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"So, why hadn't we been to Boston yet?"

It was a simple enough question when you think about it. I mean, we did live there for almost two years before moving to San Francisco… and we are only living about an hour and a half away from there… and it is only about five dollars in tolls to get there and back. Ok! Enough already! We'll go to Boston!

That's pretty much how the discussion went earlier this month. We picked a day (September 5&#41, woke up dreadfully early, filled the Kia up with some hi-test and hit the open road.

The details of the drive are even less than interesting. I-84 is actually quite a pretty drive. However, once you hit the Mass Pike, all you see is concrete. Miles and miles of concrete. Boring concrete. At least we could tune in WFNX radio out of Boston for the last 45 minutes of the drive.

We made it into Boston around 8:30, and by 8:45, we had parked the car in a lot under the Prudential Center mall (solely out of convenience&#41 and were trying to figure out what the hell to do next. Usually, when we take a trip somewhere, we set up a list of things to do. Now, it's not like we detail every minute of the trip, but it's good to have an agenda. For example, here are the basic notes that we put together for our trip to NYC:

Meet up with Annie (a friend from San Francisco who recently moved to Manhattan&#41 for drinks and dinner
Go to d.b.a. for a couple of beers
Find some noren (Japanese curtains&#41
Try and hook up with Janet from Janet Jewelry to have our rings re-sized
Hit Anime Crash (Japanese animated movies&#41 and Kinokuniya (Japanese book store&#41
Look around Soho
Try and find a good place to have moules frites (Belgian mussels and fries&#41

As you can see, it wasn't an itinerary, or even an agenda, but just a guide of things that we wanted to do. However, we didn't have anything close to that for this trip, aside from the fact that we knew that we would either be having dinner at Gyuhama or Cafe Sol Azteca, two of our favorite restaurants from when we were living there.

So, the trip started out with us trying to figure out what the hell we wanted to do. Since we were close to Newbury street, the first choice was just to walk around there and window shop. Well, window shop was all we could do because none of the shops opened before noon. "That's right," we quickly remembered "Boston opens late on Sundays!"

Still, we wandered up and down the street, peeking into stores that we once shopped at, lamenting the loss of Coffee Connection to Starbucks and standing in shock at the now vacant building that used to be Waterstone's Books.

Ok, that shot a whole hour. What next?

Next was Harvard Square. Though it had been over five years since we were last on the T (Boston's light rail system&#41, we knew the basic way to get there: Green Line to the Red Line, get off at Harvard Square. We walked to Arlington station and went down to the booth to purchase our 1 day T passes. Unfortunately, the Arlington T station didn't sell passes, but in a show of good faith, he let us in for free, telling us that we can purchase the passes at the transfer station.

Harvard Square… well, it was Harvard Square. The nasty, smelly Au Bon Pan was still there, as was Herrell's Ice Cream and Harnett's Naturopathic/Health Food Shop. The great magazine shop in the middle of the square was still there as well! Woo hoo! Five years and everything was pretty much the same!

Cambridge was a blast… we ate asian noodles, bought some closeout Timbuk 2 Messenger Bags from Urban Outfitters, and spent way too much money at Anime Crash, Million Year Picnic (one of the best comic book shops in the country&#41 and Newbury Comics (where we didn't actually buy any comics but did buy lits of little knick-knacks&#41. Unfortunately, by the early afternoon we were all tuckered out from walking and shopping, so we decided to make a trip down to our old neighborhood (Allston&#41 to search out the legendary Sunset Grill and Tap.

The Sunset Grill and Tap is one of the beer meccas of the world. Unfortunately, when we were living there, I was quite underage, making it impossible to actually enter the bar. Legend was that this bar had every beer known to man available. Rumor was that there were over one hundred taps and a couple hundred beers available in the bottle. As a self-proclaimed beer geek, I knew that we must find this place… and since it would allow us to walk through the old neighborhood, I figured that it was a worthwhile place to grab a cold beer and relax. This time it was the Red Line to the Green Line "B" train, exiting at Harvard and Commonwealth.

The neighborhood was pretty much the same as we had left it years before… except now it was being called Allston Village in an attempt to bring the yuppies and socialites (and their money&#41 to the area. We walked up Harvard Ave and entered the Sunset.

Holy shit.

First off, the taps run across the whole back wall… with over 140 beers available (and only two non craft beers on tap… Amstel Light and Heineken&#41. I asked if they had a list and they presented me with a book (ok, actually a pamphlet&#41 that listed over four hundred different beers (between the bottled and the taps&#41. They had everything that I could ever want: Anchor Small Beer, Thurn und Taxis Roggen (a rye beer&#41, Stella Artois (a Belgian Pilsner&#41, North Coast Brewing's Red Seal Ale and to top it off, Framboise and Hoegaarden on tap! Life was good. Before we left, we made sure to get punch-cards for their two beer clubs: the craft beer club and the yard club. Once you get through the card, they give you a prize (usually a shirt or mug&#41… and since there was no expiration date, it seemed to make sense. Upon further examination of the yard club's card, it noted that they serve a maximum of two yards of beer per person per night. Considering that each yard is over a quart of beer, this made of sense to me… though I wondered how a person could ever consume more than two without passing out.

Post Sunset Grill, we meandered back towards the car, stopping at New England Comics and then walking up Newbury Street. By the time we made it back to the car, we were hungry and decided to make our final stop of the night at Cafe Sol Azteca, our favorite Mexican restaurant of all times.

We made it home at 9:45… fifteen minutes before Iron Chef started on the Food Network. Truly, this was a very good way to spend a Sunday.

Posted in Smirks.

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