Destination: Boston, October 24, 2015
Kenji starts off his book with the declaration, “I am a nerd, and I’m proud of it.” So I’m going to start this post off the same way:
I am a book nerd.
I can take or leave sports, most dramatic productions, musicians, politicians, and various other celebrities. But tell me that one of my favorite writers is going to be within a two-hour radius, and I will start hyperventilating.
And so it was that on Saturday morning, I blithely threw my schedule to the wind, and headed for Boston.
(For the record, I had never been to Boston before, despite its proximity, mainly because I HATE driving in big cities and will go to some lengths to avoid it.)
I took the I-95 up, and it took about two hours. I had been that direction before, as far as T.F. Green airport just south of Providence, but from there north it was all new to me. I was soon reminded of driving in San Diego, so I bravely risked death to take a picture:
I followed the Google maps directions, and it turned out surprisingly well; including taking an exit in a tunnel, which I had never done before. I was able to easily find the Old South Church, where Kenji’s event was being held, and just as easily find a convenient parking place.
The Boston Book Festival was held in and around Copley Square, and this wonderful parking garage was just a few blocks away. It was convenient and not scary and the stairwell was the cleanest I’ve ever seen in a public space. They didn’t have rates posted, but I hate parking in big cities and didn’t care what they charged me, so long as it was convenient.
The Boston Public Library is right across the street from Copley Square and the Old South Church.
And the whole area is replete with beautiful historic buildings:
(Which, admittedly, are probably shown to better advantage when there’s not a small tent city in the middle of them.)
The Roxy’s Grilled Cheese food truck was there; Kenji is having an event at their brick/mortar location tonight.
And then it was time to see Kenji!
The panel was called “The Science of Food,” and included a moderator, a nice lady who had written a book about the military influence on processed food, and Kenji. The nice lady made a very nice speech, which went on and on while the whole audience wished that she would finish and sit down so that we could listen to Kenji. Also, we were afraid that she was going to make some egregious food science error and Kenji was going to have to contradict her, which would have been embarrassing. But she finally wrapped it up, and it was Kenji’s turn!
He talked for a few minutes, about the book and steaks and science and showed us where on the cow a steak comes from (a la Julia Child):
And there was something about a trim saw? Perhaps we should be scared…
And afterwards, I got to meet him and have him sign my book!
I only wish that I could have made it to one of his events that lasted longer. I was so mad last year when we moved from San Diego to Connecticut at the same time he was moving from New York to San Francisco! But at least I got this chance! And hopefully when the second volume of The Food Lab is released, he’ll come through again.
The rest of my trip to Boston:
While I was there, I took advantage of a couple of things that I don’t have in Boondocks, Connecticut:
The Vibram Store
I’ve been wanting to visit this place ever since it opened, when I lived in SoCal and thought that I would never, ever in a million years get to. It’s the only Vibram store in the US, and they occasionally have things that are hard to find (like the limited-edition Classics for the Olympics). I didn’t buy anything (because I’ve maxed out my toed-shoe budget for the year), but it was wonderful to make a contact with the company that has allowed me to walk pain-free for the last several years.
I got spoiled in SoCal; there were Cheesecake Factories in several of the malls, so going there for the occasional slice of cheesecake was no problem. Now, it’s a major ordeal, so I picked up several slices to make up for the deprivation. (I finally tried the Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake! It is exactly how you think it would be.)
And then I went home!
All in all, it was a great trip; there were no major snafus, and I got to walk around a big city (which I like doing almost as much as I hate driving in them). The weather was chilly and overcast, so it was great walking weather, but not so cold that it was miserable and you had to huddle inside various shops to thaw out.
I would definitely go to Boston again, and probably park in the same place. I didn’t do any of the historical things, which are definitely on my list before we get transferred, but this was a great trip to scope out the streets and parking. And next time I’ll do some research and try to find some good restaurants before I go! (RIP, Serious Eats Talk…)