On this rainy Saturday morning, we went back and forth about where to go sightseeing. We lucked out and enjoyed a cloudy but rain-free visit to Rockport MA. A few of us wandered in and out of the stores, while others took in the ocean views. A few of my favorite stores along Bearskin Neck are Lula's Pantry, Tuck's Candy & Gifts, Wicked Peacock, One Ocean One Love Shop, Floating Lotus, and Helmut's Strudel.
At lunchtime, we headed to Roy Moore's Fish Shack Restaurant. We all enjoyed some fried seafood, clam chowder, baked fish, and pasta. I thoroughly enjoyed the lobster salad plate.
To finish our touring of the day, we drove to Salem MA. Unfortunately, Greg and I couldn't stay long because we needed to go and take care of Fred. We did visit the Ye Olde Pepper Companie for some last minute Easter sweets. The rest of the crew headed over to the Salem Witch Museum while we headed back home. Later that night we met up for dinner at Pabu in Boston. To read about our dinner experience click here.
When booking our trip there weren't any non-stop flights available and Aer Lingus offered the best fare and schedule for our needs. I'm a terribly nervous flier so I always make sure to reserve seats (Aer Lingus was an additional fee for seats). I'm also lactose intolerant so I called customer service to request a special meal.
On the day of our flight we checked in with ease and luckily the security lines weren't too long. Aer Lingus does not participate in the TSA precheck process so keep this in mind when flying with them. At the gate, boarding was swift and easy. Our seats 14 A and C were two seats together on the left side of the plane. The plane is newer, clean, offers wifi, power outlets, and a good variety of in-flight entertainment. The seats themselves were a little on the narrow side and there was a large gap between the seat and the window that wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, the staff either gave my special meal to someone else or didn't get the notice. I'm tempted to believe that it's the first one because I did receive a special meal on the way home.
We landed in Dublin and with only an hour in between flights we made our way to our next gate. I definitely wasn't prepared to walk outside in the cold and rain and upstairs to get onto our plane but that's exactly what we did. A couple of hours later and we were in sunny Barcelona. We made it through customs and immigration easily and found our driver from Suntransfers. We booked premium taxi round trip transfers (luxury sedan) with Suntransfers and I highly recommend them. The price quoted was reasonable, their website is easy to use, the drivers were ready for us, and the cars were nice and clean.
During the middle of our vacation, I changed our pick up time with Suntransfers for our drive to the airport. The change was easy to make and I received confirmation. At 7:30 on the dot our driver arrived and helped us with our luggage. We were dropped off directly in front of the Aer Lingus counter and proceeded to check in. I tried to print our boarding passes at our hotel but failed to do so. We hit a small snag because of this but we received our boarding pass, and check our luggage through to Boston. Once we land in Dublin we'll have to stop at the connections desk and reprint our next boarding pass.
At security, we had a very short line and didn't run into any issues. After security you go through a duty-free shop, then customs and immigration, then another duty-free shop, and finally to our gate. One last bread with Jamon for breakfast before we board our plane. Our flight definitely didn't leave on time but when you have two flights landing and taking back off to Dublin and the same time one plane isn't going to be accurate. Just a couple of hours later and we landed in Dublin. In Dublin we easily found the connections desk and asked for our boarding passes to be reprinted. Next, we went through security and finally U.S. pre-clearance. I love having Global Entry! It's so nice to walk through the shortest line, scan your documents, and be on your way!
At our gate, we had a little time before boarding so we relaxed with a book. This time the plane was boarded from the front to the back so we were in the first economy section to board. We found our seats and settled in for the 7 hours to Boston. During this flight, I did receive my lactose-free meal which consisted of chicken, rice, and roasted tomatoes. It was definitely bland but I appreciated the protein. I have no idea how this happened and it was a first for us but we easily landed in Boston and our bags were the first off the plane! Score! We picked up our car and were on our way home!
After dinner we braved the frigid temperature and bitter wind for the 5 minute walk up to the Boston Opera House. We showed our tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate factory then made our way to the D entrance. Our seats offered us a great view of the whole stage and we were on an aisle with a few empty seats next to us! It was perfect! As we were looking around we noticed a lot of kids and started to worry that this show would be more geared to just kids.
Charlie and the chocolate factory is definitely a show for everyone! The scenes are adorable, the cast our incredibly talented, and the wit is definitely for adults but appropriate for kids. We highly recommend this show!
For dessert we enjoyed a passionfruit mochi. The dish wasn't overly sweet which was a nice surprise. My one criticism would be I wish there was more of the sesame brittle as the crunch was needed in the dish.
Our meal was perfectly portioned and while satisfying we also weren't overly full which was wonderful. I would suggest to the restaurant to update their website though. The website states the Omakase is 99 pp while we were charged 109 pp.
We both agree we can't wait to come back for a third visit and enjoy the Omakase with the luxury upgrade.
Fine dining can mean different things to different people. For me I look for impeccable service, inviting atmosphere, high quality ingredients, and innovative food.
We recently tried L'espalier in Boston to celebrate Greg's birthday. Unfortunately, the dinner was almost a complete letdown. I made a reservation noting the celebration as well as my dairy allergy. The day before our reservation we called to confirm my dairy allergy. The staff member noted our reservation and clarified that I couldn't eat any dairy (including butter and goat's milk cheese). An hour later another staff member called to confirm our reservation and our dairy allergy but didn't ask any questions this time.
We arrived on time for our reservation, checked my coat, and were shown to our table. Our waiter came over to welcome us and again asked if I could eat butter. That would be a no. We opted for a bottle of wine and the chef's tasting menu (our preference is always a chef's tasting or an Omakase).
The inconsistencies in service and food prep, along with the lack of high-quality ingredients (note that it is truffle season) left us disappointed and we wouldn't return.