A lot of food blogs out there are written by married people. Which is great. These people probably have a lot more money to spend going out to restaurants. But it's also, let's face it, a little ZZZzzzzz. Single people (ahem, like me) know the anxiety over picking that perfect spot. Do I choose L'Espalier to show him/her that I mean business? Or more casual, like a Cambridge 1? Dress up, dress down? And for the gastro-intestinally-
Anyway, back to my point. Here is Dish Gal's list of my favorite first date places in Boston. These are mid-priced gems, good for any sort of date, aka places that don't scream WE'RE ON A DATE LET'S BE ROMANTIC!. (Exceptions to this are noted.) These are also aimed at 20/30-somethings, i.e. the ambiance, price-point, and locations are all accessible to my age group. I've linked to my old reviews on ones that I've written about. I'm almost positive I'm forgetting some of my favorites...so definitely please leave suggestions in the comments!!
- The Paramount, Beacon Hill -- Known for its chaotic yet delicious breakfasts, this place chills way down for dinnertime. Then, the tables get spiffed up for waiter service, and you'll get the Beacon Hill romantic vibe minus the high price.
- Metropolis Cafe, South End -- You'll get points for introducing him/her to a place they've never been (MC is surprisingly under-the-radar for some reason). Plus yummy food with reasonable portions, to avoid that "I'm so full I just want to go to sleep" feeling.
- South End Buttery, South End -- This is pretty darn romantic, so the date should definitely be an established date for this one. I'd suggest a 3rd date.
- Trattoria di Monica, North End -- The North End is always an obvious choice. I like Trattoria di Monica for a date because it's reasonably priced, and the atmosphere is cozy and romantic, yet chic, and without any North End kitsch.
- Toro, South End -- Repeat after me: Go. On. A. Weekday. (A weekend first date at this always-packed spot would be disastrous). This restaurant is good because it's fun, and the cramped space forces you to speak closely. Plus, Toro serves some potent and delicious cocktails. Or $1 PBRs. Whatever your fancy.
- Tupelo, Inman Square -- This has hidden-find bonus points. Cozy Southern comfort food in an un-fussy atmosphere. Fun and casual. Great for one of those "are we on a date? or is this just a dinner with a friend?" moments.
- Garden at the Cellar, Central/Harvard Square-- See notes for above, but swap in "Seasonal American" for "Southern comfort food."
- Cambridge 1, Harvard Square -- I'm stealing this idea from Sebastian. It's definitely a good, casual, split-a-pizza and have some beers place, but with a nicer atmosphere than your typical grab a slice place.
- Tasca, Brighton -- Bordering on "obviously romantic" but still deserves a mention for its coziness and delicious food and sangria.
- Drink, Fort Point Channel -- for the "drinks with a lil food" date. I like these types of dates best; I'm never really hungry when I have first-date butterflies. A stiff, handcrafted cocktail and a couple of gougeres sounds perfect to me!
*If your tum is fine with Mexican, I'd suggest Casa Romero, hidden off of Newbury Street on Gloucester Street.
PS My absolute favorite dating blog is Why I'm Single. It's based in NYC, but the hilarious tales of dating in a city are universally hilarious. A great read.
Here's all the photos and recipes: http://dishthisboston.blogspot.com/2008/12/thanksgiving-at-dish-gals.html
I'm thinking of making this pumpkin bread pudding this year-- doesn't that sound AMAZING? Or, perhaps I'll make these balsamic roasted sweet potatoes...
Any recipes you recommend for Turkey Day 2010?
Some of the restaurants mentioned:
South End Buttery (see below review)
and many more!
Hope it helps...
A long time ago (2 weeks, though it seems much longer), in a galaxy far, far away (Boston), Dish Gal and Z met for dinner at the South End Buttery.
Dish Dad always says don't bury the lead, so I'll start with my verdict: I'd give the food a B- and the atmosphere an A+.
First off, the South End Buttery is adjacent to my favorite street in Boston-- Union Park. The brownstones, the trees, the cobblestones-- it all makes for quite a fairy tale-esque scene.
Inside the restaurant, the ground floor holds the bakery in one room and the bar area in another. The hostess seated us downstairs in the dining room, in a diminutive room with a roaring fireplace and comfy, plush banquettes. I was astonished at how charming this subterranean dining room is. It's maybe the coziest dining room in Boston. And I've eaten in a lot ;)
On to the food. Z started with a crabcake appetizer with all these crazy sauces spiraled about on the plate (crazy being piquillo and avocado). The sauces reminded me of my Sibling Rivalry "let's just throw a bunch of sauces on the plate" gripe. Usually I'm anti-shellfish in general, but a few weeks ago at the Share Our Strength dinner at Hamersley's, I was blown away by Rich Vellante's crabcake appetizer, so I decided to try this one. I didn't love it; too fishy for me. We also shared a Caesar salad. Nothing special, but I did enjoy it.
For our entrees, I (very randomly) selected the pulled pork sandwich after our waitress mentioned it was a staff favorite. The dish seemed out of place on an otherwise steak/salmon/swordfish dominated menu. It was yummy, but still, very random. And MASSIVE. I took about 3/4 of it home.
Z got the swordfish. He "liked it a lot" (direct quote via text message). I didn't get a chance to try it.
Finally, we got the green tea crème brulee. I didn't taste any green tea in this at all. But I'm never going to say blech to a crème brulee…
So there you have it, folks. A charming, romantic, reasonably-priced spot hidden on a fairytale-esque street in the heart of the South End. Just make sure your date is not a foodie ;)
Those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter may have guessed my new city ... What with the Maoz-obsession and the Papaya King drunk food... and the "metro north" commute...
Yes, I've moved to the Big Apple! The foodie promised land. There are SO many places to try, and I can't wait to try them all...and share my experiences with you. Plus, my new job is culinary-related (that's all I'll say) so hopefully that will immerse me in the foodie scene extra quickly. In the meantime, I really need to find some super foodie NYC friends to introduce me to every hidden gem and nationally-acclaimed-restaurant in town.
So far, I've had beers at dive bar Spring Lounge, falafel at Maoz, steak at Michael Jordan's steakhouse (with a surprisingly tasty arugula & fennel salad w/ sausage chips), and like a billion coffees to keep me awake on my two hour commute from CT (staying there while I'm apartment hunting...).
What happens to this blog, you may be wondering? I'm going to keep on writing! I know, it says Dish This Boston. I will have to figure out something about that. But I still have lots of Boston wisdom to share. For example, keep your eyes out for two new Boston posts-- one on dinner at the South End Buttery, and one about my going away party at La Verdad. . . Plus, I'll still be able to give restaurant recs, so feel free to email me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you'll keep reading-- I promise, the culinary adventures will only get better...
Lots of love,
But more on that later... Today, I would like to reminisce about my current city.
I discovered Boston in phases. It seems like with each new time period in my life, I became intimate with a particular neighborhood. In 8th grade, my two best guy friends and I (L and C)would run around the Boston Common before meandering up to L's house on Beacon Hill (this was before the age when you realized how much money certain friends' parents had. His house, to this day, may be the residence I'm most jealous of-- it's stunning). We used to hang out in Copley Place at that movie theatre (remember that!?) and that Chili's (EW). I still remember where all the pay phones are located in that part of the mall from when I'd have to call my parents to check in. We also used to frequent that Finagle-a-bagel at Park Street; I remember how I was jealous of L's order, and to this day copy it (secret ingredient: honey mustard).
For awhile, the only two T stops I knew were Copley and Park Street-- but I felt so cool knowing them. Not so cool? My first trip taking the commuter rail, and accidentally getting on the Acela at Back Bay. When the conductor came around to collect tickets, I innocently handed over my pink paper ticket. Her response? "Do you think you could get all of THIS (gestures to the rest of the train) for $3????" Needless to say, I was grateful the next stop was Route 128 (my stop anyway!). Though I was scarred for awhile from train traveling.
Soon I broke away from the Copley and Park Street scene, and took over Newbury Street. I've always had a soft spot for Newbury Street-- not because of the shopping so much, but because of the general vibe. The beautiful buildings, the European-style restaurants with their patios, the eclectic scene (Berklee hipsters on one end, Ladies Who Lunch on the other, meeting delightfully in the middle around Exeter). In high school, we frequented such fancy spots as Fire + Ice on Boylston (kudos to their marketing team for making everyone under the age of 18 think that place is the best thing since sliced bread...).
I remember when I got a waitressing job on Newbury Street in college, I felt so cool and so accomplished in life-- I was WORKING on Newbury Street! I felt so fantastically hip (sadly, as any waitress knows, that glam factor ends the first day you're sweeping garbage off the kitchen floor at 2 a.m. and your feet hurt so badly you can barely walk).
After college (the Newbury Street period) I moved to Davis Square-- and fell in love with Somerville. It was the first place I felt like an adult-- and I loved that. I loved Davis's quaint, 1950s feel (so neighborhoody), but yet its simultaneous progressiveness. I loved the video store (seriously, nicest employees of all time), the Starbucks (sacrilege, but I'll admit it-- I love that location), Blue Shirt Cafe, and the jazz brunch at Johnny D's.
I was introduced to my next love, the South End, through my job at a certain magazine in Boston... I instantly was smitten. I loved it because I knew NOTHING about it. There were no memories attached; it was a brand new start for someone feeling a little bit restless in a city that seemed stale. Mostly I loved the culinary scene there (and still do). Each restaurant I tried I liked better than the one before it. Dollar PBRs and Kobe beef sliders at Toro, romantic dinners at Gaslight, cocktails with the gals at Tremont 647, brunch at Masa-- I couldn't get enough, and I still hope to move back and live there some day.
My last love affair with Boston happened in the North End-- a place I used to roll my eyes at because of its tourist-trap restaurants. But as soon as I became a resident-- nay, even when I was apartment shopping with Realtor Ron-- it became my safe haven, my sanctuary. I loved walking down Salem Street every morning, with the wafting smells of the fresh bread (and yet the trash from the night before). I loved the man on my block who stood on his stoop, with his front door propped open, every day when I came home from work (no matter what time I came home) and glared at me-- from his baby blue terrycloth bathrobe, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. I loved grumbling at the tourists, I loved having a roof deck with the most kick-ass view of the city, and I loved that you could walk to the waterfront in like 2 minutes. I loved how on my birthday I walked into Bova's at 3 in the morning-- after a sob-fest outside, eyes puffy from crying, red-faced (a hard time in DG's life)-- and the staff had me close my eyes, only to open them to them singing me happy birthday with a candle in a piece of cake. And of course I love Love LOVE the waiter at North Street Grille- I will miss him most. Him and his water-hating ways.
Tomorrow-- I'll share what I'm doing and where I'm going. Thanks for reading.