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Boston Restaurant Blog -- March, 2007

Below are blog entries from March, 2007. Use the links in the left column to do a quick search of blog entries, or to see blog entries from other months. And feel free to use the "Comments" links under each blog entry to reply to us; your comments just might end up in our Boston restaurant blog! (Note: This page is part of our restaurant features section.)

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MARCH, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Be Patient: Our Site Is Slowly Being Updated!

After three years of relatively little change to the design and format of the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, we are finally doing some fairly major upgrades. Some of the changes to the site will be subtle, while others will be more noticeable. But all should hopefully make Boston's Hidden Restaurants a more appealing site for our viewers. Would you like to know about some of the changes? Read on...

First of all, when the upgrades are complete, it should be easier to enlarge the text of our pages in many browsers (particularly Mozilla, Safari, and Opera) without losing the general structure of the page. Second, the navigation buttons will be more user-friendly, allowing you to see which section of the site you are in with ease. Third, the slightly sickly-looking orange colors on the pages have been replaced with cooler, more soothing red tones. Finally, the coding of the pages is more streamlined, allowing the pages to load faster.

There will be some other changes, too, but these are the major ones that you should notice the most. Would you like a sneak preview of a couple of the pages? One is at http://www.hiddenboston.com/729HopeCafe.html and another is at http://www.hiddenboston.com/Inexpensive.html. These are two of the first batch of pages to change over; each day, a few more will change (we would change them all in one fell swoop, but some search engines view that with suspicion for some reason), so be patient, and hopefully within a few weeks, the entire site will be looking fresh and new!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Fun Times at Betty's Wok and Noodle in Boston

Over the past few weeks, I have been to some really good restaurants, including Grotto in Boston, East Asia in Somerville, Monte's in Lynn, and Pizzeria Regina in the North End of Boston. But it has been awhile since I have been to a really offbeat, fun place (though Zon's in Jamaica Plain comes close), so with that in mind, we headed over to Huntington Avenue to try the quirky, unusual Betty's Wok and Noodle Diner.

photo of Betty's Wok and Noodle, Boston, Massachusetts For those who haven't been to Betty's Wok and Noodle, it is a friendly little spot with a number of Asian-Latin dishes. In some ways, it is a better version of Fire and Ice, as you get to choose noodles, meats, sauces, veggies, etc. and then decide whether you want it stir-fried or in a soup. We tried one stir-fry and one soup, after starting out with some decent--though not outstanding--vegetable dumplings. Our entrees included stir-fried chicken chow foon with Cuban chipotle citrus sauce, and slices of chicken and cabbage with Shanghai wheat noodles in a broth that included a fairly hot kung pao sauce. Both dishes were very good, though you can probably do better at some of the top Asian restaurants in the Boston area.

So overall, the food at Betty's Wok and Noodle was satisfying, but not memorable. It is not the food, however, that makes me love this place; rather, it is the crazy, kooky vibe that makes Betty's so interesting. From the unusual atmosphere (some parts of it feel like a bustling diner; others feel like a soothing Japanese restaurant; still others feel like a cavernous college Internet cafe) to the, well, unusual people who work there, Betty's is unlike anyplace in the Boston area. The background music is also eclectic, as they play Sinatra, Sammy Davis, and Bing Crosby while the theater-goers are there, then bust into modern-day bands such as Outkast and Black Eyed Peas when the theater-goers leave. One funny personal note: The person who I believe was the general manager noticed that we were into Outkast and some of the other present-day bands, and he ended up coming to our table with a couple of sangrias on the house and talked music with us for awhile. Definitely a nice gesture on his part!

I will definitely be going back to Betty's Wok and Noodle in the near future, as the food is pretty decent and the atmosphere is unforgettable. I may try some of the more Latin-influenced foods there the next time I go; if I do, I will report back to you about how it was.

Related Blog Entries: Boston restaurants

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The Red Sox Are coming! The Red Sox Are Coming!

Spring is here once again, which means that the Boston Red Sox will once again be coming to Fenway soon. 2007 looks like it could be a good year for the Sox, with some potentially great new players as well as those who have been on the team for years.

Fenway is a good place to have a bite to eat and a drink or two (love those Fenway Franks), but if you are looking to eat either before or after a game, you might want to check out our Restaurants Near Fenway Park page that is a special feature within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. This page lists several restaurants within walking distance of Fenway, as well as a handful that are slightly farther away, but still nearby. And, of course, most of the restaurants on our list are little-known hidden gems such as Woody's and the House of Siam.

Let's hope that the Red Sox can do a repeat of 2004 and go all the way to the World Series (and win it, of course!). With Daisuke, Manny, Curt, Big Papi, and Coco on this team, there may be no stopping the Sox this year!

Saturday, March 17, 2007
Decent Food at the Bengal Cafe, Cambridge

We took a ride over to the Bengal Cafe in North Cambridge for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I had wanted to get to this tiny Bengali and Indian restaurant for some time now, as I heard that many people liked it. Well, after trying out a few of their dishes, I can say that it is indeed a good place to eat, though I'm not sure that I am ready to feature it on Boston's Hidden Restaurants just yet.

photo of the Bengal Cafe, Cambridge, Massachusetts The night we went to the Bengal Cafe, it was completely empty from the time we arrived to the time we left. We had a number of dishes there, including beef and potato samosas (rather dry and chewy), roti, which is whole wheat flatbread (fresh and delicious), saag aloo (excellent comfort food, with spinach, potatoes, onions, chilis, and spices), chicken biryani (good, but lots of little bones mixed in), Bengali white rice (watery and bland), and masala tea (nice clove flavor that had a warming effect in the stomach).

Overall, I was satisfied with the food at the Bengal Cafe, though there are several Indian restaurants that, while a bit different in cuisine from this North Cambridge dining spot, are better options, including the wonderfully downscale Punjabi Dhaba in Inman Square, the amazing Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury, the funky and oh-so-good Kebab Factory, or India Quality in Kenmore Square, which might be my favorite Indian restaurant in all of Boston. I may give the Bengal Cafe another shot, but with so many restaurants on my ever-growing list of places to try, it may be awhile before I get back there.

Related Blog Entries: Cambridge restaurants, Indian restaurants

Monday, March 12, 2007
Irish Pubs Added to Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day comes a couple of reviews of Irish pubs, our first ever! Indeed, we have a new section within the Search By Cuisine area of the site, called Irish Pubs, and our first two restaurants in this section are Spirit Bar and Restaurant in Cambridge, and O'Leary's in Brookline.

There will surely be more featured Irish pubs on our site, but in the meantime, if you would also like to see our more general list of Irish Pubs in Boston that is within our special features section, feel free to do so. And Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all in the Boston area!

Related Blog Entries: Irish pubs

Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Wednesday Night Dining at Chau Chow, Dorchester

A few Wednesday nights ago, we drove down to Chau Chow on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester for a very large amount of Chinese food. I wanted to try many different dishes, so we ended up with a lot of leftovers, but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, since nearly all of the food we had at Chau Chow was great.

We started out with hot and sour soup, which was delicious, though the broth was a bit heavier than I'm used to. Then we moved on to a couple of appetizers; the chicken fried rice was more sauteed than fried, and a lot fresher and lighter than the kind you get in many of the lower-quality Chinese restaurants. We also ordered that most American of Chinese dishes--chicken fingers. They were actually better than most, though I still like the chicken fingers at New Jumbo Seafood in Chinatown better. The main entrees soon came, and we dug into our kung pao chicken and beef chow foon. The kung pao chicken was ok, but the chicken was rather gristly and the dish was a bit bland overall. The beef chow foon was much better, however, with tender strips of beef, a good amount of fresh vegetables, and wide noodles that had a delightfully smoky taste to them.

I liked Chau Chow a lot, but it didn't quite make me forget about places like Hei La Moon or King Fung Garden in Chinatown, or Shanghai Gate in Allston. But this cavernous restaurant just off of the Southeast Expressway seems to be better than most Chinese restaurants, as well it should, considering that it is an offshoot of the tremendous Chau Chow restaurants in Chinatown. I'll definitely be going back one of these days, perhaps for their dim sum. I'll let you know if I do...

Related Blog Entries: Chinese restaurants, Dorchester restaurants

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Restaurants for St. Patricks Day in Boston

Don't look now, but here comes Saint Patrick's Day again! And Boston is one of the best cities in the country to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, with its large Irish population and many Irish pubs and restaurants.

Just a reminder that if you are looking for some Irish pubs to go to for St. Patrick's Day (or any day, for that matter), we have an Irish Pubs in Boston for St. Patrick's Day page on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. This page lists some of the most interesting Irish pubs in the Boston area, and includes a few pubs that aren't very well known. Included in each listing is the name and address of the pub, as well as a phone number and brief description of each.

This year, there are a couple of new pubs on the list (and sadly, a couple of old ones no longer on the list that have closed their doors, or will soon be doing so). So if you want to see where you can get some bangers and mash as well as a pint or two, jump over to the page to find out about these great places. And let us know about some others that we have missed!

Related Blog Entries: Irish pubs