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d
Drosa Sep 3, 2007 03:27 PM

I will be visiting Boston & Cape Cod with my partner next week. We're looking for unique food experiences as part of our trip. Here is our proposed itinerary, please let us know your thoughts:

Fri 9/14:
11:30A Arrive at Hotel (Near Arlington Station on Geen Line)
12:30P Lunch at Parish Cafe
2:30P Visit Institute of Contemporary Art
4:30P Snack at Flour Bakery
5:30P Return to Hotel
7:30P Dinner at Taranta in North End
9:00P Dessert at Modern Pastry, Mike's or Maria's

Sat 9/15:
10A Breakfast at Aquitaine Restaurant
11A Visit Museum of Fine Art
1:30P Lunch at Trattoria Toscana
2:30P Visit Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
5:00P Return to Hotel
7:30P Dinner at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain

Sun 9/16:
10A Breakfast at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
11:30A Visit to JFK Library/Museum
2:00P Return to Hotel
3:30P Lunch at Charlie's Kitchen in Cambridge
7:30P Dinner at O Cantinho
9:00P Ice Cream at Christina's

Mon 9/17
9:00A Breakfast at Rachel's Kitchen
1:00P Ferry to P-Town
3:00P Lunch at Townsned Pier (Lobster Bisque)
4:00P Check in at Hotel on Bradford St
8:00P Dinner at Napi's

Tue & Wed
Need Breakfast Lunch & Dinner recs. Have heard good things about Clem & Ursie, Fanzini's, The Mews, Wicked Oysters, Angel Foods in P-Town and Terra Luna, Noreen's and Cape Tip Fish & Lobster in Turo.

Any input about our choices or suggestions about alternatives would be appreciated.

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  1. 9
    9lives RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 04:08 PM

    Looks like you've done your homework..:) Some might quibble but I think you have a good itinerary; food and otherwise.

    The only glitch is your Sunday AM breakfast. Charley's is closed Sunday..not sure about Aquitaine breakfast; but maybe you could swap the 2.

    In PTN, I love Townsend on the Pier..byo...very casual

    Mews, Napis, Clem and Ursies are all good. For fine dining, Devon seems to be the place. I also like the doorway raw bar at Lobster Pot

    Be sure to visit the Portuguese Bakery at 229 Commercial..a few tables, mostly take out. The rabenada..Portuguese "French toast" is great and they have a great pastry assortment

    17 Replies
    1. re: 9lives
      b
      bachslunch RE: 9lives Sep 3, 2007 05:52 PM

      9lives is right about Charlie's being closed Sunday. Aquitaine is open for Sunday brunch, though if their web site is accurate, they don't offer the prix fixe option that day. I'll second the idea of switching days on these two.

      1. re: bachslunch
        d
        Drosa RE: bachslunch Sep 3, 2007 06:18 PM

        I chose Aquitane mostly because of the prix fixe brunch on Sat. Do they offer it on Sun as well? Should I switch Rachel's Kitchen to Sun and do Charlie's on Mon? I was also considering Staphanie's on Newbury as another possibility for breakfast. Am I missing any other worthwhile options?

        1. re: Drosa
          b
          bachslunch RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 06:22 PM

          Rachel's is closed on Sundays as well. Never tried Stephanie's for breakfast, but the place is universally reviled on this board. The Trident Bookstore and Cafe is another decent breakfast spot to consider in the area, and I think they're open every day.

      2. re: 9lives
        9
        9lives RE: 9lives Sep 3, 2007 06:12 PM

        not food related, but if you're a bicyclist, the ride through the dunes at Race Point is spectacular.

        It also puts you near Tips n Tops..good inexpensive Portuguese food..or pack a lunch from several of the good delis in downtown

        1. re: 9lives
          d
          Drosa RE: 9lives Sep 3, 2007 06:37 PM

          We're definitely planning to rent bikes. I want to bike to Race Point and Turo. We'll definitely checkout Tips n Tops

          1. re: Drosa
            sailormouth RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 10:03 AM

            I've had the worst food on the Cape at Tips n Tops (which is saying quite a lot), though others say it is bearable for breakfast.

            The best meal I've had in PTown lately was at Frappo66 in the cinema. Excellent and only about $20.00. Great for a quick dinner where you want genuinely good food and no waits, as it's cafeteria style. I think they do stuff to go too.

            Also, you didn't mention any nightlife stuff, are you all set there?

          2. re: 9lives
            MB fka MB RE: 9lives Sep 3, 2007 06:38 PM

            Tips and Tops is a great tip. Clem and Ursie's was wretched on my visit last year. As in send-back-the-dried-up-lobster-roll wretched. Unfortunately, I don't visit PTown often enough to have alternate recommendations that I would feel very confident with, but I would say that I would easily risk a meal at one of the in-town restaurants before I'd go back there again.

            I'm a big fan of Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square, but mostly because of the cheap drinking. The food really isn't worth it. Perhaps consider Limster's recommendations, or you could also seek out Bartley's for burgers. I'd even opt for a plain ol' average grilled cheese sandwich at Shay's while drinking a pint outside, should it be a warm fall day.

            1. re: MB fka MB
              d
              Drosa RE: MB fka MB Sep 3, 2007 06:58 PM

              My other choice for lunch in Cambridge was Alive & Kicking Lobsters. It's a bit further away from Harvard though. I'm really after a good Lobster Roll. I know about B&G and Neptune, but I couldn't make either of those places work in my itinerary.

              1. re: Drosa
                Joanie RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 04:31 AM

                If you're going back to the hotel before you're 3:30 lunch, it's pretty easy to hop on the green line to Haymarket and hit Neptune. Or to walk over to B&G (I assume you're at the Park Plaza or Jury), it'd be a 10 min walk.

                For your Sun. breakfast, Union on Washington St. has a prix fixe until 11AM I think on Sun. (Aquitaine only does prix fixe on Sat.). Masa in the south end has a decent brunch too, starts at 10:30.

                1. re: Drosa
                  MB fka MB RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 06:12 AM

                  Glad for the clarification. Alive & Kicking does a solid lobster sandwich, and is a far better option than Charlie's Kitchen (which IMHO, is just filler--this is not the place to seek out a lobster roll). Alive & Kicking is probably only a 15 minute walk from the Square, and you can work it so you're passing through some nice residential areas. Important to check their hours. This is a place that will give you the "local color" experience, but the brothers also close down at random times.

                  There is an outdoor Legal Seafood bar/restaurant right at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. I am not at all a fan of Legal Seafood, but if you stick to the basics you can do okay--perhaps someone can chime in about their lobster roll? You could sit outside, have a beer and a lobster roll, and take in the vibe of the Sunday Farmer's Market, which is quite nice.

                  Many 'hounds hate the place, but I had a great lobster roll at Jasper White's Summer Shack a few weeks ago--it was probably one of my favorites this summer. For $20 the price was right and it's walking distance from your hotel. Otherwise, consider Joanie's recommendation to hit up Neptune or B&G before/after you stop back at the hotel.

                  1. re: MB fka MB
                    Joanie RE: MB fka MB Sep 4, 2007 06:30 AM

                    I had a perfectly fine lobster roll w/ fries and cole slaw at that Legal last fall. I think it was about $18.95. If I had limited time in Boston, I personally wouldn't bother walking to Alive & Kicking when Legal, Neptune, B&G (and didn't someone like Kingfish?) are much more convenient in more exciting parts of town.

                    1. re: Joanie
                      b
                      bachslunch RE: Joanie Sep 4, 2007 05:09 PM

                      I wouldn't bother with Alive and Kicking either in this circumstance -- it's way out of the way for anything you might want to take in as a sightseer in Cambridge, and it's not that easy to get to by public transportation. And last time someone went there on a recommendation, they posted back on this board to say they were disappointed in the place. It's been a long time since I went, so I can't corroborate one way or the other.

                  2. re: Drosa
                    9
                    9lives RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 07:53 AM

                    Townsend Seafood in PTN should satisfy your lobster and oyster cravings. They have their own traps and great relationships with the Wellfleet oyster farmers and other local fishermen.

                    The Townsend family has run the PTN marina for over 30 years and have worked as commercial fishermen...some great tuna pics on the wall.

                    1. re: 9lives
                      t
                      twentyoystahs RE: 9lives Sep 4, 2007 09:15 AM

                      Just fyi: Townsend is DEFINTELY a no-frills operation. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but after trying it recently, it's a place I'd be more likely to head back to for lunch vs dinner. So I think your idea of heading there for lunch is DEFINITELY a good one.

                      P'town is such an interesting & lively place and I personally think part of the charm of eating there is enjoying the energy of the town --whether it's sitting at the bar at the Lobster Pot enjoying a cup of chowder and a bloody mary; sitting outside on the patio at Bubela's; looking out over the harbor at Ross's Grill w/a good glass of wine and some great grilled meat or seafood; or just grabbing a slice of pizza at Spiritus.

                      Townsend Seafood has fresh, simply prepared seafood and you can even enjoy a bottle of beer with your lobstah...but you'll sit under harsh flourescent lights and I'm pretty sure they stop serving around 7 or 8 at night. The night I went, in the peak of the summer, at around 7:30ish, we were the only group of people in there. FWIW, i did enjoy chatting w/one of the owners and there is a ton of history there, with pics on the wall and lots of stories....so certainly a place worth supporting...but just depends what you're looking for....

                      1. re: twentyoystahs
                        b
                        BJK RE: twentyoystahs Sep 4, 2007 10:04 AM

                        Totally forgot about Spiritus! Surprisingly good pizza.

                        BK

                        1. re: twentyoystahs
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                          9lives RE: twentyoystahs Sep 4, 2007 12:46 PM

                          agreed re your description of Townsend. I should have been more complete in my description reco. Atmosphere is not it's strong suit..:)

                          also enjoy the Bubala's patio and a slice from Spiritus.

                      2. re: Drosa
                        Dax RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 09:23 AM

                        Rachel's Kitchen offers a hot, buttered lobster roll in limited quantities on Fridays for lunch. Since it's right by your hotel (as is Parish I know), you might consider it for lunch Friday instead of the Parish. Unfortunately, seating is very limited (like 8 seats total).

                        The again dining on the patio at the Parish is great if it's nice out.

                2. kittychow RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 04:26 PM

                  Impressive research! You're covering some serious ground while you're here. I might come up with one alternate ofr Saturday night if you're not feeling up to the trek to JP. It's not terribly far but with several good options near your hotel you could be easily tempted to stay closer. I'm not going to suggest where because I'm more curious to see what you come up with. ;)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kittychow
                    d
                    Drosa RE: kittychow Sep 3, 2007 06:24 PM

                    I chose Ten Tables partially because it's off the beaten path. We love exploring a variety of neighborhoods when we travel. I also like the fact that it's chef owned and really focused on the food more than amenities. It's also the only place I've booked a reservation so far. I read that it's tough to get into (especially on weekends), so I wanted to get it booked asap.

                  2. b
                    BJK RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 04:29 PM

                    Nice itinerary.

                    In P-Town, there's a great little breakfast place right next door to Clem & Ursie's called Chach. I had a wonderful eggs benny and my wife had a heavenly French toast with berries and lemon curd. Possibly our best meal in P-Town.

                    BK

                    1. Aromatherapy RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 05:10 PM

                      Somebody posted that Trattoria Toscana has not been doing lunch lately. They just reopened after vacation. Call now.

                      I tried the (locally fabled) fish tacos at El Pelon while visiting the MFA recently. Quite decent if you're in the neighborhood, I wasn't blown away.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Aromatherapy
                        b
                        bachslunch RE: Aromatherapy Sep 3, 2007 05:45 PM

                        If Trattoria Toscana is closed for lunch, you can always do lunch right at either the Gardner Museum or the MFA, both of which were not bad when I went more than a few years ago. Should you choose either of these options, it will let you spend a little more time at the museums; note that neither TT nor El Pelon are exactly right around the corner from the museums, though they're closer then most other possibilities you could try. You can go through the Gardner comparatively quickly, but the MFA is a fair bit bigger, and depending on how big a completist you are, can take a little while.

                        Going to Charlie's relatively early on Saturday will let you beat some of the crowds there and allow you get to the MFA when it opens at 10 AM.

                      2. Food4Thought RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 05:42 PM

                        Nicely Done!

                        Marias may be closed by the time you are finsished at Taranta. Personally I lean towards modern, the canolis are made to order and be sure to try the store made Florantines. Clem & Ursie's a a good call.

                        1. limster RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 05:43 PM

                          Nice choices, here are some alternatives if you want to diversify cuisines:

                          Instead of Parish Cafe, I'd try New Shanghai in Chinatown for Shanghainese.

                          Flour Bakery is ok but nothing special imho. You might have better luck with Canto 6 (JP) or Clear Flour (Brookline).

                          Also, if you're at JFK, it's quite close to some of the Vietnamese places in Dorchetser. consider beef or fish 7 ways at Anh Hong.

                          Tamarind Bay or Tanjore might be good Indian alternatives to Charlie's Kitchen. Or Pinocchio's for a Sicilian slice. Onion rings at Flat Patties are worth getting as a snack.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: limster
                            Dr.Jimbob RE: limster Sep 3, 2007 06:21 PM

                            The only potential reason not to go to Chinatown is that it's generally acknowledged that Chinese food is not a Boston strength. Not that it's a Chicago strength either, but I think the Parish Cafe, with a signature sandwich each theoretically designed by a different celebrated local chef, will give a slightly better sense of Boston color, good and bad, than New Shanghai will.

                            Similar case for Charlie's Kitchen which while not necessarily the greatest food of all time, is definitely unique Boston flavor. I don't think one could say the same of Tamarind Bay, Tanjore or Pinocchio's. (Especially telling a Chicagoan to eat pizza in Boston?!?)

                            Just my 3 centimes.

                            1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                              limster RE: Dr.Jimbob Sep 3, 2007 06:43 PM

                              Yep, going to be a matter of personal taste in term of balancing local flavour over deliciousness. It was mainly to suggest alternatives if there was a desire to diversify cuisines.

                              For non-banquet stuff, New Shanghai's cooking was comparable to the Shanghainese I've had in SF proper. Like Shanghai Gate, they've got a Shanghainese import in the kitchen. I just feel that while the sandwiches at the Parish are all labeled with local chef's names, the flavour combinations in a number of them are fairly classic or basic and not particularly unusual.

                              Pinnochio's is very different from a Chicago-style pizza, why not?

                              1. re: limster
                                Dr.Jimbob RE: limster Sep 4, 2007 06:43 PM

                                Maybe it's just the New York/New Haven snob in me (I did not grow up in the latter, but did eat lots of astonishingly good pizza there for two years), but for a decent thin crust, I would not try to impress an out of towner with Boston pizza.

                                Can't comment on New Shanghai as I was sufficiently nonplussed when I went back in the Golden Age of the past ownership that I haven't been filled with desire to go back since. Wing's and Shanghai Gate strike me as acceptable, but not necessarily out-of-towner destination places (I'd opt for Brookline Family Restaurant for Turkish, for instance, over just about any Boston Chinese with the potential recent exception of Fuloon in Malden Square).

                                1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                                  limster RE: Dr.Jimbob Sep 4, 2007 08:33 PM

                                  The slices at Pinnochio's are Sicilian slices i.e. the thick crust ones.

                                  New Shanghai's been 3 completely different restaurants in the last 5 years. Personally, I consider Shanghai Gate and New Shanghai as more than merely acceptable for Shanghainese food, and would put them in the same league as Fuloon's Shandong cooking. Brookline Family Turkish is good too, but it becomes an apples and oranges comparison, depending on which cuisine one prefers.

                                  1. re: limster
                                    Dr.Jimbob RE: limster Sep 5, 2007 03:26 AM

                                    I don't think I would try to sell a Chicagoan on thick crust slices from Pinocchio's. There is better Sicilian to be found in New York and infinitely better deep dish at a variety of Chicago places. As I say, it's adequate for Boston, but hardly its best culinary foot forward (for local color, I'd still opt for Bartley's or Charlie's over Pinocchio's if I was in Harvard Square).

                                    And it's not a question of which cuisine one prefers, at least for me. Brookline Family strikes me as being comparable to some of the best street-food-type places that I've eaten in in Istanbul (Hamdi et Lokatansi, without the latter's stunning Bosporus-and-Golden Horn view). I cannot make the same claim for Shanghai Gate, which is good but not up there with Shanghai's best street-food places.

                                    1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                                      limster RE: Dr.Jimbob Sep 5, 2007 08:50 AM

                                      Chicago deep dish isn't the same as a Sicilian slice either.

                                      Quite a few of the dishes I like at New Shanghai aren't street food variety e.g. the vegetarian chicken with soy beans. Ditto the fish with wine lees at Shanghai Gate. It sounds like we'll just have to agree to disagree.

                          2. b
                            bachslunch RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 06:06 PM

                            Excellent, well-thought out itinerary and restaurant choices. In addition to the other suggestions I've made elsewhere, would definitely recommend checking out Harvard's campus (especially Harvard Yard) and possibly one of its museums while you're in Cambridge on Sunday. I'd personally go to Toscanini's for ice cream over Christina's, but the latter does have fans on this board. If the prospect of extra calories doesn't scare you, you could even visit both and compare.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bachslunch
                              d
                              Drosa RE: bachslunch Sep 3, 2007 06:33 PM

                              I was hoping to squeeze in visits to Harvard and MIT while we're in Cambridge. I was thinking we'd do Harvard after lunch at Charlie's Kitchen and then take the T back to Kendal Sq or Central Sq to see MIT (we're big architecture fans) before dinner at O Cantinho. I debated about Toscanini's but I needed something closer to our dinner location. Is there anything comparable to O Cantinho for Portugese food near Harvard Sq?

                              1. re: Drosa
                                b
                                bachslunch RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 09:31 PM

                                If you're a big architecture fan, seeing both Harvard's and MIT's campuses are a good thing to do, with the former notably more essential (in particular, don't miss a peek at the Carpenter Center just outside the Yard, which is Le Corbusier's only building in North America). Good plan, if you ask me.

                                To answer your question about Portuguese food: with the exception of O Cantinho's sister restaurant Atasca outside of Kendall Square, Inman Square is pretty much the only place you're going to find this cuisine locally. And O Cantinho's likely the best choice for it. There's nothing remotely like it in Harvard Square. Re Charlie's Kitchen: the food's not fancy but it's not as bad as all that, the beer's certainly cheap and good, and it's one of the last important remnants of student-dive Harvard Square before it became a glorified shopping mall.

                                1. re: Drosa
                                  a
                                  autopi RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 04:56 PM

                                  also, for architecture fans--i really admire the saarinen chapel at MIT. it's one of my favorite buildings in boston, at least if you can have a quiet half hour in there. the new holl dorms are south a bit, and the new gehry stata center is north a bit.

                                  to keep this vaguely chow-related: if you're visiting the saarinen chapel and need a snack, there's an anna's taqueria in the MIT center next door (ok, not great); and if you need coffee, there's a peet's in the lobby of the main MIT building across mass ave.. (with one or two exceptions, that's as good as coffee gets in boston, in my experience.)

                              2. BostonZest RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 06:18 PM

                                We are in P-town and highly recommend our favorites. We have had some wonderful breakfasts and two great dinners at Devon. They will be open six nights a week through september and I recommend reservations for a prime time. They have been sold out night after night.

                                We grabbed lunch at Level one afternoon and I had a wonderful lobster salad. It was not full of mayo but nice pieces of lobster over a salad of Avocado.

                                We have an incredible deck on the beach so we do a lot of take out from angel foods while here. Try the steak salad and the green bean salad they have had this year.

                                Lunch is wonderful at Ross's grill but we have also gone to dinner there and had a wonderful night. Check out the black board wines.

                                We love Toscana but they have not been open for lunch lately.

                                In cambridge I would try dinner at Rendezvous or Central Kitchen in Cental Square. We do miss those two while we are here.

                                1. TypeA RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 06:43 PM

                                  You missed Alinea, rated #1 in Gourmet Magazine and worth the rating - I promise! Far superior to The French Laundry in Yountville, California....trust me!

                                  For breakfast try the West Egg Cafe if you like incredible eggs benedict.

                                  Erin

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: TypeA
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                                    9lives RE: TypeA Sep 3, 2007 07:14 PM

                                    Wasn't aware they'd opened branches in Boston or Cape Cod...which is what this thread is about.

                                  2. a
                                    autopi RE: Drosa Sep 3, 2007 08:01 PM

                                    i moved to boston from chicago about 2-3 years ago. in the spirit of things that are not as readily available in chicago, well i think o cantinho is a good choice; i've heard good things about muqueca (down the street a bit), but i haven't been myself.

                                    boston's strength is in it's bakeries, in my opinion; unfortunately, you'll be getting to JP a bit late on Sat--if you can manage to get there earlier in the afternoon, you should try out canto 6 (off the green st. stop on the orange line--the stop you'll want to take to get to 10 tables anyway, if you're taking the T.) try their canneles, bostok & if you should be so lucky (highly unlikely after about 10am) an almond croissant. someone mentioned clear flour in brookline--another good option, though perhaps not convenient to where you'll be. when you're in harvard square, make sure to check out hi-rise bakery. if the high-end chocolates store next door is reopened at that point, also worth checking out. their hot chocolate is quite good, but quite rich.

                                    if you can't get in at taranta, antico forno is a good 2nd option in the north end.

                                    as far as the breakfast snafu--centre street cafe in JP does a good breakfast on both sat. & sun.. it's not far from the MFA (you just take the #39 bus north--maybe 15min. or so on a sat. morning). but you'll have to stand in line in all likelihood, and in my opinion, it's pretty much on a par with the better breakfast/brunch places in chicago.

                                    1. gini RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 12:58 PM

                                      Pretty great list both chow and sightseeing alike. I'd take out Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square if what you're really after is their lobster roll - it may only be $11 for two with FF, but it's a really poor example of the sandwich. Rachel's Kitchen or even Summer Shack near-ish your hotel would be much better options. When in Harvard, Bartley's for burgers. Central Square also has lots of options for lunch, if you end up going to MIT first.

                                      Be sure to report back!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: gini
                                        b
                                        bachslunch RE: gini Sep 4, 2007 05:25 PM

                                        There are several people on this board and just as many polarized ideas on what's the ideal lobster roll. Instead of bothering to argue about Charlie's one way or the other, here's the report I did on the lobster roll there, for better or worse:

                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/420594

                                        If it's my opinion on the the best Boston/Cambridge lobster rolls one wants, I'd likely opt for Neptune Oyster, B&G Oysters, or Kingfish Hall for dine in or J. Hook for take out -- none of which are convenient to Cambridge by foot, bus, or subway. But after at least four visits to Summer Shack in the last five years (having had everything from lobster to grilled fish to Indian pudding to corn dogs), all of those visits featuring lousy food that's badly overpriced, I can't in good faith steer anyone there for anything. Other folks's mileage may vary, of course.

                                      2. f
                                        fbf242 RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 06:14 PM

                                        For lunch in P'Town, I would recommend Karoo Cafe, which serves South African food. Casual and inexpensive, but unique and very good. 338 Commercial St.

                                        You should also stop by the Portugese Bakery. I have only had their fried dough (amazing) breads, and other sweets, but have heard good things about their savory fare as well. 299 Commercial St. Grab something to go and eat it out on the pier!

                                        For dinner, I really like Terra Luna in Truro. Nice atmosphere, delicious food... I'm not a seafood eater, so I'm not sure how they rate on that, but the pasta dishes I have had there have all been wonderful.

                                        I've also heard good things about dinner at the Wicked Oyster in Welfleet. I have only had brunch there, which was quite good. I had one of the best yogurt-granola-berry bowls I have ever had. One of my dining companions had the pancakes, which I sampled and found delicious. Another one had a salad with some sort of seafood, which she enjoyed as well.

                                        I would skip Angel Foods - I had a sandwich there with high hopes, as I love the overall selection of foods that the store stocks, but it was mediocre and overpriced. They do have some good ready-made pasta and vegetable salads.

                                        1. digga RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 06:15 PM

                                          Dang - I don't doubt you have done admirable and copious amounts of research, but whatever happened to spontaneity? I consider that to be one of the "dangers" of the internet/CH. Well, whatever...a list of not very down-and-dirty places...not even close to exhaustive.

                                          -Garden at the Cellar, Pulcinella, Upstairs at the Square, (Harvard Sq.)
                                          -River Gods, Central Kitchen, Rendezvous, Enormous Room, Miracle of Science, Green Street (Central Sq.)
                                          -Allston - Can't extoll the chowing virtues enough - everything from Korean, Korean/Chinese (think VIP or Great Bay in Koreatown/Chicago), Malaysian, Burmese, Indian, Cambodian, etc.
                                          -Eastern Standard, Publick House (Kenmore Sq./Brookline)
                                          -Gargoyles (Davis Sq.) Sit at bar
                                          -East Boston
                                          -Regina (North End) - Compare this to deep dish.
                                          -Chinatown - Chinese regional food in Chicago, I think, is not very good.
                                          -O Ya - I have never had good Japanese in Chicago. Never been, but good reports - $$$$.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: digga
                                            Joanie RE: digga Sep 5, 2007 05:20 AM

                                            Ha ha, I was so impressed by his overall good picks that I forgot that finding your own great place on a trip is cool too.

                                          2. j
                                            jhuston RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 08:45 PM

                                            Holy Cow Drosa! Any chance you're a Virgo like me? We get a bad rap for being meticulously detail-oriented to the point of being anal retentive, but our travel companions are usually very happy beneficiaries of our research.

                                            At any rate, I'm happy to spot a kindred spirit. Nice work and safe travels!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jhuston
                                              f
                                              fredid RE: jhuston Sep 4, 2007 09:26 PM

                                              Just a quick note about the T, as a big T-taker: Realistically, I'd allow a solid 45 minutes to get from Boston to Cambridge, and for most T trips (except, since you'll be at Arlington, already, hops on the Green line). 39 bus (JP to downtown or museum is 19 min to museum, 15 to downtown, once it comes. Also, MFA to Central -47 if you can catch it (12 min)
                                              . All this got started from your Sun itinerary - JFK in AM, just hop on Red line direct to H Sq, and rest there on a patio or at the Charles hotel or...if you need a break...Hope that's helpful.

                                            2. phipsi102 RE: Drosa Sep 4, 2007 09:39 PM

                                              In P-town, I have 2 recommendations, besides Spiritus. Lobster Pot is owned and operated by a wonderful friendly family, and Shawn the upstairs bartender/bar manager makes an unbelievable bloody mary, with vodka infused with peppercorns, pepperoncinis and lemon peel. The food at the Lobster Pot is very inspired lobster-based shore cuisine.

                                              The other place I love is Lorraine's for Southwestern cuisine- not cheap, but EXCELLENT. 150ish tequilas on their list.

                                              1. MC Slim JB RE: Drosa Sep 5, 2007 05:58 AM

                                                The Boston part of your trip seems well covered. A few thoughts on P-Town: Fanizzi's is pleasant and a good value (gigantic portions), but don't expect extraordinary, Boston-level food. It is merely very good for the money.

                                                Devon's is a far superior dinner choice, though significantly more expensive, an excellent New American menu, probably P-Town's priciest. The atmosphere is much more casual than the level of food would suggest. Make reservations. I also highly recommend it for breakfast.

                                                Clem & Ursie's has become an overpriced tourist trap. Probably the best-made cocktail I had on a recent trip was at the small bar at Front Street, an upscale Italian/Continental place I didn't dine at. Bubula's by the Bay has a very pleasant, buzzing patio, but I found the mostly-seafood menu there just okay, nothing to rave about. The spicy fish stew is rather nice.

                                                You might consider taking Dramamine or Bonine an hour prior to boarding the ferry if it's at all windy (check the marine forecast). The crossing can get a little rough, even on the bigger boats. Mal de mer can really but a damper on your day even after you've arrived.

                                                1. d
                                                  Drosa RE: Drosa Sep 5, 2007 07:40 AM

                                                  You guys have been awesome. Your input has been really helpful. Based on your suggestions, I've decided to make some revisions to my itinerary. Since Charlie's is closed on Sundays, I've decided to move that breakfast to Monday. Rachel's is closed on Sundays too, so that's out altogether. Based on your input, I've added Union Bar & Grille for the Sunday breakfast.

                                                  You guys also correctly pointed out that Trattoria Toscana is not currently open for lunch. As of right now, I'm substituting Petit Robert Bistro for that meal. I realize that it's further out of the way which means that we may not make it to the Gardner in the afternoon. We may just poke around Kenmore Sq and see Fenway Park instead and then take a leisurely stroll back to the hotel by way of Newbury or Commonwealth ave. If you guys have alternate suggestions for lunch around the MFA, I would definitely consider them. I'm sure the restaurant at the MFA is more than decent, but my preference would be for something with more local flavor.

                                                  The concensus here seems to be that Neptune or B&G are the best options for Lobster Rolls. With that in mind, I'm adding B&G as the Sunday Lunch after JFK before heading to Cambridge. That will also give us a chance to go back to the hotel and freshen up.

                                                  As I was calling to confirm reservations, I was bummed to learn that O Cantinho is closed on Sundays. That means I need a new rec for dinner in Cambridge Sun night. Is Atasca open on Sundays? I was also considering Oleana or Craige St Bistro. Do you guys have any other thoughts or suggestions? Depending on where we end up, I may also substitue Toscanini's instead of Christina's for Ice Cream.

                                                  Apparently, the place we're staying in P-Town provides breakfast. And based on what we're paying there we probably should take advantage of it. That leaves us with 3 lunches and 3 dinners. I'm sure we'll be starving when the ferry arrives, so I think Townsend makes the most sense for the 1st lunch.

                                                  We haven't mapped out an agenda for P-Town yet. A lot of it depends on the weather. Ideally, I'd like to rent bikes and get to Race Point one day and to Turo another day. We're also considering one of the Whale Watching expeditions. This is actually our 3rd trip to P-Town. We were there in 1988 (shortly after we met) and we went again around 1994 (I think). My memory is fuzzy but the 2nd trip coincided with Hurricane Bob and possibly the fall of the Berlin Wall. Anyway, we visited the Lobster Pot on both occasions and also spent time at Spritus Pizza. We'd be happy to go back to either place again, but we also wanted to expand our horizons a bit. I'm thinking Napi's, Red Inn and Ross Grill for dinner and Townsend, Clem & Ursies and Noreens or Cape Tip for lunch.

                                                  I also wanted to answer back regarding the comments about my lack of spontaneity. I admit to being a bit anal about advance planning. I do like to go in with a game plan to give some structure to our days. Although we don't always stick to the plan, it does keep us focused. As it pertains to Chowhound, it also helps us avoid making lazy dining choices. We love to eat (we're both east coast italian americans) and food is a big part of our travel experience. We've used Chowhound to plan similar trips to LA, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montreal and it has been invaluable. When we travel we try to see any many sights as possible, but it's always the meals that we seem to remember best.

                                                  Once again, thanks for all of your well considered suggestions. I would be happy to return the favor to anyone headed to Chicago. I'll also gladly report back to let you know how our trip turned out.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: Drosa
                                                    b
                                                    bachslunch RE: Drosa Sep 5, 2007 08:02 AM

                                                    Re Sunday's Cambridge dinner: from what I can see at various online sites (can't get theirs to work at the moment), Atasca appears to be open Sundays. It's an excellent choice for Portuguese food, too -- it's the sister restaurant to O Cantinho, without as much rustic ambiance. Oleana is a definite board favorite and open for Sunday dinner 5:30 to 10:00 according to their website; it's more of an upscale Mediterranean place. If memory serves, Toscanini's will be the closer of the two ice cream shops to these dinner spots. Craigie Street Bistro is also open Sundays according to their website; it's a pricey New French place that's a bit more out of the way. My experience going a few years ago was mixed, and board reaction seems to follow suit.

                                                    Probably not a bad idea to call first, in any event.

                                                    Re pre-planning your trip: different folks have different comfort levels on this. I much prefer to pre-plan rather than just let the winds carry me where they may. Vacation time is short and precious, and I'm not keen to waste it on blind alleyways or bad food. I'm in your corner on this one.

                                                    1. re: bachslunch
                                                      r
                                                      raddoc RE: bachslunch Sep 5, 2007 08:55 AM

                                                      If you're going to Craige St Sunday night after nine, they do the "chef's choice" prix fixe, which is wonderful. As you won't be picking the dishes, it can add it some of that "spontaneity" people think you're missing!:)

                                                    2. re: Drosa
                                                      sailormouth RE: Drosa Sep 5, 2007 11:10 AM

                                                      I haven't had great food at Ross' Grill but I was impressed with their wines by the glass and, once you get through the host, the service is almost city quality. Craigie St. Bistro is great idea for a substitute dinner but you do need reservations. I've never had trouble making them day of except I end up with a funny seating (like 5.30pm).

                                                      I'm not a huge fan of the MFA for food. If you want a light lunch and want to add something like sightseeing into it I recommend the cafe at Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The food isn't very good and the coffee isn't that great (though, truth be told, still superior to many I've had in many other major cities, Chicago included), but the room and the library itself is fantastic, generally off of the tourist lines, and. . . it's free, (the library, not the coffee).

                                                      1. re: Drosa
                                                        Dr.Jimbob RE: Drosa Sep 6, 2007 06:47 PM

                                                        I believe the Gardner may also have a restaurant in addition to the MFA having one. Given the choice, I'd opt for the Gardner, which I think has a lot more "local flavor" (i.e. there is no museum on the planet quite like it) than Petit Robert Bistro, and deal with a lunch in a museum eatery. Alternately, there's Brown Sugar across the street from Trattoria Toscana (decent Thai), or you can try doing a search on this board for eats around the Longwood Medical Area, which is a few blocks away from the MFA and Gardner.

                                                        1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                                                          maillard RE: Dr.Jimbob Sep 7, 2007 11:44 AM

                                                          Is there anything worth eating in the Longwood area? I didn't think that there was...

                                                          1. re: maillard
                                                            Joanie RE: maillard Sep 7, 2007 12:34 PM

                                                            Peguin Pizza and Mission Grill are fine. Also Squealing Pig. Brigham Circle diner for greasy spoon.

                                                          2. re: Dr.Jimbob
                                                            c
                                                            cmd RE: Dr.Jimbob Sep 7, 2007 03:46 PM

                                                            If you can sit outside, the Garder cafe is really charming (the inside is blah). I had something like "Vietnamese style salad with beef" there a few months ago, and while it was a little precious it was also tasty. Lots of lime.

                                                            The table next to us had a cheese plate that looked good. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than sitting on that garden patio with a glass of wine and some cheese :).

                                                        2. g
                                                          galka RE: Drosa Sep 5, 2007 12:01 PM

                                                          we love Wicked Oyster in Wellfleet for dinner- but do make reservations, they are always full, even off season. One of the best things to do in P-town is to pack a lunch and walk over the stone dyke to the lighthouse (about 2 miles, I think)- amazing hike, gorgeous beach on the other side of the dine, and views to die for. in P-town, we also liked the Mews.

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