A Night in the North End

After three hard days of non stop meetings, difficult presentations, and an all day training, I was ready for a break.  So when a co worker also visiting Boston from San Francisco suggested we go to dinner I was more than willing.   My fellow colleagues from San Francisco were not as familiar with Boston (not coming as often) and looked at me for suggestions.  I said “Have you been to the North End?”.  And an epic night began.

After a quick change at the hotel, four of us headed to Hanover Street in Boston.  Known as the North End, is home to numerous Italian restaurants and bakeries.  We walked up and down looking at menus and trying to find a place I ate at once but sadly didn’t remember the name.  (All I  remembered was the narrow entrance was difficult to get the stroller through.  Sad, I know).  We finally smartened up and pulled up the Yelp app, and walked into Panza, a small hole in the wall restaurant that had good reviews and seemingly no line.  We asked if we could get a table for four, and the waiter hesitated, not sure if they could accommodate us.  That immediately perked our interest.  Thankfully they were able to fit us in, so we took a small table by the door and immediately our mouth watered at the selection.  We decided to go all in, diets be dammed.  We got two appetizers: the fried calamari, and a Ravioli entree special we all shared.  Then we each ordered our own entree.  I wanted something really classic and the eggplant parmesan did not disappoint.  Yummy eggplant, rich sauce and cheese, and a side of fresh pasta.  We ordered a Chianti and found one bottle was not enough (even though only 3 of us were drinking) so we ordered another.


After a full meal, as we waddled out and walked down Hanover street.  This is when I choose to mention the Mike’s vs.. Modern’s debate.  For those who don’t know, there are two Italian bakeries famous for their cannoli in the North End, Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry Shop.  Mike’s is large classic cannolis, pre filled and put in boxes wrapped with string.  It’s shop is popular with tourists and filed with pictures of famous patrons. Modern has the shells pre-made and fills the cannoli fresh before handing it to you.  It’s a smaller shop and the local favorite. I’ve tried them both and have a slight preference.  But Bostonians can be very passionate on their choice.  We were on the same side of the street as Mike’s so we went in and each ordered a cannoli.  Then, since it was so pleasant outside, we went down to the park, and ate them while talking and getting to know each other on a more personal level.  The cannolis are huge, and I while mentioned to everyone that I once got sick because I ate the whole cannoli in one sitting, no one paid attention (including me). After 30 minutes we realized that everyone had managed to eat their entire cannoli.


We finally decided to call it a night and walked back to our respective hotels.  One colleague and I were both staying in the Langham, and still surprising energetic when we were in the lobby.  We realized that neither of us had been up to the historic Bond bar.  The Langham is in the old Federal Reserve of Boston and I had heard rumors that there was old money on display in the bar of the Bond.  We went in, and found that the rumors were false, but we were still not disappointed.  The marble from the old bank was still used as decor.  And the seal of the reserve is in the middle of the bar floor.  Now that we were at the bar, we had to get a drink, it’s only natural.  We each ordered one overpriced (but tasty)  drink.  But you really go to the Bond for the atmosphere and the location, not the drinks.


Afterward, we really did call it a night and went back to our rooms.  At this point, it was 11:30 at night.  I set my alarm so I could catch my early morning train, and threw myself into bed, relishing in the fact that I had had one of the best evenings I’ve ever had in Boston yet.

*While pictures are usually taken by me or my team, I did not have my camera with me this evening, so all pictures are from of Tripadvisor.com and Yelp.com.

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