June 23, 2012 – We had tickets to see The Capitol Steps at The Wilbur Theater, but the show wasn’t scheduled to start until about 7pm. So we decided to make a day of it in downtown Boston. We parked in an underground garage near the Boston Commons and headed out. Our original lunch plans didn’t pan out since the restaurant was only open during the week. This worked in our favor, though, since we had a fantastic lunch at Emmet’s Irish Pub. The restaurant is a few blocks from the Commons, letting you walk by historic churches and cemeteries. (You also walk past scammers, sticking cups in your faces and requesting handouts in bored, perfect English. It’s sad to see these scammers displacing those truly less fortunate.)
Anyway, back to Emmet’s. The restaurant is really pretty inside, we got a little table for two near the window. The party of four sitting in the window included at least one Irish guy (the accent is a tad hard to miss), so we felt fairly confident that we’d get a good meal. Tony went with the steak and eggs, and Louisa opted for a cup of clam chowder and a BLT. The steak was cooked to order, and cooked to the requested doneness level. The chowder was very good, and the BLT was huge, with a generous amount of Irish bacon. When you add a cup of soup to a sandwich, you still get the fries; the fries are also quite good. In short, everything here is a winner – and if you’re interested in trying ginger beer, they serve it poured in a glass over ice, with lemon and lime slices to add extra flavor. Apparently this is the proper way to serve the drink, at least according to the information on the bottle.
After lunch we walked down to the theater to pick up our tickets since we had ordered them online. It was a warm day, bright and sunny. We walked towards the harbor walk area and over towards the North End. We really just wanted dessert, and Modern Pastry (despite the line) seemed like a good idea. We were fortunate to get seats inside, and split a traditional cannoli (plain shell, ricotta filling) and a slice of tiramisu. The cannoli was fantastic, with a rich, creamy, whipped ricotta filling. The tiramisu had a healthy dose of espresso in it, and was literally the perfect pick-me-up for a hot afternoon.
On our way back towards the theater we wandered past the site of the Boston Tea Party, and cut through the outskirts of Chinatown. Chinatown is aptly named, all the stores have signs in Chinese first, and English second if at all); elderly Chinese men sit at little tables in the park playing checkers, and the only non-Asians are a few tourists walking through on their way to other areas of the city.
We stopped for dinner at a little pizza place on the corner called Boston Kitchen Pizza. Once we saw the menu, though, we didn’t order pizza (though it did look good, and you can also order pizza by the slice). Instead, we opted for fried clam strips, and kafta meatballs with tzakiki, rice and salad. The clams were fried so they were literally golden on the outside, and still sweet and tender on the inside; not at all overfried like so many places we’ve been to. The meatballs were also very good, they were a combination of meat including lamb, and had a hint of mint in them; the tzaziki sauce made the perfect topping. The rice was also very nice, and the salad came with blue cheese dressing (my favorite). We were quite impressed with the food and had a good meal. We’d return if we were in that part of the city again.
While we were eating storms began rolling through the city, complete with lightning, wind, and sheets of rain. Fortunately for us we were safe and dry inside, though many pedestrians were not so fortunate. We watched many people running through the rain, trying to stay dry. Others had accepted that they were going to get soaked, though they were a small minority. Around 6pm the rain lessened to a drizzle and we made a quick getaway to the theatre a few blocks away. Except for an umbrella that got turned inside out (but was quickly fixed) the quick walk over was uneventful and at most we were a little damp from the drizzle. As soon as we got inside the rain started to pick up again, so we managed to get a good window of relative nice weather.
That evening’s comedy show was “The Capitol Steps” – a comedy troupe made of former Capitol Hill staffers who set satirical pieces about (mostly U.S.) politics to popular showtunes. Our seats were good, near the middle of the first row of the top balcony. The staffers are hysterical, discussing everything from the Supreme Court, the President and upcoming election, state Senate elections, the Secret Service prostitute SNAFU, TSA, Native Americans and Arizona, Kim Jong Il’s recent death, the longetivity of Fidel Castro, a monologue where the first letters of consecutive words were swapped (allowing for some interesting humor and a way to have a totally frank conversation without doing so… the best part is when the entire audience would be translating a good part of a sentence in their head, and the comedian would pause to let us catch up – he knew we did once most people started laughing, though he did start timing us after a while), and an ending skit where they do an overview of everything they’ve done for the past 30ish years they’ve been around, ending with a “Don’t blame us – you elected them” sign.