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Kouign-amann (Breton cake) in the Boston area

+1 for the version at Bread and Butter in the North End. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

BBQ at Causeway

Has anyone tried it? Is it any good? I read that the chef was previously at Blue Ribbon so I'm hoping this might be a decent downtown option for ribs. (Still mourning the loss of Mrs Jones'.)

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

This is such a great topic. Thanks for starting it.

I feel your pain over the closing of a favorite fancy restaurant. Locke-Ober's passing hit me particularly hard, and the closing of the Oak Bar was also a tough blow. I feel like a lot of great go-to places have closed in the past couple of years, but that the new places don't match them in terms of service and ambiance - it's all rustic, or trendy or corporate.

I like Hammersley's a lot but it has never been a super-favorite. I share many of the same criteria as you: wanting to dress up without being the only person not in jeans, avoiding Cambridge to the greatest extent possible, excellent service, romantic ambiance, etc., etc. For the time being Eastern Standard, Lumiere and Sorellina (resolutely ignoring the silly hostesses) are my favorites. Bergamot, Bondir and Erbaluce just do not feel pampering enough and the smaller places are a hassle to get into on short notice. I do not understand the fuss over the food at Menton (nor 9 Park). I have not tried Asta but based on this thread that's where I'll look next.

Who is the most chowhound-ish caterer?

Hello all,

I'm going to be doing a lot of entertaining at home on the South Shore and am trying to figure out who is the most chowhound-ish caterer in the Boston area. I'm looking for a company that not only provides professional service but that produces top notch, super-creative food. (Skilled mixology too would be a bonus.) Gatherings are usually for between 40 and 100 guests. Money is no object - or rather, it is something of an object but is the least important consideration.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Best of, the South Shore Living edition

I haven't eaten widely enough in the South Shore towns close to Boston, so it's hard to say that somewhere I have tried is definitively better than another on the list. That said, even in Plymouth, it would not cross my mind to pick East Bay Grill for outdoor dining. While the Rye Tavern's latest chef is good rather than excellent like the previous one, I would rather have an outdoor meal there any day: the setting is beautiful and unique. The food is also better than ECG and you can eat outside at both Francesca's and the Blue Eyed Crab across the street from ECG.

In terms of donuts, haven't tried The Coffee Shack, but the Blueberry Muffin's donuts are my go-to (Kingston and Cedarville). Too bad Solstice in Kingston didn't make any of the lists (not sure which category it would fit best), because it's a tasty all-around spot for dinner. I didn't see a category for burgers but there should be one and KKatie's (Plymouth and now Marshfield) can't possibly have any worthy rivals. Those burgers are awesome! And for ice cream: FarFar's in Duxbury.

Quiet dinner near Northeastern

I'm trying to come up with a quiet, comfortable spot for a weeknight dinner with a friend near Northeastern. She isn't a very adventurous eater, so sushi and heavily spiced foods are out. I thought of Trattoria Toscana, but need somewhere that will take a reservation. Toro is too loud. Any other ideas?

June 2014 Openings and Closings

Noooooooo! Disaster! I love Mrs Jones'! Cheryl and George are just the nicest people and their cooking always hits the spot. Anyone who has more info, please post a follow up.

It's Strawberry Season Again! Anyone seen the local ones yet?

This is no help for the OP but I've been harvesting strawberries from my downtown garden for about a week now so they are definitely in season locally.

Branch of Paul Opening in Somerville!

I like their hot chocolate. Super, super rich.

Lard Bread/Prosciutto Bread

It's my favorite thing that Bricco the bakery makes. It has Parmesan in it along with diced prosciutto. Definitely worth checking out!

Good South Shore Bakeries?

I was very excited about this suggestion until I noticed that French Memories website mentions a connection between it and Cafe Vanille. That freaks me out. I'm totally unimpressed by CV, can FM really be any good?

December 2013 Openings and Closings

Ack! All the cozy older places are going! Locke-Ober, the Oak Bar and now this. Granted, the food at Upstairs has been disappointing for years... Still sad.

Grow your own Saffron

I ordered 100 bulbs from McClure and Zimmerman a few days ago. They're on sale 50% off now so I couldn't resist.

Oct 13, 2013
peelmeagrape in Gardening

Bricco lately?

Next time you are picking up a loaf from the bakery, try the prosciutto and parm one. Too good, especially when still warm.

Neat House-Made Non-Alcoholic Drinks?

Island Creek makes something they call a Wags No.2. I think it has saffron in it, among other things. Absolutely dreamy, and alcohol-free.

Latest (changing) Ice Cream Flavors at Toscanini, JPLicks etc.

Ooooh, I love taro - and I've just gotten into making smoothies. The thought of being able to make a taro smoothie is irresistible. Do you remember which vendor you bought the powder from?

Good Food near BC

The original location of Oishii in Chestnut Hill. Wonderful, wonderful sushi. (But tight dining quarters: one table plus a bar.) Otherwise, Lumiere in West Newton if you want something with a nicer ambiance (and still excellent food).

August 2013 Openings and Closings

The new Whole Foods in Charlestown is slated to open tomorrow morning (Aug. 7th) at 10am, according to their Facebook page. I am so relieved! Slightly to home for me than the Charles River Plaza WF and with way, way easier parking. Whoot!

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

Thanks for the idea - I go there quite often and do enjoy it. (If we're just talking about good meals in Plymouth, I like the Rye Tavern too.) BEC reminds me of the kind of seafood you'd find on an island vacation (as opposed to New England fried seafood): pretty cleanly-cooked fish with some spices/a light sauce.

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

I hear you on the So. NE Board but it's kind of a peeve of mine on these boards that something within a 1 hour drive of downtown Boston somehow might be considered beyond the "Greater Boston Area". Generally miffed that Plymouth gets treated like a geographic no man's land (not close enough to Boston to be mentioned when people are giving recs for the South Shore - even though it is on the South Shore - but not the Cape either).

Are there really no Portuguese places in the environs?

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

I think you're the second person who's described it as pretty decent. Maybe this is something to try after Bangkok Thai...

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

I'd never noticed that place. Thanks for this idea...I will definitely check it out.

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

Hi all,
I'm trying to compile a list of good or even (dare I hope?) excellent "ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth and immediate environs (no more than a 10 or at the very most 15 mile radius). I'm putting "ethnic" in scare quotes because although obviously Italian, French, Irish, English are ethnicities, I'm interested in Portuguese, Mexican (as opposed to Tex-Mex), Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and whatever else might be good out there. Hole in the wall is totally fine. I know the pickings are slim but is this a completely lost cause?
Thanks!

Lacking a "go-to" restaurant

I second Eastern Standard. I always sit at the bar and it's 100% true that the bartenders remember you very quickly and are extremely accommodating (and it doesn't hurt that the drinks are second to none). The menu is extensive enough that you won't be bored...though you'll quickly find some favorites. There are other places I like just fine for weekly visits but none can match ES for the consistent warmth of their service.

Looking for Glasses with Cowgirls

RH just launched a line of glassware (and other tabletop stuff). Definitely not in the printed-with-a-cowgirl style of things!

Best Whole Foods in Boston Area

I like the one in Hingham best, but am content with any of them (the "new" Wellesley store, Newtonville, Winchester, even River St by Mem Drive) - wherever I happen to be running errands - just so long as I can avoid my closest store: the dreaded Charles River Plaza location in Beacon Hill. So tiny, so crowded, the parking lot is a beast to get into and out of, and maybe it's the cramped quarters but the patrons seem crabbier than elsewhere. I can hardly wait for the Charlestown location to open (which I guess will be soon because there was just a job fair) - so I never have to set foot in the Beacon Hill store again.

Are there any hidden gems on the South Shore?

It's a bit further south than you were thinking but I really like the Rye Tavern in Plymouth (exit 3). Very pleasant atmosphere, especially outside in the nice weather. The menu changes seasonally (they have their own vegetable and herb garden) but if the ribs are on the menu, I always get those. Also, their Stagecoach cocktail is really good. I like the Blue Eyed Crab too, but it feels somewhat more casual to me. (Not that the Rye Tavern is fancy, but to me it feels a little nicer.)

Ramps 2013

I saw them at the Hingham Whole Foods yesterday. Looked good!

Inexpensive pre-theater dinner near Calderwood in So End?

+1 for Vejigantes. Totally different and delicious.

Who's cooking at Clio

I had dinner there last week and was very disappointed in the experience. (I hadn't eaten there in a couple of years.) The menu looks so promising, with lots of usual flavors like birch and juniper. The actual dishes, however, were just a cacaphony of elements, with too many ingredients on the plate to even be able to taste each one or to have a sense of how they might work to complement each other. Oddly, despite the fact that the menu tends to list a half dozen ingredients for most of the dishes, there were also some dishes where very strong flavors/ingredients (such as capers) weren't even mentioned in the descriptions at all and came as a complete surprise when the food arrived on the table. I feel like the kitchen would do better to scale WAY back in terms of the number of different things they're putting on each plate. FWIW, for mains we had the buttermilk braised chicken, which had a nice texture but nothing more (the oak gnocci were two or three Tic Tac sized things that tasted of nothing in particular); the butter braised lobster which was sitting on a bed of greens that just tasted off/rancid to my palate and therefore inedible. The foie gras laquee and the fish crudo appetizers were fine but unremarkable for the price. My favorite thing was the birch ice cream that accompanied one of the desserts. Honestly, I would have been happier with just that, in a bowl, and scrap the rest of the tortured production. I won't be going back I am a bit embarrassed to have brought our guests there.