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Boston Restaurant Blog -- November, 2006

Below are blog entries from November, 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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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Heavenly Steak Tips, Burgers, and Fries at Halfway Cafe, Holbrook

I have been going to the Halfway Cafe in Watertown for many years, always enjoying their club sandwiches, burgers, steak and turkey tips, and other dishes. The only thing I am not crazy about is the fact that the Watertown location is a bit cramped, with people jammed in the bar area waiting for tables. Well, we discovered a few days ago that the Halfway Cafe in Holbrook, which is a new location for them, takes care of that problem and then some.

When we first arrived at the Halfway Cafe in Holbrook, I was fooled by the outside of the building, as it looked like it might be another smallish restaurant with few tables. But once inside, we discovered that the restaurant is spacious, with high ceilings, plenty of room between tables, and lots of space in the bar area. We waited at the bar for a couple of minutes before being brought over to a table in the middle of the restaurant. As always at the Halfway, there were too many choices, but we eventually decided to get the steak tips and the double cheeseburger club sandwich. The tips were outstanding, with lots of flavor and little gristle. The burger club was also excellent, as the griddled burgers were bursting with flavor from being cooked in their own juices. The french fries, however, may have been the best item on the table. Handcut, cooked until slightly brown, and salted just right, these fries were about as good as I've had in the past year or so.

If I weren't always looking for different restaurants to try (one perk of working on Boston's Hidden Restaurants!), I could easily see myself going to the Halfway Cafe every weekend, as a couple of my friends do. The one in Holbrook is an especially good place, as you are getting the same quality food as the one in Watertown, but without the tight quarters.

If you are looking for the address for the Halfway Cafe in Holbrook, here it is: Halfway Cafe, 200 South Franklin Street, Holbrook, MA 02343. The phone number is (781) 767-2900.

Related Blog Entries: American restaurants, Holbrook restaurants

Monday, November 27, 2006
Boneless Buffalo Wings at Cambridge Common

As I have mentioned a few times times in this blog (or was it my other blog?), Mass. Ave. between the Arlington border and Harvard Square has an amazing array of dining spots. You can get excellent Greek, Afghan, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Cambodian, Mexican, Korean, and Japanese food, just to name a few. But among the exotic ethnic restaurants along this stretch of road, there is also an old-fashioned American restaurant and bar called Cambridge Common that serves good dinners, good beer, and perhaps the best boneless buffalo wings in the Boston area.

photo of Cambridge Common, Cambridge, Massachusetts The boneless buffalo wings at Cambridge Common can be ordered either mild or hot, with the hot version being the one that I like so much. Beneath the spicy coating appears to be some kind of glaze that boosts the hot pepper flavor even more. The glaze also imparts a crunchy texture that is rather unique; too many places don't seem to bother with adding a crunch to their boneless wings, making for a rather uninspiring eating experience. And while I can think of a few places in the Boston area that get their boneless wings done right (Donohue's in East Watertown is one), none seem to approach the level of Cambridge Common.

If you would like the address for Cambridge Common, here it is: Cambridge Common, 1667 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. The phone number is (617) 547-1228.

Related Blog Entries: American restaurants, Boston bars, Cambridge restaurants

Friday, November 24, 2006
Dinner and Drinks at the Freeport Tavern, Dorchester

We took a trip over to the Freeport Tavern last week to grab some pub grub and a couple of drinks. For those of you who don't know where the Freeport Tavern is (and I believe there are a lot of you!), it is inside the Philips Old Colony House on Morrissey Boulevard. The dining areas at the Old Colony House are pretty nice, but the Freeport Tavern is more informal, which is what we were looking for that night.

There is nothing that really stands out about the Freeport Tavern, but it is a pleasant place, with a cozy, dark atmosphere, and the food, while not outstanding, is better than what you might find at one of the many family restaurant chains that can be found along any highway in the Boston area. We had the gorgonzola steak tip salad, which was very yummy (great tips), and the alimento grande. Now I believe that alimento grande means "great food" in Portuguese, but I was thinking its meaning was closer to "big stomach," as it had the following: garlic bread, Italian sausage, meatball, chicken parmigiana, eggplant rollatini, and ziti in marinara sauce. Most of the items were good, though the eggplant rollatini was a bit dry and the garlic bread was absolutely soaked in butter. I walked out of the Freeport Tavern feeling pretty stuffed, as it was a ton of food to eat (and yes, I did eat it all!).

Is the Freeport Tavern worth going to? I would say so; the place is pretty nice, the waitstaff is efficient, and the price is right. I'm not sure I'm ready to feature this dining spot on Boston's Hidden Restaurants, but it isn't a bad place to check out.

If you would like the address for the Freeport Tavern, here it is: Freeport Tavern, 780 Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester, MA 02122. The phone number is (617) 282-7700.

Related Blog Entries: Boston bars, Dorchester restaurants

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Our 2006 Best Boston Restaurants Page Is Up

Now that we are getting toward the end of the year, we figured that it was about time for our 2006 Best Boston Restaurants page to be put on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. We started the Best Of awards last year, with several top restaurants featured on our site making the grade. This year, there are several more categories as the site has continued to grow. New categories include Best Greek Restaurant, Best Hot Dog Stand and Best Seafood Restaurant.

If you would like to see this new feature, go to the Best Hidden Restaurants in the Boston Area, 2006 page to see which dining spots won this year. And as always, feel free to comment about our choices, or give us some of your own favorite restaurants over at our Viewers' Favorite Restaurants page.

Related Blog Entries: best Boston restaurants

Saturday, November 18, 2006
Bringing Back Tacky at Kowloon, Saugus

Boy, do I love Route 1 in Saugus. From the huge dinosaur overlooking a miniature golf course to a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa at Prince Pizza, Route 1 is perhaps the most tacky, cheesy road in the Boston area (not that this is a bad thing). And perhaps one of the cheesiest, and most fun places along Route 1 is the Kowloon, a huge Chinese restaurant and entertainment complex on the northbound side of this road.

photo of Kowloon, Saugus, Massachusetts The Kowloon has a number of different rooms, complete with funky Polynesian themes, including a boat hanging from the ceiling, a lagoon surrounded by tables, and a luau room. We actually were seated in one of the more subdued rooms off to the side, where we went on to order some rather...interesting dishes. Mine, for instance, was as wacky as the restaurant itself. I ordered the flaming ambrosia, which is made as follows: Hollow out a pineapple; put a bunch of chicken fingers inside; fill the pineapple to the top with duck sauce; insert pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries; pour alcohol over the whole thing; set it all on fire. Now I'm not saying that it was delicious (and it definitely was not healthy), but it was a dinner that I will never forget! And, of course, I can't wait to go back to the Kowloon, as it epitomizes what is so unique about this stretch of highway north of Boston.

If you want the address for the Kowloon, here it is: Kowloon Restaurant, 948 Broadway (Route 1 North), Saugus, MA 01906. The phone number is (781) 233-0077.

Related Blog Entries: Chinese restaurants, Saugus restaurants

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Quincy Dynasty: Another Good Restaurant in Quincy

After hearing about several decent Chinese restaurants in Quincy, we ended up making a trip to the North Quincy neighborhood to try one of them. It turned out to be a good choice, as the Quincy Dynasty served up some terrific dishes.

Quincy Dynasty is a comfortable, spacious dining spot just off the main road in North Quincy. There are several Chinese restaurant within a block or two of the restaurant, but Quincy Dynasty seemed to be the largest and most comfortable of them all. We ordered a mix of authentic and Americanized dishes, including hot and sour soup (outstanding), minced chicken with rice and garlic (also excellent), and Szechuan spicy chicken (not quite as good, as the sauce was rather bland). Perhaps the best item we had were the scallion pancakes, which were meaty and delicious, yet weren't greasy like so many scallion pancakes at Chinese restaurants are.

We may end up featuring Quincy Dynasty on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site at some point, but I want to try some of their other dishes before deciding on this. Also, I really want to try their dim sum, too, which looks pretty interesting.

If you are looking for the address for Quincy Dynasty, here it is: Quincy Dynasty, 47-49 Billings Road, Quincy, MA 02171. The phone number is (617) 328-3288.

Related Blog Entries: Chinese restaurants, Quincy restaurants

Sunday, November 5, 2006
Good Comfort Food at Grumpy White's, Quincy

photo of Grumpy White's, Quincy, Massachusetts After hearing (and reading) lots of good things about Grumpy White's, we finally made it over to this neighborhood restaurant in Quincy a couple of weeks ago. Grumpy White's is a popular place with the locals, and it was pretty busy when we went. The atmosphere is pleasant in an old-fashioned sort of way, with brown vinyl booths in the main dining room, and a rather quiet (at least the night when we were there!) bar area off to the side.

Our food was mostly excellent; the char-broiled burger with cheese and bacon was very tasty, and the foot-long hot dog was outstanding. The fries were tasty, the baked potato was even better, and the garlic bread was pretty sinful. A big disappointment, however, was the turkey tip dinner. Some of the tips had too much gristle and were pretty tough to eat.

Grumpy White's was definitely worth going to, but I am not quite ready to feature it on Boston's Hidden Restaurants. Hopefully we will get back there a couple more times to try some of the other dishes, and if they are as good as the burger and hot dog were, the restaurant may just end up as one of the site's featured dining spots.

If you would like the address for Grumpy White's, here it is: Grumpy White's, 211 Sea Street, Quincy, MA 02169. The phone number is (617) 770-2835.

Related Blog Entries: American restaurants, Quincy restaurants

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Get Automatic Updates with Our New Feature

Boston's Hidden Restaurants has a new feature; viewers can now bookmark a page that gives continuous, automatic updates on restaurant reviews, blog entries, and forum topics. This page gives the 5 latest items for each, so that way, readers do not need to guess whether something new has been written on the site.

If you would like to bookmark this new page, go to the latest updates page on this site. Hopefully this will be a help to our readers!

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