From the Dining@Large blog:

I was on vacation -- not Atkins.

While visiting my parents in Connecticut last week, my husband and I took an overnight trip to Boston with our kids, one of my sisters, and her two children.

We did enough carbo-loading there to prepare for a marathon, though I'm afraid there was no 26.2-miler to justify any of it. Just a few easy jogs around Boston Public Garden, admiring the swan boats and barely working up a sweat.

We did get to burn some of it off hustling down 12 flights of hotel stairs during a late-night fire alarm that, luckily, turned out to be false.

If only we'd walked back up the stairs afterward. We'd intended to do that since every guest in the hotel was lined up for the elevators. But as we headed for the stairs, a hotel staffer took pity and directed us to the service elevator. We got to ride up with the laundry guy and two airline pilots.

The brush with pilots impressed my 5-year-old son, even if the ride did nothing to negate over-consumption of fresh pastas, breads and pastries in Boston's North End, the Italian neighborhood where my grandparents grew up and my great-grandparents settled as immigrants.

I'd eat my way through the North End again -- and start running longer, if need be.

Which brings me to this week's list:

Top Ten reasons to take up marathoning

No. 1. Mike's Pastry cannoli

Creamy, lovely ricotta-filled pastry. I've encountered nothing in Baltimore that comes close.

No. 2. Mike's Pastry cappuccino

The perfect drink with that cannoli, even after my rascally nephew lobbed a spoonful of his lemon ice into my cup.

No. 3. Trattoria Il Panino's lobster ravioli

The fresh pasta, filled with sweet lobster meat, came in a creamy crab sauce. Worth every fat gram.

No. 4. Il Panino's crespelle

My husband ordered these savory crepes, filled with fresh ricotta and spinach. They were almost too good to share, but he gave me a bite.

No. 5. Bread