I had my orientation this past Thursday and had some down time between events so I wandered over to Brattle Book Shop, one of my favorite places in Boston and a book lover's heaven on earth. While browsing the outdoor shelves, I came across the above book which you may recognize from past posts about my love for Elena Ferrante (are you sick of it yet?). I don't know how that copy ended up there—it's not available in the US until September 2nd. I checked the copy, flipping through pages and looking for any signs that it might be an advanced proof and as far as I could tell, it's the real the deal! At the end of the day I came home, told AJ about it and where it was, and the next day it was sitting on the kitchen table with a new mug as well. I'm still reading Russian Winter (I'm over halfway through and loving it!) but as soon as I'm done, I will jump right into Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.
This is AJ in his element. He's a big Manchester United fan and it just so happens that the same year we move here, a bar on Beacon Street becomes the official bar for Manchester United watching in Boston. AJ was excited to have a fun place to watch the games and even though we're not bar people, I thought it would be an experience. However, because the games are played in England, the time difference means that many games are first thing in the morning. So, at 7 am yesterday morning we rolled out of bed and made our way down Beacon Street for a 7:45 game at the bar, Crossroads.
We had breakfast sandwiches, potatoes, and coffee while watching the game among other rowdy fans. The man who organized the game watching at Crossroads introduced himself to us and said he liked having a community of fans together for games. It wasn't too crowded and it was very laid back, probably because it was so early, and we had a great time! I'm sure we'll be back for more games.
Last night we went to Mass in the North End at St. Leonard's church. This weekend, the North End is celebrating the feast of St. Anthony so we knew there would be a lot going on down there. After Mass, we headed down Prince Street to Thacher Street where the original Regina Pizzeria location had set up an outdoor patio for diners to eat al fresco and watch the people milling about the food stands that had been set up in the streets. Of course, there was a line but I really wanted to eat there and we decided it was worth the wait. While in line, the procession of St. Anthony made it's way down the crowded street. There were trumpets and drums and people pinning money to the ribbons around St. Anthony's likeness.
Our wait in the line was probably 30 minutes long, seating was limited, but the line moved faster than I thought it would. We ordered a crostini appetizer that was delicious and split a small pizza that had chicken, mozzarella, and peppers. Regina's Pizzeria is well-known in Massachusetts and has been in business since 1926! Their crust recipe is 80 years old and is probably the best pizza crust—it's crispy but not too thin—and the mozzarella is the best I've ever tasted! We both agreed the pizza was perfect and we'll be going back for more soon!
We could've stopped eating after the pizza, but the streets were filled with tempting smells from all the food stands set up around us. The most tempting smell was fried calamari. AJ bought a plate of that while I opted to buy myself a dessert of fried dough bites, covered with melted butter, honey, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. They were delicious, but not as good as my mom's pizza fritta. We walked among the heard of people and listened to the music that a local band was performing—they sang old school Italian songs as well as current pop songs so it was a fun mix!
The smell from the cigar stand added to the feel of the night. Pizza and pasta and fried seafood were available at most food stands and there were plenty of cannolis being eaten from Mike's Pastry's stand—not to mention the huge line that was at Mike's real location on Hanover.
Our last stop was at a drink stand where already drunk vendors were selling mixed frozen drinks in keepsake mason jars. I got a banana daiquiri and AJ got the piña colada. The prices were steep, $12 each, but you got to keep the jar and get a free refill. We listened to a bit more music and I sang along as the band played Che La Luna before calling it a night and walking back home to Beacon Hill.
It was a fun night and personified the fun times I had hoped for while living here, and it's still only our first week! And what a great weeks it's been. Soon I'll be starting school and AJ will start working his new job and real life will set in but I have a feeling that, while living in Boston, doing something we've hoped to do since we started dating, it will never really feel like real life.