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Boston Restaurant Blog -- October, 2012

Below are blog entries from October, 2012. 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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October, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
How to Get Access to Facebook Posts via Interest Lists

Last week I wrote about the increased "invisibility" of Facebook business pages, with the focus on being how you might continue to see our page (and others' pages) via a news feed link along with the importance of "likes" and comments. Thanks to a couple of acquaintances in the social media world--Carol Yelverton Becker and Drew Starr--I have learned of another way to easily keep up with your favorite Facebook pages, and it's a foolproof way to see all of the posts from these pages (rather than only a few that might show up on your timeline). And the great thing about the feature--known as "interest lists"--is that it is easy to set up, taking no time at all.

See Step 1 on how to create a Facebook interest pageLet's say that you want to make sure you don't miss any posts from your favorite food-based sites on Facebook. What you can do is create an interest list that brings all of these pages together, much in the same way that the Twitter list feature does. To get started, go to one of the pages that you want to include in the list (I'm using our Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page as an example here) then look to the right of the Facebook page's name. You will see a "Liked" button with a check mark next to it. Hover over this button and a drop-down menu will appear, with one option on the menu being "New List," which you should click.

See Step 2 on how to create a Facebook interest pageOnce you click the "New List" option, a popup window will appear. Within the window you should see an icon for the Facebook page that you want to add to your list, with a check mark next to it. This check mark indicates that this page will be part of the list that you are creating. You should also notice that to the left are a number of category options, including "Art," "Books," "Business," "Causes," and so on. In this case, since you're creating a list of your favorite food-based sites, you'll want to focus on the "Food" category, of course, but if you are creating lists that focus on other categories, Facebook has a good number of them listed here. By the way, the three options above the categories ("Pages," "Subscriptions," and "Friends") will likely come into play as well--more on that in a minute.

See Step 3 on how to create a Facebook interest pageOnce you click "Food" (or whatever category you are working with), a list of suggested pages will come up. To choose which (if any) of these suggested you would like to add to the new list, click them one at a time and they will automatically be added to the list. You can also do the same with "Pages," "Subscriptions," and "Friends," with "Pages" referring to Facebook pages that you follow, rather than the "Food" category which includes pages that you may not necessarily follow. (There's also a search window at the top in case you want to do a specific search for people or pages.) Once you are done choosing which pages to add to your list, click "Next" in the lower right corner of the popup window and you'll be given the option to make the list public, allow it to be seen by only your friends, or allow it to be seen just by you. Give your interest list page a name, click "Done," and you're pretty much ready to roll!

So now that you've created your list, how can you access it? Click the "Facebook" button in the upper left part of the page, then scroll down the left column until you get to "Interests." You should see the interest page there. By the way, there are other ways to create these interest pages, but this seems to be a particularly simple way to do it.

The changes that have come to Facebook have been frustrating to many businesses, but it's nice to see that they have added a way to allow you to keep tabs on your favorite pages. Once more people learn about these interest pages, the problem of invisibility will hopefully start to go away.

Related Blog Entries: Facebook

Friday, October 26, 2012
How to Find Our Facebook Posts (and How to Help Us As Well)

It seems that Facebook has made changes to their site which apparently cause both business pages and personal pages to often be seen "less" by people in their timelines, even if they are connected with the pages via being fans or friends. So yesterday I posted a question on Facebook about whether our fans have been able to see our particular posts, and while at least some are still are able to see them, many others apparently do not get to see some or even all of the posts. Whatever the cause of this, it seems time to do a workaround, giving you easy access to our posts--while also letting you know how to help get our page back into your timeline (and helping us in the process).

First, the workaround. The easiest way to see our Facebook posts is to simply go to the following link:

Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page

Another way is to go to our news feed, which can be used in most browsers (you will need a plug-in if you use Google Chrome):

Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page news feed

From what some people are saying, Facebook pages will more likely show up in your timeline if you "like" specific posts within the page, or if you interact by adding comments. For instance, there might be a post on a new restaurant review and you "like" the post, or you put something in the comment box about how you have been there recently or what dish you might like there (or not like!). "Likes" and "comments" are apparently the way to go if you want to keep pages in your timeline, so even one or two of them would possibly bring our page into your timeline.

Hopefully this is a temporary issue with Facebook, as it sounds like many businesses and people are frustrated about their pages being more "invisible." In the meantime, the links above and "liking" or commenting on a page should hopefully do the trick. Thank you!

Related Blog Entries: Facebook

Friday, October 19, 2012
A Couple of Visits to jm Curley in Downtown Boston

It is no secret that Downtown Crossing in Boston has not exactly been a destination for dining for many years now. But this is slowly changing, with a number of restaurants opening on or just off of Washington Street over the past few years. And one such spot that we went to a couple of times over the past several weeks--jm Curley on Temple Place--is not only one of the top restaurants in the neighborhood for food and service, but it is also a place that could become one of my personal favorites based on the terrific experiences that we had at this fun spot.

photo of jm Curley, Boston, MA From the outside, jm Curley doesn't really look like much, though to be honest, not much looks like much on the rather dark and dusty Temple Place. The interior, however, is quite nice in an unassuming sort of way, with lots of exposed brick, a wooden floor, attractive hanging lights, a long bar to the left (with an impressive display of bottles of all kinds behind it), several tables along the right wall, and a small, private-feeling room back and to the left that will soon become Bogie's Place (basically a restaurant within a restaurant). The overall feel of jm Curley is that of a cozy neighborhood bar that is not pretentious at all, though not exactly dive-y, either. In other words, a place where most people will probably feel quite comfortable.

We tried a number of food items and drinks on our two visits there, with several real highlights along the way. Among the best items were the "cracka jacks" that were made even better by being enhanced with bacon; the braised beef cheek gorditas, which had a richness that was not overpowering as some beef cheek dishes can be; the crispy fried chicken that came with five different sauces, a slightly charred biscuit, and a cup of sweet tea that wasn't too far off from the best versions I've had in the South; a cast iron skillet of gooey macaroni and cheese that was made using a smoked cheddar cheese from Vermont and an amber ale; and what may have been the best of them all, the squash hush puppies, which came with a spicy stuffing, rich-tasting turkey neck gravy, and a cranberry cinnamon butter that had a perfect combination of sweet, tart, and savory flavors. A couple of other items that were also tasty included the beer and cheese soup, which was slightly watery but had a nice mix of flavors from the malty brown ale and tangy Vermont cheddar, and the braised and flash-fried baby octopus that had an intensely fishy flavor. Among drinks, the Ithaca Apricot Wheat was light and fruity, the Boulevard Tank 7 had a wild yeasty flavor that you either like or hate (I'm a big fan), and the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel that had a complex mix of malty, yeasty, and fruity notes. Oh, and then there was the fernet; we had shots of this strong spirit both times that we were there, and it is definitely an acquired taste, but a drink that some folks absolutely love (I do like it, though wouldn't go as far to use the L-word). Service at jm Curley really stands out, as every single worker there seems to love what he or she is doing, and the place is run very efficiently without being done so in an overly serious manner. As for prices, it's the type of place where you can spend relatively little, or run up the bill very quickly, depending on your choices for food and drink. In this way, jm Curley is a bit like Highland Kitchen in Somerville or The Publick House in Brookline, which makes sense, as all three places seem like gastropubs with inventive takes on classic American dishes.

So what didn't I like about jm Curley? Very little, actually, though the noise level was pretty high both times we were there, and getting a table can be very difficult, depending on when you go. And it's this last point that is an interesting one, as you don't really think of long lines and Downtown Crossing as going together. But jm Curley has gotten a lot of press since it opened toward the end of last year, and because it's a bit of an "industry" spot (i.e. a place where chefs, food writers, and the like go), the restaurant is not exactly an under-the-radar place--and seems to get less so as time goes on. So no, it's not really a hidden gem, but it sure is a good one.

If you would like the address for jm Curley, here it is: jm Curley, 21 Temple Place, Boston, MA, 02111. Phone: (617) 338-5333.

Related Blog Entries: Boston bars, Boston restaurants

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Ten More Great Pizzas in the Boston Area

photo of pizza from Angela's Coal Fired Pizza, Saugus, MALast October, we posted a photo slideshow on some of our favorite pizzas in the Boston area, and while that one had six pizzas, our new pizza slideshow has a total of ten pies shown. Part Two of the pizza slideshow has everything from traditional thin-crust pizza to bar pies to Sicilian pizza, with Italian restaurants, pizza places, and bars all over the Boston area included. How many of these places have you been to for pizza? Which are your favorites? Let us know in our comments section here, thanks!

And now....on to the pizza slideshow...

Slideshow on Ten More Great Pizzas in the Boston Area

Related Blog Entries: slideshows