Sat­isfy hunger and cu­rios­ity off Bos­ton’s beaten path.

Where Boston - - CONTENTS - By Mat Schaf­fer

BOS­TON’S FREE­DOM TRAIL is a glob­ally rec­og­nized tourist at­trac­tion, but it’s just one among many ways to forge a merry and en­light­en­ing path through the city. Black Her­itage Trail, Ir­ish Her­itage Trail and Women’s Her­itage Trail are also well worth the ex­plo­ration. Not to men­tion the var­i­ous do­cent-guided tours that cel­e­brate Bos­ton’s lit­er­ary, ar­chi­tec­tural and cul­tural her­itages.

Wo­ven into this ser­pen­tine ma­trix of path­ways is a grow­ing num­ber of guided walk­ing tours for food­ies, in­clud­ing Bites of Bos­ton (spe­cial­iz­ing in the South End and All­ston), Off the Eaten Path (North End) and Bos­ton Foodie Tours (which adds Bea­con Hill and Back Bay to the mix). Since the per­mu­ta­tions of fla­vors and routes are prac­ti­cally in­fi­nite, here’s our own wide-rang­ing Where Bos­ton Culi­nary Trail to get you started. In ad­di­tion to sev­eral well-known eater­ies—the sorts of places your stom­ach will com­plain about if you ne­glect them— we’ve de­cided to duck down the oc­ca­sional lesser-known al­ley­way so that you’ll not only lick your Bos­ton food chops, you’ll also earn them.

First, the pil­lars of ex­cel­lence: those es­tab­lish­ments that skewer fa­mil­iar­ity on the rapier of un­con­testable awe­some­ness. At Union Oys­ter House, the old­est con­tin­u­ously op­er­at­ing res­tau­rant in Amer­ica, you sit at the very same oys­ter bar where Daniel Web­ster once sat and tuck into clam chow­der, steamed lob­ster and gin­gery In­dian pud­ding (ask for vanilla ice cream on top). A solid stone’s throw away to­ward the Com­mon, you’ll de­light in dis­cov­er­ing white-linen won­der­land Parker’s Res­tau­rant at the Omni Parker House ho­tel, where Parker House rolls and Bos­ton cream pie were in­vented—and are still served.

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