Peanut butter and jelly, steak and potatoes, burgers and beer—the world’s most perfect pairings. What is it about a thick, juicy burger with all the fixin’s that screams to be washed down with an ice-cold brewski? The world may never know, but here’s a few Boston restaurants
that get this combo oh-so-right.
I personally enjoy the act of shopping almost as much as the satisfaction of finding a new item to purchase. If you’re like me - and enjoy the thrill of the hunt - then you’ll want to explore some of my favorite antique and thrift stores in the Boston area.
Chinatown can be a bit intimidating. The myriad of streets over lapping each other in a haphazard fashion, all lined with bustling restaurants adorned with colorful awnings decorated with their names, menus in the windows listing their fare in both English as well as Chinese, or Cantonese. But how do you tell which is good and which is better passed by? Even more so, once you’re seated, how do you know what to order?
Food trucks, baby, you’ve come a long way….Years ago “food trucks” in their original form roamed the streets, office building to office building providing the workers inside with a selection of greasy breakfast sandwiches and hash browns, or equally greasy burgers and fries at lunch. The food wasn’t fancy, the opposite really, it was standard fare, that was made cheaply and sold cheap. The trucks were able to drive between several office buildings a day, providing breakfast and lunch at set times. It was fast. It was convenient. It was just food.
Trade, a restaurant from Chef Jody Adams of Rialto fame, is my one of my favorite restaurants in Boston
, and a place I find myself again and again. Living in the Leather District, it is also luckily (and dangerously!) close to home, and when we get home to find the fridge bare we often take the short walk to Congress Street. Because we have tried the menu so many times, I’d like to share some of what I’ve found to be the best dishes on the menu.
The past few years, especially here in Boston, have seen the rise of the abnormal. Menus throughout the city are now featuring dishes designed outside the “box”, incorporating proteins from exotic animals and using every edible piece of those animals. The idea that is being utilized, to let nothing to go to waste, is not new. Countries all over the world have been making use of the “less desirable” cuts of meat (think tongue, brain, etc) for centuries, while the US remained largely mainstream. However, as we began to look more at the idea of farm to table, the imaginations of our chefs opened up and started incorporating more nose to tail dishes, and exotic, unexpected meats on their menus.
Lobster; simply say the word and almost immediately sighs of pleasure are audibly heard. There is something about the sweet meat of this crustacean that makes us all giddy with excitement. Served whole with a bib and shell crackers in a seaside village, or just the tail accompanying a perfect steak in the finest restaurant, or, perhaps best of all, casually tossed into a toasted hot dog bun for on the go meals- lobster is a much loved protein. Of course, lobster isn’t an everyday food. Lobster is a luxury, however, it wasn’t always that way. In the 18th and 19th centuries lobsters were so plentiful in the New England waters that they would wash ashore and form massive piles on the beaches. They were known as a poor man’s food, they were used as bait, as fertilizer, and routinely served to prisoners. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that people began to see the greatness of the lobster and began eating it as a delicacy. By World War II, lobster had become a hot commodity and prices skyrocketed.
Boston is steeped in history, and so are its restaurants. By way of example, consider Union Oyster House
. The seriously old-school eatery is located directly on the Freedom Trail, just minutes from Faneuil Hall. Not only is this tourist destination still serving fresh seafood, it offers several nationwide distinctions: it’s the oldest continually operating restaurant in the entire United States, and it’s the birthplace of the toothpick as a post-dinner teeth-cleaning tool. President John F. Kennedy himself was a long time regular, where he would linger over a bowl of lobster stew every Sunday evening as a state senator.
Winter in New England inherently means that the area is blasted with cold air, and that results in our residents looking for some creative ways to warm up. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that a good, strong cocktail will often brush the shivers away and warm me up from the inside out. Luckily, Boston bars and restaurants are creating all sorts of delicious concoctions to spread a little warmth and cheer.
The North End is Boston’s Little Italy, an area of sheer bliss for any Italian food lover. This is Boston’s oldest neighborhood, with buildings dating back to the 17th century. In the 1800’s, it was the first stop for many Italian immigrants; generations later, you can still hear Italian spoken in shops and on the streets.
Save for Love Story, movies that paint Boston in a romantic light are few and far between. It's a stunning notion, considering the city's Georgian architecture, cobblestone streets and intimate eateries. From the artistically presented French cuisine at L'Espalier to the cozy ambiance and shared tapas at Dali, you can literally taste the romance in this town.
We all had those days in college- the budget was stretched thin but another trip to the dining hall was enough to make our stomachs turn so we turned to that Styrofoam container of salty goodness: Ramen. Heated up in our dorm issued microwaves, it was fast, it was easy and it was cheap. Of course, now years out of college, when we hear the word Ramen, our mind immediately transports back to those days with just a little nostalgia….and a little disgust. However, more and more Ramen, the real stuff served in restaurants, is taking the world by storm as one of the biggest “fad” meals of the past year.
In an era of hip eateries with a focus on craft cocktails, celebrity chefs and complex, locally foraged dishes, there’s something so comforting about eating at a classic diner. Hopefully, there’s a neon sign outside, although it doesn’t have to work, and the worn-out banquettes and counter stools are never so full you can’t find a place to eat. At the very least, breakfast should be served all day, portions should be hearty and coffee should be refilled without having to ask.
Winter is definitely here. The icy temperatures and the snow filled sidewalks are here, and the residents of Boston are bundling up, flinging on scarves, lacing up boots and securing hats to ensure their outsides are warm and snug against the brutal temps. Sometimes though, just layering on those woolen pieces doesn’t quite do the trick and there is only one thing that will help shake that chill off: hot cocoa. There is just something about a big steaming mug of liquid chocolate that truly warms the body from the inside out. Of course, if you’re going to indulge in the delicious drink, you want the good stuff. You don’t want some powder from a pouch hastily stirred into hot water you can make that at home! You want something rich and decadent, something that lets you know that you’re getting something special.