Below is a transcript of a live online chat with Dave Andelman of The Phantom Gourmet, which took place on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The half-hour talk focused mostly on some of Dave's favorite little-known restaurants in the Boston area, and it included viewer participation, with folks asking Dave questions toward the end. [Note: The original discussion can be replayed at the following link: http://www.hiddenboston.com/online-discussion-0212-2.html and please go to the restaurant discussions link to check out our other chats.]
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hello, all! Welcome to another live online discussion on food and restaurants. Yesterday I talked with Jasper White of the Summer Shack restaurants, and today I'll be having a one-on-one chat with Dave Andelman, who is the CEO of the Phantom Gourmet, a food-based television program that can also be found online, in print, and on the radio. Over the next half hour, we'll get to find out about some of the more independent and lesser-known spots that Dave goes to, and toward the end of the chat, I'll take some questions from a few of you for Dave to answer.
Marc H.: Dave, are you here yet? :-)
Guest: I am here
Marc H.: If that's you, Dave, make sure you add your name before posting, thanks! You just need to do it for the first time and it'll stay there.
Dave Andelman: Sorry, spilled some duck sauce on my computer
Marc H.: Another lunch at the Kowloon?
Dave Andelman: I call Andy Wong Cousin Andy for a reason!
Marc H.: :-) So welcome to the chat! Thanks for swinging by the site. Are you ready to talk restaurants?
Dave Andelman: Let's get it on!
Marc H.: Today, I'd like to talk with you about some of your favorite dining spots in the Boston area (with an emphasis on lesser-known places), as well as restaurants elsewhere in New England, but before we start, maybe we could get to know a bit more about you. When did you first decide that you wanted to get into TV/radio? Did your love of food start at an early age? I'm assuming that your father, who was a fixture in Boston sports talk radio for a long time—and a lover of dining out--has played a big role in both.
Dave Andelman: My dad was one of the great radio talk show hosts in the country, in sports. He and I thought there wasn't nearly enough radio and TV about restaurants. So, I started P.G. while I went to Northeastern for law and business, after college at Union, and then it became my full-time gig.
Dave Andelman: We always loved going out to eat, but Eddie wasn't much for fine dining. We were always Phans of places like Kowloon, Newbridge Cafe, and the original Regina Pizza
Marc H.: I used to listen to your father as a little kid, driving home from my grandparents house. He was certainly ahead of his time back then. So what are you involved in beside The Phantom Gourmet these days?
Dave Andelman: We just had Eddie's birthday at Fuddruckers. Nothing says I love you, pop, like a one pound hot dog.
Marc H.: Couldn't have said it any better.
Dave Andelman: Thank you, my dad is a true original, really invented sports radio. Well, PG is now in TV, radio, we have a Phantom Gourmet Restaurant Gift Card accepted at your choice of 200 restaurants, major events, and we just started the Restaurant And Business Alliance
Marc H.: Could you tell everyone just a little bit about the alliance before we start talking restaurants?
Dave Andelman: For the record, I'm drinking P.G. Pinot Noir while doing this online chat
Marc H.: It's 3:00 somewhere.
Dave Andelman: Restaurants and their employees always get screwed, so I formed a state wide trade association with a full-time lobbyist to work on their behalf. I think we should have a Meals Tax Holiday just like the Sales Tax Holiday, more flexibility on drink specials, etc.
Dave Andelman: I love that song It's 5 O'clock somewhere, I'm a huge country Phan
Marc H.: That makes one of us, I guess, though I do love that song.
Marc H.: So why don't we start talking about some restaurants that you particularly love—again, with an emphasis on independent spots and places that are a bit under the radar. Perhaps we can start in Boston proper and work our way out from there. Where do you like to go in Boston and its neighborhoods, including Allston, Dorchester, JP, Southie, etc.?
Dave Andelman: Did you see Lydia Shire's blog today? Her, Jasper White, Walhburg, Ambrose, and Andy Husbands are all doing one hot dog at Safari Phan Night for CF May 9, very cool
Marc H.: I missed that post. Definitely some heavy hitters there.
Dave Andelman: Where don't I like? Marliave for chicken under a brick and dollar oysters. No Name for shrimp cocktail. Garlic and Lemons in Allston.
Dave Andelman: Silvertone for red wine. Summer Shack is one of my all-time favs.
Dave Andelman: South End, Masa for dollar tapas. Barlola for tapas, too, I love the Small Plate Movement
Marc H.: Small Plates do seem to be big these days. By the way, Garlic and Lemons seems to be one of those great under-the-radar spots. Do you get there often? Any other spots in Allston or Brookline?
Dave Andelman: I eat 1,000 times a year, but I don't go to any one place all that often. I used to live in Brookline, I liked the Smokehouse and Matt Murphy's, CCC for fries and beers, Michael's Deli for sandwiches, Fugakya for sushi, Zagtig's for omeletes and bagel chips
Marc H.: Do you have a preference between Michael's and Zaftigs? Have you been to Barry's in Waban or Inna's in Newton Centre?
Dave Andelman: PhantomGourmetWine.com...thought I'd plug an event we're doing March 31 at Cyclorama
Dave Andelman: Not much of a Barry's Phan. Michael's sandwiches are phan-tastic, especially the pickles. Zaftig's is a triple threat: great breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Marc H.: How about dining spots in Cambridge, or Somerville? Any ethnic places in any of those communities that you like? What are some lesser-known places in the suburbs (say, as far out as Route 495) that you enjoy going to?
Dave Andelman: I love Somerville. Redbones. Boston Burger Company. R.F. O'Sullivan's. Cambridge, East Coast Grill, Frank's Steak House
Marc H.: Somerville has so many great restaurants, and North Cambridge, which is within walking distance of Davis Square, has lots as well.
Dave Andelman: Blue Ox in Lynn is really good. One of my favorite things in life is to eat a double cheeseburger from Kelly's on Upper Revere Beach, where I reside in the summer.
Marc H.: Blue Ox is a real gem. Too bad people don't seem to know about it outside of the North Shore.
Marc H.: Do you have any road-trip worthy spots in New England that you like to get to when you have the chance? Any good clam shacks on the ocean, or perhaps some spots in the mountains of Northern or Western New England?
Marc H.: And by the way, we're starting to get questions and comments from viewers. I'll start posting them in a minute.
Dave Andelman: Well, they do if they watch Phantom Gourmet on myTV38!
Dave Andelman: I just went to Arrows in Maine, pretty spectacular. I like 22 Bowen in Newport. I'd go to Maine Diner everyday if it were closer
Marc H.: Arrows is one of those special occasion places, that's for sure.
Dave Andelman: I like to drink beers on the roof at Sea Ketch on Hampton Beach. Providence is one of my favorite restaurant cities, I could spend all day at Venda Ravioli
Marc H.: I tend to go to Providence almost as much as Boston for dining out. It's definitely a tremendous city for food.
Marc H.: So....you ready for some questions from our readers?
Dave Andelman: Even a geek like me can impress a woman at Arrows. I love Frank DePasquale's places in the North End, especially Bricco, and Moo-Sorelina-Mistral are always incredible
Dave Andelman: yeah, Marc, bring it, hopefully we've got some food and fun loving Phans out there
John G: Hi Guys, love the format and collaboration: anytime someone is talking food... count me in.
Marc H.: Thanks, John!
John G: Question: My wife and I just moved to Andover and we have searched for a good breakfast place.. any recomendations?
Dave Andelman: PhantomGourmet.com lets you search by region and/or cuisine type. Up there, I love the Loft and Joe Fish. I go the latter for oysters then to the former for steak and red wine...and homemade potato chips, which is one of my favorite foods
Geoff M.: Best breakfast in Andover is Shawsheen Luncheonette.
Guest: Where are some good places to eat for a college student on a college student budget who doesn't want any part of the crap they serve at the campus cafeteria or the local McD's?
Dave Andelman: College kids should hit the diners! Victoria Diner, Mike's City Diner are a couple favorites.
Marc H.: Victoria's has a Nutella French toast that has definitely taken a few years off my life, but it's so good.
Dave Andelman: Love the chicken sausage at The Vic.
Guest: Awesome, thanks.
John G: we had our Valentines/Anniversary dinner at the Andover Inn (Philllips campus) the other night. Have you done any reviews on them?
Dave Andelman: John, I think so. I found a lot of our Phans went out the weekend before of after to avoid Valentine's Day night, like many of them avoid New Year's Eve
Guest: What's your opinion on the Kelly's at Station Landing in Medford?
Dave Andelman: I'm a Kelly's Phan, especially the double cheeseburger, it's my #1 hangover food. I also like the roast beef. I never really order the seafood. I love fried clams at Summer Shack and Red Rock Bistro.
Emily: What's your favorite ethnic restaurant in Boston?
Dave Andelman: Emily, great Q! Well, I love tapas, Barlola is a hangout. I also love Indian, but usually I can't find anyone to go with me. The other night, I went to Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown, and either I was drunk or it was really tasty.
Marc H.: Gourmet Dumpling House seems to be a big "foodie" hangout.
Dave Andelman: I'm not a "foodie", just a guy who loves food and fun.
Dave Andelman: I believe one third of meals out should be ethnic, not including Chinese or Italian
Guest: I can't agree to that, Dave. Ethnic food terrifies me.
Dave Andelman: People are scared of Indian food, but they basically serve bread, white rice, and barbecue chicken
Marc H.: OK, last question, and it's a good one.
ChiliDog: Regina or Santaprio's?
Dave Andelman: Regina, don't waste my time....although I was at 'Tarps Monday and it was really good
Marc H.: The correct answer was "both," I believe, but we'll leave it at that.
John G: thanks for the chats guys.. .love hiddenboston.com and phantom... keep up the great work!!
Marc H.: Thanks again, John.
Dave Andelman: don't tell me the answer, sir, I'm a professional, and it's the ORIGINAL Regina! Thank you....watch PG Sat & Sun 10:30 and 11AM on myTV38
Marc H.: :-) It does look like it's about that time, Dave. Thanks for participating! Have a great day, all!