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Boston Restaurant Blog -- July, 2007

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Food Trip to Framingham and Hudson

A week ago Sunday, a friend of mine and I went out to Framingham and Hudson to check out three restaurants that I had not yet tried. And while the trip wasn't quite up to par with previous food trips I've done (especially the ones to Connecticut, the Pioneer Valley, and Lawrence and Lowell), it was an interesting several hours, with some great food and some food that was just ok.

photo of Pepperoncini's, Framingham, MA We had initially set off to start at Casey's Diner in Natick, but we had put in "South Street" rather than "South Avenue," and ended up wondering how a classic old diner could be on a deeply wooded road in the middle of nowhere. Giving up on Casey's, we found our way back to Natick Center and headed west to Framingham, where we stopped at a little hole in the wall called Pepperoncini's. Now I had heard that both the steak tips and the pizza were excellent at Pepperoncini's, but they weren't serving steak tips, so we opted for the pizza. And aside from being a great deal ($5.00 for a large pizza on Sundays), it was also delicious, tasting much like a thin-crust pizza you might find in Manhattan. The sauce was slightly sweet, the crust was dry on the bottom, and the cheese had a wonderful texture (and taste!) to it. Most bars in the Boston area tend to serve bar-style pizza, but the pizza at Pepperoncini's was definitely more Italian style than anything else.

After Pepperoncini's, we headed up Route 126 to our next stop, though once again, we got slightly lost as we headed into Saxonville, an old working-class part of Framingham that had just enough intersections to help head us in the wrong direction. As we started to hook up the GPS once again, we saw a huge, empty shopping center, with our next place right in the middle of it.

photo of Hometowne Hotdogs, Framingham, MA This next stop, called Hometowne Hotdogs, was nearly empty when we walked in. The place looked promising right off the bat, however, as there were sports-related pictures adorning the walls and a large mural of a hot dog relaxing while watching the Red Sox from the stands at Fenway. Tearing myself from this rather interesting piece of art, I ordered a dirty dog (a hot dog with chili and cheese sauce) and a Kosher dog (an all-beef frank). The Kosher dog was very good, though it wasn't anything I couldn't get in a supermarket; the dirty dog was not so good, as it was very pink and seemed a bit undercooked, with little taste. I really wanted to like this place (I love hot dogs!), but in retrospect, I decided that there were better places to go in the Boston area for my hot dog fix.

We were starting to get full by the time we left Hometown Hotdogs, so we were happy to see that Hudson was a good 15 miles away from where we were (at least according to the GPS). We drove through some nicer parts of Framingham, arriving at Route 20 in Sudbury, where we soon veered off to the right into charming Sudbury Center. From there, we continued west through some deeply wooded areas into Stowe and eventually Hudson for our final food stop.

photo of T.C. Lando's, Hudson, MA The cliche "saving the best for last" definitely applied to our Sunday trip, as T.C. Lando's in downtown Hudson was even better than I had expected. For those who don't know, T.C. Lando's is affiliated with Carl's in Waltham, which is often considered the best place for cheesesteak in the Boston area. And the word is, the steak and cheese at T.C. Lando's matches Carl's in quality. I have not been to Carl's yet, but I can say that the steak and cheese I got at T.C. Lando's was perhaps one of the three best I have had anywhere. It was about a pound of what I can only describe as steak pellets; short, thin cylinders of delicious steak that looked a bit like hamburger that just came out of a grinder, but it was indeed steak, and not hamburger meat. I wasn't all that hungry when we got to Lando's, but the cheesesteak was so good that it disappeared off my plate within a couple of minutes.

So we hit three new places (for me, anyways), liking two and finding one to be rather average. And the key question is, Will any of these restaurants get featured on this site? Well, I don't know right now, as I do want to try the steak tips at Pepperoncini's before making a decision on that place. And while the cheesesteak at T.C. Lando's was amazing, I also hear that the pizza is very good as well. So perhaps another visit should be in store for both of these places; once that happens, you may see one or both of these eating places featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants.

Related Blog Entries: Framingham restaurants, hot dogs, road trips


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