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News and Rumors

21 May

Had an interesting conversation with one of Boston’s most personable chefs earlier this week. He had some exciting industry gossip to share.

1) Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette were recently looking at restaurant space in Davis Square. Doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily open up anything in that part of town, but how cool would that be? Maybe a second branch of Toro?

1) Ever wonder where Pino Maffeo of Restaurant L and the ill-fated Boston Public ended up? I had heard rumors of New York, but at the moment he’s cooking at an Italian restaurant in Winchester. [ADDED 5/24: IT’S LUCIA RISTORANTE). Between this and Chris Parson’s new Parsons Table, Winchester suddenly has a rocking restaurant scene.

UPDATE: Jamie Bissonette told Grub Street that there are no plans to open a Toro or Coppa in Somerville. As I said, looking at a space doesn’t mean anyone’s about to sign a contract (if that were the case, our realtor would like us a whole lot more). But sigh. It would be really nice to see them bring their magic across the river.

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Take the Cannoli, Leave the Wait

19 May

As an Italian and a former North Ender, I enjoy a good cannoli enough to head back to the old neighborhood (I’m partial to Modern Pastry for for sentimental reasons, but Maria’s and Mike’s are also good). But the waits! My God, you could make your own pastry in the time it takes to get to the front of the counter.

Fortunately, there are other options near our current house in Cambridge:

1) Modern Pastry, Medford. Same great cannoli, sfogliatelle, and ricotta pie, no lines.

2) Pizzeria Posto, Somerville. Tried these last night, and they’re terrific. Filled fresh, so the shell stays crisp. And the creamy ricotta filling has a nice vanilla kick.

If you know of any other good shops around Boston, let me know…

Where to Find: Soul Food

17 Jul

Q: Do you have any tips about where to find soul food African-American style in Boston? I have eaten at Poppa B’s  but I’m not sure its still open. Been to Chef Lee’s but he has closed down shop.  Thanks. — William the Webmaster.

A: Hi William! First of all, Poppa B’s is still open, and they’re still doing their legendary fried chicken, fabulous bargain breakfasts (don’t miss the biscuits), and homemade desserts.

My other favorite spot for soul food is the Coast Cafe in Cambridge. Have you heard of it? The fried chicken there is very good (notsides quite at Poppa B’s level, imo, but definitely in the top five—just order legs and thighs instead of breasts, which can be dry), as are the classic sides like collards and black-eyed peas. I’m also partial to the old-school banana pudding.

I haven’t yet been to Mrs. Jones in Dorchester, but my friends over at Boston’s Hidden Restaurants are fans.

Finally, while Inman Square’s Tupelo isn’t doing soul food—it’s more pan-Southern—there’s some overlap: fried catfish, greens, and red beans and rice.