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Consistently The Best of Burlington VT: Penny Cluse, Misery Loves Company, and Mirabelle bakery!

I grew up in VT and went to school at St. Mike's (just down the street from Sneakers). It was the go-to place for fresh, inventive and just perfect hangover fare on a Sunday. I still go whenever I can (I'm in Boston), and it's as good as ever. Glad it still retains its popularity.

Catering on Cape Ann and vicinity

Hi gracenote,

I live in Salem, and have just started a catering business out of my home. I'd love the opportunity to talk with you about your event..

I was an editor for companies in Boston for years, took some time off to concentrate on family, and have decided to pursue my passion--food.

If you feel comfortable emailing me at, I'll send you material and would be happy to put together a great gathering on a budget.


Real Italian Food Vs. American Italian Food

Just ran into this thread, and it hit me passionately.

If you're an American who has spent time in Italy, you know there's no question that Italian-American cuisine has little to do with the ingredients, methods, and conventions of Italy. Both can be quite good, but there's no comparison between the two. They both rely on the quality of ingredients, and how they are prepared.

I'm stumped at why you all are throwing barbs about Chef Boyardee, Kraft cheese in a can and Olive Garden, none of which represent Italian food. Just because there's pasta and (pseudo) cheese in a dish doesn't make it Italian. But neither does it make it less tasty.

Not everyone is schooled in how to make simple Italian food. Not everyone can afford to buy good Parmigiano.



Jun 17, 2014
rosiebcook in General Topics

I am a Victim of Their Success

Rino's in Eastie. Had several family members (6) last year and checked in about 5:00. Four hours later (and shame on us for waiting)....we're still across he street with way too many drinks in us. Asked for stuff to go--an extra hour. Service was surly. Food remains exceptional.

Scratch Kitchen and Comida Mexicana in Salem?

Lunch at Scratch Kitchen today. Live in Salem, but first time at Scratch due to dubious feedback.

First off, service is...well...weird. No one seems to know what's going on, and our wait person said as much. Dining companion got fish tacos (pollack was the fish today); She really liked it. I was craving brisket so got brisket sandwich. Good bread, came with pickled veggies and good mustard. Brisket was mostly fat.

Other than my disappointing sandwich (hey, it happens) the service here is, by their own admission, odd. Waitstaff kept explaining why they were out of Chardonnay, then found one, why they charged for every extra salsa for the fish tacos, and the Swiss cheese for the brisket.

I don't recommend the place.


El Centro: Awful. Boston, terrible food city.

Service issues--a good point that no one has pointed out. I didn't grow up in Boston, but have lived here for 30 years. Still can't get used to service. (Which correlates with driving conventions, don't even get me started.) I'm always refreshingly amazed, when traveling either to other US cities or abroad, how welcoming and warm the service is, like they really want your patronage.

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Anyone have a great non-alcoholic punch recipe with the TJ's grapefruit soda? Sounds like it would make a great base, and I have an event coming up that requires a good punch, since it's a "dry" event :(.


Feb 14, 2014
rosiebcook in Chains

Great caterer on the North Shore?

Need cocktail party fare for 300. Need food only, not staff.


Lunch after DePaul graduation for 20?

How do you guys feel about Grand Luxe, the Cheesecake Factory spinoff on the corner of Ontario and Michigan? Menu definitely caters to all, and they have the space for big party...

Feb 05, 2014
rosiebcook in Chicago Area

Lunch after DePaul graduation for 20?

Are you sure we don't know one another? You echo my restaurant choices :). During the first 3 years that Lora was at DePaul I stayed in the hotel (now a residents-only) that houses Gabi on the lower level. So good! And Malnati's was a rare treat for deep dish, as I live in Boston. Grunts was a reliable option as well when taking a bunch of kids out.

Feb 05, 2014
rosiebcook in Chicago Area

Lunch after DePaul graduation for 20?

Hi gordeaux,

All of us are foodies of one ilk or another. I'm trying to accommodate a cross-section of ages and palates. My dad, an elderly Vermonter who will be adventurous to a point, really wants something he can identify with..There will be other older people there as well, some I don't very well. Also, ability to pay is an issue. Some are more well off than others.

I'd say Thai and Mexican are out, as these cuisines offer just that: Thai and Mexican. I need a broader menu, but the food has to be quality.

Everyone would love something like RJ Grunts, a raucous place with solid food but no room to accommodate a large group. Or a mid-priced steakhouse?

Thanks in advance for thinking...


Feb 04, 2014
rosiebcook in Chicago Area

Lunch after DePaul graduation for 20?

It's so funny that you included Malnati's. My graduate is a hostess there and has requested that's the one place we don't go, for obviously reasons precluding the food.

What do think of one of Chicago's great steak places? I know the obvious, high-end ones, But is there one that lives up to a great dining experience without charging $80 pp?


Feb 04, 2014
rosiebcook in Chicago Area

Lunch after DePaul graduation for 20?

Sorry, know my post was a tad vague. Daughter graduating from Chicago college. Want to entertain her roommates, and their families,for late lunch after graduation ceremonies. There will probably be 20. Trying to avoid the "feed the gang" mentality. Want a cool vibe. and, good food (not hard in Chicago),

Feb 03, 2014
rosiebcook in Chicago Area

Lunch after DePaul graduation for 20?

Need a cool place with solid food without resorting to booking an entire room and getting food commensurate with what that suggests. Looking for a late lunch for 20 or so. Three DePaul graduates and their families--some from Uganda, some from Minnesota, some from Vermont. But it's all about the graduates, who have lived in Chicago for the last four years, but on a college student budget. It's a tall order, I know, but you Hounds will steer me in the right direction.


Feb 02, 2014
rosiebcook in Chicago Area

Any place to get white cake North of Boston? Doesnt have to be fancy/gourmet...

Know it's a late reply, but Cakes For Occasions in Danvers will make you any type of cake you like (white is my favorite). Their cakes taste as good as they look. Highly recommend.

A Chowhound Challenge: Older, Finicky Theatre District edition

We love Marliave before or after a performance in the Theater District. Purportedly the "oldest restaurant in Boston," it looks it, in the best possible way. I don't find it cost prohibitive at all, and the staff--as well as the food--is great.

Marliave bends toward a French bistro vibe, offering steak frites, Beef Wellington, escargot and Croque Madame; but it rounds out the menu with a few well-executed pasta dishes and great salads and sandwiches.

It's our favorite when visiting the Theater District. Park at the garage down the street and walk from parking, to restaurent, to theater.

Enjoy your visit.


State of the French Bistro - 2013?

I love Marliave, purportedly the oldest restaurant in Boston proper. They used to market themselves as French but now have a much more varied menu. However, I visit every time we see a matintee in the Theater District. The Croque Madame is sentational, and so is the escargot. Past what you've tried, there's not much in Boston for French bistro cooking. I visit my daughter in Chicago often, and our favorite lunch and dinner haunts are French.


Absolutely not. Regina's: hard to park but worth the pizza wait. Santarpios and Regina's are institutions, and we have fun pitting one again the other. You decide. They are both worth the wait.

Upstairs on the Square closing at year end

Sounds good to me. Visited recently, place was tired--the decor, the service, the food. Rest in peace.

Best linguini and clam sauce?

But they have expanded, renovating the original restaurant and purchasing property across the street to make the insane wait somewhat easier. And they're not booked "months out." I would never recommend Rino's to a visitor to Boston, as half their day would be taken up on an East Boston sidewalk rather than enjoying so much more of what Boston has to offer.


Best linguini and clam sauce?

Rino's food is indeed fresh, well-executed and generously-plated. And the staff used to be genuine: relaxed, friendly and welcoming.

Since I've lived within a 20-minute drive to Rino's for years, I have visited often. But word has gotten out, both locally and nationally, about this quintessentially Italian-American gem. The front-of-house staff has become surly with the increasing crowds, and are a bit full of themselves since fame hit.

We had houseguests who love good Italian at the end of June, so decided on Rino's. I called for a reservation for six people 24 hours prior, but they weren't honoring reservations that weekend. We joined the queue and provided a name about 5:00. And though it was nice to be able to hang out across the street at their satellite bar for snacks and drinks, we waited three hours to be told it would be at least another hour before we were seated. We decided on takeout instead, but takeout was running an hour or more as well. We waited for takeout, the food was divine but...really?

Rino's clearly is experiencing growing pains. I suspect they'll work it out. In the meantime, if you like to explore Boston neighborhoods you could do worse than roaming around East Boston for a while. Rino's will call you when you're reservation is ready.


More North Shore MA dining


Well said.

A lot of the North End is, for sure, a sentimental and charming neighborhood steeped, still, with families, food and tradition. And some of the food is really good. But for the most part, it's not redolent of the food of Italy, and is sometimes just a plain red sauce place with a high price.

No need to leave the North Shore for excellent food, breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can't beat Red's in Salem for breakfast, Gulu Cafe for lunch or 62 for dinner (and your pasta fix). Bella Verona is also terrific for fine Italian. In Gloucester, Alchemy rocks, Passports is terrific for lunch or dinner.

But the post was about Italian specifically, pasta in general. Try the truffled mac and cheese at Tavern on the Square in Salem. My guilty pleasure. In East Boston, the best pasta around is Rino's (good luck getting in). Paulina's Caffe in Swampscott is run by Paulina and her husband Vincenzo, who owned two restaurants in Tuscany and moved here when their children came here for college. BYOB, breakfast, lunch and dinner, great food. Antique Table charming. I could go on...

Brunch before Cape Ann Whale Watch

I'd get the bahn mi again and again. And yes, thanks for asking: we did see whales. We live locally so do the whale-watch thing every couple of years.

I can't say enough about the effort the owners put into this place. It's literally a labor of love, and they clearly care about the food they serve. Menu is eclectic enough to suit anyone. I'm a fan.


Brunch before Cape Ann Whale Watch

Thanks so much for the recommendations.

Made the choice to try Passports, hoping for brunch. Though they no longer do brunch (they once did), lunch at 11:30 was terrific, and so was the service. Turns out that three sisters own the place, and one of them took really good care of us. Business was sparse at 11:30 on a Sunday, so she hung out with us a bit, introducing her friends who work in the place, and giving us some background

Fresh popovers and butter arrived at the table almost immediately.

I had the Asian shortrib bahn mi. Was so disappointed they didn't have the brunch I was in the mood for that I ordered haphazardly. But this was a great sandwich, layered with
tender and intensely-flavored shortrib, slaw, fresh cucumbers and Sriracha mayo, served with a side of well-executed pasta salad. All ingredients fresh, and the sandwich was a monster. Had the other half of the meal for dinner. Since our server knew we were going on a whale watch, she offered to refrigerate my leftovers until we disembarked.

Son had the Adriatic Seafood Stew. Ordered a small, but it was huge, fresh and brimming with fresh seafood.

We didn't have time for dessert, so left with a certificate for a free dessert or appetizer during our next visit. These girls (and family and extended family) work their asses off, and really care about what comes out of the kitchen. I was so impressed.

Two entrees, two glasses of wine, bill about $50 with gratuity. I hope you all try this place if you're in the area. It's a gem.


Brunch before Cape Ann Whale Watch

I know the usual suspects (e.g., Duckworth). Looking for a more casual, affordable but inventive menu for my 14-year-old son and me before a whale watch. I'd like a bloody as well!

Thanks in advance,

Best lobster roll thats not 30 bucks

I see a lot of detractors about Kelly's on this board, but I've lived in the Boston area for 20 years now and this lobster roll has spoiled me for any other. I've tried them all, from Maine through those frequently mentioned here in Boston. I lived in Winthrop for a while as well, and Belle Isle's don't do it for me either, niether do locals frequent the place. Kelly's roll, frozen meat or not (I don't have a clue), features about a half-pound of huge chunks of lobster on a perfectly grilled bun. I've not experienced the sogginess that other complain about. My Vermont family craves lobster rolls, so when I travel home I get them to go, lobster packed separately. Last time I asked for the fixings for 6 rolls, but easily got enough meat in the container for 10 huge rolls. I don't get why anyone would pay $25 for an appetizer-sized lobster roll at Neptune, or why one would go to a fishy-smelling shop like Belle Isle for a lobster roll fix, when you can dine seaside on a hearty Kelly's roll. Chowder is terrific too.

Found a nice hidden gem in Swampscott - City Grill

I, too, checked out City Grill recently. Funny, I live a mile away and watched the place transform from Finagle a Bagel but had no interest in visiting when it opened because it looked like more of a bar scene a la Red Rock Bistro, also local. Don't get me wrong, I love a good bar, but Red Rock has a local reputation as being a high-priced venue with a big bar scene populated with middle-aged divorcees attempting to meet their next partner. I loved City Grill. The waitstaff couldn't have been warmer, and the food was terrific and well presented. Six of us tried the calamari, the tartar of ahi tuna, both the green and Caesar salads, pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin, burgers and desserts. Everything, and I mean everything, was delicious and plentiful. The price is only high if the pleasure ratio is low. Definitely recommend City Grill.

BTW, I've heard no feedback on the Asian place next door--haven't run into one peprson who's tried it.

Big date night sans baby- catch me up to Boston 2011!

I suggest you park in the public garage just beyond the Wang, on the left. Rates are relatively inexpensive.for a several-hour park. From there it's a short walk to the Wang. In the immediate vicinity is Teatro, our usual pick before an evening show. It can't be beat for pre-theater dining considering that food, sophisticated/upbeat ambiance and service are solid; and they are used to accommocating theater-goers. Another place that never disappoints is Marliave for lunch, brunch or dinner. Marliave bows toward French but does a little of everying, and we've never had a dish we didn't like. A Mrs. Marliave (croque madame) and a glass of wine before a matinee at Wang is one of my favorite things to do.


177 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111

10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

Apples followed by lobster-in-the-rough, N. Shore to Portsmouth

Meeting family midway between Swampscott and Kennebunk for a day of apple picking, then a quintessential lobster joint for early dinner. Moore Lobster Co. in Rockport looks good for dinner; where to pick apples in the vicinity? Other, better, options?

Thanks so much.

Looking for a place for pizza and beer for 25 in Boston

Prince Pizza on Route 1 South in Saugus fits your requirement. It's big and typically gives large parties their own space. The pizza ain't Regina's or Santarpios but it's good, the beer is draft and the price is right. It's kitchy and fun and you won't have to watch your manners too much.