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Feb 26, 2012 12:08 PM

NY Hound looking for a "walking tour"

One of our esteemed posters on the Manhattan board has created this Lower East Side walking tour:

Essentially it's a local's view of the spots to hit on a short walk. Most of the places are low to moderate priced, markets, ice cream shop, bakery etc.

I'll be in town late March with my husband... does anything like this exist on the Boston board?
Initial searches have come up dry for me, so if anyone can point me in the right direction I'd be quite appreciative. We're trying to narrow down the places we'd like see and eat at.


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  1. The Cambridge Center for Adult Education ( has a few walking tour classes, Jewish Cuisine and Russian Cuisine, but it doesn't look like any of the sessions are in March.

    1. Welcome in advance! You may love this. Really smart, nice, knowledgeable Michelle Topor and Jim Becker. I've been in boston 42 yrs and I really admire what they do

      I also created some info that you might find helpful:
      Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

      Also, some extra Boston food profile info for you:

      and shopping for Boston food souvenirs:
      Boston Magazine 11/11 issue: 50 Best Boston Restnts. This list is a very comprehensive and convenient reference list for brief restnt. descriptions, essential info, website links of the 50:

      11 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        Ah ha! I did read through your food souvenir thread, but somehow missed the others. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you... I have a bit of reading to do now.

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          My BIL wanted to do Michelle Toper’s North End Market Tour for his birthday. To be honest, I was not looking forward to it but figured that it was his day so I sucked it up. I could not have been more pleased with the experience. I can’t comment on all the guides but Jim’s depth of knowledge is impressive. The tour is a combination of food and history – two things I enjoy more than anything – well worth the price of admission.. I can’t wait to do Jim’s Chinatown tour.

          1. re: bobbert

            that's great to hear. Just fyi, Jim is quite the guy. Very scholarly in his breadth and depth of knowledge. He had a fantastic Spanish restnt, Rauxa, in Union Sq some yrs ago that many of us remember with great passion.

          2. re: opinionatedchef

            Hi again opinionatedchef...

            Would love your critique of the potential itinerary

            Fri: early dinner at Pizzeria Regina (Thacher St) followed by pastry at Modern

            Sat: Walking around Faneuil Hall, lunch/early dinner at the Paramount (Beacon Hill)

            Sun: Museum of art and brunch at Brasserie Jo... how crowded would you say it gets there?

            1. re: iluvcookies

              hi there cookies, of those 3 i have only eaten at regina's and i think it's a great choice.You may want to follow it with a leisurely walk around the North End and down to Colombus Park to sit and watch the harbor and munch on dessert (by then you may have worked up a bit more of an appetite! and Modern is excellent (a far better choice than Mike's btw, though a number of CHs have mentioned Anna's this yr.) In my memory, I have only seen the Paramount raved for brkfast (with commensurate long lines), so i would not send you there for dinner.

              Where are you staying?I hope on Sat you will also walk from Faneuil Hall over Beacon Hill- such a uniquely beautiful historic area. If you have to stay in the Charles st./Beacon Hill area for dinner, i might recommend Lala Rokh for Persian food. Grotto is an excellent Italian bistro, and is a very good buy, but i have never cared for the room itself. Check out those 2 menus and see what you think...I can recommend both but Grotto gets more CH talk.

              I've never eaten at Brasserie Jo and don't remember seeing it mentioned on Brunch threads.
              If other CHs don't jump in here to tell you it's great, I would be prone to put you in a short cab ride to Aquitaine in the South End, for their duck confit and gruyere sandwich(and another handsome unique historic area, great for strolling, in our handsome historic city!!)

              If you did get mesmerized at the MFA, and stay longer than intended, there is a brand new famous-architect addition to the Gardner Museum, 'next door' (5 minutes) to the MFA, that has a brand new cafe as well. You might explore that (I've not seen anything about it yet). The MFA cafeteria is lousy imo; their other cafes might be closed on sunday...

              p.s. i have this strong advice i give everyone- make reservations. Even if you know your plans may change, you will be treated well (in my experience) when you call to request a time change.

              1. re: iluvcookies

                I like Brasserie Jo, though I too have never had brunch there. Another option would be Eastern Standard. Its about a 20 minute walk from the MFA, but its an interesting walk, across the Fens, and past Fenway Park. Or a short cab ride if you prefer. And they serve a nice brunch. Both Brasserie Jo and Eastern Standard have fairly large dining rooms, and can be busy. Reservations are preferred, but I imagine you could get seated without one, perhaps with a brief wait. (though you probably don't wan to do ES if the Sox are playing at home that least not without a reservation).

                1. re: iluvcookies

                  You may be a little underwhelmed by the pizza experience at Regina. It's good pizza, but to most NYers it doesn't live up to expectations. I'd love to hear your opinion.

                  I agree with OpChef in that Paramount is not worth it for lunch or dinner (breakfast is very basic and certainly not like what you can get in NYC at a place like Balthazar or Pastis).

                  I would also agree to check out the South End for brunch. I love both Toro and Coppa for brunch as well dinner. Worth checking out. If the Sox aren't in town, I'd also consider Island Creek Oyster Bar for brunch.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    After pizza and pastry, I'd go to Prezza or Lucca for a nightcap. Opin Chef mentioned another pastry place as Anna's but that's Maria's on Cross St. and it's great, the lobster tail is something to split. Anna's closes early though, 7:00 I think.

                    It's fun to walk around F. Hall but no need to spend much time there. You didn't say where you were staying, I assume in the downtown area? If so, I'd get breakfast at the Paramount, walk to F. Hall and downtown, then take the B line subway to Allston and have your choice of Korean, Columbian, Chinese, BBQ, Thai, Burmese, good American bar/eats. Then maybe a late snack/drink somewhere nicer closer to wherever your're staying.

                    Bras Jo shouldn't be too crowded for brunch.

                    1. re: total13

                      total, remember, she's from NYC; land of ethnic nirvana. (and also, ec is telling us Paramount is easily beatable in nyc as well.)

                      and ec, i think your so. end recs are good, and thx for the skinny on Paramount. But as to Regina's, i sharply remember a very dedicated foodophile/CH who followed a large carefully planned NY pizza crawl with a visit to boston, and he reported very positively on Regina's, on this forum. uhockey his moniker.

                      And maybe this NYC visitor thinks trying Boston's best pizza would be fun? I do understand where you might be coming from though. Heck, i'd love to see her have a tremendous meal at Neptune, but it may just be too expensive for her target budget.

                      I wish ICOB had an interesting brunch but for me, not.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        You got it... not trying to beat NYC, just want to see what your fine town is all about. DH loves pizza in any shape or form, as well as breakfast foods 24/7, and sweets and bakeries are my thing. And would you believe I've never had the full breakfast at Balthazar? Coffee and croissant only.

                        Heading out now and will report back after the trip. Thanks to you all for the great tips. Don't worry, I'm leaving the Yankee cap at home. :)

                        1. re: iluvcookies

                          As much as I simply adore the MFA, if you only have the weekend, and especially if this is your first trip to our fair town, skip it. Walk around the Back Bay & South End instead for your 2nd day. So much food, history, shopping, et al... Do the MFA on a follow-up trip. BTW, the Sox are in Florida for spring training & won't affect you. There is NCAA Elite8 basketball at the Garden, so the North End might be hectic this weekend. Enjoy!

                2. So my trip was cut a little short and I only had one day to walk around. We chose North End.
                  Fanieul Hall was lovely, the shops were OK. Had a quick pint at Ye Olde Oyster House, beautiful place. And I took a pic with the cardboard cutout of Norm from Cheers in the gift shop at Quincy Market--mostly to send to my dad since he's the Cheers fan in the family.

                  Walked through the farmer's market... boy was it crowded. On the way back all the vendors had dropped their prices and I got a large bunch of bananas and 5 nice oranges for $2.

                  The Italian area on and around Hanover St was gorgeous! Now I grew up not too far from Arthur Ave, but I have to say this really gives it a run for it's money.
                  The lines at Regina, Modern and Mike's were all way too long. But we found a nice spot Caffe dello Sport, right next to Mike's. DH got to watch a little soccer and I had a lovely tiramisu and coffee while watching the line at Mike's. The panini with prosciutto and mozzarella were quite good there too.
                  We walked around for about 2 hours, grabbing a bottle of wine at The Wine Bottega,
                  We found amazing orange filled macaroons at Bova bakery...they are open 24/7 and serve pizza and sandwiches too. The scent of almonds and sugar when you walk in is intoxicating. I can't imagine that waiting on line for either Modern or Mike's would have been as fulfilling as this was.

                  We were both very happy to see so many older buildings preserved... it made the experience so much more enjoyable.

                  So in the end I didn't get to see the museum or go to a few of the other restaurants mentioned. But I did have an excellent time and found just the kind of places I was searching for.

                  And on the way back we stopped in New Haven for a pizza at Frank Pepe. Mmmm!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Sounds like you went to Haymarket, which is actually like the opposite of a Farmer's market. But they have great deals on anything that you eat immediately, which it sounds like you did!

                    1. re: tysonmcneely

                      Yep, Haymarket. Thanks.
                      There was this one woman hawking strawberries, she was so loud, and practically giving them away for $2 a box.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        I like Bova too and it feels genuine to me. Bread is good and cheap and a Sicilian slice that won't change your world. Haymarket is a hoot especially Saturdays around 5. I never think to recommend it to out of towners cuz it's kind of dirty, but for a true Boston experience and incredibly cheap produce to eat that night at the hotel, it''s amazing. I once got a case of pineapples for a dollar. RE PIzza, I'd trade Frank Pepe's for anything we have to offer pizza wise. Union Oyster House is actually OK for shucked oysters and a beer at the bar (but nothing cooked).

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        Good call on Frank Pepe's. My Mother in Law lives in West Haven. Going to get apizza on Wooster street almost makes the trips to CT tolerable!