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Boston Foodie Advice

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eatdrinkanddec Apr 18, 2011 12:09 PM

I have read lots of the boards here and y'all provide such wonderful information! I was hoping to get an opinion on our plans for this weekend.

So far our plans are as follow:

Friday:
Lunch: Can't decide b/w B&G Oyster or Neptune Oyster
Dinner: Ten Table JP

Saturday:
Lunch: Regina Pizzeria
Dinner: Can't decide b/w Scampo OR Coppa OR Island Creek Oyster

Sunday:
Brunch: Craigie on Main
Dinner: Myers + Chang

Monday:
Lunch: ??

So whatcha think?? Anything we should re-think?

Thanks for any and all responses!

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Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Regina Pizza
11 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, MA 02113

B & G Oysters
550 Tremont street, Boston, MA 02118

Ten Tables
597 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Scampo
215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

Myers + Chang
1145 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

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  1. opinionatedchef RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 18, 2011 02:10 PM

    I see from your member pg that you are visiting? from charlotte n.c.? Welcome. Looks like you've been doing some good research. Excellent. Where are you staying here? car or pubic transit? first visit? Do you have certain day time activities planned that we could help tie you into w/ dining?

    This wkend is Easter, so make sure places are open. and MAKE RESERVATIONS!! NOW!!!! and have some back-up reservations as long as you make sure to cancel the place you're not going to visit .

    On to specifics: Suggested altered plan:
    Friday:
    Lunch: Neptune Oyster yay.get there EARLY
    Dinner: Bondir (very popular now; harder to get reservations on Sat.)

    Saturday:
    Lunch: Regina Pizzeria YAY. GET THERE WHEN THEY OPEN
    Dinner: Gargoyles

    Sunday:
    Brunch: East Coast Grill

    Dinner: Myers + Chang YAY

    Monday:
    Lunch: what are your morning plans as to locale? want a sandwich, or more?


    - Definitely** Nept. Oyster. Has a BIG CH fanbase and constantly mentioned here. A recent review:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775842

    - As Southerners, I can't tell you how much you would love East Coast Grill over Craigie for brunch. Not just the great food, but the Vibe. Relaxed, friendly, loud, fun; loyal local fan base of 20 somethings and their parents . Owned by a Va. Boy and in its 25th yr. Here's my recent post on it:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/777757

    check out this great menu! http://eastcoastgrill.net/menus/brunc...

    While it certainly has a fan base I would not direct you to Ten Tables. (but if you DO eat there, make sure to spend some time walking in the close-by Arnold Arboretum, the oldest Arboretum in the U.S. and a wonderful place.) Take a look at Gargoyles and Bondir for dinners, both of which are 8 min. from Harvard Sq,/ historic Brattle St. - in case you were thinking of going to check out that area:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703040

    http://www.gargoylesrestaurant.com/old%20site/test%20site/maindining_.htm

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751765

    If they don't work out, look at consistently raved about Erbaluce, Northern Italian influenced, elegant:
    http://www.erbaluce-boston.com/

    Scampo doesn't get talked about much./ Coppa's menu has never impressed me but it has fanbase for sure./ ICOB thought: if , when you go to Neptune, you order the fab. innovative things, then go to ICOB and order their fried clams and/or lobster roe pasta or lobster roll. Otherwise, if that's what you get at Neptune, consider going to ICOB because you just can't get enough seafood, or don't go there and try another spot. Here's a recent ICOB thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752900

    myers + chang review:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770441

    Here is a very long piece I put together for few-day visitors. If it's your first visit, I hope it might prove useful. (And btw, as one southerner to another, we'd be happy to give you a driving tour or meet you for a meal. You can contact me via my member pg.):

    -------------------------------------------------

    I have lived here 40 years and really like to steer few-day visitors who are food-oriented>> towards great dining in attractive and historic walking areas- so they can have the best of both worlds. Below is a detailed piece i put together for visitors.

    For the most attractive and historic parts of our city i would direct you to the area around the Public Garden, Commonwealth Ave and Newbury Streets, the South End, Charles Street/Beacon Hill, all lovely historic areas that show off the best of our city.

    *North End/ Waterfront/ Aquarium/ Faneuil Hall-Quincy Market*
    If at all possible. one must go to the original Pizzeria Regina in the North End.(note- closed Sun.) This is many aficionados' fav pizza place, period. It is the original(and ONLY worthwhile) location of what is now a chain, and most importantly, its pizzas taste like no others , partly because of the WWII oven they use, which is more than 'seasoned' by now. This pizza tastes like it does in Rome. It is also a tiny CROWDED, loud, FUNKY space; unique; not decor-changed since the 50's maybe. If you haven’t been there, don't go on a wkend ,and go for lunch or earlier dinner to avoid lines.

    Regina’s is located on the outer edge of the compact North End, so after pizza, walk over to the Hanover St. (main drag) area and feel the history of this unique neighborhood. Its oldest extant buildings are from the early 19th c.; through the centuries it has been peopled successively, by : rich Bostonians, blacks , Jews, Italians. It has been Italian since the early 20th c. While harbor-dwelling yuppies have been encroaching of late, it still has lots of sidewalk life, Italian being spoken, bocce being played. For a filling snack, Galeria Umberto Rosticeria is unique for its large arancini, calzone and Sicilian pizza by the slice. There are some wonderful gelato/cafes on Hanover St. I particularly like the gelato at. Café Sport. Modern Pastry is across the street, with wonderful almond biscotti ,torrone, and sfogliadel, a very unusual 3 cornered hat of layered/crunchy pastry filled with a farmer's cheese/candied fruit mixture. (While a few may steer you to Mike’s Pastry, I won't.) For very upscale Italian dining, Prezza is highly touted. And the tiny jam packed no-reservations Neptune Oyster is the temple of the freshest seafood, impeccably prepared for traditionalists and foodies alike and always in the Top 5 lists.The North End is also home to the 18th c. Old North Church and 19th c. Seamen's Home etc etc. If you like to discover-by-walking, the end of Hanover St away from downtown Boston- leads onto the waterfront area. This is also architecturally and historically fascinating because it is very intact with its 19th c. warehouses/wharves (now waterview condos). With all I've described, you might find it worth your while to go to Regina's and the North End for lunch and the afternoon and maybe dinner. You could incorporate the nearby Aquarium, and dinner at Neptune Oyster or Sel de la Terre (excellent ,modern French style.) Street parking is near impossible in the North End.

    http://www.pizzeriaregina.com/

    Quincy market is the old historic marketplace from 18th and 19th c. Boston. It was the prototype for most of the other U.S. 'Commercial Historic Restoration/Tourist Attractions'. It has endless vendor carts and shops and restaurants. Good place to sample some finger food or ice cream but not more. Nearby are CH lunch favs- Sultan's Kitchen , and Joe Grasso's for huge sandwiches.

    *The South End*
    The South End is Boston’s amazing well-preserved and very large Victorian district, chock-a-block w/ handsome brick and brownstone rowhouses grouped around pocket parks in the middle of all the side street cul-de-sacs. There is a large gay population and young stylish couples with strollers. Lots of super restaurants(mostly bistro style) and an active sidewalk culture. Union Bar and Grill and Aquitaine and Erbaluce are my own favs. Union is handsome, dark, comfy with Amer.regional food(delish. cornbread in a skillet brought to you when you sit down).Aquitaine is an authentic French bistro with great Steak Frites and simple traditional roasted or grilled food (also a delic. brunch- duck confit sandwich w/ melted gruyere anyone?!)in a very handsome atmosphere and beautiful historic neighborhood. 4 blocks away is Tremont 647 and their famous fun Pajama Brunch, where all their servers, chefs etc. wear their pjs . Tremont is also known for its national-competition winning BBQ and grilled meat and seafood along with Asian and Mexican influenced foods; laid back and fun atmosphere. The Gallows and Coppa are two recent bistro menus with many fans.

    On a far edge of the South End is Toro, a very loud crowded Spanish tapas place owned by one of our most famous innovative chefs, Ken Oringer, whose Clio is one of Boston’s 2 most innovative and expensive (Asian influenced) restaurants . On a different edge of the South End is Myers+Chang, a casual hip 'new Chinese' menu ,and great drinks and weekend dim sum. On another edge of the South End is Mistral, a dramatic bustling elegant space with Northern Italian foods, popular with the expense account set, and Masa, a comfy Southwestern bistro.

    http://www.aquitaineboston.com/ 

    *Back Bay *
    Make sure to experience one of Boston's most beautiful features: Comm(onwealth) Ave between Mass(achusetts) Ave and Arlington St.(next to the Public Garden, the oldest arboretum/public park in the U.S. ) This part of Comm. Ave was designed after the Champs Elysees in Paris and is a 9 block long strip of tree, bench and statue- lined park with handsome 19th c. mansions lining both sides. It is parallel to and one block away from Newbury Street, Boston’s center of couture and art galleries , with many restaurants. Right around the corner from the Public Garden end of Newbury Street is Parish Cafe on Boylston St. with great sandwiches designed by different Boston chefs . At the other end of Newbury St. is Sonsie, a handsome swank spot with a broad menu and loud bar, which is popular with the Euro crowd. Also near that end of Newbury St, are Clio, Deuxave and Island Creek Oyster Bar, the first two known for innovative high end dining and the latter for abundant fresh seafood.

    *Beacon Hill and Charles St.*
    Across the Public Garden, away from Comm Ave, is Beacon Hill, Boston’s well preserved elite neighborhood of 18th and 19th c. brick town and rowhouses.Also the spot for our famous gold domed State House. Historic Charles Street, full of restaurants and shops, runs along the base of Beacon Hill. In that neighborhood, Figs has good simple Italian pizzas, pastas etc. For dinner, the intimate Grotto has excellent well priced Northern Italian influenced food . Lala Rokh has delicious Mediterranean-Persian food with grilled and stewed lamb and eggplant taking the spotlight. It is a very quiet comfortable resting spot after a long day of walking. It's sister restaurant on Charles St. is Bin 26, for Northern Italian.

    Boston has many ethnic cuisines represented here. Our most established immigrant groups are Italian, Irish, Chinese, Portuguese, and Armenian. In recent years communities from Russia, Cambodia, Brazil and Central America have grown substantially. Unfortunately, most great ethnic eats are located in the less attractive parts of Boston and its close towns. Some are easier to access than others via the T , but street parking is usually available.

    For reference, here are some neighborhoods w/ CH fav spots:

    *Chinatown*:

    Dimsum carts or dim sum menu ordering: Winsor Cafe for the latter. Hei la Moon and Chau Chau City and Great Taste for the former. Peach Farm for meals.

    Bakeries with many savories as well as sweets:

    Mei Sum, Eldo Cake House, 101 Bakery, Ho Yuen

    *Fenway Park*
    Next to our beloved old baseball park is a terrific Mexican taco place, La Verdad. Their tacos of carne asada(grilled beef), pescado(fish),are the real deal and the best i have had here, and be sure to also get their refried beans . A 5 minute drive away is our amazing Museum of Fine Arts, world famous for its substantial collections of French Impressionism, American paintings and decorative arts, and Japanese art. (our new Art of the Americas wing has just opened in 2011.

     

    Hope you have a great time !

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -----
    Peach Farm
    4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

    Neptune Oyster
    63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

    East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
    1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    Sultan's Kitchen
    116 State St, Boston, MA 02109

    Prezza
    24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

    Gargoyles On the Square
    219 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144

    Toro
    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

    Tremont 647
    647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

    Ten Tables
    597 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Modern Pastry
    257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

    La Verdad
    1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

    Masa
    439 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Scampo
    215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

    Myers + Chang
    1145 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

    Sel de la Terre
    774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

    Masa
    348A Cambridge Rd, Woburn, MA 01801

    Eldo Cake House
    36 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA

    Lala Rokh
    97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

    Erbaluce
    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Tremont Cafe
    418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

    Great Taste
    201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

    Coppa
    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

    Island Creek Oyster Bar
    500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

    Bondir
    279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

    16 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef
      e
      eatdrinkanddec RE: opinionatedchef Apr 18, 2011 02:24 PM

      We are staying in the Back Bay. We've got reservations at the definite places. I know it'll be hard at this point to get Easter brunch res. So we may have to stick with CoM for that reason. Great tips! I will look into those suggestions!

      We are flying in Friday a.m. and back out late Monday. We love history but our true love is food. Husband is a chef and I am an interior designer so we love to try different places.

      1. re: eatdrinkanddec
        C. Hamster RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 18, 2011 02:56 PM

        East Coast Grill doesn't take reservations. Get there when they open is best strategy.

        They have a killer make-it-yourself bloody Mary bar with a gazillion sauces and condiments, including their signature Inner Beauty sauce. If you love spicy, this is your place.

        -----
        East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
        1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

        1. re: eatdrinkanddec
          opinionatedchef RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 18, 2011 10:35 PM

          dec, i am actually in the process of preparing a very long piece for you and future Boston CH visitors, but in the meantime, w/regards to your being an interior decorator, you might enjoy seeing the interior design of these Boston spots: Isl.CreekOB, Aquitaine, Upstairs on the Square, Mistral. Others will prob chirp in w/ some other suggestions for notable interior design.

          1. re: eatdrinkanddec
            ecwashere7 RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 20, 2011 06:53 AM

            Don't change your reservation for Craigie. It is one of the best restaurants in the Northeast IMO. I think their brunch is incredible. East Coast Grill's brunch is over-rated.

            Definitely go with Neptune for lunch. I could take or leave Pizzeria Regina. Nothing special in my book. I'd suggest Toro for Monday's lunch or any one of the dinners. Their lunch burger is outstanding (order it messy) as well as anything else on their menu. You can only get the burger mid-week at lunch.

            ICOB is another place to include, if you can.

            -----
            East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
            1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

            Toro
            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            1. re: ecwashere7
              k
              kimfair1 RE: ecwashere7 Apr 20, 2011 08:58 AM

              +1 on keeping the Craigie brunch reservation. My favorite brunch in the city by far.

              1. re: kimfair1
                opinionatedchef RE: kimfair1 Apr 20, 2011 11:09 AM

                hey kim and ec, plse share what you love there. that brunch menu is just not inspiring to me.

                it's funny, sometimes you want to take someone in hand and eat w/ them at your fav place so they can have your experience/see how great it is.You for Craigie and me for East CoastGrill and Pizz. Reg.!

                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  k
                  kimfair1 RE: opinionatedchef Apr 20, 2011 12:32 PM

                  The corned beef and smoked beef tongue hash is outstanding, and is what i generally order. I love their cocktails (both at dinner and brunch), and I've been known to order the burger (one of the best I've had) when not getting the hash for brunch as well. The sausage, potato galette, grilled pork belly and house made doughnut are also quite good. They also have great coffee, a prerequisite for me for any breakfast/brunch spot.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    ecwashere7 RE: opinionatedchef Apr 20, 2011 01:08 PM

                    For starters, I haven't had an omelette that is more well-executed than the one at Craigie.

                    Second, the burger is fantastic. I like to add pork belly and a fried egg to it at brunch time (Yay gluttony!).

                    Third, their cocktails are perfect.

                    I usually eat at the bar for brunch or dinner, so the level of pretense is very low. I've never found the experience to be anything other than comfortable and comforting (even in the dining room). My wife, who isn't interested in organ meats either, loves going to Craigie.

                    I love ECG for what it is, and they do a great brunch. I just find it to be far more inconsistent than I'd like it to be. Some nights/afternoons, I get a great meal and other times it's only ok. Lately, my approach at ECG is to make a meal out of the appetizers. I find they only a have a couple entrees that interest me.

                    1. re: ecwashere7
                      m
                      Madrid RE: ecwashere7 Apr 20, 2011 04:07 PM

                      I never go to ECG for dinner and if I did, I do the apps as well. Based on everything I've heard, the bar for CoM so to speak just tipped and I'm going to for brunch, at the bar, and try the burger. without child care I'll be alone and I'll try a cocktail as well. Maybe I'll do it for mother's day!

                      1. re: Madrid
                        m
                        Madrid RE: Madrid Apr 20, 2011 05:44 PM

                        By chance I went to ECG for dinner tonight. We were actually aiming for the fried okra special app at All Star Sandwich down the street, but the only parking was in the ECG lot so we went, sat at the bar...place was crowded and busy on Wed. night at 7. We shared two great special apps: a southeast asian crispy fish with delicious fried chunks in a wonderful Thai basil mint salad, and the carnitas tacos...with nice chunks of avocado etc. For $14 food bill, a good and delicious deal and wonderful warm service at the bar despite the crowds.

                        -----
                        All Star Sandwich Bar
                        1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                2. re: ecwashere7
                  m
                  Madrid RE: ecwashere7 Apr 20, 2011 12:17 PM

                  ECG and COM are such different places, with different attitudes. I have not been to COM b/c first I can't afford it, I'm not looking for the "we are great" vibe, and I'm unfashionably not interested in eating organs. For those who don't have any of those three restrictions, I truly understand many think it as a wonderful, exceptional place. I would go for the burger if I had childcare....

                  ECG is very comfortable with itself as it is, Chris the owner'chef is very unassuming and down to earth, the brunch offerings may not be ambitious, but they are very, very good for what they aspire to be. the vibe is welcoming, friendly, loud, warm. The latin touches may be familiar to the OP, now that NC has the benefit of hispanic influences, as may the warm vibe...if the OP wants to experience more Yankee/New England vibe, this isn't the place, but if they want something closer to home in attitude after a few times out, this could be the place.

              2. re: opinionatedchef
                m
                Madrid RE: opinionatedchef Apr 18, 2011 04:18 PM

                Hey, opinionatedchef, didn't now you are a southerner.....

                to the OP....I lived in NC for my first 18 years and still have lots of family there. I know nothing about the Charlotte dining scene, but I do know that since I left NC y'all have gotten lots of good Mexican. I'd stay away from Mexican here.

                I love the East Coast Grill and you might as well...the brunch is great and a noisy scene. They serve barbecue at dinner but not brunch and even if you go for dinner, you know not to get barbecue up here! It's actually quite good but you can get so much better at home. Also, the cornbread has sugar.

                Neptune is amazing. Go when they open or midafternoon. They have a great appetizer of fried oysters on top of what they call pulled pork...it's not pulled pork but it is delicious and the fried oysters are top notch. The hot lobster roll should not be missed.

                If you are interested in Turkish/Middle Eastern/ type food at all, check out the menu at Oleana in Cambridge. It's a very special place. Reservations essential, dinner only. The mezze vegetarian tasting is a great deal.

                have a great trip! and it might be quite cool....

                -----
                East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Oleana
                134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. re: Madrid
                  j
                  jody RE: Madrid Apr 19, 2011 05:37 AM

                  You read my mind Madrid. Love East Coast Grill, but it will not be special to a southerner.

                  -----
                  East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                  1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: jody
                    opinionatedchef RE: jody Apr 19, 2011 10:51 AM

                    jody, that is true of their BBQ but plse remember that their Brunch and MANY of their dinner foods- are not at all BBQ driven. And what Southerners will parTICularly love about East Coast Grill is the 'Southern-like' friendly, welcoming, hustling-but-happy staff and atmosphere.

                    -----
                    East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                    1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                2. re: opinionatedchef
                  h
                  hoppy2468 RE: opinionatedchef Apr 19, 2011 07:59 AM

                  This is great. Coming to Boston in May and this will be very helpful. Thanks.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Apr 19, 2011 01:43 PM

                    Mon Lunch suggestions:

                    If I had one place to choose, it would be in the cafe half of La Verdad Tacqeria(Kenmore Sq.) for their transcendant fish tacos.

                    http://www.laverdadtaqueria.com/

                    Other- wonderful Chef's Signature sandwiches at Parish Cafe by the Public Garden .
                    (btw, brkfst is raved at Mike and Patty's in the South End.

                    )

                    At Parish, I am a fan of The Zuni, the Campbell and The Benny.

                    http://www.parishcafe.com/menu.html

                    http://www.mikeandpattys.com/

                    -----
                    Parish Cafe
                    361 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                    La Verdad
                    1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

                    Mike and Pattys LLC Dba Mike and Pattys
                    12 Church St, Boston, MA

                  2. Matt H RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 18, 2011 03:25 PM

                    Friday:
                    Lunch: Neptune Oyster
                    Dinner: Ten Table JP

                    Saturday:
                    Lunch: Regina Pizzeria
                    Dinner: I love all three, but since you are doing Neptune already maybe go for Coppa for a change of pace. If not ICOB would be my 2nd choice.

                    Sunday:
                    Brunch: Craigie on Main
                    Dinner: Myers + Chang. I like M&C but for something similar East by Northeast in Inman Square is even better IMO.

                    Monday:
                    Lunch: Maybe some place in Chinatown? Personal Favorites are Peach Farm, Taiwan Cafe, Great Taste.

                    Enjoy your stay!

                    -----
                    Peach Farm
                    4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                    Neptune Oyster
                    63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                    Craigie on Main
                    853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    Ten Tables
                    5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                    Great Taste
                    201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

                    Coppa
                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                    1. TravellingFoodie RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 20, 2011 11:33 AM

                      Instead of Pizzeria Regina, I would go to Galleria Umberto's for slices of pizza, calzones, panzarotti (potato croquettes) and arancini (rice balls). They have been there forever and are open at 11 AM for the hordes that come every Monday through Saturday. The slices are nice with a medium crust, lots of tomatos, cheese and nice oil. You can't miss here. It's very inexpensive and a true slice of the North End. It's on Hanover Street, just past the corner of Richmond. You can google the address. Also, a great Italian store is Salumeria Italiana, which has sandwiches to go, an extensive selection of wonderful olive oil, balsamic vinegars, dried imported pastas and cheeses. They are generous with sampling an worth a stop. They are just past the corner of Hanover and Richmond. Mangia!

                      -----
                      Salumeria Italiana
                      151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: TravellingFoodie
                        e
                        eatdrinkanddec RE: TravellingFoodie Apr 20, 2011 12:07 PM

                        Great tip on Salumeria Italiana! Sounds so fun! We love those kind of spots!

                        Any other fun shops we should swing in??

                        and btw thanks so much for all the advice!!! I think we've finally got it narrowed down:

                        Friday:
                        Lunch: Neptune Oyster
                        Dinner: Ten Table JP

                        Saturday:
                        Lunch: Regina Pizzeria
                        Dinner: Erbaluce

                        Sunday:
                        Quick bkft: Southend Buttery (our brunch res. isn 't til 1:45 so we'll need something to sustain us through church!)
                        Brunch: Craigie on Main
                        Dinner: Myers + Chang

                        Monday:
                        Lunch: Island Creek Oyster - since we plan on hitting Fenway Park in the a.m.

                        We are so excited to come and visit your city for the FIRST time!! Hate to see that rain is in the forecast but we'll make the best of it!!

                        -----
                        Neptune Oyster
                        63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                        Salumeria Italiana
                        151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                        Craigie on Main
                        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Ten Tables
                        5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                        Fenway Park
                        82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

                        Erbaluce
                        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                        Island Creek Oyster Bar
                        500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                        1. re: eatdrinkanddec
                          justbeingpolite RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 20, 2011 03:33 PM

                          I don't think on Monday Island Creek opens until 4. They're only open for brunch/lunch Sunday, unless that's changed.

                          Just a head's up.

                          1. re: eatdrinkanddec
                            opinionatedchef RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 20, 2011 05:34 PM

                            we were downtown today trying a new sandwich. Wonderful spring news to report. Yall have alrdy welcomed spring but it is JUST starting to really pop now, and I have rarely seen my city prettier- tulip magnolia trees (completely diff than your evergreen large trees),which are the most prolific downtown flowering tree, are bursting forth, and now the other fruit trees are beginn to join in. The Public Garden looks so beautiful- the yellow of weeping willows and reds and pinks of redbuds, apples etc. (and all the bulbs just beginning). If you go to Parish Cafe on Monday, you could walk all around the Garden at that time. I don't know if youall have a specific denomination in mind, but the First Church Unitarian on Arlington St.(on the Public Garden) is famous for many reasons old and new and they have a very joyous welcoming Easter service.The interior takes your breath away. King's Chapel, acros the Public Garden and on the Boston Common, is one of Boston's oldest churches. The architecture is amazing and while Unitarian, is more like Episcopalian in experience.The Public Garden is filled with families and young children all dressed in their Easter best, strolling around the 'lake' w/ its swan boats. Trinity Church in Back Bay is a National Landmark, designed by America's most famouth 19th c. architect, H.H.Richardson (a LA. boy!). Episcopalian.Tiffany windows.

                            btw, i did this little piece on food souvenirs in case you were wanting to bring things back to N.C.:

                            * Visitors seeking take-home regional artisinal foods(aside from seafood, poultry and meats) have many choices. Boston is an outlet for New England regional products:cheeses and butters, maple syrup, breads, pastas, craft beers, and various locally produced condiments and chocolates. Most can be found at local food emporium Formaggio Kitchen, (South End and Cambridge, Fresh Pond)and many local stores of the national Whole Foods chain, as well as the various producing restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers.Our best artisinal French and Italian style breads can be found at Iggy’s Breads of the World, Clearflour Bakery, and the Whole Foods bakery departments. Our most unique breads are made by When Pigs Fly, a Maine bakery with Boston outlets (their own stores and Whole Foods among them.) Varieties change daily and seasonally, but are generally sourdough based and dense. ,Red Pepper Hoomus,Sauerkraut Rye, Chocolate Fig Pecan, Oat and Buckwheat Honey, Orange and Toasted Fennel- are a few local favs. Good ethnic food specialty shops include Italian, Greek/Armenian/Lebanese/Turkish, Portuguese, Korean/Chinese/Japanese, Russian, Brazilian and Latin American.

                            1. re: eatdrinkanddec
                              p
                              pasuga RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 21, 2011 06:45 PM

                              Just an FYI... the North End on Easter weekend is NUTS. It will not be your typical North End experience. I lived there for 20 years, used to make sure all my shopping for the weekend was done by Thursday, because tons of folks who don't live there pour into the neighborhood to shop at all the specialty shops. The butchers who normally close at 8 stay open until midnight on the Thursday and Friday just to get their special orders ready for all the folks coming in on Saturday. For Neptune Oyster, I'd go early on Friday, as previously advised.... see what the atmosphere is like, and possibly rethink Regina's on the Saturday, unless you're prepared to go early again. Those are two of my favorite restaurants in Boston, not saying don't go, just a heads-up.

                              Salumeria Italiana is the most wonderful store, so ditto the recommendation there, and the Old North Church is worth a visit. I'm especially fond of the plaque that says (in this very austere church) something to the effect that the angels in the choir were stolen from a pirate ship.

                              -----
                              Neptune Oyster
                              63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                              Salumeria Italiana
                              151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                          2. jinet12 RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 20, 2011 08:48 PM

                            Agree that you must get to Neptunes quite early...(You'll be glad that you did)
                            Do not miss the warm lobster roll...Divine...
                            My FAVORITE restaurant year after year of visits to Boston, and after having many a wonderful
                            dining experience, (including Craigie's), is "Oleana's" in Cambridge..
                            .The four/ five course vegetable/dessert dinner is food for the Gods...(and no, I'm not a vegetarian)...Servers there are amazing as well....For me, there is no better dining experience..

                            1. opinionatedchef RE: eatdrinkanddec Apr 22, 2011 11:39 AM

                              edd, bet you had a great lunch at neptune today!

                              Just fyi, when you need to read even MORE about Boston's food scene, MCSlimJB wrote the below, with some additions from me. Bedtime reading?!:

                              General Information about Boston's Culinary History; Recent Trends, Strengths and Weaknesses; and Food Souvenirs

                              * Our oldest and largest ethnic communities(mid to late 19th c.) are Irish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese Azorean, and Armenian/ Lebanese/Turkish. We also have a wealth of more recent ex-pat communities with restaurants doing traditional cuisines of their homelands, mostly for their fellow emmigrants. Of these, the largest groups are: Brazilian, Salvadoran, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, Haitian, Dominican, Guatemalan, Colombian, Somali. Within an hour's drive there are larger communities and restaurants for South Indians, Cambodians and Cape Verdeans.

                              *Thanks to our many world-famous universities which draw large numbers of foreign students and professors, and our strong sector of biotech, high tech, and medical companies, our range of Asian cuisines has grown much richer recently with Punjab,Pakistani, Bengali / Bangladeshi), Gujarati, including some more high-end places, joined by traditional Sichuan and Taiwanese spots.Boston's love of sushi has grown exponentially.

                              * Boston is famous for our very old Italian section, the North End, which has, in recent years, grown beyond its traditional tourist-driven red sauce orientation- to include the regions of Abruzzi, Lugano, Rome and Tuscany.

                              * Boston is proud to be home to some very significant figures in the growth of food appreciation in the U.S. In the 1960‘s Joyce Chen introduced America to Chinese-food-beyond-chop suey and particularly Szechuan. Julia Child is, of course, Julia Child. Our local public TV station, WGBH, brought Julia Child to America, and they have also introduced America to local restauranteur/chefs like the Romagnolis, Todd English, and Ming Tsai.

                              * Though Boston is often identified with seafood, we do not have as many excellent seafood restaurants as our reputation might suggest.

                              * Similar to some other small cities like Seattle, Portland OR., Berkeley, Philadelphia, and Portland ME., Boston continues to have many independent chef-owned small restaurants doing New American Cuisine, with more recent emphasis on seasonal and local sourcing. This is probably the Boston dining scene's greatest wellspring of creativity and value in fine dining. We also have a handful of well-regarded small restaurant empires headed by semi-famed chefs. They typically started with one fine-dining place, and have since branched out with more mid-range and even some lower-end spots. These chefs include Jasper White, Lydia Shire,Chris Schlesinger, Barbara Lynch, , Ken Oringer, Michael Schlow, Ana Sortun, Marc Orfaly and Todd English (though English has mostly abandoned Boston to build a larger national empire.)

                              *The gastropub movement is probably the most significant trend of the
                              last year, mid-range places doing a lot of in-house craft: salumi and charcuterie, whole-animal butchery, pickling, etc.

                              * Boston has a strong craft cocktail movement, a solid core of serious Golden Age revivalists. A second generation of folks who trained at these are fanning out to other bars and restaurants. Our top craft bars rank with the best in the country.

                              * Once the purview of local colleges, the city of Boston itself has just this year become friendlier to food trucks, so there is a mini-surge in that format, many different quality foods being served on wheels. Most trucks are located in central Boston- Downtown, Government Center, the Financial District. Outdoor weekly Farmer's Markets have also grown greatly in both city and suburb and are most active June through October. A large indoor Farmer's Market is in the works for the future.

                              * Vegetarian and vegan options are improving steadily, driven largely by the large student population. More restaurants are catering to folks with other dietary preferences or restrictions: gluten-free, seafood-free, halaal, etc.

                              * Trendy? For 2011 it is “upscale Mexican restaurants with 100+ tequilas behind the bar” replacing previous years’ surges of Italian bistros and Steakhouses. Time will tell.

                              * Boston still has some big holes: Jewish deli, good diners,traditional regional Mexican, German, Czech, modest izakayas, Laotian,and so on. We lack world-class high-end dining;our best restaurants might rate a single Michelin star. No one is seriously doing molecular
                              cooking, though there's some dabbling here and there. We have far too many national luxury steakhouse chain outlets and while we have a number of top notch bread bakers, we have no excellent French style savory and sweet bakeries. But when you look at the entire dining spectrum from high to low; Boston has a very rich and diverse food scene for an American city our size, and we feel very lucky for that.

                              * Visitors seeking take-home regional artisanal foods(aside from seafood, poultry and meats) have many choices. Boston is an outlet for New England regional products:cheeses and butters, maple syrup, breads, pastas, craft beers, and various locally produced condiments and chocolates. Most can be found at local food emporium Formaggio Kitchen, and many local stores of the national Whole Foods chain, as well as the various producing restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers.Our best artisanal French and Italian style breads can be found at Iggy’s Breads of the World, Clearflour Bakery, and the Whole Foods bakery departments. Our most unique breads are made by When Pigs Fly, a Maine bakery with Boston outlets (their own stores and Whole Foods among them.) Varieties change daily and seasonally, but are generally sourdough based and dense. ,Red Pepper Hoomus,Sauerkraut Rye, Chocolate Fig Pecan, Oat and Buckwheat Honey, Orange and Toasted Fennel- are a few local favs. Good ethnic food specialty shops include Italian, Greek/Armenian/Lebanese/Turkish, Portuguese, Korean/Chinese/Japanese, Russian, Brazilian and Latin American.

                              -----
                              Formaggio Kitchen
                              244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

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