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kf2vv's Profile

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Davis Square bummer!

I adore Tenoch, but also appreciate the comments above about the local market--I'd be happy were they to keep being themselves, but it seems at least half likely they'll slide into something like a rebranded Anna's because that's what the market wants. (Sorta like the slow slide into mediocrity of the branch of Tacos Lupita down at the other end of Elm.)

I also like The Shawarma Place for a quick bite (and it's the only food I've actually eaten in Davis in eons), but neither of those is anything like a "nice evening out" kind of place.

Personally, if I wanted a dinner-and-a-movie kinda date in the area I'd head for Kendall Cinema and then walk over to Oleana, though the Brattle Theater and any number of Harvard-area dining options would also work. (The problem with Harvard Square this time of year is that between returning students and fall tourist season pretty much everything is oversubscribed.)

Sep 13, 2014
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Strip T's

Not to be a complete contrarian, but I really don't think the attention to detail has been there for months.

Once upon a time I think they were *really* busting their ass to get everything perfect. Even when something missed with me, my reaction was almost always "that doesn't quite work for me, but wow it was executed well."

That's a heck of a lot of work to keep up, and they're hot and trendy with a full reservation book. My impression is that these days when the fish comes out of the fryer NQR or a nice cut of meat gets an uneven grilling job, it doesn't get tossed, it gets plated, and while once upon a time the *mildest* possibly-unhappy comment would get a motivated and interested response, I've more recently had rather more specific complaints blown off with the bored waitstaff classic "dunno, that's the way it comes" and sent an almost-untouched portion to the garbage with nary a comment.

For me it's gone from "must eat there weekly" to "occasional tasty lunch spot". Still a very tasty lunch, but I think the dinner experiments have gotten overambitious for the work they put into them.

Oct 22, 2013
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Moved from North End to North Andover....Need help please.

Wow, no love yet for Mad Maggie's?! It's an ice cream place on 125, across from the airport and Butcher Boy. I find their base pretty good and their flavors good-to-exceptional. (In particular their coffee flavors actually have enough coffee, and their black raspberry variations are all standouts.)

I realize ice cream is a somewhat (hah!) contentious topic, but they're worth a look. Website is at ; the hours posted online aren't always current, though the flavor rundown is interesting reading.

Dec 24, 2011
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Looking for good lattes in greater Boston - like in Seattle

I'll second Voltage. (The owner used to work at Victrola, which you might have guessed from the name.) They're a bit on the weird and experimental side, but I'd call it the only really reliable latte in the area.

Oct 04, 2011
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Seeking breakfast venue in Woburn ... (prior to a pitstop @ Woburn Mall)

There's an all-day breakfast place towards the south end of the middle of Wilmington (next town north from Woburn) called As Good as it Gets, in the strip mall where 129 merges with 38. I end up there now and then and find the food to be pretty good, and shockingly good for what's otherwise pretty close to a food wasteland. (Horrible coffee, though.) It also might be a feature (depending on how early EARLY is) that they open at 6. Menus etc. are at

I'd head for AGAIG before Panera by a long shot, though it's less convenient; it's maybe 8-10 minutes up 38 from I-95, or from Logan just take I-93 to 129. (There are various sneaky ways to get between the Woburn Mall and 38, but just taking 95/128 for an exit wins for being painless and obvious.)

That said, as you drive up 93 you're also just a few minutes from the Somerville standbys that everyone loves to hate, or at least complain about, and early on a weekday you should have your pick of them without the lines and hassle.

Jan 31, 2011
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Seeking steak in Cambridge

If you're dead-set on staying in Cambridge, Frank's Steakhouse at 2310 Mass. Ave. might be worth a look. I've had some quite good steaks there as well as some OK ones. I'm not a regular (mostly I cook my own steaks at home), but if I'm out with a group that wants steak there are worse options.

Nov 08, 2010
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Santarpio's Peabody

Since I haven't seen this info anywhere at all (including either of the newspaper reviews, which seems quite lame on the part of the authors): their phone number is 978 535 1811, and they're open (at least for now) until 11pm nightly. Presumably that'll make it onto eventually, but not yet.

It's not totally straightforward to get to from 128/I-95 since the ramps onto US 1 north bypass Santarpio's, but if you take the left fork to Dearborn Rd. (partway down that ramp) you can turn left on Dearborn and then their parking lot will be on the right just before you get to 1.

Oct 04, 2010
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Friendly Toast Revisited

I was surprised by that comment as well. I've had decent food at the Cambridge location, but the service has been the model of stunning incompetence beyond all expectation.

Note that I'm there in the evenings; the mornings sound a bit better, service-wise. I'm at the Portsmouth location more frequently and at all hours and it doesn't suffer like this.

When I first saw this I was afraid the Cambridge venture would fail and take down the Portsmouth location with it. I hope I'm wrong, but the situation doesn't sound great. (I'm also surprised by the owners paying what seemed to be an optional $80k for upgrades instead of moving out of the current Portsmouth spot, since they've moved a couple of times before and are still going strong, but I don't know the business at all, and maybe the cost of moving would be far higher.)

Nov 10, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

I'm embarrassed as a chowhound that I have never eaten ...

La Mama's in Allston (yes, the divey pizza place on the corner) actually makes a really awesome chacarero and is open late; no need to go downtown unless you want it from the capital-C Chacarero stand.

I actually think La Mama's does a better job than the canonical Chacarero (which I think has gone downhill), but I'll eat either with great happiness.

May 27, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Late-night dessert in Harvard Sq.? (And Border Cafe Question)

Algiers (on Brattle across from the end of Church) makes some nice desserts and is open until fairly late. (The hours seem to be a bit indeterminate but run until midnight at least sometimes.) I'm a fan of their dessert crepes.

Their everything else is pretty good, too. I used to eat there a fair bit but their prices went up a chunk recently to the point where it feels like a bad value. (Not horrible, and I still go back, but I no longer seek it out.)

I'll also second Pamplona, but their hours are even more random if generally later.

May 27, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

the friendly toast opening in cambridge!

I think the place is definitely for me (since at this point, I know most of the people who work there and I've been going there quite frequently through the last couple of incarnations of the place), but it's not without problems. Cleanliness is one of them: on, say, Saturday afternoon after they've been slammed by the brunch rush, the accumulation of glop on the floor can get ankle-deep. (Still more of an aesthetic issue than anything, and I still eat there.) Money is the other: there have also been a couple of recent price hikes, to the point where it feels like a pretty bad value for the dining dollar.

They still, however, put together awesome specials that manage to combine incredibly unlikely ingredients into something completely awesome. That's why I keep going back.

Another dirty anecdote: there was one waitress a while back who habitually carried drinks not with her hand around the cups but with her hand pinching the top edge of the cup, thus with half her hand in your drink. That was a bit much for me, but she also got the boot really fast.

Feb 19, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Bad experience at Grendel's Den

Lots of longstanding institutions have people who remember it from back in the day who will always be staunch defenders. I think there's at least some of that going on here, since I also used to be a regular there, I've had a bunch of awesome meals there, and I retain a strange fondness for it. That said, every encounter I've had with their food for the last ten or fifteen years has basically sucked.

I'd also head for Charlie's. (Or maybe Bartley's, depending on time of day and mood.)

Feb 15, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Elsie's Deli in Cambridge?

Certainly in their final years it was "Elsie's Roast Beef", though I could easily believe it changed over time. (I've still got one of their 80's-vintage menus around someplace; I'll scan it and post it here if I can find it.)

Feb 15, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

Lechmere T Stop

The Snackbar, up at 691 Cambridge, is rather lowbrow (or, as another poster here put it, "looks like a dump") but serves some excellent Portugese fare as well as standard "sub shop" type stuff. My menu of unknown vintage says they're closed on Sundays, but I'm pretty sure I've eaten there on a Sunday so I'm not sure what to believe; definitely call ahead if it's of interest. It's a small bit of a walk; normally I wouldn't even mention it, but in tomorrow morning's snow it might be a lousy trip even if they are open.

There's a basic sub-and-pizza shop, Skampa, much closer to Lechmere on Cambridge. (Corner of 5th.) I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but the calzones are pretty good, and it's probably a better bet than anything in the mall if you just want a bite.

Finally, Royal Pastry, even further up Cambridge, is open 8-3 on Sundays and has awesome baked goods. See for more on them. (I would and have gone out of my way for both Royal and the Snackbar.)

Jan 10, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area

RIP: Eats and Treats (Allston)

Eats and Treats, Allston purveyors of crepes, coffee, and smoothies (all pretty good) has gone out of business. I'm a bit surprised it hasn't already been mentioned here that I've seen, but they folded back in December sometime.

The door says "CLOSED", and they're pretty clearly renovating for some kind of new restaurant, but what, I don't know.

That's, what, Eats and Treats, Reef Cafe, and Sumi, all in the last year? I know it's a high-turnover neighborhood, but E&T was always a solid option and seemed like it was going to work out. Better than the sometimes-awesome-sometimes-sucky-always-with-loud-TV Reef and the obscure-but-super-tasty-but-doomed-without-a-booze-license Sumi. What's next, Yoma or Gitlo's?

Jan 05, 2009
kf2vv in Greater Boston Area