I started off the day by taking the subway down to Boston Common and walking over to the Public Garden at the West end. There I sat and wrote postcards and thought pleasantly that at least some American cities have gardens and statuary to rival those in Europe. Or at least to sort of compare to those. It was a nice peaceful start to the day.
I proceeded from there onto the "Freedom Trail" -- an historical tour through town that is actually marked on the ground with red bricks and red paint. It includes the State House, a few graveyards and churches, the site of the first Public School, The Old South Meeting House, where they planned some of the rebellion against the British and later rebelled against city censorship (I was pleased to see a statue of Margaret Sanger with her mouth taped over in protest), the Old State House, from whose balcony was read the Declaration of Independence, Fanueil Hall and the historic market, and the Paul Revere House, which has been restored to something like what it looked like when he and his family lived there. The trail goes on across the river to Bunker Hill and other places, but I was tired (I later found out I was getting sunburned) so I turned back south to come around to the New England Aquarium.
As a side comment, I was surprised to find that very little on this freedom trail appeared to be handicapped accessible. It's too bad if this core of american history is not made available to anyone but the able-bodied.
After an hour of wandering around the aquarium and pausing from time to time to admire how truly cute penguins are in person, I headed over to Legal Seafood for lunch. My guidebook had recommended the lunch specials as a more affordable way to try their cuisine and I was glad they had, since it took some looking through the menu to locate the lunch specials and I doubt I'd have noticed them without prompting.
My visit to the aquarium had for some reason put me in the mood to eat scallops, so I ordered a lovely pasta dish with scallops and a medly of mushrooms in a cream of mushroom soup-based sauce. I didn't go straight to that, however. I started off with a cup of clam chowder and their white wine sampler.
The clam chowder was advertised as having been served at the past 6 presidential inaugurations. That seemed like a pretty strong recommendation. Indeed, it was probably the best clam chowder I've ever had.
The White Wine Sampler had partial glasses of three white wines. Here's where I must consult my notes.
There was a 2000 Weingartner "Federspeil Terrassen" gruner veltliver, Austria - I wrote that it was "very easy to drink. A touch sweet, but not cloyingly so. Goes well with the clam chowder."
The 1998 Trimbach "Cuvee Frederic Emile" Riesling from Alsace, France, was what had inspired me to get the sampler in the first place. I wanted to try it but a glass was $11 whereas the smapler was only $7. I noted this as "The most complex of the three wines. Tart, but not dry. Pleasant aftertaste." Reading about it now, I see it is supposed to be completely dry, yet fruity, so I guess I ought to stop thinking of dry and fruity as opposites. I'll figure out the terminology yet. It was a fine wine to sip on its own, but probably would have gone better with a stronger/more complex entree, like fish or pork.
The last was a 2000 Hugel Gewurztruminer, Alsace France. "-Warms the mouth with a full, yet simple, floral bouquet." That was the wine that went best with my pasta.
The pasta itself was very good. I can't cook with either scallops or mushrooms at home (Bill can't eat them, and honestly I have no skill with cooking mushrooms anyway), so that was part of the treat. The shitake mushrooms were the best in there, though the portabella were also very good, and there were some small button mushrooms that weren't bad.
It was a very nice relaxed and fulfilling meal. It's nice to have something from time to time that fully meets with your expectations.