When I first started dating my now-fiancé, many of our dates would include epic walks that could span most of a Sunday. We would explore different neighborhoods of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville on foot, with no real plan in place. These walks, happily, often turned into somewhat of a long, drawn out pub crawl, as we’d pop into a bar here and there for a beer and a bit of a rest. And usually some snacks. When you walk all around town, you need to stay fueled – it is the first rule in urban hiking.
Life seems to have sped up a bit in recent years, however, so we don’t go on as many “explore our city” days as we once did, but every now and then we manage to put aside some time to go on one of our city walks. These days, it is our esteemed opinion that the ultimate Boston exploration day might just include a water taxi ride across Boston Harbor to and a meal in an active East Boston shipyard. It is in this shipyard that you will find guys in full protective body suits working at a factory, yuppies walking their dogs around the new parks, and crazy industrial art installations. It is sort of a mish-mash of many different types of people and places surrounded by warehouses, docks, and boats of every kind. It is also where you will find the best possible view of Boston… and a very special place called Scup’s.
Scup’s is a complete original. Truly, I’m not sure this place could be found anywhere else in the world or be replicated in any way. It is a crazy combination of amazing food, unique location, cozy and interesting atmosphere, and warm but slightly sassy service. Plus, you can elect to make getting there an adventure in itself. Sure, you can take the Blue Line to Maverick and walk through the pretty Jeffries Point neighborhood, or hell, I suppose you could drive there. I prefer to arrive by boat. Go ahead – try it. Head towards the Boston waterfront, give City Water Taxi a call, tell them where you are, and they will let you know where they will pick you up. Tell them to take you to Scup’s, and they give you a discounted rate and a ride right to the dock. Getting there is half the fun!
Scup’s is primarily a breakfast and lunch spot, although they have begun to serve a light dinner on Wednesday through Friday. I have only ever visited during the daytime hours, where my socks have always been knocked off by their unique sandwiches and breakfast dishes. I am still thinking about the Moroccan Sandwich I had here over a year ago, a sandwich so unique and addictive, I sought out the recipe and made it myself (and blogged about it on Lady Gouda). This past visit, we made our way across the harbor in the morning and indulged in the “Rapture” egg sandwich, baked eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms, and split an order of their famous “Millionaire’s Bacon”. I think I made a scene with my “oohs” and “ahhs” and “YUM” noises, but no one seemed to care much. The Rapture sandwich would have taken the prize of the best dish, as the geniuses at Scup’s have taken the simple egg sandwich to new levels by introducing potato chips to their scrambled eggs (seriously – it was so freaking good), and spreading a slightly spicy tomato jam over the quality bread. But then we tasted the bacon. Spicy and sweet, the Millionaire’s Bacon was an experience that we needed to repeat at home again and again. While Scup’s is a place that cannot be replicated, we found a way to bring a bit of that quirky deliciousness home with us by coming up with a solution to our Millionaire’s Bacon addiction (recipe below!).
After soaking up all that Scup’s has to offer (or, eating all that you can fit in your stomach this time and promising yourself that you will return tout suite), go ahead and explore the area. Walk around the shipyard. Head to your right and go check out the new(ish) Piers Park, a comfortable seaside landscape with incredible views. Head to your left and explore another new park where you can watch the planes landing at Logan Airport. Check out Boston’s storied Immigration Station before MassPort tears it down. Climb the Golden Stairs for another, yet related, historic immigrant experience and check out Jeffries Point, with its old homes and neat yards. This is East Boston as you never knew it.
Hopefully you’ve now walked off enough of your Scup’s meal that you can go back and do it all over again. Or at least grab a coffee and a scone. Call your taxi and ride the waves back to Boston proper!
Adapted from Gourmet, September 2006
- 1 lb thick-cut bacon (about 12 slices)
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- Rounded 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Rounded 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pre-heat the oven on to 350 degrees and place rack in the middle position. Take out a rack and a jelly roll type of cookie sheet, line the pan with foil to catch the drippings and place a rack on top of pan. Add sugar and spices in a small bowl and mix well. Apply spice mixture to each piece of bacon, trying to spread evenly on each side of each piece. If you run out of the spice mixture, simply make up another batch (I made several batches, so I have doubled the original recipe above here- apparently I like to “over-do” it on the sugar and spice here). This recipe is pretty hard to screw up: candied bacon with a kick of heat is delicious, no matter what you do.
Lay the strips of bacon out flat across the rack, trying not to overlap any pieces to get premium crispiness. Bake the bacon until it is crisp and golden, which depending on the thickness of your bacon and your oven could take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. Watch it carefully after the 20 minute mark. Using tongs, turn bacon over to get ultimate double sided crispness about 2/3 of the way through, if you’d like.
NOTE: I made the whole batch of bacon for a few family members over Labor Day weekend, with hopes that we’d have some slices leftover for a late summer BLT fest for lunch. Unfortunately, I forgot that it would be completely impossible for my family to resist this bacon; there was none left. The next day, they begged me to make the Millionaire’s bacon again so I made an even larger batch so that I could have my special BLT. I thought, “There’s NO WAY they want this much bacon, two days in a row.” They did. Consider yourself warned.
For more information about Scup’s, including how they got their name, visit their website.
If you’d like to try getting there via water taxi, here is my preferred way to do so! Or simply call 617-422-0392.