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Aug 29, 2014 10:16 AM

Nibbling Boston ideas

I am coming to Boston on business next weekend. I already have dinners planned for Coppa, Oleana, and Alden & Harlow.

On the day I arrive I will have a few hours free to explore on my own. And when I say explore I mean eat. I am staying at the Renaissance at the Boston Waterfront. I won't have a car but I am willing to use the Boston Subway to get around.

I was thinking of hitting Chinatown and the North End. I'm not looking for expensive. I was thinking of stops where I could get an item or two and be on my way. Gene's Flatbread sounded good. I have to map it to see where it is. What places would you recommend and what should I order? Or is there another neighborhood I should check out?

Also is there anything of food interest near the Boston Exhibit and Convention Center? I will need lunches over the weekend. Perhaps someplace I could get to by a short subway ride to grab something to go?

One more question -- is there anything worth a stop close to Coppa, Oleana and Alden & Harlow?

Thanks for all your help!

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  1. Excellent choices for your dinners.

    Galleria Umberto (Pizza Slice & Arancini) in the North End for sure. They open at 11, and stay open until they sell out. Monica's Mercato has a lot of good stuff (meat, cheese, etc) you can bring back to your room to nibble on. They also have the best italian sub in the area.

    Flour Bakery (Farnsworth Street) is in the general vicinity of your hotel and the convention center and is great for lunch (sandwich, salad) and breakfast (pastries, breakfast sandwich).

    1. Alden & Harlow is in the middle of Harvard Square, so tons of stuff in the immediate area. Interesting food spots: Cardullos, a shop with lots of international imports and unusual finds; Burdick's, a chocolate shop about a block down from A&H with all sorts of yummies; and many, many restaurants. I don't know if any would be good for the kind of grazing before dinner you're talking about. Maybe a slice of pizza from Otto?

      Oleana is near Inman Square with many restaurants and interesting shops. Grillo's Pickles, a local pickle maker. Christina's - a spice shop with many unusual and hard to find items, and an ice cream shop next door with some of the best ice cream in the area. Be sure to get the felafel at Oleana!

      1. Across the street from Coppa is a small outpost of Formaggio Kitchen, a great place to pick up cheese, charcuterie, and other assorted specialty foods to go (maybe snacks for your hotel room?). Their main store is about a mile walk from Alden and Harlow.

        1. At Gene's, the hand-pulled noodles with cumin lamb and the bun are fantastic. The menu's small and honestly, I'd say it would be hard to go wrong with any of it, but those are my votes.

          Other 'one or two item' spots in Chinatown:
          * Great Taste bakery: beautiful custard tarts
          * Hing Shing bakery: yummy savoury pastries
          * Winsor dim sum (menu dim sum, not cart dim sum, and available all day): spare ribs with black bean sauce (not red spare ribs, but more like little knuckles of on-the-bone pork in an amazing, umami-bomb sauce) and pan-fried northern-style dumplings (a.k.a. Peking ravioli)
          * Dumpling Cafe: for mine, the best xiao long bao (a.k.a. soup dumplings, or 'mini juicy dumplings' as I think they call them on the menu) in Boston - outstrips Gourmet Dumpling House

          In the North End, don't miss the pastry. I'm staunchly on the side of Modern, as they don't pre-fill their cannoli like others (*cough*Mike's*cough*) do; they also make fantastic sfogliatelle and lobster tails. Maria's is also awesome, but Modern's my pick.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TimTamGirl

            Mikes will fill them fresh of you ask. I prefer their cannoli.

            1. re: TimTamGirl

              I was going to suggest Dumpling Cafe as well. I recently discovered the XLB there and they are just amazing.

            2. For something different in the North End try Tenoch. Serving Mexican food the tortas are delicious.