Today, we're taking a detour from the usual stuff for quick tour of the North End of the Boston.  Even though it's Little Italy today, this old part of the city was a hotbed of activity during the Revolutionary War.  Above is Paul Revere's house.  Built in 1680, it's the oldest structure in downtown Boston.  It was from here he began his legendary ride to warn "The British are coming."  

Just a few blocks away, it was the Old North Church that displayed two lanterns to warn Charlestown of the British troops' movement.  "One of by land, two if by sea."  Even though these important Colonial sites are meshed into a modern commercial and residential part of the city, I wanted to focus on just a few of the vintage parts of Little Italy that make it so charming to me.

Even though many of the restaurants and shops are corporate business ventures, there are still many family-owned ristorantes, bakeries and markets that have been here for decades. 

And on a beautiful day, they open up their fronts so their patrons can enjoy the outdoors.

I met up with some friends for a weekend lunch.  All of our birthdays are within two weeks so we usually get together a few times to celebrate.  If they would only put away the iPhones.

After lunch, we hit the Salumeria Italiana which is one my favorite Italian markets.  I used to live less than a block away from here and I really miss this place.

A large selection of imported pastas...

...olives and salt-packed capers...


...the most incredible cured meats...

...and canned goods.  

One of my friends is a San Marzano tomato aficionado so we have to come here to buy them.  He says they have to say "D.O.P." on them to be real.

Just about a block down the street is Polcari's Coffee.

This is a place that time forgot.

They sell coffees, teas, spices, imported nuts, cheeses, pastas, condiments, canned goods, and other assorted imported food items.

Isn't like something out of a movie?

And before finishing our visit, we make the obligatory stop at Modern Pastry.

Cannoli to go.

If you ever visit Boston, I hope you'll take a few hours to check out this gem of a neighborhood.