Monday, November 15, 2010

The Burger and The Book Fair (quite the combo)

I guess all the burger talk on Friday inspired me to set some weekend plans around getting on top of the list and go to one of the must try locations!

On Sunday, I decided to geek out and drag Nick to the Boston Book Fair at the Hynes Convention Center.  Not that Nick doesn't like books (and he willingly came), but this definitely pushes the envelop of things to do on a lazy Sunday!  When asking, I lumped this in with going to the Back Bay Social Club for their burger as it is right next door...Perfect.

Back Bay Social Club ( is relatively new, and out of nowhere, became an "it" place to be.  The restaurant had a pretty good reputation within a few days of opening...helping that reputation was The Social Club Burger.  The restaurant was fairly busy for an early Sunday afternoon, but we had no problem sitting at the bar to watch football and indulge in burger comparisons.  However, we almost changed our plan because their brunch menu looked tempting...enough so, that before we ordered, we knew we had to go back to try it!

Nick and I both ordered the burger medium rare...their standard burger comes with a sharp cheddar and caramelized onions.  I am a bit of a picky eater (some may say that is an understatement) and onions and I have a love hate relationship, but I went for it...I wanted to have the full effect...Thank goodness I did!

My Burger
Nick's burger (lighting was a bit weird)
The burgers were amazing...the amount of burger meat on these...they are huge!!!  While you are trying to work your way through the burger, enjoying every moment, you realize that its a good thing the patty is so large, otherwise, it may get dwarfed by cheese and onion toppings.  The meat is dry aged, juicy and delicious.  I thought that the onions would add to much fuss to the flavor, but instead it was the perfect accent.

Nick admitted quickly that this might top his top Sel de la Terre burger, and I decided I need to go back to compare. 

After we indulged, we headed to the Hynes Convention Center to the Antiquarian Book Fair ( One of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice, and after getting my Grandmother's copy of the book from ages ago, which I learned the hard way is NOT to be read for fear of breaking the binding further, I now try to buy unique copies of the book.  The other copy I own is a soft leather bound book from 1913 that I got in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.  This was a stop on my horse back riding expedition in 2009.  Turns out, Hay-on-Wye is a famous (antiquarian) book town...who knew such towns even existed.

In Hay-on-Wye May 2009
Hay was filled with second hand book shops, attended by friendly people ready to find me a copy of Pride and Prejudice that was worth dragging inn-to-inn...The copy I bought was maybe 30 dollars...

We lucked out at the fair because someone gave complimentary passes for the afternoon (saving us a grand total of 16 dollars!)

Free Pass and Guide
You have to check basically everything you own before being allowed to enter the massive room, filled with what seemed like hundreds of stalls of books from collectors/sellers from across the globe.  With no particular goal in mind (other than finding Pride and Prejudice) we set about browsing the various stalls...

I have never felt dumber in my entire life!  

Nick and I are pretty smart people (or at least I believe so) who can hold our own in most areas of conversation.  These people were speaking a foreign language...but rightly so!  Some of the books were worth 10,000 dollars!  This takes loving books to a whole other level.  There were first editions of all sorts of books, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Darwin's Letter's, Oscar Wilde, Dr. Seuss, a number of signed copies of these books.  There were so children books, it was incredible...further, they were selling the signed illustrations separately.  Where else could you hear someone admit they are in book binding school, I did not know those existed!  Most of the vendors also had maps from all over dating back as far as the 1600's.  The colors were so well preserved and all had unique markings.  No idea those went hand-in-hand, but it does make sense.

However, book dealers do have their priorities correct, because tucked into the back of the ballroom was a fully decked-out bar with cocktail tables for people to sit and chat.

The second hand book market is really like collecting coins or stamps, you don't ever read them, they are merely to look at, trade, and sell...

I found a copy of Pride and Prejudice, it was a hard cover from 1913 and lovely, however, it would have been about 350 dollars, which, actually seemed normal after walking through those halls for 2 hours.  I thought better of it though, and had to leave shortly thereafter because I kept thinking about buying it!  Part of the convention included free appraisals for books and after walking through there, I wish I had brought my copy of Pride and Prejudice from Hay, because I could be sitting on one of those amazing yard sale finds!

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