Boston

georgetownladiesEach night there is a line. I ask a young woman from Orlando, why? She says, "They're good." And what else? She points to the window sign: "They're on TV." They are on TV, on TLC: "All new episode! NY vs. Boston." Not baseball, cupcakes. The newly opened Newbury Street location of Georgetown Cupcake.

The number of people in line is 25 and sometimes more. Inside are two cashiers and five packers. They need them all. You pay first and wait to pick up. Everyone is smiling: the help, the people on line, the eaters, and we who'll soon have cake.

The concept comes from DC sisters Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne. Wikipedia says the cupcakes have 250 calories. Neither of the cupcake sisters look like they have ever eaten a single cupcake.

My first is chocolate with cream cheese frosting that's been rolled in coconut. (Be sure to ask for the ones with cream cheese). Cream cheese is frosting's best friend. It's like bacon. If you put bacon that's not crispy between two slices of toasted mayo-ed cardboard, it's lunch.

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legal kendall 0684Come to Boston, eat fish. In Cambridge, Legal Sea Foods is in Kendall Square. In Boston, seek out the Legal that's in Copley Place (near Barneys) because you can nearly always get seated.

Don't confuse it with the other Legal in the Prudential Center which is at the top of the escalator on Boylston Street (and packed all night). Copley Place is connected to the Prudential Mall and since there are two malls, there are two Legals.

Friday nights the bar is crowded. If you get a seat at the bar from 3-6 pm weekdays only, oysters are a buck instead of $2.50. We had five local varieties including Wellfleets, Cotuits, and Wiannos from the Cape, and Naked Cowboys from Long Island, of course. Other bar plates: tempura vegetables, clams casino, buffalo shrimp, lamb skewers (all $5).

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rendezvousIt's six o'clock. Traffic is intense for no Red Sox game and the Grateful Dead boys several weeks gone. Every street is on hold as we split to Central Square's Mass Avenue and voilà: it's Rendezvous. We opt for the bar as we're greeted and seated in no time. This is some room: it's all skylights with yellow brickwork and the ceiling's a warm orange. Why is it looking familiar? Oh, now I remember. When they opened eight years ago, they took over a space that used to be . . . a Burger King. Pretty gutsy, Steve Johnson, creating fine dining where there was once less fine dining, with all due respect.

Here's a bar basket with lemons, limes and oranges that are missing peel. When he's making your cocktail, the bartender carves a fresh piece, just for you. Watching him assemble mojitos and martinis is affecting - he never stops shaking and measuring. As we watch, he puts together a Mamie Taylor, a tall drink with Scotch, ginger beer and lime. It's too hot to think about wine, let alone Scotch. What's wrong with us, I think, is too much yard time earlier. Cocktails galore yet I see him pour no beer or wine though he must have.

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Row 34 7Row 34 is party central for non-stop oysters. It's the place for shrimp, lobster rolls, ceviche, Cape littlenecks, pâtés of trout and bluefish, and mussels with fried green tomatoes. Drink? 25 beers from the tap plus 40 more locked up in bottles. Most popular: Trillium's Congress Street pale ale. I see one guy knifing his way into a flat iron steak and really, why not? It's a party. All the hoopla? Well deserved.

Row 34 is born of oysters and beer. High ceilings yield clamor but after all, it is a "workingman's oyster bar." It's Monday and a good thing we reserved. Roseanna and I have hot stuff: for her, Maine crab cake with a tall Ipswich Ale Brewery's Celia Saison. For me, citrus-glazed salmon atop pickled cucumber and fennel. Both preparations are spot-on. Sadly, no sides; won't someone would throw me fries? Dessert: it's a flaky strawberry rhubarb pie that's been fried, really, with a side of white chocolate anglaise: milk, cream, eggs, sugar, white chocolate and vanilla. We can't imagine anyone would pass it up.

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ImageI have often found myself envious of some guys because of their wives. Not because of their looks, great figures or personalities, my wife has all that and more. Before any ladies reading this get angry, hear me out. There is nothing more devastating for a foodie than marrying a vegetarian who has more food hang-ups than a Italian meat locker. I don't want a mistress, at least not in the traditional sense. I need a food girlfriend or even food wife. Even California would allow me that bit of polygamy. When it comes to looks, many people tell me that I look like that famous guy Emeril Lagasse. It happens enough that when my son was only two and I took him to the local market to do the weekend shopping, he pointed and screamed "daddy" when we reached the pasta aisle and came upon a row of Emeril's pasta sauce. To my embarrassment most of the aisle looked and began moving to towards us. So if my son thinks Emeril is his daddy than it must have validity. Here is the irony, I am a good cook, love all types of food and even do the dishes.

This is where my jealousy begins. Until I can convince my wife to allow me to take up with a food wife, I have turned all of my latest business trips into food adventures. Unfortunately I don't have an unlimited budget, so I find the best places to eat for the money. I use tools like Yelp and Zagat online, a traveling man's best friend. A recent business trip took me to Boston. I was alone and by the time I checked into my hotel I was extremely hungry. I had not had a chance to eat all day because I was making my way from New Jersey to Boston and making sales calls on the road in between. I have been to Boston on multiple occasions, always for combo business/pleasure trips and always with my indifferent food wife. Now alone in one of the greatest cities for food, it was me vs. food. I had limited time and many places to try.

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