Boston Trip Day 1 – Quincy Market (Faneuil Hall Marketplace) + The Most Delicious Oysters!

Preface: So, we went on a 3 Day & 2 Nights Boston trip with the purpose of visiting some colleges in the area. It was just my brother & I. And since we are both foodies, we had the freedom to explore all sorts of food destinations in the city (most of them nutritious, of course!)

Our first destination was:

Quincy Market, otherwise known as Faneuil hall Marketplace (www.city-data.com)
Quincy Market, otherwise known as Faneuil Hall Marketplace (www.city-data.com)

Quincy Market (unofficial name) or Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

The marketplace is centralized around the Quincy Market building (Roman-style temple), and the nearby Faneuil Hall. The interior of the building contains all sorts of food stores which line either sides and create a hallway down the middle. I must also mention that the main dining area has a super epic-looking dome interior.

Quincy Market contained 2 dining areas on 1st & 2nd floors - located right in the centre of the building.
Quincy Market contained 2 dining areas on 1st & 2nd floors – located right in the centre of the building.

Great architecture – what about the food?

The restaurants all looked very creative & enticing: both the store designs & food appearance. For example, the over-the-top name signs w/ fun illustrations, display shelves stocked full of delicious-looking desserts (http://fratellispastry.com/home/), sizzling pizza bagels (http://bagelvilleonline.com), or juicy bacon-wrapped scallops (http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/restaurant/fisherman-s-net/9895/36713).

However, out of all of them what we wanted to try the most were Boston oysters. Since the oyster bar inside Quincy was selling 6 for ~$16, we decided to head out the building to find a better deal.

Then, we came upon this seemingly popular oyster-specialized restaurant/bar Salty Dog.

They also had nice interior seatings!
They also had nice interior seatings

$14.50 for 6? It’s a deal!

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Irish barman meticulously serving up our oysters
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The sauce, lemon juice, and taste of the oysters themselves, combined was phenomenal

So, these oysters were delicious. Despite being dead, they still tasted very fresh (zero fishy smell/taste). Although I believe we should at least put not eating any animal alive before freshness! 

TASTE – As having mentioned; super fresh, 0% fishiness. Most importantly, the taste was also good – slightly sweet, with a bit of sea-salty (and real salt) tinge to it. Their seasoning combination (fresh mustard + tomato sauce + lemon juice *even better w/ Tobasco) tasted so great w/ the fresh oysters. The pinch of salt the bartender adds on just before also really makes the dish.

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NUTRITION – Despite popular myths, oysters are not a high-cholesterol food. It has just about as much cholesterol as other seafood. In fact, oysters are low in fat and calories. 6 medium-sized oysters are only worth ~49 calories*. This serving size also contains 4.4 g of protein! (This is almost 3/4 amount of protein in 1 serving of mozzarella cheese (28 g), with a little over 1/2 the calories of the cheese. This means oysters > cheese = > protein = < calories.) Oysters also contain a whole lot of vital nutrients: it tops the list for high zinc, iron, vitamin B-12 foods, and also contains respectable amounts of magnesium per serving. Personally though, I am actually glad that oysters are considered expensive for many. Rich foods like these are meant to be eaten in meagre amounts; some side effects include bacterial poisoning (raw), allergic reaction, heavy metal poisoning. Oysters are healthy, but the best way is to eat them is the way you can afford (4 stars because the possible dangerous side effects – even pregnant women and children are supposed to avoid them!)

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*Note 1: Also, keep in mind that farmed oysters have less cholesterol & calories, and may be even better for the environment than consuming wild ones. The calorie value referenced above is for farmed oysters.

And as for the Salty Dog Seafood Grille & Bar’s overall review? The barmen were all very friendly & attentive to our needs. The other waiters were average. The rest of the diners seemed to enjoy the atmosphere and service (including kids!) But because they forgot our salad order and ran out of romaine lettuce, I have to give them:

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Because the clam chowder in bread bowl looked so tasty, we also had to order one (this was within the Quincy Market hall). This time from Boston and Maine Fish Company.

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Gigantic bread bowl – the width ~ my 2 fists put together

They basically won my brother over w/ their overflowing gigantic bread bowl.

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Mussels pieces

TASTE – The chowder was a bit too starchy and flavor a bit too light. I’ve had better chowder w/ stronger seafood taste. Although they did include lots of small chunks inside. The bread was soft & fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The entire dish was ~60% bread, but overall it is worth $7. (For affordability + filling-ness)

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NUTRITION – It’s difficult to predict the precise caloric value of the bread bowl chowder, but from averaging results from different sources + looking at the bread itself, it seems the bread bowl could be somewhere between 600-650 calories. It will not contain much nutrients aside (iron, vitamin B-6, magnesium) lots of carb, >3 g of fibre, and >15 g of protein. The clam chowder on the other hand, may contain even less protein (per serving) than the bread bowl. Most of the calories will come from carb & fat. 1 cup of generic New England-style clam chowder = 201 calories ~7 g protein ~21 g carb (~as much carbs as 1 chewy granola bar) and 0 g fibre. It will contain small amounts of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron & trace amounts of vitamin A & C from plant ingredients like starch or potatoes. In total, this entire clam chowder bread bowl is probably ~800-850 calories (If you eat this entire bread bowl, 2 stars, since it is so full of empty calories)

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Clam is usually a super mineral + vitamin dense food** (rivaling oysters, but w/ more calories + protein), but only tiny pieces are put in the chowder, therefore do not result in any significant health benefits.

**Note 2: clams are an excellent source of vitamin B-12, iron, and protein. Along w/ oysters they are a much better alternative to red meat in terms of nutrition & environmental effects. Most shellfish are high in bioavailable minerals like heme iron (the body doesn’t need to extensively convert, unlike non-heme iron found in i.e. soy products) & essential amino acids.

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I wanted some veggies so went to Mmmac n’ Cheese – Green Organic Salads. Unfortunately was met with an incredibly overpriced wilted salad that said ~$5.50 on the board but came out nearly $7. The cashier was very unfriendly, some of the veggies were 1/2 rotten, the ingredients were uninteresting (not even red onions in there!), and the dressing could only be used for 1/2 of the salad. Ultimately, the salad should have costed $2 at most.

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Just look at the pruny cherry tomato! It’s worse on the other side…

TASTE – Very basic balsamic vinaigrette. The veggies that were not rotten tasted fine.

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NUTRITION – I would just look at the nutrition of shredded lettuce since they put in so little of other veggies. ~150% of vitamin A and traces of vitamin C & Bs at ~30 calories at most. Including balsamic vinaigrette = ~130 calories in total (for being low fat + calories)

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Since there was only vitamin A in the salad, I would consider this a nutritional & monetary rip-off.

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Then, we went ahead and bought dessert. A seemingly healthy one – toffee apple. But in fact, the toffee apple was 1/2 candy 1/2 fruit (http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/restaurant/berry-twist/2137044613/2138824520). I didn’t realize these were different from toffee apples lightly covered in syrup…

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We bought this for $8! Won’t you believe it!?

TASTE To be honest, the toffee apples in red syrup I’ve had back in NZ (@town fairs) tasted much better (not too sweet) than this candy + caramel combination. The caramel was too sticky + the taste was gummy. Candies + nuts used were just cheap kiddie sweets. BUT the granny smith apple was very tasty + faintly sweet, hence it’s a

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NUTRITION – The bulk of the vitamins & minerals comes from the apple. Although Granny Smith apples have not shown to be the most nutritious variety out there (Pendragon apples); they still contain respectable amounts of vitamins C, Potassium, fibre, and some antioxidants. As for the candy sides of it: m&m minis, chopped peanuts, sprinkles, and at least 1/2 cup of caramel all probably equate to at least 200 calories. Including the apples that would be ~300 calories. 

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So, the Quincy Market food experience was pretty mixed. The most of it was great: pretty surroundings, friendly + lively atmosphere, and the food was mostly pretty good. As for nutrition, they had plenty of healthful options & lots of veggies. It is only up to you to choose good health or overindulgence.

Here is a map of the market:

Later, we went on an after-dinner stroll towards the Waterfront @Northern Ave

View of Boston's waterfront (near Liberty Wharf)
View of Boston’s waterfront (near Liberty Wharf)

Then, went to mess about @this place:

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11281817_942707232416459_697797957_n Harvard Club of Boston

Don’t try this at home.

And walked towards Freedom Trail

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Old State House

Strolling around Downtown Boston on a not-cold night – what a beautiful conclusion for our 1st night in this historic city!

Stay in tuned for Boston Trip Day 2!

– Izzy