Before Boston Marathon

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April 11th 2013
Published: May 8th 2013
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Thu: We're in New England!
Nonstop redeye is the best 😄. The only thing is any temptation to sleep can be dangerous. What was intended to be a 10min power nap turned into a 2-hr nap... I even put myself in uncomfortable

Gots to get up. Finally made it out to Dunkin Donuts at 11a, just around the corner. Love the convenience 😊. We were in the mood for some soup. Yelp indicated New England soup factory to be promising. Few miles away, close enough, it's on! Unfortunately, I was feeling that creamy chowder but avogolemono-ish orzo soup was nice 😊.

Next stop was Gardner Museum. It's famous for its courtyard and theft in the 90s. Unfortunately no photo anywhere, including the courtyard garden 😞. It's too beautiful not to use the SLR I was hauling around. The whole place was elegant, not gaudy. Exhibition spirals around the courtyard few flights up. Slow stroll through the museum beat us. Time for a coffee break! I definitely wanted to revisit Flour Bakery as it seems to be still the reigning bakery of Boston. The closest one in South End was a little out of the way but why not. At 4p, the place was getting crowded. Meringue was good, nicely loaded with big chocolate chunks 😄.

Bang bang, ready for dinner already . I really don't know how I know this place but Gourmet Dumpling House was top of the list. Somehow I confused that place with Blue Dragon... If you know both places, there is no way you could mix up the two. They are not even remotely related. Former is as authentic Chinese as it can get with fish tank and the whole sherade, located in the heart of Chinatown. Latter is Asian fusion bar. Anyway, we got seated with our shoulders against the fish tank. Szechuan fish was amazing. Red sauce oozing out of the bowl!! Tasty and smooth. As oily as it looked, it didn't sit in my tummy. Sorry fishies!

We got back just in time for the Red Sox game few blocks away at Fenway. I was really hoping to add this historic park to the list of ballparks I’ve been to 😊. We went a bit after opening at 7p to minimize the bargaining. Scored 3 grand slam seats for $100, sweet! The park isn't big and very accessible. Gate is right next to the street. There is no parking lot or long ramp to walk through. Bad news for the drivers. Spots in the area goes up above $45 for the game!! Nearby gas stations becomes designated lot as well...crazy. All in all, Fenway is doing a good job preserving its authenticity. Wooden seats are painted, and big screen stats ate projected but made to look like number plaques. Stand food also features clam chowder – only in New England 😊. Sox lost to Orioles 3-2. It was sprinkling and freezing by the last inning. Glad it was over…

Fri: Boston Expo
Today was rainy with wind chill…not used to this. Only temporary rain, let’s hope. Yelp in hand, we kicked the day off with coffee shop hopping on Newbury St. Wired Puppy was pretty good 😊. We attempted to connect to the freedom trail via Commons but rain quickly got the best of us 😞. We did our best without an umbrella but called it quits before 1pm. We took refuge at Figs in Beacon Hills. Hopefully, we’ll dry out while eating. Better yet, rain stops. Half and half pizza with signature figs & prosciutto and Red Sox was nice and thin but ginormous!! I swear I finished an entire pizza before! They must have changed things.

Ooo, stuffed and somewhat dry, it was time for us to move on, except it was still raining outside, sigh. Expo opened just about now, at 2p. We can’t sit here forever 😞. C’mon, 1 mile to the convention center! After a refuge at Cheers set bar just a block out, rain gave us a break 😊. Expo was packed and we thought we’d beat the crowd by hitting it on Friday! I don’t even wanna imagine tomorrow. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of shirt size exchange. I walked up to the designated table and it was done. What makes it so effortless?? Expo extended over multiple halls with big name vendors. This event seems to have become a religious pilgrimage. Not just from Adidas the official sponsor, but other vendors made 2013 race specific items. Saucony even had leprechaun shoe for it. It's surprisingly easy to get sucked into the festivity. Even I felt like I had to dish out $100 for that jacket. Course preview video was nice. Whether that helped me run better was another story though.

By 5:40p, we had gone through it all and were tired. Although pizza was still swimming in the tummy, Thao and Nicole picked us up to head to Blue Dragon, Ming Tsai's new gig – definitely on my list! It’s in warehouse quarter but inside was packed, packed, packed!! We had THE BEST waitress who made everything sound out of this world to 100th degree 😄.

Sat: Freedom Trail
It was chilly again but it dried out quickly. We were out by 10a. Today’s café du jour, Render Cafe in South End. We were pretty hungry today. Since Flour was a few blocks away, it was a good time to finally give Flour’s sticky bun a try. That’s what put them on the map. But who were we kidding. It’s a sticky bun after all…sooo heavy @_@.

Re-focus on the visit. We picked up the beginning of Freedom trail at the Commons. I like this idea of self-walking tour of the city along the red line on the sidewalk. Put the map away! Nice walk via the historical site and Quincy. By the time we reached Hay Market area, we were ready for a breather. It looked touristy but why not…we found seats at Union Oyster House bar. They were serving Sam Adams 26.2 brew. Citrusy and refreshing. Since their sponsorship, they’ve been making limited edition marathon brew, only on tap along the marathon course. Fancy. Hay market was hustling and bustling. Pleasantly surprised to find out good deals. We couldn’t help but to pick up fruits and vegetables.
North End is just across the street from there! First thing first, almond cookies from Modern bakery!! The line was out the door but Vinh scored a table. By the time we went out, line was even longer. Crowd at Mikes was even more on steroid. I don’t know why. I definitely prefer Modern quality. Since the afternoon, the sun had gone behind the cloud and was getting cold quick. This meant bathroom! But as expected from a touristy part of the city, nobody offers bathroom. So we found a nice-looking coffee shop, got a cup, only to find “out of order” posted on the door… nooo!! Out of luck in North End. Out of luck everywhere until we got to Quincy Hall. Omg I don't know how we survived for so long.


Course review
made it back home at ~4p. Quick trip to supermarket to supplement Hay Market finds. Thao took us to late-night snack at Toscanini in Cambridge. I think it was closed last time I was here. Lemon burnt caramel & rum raisin were my choices 😊. So loaded @_@.

Sun: Boston 5k
Boston 5k start was at 8am today. I’m glad Vinh signed up for this so I can be on the cheering side too 😊. Thao’s place was ~2miles from the start – spoiled! We left at 7am for an easy jog to the start. It would be perfect for my shakeout too . Crowd was already piling up along Boylston St. 2min before 8a, Thao and I sent Vinh off. Right after the gun, we jogged to public garden and caught Vinh. Along Beacon St, we caught Vinh a few more times that we were even recognized by other runners…we’re so good 😊. The final cheer was at the corner of the finish shoot on Boylston!

At 9:30a, Invitational Mile started. Local school kids along the course as well as pros compete around the block. We watched it from the grand stand until 11a when the wind-chill was becoming unbearable. We jogged home, met w Nicole and went to Friendly Toast in Cambridge for brunch. Theme is retro, from decorations, furniture to utensils. Menus are abundant and interesting. That place was so packed we could barely move in the huge waiting/bar area. Having marathon in mind, I had to stick with a light plate (one and only on the menu…) 😞.

I was all in for visiting JFK library. Really didn’t wanna walk much today . It’s located outside of downtown. It’s one of the presidential libraries scattered around the country. It gives a nice glimpse of his biography – nicely done 😊. We decided to hit the Expo again so Thao and Nicole can check it out. It was the last call today. But first, I wanted to hydrate with café au lait…Starbucks in front of convention center came in handy. And little did we know that all of this will become inaccessible the very next day for the horror to come.
Dinner at wagamama at Pridential Center 😊. Hate to be lame but can’t eat anything risky right now, boo. Still, we managed to finish a movie and hit the sac at 11p. Power up for the big day!

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20



Bib pickup
26.2 Brew26.2 Brew
26.2 Brew

at Union Oyster House
Freedom TrailFreedom Trail
Freedom Trail

at Boston Commons
Acorn StAcorn St
Acorn St

Revisiting my fav street
Sticky sticky bunSticky sticky bun
Sticky sticky bun

Flour Bakery
Boston 5kBoston 5k
Boston 5k

Start area
Boston 5kBoston 5k
Boston 5k

Last turn

10th May 2013

Istanbul Airport Transfers
Good post, this post is very usefull.
13th May 2013

Nice post, thanks for sharing.

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