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Sep 3, 2007 03:27 PM

Chicago Chowhound - Check my work

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. 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

      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

        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

          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

        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

          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

            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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                    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

                      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 certainly a place worth supporting...but just depends what you're looking for....

                      1. re: twentyoystahs

                        Totally forgot about Spiritus! Surprisingly good pizza.


                        1. re: twentyoystahs

                          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

                        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. 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

                    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. 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.


                    1. 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

                        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. 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.