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Seeking Input for One Hound's Guide to Boston Day Trips with Restaurants

I have already written and posted on the Boston Board an extensive piece called
<VISITING BOSTON? One Hound’s Guide to Historic Areas and Restaurants (Revised 8/2012)>

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/864894

I am also working on a future thread called:
< VISITING BOSTON? One Hound's Guide to Boston Day Trips with Restaurants>
which will cover day trips to:

* Salem and Marblehead
* Concord and Lincoln
* Hingham and Plymouth
* Newburyport and Portsmouth
* New Bedford and Fairhaven

I would love input from you about lunch and dinner spots for these day trip locations. I would like to give 2 -3 recommendations for 'the best' lunch and dinner spots in the respective towns or nearby (not 'just o.k.' or 'pretty good' unless necessary.) If there are activities that you think are 'musts' or excellent and not well known, plse include those if you have time! you can see my style/focus by perusing the top thread above. I am happy to credit you if you'd like. thx so much for your input!

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    1. Opinionated chef, having lived in downtown Boston for many many years, the piece you wrote on Visiting Boston was very informative and reminded me of places forgotten as well as added to places I forgot I wanted to try. Thanks for taking the time. Very helpful!

      Salem...AJ Artisan Bakers. Great place for sandwiches, pastries and coffee http://www.ajkingbakery.com/
      Concord...The Cheese Shoppe. Located in Concord Center offers a wide variety of cheeses, wine, prepared foods and sandwiches. The Colonial Inn has a good reasonably priced Sunday buffet brunch in a historic setting also located on the edge of Concord Center.
      New Bedford. MA Ravas. Excellent old school Italian. Large portions reasonably priced and delicious.
      Hingham. The Hingham Lobster Pound for take out that can be eaten down the street at the beach in Hingham Harbor. A mind boggling salad bar at The Hingham Fruit Center in Hingham Harbor. They have a whole room just for the salad bar with wall to wall items. It puts the Milton Fruit Center's salad bar to shame(same market) although the Milton one is still pretty good. This is across the street from the harbor, so it's convenient to eat with a waterview if it's nice weather.

      2 Replies
      1. re: catsmeow

        Lincoln: here is a thread on the AKA bistro and taking commuter rail there and other interesting places nearby including farms:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/847238

        Concord: I love the cheese shoppe and they have an excellent array of gourmet items of all kinds. I haven't been in a while but there used to be a cookware shop next door, great stuff.

        Also in Concord: Verrill Farm. Beautiful landscape, great corn, heirloom tomatoes (many varieties), bake shop, gourmet items, cheeses, prepared foods, food festivals.

        I also love the Higham Fruit Center:, again, an excellent all around gourmet market with produce, pastas, wine, sandwiches, deli, etc.

        1. re: catsmeow

          Adding to Concord List after 5 years of lunch exploring in the area. No credit needed - just happy to contribute to one of your helpful lists. Feel free to pick and choose from...

          Verrill Farm - Great fresh farm produce and treats from other local purveyors, plus very good sandwiches, bakery items, and prepared foods.

          Nashoba Brook Bakery - My favorite bread loaf is their multi-grain, with flecks of dates throughout, although others are good as well. Really good sandwiches with high quality ingredients. Try the sweet pea guacamole - still working on replicating that one at home.

          Oishii Too (Sudbury) - Out of place sushi cafe that belongs in a city, but lives in the basement of a Sudbury strip mall. Top quality fish. Simple menu. Great specials.

          La Provence - French counter service. Not my style, but it's a really good example for what they do. Others love this place.

          Thai Chili (Maynard) - Random small Thai place in Maynard that has incredible ramen noodle
          chicken soup as a side with lunches. I can't get enough of that soup. Everything else is very good and significantly better than other Thai food in the area.

          Concord Cheese Shop - Huge selection of interesting cheeses sold by ultra-knowledgable cheesemongers. But the deli counter is the real treasure since they use only gourmet ingredients to make sandwiches, soups, and hot prepared foods.

          Debra's - A local's gourmet market that has a really nice selection of interesting healthy foods. Their prepared foods, especially quinoa, couscous, and other side salads, are good, but their soups are amazingly tasty and healthy. Standards Chicken Barley, Veggie Chili & Turkey Chili along with specials like Kitchari (sp?) are all awesome.

          Slowpokes - Hidden BBQ caterer that does takeout lunches from a warehouse space way off the main drag on Beherrel St. Love their slider trio and I buy their spice rub (w/ orange peel!) for home grilling. Really small and ever-changing menu due to nature of the business. To set expectations, the cash register is five feet from the smoker.

          Others should weigh in on sit down dinner spots like Cast Iron Kitchen and AKA Bistro - I live an hour away and was never in the area at night. People also love Helen's and Nancy's Airfield Cafe, which would both be on a weekend day trip list, but weren't on mine. I also missed Asian Gourmet, but I know others on the boards love it there as well.

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            1. In NB I would add Lebanese Kitchen for great Lebanese food, and inexpensive too.
              I would add Sturbridge to your list for BT's BBQ brisket. One can take a side trip to Old Sturbridge Village and sample baked goods at the Public House. BT's is nothing fancy but I understand a new wine bar opened in Sturbridge recently. Someone on this site recently posted about a wine store and the Hyland/Pioneer Brewery is also in Sturbridge.
              Plymouth can be a real crapshoot. Avoid the waterfront but I enjoyed the Driftwood Public House for their beer selection(lot's of Belgians) and some good hearty pub food, steak and cheese pretzel and killer fries, actually thinly sliced with asiago, sauteed onions and zucchini.

              3 Replies
              1. re: trufflehound

                whew! NB is a tough one for me (except for the Portug. dinner spots and Candleworks). thx!

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  In NB, besides the regular Portuguese suspects, I like the Waterfront Grille for fresh seafood, simply prepared. Having grown up in NB I can say to avoid Davy's Locker like the plague! Underseasoned entrees for the geriatric set. That and many moons ago my godfather (a fisherman) was served cut skate wing as scallops. He called the chef to the table, looked at his plate, pulled apart a piece of skate wing with his fork (the flesh breaks horizontally, not vertically), then looked back at the chef. The chef picked up his plate and asked him what he wanted off the menu. He didn't get charged for the skate or the lobster he subsequently ordered.

                  1. re: kimfair1

                    kim, well, you have just made fact from something i long suspected was an 'incorrect urban legend'. wow!