Highlights from the Boston board. Restaurants, bars, food stores, and more.
“Doesn’t anybody make ice cream sodas any more?” asks SCP77 plaintively. Apparently it’s tough these days to find this old-fashioned favorite composed of syrup, plain soda water, ice cream, and milk or cream.
Ice cream sodas are a forgotten art, says Allstonian. “For one thing, most ice cream shops don’t have plain soda water on their soft drink fountains any more … The other big fail that I often run into is people who mix soda water and syrup, but don’t add the requisite splash of milk or half and half, so you end up with a nasty thing that resembles a float.”
Several hounds recommend the sodas at Cabot’s, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that BarmyFotheringayPhipps promptly visited to order chocolate and strawberry sodas.
“Ice cream sodas are also available in a large and an insanely large size, but even the regular size one is a generous drink topped with a big scoop of ice cream and capped with whipped cream and a cherry. My only tiniest quibble is that the soda water could have used a bit more fizz, but that’s a very fine point,” says Allstonian approvingly.
A few hounds also fondly remember “egg creams,” which are ice cream sodas minus the ice cream.
Cabot’s Ice Cream & Restaurant [Newton]
743 Washington Street, Newton
Board Link: Ice Cream Soda --boston and north
Venerable Wayland drinking spot The Dudley Chateau is open again, and will soon be serving a full bar menu.
The conditions for reopening this previously troubled bar included hiring new management and renovating the kitchen so it can serve food, says pondrat. This marks a change from the old days when the menu basically consisted of Slim Jims and chips, “and some nights not even that.” There will be eight microbrew-ish beers on tap, a good bottle selection, Wi-Fi, new plasma televisions, and, most of all, vintage atmosphere.
“Despite the new family friendly attitude, the character of the Chat remains the same. This still a small local neighborhood drinking establishment with the look and feel of a fisherman’s hangout,” says pondrat. “And the place is still an ‘everyman bar’ where tradesmen, tech geeks, soccer moms and hedge fund managers can blend together to watch the Sox and debate politics … all on equal footing.”
Harp00n agrees: “In an age of cookie-cutter restaurants and bars some of us would like to maintain a few watering holes that haven’t been yuppified to screamingly monotonous sameness.”
The Dudley Chateau [Wayland]
20 Crest Road, Wayland
Board Link: Dudley Chateau in Wayland now re-opened
The nonstaurant trend continues to burgeon in Boston with the rolling out (get it?) of new food cart Jack and the Bean Bowl in Copley Square. “Delicious vegetarian bowls of beans, brown rice and other toppings. Cupcakes and Italian sodas too,” says heathermb. C. Hamster agrees: “The chipotle lime sauce is really tasty and the ‘fixins’ help elevate what could be a bland combo to something pretty near craveable for those like me that already love rice and beans.”
The cart offers a selection of hot sauces; C. Hamster liked the habanero sauce, and says the couple running the cart “couldn’t have been nicer.”
Jack and the Bean Bowl [Back Bay]
Across the street from the CVS at 587 Boylston Street, Boston
No phone available
Board Link: Jack and the Bean Bowl–Copley Sq
Clover Food Truck, the raved-over organic/fresh/mostly vegetarian food truck at MIT, is trying out a new email ordering system that should help those discouraged to find the truck occasionally sold out of various items. As Clover’s blog details, customers can email email@example.com, specify what they want and a pickup time, and then go get the food that’s been specially held for them.
And what food! “The rosemary fries are delicious and the chickpea fritter sandwich has a great mix of cukes, tomatoes, hummus, pickles and cabbage tucked in with the crispy hot falafel-like fritters. I think I tasted some coriander seed in there too. Really yummy,” says yumyum.
Clover’s blog also goes into greater detail about the chain of fast-food restaurants that the truck’s owners plan to launch; “this was a pre-launch experiment,” says wilbanks.
Clover Food Truck [Cambridge]
Carleton Street at Amherst Street on the MIT campus, Cambridge
No phone available
Board Link: Clover Food Lab
Everybody knows freshly filled cannoli are best, which is fine when you’re eating them at the bakery but not as easy when you’re doing takeout. In the middle of a question about the North End’s finest bakery (respondents mostly argued over whether it is Maria’s, Mike’s, or Modern), another_adam let slip this interesting fact about Maria’s: “they’ll pack the cannoli filling separately for you, so you can reassemble them and have them fresh later!”
Maria’s Pastry Shop [North End]
46 Cross Street, Boston
Board Link: Best Bakery in the North End
It’s heating up out there, and hound jessenatha is craving ice cream that’s “spicy, herby, salty or otherwise unusual.”
Try Christina’s, say the fans of its offbeat flavors, which “tend toward spices and seasonal floral,” says Bob Dobalina, who once had a Champagne sorbet there in which “I swear I could taste the tiny bubbles.” Christina’s also has cardamom ice cream, and used to have (ugh) clam chowder.
The Jamaica Plain branch of J.P. Licks usually has a couple of oddball flavors too, including pad Thai, wasabi, and a chocolate-chile that Prav says had a “tingly afterburn.”
Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream [Cambridge]
1255 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
J.P. Licks Homemade Ice Cream Cafe [Jamaica Plain]
659 Centre Street, Boston
Board Link: unusual ice cream?
A lot of pent-up farmers’ market lust is finally breaking free after the long winter. As BostonZest kindly reminds us, the Copley Square Farmers’ Market opened for business Tuesday, May 18, and will be running Tuesdays and Fridays through November from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Next to open is the Prudential Center Farmers’ Market on Thursday, May 21; it runs each Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October.
After that, the markets at City Hall (Monday and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Davis Square (Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) both open May 27. And then it’s June, and the farmers’ market riches of peaches and cherries and fresh bread and strawberries will rain down upon you like manna.
Copley Square Farmers’ Market [Back Bay]
170 St. James Avenue, Boston
No phone available
Prudential Center Farmers’ Market [Back Bay]
800 Boylston Street, Boston
Boston City Hall Farmers Market [Downtown]
1 City Hall Plaza, Boston
Davis Square Farmers Market [Somerville]
Day Street (at Herbert Street), Somerville
Board Link: Farmers Markets ect. - week of May 18th
Brighton’s Esperia Grill just used to be a pizzeria, but it really found its feet when it started serving the Greek food cooked by the mother of the family that owns the restaurant. It’s “the best homestyle Greek food in the area,” according to lergnom
Hounds are particularly fond of the pork gyro (“spectacular, with caramelized, salty delicious pork goodness,” says iloveporkbelly), the spinach pie, and the rotisserie chicken (“lemony and herby,” says lergnom). Pastitsio (a baked meat-and-macaroni dish that’s kind of like the Greek version of ziti) and moussaka are both made with a homemade béchamel that’s “silken,” says lergnom.
Minor quibbles: the pizza isn’t so good, and the avgolemono soup strikes some as average. Service, particularly for takeout, is a bit slow: Call ahead if you can.
Esperia Grill [Brighton]
344 Washington Street, Boston
Board Links: Esperia in Brighton?
The Friendly Toast, a popular New Hampshire breakfast place, now has an outpost in Cambridge, and the crowd’s going wild. bobot says “even during opening week, even with all of the staff in training, even with only 3/4 of the menu being served, even with a not-up-to-speed-yet kitchen, I can already tell that this is going to be one of my favorites and my go-to brunch spot.”
bobot says the décor is “kitschy,” with vintage Formica tables, and a bar covered with Wacky Packages stickers. It appears that the place only has a beer/wine license for now, but the food is top-notch diner fare. Highlights include:
• The DGGC (damned good grilled cheese), with homemade bread, American and cheddar cheese, whole grain mustard, and strawberry habanero sauce for dipping
• Crunchy Guinness-battered onion rings with, bobot thinks, both cornmeal and cornflakes in the batter and a creamy caper sauce on the side
• Homefries, a Friendly Toast specialty, with thin slices of potatoes fried with onions
• Anadama bread French toast
The Friendly Toast [Cambridge]
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge
Board Links: The Friendly Toast!
the friendly toast opening in cambridge!
When a restaurant location plays host to a couple of bad and/or unsuccessful eateries in a row, it can become hard to break that cycle of failure. Well, the little glass cube in the Financial District’s Post Office Square, formerly occupied by the Milk Street Café and Z Square (which avial says was a “blight”), now has a hound-pleasing spot: Sip Café.
“Although the bar was admittedly set a little low, I’ll say it’s easily the space’s best incarnation to date. Both my drip coffee (they brew Terroir!) and my slice of lemon tea bread were quite good,” says finlero, who subsequently found out that the baked goods are from the well-regarded Maria’s Pastry Shop in the North End, and also got a line on the sandwiches: “Most of the sandwiches are made in advance and refrigerated. The ingredients are good, but I definitely recommend accepting their offer to throw ’em on the panini press.”
Sip Café [Financial District]
0 Post Office Square, Boston
Board Link: Sip Café - new cafe in Post Office Square