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I decided to give rattlesnake a try with a friend one night when we were craving mexican and margaritas but couldn't get a reservation anywhere else. In retrospect, we probably should have taken warning from the fact that a table was so easy to come by on a Saturday night. We got the lime chips with tequila cream cheese and salsas and added the guacamole for $5 extra (for a tiny little dollop of the stuff!) bringing the total price of the dish to about $13, which is absurdly high for chips and salsa. And the quality was seriously lacking. The chips weren't lime flavored at all and the tequila cream cheese was s block of cream cheese with some Tabasco hastily mixed in. The ambiance was just weird; the decor was all over the place. I couldn't quite figure out their intended direction. I felt a little embarrassed to have brought my friend there. I can't speak of the roofdeck, however, and I'm sure its a fine place to meet up for drinks after work--but there's no denying that it's over priced.
I'll be honest here. I get bored at baseball games. Whenever I go to live games I realize halfway through that I've been watching the jumbo-tron the whole time when the real-live players are right there in front of me. But here's the thing: I love the excitement and atmosphere at sox games, and I'm a sucker for the history and notoriety of Fenway Park. The Bleacher Bar, then, is the perfect place for folks like me. The place is literally in the park (where the visiting team batting cages used to be) so you can see out over the field and enjoy the magic of Fenway without spending $100+ on ticket entry. Obnoxious Boston fans are also included, free of charge. The food and drinks are just OK, but it's the atmosphere you pay for. That's why I think the Bleacher Bar is a real bargain for folks in town who want to experience Fenway and Red Sox fever without buying game tickets.
The Paradise Rock Club is a classic, grungy live performance venue in Allston. A very impressive list of big names have played at the paradise, and it's usually a stop for a lot of lesser-known, up-and-coming groups as well. If you plan ahead, prices can start as low as $10, making it cheap and easy for all you hipsters out there to go see some band you've never heard and brag to your friends that you knew them before they were popular once they hit it big. Really though, it's a fun, affordable venue. I always feel like it's just crowded enough without being claustrophobic, and the sound and views are good no matter where you stand.
Improv shows here typically cost between $10-15, which is a pretty good deal when you think about how expensive it is to see the more famous, already established comics that come to Boston on tour. The shows can obviously be pretty hit or miss, but that's just how it goes with live, unscripted performances. It's a great option for a night out when you're not sure what you feel like doing, but don't want to drop a ton of cash. Depending what you're into, the shows can be pretty hilarious, so it's worth trying out a few acts, figuring out what you like, and checking the schedule to see when your favorite folks are up again.
As much as I love my kindle, I still like cracking open a book from time to time. And sometimes a used book--with its dog-eared paged, cracked covers and musty smell--is the best kind. And there is no shortage of gently used reads at Raven Used Books on Newbury Street. Sometimes I just go in to walk around and browse because small, independent book sellers are a rare and dying breed these days, and a party of me misses the unique ambiance they offer. It's especially good for scoring cookbooks, instructional guides, and coffee table books for half the regular retail price.
I love pizza. So I love that I can head into the upper crust on Charles Street in Beacon Hill and grab a slice for just a little over $3. I'm especially a fan of their slice-of-the-day or slice-of-the-month options. They're usually topped with some oddball combination that you wouldn't think to create yourself, but is surprisingly delicious. This month's pie is the Walkin' Taco, for example, and comes topped with beef, black beans, fresh cheese, green onions and sour cream. The Beacon Hill location is small and basic. It's got a few counter stools to the side, and one big wooden table in the middle for dining family style. The floor is often covered in flour. It's unapologetically casual.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is such a unique place, because it isn't just an art museum, a historical collection or a home tour, but a fusion of all three. As you enter the old part of the museum, you are literally entering Ms. Gardner's home, which adds a special element of intimacy to the place. And you can tell by the vast variety of artifacts and pieces on display, just how incredibly passionate (and perhaps, batty), she was as a person. There's a quirkiness to the collection that I really enjoyed. It was as if we were exploring Ms. Havisham's home. And the Spanish courtyard is beautiful. It was certainly a nice pick-me up on the dreary winter day I was there. Admission is $15, but there are number of discounts available. And entry is free if your name is Isabella!
Can you think of a more wholesome and fun winter activity than ice skating at the Boston Common Frog Pond? There’s just something so wonderful about bundling up, skating under the Christmas lights and sipping on hot chocolate in between rounds on the ice. And there are lots of kids and skaters of all skill levels, so there’s no pressure to bust out that triple axel. I think it can be just as fun to watch, as well. Last time I checked, admission was only $4 and skate rentals were $9 for adults and $5 for kids. Such a budget friendly-way to enjoy the winter and get some fresh air.
I love coming here to visit the penguins and gaze at the giant glass tank of sea creatures, the focal point of the entire complex. Some of those fish are massive! I personally get a little thrill when the moray eels and/or sea turtles swim by. Sharks are always exciting too. And there’s almost always some kind of feeding or training demonstration going on which makes things more interesting. The weekends are kind of a nightmare with all the crowds (or any day in the summer, really), but it can be quite relaxing to stop by at an off-peak hour during the winter months. I haven’t checked out the IMAX theater yet, but it’s on my to-do list.
While I can’t say much about the library, the Mapparium is a seriously cool place. When we view our planet, we tend to look at it from the outside, either as a flattened map or three-dimensional globe. At the Mapparium, visitors can actually step inside the globe and experience a whole new perspective on geography and the shape of our world. And it’s just sort of neat to be in there under the glow of all the colors. General admission to the library is about $6 but there are all sorts of discounts for children, students etc.
Harpoon Brewery offers tours and tastings for $5 per person. The tour is pretty standard; guests get to wander the premises, see all the holding tanks and learn a bit more about the process. You're provided with a small glass tumbler at the start of the tour, and then there are opportunities to fill it up with different kinds of beer, at different stages in the brewing process, along the way. I liked how the tours were small enough that you could get your fair share, and the guides were very fun and charismatic.
At the end of the tour, you're left in the tap room for a 20-minute tasting. At this point you can head to the bar and fill up your tumbler with whatever you'd like, however many times you'd like. I personally wasn't super aggressive about it, but you could take down a good amount of beer in that time if you really go for it. Not a bad deal!
Oh, and the beer is delicious. There's something for everyone!