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She's Leaving Home

My daughter will be moving into an apartment near Berklee College of Music (her school) in a few weeks. We just came back from a lovely week in Boston, where we signed the lease on her apartment and checked out the neighborhood. She will have only a tiny kitchen, and even though she has some kitchen skills, I don't think there will be a lot of time to cook. There's a Whole Foods across the street, and a Trader Joe's on Boylston Street, and I saw some Thai and Korean places, which she would go for, and of course pizza. She eats a variety of foods, but gravitates towards asian flavors, and although she hasn't had much experience with it, I think Indian would really work for her. She's adventurous when it comes to "exotic" foods. She's less inclined to eat hearty "normal" foods. For instance, she loves burgers at home when I make them, but never orders them out, and avoids cold cuts, although she'll eat turkey subs (grinders?). She loves pasta, sushi, sweets, bread, and fish, and eats most vegetables and salads.

She's never been away from home before, a tiny girl who weighs all of 95 lbs. And, she will be on a student's budget. We walked through the food stores and read a lot of menus, but if any of you kind people could give us some tips on cheap eats, great products that the food stores sell (including frozen prepared stuff), or any other food related advice, we would surely use it.I don't want my little girl to get any skinnier!

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  1. There's a Trader Joe's close by on Boylston in Back Bay, along with Shaw's supermarket. There's also a Whole Foods on the other side of Mass Ave. :) There's also a weekly farmers market at Copley Square, all within walking distance!

    1. I actually really enjoy the pad see u (sp...) at Pad Thai near Berklee. It's not expensive at all, and I'm sure she'll be eating there a lot because of that! And, as you already mentioned, the Trader Joe's is always right down the street!

      1. I suggest Woody's, a wood-fired pizza place nearby on Hemenway street. Pretty good pizza, nice salads and a college tavern atmosphere at decent prices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SmokeDawg

          I second the Woody's rec but mostly for their wings which I think are best in the city. Also, the service is always top notch.

        2. If she wants to try Indian, Bhindi Bazaar on Mass Ave and Newbury St. is quite good. It'd be a short walk from her apartment (about 10 minutes). They also have a $7.95 lunch buffet everyday.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnjLM

            Island Hopper next door to Bhindi is very good but these two restaurants are threatened by the possible development of that building into one large retail space so enjoy them while you can.

            For Indian, I love India Samraat a block away. Tell her to try the specials on the daily board and they do give a discount if you order online and pick it up yourself. They also have a student discount.


            For a fuller range of items with large portions and all day breakfast she should visit Trident Booksellers Cafe on Newbury Street between Hereford and Mass Ave.

            Cafe Jaffa and Steve's Greek on Hereford, Chili Duck across from the Prudential Center on Bolyston are worth exploring for less expensive but tasty options.

            And, Bostone Pizza near Fairfield on Newbury is a good value.

          2. The Boston Globe (www.boston.com) has a Cheat Eats section. I believe it is published on Thursdays, and is also available online. Might give her some good ideas for inexpensive restaurants as well as some recipes.

            The food court at Super 88 in Allston (a T ride away) might appeal to her.

            Shaw's has decent sushi, both cooked & raw. I eat it a couple times a month and have never had a problem. It's much less expensive than sushi in a restaurant.

            You also asked about frozen foods: I recently had some organic frozen Indian food that was on sale at Shaw's (sorry - I can't remember the brand) that was pretty good for prepared food.

            Good luck to your daughter (and to you - it was much harder on my parents than on me when I went to college)!

            1. Thanks for all the really helpful responses! I'm printing this out for my daughter to take with her, along with some favorite recipes.I'd like to make up a little "survival folder", with some of the life skills I may have neglected to teach her when she was home. She's been reading this thread, and getting more and more excited to start her new life (as if she needed an excuse). We've passed by a number of the places you suggested, so it's nice to know that they're worth a try. Thanks for the links,BostonZest. And, RoxyB, you're absolutely right about it being harder on the parents. Besides missing her, I'm actually a little jealous of her, for all the great new adventures ahead. Thanks for the good wishes.

              2 Replies
              1. re: igrove

                Be sure to let us know when you are coming to town to visit and we'll fill you in on some special places to take her for a treat when you are picking up the check. New adventures for you.

                Also, I haven't tried the new Berklee Cafe on Boylston street yet but a couple of the students I chat with on my dog walks have said it's good. Now I don't know if that is good by chowhound standards or good by student standards.

                What's more, she may be performing there before long.


                1. re: igrove

                  aww what a mom.. survival folder sounds so thoughtful - lucky girl! if you ever think she needs a pick me up, you can always send her a trader joe's gift card or call into a restaurant and pay by credit card (if you feel secure about that), then have her pick it up or get delivery... it's like treating her to dinner :)

                2. The Other Side Cafe on Newbury St west of Mass. Ave. serves good sandwiches, salads, etc. at reasonable prices. It seems like there are always a lot of Berklee students there. It is in the same building as Island Hopper so it too may be pushed out for redevelopment.

                  About a 10-15 minute walk away, on the other side of the Fenway (near the ball park), is Peterborough St. This street (and intersecting streets) comes with more good cheap eats options in one or two blocks than you can imagine. It also boasts one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Trattoria Toscana, which while not cheap, is very reasonable.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BBHound

                    If she likes Mexican, El Pelon is right there too!

                    I love their fish tacos.

                    1. re: mcel215

                      El Pelon is a great suggestion.

                  2. In the Prudential Center shopping center there is a big food court. She should check it out and see if anything appeals to her.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: pemma

                      Although prepared foods do cost a little more, for the convenience factor, it is sometimes necessary. To that end, there are some good ones at Trader Joe's. They have frozen packets of brown rice that can be easily microwaved to accompany chicken or whatever. They also have some good prepared salads. I agree with the poster above about the frozen Indian entree; they used to be Taj Gourmet but can't remember if they still are. They're sold at Whole Foods and Shaws, and I'm sure cost less at the latter. If she likes various kinds of trail mix, dried fruits, nuts, etc. Trader Joe's is good for that. My favorite is one with a few dried berries and slivered almonds, which I add to plain oatmeal. My nieghbor teaches at Berklee and is very outgoing and friendly so if she is feeling lonely or anything, let me know. My daughter is not far behind her, so I will soon be in your shoes. My nephew is a student at BU; he mentioned that Z Square is really good.

                      1. re: pemma

                        That food court has a couple good options. India Quality is pretty good and very affordable. Their vindaloo is very spicy, though a bit less complex than others. I often get their 3-dish combo and can stretch it into 3 - 4 meals by cooking extra rice or buying frozen naan from Trader Joe's.

                        The Pizzeria Regina there is also sometimes fantastic. It's often ghastly, but sometimes (especially around lunch), it's really good. One of the better slices I've had on good days (sadly one of the worse on bad days). The sicilian has also occasionally been very good.

                      2. I now can't get that Beatles song out my head thanks to this thread! :-) I first started cooking when I was a student and still greatly enjoy everything to do with cooking. Initially I bought frozen burrittos, frozen Italian, frozen Chinese meals, frozen pizza, also canned soups... I then started adding stuff to them and eventually got to cooking it all myself. As a student she'll probably often have pizza as an option, so one challenge will be to avoid too much pizza. One place nearby that is inexpensive and has good food is The Other Side Cafe on Newbury Street, there are also a couple of markets which are less expensive than Whole Foods (though prepared food at WF is a good option).

                        1. Pho & I is just around the corner, on Huntington between Mass Ave and Gainsborough. They have well-rpiced lunch specials, but I lean toward the Chicken Vermicelli (called "Bun" -- pronounced "boon") when I want something lovely, light, and healthy, and I lean towards the Drunken Noodles when I throw health to the wind. Their pho ga is a lifesaver during the cold winters.

                          Next door to Pho & I is Moby Dick's of Boston, which has nice Persian options like kabobs and curries. My favorite thing there is the lentil soup, which is cheap and probably the best bowl of lentil soup I've ever had in a restaurant.

                          Symphony Sushi is on Gainsborough just off Huntington, and they also have good lunch specials (from sushi to teriyaki to katsu to tempura).

                          Temptations Cafe has salads and sandwiches (including pressed sandwiches and wraps) made with high quality ingredients -- on Huntington just past Gainsborough.

                          I'll second the rec for Woody's (upthread).

                          And there's Chili Duck on Boylston across from the Prudential Center. They have great stuff, and some good cheap lunch specials.

                          Good luck to your daughter!

                          Chilli Duck Thai Cuisine
                          829 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                          Symphony Sushi
                          45 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA 02115

                          Pho & I Restaurant
                          267 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

                          Temptations Cafe
                          313 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

                          Woody's Grill & Tap
                          58 Hemenway St, Boston, MA 02115

                          Moby Dick
                          269 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

                          1. One of the best things you can have in a small kitchen is a rice cooker -- the old school variety that doubles as a steamer. Plain rice is a great base for a quick stirfry. Or you can mix herbs and spices, nuts, dried fruit, chicken / smoked fish / sausage / bacon, etc... into the rice and water prior to cooking so the flavors infuse the rice.

                            Very convenient. I mostly ate in the dining hall in college, but my rice cooker helped me survive grad school.

                            You can find very high quality, inexpensive rices all over Chinatown and at 88 Market at the Packard's Corner stop on the B line.

                            1. Well, she's been gone for a week now, and she's still alive! Thanks for the Woody's recommendation. My husband and I ate there a couple of times when we came to move her furniture and clean the apartment, as it's right around the corner. My daughter and son also enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure that she's tried Pad Thai near the school, plus she's eaten once at the school dining hall, and said it wasn't bad. I want her to give that a couple more tries, and if it works for her, we'll pay for a limited meal plan.It's a great place to socialize.

                              Her new roommate is a sweetheart, and her parents are great. They stayed on after we went home, and bought a huge store of food for the girls. The only problem is that much of it is overly processed and/or not to my daughter's taste (think cup of noodles and orange drink instead of orange juice. She's trying to tactfully buy herself some "real" food this week, so a trip to Trader Joe's or Shaw's is coming this week. Roommates parents did supply a rice cooker, though. It's all about adjusting to different people, and they are really caring parents. They were shocked by the high prices at Whole Foods, but if you're tiny like my daughter, and you are shopping for just what you will actually eat, you can get good value. No, you can't feed a family of four, but one little girl can get a nutritious meal or two.

                              Again, thanks for all your help. I really feel that she's not alone in the city.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: igrove

                                Tell her to hop onto chowhound if she has any additional questions as she settles in. New folks of any age are welcome here.

                                One thing I do at Whole Foods is buy their specials. They have sales each week, just like the traditional markets. She'll find fliers at the front of the store and there's an online newsletter complete with recipes that you can sign up for at their website.

                                1. re: igrove

                                  Also, as someone mentioned upthread, through November she can hit the Copley Sq farmers market on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11a-6p. It's a short walk from Berklee, or an even shorter T ride (one stop from Hynes to Copley, or two stops from Symphony to Copley).