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Chow trip in North End--Maria's, Lulu's, Monica's, Dairy Fresh, Endicott Cheese

w
winedude Mar 5, 2007 07:25 AM

I took a friend who's new to Boston on a walking foodie tour of the North End yesterday, stopping for goodies and lunch. Here's the report: First stop Maria's for cannoli. The place was basiclly empty, with only one person in front of us. Had 2 of the traditional ricotta cannoli, $2 each. Freshly filled as usual, light dusting of powdered sugar. The ricotta filling was sweet, with a hint of vanilla and lemon, delicious. We then stopped in at Dairy Fresh candies. Very good selection, but pretty high prices on most things. The only good value I saw was Valrhona cocoa in bulk at $6 for a half pound. They also had Bensdorp cocoa in bulk for about $3 for a half pound, which is way better than anything you can get in the supermarket.

Next stop was Lulu's bakery, got a delicious slice of chocolate cake with real chocolate buttercream frosting, a huge slice and a good buy at $4.50. They also had vanilla (though the frosting was green, which I found unappetizing) and red velvet cakes. Bought a couple of cupcakes, $1.75 each, which we very good. I'd recommend staying away from their signature cream-filled cupcakes, I thought the frosting was greasy (though they are really fund to look at).

Wandered by Modern and Mike's, always amazed at how long the lines are, when there are superior cannolis around the corner at Maria's, with no wait, for less money.

We then went to Monica's to pick up some fresh pasta. Their pasta is very good, a nice delicate egg pasta in various shapes, but I think that $6.95/pound is pretty steep. I can't imagine that any of the locals buy it there. There must be somewhere else to get less expensive fresh pasta in the North End, but I haven't found it.

After picking up a couple of pizzas from Regina's (my friend had never heard of it, how sad), we stopped by Endicott cheese shop. The place is a bit dingy and disorganized, but they did have Pecorino Toscano from Pienza, one of my favorites, and we also picked up some imported mascarpone, in containers at $8.99. It's the best I've found so far.

  1. b
    Bostonbob3 Mar 6, 2007 06:20 AM

    I love the Fresh Cheese Shop on Endicott. They'll also make you fab subs from their cheeses and meats.

    1. itaunas Mar 6, 2007 11:41 AM

      The only way I can think of that locals might get less expensive fresh pasta, might be by buying it from one of the few restaurants that makes their own. Pace's did have some before they moved, but their prices have risen greatly. About 10 years ago there was a fresh pasta and sauce factory on Hanover (not Prince, by the time of the Anthony commercials they were in Lowell). And a lot of "locals" might just use Mama Rosie's from charlestown.

      There is definately more selection and possibilities outside of Boston. The well known Capone's and Daves on this board, but also La Bella on Main in Medford and the ravioli shop right near New Deal in Revere.. and both Bob's and Continental Bakery in Everett churn out acceptable, but not quite as fancy fresh pasta. There also is a place on Main in Everett (maybe Lilly's), but I haven't tried it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: itaunas
        houlette Aug 22, 2007 09:55 AM

        I've been curious about La Bella in Medford for a while, since I live basically equidistant from Capone's, Dave's, and La Bella. Any thoughts on which is best?

      2. DropD Mar 6, 2007 11:45 AM

        The house made torrone at Modern is fantastic!

        1. l
          lergnom Mar 6, 2007 01:15 PM

          My favorite pastry at Maria's is sfogliatelle. This pastry translates, I think, into the "lobster tail" you sometimes find.

          4 Replies
          1. re: lergnom
            halaluia13 Mar 6, 2007 04:58 PM

            Yes you are right the sfogliatelle is great at Maria's and Modern - but they are not lobster tails (which are bigger and filled with a mix of ricotta and whipped cream). Sfogliatelle are sea shell shaped crispy flake pastry filled with a mixture of ricotta, semolina, orange and a hint of cinamon!

            From Febuary to March 19 you have to try a Zepolle fi San Giuseppe - It is a airy donut like pastry filled with yellow cream and amarena cherries - March 19 is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph and these are made only during this time of year and are truly delicious!

            Modern & Marias have the best!!

            1. re: halaluia13
              limster Mar 6, 2007 07:03 PM

              Try the sfogliatelle at Napoli pastry (try to hit them early in the morning when they're warm from hte oven -- especially good!).

            2. re: lergnom
              Bob Dobalina Aug 22, 2007 10:54 AM

              According to Wiki: The word "sfogliatelle" means "many leaves/layers."

              And I always thought it translated into "scallop."

              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                b
                Bostonbob3 Aug 22, 2007 10:59 AM

                Well, "scalloped" can also mean "layered," so maybe it does. Kind of.

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