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three nights in boston -- please help, lots of questions! (warning--long post)

I would temper your expectation about the Boston-area brewery tours. In my opinion, NOTHING comes even close to the Guinness tour if only in terms of sheer scale.

1 day ago
digga in Greater Boston Area

three nights in boston -- please help, lots of questions! (warning--long post)

MoS does have a TV and Asgard has multiple TVs.

1 day ago
digga in Greater Boston Area

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Love all the friendly banter that this thread has generated. By all means, keep your suggestions coming! Quick update - we've decided to go to Salt Spring Island after all. We want to check out the Gulf Islands and out of time considerations, it just seemed that SSI would be most convenient. We lucked out and found a cottage for Friday and Saturday nights on Airbnb. Several of the places that we're staying at have kitchens, or in the case of places like Fairburn Farmstay, provide breakfasts. I can't wait to get my hands on the great produce and fresh seafood! Hubby's looking forward to great local beer, too.

PS I had to chuckle at the post re: Boston traffic. As someone who is fortunate enough to bicycle to work everyday, even I find the traffic here horrifying!

Jul 12, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Funny, before I even saw your post, Puffin3, I said to my hubby, "I bet SSI may resemble Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket." We have decided to skip SSI since we are trying to get away from it all, not find more civilization! Tried to plan a trip to either Galiano or Saturna, but unfortunately, logistically, we think it's going to take too long to reach either island (we have a total of only 7 or 8 days on the island).

Love your fishing anecdote, by the way.

The recommendations from everyone else have been fantastic. We can't wait to take you all up on as many as possible!

Jul 07, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

BERKSHIRE eats ( staying near Hancock Ma)

We also love Public - during the last Solid Sound Festival, I think we went 3 times. For breakfast, I adore Brewhaha, which is basically right next doors to Public. I always get a tofu something-or-other bagel sandwich and devour it.

Jul 06, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Guys - This is great info! Just last night, based on everyone's advice, we found a great-looking place in Esquimalt on Airbnb that we plan to use as our home base while we explore the eastern end of the island, with a stopover on Salt Spring Island for a couple of nights. Then we'll head west - can't wait to see Pacific Rim Reserve.

Jul 06, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Where oh where to get "mushy peas"???

Seen them, but not tried them, at KO Pies in East Boston. They are Aussie, not British - I don't know if the 2 styles differ much. Should be a great day to check them out, especially with World Cup on.

Jul 05, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Boston 'hound here, looking for towns on Vancouver Island for food (and, of course, great scenery wouldn't hurt) that are passed over in favor of places like Tofino and Victoria (both of which we will visit). We'll be there with a car the second half of July and our itinerary is wide-open, except for the Burrard Hotel in Vancouver when we first land and a place in Ucluelet (which can be changed, of course). We're not into fussy, fancy food - guess we're more casual/New England clam shack/pub types. Any suggestions would be much appreciated (and I make it a habit of reporting back, wherever our travels have taken us). Thanks!

Jul 04, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Thai E-sarn

Most excellent! Though we've lived for about 3 years within walking distance, we only recently tried it and were pleasantly surprised! We enjoyed the papaya salad (we asked for spicy and it was fairly so) and the pla rad prik (fried fish filets in a spicy garlick-y sauce). We haven't been back yet, but between Szechuan's Dumpling and Thai E-Sarn, we're pretty happy with our Asian dining choices in our tiny corner of the world.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

Bytes was one of my favorite lunch options. Tiny take-out only joint run by a Senegalese man, so often, there would be a West African entree option (always with meat, so I never tried them but they looked delicious).The falafel with spicy sauce was my go-to for years.

Mulan, while awesome, is too far to walk. When we wanted to get our Mulan fix, someone would drive us. If you ride a bike to work, as I did, that will definitely broaden your horizons.

And, of course, Miracle is excellent for lunch, though it, too, gets tres crowded.

Baraka is good, but the service is S-L-O-W. Don't go when you have a 1 pm meeting. Kind of a long walk from your locale.

I never tried 4 Burgers, but that's another option, towards Harvard. I also like Life Alive a lot.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

Definitely in my top 5 choices for lunch when I worked in the area. Gotta get there early, though, since it gets crazy busy and the place is "cozy" (read "tiny"). We used to show up right around 11:45-ish and get seated right away.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

Love Veggie Galaxy for lunch.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Table, Barrington RI

I haven't been, but it sounds right up my alley (your wonderful descriptions don't hurt, either!). We're down East Bay way as often as we can during the summer...we'll try to resist the call of Blount's clam shack truck next time to check out Table!

Jul 01, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Suggestions for cold, asian style, noodles?

There's a Korean cold noodle soup that you might like, called "nyaeng myun" that is usually offered only in the summertime. Noodles are normally buckwheat or glass noodle-style. Toppings will vary from veggies to slices of Asian pear, hard-boiled egg, and sometimes beef. The broth is cold and there will sometimes be ice cubes floating around in there. It is tangy and vinegary. I don't know who in Boston makes their own broth - I bet most will be made from an instant soup stock (lots of MSG, if you care about that sort of thing). It's one of my favorite dishes!

Jun 26, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

One lunch in Camden

Long Grain for excellent, un-Westernized Thai. Not outside, but an intimate, small, sunny room.

Jun 19, 2014
digga in Northern New England

PVD/RI * June '14 * Open/Closed/Coming Soon

Garris - I haven't lived in PVD in almost 10 years but I always try to keep up with the Rhody posts. Thanks for helping to keep us "expats" in the loop. I hope to see you on the Boston board (which unfortunately, I find much less friendly than the Southern NE board due to some vocal and negative voices). Still, it'll be nice to see a friendly face and hope you'll join in the conversation. Rhody will miss you!

Lately our favorite places in "Boston" have been on the North Shore and even further north. Depending on where you are living, we had a tasty meal at Lobsta Land in Gloucester last weekend (good for kiddos, too).

Just saw RhodyRedHen's earlier post about Sofra. Following on the Turkish tip, Istanbu'lu in Somerville is highly regarded (I admit, I haven't tried it yet) and might be easier to get into, with or without kids.

Jun 18, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Moving to Medford . . . What are the local haunts?

If you mean the Regina Station Landing location (not West Medford), it is pretty good. Heads above Allston, which is the only other one we've tried outside the North End.

Jun 16, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Portsmouth and area report (and $4.99 lobster roll!)

Fun read, as usual J!

Just curious - have you ever tried Warren's Lobster House just across the bridge in Kittery (you can see it from Bow St)? Not much chatter about it. We were considering it next time we're in the area.

EDIT: Ugh...I just found one thread. Sounds bloody awful. Never mind!

Jun 16, 2014
digga in Northern New England

Lobsta Land, 6/15/2014

Yes, photo was taken seconds prior to devouring.

Jun 15, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lobsta Land, 6/15/2014

We had plans to hit the Lobster Pool in Rockport today for lunch and we were foiled...by filming of the Johnny Depp Whitey Bulger pic! We did a drive-by and knew something was amiss when we saw catering set up underneath a tent and lots of film-types (whatever that is) hanging out in front. The expressions on our faces must have been quite amusing to them (although, by 2 pm on this fantastic day, we must have been the bazillionth car of disappointed but curious faces go by).

We headed to Lobsta Land in Gloucester, which I have been wanting to try for some time. We were so pleased that we did! They were still jammed around 2:15 pm but we found 2 seats right in front of the Sox game at the bar, where we had friendly, apologetic (for any delays) service. I didn't expect the nice view out back. B was completely happy with the calamari that he started with, a lobster roll that was overflowing with lobster, and Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale on draft. The roll was a bit too big for his taste, but it was buttery and grilled. I took a bite and realized that it was no ordinary hot dog roll, but Portuguese sweet roll style. Crisp fries and cole slaw on the side. My littlenecks with fettuccine was right up my alley. I LOVE linguine and clams and this was one of the better renditions in recent memory. Plentiful clams (I didn't count), not fresh pasta, but cooked perfectly al dente, and the brothy sauce was very umami, with small cubes of smoky pork throughout (I ate around those and fed some to B as I don't eat pork but I did try one and confirmed that it was delicious) and just a touch spicy. A bit of parsley would have been welcome, as I like the brightness it brings to this dish, but I was completely satisfied. I ate about half and we'll be adding more pasta to soak up that wonderful sauce. We used bits of the lobster roll bun to soak up some of the sauce as well. Bartender recommended the Portuguese haddock for next time. And there will be a next time.

Jun 15, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

June 2014 Farmers' Markets, Farm Stands, CSA updates

Arlington opened yesterday and was in full swing. I was setting my bar low, expecting slim pickings and was pleasantly surprised. Tons of greens, as everyone reports, but lots of variety of other stuff, all of which looked great. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about opening day and had loaded up on produce at Whole Foods a couple of days prior. Salad greens from Dick's Market Garden are delightfully crunchy in salad today and a great deal at $6 for 3 substantial mix-and-match heads. I bought a Centennial hops plant from Grateful Farm (I'd been wanting to plant one for ages). Most vendors from last season were there, including one new "grow your own mushrooms in a box" vendor. Well-attended and lively with a bluegrass-y duo providing the backdrop. Looking forward to seeing the Hmong farmers, whose greens I salivate over.

Jun 12, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Weekend report - Ogunquit-Kennebunks

Had a great weekend this past one - weather couldn't have been better and we checked out all new-to-us places. We've been to OGT-Kennbunks a gazillion times, but we're almost always on our way to Portland. Glad we slowed down to enjoy this neck of the woods. Breakfasts were always eaten-in at our fantastic little cottage in the woods that we found on-line at the last minute.

Fri night - Late dinner after driving up from Boston at Cornerstone in OGT. Bottom line - do not go for the food. Patio for drinks would be nice but the pizza, their specialty, was an abomination.

Sat lunch - Goldthwaite's on Biddeford Pool was wonderful. My haddock tacos were adequate (although the fish was quite fresh) but B's small but rich lobster roll was a tasty morsel. Sweet lobster, a very buttery and crispy roll (calling hound Joanie!) and little-to-no mayo, which is our preference. We also got a huge order of parmesan fries which were fried to perfection. Scenery couldn't be beat. The only thing B was missing was a cold beer (you are not allowed to drink on the premises) but he was still smiling ear-to-ear.

Afterwards, we stopped at Rabelais (my first time to the Biddeford location) where I bought Bayless' "Everyday Mexican," had a nice conversation with Daniel, one of the owners. He raved about Palace Diner, which I have read about many times. We did a drive-by since they were between lunch and dinner services. Man, it is tinier than even the photos depict! I instantly fell in love!

Sat happy hour - Spent a lovely hour or so on the front porch of the Tides hotel in K'bunkport after a long walk on big and beautiful Fortunes Rocks beach (we had no idea such a beach existed in Maine!). What a nice place to while away the golden hour. We accidentally just caught the end of happy hour - $3 beers and some edamame with plenty of soy and ginger.

Sat dinner - The Ramp on Cape Porpoise. Fun, raucous little place. Sports memorabilia was out of control in the best way! We opted to eat in the tiny waiting area out back (check out all the basketball nets hanging from the ceiling) which was perfect for us. Another lobster roll for B (I preferred the Goldthwaite's version), while I went with the seafood stew. The stew was ok, not great. The broth lacked oomph and there was one unopened clam (there weren't that many to begin with and that kind of things tells me that the kitchen is not paying attention). Still, we could overlook these things because we enjoyed the atmosphere and the sunset right in front of us.

Sun lunch - We stopped by Goose Rocks beach (Babs Bush sighting!) and decided to try Mabel's in K'bunk. We loved it! I devoured my Maine crab roll (sweet! and nice toasty roll) and B did the same with his half-crab half-lobster salad. The salad was huge! Healthy servings of crab and lobster roll fillings on top of some dark healthy-looking salad greens, with a horseradish dressing on the side (we dipped my fries in there...another good fry job). We chatted with our neighbors, who were visiting from Austin TX (B is a Longhorn) and two of the waitstaff also visit Austin often so there was a lot of conversation about BBQ, like Franklin and the Salt Lick.

One last food-related celebrity sighting on our way home - Lydia Shire. I went up to say hello and she was very gracious and we chatted for a while. She had just been at Scampo the night before - it's nice to know that well-known chefs still actually visit their kitchens and work.

Friendly unpretentious service at every venue.

Places we want to hit next time - the Wayfarer, Nunan's, Palace Diner.

Thanks again Maine!

Jun 11, 2014
digga in Northern New England
3

Newport, RI foodie restaurant suggestion

oops...I meant "full belly."

Jun 09, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Newport, RI foodie restaurant suggestion

Thanks for reporting back! I wasn't able to chime in with recommendations but you were well taken care of by the other 'hounds.

One quibble - "fried belly clam strips" is an oxymoron. If this were the Boston board, you would have gotten an earful by now. LOL! So which ones did you order (please say fully belly). No offense, but I find strips to be an abomination. To each her own, though!

Jun 09, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Bars in Manila that may show Stanley Cup Finals?

I had to post again...It was neither in Singapore nor Malaysia that we hit up a TGIF...it was Santiago de Chile! I asked my partner-in-crime tonight, we struggled a bit to remember and then, of course, realized that since we watched the game live, it had to have been in the same hemisphere! LOL! Sorry for the misinformation. Hope you and Eileen0812 find a place to watch the finals (personally, it's tough for me to watch since the Bruins were eliminated).

Jun 04, 2014
digga in China & Southeast Asia

Bars in Manila that may show Stanley Cup Finals?

If worse comes to worse, you could always seek out a TGI Fridays! I can't remember if we were in Singapore or Malaysia, but there was a New England Pats game we wanted to see and sure enough, there was MNF with the audio in TGIF! I've never even stepped into one here in the States! LOL!

Jun 04, 2014
digga in China & Southeast Asia

Bars in Manila that may show Stanley Cup Finals?

I would hit a bar in one of the big Western hotel chains. We stayed at the Hotel Manila in January but I can't remember if there was a TV in the bar...I think you'd be better off skipping the Asian hotels.

Jun 03, 2014
digga in China & Southeast Asia

Recent visit to Hanoi, Vietnam - Report

Most excellent report, Dave! Definitely brought back great Hanoi memories for me. In your list, I've only been to Cha Ca La Vong. We found it to be very un-touristy (though most reports are to the contrary). We felt almost like the only non-Vietnamese in the place and most people seemed like tough-labor types, coming straight from a hard day of work. What a volcanically-hot affair that was, but I loved the new-to-me flavors (B was not as much as of a fan as I, but then again, he conceded it could have been the flaming burners underneath the pot).

Jun 03, 2014
digga in China & Southeast Asia

Narragansett/Del's Lemonade Shandy in Boston

Menotomy Wine in Arlington and the big liquor store next to Whole Foods Fresh Pond both stocked it right before Memorial Day.

We picked up some at room temp for my (poor) brother who lives in NYC but is a native Rhode Islander to take home with him. He was all smiles.

And, yes, it is quite refreshing!

Jun 01, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Elegant Woburn-area lunch?

In that same vein, has anyone tried Artistry on the Green located in the newish inn in Lexington? I considered bringing my parents there for a nicer lunch.

How about an early dinner at Il Casale, now open in Lex Center? I like the space but it's on the casual side.

I can't think of a single nice-ish place in Woburn or Burlington (the Cafe Escadrille TV ads that used to run once in a while made us giggle). It's someplace we'd try out of sheer irony, kind of like trying out all the "Grilles" in Burlington.

Jun 01, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area