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« Pizzeria Picco: What Are You Waiting For? | Main | Bay Area Bakers, Novice and Obsessed: Save The Date: Sunday August 10, 2008 »

06 August 2008


"Or smuggle my mouth in your carry-on."


East Coast Grill!

My friend is working there now as one of the bakers. He adores it and says she is one of the best bosses he has ever had. I also hear from all around me that it is fabulous.
I second your party above touting East Coast Grill, Jasper White's crab shack as well. Lydia Shire my personal female goddess of a chef is running the old institution called Loche Ober and I know the food there is fabulous. She also has opened a new place in town that my dad has tried and given the thumbs up, I haven't been yet. O-Ya got the top rating from Mr Bruni, and many hear think it is one of the finest in the city. Chez henri outside Harvard Square for the best Cuban sandwich around. Kelly's on Revere Beach for atmosphere and seafood (or roast beast if you are so inclined), Woodman's in Essex for the best fried clams (and the original location of their creation)...I could go on and on..

Flour bakery rocks. I ate there twice in 2 days, the sandwiches are really good (I remember something bacon-y and tasty) and the molassas cookie was really good.

We liked the Taiwanese restaurant in Chinatown, and a yummy snack shop near by (with lots of preserved fruits). Loved the broiled scallops and fish chowder at No Name, but the other broiled stuff wasn't so good, and the fried stuff was just ok. But the broiled scallops were a revelation, and I could eat the fish chowder once a week. Thought Jasper White's Crab Shack was too expensive and everything was over-cooked and under-seasoned. Ate stupendous chowder and fried fish at some kind of sketchy Irish pub in Dorchester, also had decent bahn mi at a Vietnamese deli there. Ice cream place in Somerville was good, blanking on name... had cardamon and honey ice cream, so was a Indian/punjabi place in ?? It was kind of cafeteria style and they made the roti/naan to order. Hmmm... can't remember, but popular with students. Last was the lobster roll and chowder at Neptunes... tasty.

I lived in Boston for 6 years, and cooked in Boston for 2 of them.

For fine dining, Clio is one of the best (modern french), along with Cragie Street Bistro (Modern Bistro, kinda). O-Ya is amazing for sashimi and Japanese food, and Uni is right up there with it.

For more ethnic fare, Dok Bua in Brookline is some of the best Thai I've ever had, Pho Pasteur in Chinatown has really good Pho.

Oleana had the best not crazy expensive wine paring I've done, and the food was really good as well.

Last but not least, don't miss Eastern Standard's cocktails. Their bar is probably the best around, and the guy in charge has a serious love affair with all types of alcohol, and not afraid to talk about it for hours on end.

Hrm. I'll write more if I think of them.

Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton is about 45 minutes west of Boston. I took my daughter to dinner there for her birthday last month and had a wonderful meal. It’s worth the drive.

Restos I can recommend in Boston (none of these are cheap - but all are good if not great):
Moooo - beacon hill
Clio - super expensive but awesome french resto - Back Bay
Uni- super sushi bar - no reservations & inside Clio - Back Bay
Mantra - India/French - Downtown - cheesy interior - great food
B&G Oysters - Southend - Great oysters and seafood
Stella - Southend - Italian - Very good neighborhood place that's gotten trendy and then recovered.
Rocca - Ligurian - my old neighbor from Westchester, NY, Tom Fosnot is the chef - he and his wife run the place. It's usually packed. He worked for Charlie Trotter in Chicago for a while.All that said, the past two friends that went there said the service was horrible.
Sibling Rivalry - Southend - American
Mistral - Back Bay -provencal
Oiishi - BEST Sushi - Back bay - super expensive
Masa - Southwestern US food -
No. 9 Park- very expensive - french inspired food. Very good.
Public Meat (formerly Restaurant L) inside Louis Boston - great lunch.

Neptune Oyster is always tops on my list when I visit Boston.
Oh, and a sandwich from Chacarero.

Flour is amazing (pecan rolls! Etc.!)

Restaurants in Cambridge:
Central Kitchen
Gorgeous, fresh Euro food, lovely olives, bread, mussels - great staff. I think I might live there if I could -

Rendez Vous
Beautiful French-ish food and the Lemon-buttermilk pudding with huckleberry sauce is painfully, agonizingly and extremely pleasantly good -

Taberno de Haro
Best, best, best tapas

In general - Toscanini's for lovely ice cream -

I notice that everyone is publishing stuff on the higer-end restaurants in Boston, so I'll post a few of my favorites that are easy on the budget...

Pizzeria Regina in the North End, where you can get a healthy dose of sarcasm with your (awesome) pizza.

Red Bones in Davis square for great barbecue and an incredible selection of beers on tap.

Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain. I LOVE this place. It is run in an intimate and beautiful manner, where you dinner is paced perfectly. Bistro-style and not too expenisve, they have wine dinners every Tuesday night. You MUST make a reservation, though, since they only have 10 tables and tend to reserve quickly (esp. for the wine dinners).

Finale desserts (Harvard Square and Brookline). Yum.

Canto-6 bakery in Jamaica Plain...a tiny little joint owned/operated by women. They really are great.

And, for a great experience, go to the "Top of the Hub" restaurant in the Prudential building and just order a plate of Rhode Island calamari and a glass of wine while you enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Sweet Basil in Needham is worth the trip and the likely wait for a table. Best food I have ever eaten. Anywhere. Ever. And the atmosphere is as good as the food.

I can't say how many of these are viable options for a rabbinical student (I'm assuming she's observing kashrut to some degree), but these were some of my low-cost favorites in the greater Boston area:

  • tacos al pastor from Tacos Lupita, in Somerville
  • dumplings from Wangs, on the Medford/Somerville border
  • burgers that are taller than they are wide at O'Sullivan's, in Somerville
  • ice cream made with fresh, seasonal ingredients at Christina's, in Cambridge
  • sichuan from Zoe's in Somerville
  • the food stalls at the Porter Exchange building, with stalls devoted to ramen, tempura, sushi, Korean BBQ, and more
  • Brazilian-style seafood stew in a stone pot at Muqueca, in Cambridge
  • corner slices at Pinocchio's Pizza in Cambridge
  • BBQ from Blue Ribbon in Arlington

Ok, so these are all really in the Cambridge/Somerville area...I guess you can tell where I spent all my time when I lived there.

I also second the recommendations for Chacarero (a sandwich with of green beans, grilled chicken or beef, avocado spread, sliced tomato, muenster cheese and hot sauce, only open 11am-7pm, M-F) and Chez Henri (for the cuban sandwich, only available if dining at the bar).

Ben! Look how gorgeously sweet and thoughtful you are! Thank you so much. And I LOVE that you wrote the code for your comment so neatly. Mmmmm code. xo ~ Shuna

PS - yes on the cheaper side -

Diesel Cafe - Davis Square - Great cafe with sandwiches and salads - has a very Oakland/Berkeley feel to it (reminds me of Cafe Intermezzo food-wise)

If you want to get out of the city and head to the North Shore - the Clam Box in Ipswich has awesome fried clams, but long lines in the summer. Wait for the off season and you won't be sorry. If you want to sit outside at a picnic table, and drink a beer on the edge of the Essex River and eat golden fried clams, try Farnhams in Essex. For gigantic, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, try Fowles in Newburyport. One side of the place is a newstand, the other has a counter and tables. If you're in Newburyport for the day, stop by Cafe di Siena for a cup a coffee and pastry. And you might hit it right for some live music. Yum.

I have fond memories of the Hi Rise Bakery in Cambridge...

Next week starts Restaurant Weeks in the Boston area. It starts
August 11th, might be a good way to try a few popular places.
Our family likes Zaftigs in Brookline when we are looking for traditional Jewish dishes. They are not kosher.

Formaggio Kitchen (cheese store with it's own aging cellar on Huron Street in Cambridge)

Baraka Cafe (tiny, amazing, and delicious Algerian restaurant near Central Square in Cambridge)

Toscanini's ice cream (yum! in several locations in Cambridge/Somerville)

Petsi Pies in Somerville

The little cafe across from the Wine and Cheese Cask

Cafe Algiers in Harvard Square-- though the coffee is horribly overpriced, the surroundings can't be beat

Arrow Street Crepes, in Harvard Square, for the merguez crepe

Also: the "secret" Chinese-only menu with the lobster special at the place in Chinatown across the street from China Pearl (must go with Chinese friends who are in the know!), sesame buns and coconut buns from Chinatown bakeries

And I second the Tacos Lupita rec, in particular the carne asada.

More upscale but not exorbitant: the Blue Room in Kendall Square

And that minimalistic basement-level cafe in Harvard Square that I can't remember the name of, but makes you feel like a Sartre scholar

Shuna send me your address and you can stay safely unsmuggled in SF and we'll send you a bunch of goodies for you to try! What a wonderful surprise to see us mentioned here. Thank you! Joanne@flour

Places to go:
1. Great taiwanese food in Chinatown: Taiwan Cafe. Great Asian food in a cool fun environment: my restaurant Myers+Chang in the South End. Give me your friend's name and I'd love to meet her and talk to her about food, food, and more food!
2. Bakery: Canto 6. Go now. Amazing stuff, great people.
3. Public Meat sadly has closed (suggestion above)
4. Awesome chef-run and produce market driven restaurants: rendezvous in central square, ten tables in jamaica plain, craigie street bistro in cambridge
5. Sushi and Japanese: Both very expensive and worth every delicious penny: O ya and Oiishi.
6. New bakery to open soon that is bound to be incredible: Sofra, opened by maura kilpatrick and ana sortun of oleana. Maura is incredible. It will be fabulous!
7. Italian: Via Matta - co-owned by my husband so perhaps I'm biased but I have had some of the best meals there ever.
8. Late night/neighborhood: Franklin Cafe in South End. Consistently great food and great service and unpretentious and delicious.
9. Pizza: Picco in South End. For pizza and ice cream. So so yummy.

I'm fklempt! Thank you all for your amazing suggestions. This is the best welcome-to-Boston present ever. It's true that I'm on a student budget and not a pork/shellfish-eating Jew, so thanks for taking that into consideration. I've already gotten to try out a few of your reccs:

-perfect fried catfish (and not so perfect hushpuppies and a watery margarita) at Red Bones.
-already addicted to the chocolate cherry cookies at Canto 6.
-lovely appetizers at Franklin Cafe (though I thought they were joking when they told me they didn't serve dessert!)
-honey and cinnamon ice cream from Picco

-last and most certainly NOT least, I found Flour today. What a treasure! I can't wait to go back for something savory. My experience with their sticky bun was liken to my experience with olives at Chez Panisse. I had never liked olives before moving to California, (thinking only of them as the canned black ones I picked off of pizza or out of diner greek salads), and then I had an olive at Chez Panisse and a whole universe opened up to me.

Likewise, I never got the appeal of the stickybun until today.

Thank you Flour for opening me up to the stickybun universe. I also shared the Boston Cream Pie. It was wonderful, but seemed closer to a tiramasu (with its coffee flavor) and i'm a bit of a purist around the Boston Cream Pie. Shuna, I was eyeing the options to see what would survive a fed-ex trip to you in Berkeley! (Though it seems Joanne might beat me to it! And yes, give her my info..I'd love to talk food with her!) I thought of you while drooling over the homemade jelly-filled and vanilla-cream filled donuts.

A few places I've been meaning to try... Has anyone been?
-Fasika's in Somerville-recommended by an Ethiopian woman I met as the best Ethiopian (tried Addis Red Sea and it was sad in comparison to the amazing Ethiopian on telegraph ave. in Oakland)
-Saray (Turkish near BU) recommended by a Turkish man I met .

And if I may, a few more requests:

-places around Newton and JP as these are where my school and residence will be respectively.

-gorgeous produce? (favorite farmer's markets? favorite farms? CSAs?) I found some lovely things at the Copley farmer's market and just discovered Plum Produce (what's the story of that place?).

-good produce in the winter? Is Russo's worth a trip?

-good (reasonably priced) prepared food?

My zaftig curves thank you!

hi! i grew up in boston -
the BEST bakery - better than Flour, I must say - is Clear Flour Bakery on Thorndike St. in Brookline (very convenient for you as you are in Newton). This place is an absolute dream - the most beautiful breads and pastries.
Oleana restaurant in cambridge is amazingly good, middle eastern inflected
not sure if you eat sushi but OISHII in chestnut hill is best sushi in boston
Bernard's chinese in chestnut hill mall is also great

I lived in Boston for about 5 years (1994-1999) and Russo's was the best produce option I found.

i do remember the day you told me there was no delicious food in boston. i hope that this helps change your mind because there's plenty of scrumptiousness. but, flour cafe...really not all that great i heartily promise you.

Them theres fightin' words-- I have recently received and eaten a huge care package from Flour and I think they're doing a great job. many of the items were really delicious.
Yes, anyone can change my mind... Thanks for stopping by again. ~ Shuna

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