New Years & Dumplings in Boston

On the 31st of December, B and I decided to head down to Boston and ring in the New Year with my sister and her beau. I remember my mom going out for First Night in Boston when I was a kid, and have always wanted to celebrate New Years in the city myself. My family moved from Boston to Maine when I was 13, so I missed out on a lot of the teenage / young adult events in Beantown. I love hanging out in Boston, and every time I visit the States I make a point of spending a few days in the city – half to convince B we should live there someday, half because I just plain love it there!

This time around, we stayed at the Marriott on Tudor Wharf in hopes of being able to see the fireworks. While our suite didn’t overlook the harbor, from the top floor we did have some awesome views of the Zakim Bridge. Shall we look out the window?IMG_8444 IMG_8463IMG_8457As we watched the last sunset of 2013, we skimmed our First Night brochure and decided on a plan of action for the evening. My sister lives in the Cape, so she had a drive ahead of her and would be meeting us for dinner in a few hours. B and I donned our many layers and heavy coasts, and then hit the streets of Boston to uncover some New Year’s fun.IMG_8479Despite the cold, we decided to walk into the city center. The route from the hotel had some beautiful views and some interesting obstacles. We walked across a makeshift pedestrian bridge, spanning the locks and channels of the Charles River, coated in ‘proceed at your own risk’ signs.
IMG_8480It offered a unique view of the city, and along the route B took these colorful photos of the bridge.IMG_8487IMG_8494Once we crossed the river, we headed towards Faneuil Hall, our first stop for the evening’s festivities. 
IMG_8507IMG_8498IMG_8510There were street performers, ice sculptures, and activities for kids. IMG_8539IMG_8536IMG_8525Next on our walking tour was Boston Commons, where we hoped to catch the early evening family fireworks. IMG_8548IMG_8553We arrived just in time for an ice show, but as our toes were also turning into ice, we decided to head inside for a bit to warm up.IMG_8563IMG_8561We found a cute restaurant with a cocktail bar facing the Commons, and popped in for a drink and a snack.
IMG_8573As mentioned, I’ve never lived in Boston as an adult, so I don’t know all of the ins and outs of dinning in the city. But we took a gamble on Teatro Restaurant and were really happy we did! They had a great cocktail menu and lots of appetizer choices, and although we were only staying for a quick bite, the dinner menu also looked awesome. We found a window seat at the bar, and the couple next to us told us that if we stayed another hour, we would have a great, warm view of the fireworks in the park!IMG_8581 IMG_8588We worked our way down the cocktail menu (hey, we walked into town!) sampling festive red martinis and some of our favorite mixed classics.IMG_75155IMG_8608Just before the fireworks were set to begin, my sister called. We gave our window seats to a very thankful couple and hit the road once more to meet up with my sister and her man.IMG_8616We caught up just in time to grab a hot drink before the fireworks begun. IMG_8635IMG_8640IMG_8633They were quite dazzling, but by the end we were ready for a proper meal and a warm seat inside! My sister’s boyfriend, Ryan, suggested we go to the Gourmet Dumpling House, a delicious nearby spot in Chinatown.IMG_8663Right away we knew we were in the right place – the restaurant was packed with locals and the food looked fantastic. We were served a big pot of warm tea and given an equally big menu. IMG_8668We randomly pointed to this and that on the menu, unsure of the specialties and unable to easily communicate with our server!IMG_8665What followed was by far the best Chinese food I have ever had. And trust me, I’ve had some damn posh Chinese food! But this was the most hearty, filling, and well flavored meal I’ve had in a long time.IMG_8670We ordered tripe, which was cold and marinaded in a light, flavorful dressing. My sister, who is a notoriously picky eater, even tried a bite, and declared that she liked it! Until we told her what it was . . IMG_8676Slowly our hot food started to arrive, dish by dish, fresh from the kitchen. We went for sautéed garlic greens.IMG_8680Spicy pork and vegetables. . . . IMG_8684. . . which had the most adorable lotus root pinwheels!IMG_8679Sesame chicken (at B’s request!).IMG_8687A big plate of dumplings. And of course rice and hot and sour soup.IMG_8688We weren’t sure we would have enough food, but we finished the meal literally going around in a circle exclaiming ‘no, you eat the last one!’ ‘no, really, I’m stuffed, you should have it!’ I should reiterate again that this was by far the best Chinese food I’ve ever had, and will recommend this place again and again whenever a friend tells me they are taking a trip to Boston.

Following our meal, we waddled back to Boston Commons, where the New Year’s Eve celebrations were in full swing. This skeeball machine was the crowd’s favorite.
IMG_8698Whenever a certain point level was reached, the entire machine shot up in a huge rush of smoke and fire.IMG_8700!!!!!IMG_8702We continued our walk, admiring the attractions along the way. Just before midnight we arrived back at our hotel for one last warm-up pitstop before watching the fireworks over the harbor. Our hotel was right on the wharf, so we had some great panoramic views of the city.IMG_8713IMG_8718To our back was the USS Constitution, an attraction we had taken B to visit three years before on his first trip to Boston!
IMG_8714At midnight, the ship unexpectedly set off a round of cannons! We all jumped and screamed and then burst into laughter as the fireworks erupted in the sky. IMG_8724We had a beautiful show above the city skyline, as we hugged and kissed and made our new year wishes. IMG_8733IMG_8736I hope you all had a spectacular new year as well – I have a few more US posts to share from last week, but I have to say, I am so excited for a fresh, new year. . . and I can’t wait to continue sharing the adventure with you! Happy New Year! X

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