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Boston Restaurant Blog -- June, 2006

Below are blog entries from June, 2006. 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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JUNE, 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006
And Now for Something Really Different -- A Boston Red Sox Blog

Not to stray too far from the topic of restaurants in Boston and New England, but I recently created a Boston Red Sox blog, since I really want to keep a diary of the 2006 Boston Red Sox season (alas, I started a bit late, but...). It is not a blog full of long-winded analysis and emotional rants; rather, it is a simple blog with short entries, recapping games and related Red Sox news. It is indeed more of a personal blog, but if you're interested in reading it or posting comments, it is at http://www.bostonredsoxtalk.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 26, 2006
A Weekend Trip to Western Maine

We went up to Western Maine for the weekend, to an area that I am pretty unfamiliar with. The Region around Sebago Lake, Long Lake, and the town of Naples is very beautiful, and not far from Boston, but somehow I never made it over there during all my ski trips to Sunday River. After seeing the scenery around Sebago Lake and Long Lake, I can definitely see myself going back there.

photo of Adison's Restaurant, Sebago, Maine We left Boston on Friday afternoon, making it up to the beautiful Sebago Lake area for dinnertime. The little village of Sebago looks like a town in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, with lodges and campsites lining the road that winds its way past the lake. We stopped into a little restaurant that was part of one of these lodges. Though it was tiny and looked like more of takeout place for campers, Adison's Restaurant turned out to be a full-service restaurant with excellent meals. Our open-faced turkey and roast beef dinners were both delicious, and for about $7.00, a steal. After dinner, we continued to the rustic town of Naples, which is located on the clear, pristine waters of Long Lake, and met people up there briefly before heading to a place called Rick's Cafe for a drink. Rick's has two stories of outdoor dining and drinking, with the top floor being the perfect spot to watch the sun set over Long Lake, and boy did it ever. It felt like more of a Western sunset than one you would see in New England.

photo of the Loaf and Ladle, Exeter, New Hampshire On Saturday, we were treated to an elegant, classy breakfast at the Inn at Long Lake (where we were staying), then spent the rest of the day at a wedding, including a scenic boat ride along Long Lake and a barbecue in the woods north of Naples. With all the festivities going on, we didn't get to hit another restaurant until Sunday around lunchtime, as we were heading back to Boston. We took back roads through Maine and New Hampshire, stopping in the charming town of Exeter to check out the Loaf and Ladle, a soup and sandwich place that I had heard about somewhere, but had never been to. Well, it turned out to be a great choice, as the soups were about the best we have had anywhere, and the sandwiches were fresh, healthy, and very tasty. We barely had enough room for dessert, but had a couple of their cookies, which were also delicious. In fact, the Loaf and Ladle was so good that it will likely be featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned...

If you would like the address for Adison's Restaurant, here it is: Adison's Restaurant, 46 Sebago Road (Route 114), Sebago, ME 04029; the phone number is (207) 787-3000.

And for those of you looking for the address for the Loaf and Ladle, here it is: Loaf and Ladle, 9 Water Street, Exeter, NH 03833; the phone number is (603) 778-8955.

Related Blog Entries: Maine restaurants, New Hampshire restaurants

Sunday, June 25, 2006
Upgrades to the Boston Restaurant Blog Are Complete

Just a quick update on our restaurant blog. We have finished all upgrades to the blog, so now you can post comments on any entry in the blog. Other upgrades include having permalinks to each blog entry (permanent links to a specific blog entry that you can bookmark or send to people) and having a syndicated RSS feed for the entire blog.

One other upgrade to the blog that I hadn't mentioned earlier is the addition of photos throughout the blog. These are clickable images that bring you to a full-sized version of the photo once you click the little thumbnail on the blog page. It seems that few blogs have extensive photos throughout their sites, making them rather dry and difficult to follow. Hopefully the pictures will add an element of interest to the Boston Restaurant Blog.

Please let us know what you think of the new and improved blog. Thanks for your input!

Related Blog Entries: restaurant blog

Sunday, June 18, 2006
Fried Clams and Ice Cream in Hingham and Hull

With the weather being so warm this weekend in the Boston area, we decided to head over to Hingham and Hull--two very different South Shore communities--on Saturday evening.

photo of the Hingham Lobster Pound, Hingham, Massachusetts We started off by heading to the Hingham Lobster Pound, a classic seafood shack in the toney town of Hingham. While most businesses in Hingham seem to have an upscale bent to them, the Hingham Lobster Pound is a down and dirty place with absolutely no seating that serves up some excellent seafood. We ordered fried clams, a chicken sandwich, and a side order of clam strips and waited in the front area while they handed out bag after bag of terrific-smelling seafood to an endless line of customers. Once we received our order, we made a beeline for Hull Gut to watch the sun set while chowing on our food, but sadly, the tip of Hull is closed off to the public for some reason (if anyone could tell us why the end of the road is closed, I would love to know). Instead, we headed up to Fort Revere Park at the top of Telegraph Hill, a slightly creepy place that nevertheless has some of the most stunning ocean views in all of Massachusetts. We enjoyed both the views and the food from the Hingham Lobster Pound very much. As much as I liked the clams, however, I tend to think that Tony's Lobster Shop on Wollaston Beach in Quincy may be a tad better, but that is surely up for debate.

After strolling around Fort Revere Park, we drove over to Nantasket Beach, Hull's answer to Coney Island. Nantasket Beach used to be a very fun place for families, with Paragon Park dominating the landscape. Paragon Park is long gone, but the historic carousel is still there and working just fine, much to the enjoyment of kids and non-kids alike. We went for ice cream at the Carousel Creamery next door, doing some serious people-watching and relaxing amidst the sea breezes and sounds of the ocean. The ice cream at the Carousel Creamery is adequate (Gifford Ice Cream is their supplier, I believe), though not up to the level of, say, Dairy Barn in Randolph or some of the other top ice cream stands on the South Shore.

As we were leaving Hull, the song "Knock Three Times" by (gasp!) Tony Orlando and Dawn started to play on the radio. Although I still don't totally understand the appeal of this completely inane song after all these years, it seemed to be a good fit as we were leaving a town that holds lots of memories for lifelong Bostonians like myself. We almost started singing along to it as we happily motored back toward the Boston area with our stomachs full of clams and ice cream.

For those of you looking for the address for the Hingham Lobster Pound, here it is: Hingham Lobster Pound, 4 Broad Cove Road (Route 3A), Hingham, MA 02043; the phone number is (781) 749-1984.

Related Blog Entries: Hingham restaurants, ice cream stands, seafood restaurants

Monday, June 12, 2006
Eating My Way Through San Diego

I'm heading home right now, flying back from San Diego (with a full stomach of course!). I spent the last several days out in Southern California, mostly in La Costa, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, and San Diego itself. After having to deal with the horrific weather in the Boston area over the past month or so, it sure was nice having day after day of sunny skies, little wind, and temperatures in the low 70s. It was perfect weather for walks along the ocean, lazy drives through the canyon areas, and, yes, outdoor dining.

photo of Las Olas Mexican Restaurant, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California I got in to San Diego Friday afternoon, and headed straight up to Cardiff-by-the-Sea (probably my favorite town in Southern California). We enjoyed some surprisingly good Mexican food at a surfer's hangout called Las Olas. I say surprisingly because the place seemed like it might double as a wild beach bar at night. But Las Olas was very good--definitely not as good as the excellent Fidel's in nearby Solana Beach, but good enough for what it is, and the seaside location of Las Olas is pretty tough to beat.

After lunch, I spent some time trying to get over the mild jet lag, then I got together with a group of six people to head to an outstanding restaurant in Encinitas called Borrelli's Pizza and Italian Food. Located away from the coast in an attractive, upscale shopping center, Borrelli's is a longtime favorite of people who know their restaurants, and was it ever good. The red sauce in particular at Borrelli's was incredible, and the pasta was fresh. I ordered the mostaccioli with cheese and red sauce and it was both delicious and ridiculously priced at about $6.95.

Saturday was a day of rest, both food-wise and, well, rest-wise. I took an early-morning walk through the beautiful seaside town of Carlsbad, stopping at a donut place (which I think was actually called "Donuts"), then bringing my breakfast to a spot high above Carlsbad Beach. The rest of the day was quiet, with a quick stop for lunch at Panera Bread (which seems much more in its element in Southern California than it does in Boston), and a drive back to Cardiff to VG Donuts and Bakery, a wonderful little place where we bought a cake for a party as well as some donuts for myself.

Saturday evening, a large group of us (eleven, I think) headed east to a Thai place in San Marcos called Nattiya's Thai Restaurant. Tucked away in a shopping center in a nondescript area with a view of the mountains in the distance, it seemed like an odd place for a Thai restaurant, but Nattiya's was another highly-recommended place, and I have to say, it rivaled any Thai restaurant I've been to in Boston. From the steamed spring rolls to the tofu vegetable soup to the chicken dish with basil and sauteed rice, everything was of the best quality at Nattiya's. Satisfied, we all headed back to the cars and went to a party in La Costa where we somehow downed the cake we bought at VG Donuts and Bakery earlier in the day.

photo of Pipes Cafe, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California Sunday came along, and with it, an early-morning solo trip to perhaps my second favorite restaurant in Southern California (after Hodad's in Ocean Beach) called Pipes Cafe. This breakfast place, located in the heart of Cardiff, is a classic California dining spot. Everyone from surfers to retirees to even San Diego Padres players flock to Pipes for their huge, insanely cheap meals. I ate my $5.00 breakfast burrito (eggs, cilantro, pica sauce, cheese, peppers, and onions) while sitting out on their deck, watching the marine layer slowly burn away.

It took a lot to pull myself away from Pipes, but several of us wanted to get to the Japanese Friendship Garden at Balboa Park near downtown San Diego. It was a quiet, peaceful spot with all kinds of rare trees and plants, as well as a nice tea house, which we went to for lunch. They had traditional Japanese soups and noodle bowls, which we dined on as we sat on their outdoor deck overlooking a canyon. The rest of the afternoon was spent on board the fascinating Midway, an aircraft carrier that is docked along the San Diego waterfront. We were running a bit short on time, so we made a quick trip to Old Town afterward, to a touristy, but fun Mexican restaurant called Casa de Reyes, which was probably the least impressive dining spot of the trip. But it was very entertaining, with a Mariachi band going from table to table as we ate. In retrospect, though, I suppose Fidel's in Solana Beach or the fantastic hidden gem, La Especial Norte, in Leucadia may have been a better option. After dinner, I stopped in Encinitas to pick up one of those famous Julian pies to bring back home with me (so much to take back on the plane!).

Monday (today) is a travel day, but three of us found time to go back to Pipes Cafe in Cardiff for an absolutely gluttonous breakfast. I ate so much at Pipes that I have no need to eat for the three thousand mile trip that awaits me. It was a perfect way to end a perfect trip. I just hope the weather in Boston is half-decent when I get back. If not, you may find me at Pipes Cafe sooner rather than later!

Thursday, June 8, 2006
What Time Is It? It Is Time for Ice Cream!

Yes, it seems like it has been raining for months now. And yes, it is about 50 degrees today, and everyone is pulling their heavy jackets out of the closet. But the warm weather is just around the corner (I swear it is!), and with it, ice cream. I mentioned awhile back that we went to the Dairy Dome on Stoneham to start off the summer season, and recently went to the Dairy Barn not once, but twice, in the past few days.

The Dairy Dome and Dairy Barn are just two of many ice cream stands in the region. There are so many more out there, and while we can't hit them all, we do have a list of ice cream stands in the Boston and New England area on our site that may be able to give you some ideas about where to get some frozen treats in the region. And as always, let us know about other ice cream stands out there that you really like. We'd love to hear from you.

Related Blog Entries: ice cream stands

Tuesday, June 6, 2006
An Early Summer Evening at Tony's Clam Shop in Quincy

This evening, we headed over to Tony's Clam Shop on Wollaston Beach in Quincy. It was a perfect early summer night, with temps in the upper 60s, and a beautiful sunset was just starting as we got there. But I didn't really notice the mild air, ocean breezes, or setting sun, as I was busy ordering lots of comfort food at Tony's.

One of the most difficult parts of going to Tony's Clam Shop is the fact that there is so much on the menu, including a wide variety of entrees for those who do not like seafood all that much. In the past, I have gotten such items as clam strips and fish sandwiches at Tony's, but tonight I stuck to the classics: a hot dog, a cheeseburger, fries, and a huge ice tea in a collector's edition 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series cup (I guess they still have a few of these cups left at Tony's!).

photo of Tony's Clam Shop, Quincy, Massachusetts I must admit that The Clam Box, which is right up the street from Tony's, is also a terrific clam shack, but Tony's seems to be a bit more of a hidden gem; you don't hear much about the place, even though it has been in business for more than 40 years. But whichever seafood place you go to, you'll surely enjoy the sea breezes off Wally Beach, the always-interesting people-watching, and the fantastic seafood (or burgers and hot dogs). I'm hoping to get to Tony's Clam Shop in the next few weeks to try a few more dishes, including the clam fritters, the falafel, and the calamari. If these meals are as good as I think they are going to be, perhaps you will be seeing a featured page on Tony's Clam Shop in the near future...

For those of you looking for the address for Tony's, here it is: Tony's Clam Shop, 861 Quincy Shore Drive, Quincy, MA 02170; the phone number is (617) 773-5090.

Related Blog Entries: Quincy restaurants, seafood restaurants

Thursday, June 1, 2006
Boston Needs More Outdoor Dining Options

Last night, we headed over to the Eastern Pier II, a Chinese restaurant along the South Boston waterfront. It is a great place to go on a warm summer evening, as it has outdoor seating right on the water. While we were there, I started thinking about how there really aren't many options for outdoor dining--especially along the waterfront--in the Boston area. Sure, there are lots of places along Newbury Street, and there are seafood shacks along beach roads in Revere and Quincy, but compared to other coastal cities, Boston seems to be lacking a bit in the outdoor dining category.

In addition to Eastern Pier II, I do have a few favorites that have outdoor dining, such as The Barnacle in Marblehead and the Lobster Pool Restaurant in Rockport, but I would love to find some other places. If you have any suggestions for outdoor dining, I'd love to hear about them.

Related Blog Entries: outdoor dining