Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Daytrip to Boston

She wasn't the only one who slept the whole way home...

The past week has been more than exhausting. I’ve been buried with work and family obligations, but it hasn’t all been bad. I scored four review tickets to the Big Apple Circus in Boston last Saturday, so we made a day of it in the city.

The circus was simply incredible. The theme was “Play On!” and it was a fun tribute to music of all kinds. A tight rope walker from Germany named Sarah Schwarz plucked her rope in time to some cool guitar riffs before nimbly sliding aboard to do a sultry dance. My lame photo doesn't do her performance justice. I couldn't do her moves on solid ground, let alone on a rope.

Guiming Meng from China juggled ceramic vases and jugs and balanced huge pieces of crockery on his head while spinning around, lightning fast in 360 degree turns. Simply amazing...

Also from China, the Nanjing Duo were equally breathtaking. Zhu Zhengzhen did a graceful ballet en pointe on partner An Nan’s back, shoulders and finally his head.

We took our clown Tommy:

And our granddaughter Skylar.

Afterwards we met our daughter Julie and her boyfriend Gary for some dinner at G’Vanni’s Ristorante, our favorite restaurant in the Italian North End.

They have a special early bird price of two dinners and a bottle of wine for $30, so that’s what we ordered. (Just in case there is any question, the kids got free soda instead of wine.) I had an incredible veal saltimbocca with pasta:

The Kitchen Genius had some spicy mussels fra diavolo:

Afterwards we went to Mike’s Pastry for cappuccino and a box of cookies, because that's just what you do when you're in the North End. I promise the lines are worth it.

They were all ready for Easter.

KG's mother made a lamb cake every Easter, so he wants me to attempt one this year. I'm pretty sure it won't be this pretty:

After our sugar rush, we went to an Italian grocery store for some yummy food to take home. Bread...


And cheese...Oh my!

On the walk back to our car, we came across the end of the farmer’s market at Haymarket Square. It wasn't fancy or home grown, but the prices were so awesome we bought three bags of produce. Imagine 3 pounds of plum tomatoes for $1, two bunches of celery: $1, 5 green peppers, 3 heads of lettuce, 2 bunches of asparagus – yep all $1.

So this week’s meals are all about using up the produce, starting with a light and flavorful cream of asparagus soup that tastes like spring.

For more delicious soup recipes, head over to Kahakai Kitchen for Deb's Souper Sundays, a weekly roundup of yummy soups, "stoups" and stews. I joined in and I hope you do too!

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion (1/2 cup), diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bunches asparagus
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup light cream
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Melt butter in Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Wash asparagus spears, cut off woody ends, and discard. Cut off tips of spears and reserve. Cut the rest of asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to sautéed onion and garlic in pan. Sauté asparagus for about five minutes. Add two cups chicken broth, salt and pepper, and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cook reserved asparagus tips in remaining one cup of chicken broth in small saucepan, about 5 – 7 minutes. Set aside.

Use immersion blender (or food processor) to blend soup smooth. Add light cream and asparagus tips and heat through, 5 – 10 minutes.

For a printable recipe click here


Heather said...

glad you guys had such a wonderful time!! the soup looks super yummy :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Looks like a really fun day! I would have joined KG in the mussels.

And that soup looks fantastic!

Reeni said...

What a fun time!! Your eats look delicious! Especially your soup, so creamy and fresh!

Michele said...

I cooked with asparagus over the weekend as well...great minds think alike! :)
Your trip to the circus looks very adventurous. I can't tell you what happened to me the last time that I went to see a circus....after all this is a food blog.

I would have slept the whole way home too. I love napping in the car.

Dewi said...

Everybody look so happy and enjoy the fun time.
I am sure the soup will make them happy too. It looks delicious laurie.

Robin Sue said...

Laurie I am so jealous that you can take a day trip to Boston then eat in the Norht End. I will have to try that restaurant next time I am up there. I am from Boston and still have family there but now that I have my own family here in VA I hardly get up there, maybe only once a year now. Looks like you had the best day! I too have only made the master recipe in ABIN5 book so I need to turn beyond that and make some others!

Christo Gonzales said...

nice well rounded post - a little circus, a little wine, a little pastry, a little soup...

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I haven't been to Boston (or the North End) in a long time...

Too Long....

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and making me remember how much I loved it.

Lo said...

Nothing better than asparagus soup in the spring. I've got to get going on a batch of that one of these days!

The Duo Dishes said...

Two dinners and a bottle of wine for $30! That's a deal right there.

Donna-FFW said...

What an awesome day! Nice memory. That asparagus soupis screaming to me. It looks delectable!

vanillasugarblog said...

I love the north end so much. I wasn't too thrilled with the farmers market, they always seem to be so lacking. But then again I'm comparing it to the farmers markets in california, so
I have to bug hubby for a day trip to boston, I so miss that.
Happy Easter!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Looks like a wonderful day, packed with a lot of fun! The soup looks delicious--I love asparagus! Maybe we will see you over at Souper Sunday?! (Hint!) ;-)

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Wow looks like you had a marvelous time in the Big City! The food at your favorite "ristorante" looks cheesy!

Your soup looks delish Laurie! I'll have to try and made it since it's still a bit chilly here.

Dharm said...

Sounds and looks like such a fun time!! Love all the pictures!

Mayberry Magpie said...

I lived in Boston for 2 years in my 20s. I still long for the North End. It's the very best part of living in Boston.