The Best Pastries in North End Boston

This Lobster Tail from Mike’s looks amazing, and the flavor is great… But it’s rubbery

In North End Boston there are quite a few pastry shops run by umpteenth generation Italian immigrant families. They’re all serving about the same thing, but one of them served a better “lobster tail” than the others. It was better because of the stupid food science that we’ve all been hearing about for the last 20 years due to food tv, blogging, and snobbish friends who only eat organic vegan gluten.

Jessica and I, because of our love of science, went to the top three recommended pastry shops to eat the pastries and do the food trigonometry so you don’t have to.

Don’t go to Mike’s. Don’t go to Bova’s. Go to Modern pastry. Here’s why: freshly baked or fried breads cannot hold up to refrigeration. The refrigeration traps humidity and breaks down the crispy, structured lobster tails and you get a soggy lobster tail. Or a soggy cannoli. Modern pastry fills your unrefrigerated pastry to order. Crispy mouth delight.

Modern pastry has the best flavor and texture combination we’ve found in Boston’s North End.

On the way to another destination we passed one of these shops and the case was so thick with condensation that you couldn’t see the pastries in the case.

A properly prepared and freshly filled Lobster Tail and Cannoli from Modern Pastry

Don’t. Refrigerate. Your. Cooked. Pastries.

Sous Vide

I’d like to get a sous vide machine (immersion circulator) and then I can sous vide all the things.  But the problem is that I can imagine a situation where the following happens:

Daughter: “Dad, corn flakes don’t need to be sous vide.”

Me: “You don’t know that.”

That One Subway Story

Some time ago – back when I lived in Texas – I had food allergies and was allergic to wheat.  One day my co-workers decided that we should go to Subway for lunch and I went along.  When we got there I saw their sign advertising that they’d turn any sandwich into a salad.  I really like philly cheesesteak, so I decided that ordering that cheesy goodness on a salad was worth the awkwardness.  Once the salad was paid for I sat down and chuckled to myself.  My co-worker Blader asked what I was laughing about and I told him that if I came back I’d order the meatball sub because that would be ridiculous.  We laughed and moved onto other conversation.

The next day someone asked, “Where do you want to go to lunch?,” and Blader quickly answered, “Let’s go to Subway.  Randy needs to order the meatball salad.”  So we went.  As I approached the counter I said, “This is going to sound weird but I’d like to order the meatball sub as a salad.”  The guy didn’t skip a beat when he replied, “That’s OK, yesterday some person ordered a philly cheesesteak as a salad.”

Today is National Bacation Day!


Bacation, is a vacation with lots of bacon! Make today your national Bacation day! Thanks to my friend Joe for sharing this holiday with us!

From Joe:
Took the day off to hang with the folks who came into town this weekend and in simple celebratory discussion with my bro, we decided to coin the weekend “bacation”. One part bacon, two parts vacation! You can do it too, simply add bacon to any celebratory meal and wah-la “bacation” is born!!


My Bride Now Homeschools the Now 4 Year Old

Jessica is presently in the other room schooling the 4 year old. How did the girl turn 4?! Blows my mind. Anyway, she’s being schooled on greater than and less than and I think she’s got the concept down. It tends to really register once you put the lessons in candy form. Fortunately its autumn and the season calls for candy.

Next month I hope we can teach her pie charts with real pecan pie.

More Blogs == More Places I’m Probably Not Posting

I’ve added one more blog to my wide array of places that I’m probably going to write fewer articles to.  I’ve started a food blog because I’ve had some interesting reading lead to some different conclusions than I’ve been applying to my life in the last 8 weeks or so.  If you’re not subscribed to the Planet Randy RSS feed you can check out the food site here.  At that site you will read about what I’m thinking about food, food related projects such as home made bacon, gardening for fruits and veggies, and restaurants and recipes with good food.  Also, food sources.  Those are important.

Jessica has been suggesting I eat healthier foods for some time, but it wasn’t until I read “In Defense of Food” which Jason’s Deli sent me as part of a contest that I was shocked into action.  If you want to see what motivated me so much you can get the book at the library or buy it on  I suggest it as good stimulating reading, but don’t do something because I did it, think about food yourself.

12 Steps for Food TV Addicts

  1. Admit you are powerless over your Food TV addiction
  2. Believe that a power greater than Alton, Emeril, Paula and Rachel exists, and can restore your sanity
  3. Make the dish, I mean decision, to turn all authority over to God
  4. Make a fearless search of your pantry shelf self, morally
  5. Admitted to God and others, but not including Tyler Ramsey, the exact nature of yourself
  6. Be ready for God to remove the defects of your chiffon character
  7. Humbly ask God to remove your shortcakes shortcomings, and maybe break your TV remote on the Discovery channel.  Mythbusters is safer than Good Eats.
  8. Make a grocery list of all the people we harmed, maybe bake them an apology cake
  9. Apologize to them, include gift cake, also bring celebratory home made ice cream, unless they’re diabetic
  10. Continue to make ingredient inventory, and when you are wrong or unsure, buy extra
  11. Pray for God’s will in your kitchen and television, and all other areas of your life
  12. We try to carry this message across the internet to other addicts by digging it, stumbling it, or otherwise twittering it

At the end of the above video is a grape letting off a gaseous flame. I showed the above video to an 11 year old boy and he announced, “Oh! They made it better!” In boy terms there is nothing better than first making flames from a grape in a microwave – except to be able to make the flames float up in succession. That’s just magical.

Father’s Day Dinner Has Begun

I began the ribs for Father’s Day dinner. They will be absorbing wonderful flavor from the rub* for over 24 hours and then Saturday they will start the cooking process. They’ll be smoked with pecan chips. Which is to say that the ribs will be smoked until just shy of temperature and then finished on Sunday afternoon to make sure that they’re still moist and yet pass FDA requirements for human consumption. We’ll be heating for dinner in an apple juice/jack daniels bath, which adds even more flavor. Yummy! I’ve yet to determine whether we’ll be having the espresso barbecue sauce, or some other sauce. We might even depart from the norm and offer two sauces. It will be father’s day of course, which means that we’ll be making other tasty treats, but I don’t have a final menu off the top of my head.

* For those of you who live in or visit Texas, I got the base rub recipe from the guys who cater the company barbecue events and its just awesome of them to share. Email me and I’ll get you the recipe. If you’re not part of the inner sanctum, I cannot share, sorry 🙂