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Feb 8, 2014 06:27 AM

Boston Trip Report, Day 1

Since I'm writing on my iPad and am afraid of losing a long post, I'm going to do this day-by-day.

Lunch: Cheesecake Factory (okay, shoot me, but there was a blizzard going on and we were just barely able to fight our way from my hotel to the mall where we decided to spend the day out of the elements. We split what we always do when we find ourselves at CF: an order of Vietnamese Spring Rolls (which I am prepared to defend against all criticism)' and the chopped salad -- a little over-dressed, but a good selection of finely chopped fresh ingredients.

Shared the Semolina Bread with Caponata to start - delicious.
I started with the Salsify, which I love and rarely see on menus. Lovely presentation, and well-cooked. Unfortunately, I found this and all other dishes to follow seriously over-salted. As my dining companions disagreed, it's probably just me. that said, if you're sensitive to salt and dine here, you might want to ask them to go easy.
Squid Ink Fideos with Lobster. Skimpy on the lobster at this price, but the fideos themselves were amazing; can't think how they got the wonderful texture -- toasted, perhaps?

Fellow diners were happy with their
Ricotta Gnudi
Rigatoni with Octopu
Braised Lamb Neck.

The stand-out dish of the evening was the dessert we shared,
Apple Sorbet with Puffed Pastry, Apple Butter, and Pickled Apples.

Good list of wines by the glass. (I like the seemingly wide-spread Boston practice of offering a taste of any wine you order by the glass.)

Service was spotty, but they were short-handed due to the storm.

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  1. Hi pw,

    Where else are you planning on chowing down? If you venture about a mile west of Harvard Sq, there is a great cheese store called formaggio. Saturdays in the winter are Reuben days and sometimes cinnamon sugar donut mornings. But the store does get claustrophobic with patrons in big winter coats and small walkways.

    Enjoy your visit and I hope our weather gets better for you.

    7 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      Thanks for the tip, bb! We'll be in Cambridge on Sunday, so will try to check this place out. (The weather might be less than perfect, but your city certainly does an excellent job dealing with it. This much snow would paralyze my town for days.)

      1. re: pikawicca

        It looks like we're going to miss any serious snow this weekend (fingers crossed). If you're a chocolate fan, do check out Burdick's in Harvard Square. A small cup of one of their thick, dense hot chocolates is just the thing to beat the chill and satisfy a sweet tooth. Seating is super limited though, and sometimes they have to limit access to the store because of crowds. But if you manage to hit it at an off time, it's worth it!

        1. re: Chris VR

          Seconding this. And a small-cup order is really enough to satisfy.

          1. re: lossless

            I find a demitasse is plenty. My sweets-loving nephew still talks about the time a large hot chocolate from Burdkick's utterly defeated him.


          2. re: Chris VR

            And, if you are at Burdick's and want to walk to Formaggio, it's a lovely walk. Continue down Brattle Street (away from the sq), past the Longfellow house (on the right) until you arrive at a funny shaped 5 way intersection. Turn right (wrong way on a one way) onto Sparks Street (Armenian church on left) and walk up Sparks until the end. Turn left on Huron and go down the hill. Formaggio will be on the left. If the side streets and houses on Sparks appeal to you, you can take any of those left side streets to Appleton Street. Turn right on Appleton until it hits Huron. Formaggio will be on your right.

            The walk has a lot of historical houses. They will have round blue signs near them to show the significance. It's too bad it isn't spring because there are a ton of lilacs on that walk.

            1. re: beetlebug

              and perhaps the sidewalks are even clear by now! Formaggio is amazing and it is a nice walk.

            2. re: Chris VR

              And Burdick's also has a location on Clarendon in Boston.

        2. I think there's a slogan in there: "The Cheesecake Factory: just the thing when a blizzard gives you no other options."

          Glad you liked Ribelle; I'm one fan who doesn't find their food oversalted. Looking forward to the other reports!

          1. I had that apple dessert the last time I was at Ribelle and I loved it. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it too!