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Jan 15, 2010 10:08 AM

Transplanted Boston foodies, I need your recommendations please

I'm looking for replacements of my Boston favorites like:

-Russo's in Watertown for produce and everything else fresh:
It's like having a farmers' market that's open all week long. Is Whole Foods going to be the closest to that?

-Rubin's Kosher on Harvard in Brookline for pastrami. It's a real, no nonsense jewish deli with the best pastrami sandwiches ever and if you were lucky, apple strudel from Tuler's.

-Courthouse Fish & Seafood on Cambridge in Cambridge for fresh and cooked seafood. I haven't found grilled sardines and bluefish like they do anywhere else. Can you even get bluefish on the West Coast?

-Blue Ribbon Barbecue in Newton for pulled pork, burnt ends and brisket. I've tried lots of places here but they're usually so precious and chi-chi. The closest i've found is Uncle Andre's in Studio City (too inconvenient because you have to call ahead and very $$) or Kansas City BBQ in North Hollywood, which is my current favorite.

-Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage in Cambridge - sadly, no contenders here. I am not a fan of Father's Office.

-Maria's Pastry Shop for amaretti almond macaroons - Eagle Rock Italian Bakery in Eagle Rock is the closest (spice-heavy, dense and dark, do they use whole wheat flour?) but still a far cry from the chewy lightness of Maria's.

I realize that these may be locale-specific treasures due to the immigrant Portuguese and Italian population there but thought I'd ask former Bostonians for their faves around these parts.

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  1. Love Bartley's for the novel toppings, red relish, and onion rings, but I was never wowed by the burgers themselves. You should give 26 Beach a try. Bigger but better quality meat, and the brioche bun holds up better to the juices. As for farmer's markets, there's always one somewhere every day of the week. The best I've found is the Wednesday market in Santa Monica. Far, far superior to anything I ever found in Boston, though I never tried Russo's.

    1. For pastrami sandwiches, you must try Langer's.

      For BBQ, try Big Mista's at the Glendale FM on Sunday mornings and you could pick up fresh produce while you're there.

      It sounds like you're based in North Hollywood now, is that correct? Would you prefer recs close to there or are you willing to drive?

      2 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        Bigmista's Barbecue is at the Atwater Village Farmers Market, not the Glendale Farmers Market.

        Thanks Molly!

        1. re: bigmista

          Ack!! sorry about that! Glad you were here to post the correct info!

      2. You mentioned Portuguese in your post. Don't know if you like Portuguese pastries, but Natas Pastries in Sherman Oaks is really good. Check out their website:

        They also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner - these I've never tried, but I usually get one or two of their large boxes full of their natas, pasteis and malasadas. These usually last no more than a day. :)

        1. ...not a Bostonian, but thought maybe something would help...

          There are of course Farmers' Markets every day in LA, just different parts of the city. You might look into going over to Farmers' Market (the main one) at 3rd and Fairfax.

          For macarons, try Frances Bakery or La Provence.

          For burgers, maybe you could elaborate more as to what you're seeking... you might like 25 Degrees, Apple Pan, Jack's Classic Burgers in NoHo, Irv's Burgers in WeHo, Westside Tavern...

          For burnt ends, Bludso's in Compton, Spring Street Smokehouse downtown...

          1. I'm not even going to touch the boston versus LA versus new york pizza : ) but as you seem to have an adventurous palate, I'd suggest hitting Porto's Bakery in Burbank or Glendale.


            Great sandwiches (try the roast pork! try a potato ball!) and killer baked goods so cheap, you can easily try a boxful to find your favorites. Yes the classic guava/cream cheesse pastry is grand - but I have a new favorite - it looks like a giant flat fig newton, is guava and cinnamon filled and I could eat POUNDS of them. And I'm not a big girl, they're just that tasty.

            And good luck in your new hometown!