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Boston Restaurant Blog -- March and April, 2005

Below are blog entries from March and April, 2005. 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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APRIL, 2005

Friday, April 29, 2005
Ice Cream Stands in the Boston Area

(Note: Go to the ice cream stands page on Boston's Hidden Restaurants to get more information on some of the ice cream stands and parlors listed below, as well as others not included here.)

It's nice to see the days getting warmer in the Boston area. The Boston Red Sox are playing, the trees are sprouting leaves, and snow is a distant memory. And, of course, ice cream stands are opening as they do every spring in Boston and New England.

While there are literally hundreds of ice cream stands and ice cream parlors in the New England region, some are definitely better than others. One of my favorite places for an ice cream cone is Kimball Farm in Carlisle (there's also one in Westford, but the Kimball's in Carlisle is quieter, and in a more scenic location). They have a petting zoo there, a farm, and some of the tastiest ice cream in New England.

Not many ice cream stands match Kimball's, but Bubbling Brook Restaurant in Westwood comes close. Set in a pastoral area, Bubbling Brook not only has great ice cream (including soft serve), but also delicious sandwiches.

photo of the Dairy Barn, Randolph, MA A few other top ice cream stands in the Boston area include Dairy Joy in Weston, which is truly a classic place for ice cream, complete with wooden benches outside; Richardson's in Middleton, which has outstanding ice cream, and a driving range to boot; The Dairy Barn in Randolph, which is a true hidden gem of the Boston area, and has Richardson's ice cream as well as soft serve; Bedford Farms in Bedford, which some say has better ice cream than nearby Kimball's; Erikson's in Maynard, which has a fantastic ginger ice cream; and Crescent Ridge in Sharon, which gets crowded at times, but is worth the wait.

A bit further out from Boston is The Ice House, a classic ice cream stand in the beautiful town of New Castle, NH; The Docksider Restaurant in Northeast Harbor, ME, which has terrific seafood to go along with their tasty ice cream; Hallet's Store, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Yarmouth Port with a soda fountain and museum; Oxford Creamery, another classic ice cream stand, this one in Mattapoisett, near New Bedford; Mountain Mist, in Saranac Lake, NY, which is on Lake Flower, a pristine body of water high up in the Adirondacks; and, well, too many others to mention here.

Well, after all that, now I'm really craving an ice cream. Perhaps I'll hit Sullivan's on Castle Island after the Walk for Hunger on Sunday. Or maybe Peaceful Meadows in Whitman. Or....

Related Blog Entries: ice cream stands

Monday, April 18, 2005
Mother's Day Restaurants

Here comes another Mother's Day. 2005 seems to be flying by, doesn't it? Of course, many of us are thinking what Boston restaurants might be good places to go for Mother's Day. Here are a couple of thoughts: First, since many restaurants increase their prices greatly for Mother's Day, make sure you ask whether they will have a special menu that day. And this question is important not just for money reasons; many places have a very limited menu on Mother's Day. Second, some places will just be too crowded, and even if you have a reservation, they may be too crazed too have an enjoyable meal.

Having said all this, let me mention a few slightly lesser-known restaurants in the Boston area that would be great places to go for Mother's Day. For Italian food, check out Cafe Marliave in Boston or Luciano's in Wrentham. For steak and seafood, you can't go wrong with Frank's Steak House in Cambridge or, if you want to take a longer, scenic ride, Noah's in Stonington, CT. For buffets, look into The Old Mill in Westminster or China Blossom in North Andover. And for more upscale food, you might want to look into Cafe Apollonia in Roslindale. All of these restaurants are excellent, and you have at least a fighting chance of getting a table for Mother's Day.

Related Blog Entries: Mother's Day restaurants

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Restaurants for 2005 Boston Marathon Runners

Another beautiful day here in Boston; cool, sunny weather, an opening day Boston Red Sox win...what more does a Bostonian need? Hopefully this will be the weather that the Boston Marathon runners get on Monday (though a few more clouds would help a bit).

Speaking of the 2005 Boston Marathon, for those of you who are coming in to run the race and don't know Boston all that well, let me give you a list of some good little-known restaurants for before the race (dining spots with pasta) and after the race (restaurants with steak and other sources of protein). These restaurants will probably not have the crowds of the better-known dining spots, so hopefully you can get into them.

For before the Boston Marathon, you might want to try Al Dente, Monica's, or Pagliuca's in the North End; Cafe Marliave downtown; or Rino's in East Boston. They are all excellent Italian restaurants that tend not to get the crowds.

For after the race, check out Dedo in Bay Village; Elephant and Castle downtown; Amrheins in South Boston; or CF Donovan's in Dorchester. All these restaurants have good steak entrees, as well as chicken and seafood.

Best of luck to all the 2005 Boston Marathon runners out there! Someday I'll be in good enough shape to do it myself, hopefully.

Related Blog Entries: Boston Marathon, Boston restaurants

Sunday, April 10, 2005
Outdoor Dining in Boston

Spring in Boston...there aren't many more beautiful places to be than in Beantown this time of year (although the recent rains have tested my patience a bit). And with spring comes outdoor dining. There are a good number of restaurants in Boston where you can eat outdoors, but, as with anyone, I have my favorites, and the list isn't all that long.

photo of Eastern Pier II, Boston, MA There is a Chinese restaurant on the waterfront in the Seaport District that is excellent, little-known, and has an outdoor deck right on the harbor. Indeed, Eastern Pier II is one of those places that is perfect on a hot summer day, as there is bound to be a sea breeze here at almost any given time. Another nice spot, The Barnacle in Marblehead, is a terrific seafood restaurant to go to, but because the patio is literally on top of the Atlantic Ocean, save it for a warm day. Then there is this little seafood shack on the Gloucester/Rockport line near Halibut Point. The name escapes me (actually, does it even HAVE a name?), but what a place to eat clams and watch the sun set over the water.

There are other outdoor spots that I used to go to more often, but I've outgrown them, I believe. Tia's at the Long Wharf in Boston is a fun place, but too much attitude among the people who go there. Union Street in Newton Centre has a great outdoor deck, but most people there are around college age, and it can get really loud.

What a beautiful day it is today...I can't wait for the first outdoor dining experience this season. Of course, my first choice would be to go to the greatest outdoor dining spot in the city--Fenway Park--but it's just a little too tough to get tickets to the Red Sox this year. Oh well, perhaps I can have a bbq on my back deck, tune into the Sox on the TV, and pretend I'm at Fenway. BTW, Opening Day for the Red Sox is tomorrow...another sure sign that spring is here!

Here's hoping this weather continues, and everything starts blooming soon. Who knows--perhaps I'll be having some fresh seafood in Marblehead by next weekend. Anything will be better than sitting inside, waiting out another 3-inch rainstorm. A few more of those, and perhaps I'll be dining outdoors in a few weeks--while looking at the real estate section of a Southern California newspaper! Hmmm, I wonder if the URL is taken...

Related Blog Entries: Boston restaurants, outdoor dining

Thursday, April 7, 2005
Excellent Vermont Restaurants

Just a quick note at the end of another beautiful spring day here in Boston...

Vermont sure has some good restaurants! We hung out in Stowe and Burlington this past weekend and hit some good dining spots, including The Foxfire in Stowe, which is a truly great Italian restaurant; The Shed, also in Stowe, which has unforgettable burgers cooked in beer; and Three Tomatoes in Burlington, which is a good, cheap, friendly Italian joint on Church Street in the downtown area.

Can't wait to get back to the Green Mountain State! Those Shed Burgers are unreal...

Related Blog Entries: Vermont restaurants

Thursday, April 7, 2005
Boston-Area Restaurants That I Miss

I was thinking the other day about all the great restaurants in the Boston area that no longer exist. So many of these restaurants were such a big part of growing up in Boston. Many people probably remember Nick's Beef and Beer House in Cambridge and Bishop's in Lawrence. But what about some of the others?

Does anyone remember The Acropolis in Cambridge? The Greek food there was incredible, and I keep remembering how the waiter would refill your water glass even if you had only a tiny sip. And how about Angelo's in Arlington? Their pizza was second to none--fresh, gooey, thin-crust pizza that tasted like it came straight out of Brooklyn. And then there was Augustine's in Saugus. Yes, Augustine's was hot and cold at times, but who can forget going up to the all-you-can-eat buffet while the woman was playing cheesy music on the organ in the middle of the restaurant?

There are so many others...The Tastee in Harvard Square; Jack and Marion's in Brookline; the Falstaff in Boston; Giovanni's Pizza in Acton; The European in the North End; and, of course, Buzzy's Roast Beef in the shadow of the Charles Street prison. I miss them all, but life goes on in the restaurant world, and as long as Santarpio's Pizza in East Boston and The Old Mill in Westminster stay open for as long as I live, I guess I'll be ok.

Related Blog Entries: closed Boston restaurants

MARCH, 2005

Thursday, March 10, 2005
San Francisco Restaurant Scene vs. Boston Restaurant Scene

photo of Tony's Cable Car Restaurant, San Francisco, CA I got back from the beautiful city of San Francisco awhile ago. In my opinion, the restaurant scene out there seems to be a little better then the Boston restaurant scene. It's tough to find a burger joint in Boston even remotely like the memorable Tony's Cable Car restaurant, for instance. And just try to find an Italian restaurant as good, in an old-world way, as the outstanding Via Veneto in the Fillmore district. In fact, Via Veneto may just be the best Italian restaurant I have been to, period. These are just two restaurants I've been to in San Francisco that I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

Perhaps it is an unfair comparison, but the two cities ARE similar in size. Of course, both are blown away by the New York restaurant scene, but that city is many times bigger than either.

Related Blog Entries: Boston restaurants, San Francisco restaurants

Friday, March 4, 2005
Welcome to the Boston Restaurant Blog

Greetings, Boston restaurant lovers! This is the start of what will hopefully be a fun and interesting restaurant blog called the Boston Restaurant Blog. This blog is a part of the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, and allows us to basically give thoughts, views, opinions, etc. on every aspect of the Boston restaurant scene. And it also allows us to give information on restaurant scenes away from Boston, including the rest of New England, New York, and places that are far away. We hope you'll enjoy the Boston Restaurant Blog, and feel free to email us with any comments, compliments, or complaints!