Below are blog entries from August, 2013. 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.)
Friday, August 30, 2013
Excellent Peruvian Meal at Alpamayo Restaurant, Lee, MA
As is usually the case during the latter part of the summer, I tend to do road trips around New England, trying out various restaurants that are well outside of Boston but close enough to get to as part of a day trip. Last year one of the trips included a stop at the Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington (a great place with outstanding grass-fed burgers) and this year I went to a dining spot near the brewery--a Peruvian restaurant called Alpamayo in Lee. Now Lee might seem like an odd place for a Peruvian eatery (especially considering that there are very few such spots in the Boston area), but based on the meal that several of us had there this week, this appears to be a very impressive place that is an excellent option if you're hungry and need to get off the nearby Mass. Pike for a bit, or if you are staying in the western part of the Berkshires.
Residing in the heart of the charming downtown area of Lee, Alpamayo is one of several dining spots located in the center of town. And like most of them, it is situated in a small space that is long and narrow, with just a handful of tables that can get moved around in case larger groups come in. The red brick tile floor, attractive hanging lights, and Latin American music in the background give the place some atmosphere, and the noise level isn't too bad even with the brick floor. Service seems (at least based on our one visit) to be very efficient, with lots of hustle and bustle among the staff, though not so much as to disturb the overall dining experience.
Once we were seated at Alpamayo, we were treated to a cup of baked and salted corn kernels that were so addictive that I'm almost glad they didn't keep bringing more to us. Our server soon brought us drinks, which included a rather interesting one called chicha morada, a traditional beverage made with purple corn, fruit, and spices. The drink was not unlike a non-alcoholic version of red sangria, with a rich, deep taste, though no real corn flavor to it. After sharing a salad that had mild bits of cheese on top, our meals arrived, with most of the table going with the paella, and one other dish being something called arroz chaufa. The paella was nothing short of spectacular, with a good amount of shrimp, perfectly-seasoned rice, scallions, red peppers, peas, onions, and cilantro, while the arroz chaufa was every bit as delicious, with Peruvian-style fried rice (that packed a decent amount of heat) mixed with grilled sliced sirloin, peas, scallions, eggs, and soy sauce.
Is Alpamayo a true destination spot? Perhaps not, though based on our recent trip there, it is definitely worth checking out if you are on the Pike or staying in this part of the Berkshires. Plus, the prices are decent--which can be a rarity in this part of the Berkshires--and parking is easy to find thanks to the municipal lots nearby. A big thumbs-up goes to this rare Peruvian spot near the New York line.
The address for Alpamayo is: Alpamayo Restaurant, 60 Main Street, Lee, MA, 01238.
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on August 30, 2013.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013
Lunch at Evelyn's Drive-In, Tiverton, RI
For those of you who have been to the beautiful FarmCoast section of Rhode Island, you're probably familiar with a decades-old roadside eatery on Route 77 in Tiverton called Evelyn's Drive-In. Well, after countless times driving past it (and wondering about the place each time), I was finally able to try it with a few others earlier this month, and looking back, I feel like kicking myself for never having stopped in earlier.
Evelyn's is located in a particularly gorgeous section of the FarmCoast region, tucked into a cozy area where low wooded hills meet Nanaquaket Pond (not the nearby Narragansett Bay, which it could easily be mistaken for). The restaurant looks more like a seafood shack than a drive-in, though it is a little of both (more on that in a bit), and it has both indoor and outdoor dining, with the outdoor seats having terrific views of the water. The patio (and windows inside) generally face westward, which makes this a great spot to catch a sunset. If you decide to dine indoors, options include both tables and counter seating.
As implied earlier, Evelyn's Drive-In seems like a mix of a drive-in and a seafood shack, and the menu certainly reflects this, with classic American dishes sharing space with local seafood favorites. We mixed it up, going with such items as calamari, chicken pot pie, fried clams, a chow mein sandwich, and crab cakes. Everything was outstanding, with the fried calamari being tender and coming with slightly hot banana peppers (the way it is traditionally done in Rhode Island), the chicken pot pie being overstuffed with meat and veggies, the fried clams coming deep-fried in a smooth batter, and the crab cakes being sweet and seasoned nicely. And then there was the chow mein sandwich; what, pray tell, is a chow mein sandwich? Well, it is another regional dish, with crispy noodles mixed with brown gravy and veggies, and placed in a hamburger bun, but it is not meant to be eaten like a sandwich because it is much too messy. The version we tried came with lean strips of beef, and while it was rather decadent and filling, it was absolutely marvelous and made me wonder why other parts of New England don't serve this dish. Service was friendly, prices were mostly reasonable, and the views--yes, the views need to be mentioned again--were unforgettable.
It's tough to consider a restaurant that has been featured on Guy Fieri's "Divers, Drive-Ins, and Dives" to be a hidden gem (although he has hit a few places we've featured), and this does seem to be quite a popular place--at least among locals--but whether it is an under-the-radar spot or not, Evelyn's is definitely something special, and one that is well worth the road trip from the Boston area, especially since there is so much to see in this little sliver of the state.
The address for Evelyn's is: Evelyn's Drive-In, 2335 Main Road (Route 77), Tiverton, RI, 02878.
Related Blog Entries: Rhode Island restaurants, seafood restaurants
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on August 22, 2013.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013
A Hashtag for Instagram Food Photos
Last year, Boston's Hidden Restaurants joined Instagram (with the username @hiddenboston), using the picture-based social media site to post photos of food from various Boston-area restaurants as well as a wide variety of other pictures (including those from the road). Up until now, the food pictures weren't categorized, so they were mixed together with non-food photos, but thanks to a hashtag, the pictures of food are now easily accessible in one place.
In order to get to the food photos, all you have to do is go to the "explore" section of Instagram (the icon directly to the right of the home button) and type in #BHRfood, making sure that "Hashtags" is chosen. One other way to see the pictures is to go to the @hiddenboston page on Instagram and find a food photo, which should have the hashtag in its comments, then simply click the hashtag.
More pictures will be posted onto the Instagram site over the coming days and weeks, so keep checking back for new ones!
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on August 20, 2013.
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Twelve More Sandwiches from Restaurants in the Boston Area and Elsewhere in New England
Back in the latter part of 2011, a photo slideshow on five great sandwiches in the Boston area was posted here, with the post being one of the first slideshows that was done on the site. Well, nearly two years and many slideshows later, it's time to revisit the humble sandwich once again, in part because August just happens to be National Sandwich Month. This time, a total of twelve sandwiches are included here, with a few sandwiches toward the end being from dining spots that are outside the Greater Boston area.
Below is a link to this new slideshow.
Related Blog Entries: slideshows
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants, on August 6, 2013.
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