Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Afternoon in Fort Point

My destination on Saturday afternoon was the Grand Circle Gallery located in Boston's Fort Point Channel neighborhood. Set in a 19th century historic brick building at 347 Congress Street, the gallery is dedicated to exhibiting vintage travel posters and photography. If you've ever been to my apartment, my love for vintage posters, specifically those featuring travel destinations is rather evident. My collection includes framed copies of a Chamonix/Mont Blanc poster, a Cote d'Azur poster and a large Japanese Railway poster. Even a wall collage in our bedroom boasts some smaller 4x6 frames displaying postcards (among photographs) collected on our trip to France (Paris, Marseille, Cassis and Nice) in 2009. Yes, we have a lot of wall space and yes, my apartment is basically a hodge podge of vintage posters. So once I discovered that the Grand Circle Gallery existed I knew I had to pay them a visit. What peaked my interest was the current Vintage Winter Sports Exhibit. Displaying among artifacts and memorabilia from the early days of skiing in New England and Europe, are 30 vintage skiing and Winter Olympic posters. The posters are originals that pre-date WWII and most are on loan from the New England Ski Museum. My favorite sport showcased in the adored vintage poster form, plus a little bit of history? This made for a fascinating not to mention free afternoon. The posters truly capture the spirit of adventure and the beauty of the sport. I could not photograph them due to copyright issues, but I did snap a few photographs of the vintage paraphernalia.
If you have any similar interests in travel or vintage posters, I urge you to check out the gallery. If you're particularly interested in the skiing aspect, the Vintage Winter Sports Exhibit runs through March 18th. Admission to the Gallery is free and the hours are as follows: Wednesday & Friday 11:00 am – 2:00 pm / Thursday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm / Saturday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.Afterwards, I headed to Flour Bakery + Cafe located at 12 Farnsworth Street, which intersects Congress and is almost directly across from the gallery. Meaning to try Flour all these years, can you believe I had never set foot in one? For you non Bostonian readers, or those readers who are still unfamiliar, Flour is infamous for mouth-watering pastries, specialty sandwiches, and ownership under acclaimed local celebrity chef Joanne Chang. Since its debut opening in the South End ten years ago, Flour now boasts locations at Central Square in Cambridge opened just last year and here in Fort Point Channel opened in 2007. Flour is also the namesake of Joanne Chang's first cookbook published last year.
Basically, I hung my head in shame for never having visited and now I can proudly attest to the impeccable food, gracious service and warm atmosphere that Flour is so consistently praised for.
The staff member who took my order was super friendly and made me feel right as home as I decided what to drink. He explained the ingredients (impressive that he knew them all, it was quite a mix of cayenne and other spices) as well the benefits of the Fiery Hot Chocolate - "it will clear your sinuses right up". Perfect, my nose is always stuffy and today especially so. The Fiery Hot Chocolate was excellent, smooth and rich with an easy kick. My mind was made up ahead of time about my sandwich choice, but as far as what to order for dessert, he continued to aid in recommending certain pastries, never once making me feel rushed. I feasted on a sandwich of Roast Chicken, Avocado and Jicama ($7.95)The chicken strips were moist and sliced to an ideal thickness (or thinness - I never like them too thick), then generously loaded with fresh avocado, jicama slaw and lettuce on soft chewy whole wheat bread. In my opinion the more avocado the better and it is evident the folks at Flour tend to agree. For dessert I chose the Sticky Bun Bread Pudding, figuring if I couldn't have an infamous sticky bun, I would get the next best thing. A decadent sticky caramel and toasted pecan treat, I definitely could not finish it all in one sitting, and had plenty leftover for breakfast on Sunday. The service I received from the staff here in such a busy and bustling counter service environment was not only attentive and courteous, it felt personalized and relaxed. I really appreciated how genuine everyone was and I look forward to trying more of Flour's sandwiches and baked goods in the future!
Flour Bakery + Cafe on Urbanspoon

As I wandered out I noticed another art gallery next door.
In the mood for exploring I meandered into the Made In Fort Point Gallery where I enjoyed checking out local art work (some of which is for sale) exhibited in various forms including paintings, photography, jewelry and pottery. Not a bad afternoon! While we're on the subject, I'll let you know that Fort Point Channel has even more to offer than the small galleries and bakery that I experienced today, with the Institute of Contemporary Art (pictured below) at 100 Northern Avenue on the harbor and The Children's Museum situated on the Channel itself. In addition the Harborwalk offers panoramic cityscape and waterfront views,a stroll I very much enjoy, especially so on a warmer day. (Pictures taken in the Summer of 2008.) These shots make me excited for green grass and warm weather! All in good time. I'm never one to rush the seasons. Always up-and-coming in this area is the restaurant and bar scene that began with the likes of Sportello and Drink, and have grown in variety and price point with places I'd very much like to visit including Sam's on Fan Pier, Menton for prix fixe fine dining, Papagayo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar and Strega Waterfront for upscale Italian. Long gone are the days when Lucky's Lounge was the cocktail den that alone defined the block and attracted nightlife. But I've loved FPC all the same ever since, and will continue to look forward to days and nights of returning to explore this hip artistic Boston neighborhood.

20 comments:

MelissaNibbles said...

I never knew there was so much in this neighborhood. I've only been to the ICA. I'm definitely headed there for a Saturday when the weather is warmer. Thanks!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Bret works in the Fort Point Channel area so he's always hesitant to hang out there on the weekends. You look like you've found some great hidden gems in the city!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Wait what? You had never been to Flour?! Wow! I used to work next to that one. It was always VERY tempting to walk past in the morning and at lunch!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

This area is really up and coming. I was down there for the Tall Ship event a couple summers ago and was so surprised by the hustle and bustle. I am also in love with that spicy hot chocolate from Flour!

Melissa said...

That sticky bun bread pudding looks amazing! Perhaps even better than, or at least equal to, the original sticky bun.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Nice post! I used to work in that area and kinda miss it. I do love Flour and Sportello, and next week I am going to Menton so I am super psyched!

Elizabeth said...

What a fantastic post! Fort Point is without a doubt one of my favorite neighborhoods in Boston. When my mom visited last winter we hit up Made in Fort Point as well. I love the galleries there. It might not seem like it on the surface, but FP is actually a little dessert mecca (in my mind). In addition to Flour, the Sportello bakery is amazing and Channel Cafe has some really good pastries. Gorgeous photos, I need to get back there asap.

Ameena said...

I have heard so much about Flour! So much that I cannot wait to visit that place when I finally get to Boston one of these days. I hear their granola bars are out of this world - and the sticky bread pudding is on my list now too!

Boston Food Diary said...

Oh my word! I love the sound of the Gallery! Ive never heard of it before- and it sounds fantastic! Ill have to check it out soon! Thanks for the tip!

Betsy said...

Yes, I need to get out of Cambridge more and explore!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

looks like a lovely afternoon! i looove Flour's tuna, I think it's curried tuna. SO good. well basically anythign/everything is so good. that bread pudding looks right up my alley. :)

Megan said...

I can't believe you had never been to Flour before! Sounds like you had an awesome first experience. When I worked there, my guilty pleasure was the BLT with cheese and avocado. So bad! But sooo good!

That sticky bun bread pudding must have been a special... or a new thing. I've never seen it before.

Amber Blue Bird said...

i just want that entire meal including hot chocolate to magically appear before me right now...could you make that happen :)

wishful nals said...

I live in Southie and love that Fort Point keeps on growing. I love Fort Point Arts! The best place for gifts and inspiration. :) Next time you'll have to check out Twelve Chairs? It is the coolest gallery and shop. Lots of fun finds there!

mr. pineapple man said...

that pecan treat looks amazing! you should write a book on boston restaurants!

Jen said...

The art museum's location is just too cool!

And Flour and its logo look just plain awesome.

MichellePC said...

The gallery looks incredible...I need to go there for a fun half day trip! I've also yet to go to Flour...which is a total sin. I've been dying to go!

Corinne said...

Did you buy anything more to adorn your walls? Love the vintage ski gallery...so YOU...you must have had such a great afternoon! I have been to that art gallery next to Flour. The art made from old books are AMAZING, so unique! I totally forget what its called but they had one of Fenway. The woman who owns the place is SUCH a sweet heart. Her and Matt talked for like an hour about her dentist. ha!

In and Around Town said...

Looks like such a great day, packed with good stuff. I also think I may have had those bindings on my old skis!

Alicia said...

You always seem to find the coolest things going on in the city! And I can't believe you had never been to Flour before.......so freaking good!!