HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Cheap, not necessarily Chowish, free-form crawls..Where have U gone for spontaneous drive and noshes?

We ended up on a random free-form, no-theme crawl of nothing gourmet but turned out to be good cheap enjoyment.. Wondering if anyone else has suggestions...

We started at Seawitch Peabody for bluefish and salmon lunches, 15$ for 2, then to Brooksby Farm which wasn't open for food but enjoyed looking out our 13 year old new car's moonroof at the blue sky and puffy clouds, , went to Zuckers Bakery for a hot challah, but not open so got one at TJs with some snack foods, then to Market Street where we had OTTO eggplant, onion, ricotta pizza for $13 while sitting outside overlooking the Hilltop Cows, then got a peach apple crumble with caramel ice cream $4 to go and ate it outside Kings and watched their fireplace and outside TVs for the 3rd period of the Bruins game, kind of a little like going to the drive-in...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Did a weird Quindao Garden, Greek corner, Franks Steak House (early bird special) and Vernas doughnuts, late lunch crawl for my birthday one year.

    The trick is closing time at Vernas, which can be early. we actually went there first and had dessert at home.

    Also really weird dreams.

    How about Louie's pizza (118 Main), fried chicken at Eri's wings (502 main), Italian coldcut provisions at Marcos (389 Main), and then noodles at Gene's Flatbread (??) when he opens in woburn.

    1. Next time add Ziggy's donuts Peabody location to your mix, just down the road from Brooksbys.

      1. wow, nothing?

        Did i poison what seemed to be a fun thread?

        who knew?

        3 Replies
        1. re: hyde

          this thread sounds fun to me!---

          1. re: kewpie

            as much fun as your crawl between Padma and Tom's tables? wink wink

          2. re: hyde

            dumbstruck at the awesomeness/hilarity of your post.

            (but seriously, I don’t do crawls ‘cuz I count my points.)

          3. hyde, I like all your wacky combos! and thanks for telling about Genes coming! that's exciting!
            phatchris- we really have been wanting to try Ziggys, but we always seem to end up in the vicinity after they close.. wish they were open later... or not when we are full or off to a meal.. Any specific recs?

            1 Reply
            1. re: chompie

              I really enjoyed the jelly, and I'm not a huge Boston cream guy, but theirs is really good.

            2. Not recent but a summer rerun will be inspired by Chompie.

              You have me thinking about a drive to Tiverton with lunch at Evelyns Drive Inn, Gray's Ice cream for a cone of Grapenut, and then the Provender for a take away supper.

              Haven't done this combo since we sold our RI house long also.


              4 Replies
              1. re: BostonZest

                One of our favorite places to explore, although we haven't actually been to Evelyn's. I guess we'll have to rectify that on our next trip. Love that Grapenut cone and the Provender picnic supplies, topped off with a trip to Sakonnet Vineyards. A glass of their Port sounds pretty good.

                1. re: BostonZest

                  Keep in mind Steve Johnson's planned new joint in Tiverton. I wonder when that might come to fruition? We visit that area often so we're very excited!

                  1. re: digga

                    When that happens I'll make it a weekend down there!

                    1. re: digga

                      I think Johnson is aiming for a fall opening for his Tiverton place.


                  2. My best crawls:

                    The "everything bowl" at Pho Pasteur followed by twice cooked pork/XLB/ginger scallion lobster at Dumpling Cafe, and topped off with QPC/Chicken McNuggets/Filet-O-Fish at the Chinatown McDonald's.

                    Drinks at the Hawthorne with their crab toasts and gougeres followed by oysters and baked rigatoni at Eastern Standard, and then finally a McRib and an Oreo McFlurry next door.

                    Roast chicken at Hamersley's followed by pork belly bao at Myers + Chang, finished with White Castle burgers/Funyuns/Butterfinger ice cream from 7-11.

                    Ending up at the KFC/Taco Bell combo place at the end of a night of fine dining is a worthy variation on this theme. I bet a Crunchwrap Supreme + three piece meal of Original Recipe dark meat would be pretty amazing after O Ya which I've never been to...

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: Mike5966

                      maybe working 12 hrs today has clouded my thinking.. .but I am actually scratching my head wondering if your post is for real, or your imaginary guilty pleasures crawl, or if you are mocking my post and making fun of it... Do you actually have the QP/McNuggets/Filet in one sitting?

                      A bunch of usually shunned places are also showing up on this thread , which I am finding a lot of fun...I feel like this thread has become a gastronomical confessional :)

                      1. re: chompie

                        It is, of course,possiible that Mike 5966 is pulling our collective leg, but i do not think so.

                        Having spent time with actual chefs, though I do not know Mike is one, I have always ended up the night eating one awful foodstuff or another.

                        The most talented chef I ever knew personally, a truly gifted line cook, introduced me to Kellogg 'smores Pop-Tarts. The same man maintained that the only time he ever saw Julia Child, she and Paul were eating at Buzzy's Roast Beef in Prison Square.

                        I do not think ALL of the items are consumed (again, could be wrong) but finishing off a high class crawl with a filet-o-fish-level sandwich has a long and storied history

                        1. re: hyde

                          I know most people here consider fast food to be "awful foodstuffs" and I am pretty sure that if you ate that all day everyday, you'd end up looking like the people in terry-cloth tracksuits with overhanging backfat at Walmart, but Wylie Dufresne eats a slice of American cheese every day. I love McDonald's and I think their McRib is in second place to any "BBQ" menu item in Boston anywhere except for the ribs at the M&M Ribs food truck. I like the delicate crispiness of the fried chicken at Merrill & Co., but their seasoning does not compare to KFC's Original Recipe. I like the lengua taco at Taco Loco just as much as any old school Boston hound and remain eternally unimpressed with Anna's in general, but I will eat a Crunchwrap Supreme and be happy most any day. There's a lot of delicious, carefully thought-out, creative, mindblowing food out there in what I consider to be a very vibrant food scene in Boston overall, but there's also a lot of expensive bullshit as well (Journeyman, the worst offender in recent memory), and sometimes you want a cheap ass meal that will deliver at the end of a long night of being precious, subtly wowed, but underfilled.

                        2. re: chompie

                          Haha, never imagined my post would have made people wonder if I was serious or not. These are real meals I have had in real life. I can usually eat at least twice the amount whoever is eating with me can in the same sitting. Just last night I went to Ittoku and had the 10-piece yakitori combo with broiled mackerel, sake, and takowasa (all shared), followed by a second stop at Kaju for SDBJ (each had our own pot) and shared an order of galbi. Was too full to go to the KFC/Taco Bell afterwards but I cannot lie, I thought about it...

                          The Pho Pasteur crawl referenced above: the only things shared were the Dumpling Cafe items, everything else I ate. The Hawthorne one: the finger foods at Hawthorne were shared but everything else I ate including large fries and two refills of regular Coca-Cola Classic. The Hamersley's one: this was actually an underrepresentation as I did not mention the tea-smoked spareribs that we shared... Alma Nove followed by Whalburger is actually a pretty good one: cocktail, pasta, dessert, then burger, fries, onion rings.

                          I am definitely not a chef but I cook a lot, and I am not fat though I deserve to be. I work 16 hour days and the food where I work is horrible except on Tuesdays when the Bon Me truck comes around for lunch.

                          1. re: Mike5966

                            Sounds like you have a metabolism worth a NIH study grant. I weigh twice as much as I should but could not put away more than a single burger and small side, wouldn't eat for another 4 hrs at least. Life's not fair!

                            The clams/ice cream crawl I suggested is predicated on clam-box sharing and for the ice cream, spoon-sampling.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              ooh, then I'm really bad.. After a good meal, we will on occasion, splurge for splitting a kiddie soft serve AND a spoon sampling! (chompie sneaks off, avoiding mentioning the occasional letsjustgoforitrichardsonsbrowniesundae...)

                            2. re: Mike5966

                              mike, thanks for the really great posts! Glad you weren't just making fun of my tastes! I think I was thrown off also, by the fact that you mentioned Hammersleys Roast Chix on your best crawls, when I saw on one of your posts that you didn't like it.. so I was confused:)! Anyways, you should write a book.. would probably be better than a Bourdain book..

                              1. re: Mike5966

                                whoops, my reply to you ended up down below.. I still cant figure out how to get my posts where I am responding to!

                                anyway, we had a kinda crawl tonite, having chix wings spinach pie, corn fritters, popovers, pumpkin raisin bread, horesradish bean dip, baked stuffed shrimp and baked stuffed haddock, salad, soup, fries, mashed, hot fudge sundae, chocolate cake, coffee and tea...And it was a nice lazy crawl where we didn't have to move as the very nice waitress brought it all to us, including a table clean up and placemat exchange for dessert..All in the very very old school setting of a big leather booth in the bar at The Continental in Saugus.. Good thing we preceded it by a nice woods walk with some great bird spottings at the Breakheart Reservation, cuz we were way too crazy stuffed to crawl anywhere after that!

                                1. re: chompie

                                  Love the Continental! Sounds like a great "crawl."

                                2. re: Mike5966

                                  I agree that multinational chain fast food can be delicious, but despite a fairly strong constitution, I haven't had a meal at McD's, KFC, Taco Bell, BK, Subway, etc. in years that didn't make me feel sick about 30 minutes after eating it, to the point where I now shun all of it. My stomach was trying to tell me something, and I finally listened.


                                  1. re: Mike5966

                                    The main thing that confuses me about all of this is where the KFC/Taco Bell is? As far as I can tell, the only ones in the area are in Quincy and Woburn.

                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                      There is a KFC in West Roxbury on the Dedham border(Washington St) and in Roslindale near Simcos.

                                      1. re: catsmeow

                                        I'm pretty sure the one in Waltham is still open.

                                        1. re: bear

                                          And just remembered the one on. Columbia Rd in Dorchester near Mass Ave and one in Allston/Brighton next to Twin donuts. I really like their chicken pie.

                                          1. re: catsmeow

                                            Right, there are a bunch of KFCs around, and I'm certainly aware of the one in Union Square Allston - but none of those KFCs are KFC/Taco Bells.

                                            1. re: Allstonian

                                              I was up in Stoughton today and I'm pretty sure I passed a combo one just before the square on 138.

                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                There is a combo KFC/Taco Bell in Framingham on Route 30.

                                        2. re: Allstonian

                                          I just wish there were a closer combination Long John SIlvers and Taco Bell than the one on the VFW Highway in Dedham. If they opened one where I could also get Arby's potato cakes, it would be all three of my biggest fast food guilty pleasures in one spot.

                                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                            A month ago, I went to the. Arby's in Auburn and was disappointed to find they had discontinued the potato cakes with the bacon and cheese in them. They were the best! They still had the plain ones.

                                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                              There's one in Salem NH, if that's closer to where you're at.

                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                Not sure if route 99 on the Everett/ Malden line is closer, but there was a Long John Silver/ Taco Bell there. Haven 't been in the area for a while so not really sure if it still exist.

                                                Never mind it closed...

                                      2. There is always the Chicago Beef at Spalla's in Natick and then up the street for a a banana split Blizzard at one of the few remaining Dairy Queens in metrowest.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hyde

                                          hyde, I'll do you one better. Hot dogs with the works at Casey's in Natick--->Italian Beef at Spalla's--->DQ :-)

                                        2. We just did a mini one at SOWA (first day was yesterday), where they have 20-30 food trucks on Sunday. We did the dining car and paris creperie. Theyre open till 4 or 5 so you can walk around and check out the art stalls,galleries farmers market and come back for more food later! Was a lot of fun.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: AaronInBoston

                                            that sounds really great! Is there anything like the SOWA market anywhere else, without having to deal with driving into the city??

                                          2. Either direction on Rt. 133 between North Andover and the coastline, to sample the ice cream stands and fried clams.

                                            1. My friends and I have been known to drive down Route 1 in Saugus to stop at various favorites (Kowloon, Sonic, the late lamented Hilltop).

                                              Every once in awhile we head up northward to stop at Kane's Donuts, head on up to Thwaites Market for terrific British meat pies, then on to the Dracut/Salem area; we stopped into a rare Long John Silvers this past weekend just for the heck of it.

                                              1. Here's a couple of chowish crawls that we've had over the years..

                                                East Boston..I think most of these places are still around..and there are plenty of new places. We hit several bakeries in E Boston on another trip.

                                                My favorite current crawl is the Haymarket for som clams on the 1/2 shell, Haymarket pizza, and Galleria Umberto.


                                                Pizza crawl..Bianchi's in Revere, Santarpio's, Haymarket, Ernesto's and finishing at Regina's.

                                                I couldn't make this 1 but it sounded like a great time..Clam crawl..Farnham's, Essex, Woodman's Clam Box, 1 other place I can't recall

                                                1. Was just wondering if the hoummous from Arax, then two slices at Stellas and soft serve at Celebrity Pizza (where I toyed with the idea of fried clams, but my stomach kind of hurt, already) , would count in this crawl thread.

                                                  Actually, with Emilio's, the Town Diner, the bakeries, the Nut place, Fordees, Red lentil, etc, you could crawl for years without leaving Coolidge Square.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                      1. re: hyde

                                                        yup, that sounds crawlish to me, hyde!.
                                                        We just had a spontaneous childhood-beach-food Fake-cation crawl.. Started at Iron-Town DIner Saugus for blueberry pancakes, omelet(great new find, btw!), followed by SInging Beach Manchester and drive around Magnolia, and on the way home saw a sign at Kelleys that said "come see our new aquarium" so we couldn't resist continuing the beach theme with fried fish, O-rings, fries, hotdog on grilled buttered bun and orange soda.. Don't usually love Kelleys but it was the best I have ever had there, all freshly cooked instead of hard and dry-ish, then full as we were, decided we had to go to Richardsons to see some cows, minigolf and a softserve twist. There was an unusually long line and caution tape around most of the windows, so we got thwarted but settled on a choco dipped DQ cone instead. Figured the choco dip added a candy element since the only thing missing was a trip to the penny candy store..

                                                        1. re: chompie

                                                          btw, thought of Mike 5966 when driving down Endicott st Danvers and realized theres a McDonalds, Burger KIing, Taco Bell and Wendys all lined up next to each other! Don't know if I've ever seen that before..

                                                          1. re: chompie

                                                            The orange soda tips it for me.

                                                            And maybe that you found a DQ in eastern Mass. Not Many