by Katherine “KC” Hysmith
Usually, the first day of school is full of fashion anxiety and worry over what the kids will think about the contents of your lunch box. Fortunately, I’m no longer in primary school, but the terror of meeting new people never goes away. In first grade, my Mom drove me to my new school and even walked in to meet my teacher. This time I had to traverse the labyrinth that is the MBTA, alone. Walk to the 73 bus, change to the red line at Harvard Square, switch to the green line somewhere downtown, and wait the many lengthy stops until you get back to Boston University. I’ve come to the realization that I fail to comprehend the time warp that exists within public transportation. So, I was late for my first day. The door was open, so in I snuck.
After a short information session about the wonders of the Gastronomy program with director Rachel Black, we were divided into two groups to tour the city. Instead of simply walking around downtown, our orientation was turned into a food-themed scavenger hunt, highlighting the best bites around Boston. We were armed with a GPS, our poor senses of direction, a list of food-related clues, and shoes that wouldn’t live to see the end of the day. A mix of locals and new arrivals, the first few clues weren’t too difficult to understand. The first clue read like this: “Mick Jaggar thinks it tastes so good…” Although many of us didn’t seem like Stone fans we found our way to the Brown Sugar Café, a block or two away from our 808 Commonwealth Ave. starting point. The name of the café invokes the warm image of baked goods, maybe some gingerbread, and lists of sweetened coffee drinks. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, since Brown Sugar Café is actually a bustling Thai restaurant. Alas, there was no time to stop and we had to turn around and head to our second clue.
Our afternoon continued, packed with tasty introductions to local favorite eateries like Super 88 (another Asian establishment), Bacco’s Cheese and Wine Shop, the Haymarket Farmer’s Market, the age-old rivaling pastry shops in the North End (you know which ones I’m talking about), and a surprise stop to meet current gastronomy students who were working at the Bon Me Food Truck. After several glasses of spicy ginger lemonade and half of a Vietnamese sandwich, we continued on our way.
Once we finally reached our destination, Ducali Pizza, I realized how hungry you can get while touring the city with a spotty GPS. Sharing trays of gourmet pizza and a few carafes of wine, Professor Black answered questions we had about the program, and about where to find good ingredients in the city. We spent most of the day wining and dining with our new-found peers and let me just say, after several academic orientations, this one is by far the tastiest.
A few things I learned during Orientation:
- While at Bacco’s Cheese and Wine, the owner informed us that Shiraz originally came from Persia (now Iran).
- Supposedly, Modern Pastry is better than Mike’s Pastry.
- Professor Black is a pizza connoisseur.
- I will need to double my workout plan if we continue to eat like we did at orientation.
Want even more details on our food-obsessed orientation? Check out KC’s blog for photos, stories and all of the orientation clues.