Below are blog entries from March, 2009. 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.)
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday Morning at Katz's Bagels, Chelsea
In some ways, the city of Chelsea is a complete question mark to many when it comes to restaurants and other food places. Perhaps this is because of its less-than-stellar (and often undeserved) reputation as a rough place that should be avoided when at all possible. This is a shame, as Chelsea has some very interesting places to eat, including one of the best restaurants for steak tips in New England (Newbridge Cafe) and perhaps one of the top 5 bagel places in the Boston area (Katz Bagel Bakery), which I just happened to try for the first time over the weekend.
Katz's is in a gritty section of Chelsea just north of downtown that nonetheless has an interesting feel to it. Row houses dominate the area, with a handful of independent neighborhood businesses at street level, including Katz's. In some ways, Katz's bears a slight resemblance to the North End institution Pizzeria Regina from the outside, with its old-fashioned sign hanging from the brick storefront and its location on a distinctly urban street corner surrounded by row houses and apartments.
I arrived at Katz's fairly early in the morning and was about the only person there, probably because of the miserable weather outside. The first thing I noticed (in addition to the fact that the place was tiny and with zero atmosphere) was that the person behind the counter was absolutely no-nonsense; you order, you pay, you get out. Unfortunately, the person in front of me didn't seem to understand this, and received some pretty angry looks in the process. The counter person actually gave up and asked me what I wanted while the other person was in deciding what to get, so I rattled off what I wanted as succinctly as possible, gave him my money, and left.
So how were the bagels from Katz's? Well, they weren't quite as crispy on the outside as I would have liked, and the inside was just a bit more dense and chewy than I had hoped for, but overall, these were some special bagels. All of the bagels I ordered had a lot of flavor and just a hint of sweetness, and the pumpernickel and sesame bagels were especially fine--so good, in fact, that I didn't even bother to toast them. In the end, however, I believe that the bagels at Rosenfeld's in Newton Centre are just a little better, and the bagels I've had at Iggy's in Cambridge, Bagel Rising in Boston, and, at times, Kupel's in Brookline are about equal to Katz's. So yes, Katz Bagel Bakery is certainly worth going to, not just for the quality of the bagels but also for the sense of discovering a place that few seem to know about. But if you happen to be closer to one of the places mentioned above, you might as well stick to one of those spots because their bagels are also certainly up to the task.
If you want the address for Katz's Bagels in Chelsea, here it is: Katz Bagel Bakery, 139 Park Street, Chelsea, MA 02150. The phone number is (617) 884-9738.
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on March 30, 2009.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Pizza and Beer at Conley's, Watertown
Years ago, I used to go to a little watering hole on the Watertown/Belmont line called McFly's. It was housed in an old auto shop, and every now and then I would get a whiff of motor oil while sipping on a pint of Murphy's or Guinness. Well, McFly's is long gone, and so is the smell of motor oil (for the most part), with a larger restaurant and bar called Conley's having taken over the spot some time ago.
Conley's Pub and Grille expanded the spot when they took over McFly's, and it is now a surprisingly spacious place, with a couple of bar areas to the left, a dining area to the right, and a few tables along the narrow walkway connecting it all. There is plenty of brick and neon throughout the place, giving Conley's a local townie bar feel, though the fact that it is literally on the Watertown/Belmont line (Belmont is across the street) allows for an interesting mix of people from both towns.
Several of us went to Conley's a couple of weeks back after making a brief stop at the nearby sports bar Donohue's. We grabbed a large table by a window and ordered some beers, and I was surprised that they actually served pitchers of Smithwick's, an Irish red ale that is one of my favorites. A few of us ordered some pizza, and I fully expected it to be a form of bar pie, but I was wrong; they brought the pizza over on a pedestal (New York style) and it turned out to be a classic Italian-style thin crust pie, with a chewy, foldable crust, a sufficiently zesty sauce, and a nice mix of cheeses that included just a hint of bitterness. This was very good pizza that we enjoyed greatly and would not hesitate ordering again. While we were there, I heard that the steak tips at Conley's are also excellent, but being that it was late at night and I was pretty full, the tips would have to wait for a future trip.
Conley's Pub and Grille is a true hidden gem in my eyes, and based on how the steak tips, burgers, and other items are here when we return, it may be worthy of a featured review on our site, so stay tuned...
If you want the address for Conley's Pub and Grille, here it is: Conley's Pub and Grille, 164 Belmont Street, Watertown, MA 02472. The phone number is (617) 393-0237.
Related Blog Entries: Watertown restaurants
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on March 24, 2009.
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Everyone seems to be talking about Twitter these days, and for good reason; the social networking site (or micro-blogging site, if you will) is extremely useful in a variety of ways. If you aren't familiar with Twitter, it is basically used to send updates to others via cell phones or computers. It is a terrific tool for businesses, and, of course, is a fun way to instantly get in touch with friends and family.
The Boston's Hidden Restaurants site has just started using Twitter, mainly as a way to post updates to others such as restaurant closings and openings (mostly through our Boston Restaurant Talk blog), featured reviews, reader's favorite restaurant entries, and occasionally, unrelated (and often silly!) postings. If you would like to receive updates from our site by way of Twitter, please go to the Twitter page for Boston's Hidden Restaurants. Subscribing to it is free, and we post updates several times a week.
Enjoy our Twitter page, and if you have any other questions on how Twitter is used, feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to answer your queries!
Related Blog Entries: restaurant blog
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on March 13, 2009.
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Friday, March 6, 2009
Quick Dinner at Doyle's, South Easton
We had plans with a large group in Easton a couple of weeks ago and didn't have much time for dinner, so we had a quick meal at a place called Doyle's Bar and Grill on Route 138 in South Easton. I honestly didn't know much about the restaurant--only that they had bar pizza--and that was more than enough to lure us in.
Doyle's Bar and Grill (no relation to Doyle's in Jamaica Plain, by the way) looks like your basic roadside restaurant from the outside, with head-in parking in the front and a plain white facade with few windows. The setup inside was instantly familiar and completely unpretentious, with a basic bar area to the right and a quiet, family-friendly dining room to the left. A new-looking hardwood floor gave the dining room a nice overall feel, while TVs on nearly every wall allowed diners to enjoy the locals teams (in this particular case, the Bruins).
We started with a Greek salad, which was quite good (just the right amount of feta included), then moved on to our meals. The bar pizza was very nice, with a slightly soft crust and a nice mix of flavors coming from the oil, sauce, and cheese. Sadly, the cheeseburger calzone did not come close to the goodness of the pizza, as the meat inside was dried out and clumpy, and there was almost no cheese or sauce inside of it. We still had a bit of room for dessert, so we enjoyed an outstanding heath bar cheesecake that was probably the best item of the night. Service was excellent, as the waitress was friendly and attentive, and the prices were downright cheap.
Calzone aside, Doyle's Bar and Grill wasn't a bad place to go for dinner. I did hear later that night that the steak tips are wonderful there, so perhaps another trip to Doyle's will be in store for me at some point.
If you want the address for Doyle's Bar and Grill, here it is: Doyle's Bar and Grill, 956 Washington Street (Route 138), South Easton, MA 02375. The phone number is (508) 238-9061.
Related Blog Entries: bar pizza, Easton restaurants
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on March 6, 2009.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009
Feature on Irish Pubs in Boston
You'd never know it with all the snow we've been having in the Boston area, but believe it or not, St. Paddy's Day is not all that far off. In less than three weeks, folks will be heading out to Irish pubs and restaurants to feast on shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, Guinness stew, and many other traditional (and Americanized!) items, as well as pints of their favorite stout, ale, or lager.
So where to go for St. Patrick's Day? Well, as many of you know, our site has an Irish Pubs in Boston feature that lists and briefly describes a number of interesting Irish pubs in the area, many of which are not well-known at all.
Have fun on March 17, and please let us know if there are any other Irish pubs in the area that we should be mentioning here!
Related Blog Entries: Irish pubs
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on March 1, 2009.
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