Holy Canolli!

Weekends are ever so precious and always so short. You work so hard to endure till Friday and you have two days to really make your week worth something.

And with modern life demanding you to really live it up because “you’re worth it”, weekends can become real work with the planning, expectations and pent up desire.

So I found myself without a plan this weekend. But it went so well, this two days without design, without pressure. Weekends are best spent leisurely, on a whim, on a fancy. I have spent many hectic weekends planning trips to other states, eating lobsters, drinking fine wine.

But sometimes when you just let things happen, they do.

So this weekend, boyfriend J wanted to take it easy and hang out at North End. He was there a few weeks ago and my friend Jolene and they had a great time. I was a little skeptical, I heard that it’s a real tourist zone and I didn’t fancy spending my weekend jostling tourists… cos you know since I’m so local.

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The North End today is so chic and glamorous but it was a real immigrant ghetto until 20-30 years ago. First populated by early Bostonian aristocrats, North End became abandoned by them as wharfs opened up there and the shipping industry started over populating the area with less than desirable settlers. Soon, North End became a haven for gamblers, gangs, prostitutes and other riff raffs. Property prices dropped rapidly and the area became the immigrant’s landing spot for cheap accomodation. Waves of immigrants landed in North End, making it their home until they got chased out by newer immigrants. The Irish, Jewish and Italians settled in North End and by late 1900s, the Italians have stamped their personality permanently into the neighborhood. Now, North End is Boston’s little Italy and it’s a really quaint pocket of history within such a small space.

I’m always suspicious of old “ethnic” neighbhorhoods since many of them tend to be glorified Asian/Italian/Indian/etc Disneyland but North End really fascinated me with its old buildings, narrow streets and old town feel.

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And the best part of North End is the amazing pastries at Mike’s Pastry!

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I’m not really into Italian pastry (always thought they are too fattening) but still had to taste a canolli as a walking snack since we’re in an Italian enclave. And there was this crazy line snaking out to the streets from Mike’s and I was so intrigued. Never show people lining up for food to a Singaporean, his natural instinct is to think it’s the best in town. I had to follow my Singaporean instinct, I had no choice. Alas, after waiting for 5 mins, the line was too long and I decided to come back after these damn tourists leave.

So after walking around the Old North End Church (fascinating church) and the nearby streets, we came back but the pastry shop was still so crowded. Needing that canolli, we had no choice but to wait in line like everybody else. After waiting for a long long time (okie, it was 20 mins but 20 mins without sugar is a long time), we finally ordered three canollis (the lady was incredulous we only wanted three) and went back with our beautiful blue and white pastry box. I felt like I just stepped out of Tiffany’s with my diamond ring or something.

Well at 4USD for a canolli, it sure felt like it was the Tiffany’s of canollis. I nearly swallowed my tongue when she said how much it was.

So we sat down, brewed a cup of good Earl Grey and ate the first canolli. The rich ricotta cheese exploded in our mouths while the crunchy honeyed texture of the biscuit provided a great contrast in texture. I was in canolli heaven.

Now I understand the crowd.

A pity I only bought three. Until next weekend at least.

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