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March 31, 2009

...It's Official!

Oysters Dominic Armato

Originally, the plan was to spend two years in Baltimore and head back to Chicago. That didn't quite work out. Then, we were a heartbeat away from landing in Sacramento. That didn't quite happen either. A brief flirtation with Phoenix? Nuh-uh. So while it came out of left field at the last minute (and is one of the reasons it's been a little... um... quiet around here lately), I'm pleased to announce that come July, Skillet Doux will be relocating to Boston, Mass.

So while I rush around and try to cram in all of the Baltimore stuff I still haven't gotten around to in the last 21 months, let's get some Beantown intel flowing, people. Any Bostonians (Bostonites? Bostoners?) in the crowd? I am especially (though certainly not exclusively) interested in places that are open late, so that once the imminent Little Doux II has started sleeping through the night, I may resume my midnight chow outings.

Until then, more about Baltimore, some side trips, and I'm still trying to get caught up on the holiday backlog... sorry folks!

(P.S. Ugh... recycled photo. And not especially Boston-esque, either. I'll amend that as soon as I'm back home and have access to the photo library. Speaking of which, writing and photos from New Orleans shortly! So far? Mother's = eh. Cochon = pleasantly porky. Domilise's = woot! Dick & Jenny's = BOO-yah! And that's officially the last time you'll ever see me use "boo-yah" in a culinary context. Or any context, hopefully.)

(P.P.S. I just noticed the date. No, this is not a joke. And if it were, it'd be a pretty pointless one. We're actually moving to Boston in July.)


Welcome to the 'hood! Please keep in touch and let us know when you land in Boston.

I highly recommend Clio http://www.cliorestaurant.com/
I ate there a few months ago and it was excellent. If you have a few hours to eat try the 14 course tasting menu, it was a lot of fun and a good chance to see some of the things that the chef, Ken Oringer, is doing there.

Been here my whole life...Boston (and the surrounding suburbs) has a decent selection of restaurants. Here's a varied mix of a few standouts IMO:

Mare - Seafood (North End)
Dok Bua - Thai (Brookline)
Blue Ginger - Ming Tsai's East meets West (Wellesley)
Woodman's - Fried Seafood (Essex)
Redbone's - BBQ (Somerville)
Delfino - Italian (Roslindale)

For late night eating, there's always Chinatown (I love East Ocean City for Hong Kong style Chinese) and in the South End there's Franklin Cafe (no reservations though and very small so I usually try to go on a non-weekend night, of course I've never tried going at midnight :) ).

As for a food recommendation in general, I looove Ten Tables. Their original location (having only 10 tables of course) is in Jamaica Plains, but they just opened up a spot in Cambridge too.


Good luck with the move!

we spent 8 months of last year in/around boston, for work! i second blue ginger, and also redbone's...

we liked summer winter, which is a) kind of unfortunately named, and b) kind of unfortunately located in the marriott in burlington, MA. our default no-thought eating out was legal seafood, because we lived a sneeze away from the burlington mall.

if you head up maine way, and you should, my favorite lunch ever in life was at karen's on-a-roll lobster roll truck on route 1 (east side of the road) between ogunquit and wells. we also loved joshua's in wells, and the bull-n-claw was the most fun old-school salad bar, surf-n-turf ever (plus: delicious blueberry martinis!).

we LOVED living in new england...and here's a little tip: a) it's true, no one there can drive, and b) in my experience, the default attitude of MA is belligerence. if YOU start out belligerent, as well, you'll get things done a lot faster. :)

While on the subject of onomatopoeia, I've always been partial to, "Woop woop woop woop woop woop!"

Congratulations on moving to Boston! Your official Red Sox Hat and Patriots jersey can be collected at Logan, along with the accompanying manual describing operation. Heh. Foodwise, I recommend Hungry Mother over by Kendal Square in Cambridge. Lots of good eats around there, actually. There is top notch Indian around Harvard Square (Cafe India and Tamarind) and excellent Thai at Porter. A little more pricey but very good is Central Square Kitchen (in Central square, shocking no one) and across from in Rendezvous. Not as big a fan of Red Bones as a lot of people here I guess, but there are not a lot of pure barbecue places around Boston soooo....

Also, I don't know how far the chain has spread, but there is this chain italian place called Bertucci's that is actually pretty good. The have these rolls that are so addictive (and baked fresh throughout the day) that the DEA has been seen sniffing around. Or they were just hungry. Either way, good stuff.

For barbecue, I'd recommend Blue Ribbon. Much better than Redbones in my opinion.

Seconding the Ten Tables recommendation. I'd also suggest Salts Restaurant.

I'm jealous! I love Boston!! I think it's very cool that you continue to relocate every so often and learn new foodways.

Before leaving Baltimore, will you please report on the Lake Trout Sandwich so popular among characters on The Wire? I've been to B'More numerous times and never seen one.

For lobster rolls I recommend Neptune Oyster, where they do a warm lobster roll with butter and brioche instead of mayo and hotdog bun.

I highly recommend O-Ya, which is a creative sushi restaurant. Even though it's pretty pricey, I suggest the Omasake tasting menu. The hamachi with banana pepper mousse is excellent as is there tartars served on home made potato chips. http://www.oyarestaurantboston.com/

Very cool, Dom! Boston is a great city; my best friend lives there. We've done a good bit of food exploration (although he lives out in Somerville so we focused around him more).

I definitely have to agree with the ten tables suggestion posted above. Top notch food stuffs!

Hope you guys have enjoyed Baltimore and all we've had to offer.

I lived in Boston for two years. It's a gorgeous city. The first thing that amazed me about it was how many people wore Red Sox caps there.

The absolute best restaurant in Boston is Mamma Maria in the North End (the Italian section). Gorgeous, gorgeous building, on a cobblestone square near Paul Revere's house. It's well worth going to.

And for dessert - my all-time favorite place in Boston has to be Mike's Pastry. Their cannolis are to DIE for. They're so dynamite. Get the ones with the chocolate chips on the ends.

Lastly, Todd English's Olives is in the shadow of the Bunker Hill memorial. That's also a really, really good restaurant.

My favorite place in all of Boston, after Mike's Pastry, is the Granary Burying Ground, which is just north of Boston Common. There, you can find the graves of Mother Goose, James Otis ("No taxation without representation!"), the victims of the Boston Massacre, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

Speaking of Samuel Adams - expect to see a lot of that there. The tour of the Samuel Adams brewery is free and I definitely recommend you take it.

Copley Square is great, too - the Boston Public Library is a beautiful building, and the John Hancock Tower is brilliant and gorgeous. The Globe Cafe, at Copley Square, is a good (if a little pricey) place to get lunch.

While I was ready to move out of Boston and make it to New York City, I definitely enjoyed the time I spent there. It has a lot of great qualities to it. I don't miss Boston that much (mostly because I've always wanted to be in New York anyway), I remember it fondly. You'll enjoy yourself tremendously, Dom.

Oh, two other places came to me:

Stephanie's on Newbury Street is a dynamite little place, and Wagamama, the London chain, has a restaurant at Fanueil Hall - worth checking out.

Oh, yay Boston! I lived there for two years, although I was in grad school at the time and so I didn't get to enjoy the city as much as I might have otherwise. But I just had to put in a plug for my absolute favorite restaurant in the area, Salts - it's in Cambridge, owned by a charming French couple. Their specialty is a whole roast duck, and they tend to run out but you can reserve a duck when you call to make a reservation. Alternatively, they have an amazing tasting menu that's better than the duck in warmer weather. I live in New York now, where there are plenty of fabulous restaurants, but I still miss Salts!

Hooray for Dom in Boston! I have lived here for five years and am certain you'll enjoy the local food scene. I'm very excited to read your reviews of Boston restaurants!

As for recommendations, my ABSOLUTE favorite restaurant in the area is Oleana. Chef Ana Sortun prepares incredible, seasonal, unusual fare, much of which is sourced from her husband's farm outside Boston. I have never had anything there that wasn't spectacular. She also has a small cafe/bakery called Sofra that's very good for desserts and breakfast treats.

I don't mean to sound sycophantic, but if you go to one restaurant in Boston, make it Oleana.

I'd also be curious to hear what you think about Hungry Mother. Boston blogs and foodies are absolutely in love with this place, and Barry Maiden was just named one of F&W's Chefs of 2009. But I found it completely mediocre at best.

Anyways, good luck with the move!

Love the blog. Always check it during Top Chef season!

I lived in Cambridge for three years. For cheap Indian, there's a place called Punjabi Dhaba in Inman Square. On the other end of the spectrum, Oleana is one of the most interesting, innovative and absolutely delicious restaurants I've ever eaten in anywhere (Middle Eastern/Turkish cuisine). Sibling Rivalry in the South End is great. And the burnt sugar ice cream at Christina's in Inman is unlike anything you've tasted!

Tina- you had mediocre food at Hungry Mother? Man, they must have had one terrible day in the kitchen. That really sucks, as I have had only good experiences with the place.

I want to second Oleana. Really good food, sadly I have only eaten there once.

I concur with all the congratulations. Boston's a great city. I live far, far from there (Honolulu), but a year or so ago I was in Cambridge on business, and after a day of work, I set out on foot in search of food. There was a Cheesecake Factory right across the street from my hotel, but I couldn't bring myself to eat there. I wandered aimlessly and got a little lost, but eventually I stumbled on a restaurant called "Helmand's." The sign said they served Afghani food. I'd never been to an Afghani restaurant before, so I tried it, and it was a truly memorable meal. Especially if you like lamb. The decor was so comfortable and inviting, and the waitstaff was incredibly helpful without being overly solicitous. Mostly, though, I remember the food. If you are wandering blindly through the backstreets of Cambridge, you could do worse than to stumble upon Helmand's. I'd eat there again in a heartbeat.

I am a transplanted North of Bostonian. For off the beaten celebrity chef path, please make sure that you sample the veal at the Sablone's transplanted restrnt in Marblehead. Have a roast beef sandwich at Kelley's or Bill and Bobs. The clams at Woodmans in Essex and the Clam Box (It looks like s clam box - some of the rare Northshore kitsch that's still in existance)in Ipswich are the real deal. Lobster rolls at the Seawitch on Route one in Peabody are the best local deal. Cilantro's in Salem for amagine mole chicken. Salem Willows park for Hobbs UNBELIEVABLE popcorn bars and caramel corn - and you can work it off with some skeeball at the old timey arcade and have room for a chop seuy sandwich. For additional kitsh Chinese food at the KOWLOON on route one complete with erupting volcano mural, scoprion bowls for four and the flaming pupu platter - and more dainty and delicious chinese at Su Changs in Peabody - crab rangoon to die for. Santarpois Pizza pie in East Boston is amazing and the ORIGINAL Pizzaria Regina is also worth a look see. The Hilltop steak houses are worth a stop too if you're tired of the elegance of Flemming's and Ruth's Chris - they have life size cows in the front of the place to let you know what's what.

Enjoy!!! OH yeah, also Patti's violet marinit in that bar across from the Marriott longwharf - like a sweettart with a candied violet at the base.

ANd if you are really feeling brave, I could possible arrange for you to sample roppy pie a potato and pork fat confection from days or yore in Nova Scotia. A must have for New Years Day!

Ohhhhh and another regional classic is the sausange and inion sandwich served from the cart in front of the Golden Banana strip club at 1AM. Don't ask me how I know this.

Bon Appetit!

East Ocean City is definitely decent. Another suggestion would be a little bahn mi sandwhich store about 3 storefronts down from the chinatown Pha Pastuer.(towards the south end, away from from the financial district)

Another good sandwhich deal would be the financial district lunch counter that does portugese grilled meat w/sauteed string beans.

Thanks for the recs, everybody! Nothing like rolling into town with a nice, long hit list :-)

Kit... I think I've actually been to East Ocean City! A number of years ago, when my ladylove was interviewing for residencies, I went with her to Boston for a couple of days. We saw Freezepop in Cambridge, then went for Chinese. I ordered shark fin soup and the guy asked me at least six times if I was SURE I wanted it. Oy. I remember it being very, very good, though.

"Congratulations on moving to Boston! Your official Red Sox Hat and Patriots jersey can be collected at Logan, along with the accompanying manual describing operation."

Well, let's not get carried away, here. I'm not even convinced that the AL is real baseball ;-)

"Before leaving Baltimore, will you please report on the Lake Trout Sandwich so popular among characters on The Wire? I've been to B'More numerous times and never seen one."

This is waaaay near (or at) the top of the pre-departure short list.

"For lobster rolls I recommend Neptune Oyster, where they do a warm lobster roll with butter and brioche instead of mayo and hotdog bun."

That was actually my intended destination the night I went to B&G last month, but I confused the hours and they were closed. It's on the Boston short list for sure!

"ANd if you are really feeling brave, I could possible arrange for you to sample roppy pie a potato and pork fat confection from days or yore in Nova Scotia. A must have for New Years Day!"

I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, and for that reason alone I must try it :-)

Congrats on the new job. I'm a fan of the blog, originally found it from LTH. I went to school in Boston, so most of my recs are based on a student budget and are some of the lesser seen names out there. Essentially my personal Great Neighborhood Restaurants of Boston.
For a lobster roll, my go-to place was James Hook&Co, a wholesaler w/ a retail location on the harbor that sells really quality rolls for cheaper than mostly anywhere else, certainly in Boston proper. (I think $12 right now?) http://www.jameshooklobster.com/
Continuing on the seafood front, if you're in the mood to eat fresh fried fish or a giant shrimp cocktail w/some amazing tartar sauce and don't mind that it's on patio furniture, out of styrofoam containers, and alongside a retail display case of fish, try Morse Fish Co. in the South End. menupages: http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/morse-fish-company/
Audobon Circle (http://www.auduboncircle.us) is a rare relaxed but sleek bar with fantastic food, especially their burger. Also in the Fenway area is Trattoria Toscana-a little neighborhood Italian place with exceptional food and none of the North End shtick.
Across the street from the giant Asian supermarket and food court Super 88 (http://www.super88market.com/) and tucked away on a sidestreet corner is my favorite bakery in Boston,Clear Flour Bread, a tiny shop run by a personable husband and wife team (http://www.clearflourbread.com/). Don't miss their tarts or the olive rolls, often still warm, with giant chunks of meaty olive studded plentifully throughout.
My last suggestion is in Coolidge Corner and was the only deli whose corned beef sandwich I found up to snuff after a childhood that included occasional Manny's visits. Michael's Deli offers huge sandwiches and delectable knishes at reasonable prices in a no-frills atmosphere. (http://www.delitogo.com/) Each time I was there, so was Michael, with Doug-Sohn-like consistency (and, to some extent,hours...grumble). Between the main events and the three kinds of homemade potato salads, you won't leave hungry.
Best of luck, and enjoy Boston!
PS--As you look for central Boston food resources, listen to very little the Phantom Gourmet says. I have a guess he's the smartest foodie magician in Boston, using misdirection to guide everyone toward sub-par recommendations so that good places don't get swamped.

My darling man - Please be very careful about dissing any of the Boston Sports franchises. New England is FULL of rabid sports fans - that is not an urban legend. That Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore chick flick was not that far off course. You are very liable to be popped in the nose at the right(wrong?) bar - by a male or female fan!

I'll work on the roppy sample for you - I would imagine that it was named something else back in the day and was bastardized into Roppy. That's the side of the family that traces back to the culinary legend Chubby Woodman - the inventor of the frid clam itself! (It was because of a drunken bet, but still an accomplishment is an accomplishment.) So those folks know their down home chow.

Safe travels!

"My darling man - Please be very careful about dissing any of the Boston Sports franchises. New England is FULL of rabid sports fans - that is not an urban legend. That Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore chick flick was not that far off course. You are very liable to be popped in the nose at the right(wrong?) bar - by a male or female fan!"

Hey, I have absolutely nothing against the Red Sox. Just the DH :-)


Congrats on the move!

Any of Barbara Lynch's restaurants are the cat's pajamas. They train their staff really well, and the food is fantastic. http://barbaralynch.com/ I absolutely have to get to at least one of her restaurants whenever I go to Boston. I posted about some of it here http://www.donrockwell.com/index.php?showtopic=2271&view=findpost&p=124470 and two posts down from it.

Congrats on the move. I lived in Boston in the early '90s & the food has much improved over the years. I recommend Capone Foods in Somerville for fresh pasta if you don't want to make it.


And it may be different now, but I still love the Elephant Walk for Cambodian cuisine. Some other favorites, but my guess is you'll find them!

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