donlan's Profile

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searching for great ginger ale

I bought some Bruce Cost at H-Mart tonight. Turns out I've had it before, at Petsi Pie, where they sell it by the bottle.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Jul 17, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

searching for great ginger ale

And where does one find Bruce Cost?

Jul 13, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

searching for great ginger ale

I don't like the taste of HFCS (yes I can tell the difference), hence my preference to steer away from it.

Jul 13, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

searching for great ginger ale

I recently returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, where I drank a ginger ale from a small company called Thomas Kemper. It was as perfect a ginger ale as I've ever had: plenty of ginger, not sour or acidic, flavored with cane sugar (not high fructose corn syrup).

After some research, I've found I can't get Thomas Kemper here in the Boston area. I have sampled several non-HFCS ginger ale options (Whole Foods house brand, Reed's Ginger Ale and Reed's Ginger Beer) but have yet to find one that is as good.

Does anyone have any suggestions of good ginger ale? I live in Cambridge and can't travel to the burbs (no transportation).

Jul 13, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

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

The store on Route 1 in Saugus is "Amanda's Union Jack", and it's in Peabody (134 Newbury Street, aka Route 1), not Saugus.

I've also found Batchelors Marrowfat Peas at Star Market/Shaws in the past in the Irish or English import aisle.

Jul 04, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Best brunch option in Beacon Hill

I'll agree, the Beacon Hill Inn & Bistro does a nice brunch, and they take reservations. Don't just go based on what's on OpenTable. If you can't find anything on OpenTable, call them directly. They hold tables back.

Jul 04, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Lunch near the Peabody Essex Museum?

I've eaten at the Garden Cafe right in the museum before and had a nice meal. Check out their menu online, but I seem to remember them having several good veggie options.

Mar 28, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Jammie Dodgers

Kiki's market and Fanieul Street Market, both in Brighton, are good bets. They each carry a good range of English/Irish groceries.

Feb 22, 2014
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Surprisingly good/bad coffee

Petsi Pies serves a good cup of coffee.

Chobani yogurt at Whole Foods no more

I was away before Christmas, perhaps I missed the news coverage.

I'll have to try some other yogurts, it seems. However, I'll really miss Chobani.

Jan 04, 2014
donlan in Chains

Paramount and Trident alternatives

"Just this morning I paid about $40 for breakfast for two which was neither really good nor really filling."

Given the size of the pancakes at The Paramount, this surprises me. I can't leave there without feeling like I'll never need to eat again, at least not without being very careful about what I order. And I can't remember the last time I paid more than $20 for breakfast for two (pancakes, sausage, eggs, coffee).

We did this topic a little while ago and you may want to consult the thread "best pancakes in the Boston area":

Chobani yogurt at Whole Foods no more

I went to Whole Foods today, as I do most weekends, only to find my favourite Chobani yogurt missing from the dairy section. It wasn't just that some flavours were missing, the entire selection of Chobani was gone.

After shopping (sans yogurt purchase), I asked at the customer service desk, only to find that Whole Foods has stopped carrying Chobani altogether. The buyer I spoke with did not know why, but promised to have a manager call me. He also offered to special order me a case of what I wanted (I took him up on his kind offer).

It seems odd to me that Whole Foods would stop carrying arguably the most popular Greek yogurt option available.

Jan 04, 2014
donlan in Chains

Petsi Pies new (proposed) location in East Cambridge

Article from the Harvard Crimson:


Nov 01, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Petsi Pies new (proposed) location in East Cambridge

There's a posting on the Cambridge city website for a licensing hearing stating that Petsi Pie wants to open a location seating 15-20 people at 441 Cambridge Street. Does anyone know if this will be a cafe (similar to Putnam Ave) or something closer to their Beacon Street location? I don't know when they will get kicked out of Putnam Ave (still annoyed with Darwin's about that).

Oct 31, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Best cheesecakes (or chocolate cakes) in Boston Area?

7 ate 9 bakery makes fantastic cheesecake. Sold at farmer's markets and you can also pick up in Winchester.


Oct 15, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Flour Bakery and Cafe Coming to Cambridge

"how do you do it fairly? and more importantly, what do you do if the customer calls you out for trying to boot them but not others (whom you may or may not know have been loitering as well)"

Flour has people walking the floor all the time, wiping down tables, clearing trash. They know who is loitering and who isn't.

"what's the likelihood the scene will escalate, getting the attention of a lot of customers, which in turn may leave a lot more customers with a negative impression of the restaurant than the handful who noticed the loitering"

What about those of us who get annoyed by the loiterers and don't want to return?

"personally, i'm all about 'nudge' systems that would encourage the customer to leave."

Flour could do what other places do and shut off their WiFi during peak times. Of course that doesn't help if you have a cell modem.

"train servers to actually be super attentive and ask if they need anythign to make them feel guilty."

The best option yet!

If it had been 6 in the evening, when flour is quiet, I wouldn't have quibbled. But taking up a table when there was a line nearly out the door and many people roaming for seats was too much. Heck, she could have sat at the bar facing Mass Ave and only taken up one seat, but instead she occupied a table taking up four chairs.

Sep 26, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Flour Bakery and Cafe Coming to Cambridge

I was at flour3 the other day at peak time (lunchtime). No seats to be had, line out the door. Woman not eating or drinking, typing on her laptop, taking up valuable table space. I spoke to a staff person who says there is "nothing" they can do about people who hog tables. Note that flour does have signs posted asking people not to do this (and the woman was sitting immediately next to one).

I was disappointed and it made me want to eat there less (and I probably eat there once a week). Not the woman's behaviour, while that was unacceptable, but the fact that the staff wouldn't do anything about it.

Sep 25, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Lunch near Wenham Museum

I went to the Wenham Tea House for lunch today, and had a fantastic experience, made even better by the server (name of Julie). The food was terrific as always. The menu isn't too broad, but my dining companion and I each found something we enjoyed.

We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed both our food and surroundings.

Sep 14, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Round Table for 10 in Boston or Cambridge

Try Royal East on Main Street in Cambridge. They have large round tables, with built in lazy susans for sharing Chinese dishes.

Sep 01, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Searching for a good burrito

Try Tango Mango in Newton Center. Their burritos are far from "dry".


Aug 25, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Wenham Tea House: not just for breakfast/brunch

Wenham Tea House's breakfast/brunch is fantastic (and has been commented on before), but don't overlook their Friday night dinner offerings.

The excellent food included a crab cake (real crab) with a small salad, very well prepared salmon, pan seared scallops, and topped off with Apple Pie and ice cream.

The menu changes once every week or two, but you can find the latest posted at: http://www.wenhamteahouse.com/dinner.php

Price $39 per person, not counting drinks or gratuities. The service was fantastic (as expected, given experience with past visits).

Had the best time out in quite a while and plan to go back for dinner there again in a few weeks. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

Aug 16, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

cake, cake, cake! (help needed to find my perfect b-day cake).

Swiss Bakers (in Allston and Reading) makes a Strawberry Cake that might fit the bill:

Aug 04, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

disappointed by Blue Ginger

I went on an annual trip to Blue Ginger today, with a couple of loved ones, and found the experience leaving something to be desired.

The restaurant was not busy when we arrived but by the time we left, about an hour later, about half of the tables were filled. Still, service was erratic at best, downright lacking at worst. Condiments that were requested took ages to arrive. Water glasses went unfilled. The server was unwilling to ask the kitchen to make anything unusual (specifically Ming's Bings, which we've had previously at lunch when the server asked).

The menu looked downright different from the options listed online (the server said the online menu was their winter offering. Hint to Ming: people look at your online menu for a reason. Keep it current, please).

The food itself was good, which means the kitchen is doing their job. Shame that the wait staff can't keep up.

We tipped well (we always do), but I can't see us making this trip again next year.

Jul 19, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Lunch near Wenham Museum

I see kids at the Wenham Tea House frequently. Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed.

Jul 13, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Almond Croissants, again

I enjoy almond croissants from Swiss Bakers in Allston and Reading.

May 20, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area


Whole Foods has a great salad bar, specifically the one at Charles River Plaza near MGH.

Flour has great salad options, and they will also turn any of their fantastic sandwiches into salads (yes, a BLT sandwich does make a delicious salad!). They're far from inexpensive, but a tasty treat occasionally.

May 15, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

North shore brunch

I love brunch at the Wenham Tea House, but not sure if they can handle a big of a group. Still, definitely worth calling!

Apr 18, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

Bridal Shower location ideas?

Wenham Tea House has lovely space and can be rented for events like bridal showers. I've eaten breakfast/brunch there many times but have also sampled their tea selections. Their food is top notch.


Apr 07, 2013
donlan in Southern New England

Easter Candy Jackpot

I went to Winfrey's in Rowley today (Easter Sunday - they were open!) and got some really tasty chocolate treats. There were still lots of bunnies left to buy; not sure if they discount.

Their prices are very reasonable and their chocolate is top notch.

Mar 31, 2013
donlan in Greater Boston Area

New Swiss Bakers in Allston

Western Ave itself does not have much to make it appealing as a destination. The streetscape is terrible. Swiss Bakers is a worthy addition, and I hope to see more interesting things there in the future.

When I went, I saw no customers arriving by foot. All visited by car, and one by bus. Small sample size, I'll admit.