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Looking for breakfast (Woburn to Somerville).

I'll be up to Boston for a conference towards the end of May; I'll be staying in Woburn, and the conference is in Somerville.

I'm looking for a good breakfast place. For me, this means omelets or scrambles--pancakes and waffles don't really do it for me (they might make me feel full, but not satisfied). Best of all is a place that does NOT rely on the usual suspects: the western omelet, or spinach/feta, and so on, or what I sort of consider a cheat: "choose three ingredients...", especially if it's just the standard selection.

I like creative stuff, surprises; an example of one extreme is Dotties in San Francisco, where I had a rosemary-lamb sausage, roasted garlic, tomato, spinach, and goat cheese omelette with homemade buttermilk-dill toast.

I'm a coffee nut, so good coffee is a big plus (or at least a second place to stop by and pick some up).

I suppose I'll be driving down 95 from hotel to conference, but anywhere roughly along the way would be good. Probably easier if its closer to my hotel (in Woburn), and non-crazy parking would be a big help.

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  1. I've done brunch at Masa in Woburn and enjoyed it (ignore the strip mall location), and seen a couple of other recommendations here for the same.

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    Masa
    348A Cambridge Rd, Woburn, MA 01801

    1 Reply
    1. re: L2k

      thanks, but they don't serve breakfast; they don't open until 10.

    2. I believe Woburn is about 30 square miles. So, whereabouts are you staying?
      And trust me, for breakfast, there aren't many options in Woburn. But, I had a great Tomato, basil, cheese omlette at Soundbites in Somerville a few years back. However, I don't know if you will get any place like the one you described in your post. Dotties sounds amazing. Good luck.

      9 Replies
      1. re: mcel215

        That's only about 5x6 miles, isn't it? Maybe 10 minutes in any direction at most? I'm not averse to a little drive--and anywhere along the corridor down to and around Washington St in Somerville.

        Looking around, I found these:
        http://www.ballsquarecafe.com
        http://www.theneighborhoodrestaurant....

        The Ball Square Cafe seems to fit the bill, if anyone has feedback on it.

        A wrench in the works: the conference seminar on Saturday may meet somewhere other than where I thought (the hotel in Somerville); I'm checking on that.

        I also saw this place:
        http://www.christophersreading.com/
        though that might be too out of the way.

        1. re: Scott_R

          scott, thanks to one consistent CH voice I have recently become very interested in trying Soundbites. They really do have a terrific menu and i will be trying it very soon. take a look at this. Nice eh?:

          http://www.soundbitesrestaurant.com/m...

          let me know where you're going to be staying in woburn and i can give you good 'the back way' directions.

          1. re: Scott_R

            Sound bites and the Ball Square Cafe are next door to each other. The chef at Ball Square used to be the chef at Sound bites. The owner and chef at Soundbites had a big blow out a couple of years ago and the chef left opening a place right next door. I have heard that the better of the two is Ball Square Cafe.
            If you aren't going into Somerville, it still may be worth your while as it's at least got some dishes that are a little gourmet-ish.
            I've not been to Christophers in Reading. If I do go out to breakfast, I go to Pignone's Cafe in Stoneham. But, while it's good, it's not a standout.

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            Ball Square Cafe
            708 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

            Pignone's Cafe
            319 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180

            1. re: mcel215

              I'm a big fan of Ball Square Cafe. The eggs Benedict with Artichokes and tomatoes are delicious. Also try the fried mashed potatoes.

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              Ball Square Cafe
              708 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

            2. re: Scott_R

              Go to the Neighborhood and get the Portuguese fisherman's breakfast and choose the cream of wheat. You can thank me later.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                And then walk down the street to Bloc 11 or Sherman's Cafe for the good coffee you crave. And I agree with Bob. One of these mornings you should go to the Neighborhood. It is a unique breakfast experience, and you will leave full and satisfied.

                p.s. why won't this let me link to the Neighborhood Restaurant?

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                Bloc 11 Cafe
                11 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Another big fan of Neighborhood Restaurant. Good food, and really nice people. Bring quarters for the parking meters.

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    Bob something to note is the handwritten brunch page with the large plates is really a Sat/Sun thing at the Neighborhood (and its different between the days and the Portuguese breakfast changes from time to time). They seem to be pretty flexible when they have the ingredients available, but I believe the weekday breakfast is really the smaller egg/pancake menu so no guarantee they will do the full Portuguese breakfast.

                  2. re: Scott_R

                    I've been to Christophers, Ball Square Cafe and Soundbites. I much prefer Soundbites to the others, but Ball Square is a close runner up. As you have learned there is a good deal of overlap between the two joints for all kinds of reasons. As they are next to each other you can poke your head in and see which one appeals to you, or which is less crowded. The eggs benedict at SB is some of my fave in town and I love the "no place like homefries". Ask for them crispy.

                    Christopher's is a nice casual comfort food joint, and they serve great lunches. Breakfasts are more on the traditional side and you will do better with your "interesting" omelet request at the Somerville options.

                    Note parking in Ball Square isn't always easy. But you should be able to find a meter spot within a few blocks of the breakfast wars.

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                    Ball Square Cafe
                    708 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

                2. Not sit-down breakfasts but worth mentioning:
                  For great bread, Mamadou's in Winchester.
                  Muffings & coffee, Gingerbread Construction Co. in Winchester.
                  Winchester is one town over from Woburn.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705122

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                  Gingerbread Construction Co
                  562 Washington St, Winchester, MA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: three of us

                    Thanks, but muffins don't appeal to me; I just don't see cakes and pastries as being a meal. I don't have a sweet tooth; if I'm going to substitute a snack for a meal, I'll just grab an apple or the like.

                    The news about the connection between Ball Square and Soundbites explains the similarity in the menus (the mushrooms+boursin omelet, and "the Green" and "Celtic Green" omelets, etc.--either of the latter two seemed especially interesting).

                    I'll be staying at the Fairfield by Marriott, 285 Mishawum Rd, Woburn

                    On a totally different note, I'm looking at the Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q in Arlington for dinner the night I arrive.

                    1. re: three of us

                      mamadou's makes fine french bread, agreed, and nice to support such good folks.
                      Gingbrd- I completely disagree. i live a block away and wouldn't eat their product if you paid me. But then again, they are just one in the millions of crummy American bakeries that support the ginormous wholesale muffin batter business, putting out dry cloyingly sweet product. i'm saying nothing new; it's my regular rant: 99% of American bakeries put out total junk, and the American public supports that. end of rant.

                    2. Friendly Toast in Cambridge will give you wacky. I think I personally prefer some of the other options, but it will not bore you with the menu.

                      I think the best espresso in the area is pulled at Simon's Coffee House on Mass Ave (near Porter Sq). The coffee at Bloc 11 and Diesel Cafe is good too.

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                      Simon's Coffee House
                      1736 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                      Bloc 11 Cafe
                      11 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143

                      The Friendly Toast
                      1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: emannths

                        That Friendly Toast looks really good! I hope the news about where I'll be that Saturday brings me closer.

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                        The Friendly Toast
                        1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

                      2. Just a note to clarify things: I'll be involved in a seminar starting at 9 AM, so it really must be a breakfast sort of place--typical brunch times are out.