Tara’s Tales and Tastings #119: Counting Our Blessings

gather

Words by Tara Pepper

A few weeks back, I was complaining about winter and all the snow we got. But then I flew to Boston and saw what they were dealing with—they were hit with a terrible winter storm the week before and were still reeling from its effects.

As the taxi took me downtown, I was shocked to see the already narrow streets made even narrower by the snow piles, almost as tall as me (five feet) in certain places. Parked cars were buried with two feet of snow on top of them—it was crazy! According to the folks I was working with, further outside the city there were stop signs buried and that it was taking a long time for the city to recover. I think we need to be grateful for how fast the GTA seems to clean up after a major snowstorm. I mean, we’ve got snow, but nowhere near what Boston got.

I was only there for one night but did have an opportunity for a couple of excellent dining experiences. A group dinner on Wednesday night at a bar/restaurant called Gather was a lot of fun. There were at about a dozen of us or more seated at a long table by the window. The menu was quite eclectic and some of the folks decided to try things they’d never had before, like duck. Imagine this: pan roasted duck breast served with Le Puy lentils, dried cherries, star anise sauce, shallot confit and baby carrots. If that’s not a feast for the imagination and gastronomic senses, I don’t know what is! Some said it was delicious, some weren’t quite sure. I decided to have a lobster roll—a Boston classic—and was delighted with an ample lobster salad on a griddled brioche bun served with crunchy coleslaw and crispy fries. It was delicious!

legal sea foods

The next day I arrived at the airport in time to have lunch, this time at a place called Legal Sea Foods. Though it meant that I had to go through security a few more times before I flew out, it was worth it—I wanted more seafood! I had a cup of their famous clam chowder, which was creamy with tender chunks of clams and potato, and really was a meal in itself… but I also had to have one of their equally famous crab cakes! These were made with huge chunks of crab and very little filler, and were served with a salad of pears, frisée lettuce, and toasted pumpkin seeds with a light and refreshing dressing; it was just perfect. I paired it all with a glass of really good Chardonnay, which made for the perfect indulgence before my flight home.

My colleagues in Boston say they’re still digging out. I hope things get back to normal for them before the next storm hits. As for us, I think we’re doing OK snow-wise, but considering it’s –21°C outside, Boston actually kind of seemed like a mini-vacation from our frigid temperatures. Oh, well. It is February, after all. And this February really just makes me think towards next February, which I will spend basking in the sunshine and warmth of a beach somewhere—mark my words, it’s going to happen!

’Til next time,

Tara

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