS. I think they said they had something like 4 types of penguins there. They were cute.

We saw tons of other things, and walked up to the top of the big tank (it’s really tall – 3 levels circle around it!) and saw one of their turtles. This is one of the smaller turtles.

This is the big turtle. Myrtle the turtle is at least 75 years old, but possibly older because that’s as far back as their paperwork said. That’s a turtle I wouldn’t want to mess with.

Afterwards, we strolled around a bit, and decided to grab some food. Albany John had heard through the Internet grapevine that someone he knew in Middle/High School was in Boston for school, and part of the school deal was also opening your own business, so he and other students opened a bar.
Or I could be completely wrong, but basically, Albany John kind of knew this guy from way back when, and we thought it would be really neat to go check it out.

The bar is called The Savant Project, and it’s located more in the college area of Boston than the touristy area we were in, so we decided to grab a cab from the aquarium over. Thank god we did. It wasn’t terribly far, but if we’d tried to walk it, it would have taken us a while.

The bar’s got a very nice lounge/tapas vibe going on, and we decided to sit at the bar. The bartender was super friendly right from the get-go and informed us that unfortunately, Albany John’s classmate of yore was not in that day. Not a biggie for us, and man, I hope she didn’t think we were trying to name drop – it was just so exciting to be there on our honeymoon!

We then ordered some drinks while we looked over the menu (we got there when they were having their ½ off tapas specials!). Albany John got a Red Head($6), which was Framboise with Pilsner Urquell. It tasted like a raspberry lemonade – SO good.

I got one of their infused liquors. It’s been a few days, so let me try and remember what it was. The infused liquors are specials, so they’re not on the website. It was Jim Beam with roasted pears and…some kind of flower? Something else, definitely. It was $8 on the rocks, and as I was drinking it, I thought it was a really strong drink. And then Albany John and our bartender pointed out that it was only liquor. Whoops. I am such a ditz some times. Regardless, it was excellent! Smooth, well balanced flavors that lingered just long enough. Our bartender, Lynette, gave a great pour as well – over ice so it could melt a bit and mingle with the liquor (not up to the very top of the glass). That’s why I didn’t think it was just liquor – I could actually drink it! Normally I prefer my liquors mixed. (actually, looking on their online menu, this might be a Bourbon Bomber with roasted pears, cherries and Jim Beam in it)

We ordered some food after a few sips. We got 2 orders of cold tapas and 2 orders of hot tapas. Albany John stopped me from ordering after that because I basically wanted the entire tapas menu (since I think that appetizers and tapas are the best ever – so many tastes!).

On the left is the Scallop Ceviche on Crostini ($4.50) and on the right is the Chicken Fresh Roll with kim chee, and tamarind chili sauce ($4.25).

I’ve never had ceviche, and if this is what ceviche is supposed to taste like, sign me right up! The scallops had great texture – like very well flavored sashimi, texture-wise. And the mango salsa atop them was also excellent – small bits, and not at all watery.
The Chicken Fresh Roll was wrapped in rice paper and gave it a nice chewy texture. Overall, a great combo of flavors and heat but cut gigantically. It was really hard to eat the pieces since they filled up your entire mouth and were chewy from the rice paper. My cheeks were puffed out like a chipmunk trying to eat them, but it was also kind of fun.

We waited a while in between cold and hot tapas dishes, but not a problem, because that means we could order more drinks!

I was torn between getting another infused liquor (they had about 4 or so of them to try, and all of them sounded amazing), or a Lychee Gimlet ($8.50). I went with the Lychee Gimlet.Good, good, good. The lychee wasn’t overpowering, and this was quite a refreshing drink. Albany John also approved, and he is not normally a fan of lychee.

Albany John perused through the drink menu again and noticed a Pisco Sour ($8.50). When his brother was globetrotting, he once brought back a bottle of Pisco, and both brothers highly enjoy it. Albany John loved this drink, plain and simple.

Lynette was an impeccable bartender – she chatted with us, was engaging, and let us sniff some of the cool additives (like basil or rosemary essences to add by the dropper to some of their drinks to add just a hint of something else) behind the bar while also doing all her side work. She also washed her hands a ton, something I absolutely loved. All in all, she was awesome and made our experience at The Savant Project absolutely stellar.

On the left are Tuna sliders ($5) with jalapeno, sesame and yucca chip. Truffled Parmesan Polenta Logs with Parmesan aioli ($4.25) are on the right.
I think the sliders had the yucca chip glued on with some parmesan aioli as well. I thought the aioli was a bit bright, but it did taste parmesan-y. We didn’t eat much of it, though, because we’re not huge mayo/aioli fans to begin with. If you are, I think you’d probably like it.

Do you see how freakin’ cute the six polenta logs are? They’re stacked like a little log cabin!!! Cuteness aside, they were also my absolute favorite dish of the four we ordered. They were amazingly crisp on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, and had just an outstanding flavor of truffle and parmesan going on. I think I ate more than Albany John did of this dish. SO good. I would order two or three of these plates on my next visit.

The Tuna Sliders were also tasty and well spiced. They weren’t overcooked or fishy tasting. They were meaty, moist, and had a great kick to them. The jalapeno got the better of me after half a slider (I know, I KNOW, I am such a wuss) and Albany John had to eat the rest. But I’m not complaining about the heat (just me being a spice wuss) – it was perfect the way it was and I’d order them again.

Again, note – these food prices are half off, so if you go when the special isn’t in place, you’ll pay double for them. It’s a little steep to me, so I highly advise going around 2-6, when it is in place. (Although I’d order those polenta logs even if there wasn’t a half-off deal going on)

So Boston was great. We even saw a 7-11 with Andre champagne (classy) for… $13.99!(it goes for around $5 here)
I’d really like to go back and check out more of Boston again. It was surprisingly close to Albany, and much cleaner than NYC (at least the places we visited). Also less packed than NYC, too. And the seafood. OH, the seafood. I am kicking myself now for not ordering a lobster roll or something, but, ah, that’s for the next trip, eh?

  1. Wow! that looks impressive and fun. Boyfriend has never been to the aquarium and my borhter lives near Tufts, so we get the insider scoop on alot of eateries (my family loves to eat). As a new afficionado of scallops the ceviche sounds tasty.

  2. Mr. Dave said:

    I know its a little messed up but… were you wondering a little what that turtle would taste like? Maybe in a nice chowder? hehe

  3. ellie said:

    While NYC is closer for me, and I get a parental pitstop that usually involves free dinner out, Boston seems so much nicer and cleaner and less full of people and contains more treees. I never get there though!!!A thing about tapas: My sister and I went to a great tapas bar in Buffalo and I was upset that the food kept coming out at different times, and never for both of us at once. When I made a complaint, I was told that you are supposed to wait between tapas, because its a cultural thing in which you sample a little food, talk and drink and then sample a little more food. Wish I had known that going into that place! (Or if the waiter had mentioned this to us…)

  4. phairhead – oooh, I will have to get the scoop from you before my next Boston voyage!mr.dave – oddly enough, that didn’t cross my mind! If we really want to go off the spectrum, I could also think about the gigantic aquarium thing in the center and how they’d all taste (seafood soup, anyone?)ellie – dinner with the rents is also a good thing! Actually, we made a pitstop along the way to Albany John’s house 🙂

  5. jmp said:

    I love Boston. I originally wanted to go to college there (Emerson) but backed out when the school couldn’t offer me any financial aid. I always freak out over the penguins at the aquarium. They’re just too cute for words. I think the way tapas are traditionally served is partially what keeps Europeans thinner. See Michael Pollen’s “An Eater’s Manifesto” for more on that.

  6. Grace said:

    my two favorite things about this post:-awesome, freaky-looking penguins-even more awesome polenta sticks artistically stackedsounds like good times. 🙂

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