We made one last return trip to Boston before our migration to the south for the winter. Ah, Boston. I love this city. If its winters were a wee bit shorter (and warmer), I would totally move back there. But in my humble opinion, snow in April is unacceptable. So, we left Boston in 2002. Every time I return for a visit, however, it feels like I am returning home.
Our return this time was different than past visits. We were towing an Airstream. And, we have a baby. My how our lives have changed! The big question this visit was not, “what restaurants must Lani eat at this time around?” but rather, “Where the heck do we park an Airstream?” (Immediately followed by the restaurant question because my list of favorite Boston restaurants is long and I can’t eat at them all each visit–although I do try!)
After some searches on RV Park Reviews and our “campground” search on Google maps, we decided on Winter Island Park in Salem, Massachusetts. For $30/night we were able to get water and electric hookups. This park was also convenient to the city by car and public transportation.
We chose the water view sites which meant our campsite was basically a parking spot overlooking the water. But, you know what? It was awesome. I awoke every morning to gorgeous sunrise views of the harbor and lighthouse. During the day, Emerson and I took walks into historic downtown Salem. And, within the park was a lovely beach. The bathroom wasn’t anywhere close to luxurious but it had excellent water pressure and that helped me ignore the bugs. But, enough about the campground. On to more important topics: Food.
We met up with my mother, sister and nephew who had flown in from Georgia to see Boston (and us). My nephew loves history so he was excited to tour Boston. We bought our trolley tickets like good tourists and spent two days hitting all the important stops. While the town is full of history that should be important to a 10-year old, I felt it to my duty as as the favorite aunt (a title I have given myself) to introduce him to what I consider one of the most, if not the most, important topic of historical significance in all of the city.
Forget Paul Revere. Forget the Boston Tea Party. This is something that all folks should know about. It is an issue that is constantly debated among the locals and tourists and it involves a dessert. A dessert that stands out among its dessert competitors. Move over ice cream (yes, you heard me!). Step aside, chocolate cake. For I present to you: The cannoli. Rich, creamy goodness protected by a delicate crispy outer shell and preferably covered in chocolate chips. Oh. My. Goodness.
The big question, however, is WHERE does one go to get such deliciousness? There are really only two places to even consider: Modern Pastry or Mike’s Pastry–both in the North End, the Italian side of town (a.k.a., Lani’s heaven). And, this is where the big debate comes in. Who has the better cannoli?
My nephew and I felt it was our civic responsibility to taste the cannoli at both and decide for ourselves where one could get the better cannoli. Locals take this very seriously. You can ask any local in Boston and he or she will have an opinion. Our trolley driver preferred Modern. An old coworker of mine swore Mike’s was better. We set off to answer this most important question. You’re welcome, America. You’re welcome.
We started with Mike’s and the line was massive. But, we waited because we were on an important mission. We ordered one ricotta-filled, chocolate chip cannoli. It was heavenly. I allowed my nephew and sister to have a bite. Because I’m nice like that.
The following day we returned to Modern Pastry. The line was massive. We waited again. We ordered the same exact cannoli (to be fair). It was heavenly. And, gone in seconds. But, now it was time for the moment of truth. Who had the better cannoli?
As dessert experts (a title for which I am sure my nephew and I qualify), our vote goes to Modern. Modern Pastry fills the cannoli at the time of purchase while Mike’s Pastry serves up pre-made cannolis. The cannoli at Modern just tasted a little fresher to us. But not so much fresher that if I were presented with a Mike’s Pastry cannoli I would turn it down. Oh no… it would be eaten. Happily. Because really, how can you go wrong with those ingredients?
So, when you are in Boston next time, scoot on over to the North End and give your input on the cannoli wars. It won’t be a waste of time (nor a waste of calories, in my opinion!)