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Jan 3, 2008 08:42 AM

Free food in Boston?

Was responding to another thread and recalled that when you order a sandwich at Falafel King on Winter Street, almost always you'll get handed a falafel dipped in hummus while your sandwich is prepared...yum!

Also, the apparent trend at the Brookline Pomodoro to give everyone a free dessert. (At least it seems to happen with some regularity).

Also, I don't think they still do it, but Namaskar in Davis used to start everyone off with a little non-alcoholic sweet appertif that had threads of saffron in it.

So free, sampled, customarily comped - where do you get free goodies at places in Boston?

(I guess the amuse bouche genre counts could be mentioned too, although I am thinking something that is not necessarily advertised/expected. Bar snacks I think definitely qualify too.)

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  1. i like the mushroom soup starter you get at The Kebab Factory.

    1. We received free drinks (including a beer) at China Pearl in Quincy a couple of weeks ago, but my GF thought it was because we had been talking about my Web site a bit too loudly. ;-b

      I can't think of too many free items off the top of my head other than the usual items (bread, tortilla chips, crackers, etc.). I do know that Armando's in Cambridge gives out free cookies to children, but the rest of us get nothing (except for great pizza!).

      1. Do bread baskets count?

        I was one admirer of the truffled popcorn at Om, but I wonder if that will continue now that the original chef is out. A very bad sign for that place.

        The bar at Brasserie Jo offers an excellent crudite of julienned carrots in vinaigrette in addition to excellent baguette and butter.

        Union Bar and Grille does that superb mini-skillet of cornbread, also with excellent butter.

        Sage does foccaccia with a very fine fresh-tomato sauce, almost like a romesco.

        Garlic/white bean dip with good bread at the Franklin Cafe.

        At Taberna de Haro, I often get comped a plate of patatas ali oli, a cold, garlicky potato salad, and a very typical free tapa in Spanish tabernas. But I've been going there a long time; I don't think everyone gets this.

        Free sangria at Angela's, the only way they can serve it without a license.

        Hardboiled eggs at the bars of the B-Side, Brasserie Jo, and at least one other place that escapes me just now.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Actually, I've always gotten that free "potato salad" at Taberna de Haro also, and I'm not really a regular, so I assume everyone gets it. And it's YUMMY! :)

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Love that crudite at Brasserie Jo and, along similar lines, the pickles at East Coast Grill.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              the bread @ petit robert bistro is REALLY REALLY good. they import it from montreal

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                No eggs at the B Side when I was there two Saturdays ago.

                Did anyone mention popcorn at the Halfway Cafe?

                1. re: Joanie

                  Eggs(and condiments) at the bar at BSide when I was there 2 weeks ago. Maybe just a weeknight thing.

                  1. re: DanInCambridge

                    I love those free eggs! They have them at Gaslight's bar as well.

              2. The bean salad at Turkish Family. The chickpea salad or braised gizzards at J&J (Somerville). Both are quite filling--maybe more so for the lone diner than for a party. Fried wonton skins with sweet-sour sauce and a little dish of slaw at East Asia.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Aromatherapy

                  How could I forget the fasooleeye piaz at Brookline Family? That's one of the best dishes there, and a ridiculous portion, for free. I always have to remind myself not to fill up on it. A really wonderful salad.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Everything at the Brookline Family resto is delicious - the bean salad (a nice big plate, even for two) is a great hint of what is to come....

                2. Ivy used to give free cones of gelato (more like ice cream) at the end of meals. I don't know if they still do.

                  South End Fromaggio always has great free cheese samples available

                  Less favorable, but....
                  Panera - free bite size bread samples
                  Fresh City (which I loathe) gives free cinammon pita chips

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: heWho

                    Bread samples at When Pigs Fly in Davis Square, too.

                    1. re: maryv

                      I didn't know there was When Pigss Fly in Davis Square, I stop on my way to visit my sister in Maine at the one in Kittery, do they have the same varity of breads as Maine?

                      1. re: bak

                        The Davis Square store is only about a month old. I think they have the same variety as the Maine stores. Lots of different kinds of bread, plus a few olive oils and jellies and things.