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Oct 5, 2008 07:08 AM

Boston Chowhound Rites of Passage

As I was ready to take my first bite of my first Speed's Hot Dog last week, I realized I was experiencing a Boston Chowhound rite of passage. It was a milestone, established by a special community, to mark my growth.

What were your Chowhound rites of passage?

Have you had Chow moments when you suddenly realized you were experiencing something that moved you closer to the heart of this community?

What were the major markers in your exploration of the Boston food scene?

The big check marks on your list of places to try?

I'll start off:

A Speed's Hot Dog, eaten leaning on the hood of a car, or at least at the scene. (I had a Zipcar so I opted for the picnic table.)

My first meal at L'Espalier- for me it was lunch.

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz (now the Taj) - (I did this many years before Chowhound but I recognized, even back then, that I had entered a different realm. I still remember many details of that afternoon.)

Making my decision about the best lobster roll in Boston. I came down on Neptune, but it's not the choice, it's having made your decision and taken your stand as a hound.

Filling out my Chowhound profile and thinking through those key hound questions. (I really should do an update of my profile at least once a year. Things change as I grow.)

Okay, enough from me.


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  1. Interesting topic. For me, it's all about the low-profile places in neighborhoods I don't (or didn't) know very well:

    Banh mi from Mei Sum
    Tiger tears at Floating Rock
    Squab b'stilla at Baraka Cafe
    Dumplings from Wang's and Qingdao Garden
    First trips to Cafe Polonia, Toraya, Sushi Island, Fuloon

    And yes, a Speed's hog dog. It's the de facto mascot of the Boston board.

    1. FuLoon. Big, big shout-out to lipoff and limster for sharing this one -- a major find that I would never have come up with on my own.

      I actually also rely fairly heavily on Chowhound when I'm out of town -- probably the two biggest finds so far have been Shanghai Cafe on Mott Street in New York (best XLB that I've had since being in Shanghai) and Ciya Sofrasi in Istanbul.

      375 Main St, Malden, MA 02148

      Shanghai Cafe
      100 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      1. Hard to count how many great tips I've gotten here, but I've certainly called the Speed's dog a Chowhound rite of passage; that first one felt like a revelatory moment. Maybe Peking duck at the old King Fung Garden; crostini di fegato or pappa al pomodoro or ribollita at Trattoria Toscana; tacos especiales de cabeza at Taqueria El Mariachi (now El Amigo); mole poblano at Angela's Cafe; short rib shumai at Oxford Street Grill (now on the menu at Ecco, same chef); potato pancakes at Cafe Polonia; gamjatang at Hanmaru; margherita pizza at Gran Gusto; beef banh mi at Pho Viet. Could go on all day like this.

        1. The first that comes to mind would be Highland Kitchen.
          L'Espalier is truly a classic Boston adventure (though something to be done in non-recession times)
          Cocktails at ESK and No. 9 Park
          The former Oxford Street Grill
          Bubble tea in Chinatown
          and though I am a non-meat eater, my H SWEARS by Speeds. Actually takes co-workers there as thank you for job well done. Probably better than a 3 martini lunch.

          I also use CH when I travel. No way would I have found Germans in San Diego (a restaurant were I had to provide my own water and the beer was whatever the kitchen help was drinking - best damn fish tacos in the world!)

          1 Reply
          1. re: kate used to be 50

            "Probably better than a 3 martini lunch."..or you can do both..:)

            BTW Speeds is offering a $5 dog..Oct 10/11

            I'd add a Chacarero sandwich to all of the above.

            Walking/eating tour of E Boston

            High end..a tasting at Uni, Oya, Troquet or #9 Park

          2. Well for me it would definitely have to be dinner at Floating Rock, ice cream at Christina's, Fried chicken at Coast Cafe, AND a Speed's dog.

            I tried all these on the same day houndish