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In lieu of a proper post

9 Jun

I’m hopeless this week: partial book deadline and a child with strep throat. How do you explain to a 2-year-old who wakes up at midnight screaming because his throat feels like an open wound that the screaming will only make it worse? And how to do you explain to his mom that frantically repeating “No, no…stop screaming…it only makes it worse!” only makes it worse?


I do have one very very exciting bit of food news, per my friend Jessica Battilana, a food writer and VT native who lives in San Francisco and spent some time working at Chez Panisse. Two of her friends from that famous foodie temple, Amelia O’Reilly and Nico Monday, have just (mere *days* ago!) opened a place in Gloucester called The Market Restaurant on Lobster Cove, and all signs point to this being a very, very exciting development for Massachusetts coastal cuisine. And Massachusetts dining, for that matter.

A Chez Panisse pedigree doesn’t guarantee that a place will be fabulous, of course, But it seriously ups the odds. And a quick look at a recent menu (asparagus salad with farm egg and Romesco sauce; scallop and lobster cakes with herbed aioli and picked carrots, bread pudding with orange and almonds) has all signs pointing to “yes.” More to come…and soon!


What I Did on My Winter Vacation: Tech, pizza, and restaurant edition

8 Jan

First and foreleast, my hard drive crashed. And man, it takes a lot of time to get your digital life back in order.

But! That was not all that happened between eggnog season and now. Incidentally, do you like eggnog? I don’t. But maybe I need to try fancy Cocktail Revival Eggnog.

So after several December trips, including a Hanukkah jaunt to Miami and a holiday party in my hometown, we made our way to Woodstock, Vermont for a week of skiing, snowshoeing, comfort food, and Bananagrams. Pretty much in that order, though the eating and Bananagrams may have superseded the snowshoes. Despite my earlier grumbling, I’m all for comfort food in the proper context. To that end, there was biscuit-topped chicken pot pie, chili and cornbread, and some very tasty pizzas topped with smoked mozzarella from Maplebrook Farm and a sprinkling of gruyere-style Ascutney Mountain from Cobb Hill. Both excellent choices for pie, though the latter is a little pricey and was only used because we were cleaning out the fridge.

Those two cheeses were part of an all-Vermont cheese tasting bonanza, which we conducted over the week. I’ll go into some detail about that in the next post.

Meanwhile, should you find yourself hungry in Woodstock, there are three excellent restaurant/cafe options:

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Home Slice

10 Dec

My hometown of Windsor, CT, is no culinary hotbed, but it has its charms. Every May, the village elders hold a giant carnival/craft fair/roach-clip-market called the Shad Derby to celebrate the arrival of A. sapidissima as it makes its way up the Connecticut River to spawn. As I remember it, there was always  fried dough, candy dots, a bounce house, and Seventies-style ground beef tacos from the Saint Gabriel’s School PTO booth. It was a time.

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Where to eat: North End of Boston

15 Jul

Hi Amy-

Love New England Eating. Saw that you like “Where should I eat boston-northendrequests,” so here we go: I’ve been working in the North End for seven years, and I’ve been eating at the same places for far too long (Jeff at Neptune has slapped a restraining order on me). What are some of your favorite hidden gems in the North End that I might have overlooked?—Scott Cohen

Hi Scott!

Neptune is probably my single favorite restaurant in the North End, but it’s a tricky neighborhood. I lived there for years and had plenty of of bad gravy and overcooked saltimbocca. There are several bright lights, however:

Marco, Marc Orfaly’s restaurant with Lorenzo de Monaco is a great hideaway—it’s up on the second floor at 253 Hanover, above Cafe Paradiso—and a favorite for two things: the pastas, particularly filled pastas (ravioli, etc.), and the fireplace—a rarity in these parts, and a great option for a romantic winter retreat. Which, I assume is not what you’re looking for in an after-work hangout, but still…

As for lunch, have you tried the Porchetta sandwich at Artu? Or the Favorito, with fresh mozz, prosciutto, tomato, basil and olive oil (strike the prosciutto and it’s a Primavera—also good). Those are some fine sandwiches. This isn’t my favorite spot for dinner, but a great mid-day alternative.

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Where to Eat: Boston’s Theater District

15 Jul
Q: Hey Amy, Heading to the Colonial tomorrow to see Rent. Do you have any ColonialSideViewrecommendations in the theater district that might be fun and not too expensive?—  Brian Bell

A: Hi Brian! Yes, absolutely—I have four options for you.

Pigalle, which is right around the corner from the Colonial on Charles St.,  has a fantastic $40 three-course prix fixe menu with bistro fare like steak frites and seared sea bass with zucchini cakes and citrus vinaigrette. They’re also doing a $1 oyster deal.

If you like Italian, I think Teatro is one of Boston’s underrated  gems, and it’s practially across the street. Most of the pastas top out at $2o and the meat dishes average about $26. This restaurant is from the folks behind Mistral, Sorellina, and L’Andana.

Since you’re going out on a Thursday, you should know about the $1 tacos served from 5-7pm in the bar at Bonfire, Todd English’s steakhouse in the Park Plaza Hotel. The restaurant has had consistency problems since it opened, but those tacos are consistently excellent. Flavors like skirt steak with pico de gallo and avocado crema, crispy fish with picked cabbage and tartar sauce, and chile-rubbed pork with picked onion, cilantro, and plaintain-chile crema.

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IMmmmm: Lunch today

14 Jul

I’m meeting Carmen for lunch in the city today, where should I go (not Bina, just went there)?

Or do I have to log onto your blog to find out?




they open for lunch?



or Toro

or Myers + Chang


Toro might be good


You should go have lunch outside at Miel and see if it’s any better




Oh, and the Boston Harbor Hotel has that new cafe that replaces Intrigue


open yet?



Sea Grille I think



can I guest-post on your blog?





Where to eat near Harborlights

14 Jul

First, an apology: I promised this post last week, and then our DSL went down. For days. Verizon sucks. Moving on…

imagesIf you’re a fan of adult contemporary or smooth jazz, you’ve probably enjoyed a gently rocking night under Harborlights’s big tent. I know I have. (And yes, this venue is technically identified by another name. It will not be used here. You can buy the naming rights, corporate behemoth, but you can’t buy our hearts!)

The waterside location is lovely, but a bit off the beaten track (less so now, though, as the Seaport District expands, amoeba-like, to surround it). So where to chow down before the big show?

Eat Here: Sportello, Lucky’s Lounge, Perspehone*, and the Pizzeria Regina stand in the venue.

Why: Sportello is Barbara Lynch’s idea of a Brighams-style lunch counter, only with perfectly made gnocchi and papardelle and an exceptional porchetta starter. Some people hate the backless stools, bolted as they are to the ground, making them more stylish than accommodating. But I love the sleek design, the quirky wine list, and the fact that it’s open Mon.-Sat., 7am – 10pm (takeout is available until 7pm, if you want to try a pre-show picnic on the steps of the ICA).

Lucky’s Lounge is fun and retro and does nice sidecar and a very respectable take on fried chicken and waffles. What more could you want? How about a sign to help you find the place? Here’s a hint: it’s at the corner of Congress and A St.

Persephone* is one an all-around Boston fave, and my go-to spot when I miss the food in San Francisco. Fresh ingredients, many locally sourced, cooked with skill and a light enough hand to let the actual flavors shine through. Hate to contemplate how rare that can be in Boston. Also, the bar menu is solid (don’t miss the gremolata-spiked fries) and affordable, with everything (including the squid salad, the burger, and homemade bacon and sea salt pretzel) priced at just $5 from 4-6pm daily.

Now, as both of the above choices are a bit of a schlep (15 minutes on foot, 3 by car), I’ll give a shout-out to the above-average-but-nothing-to-write-home-about slices at the Pizzeria Regina stand in the pavilion. It’s always nice to have an inside option if you’re running late.

Note: I left out two restaurants of note, which you might want to consider if the above options don’t grab you: Aura at the nearby Seaport Hotel boasts chef Rachel Klein’s inspired fusion fare, but has a slightly more formal feel than I tend to want before an outdoor concert. And the Barking Crab is my favorite waterfront spot to grab a beer and some fried calamari, but the food is too spotty for a full dinner.

* Confession: I’m embarrassed to admit that the original version of this post did not include Persephone, for no reason other than my own stupidity. Thanks to Alison Arnett for pointing it out!

Where to eat near Fenway

9 Jul

I love replying to “Where Should I Eat?” requests. Stephanie asked about restaurants near Fenway and some other summer venues. Great idea. Let me start with Fenway…more to come tomorrow:

Venue: Fenway ParkPicture of Fenway Park

Eat Here: Eastern Standard, Uburger, and La Verdad

Why: Eastern Standard is big and bustling, open all day, and great at accommodating crowds. It has a top-notch bar, solid brasserie food, and a late-night menu that runs through midnight on weekdays, 1am on weekends.

Uburger is Boston’s answer to the West Coast’s In n’ Out Burger, and your best bet if you have kids in tow. The burgers are fresh, with beef ground in house daily (that’s a serious plus, given the perils of industrial ground beef), and they even batter their own onion rings (however, to be truthful, the best overall ring is found here, on Cape Cod). Even the veggie burgers are tasty.

La Verdad, Ken Oringer’s Mexican joint, has the best tacos in town, on account of the homemade tortillas—great for a quick bite before or after a game (the take-out taqueria is open until 1am weekdays, 2am weekends). Meanwhile, if you have time to kill, head to the sit-down restaurant for a taco plato, tamales, chilaquiles (fancy nachos), and so many tequila varieties, you’ll be hitting more shots than Dustin Pedroia. Heh. That’s what they call them, right? Shots?