In case you missed Part 1 of 3, begin at the beginning with 30 Days of Comfort and Joy: Boston Dining.
Comfort and Joy when dining out in Boston. From oysters to burgers and coffee to chocolate.
I’m a fan of oysters, my father’s a fan of oysters, my daughter is a fan of oysters and many of my friends are oyster lovers as well. As residents of the coast (relatively speaking), we walk on a ground paved in oyster shells. Loving oysters connects us to our home, or at least that’s the story I’m sticking with. Not to mention, there is something so comforting about putting the taste of the sea to your lips and the soft smooth glide of an oyster down your throat. There are so many great ways to indulge in oysters. Here are just a few:
- Oysters: From $1 oysters to oyster indulgence.
- Burgers: Burgers are a great hearty winter comfort food. Maybe you think 4th of July when you think of a hamburger, but I think of a cozy restaurant, an easy date night, a nice juicy burger perfectly constructed, and a warm spot to linger over a beer in from the dark of night. The Street over in Chestnut Hill has plenty of burger options with Shake Shake and the newly opened Del Frisco’s Grille in addition to plenty of fun events going on for the holidays.
- Wagamama serves some great comfort foods. I love the crisp shrimp appetizers and the chicken itame on a cold night. If you find room after for dessert you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The desserts are delicious and a joy to share with a loved one.
- Formaggio Kitchen is an experience of joy. If you love food, if you love cheese, if you love sweets, if you love wine, if you love beer, you will be surrounded by some of the best comforts of the world. Whether you shop there weekly or you stop in for special occasions, Formaggio will treat you well from the selection of carefully cared for cheeses and meats to the knowledge that their staff has, you are in good hands there.
- Swissbäkers specializes in Swiss bakery treats. They have an incredible selection of doughnuts (Berliner), pretzels, linzer cookies, macarons and more. I go to Swissbäkers for their pretzels. I love the salty smooth mahogany exterior and the soft chewy inside. For a treat, I’ll pick up a Berliner or two because there is joy in seeing someone bite into a round soft ball and look up at you with a face covered in sparkly granulated sugar.
- Moving on from Switzerland to Sofra where the flavours are Turkish/Mediterreanean and the space glows with warmth from the coffee and treats to the large copper drum tables. It’s my favourite spot to go early in the morning just as they are opening up for a quiet coffee. Breakfast pastries are very sweet and full of interesting flavours. I like the Simit as its a bit less sweet or the savoury breakfast options like the Turkish breakfast, the beet cured salmon, and when I am craving sweet, the semolina pancakes with seasonal spoon jam.
- Pie=comfort. There are so many kinds of pies. I think part of the comfort and joy comes from the fact that pies come in so many forms. Pies have history. Pies are regional. Everyone has a pie they like best. You can get savoury pies at KO Pies or you can make Tourtière. (Side Note: This is Quebec Week at Craigie on Main even though Tourtiere is not on the menu everything on it looks délicieux). When it comes to sweet pies, we head to Petsi Pies. My daughter’s favourite is the cherry crumble pie and I love her pecan pie. If quiche counts as pie then pick up one of those at Petsi Pies or The Biscuit for your next brunch gathering.
- Diesel (as in coffee not fuel, but then again coffee is fuel for the body and soul.) is a great spot to get away from it all for a bit. Whether you are parked at one of the eclectic booths working on your Apple computer for the morning or you are popping in for some of the best coffee and sandwiches in town, Diesel will give you joy. Added bonus is that a little hipster might rub off on you just from being in the building.
- Continuing on with coffee, I have to share my favourite locally roasted coffee, although Dwelltime comes in a close second. Karma Coffee is a place that I’ll trek every so often for the full experience of the ever so comforting inhale of roasting coffee surrounded by freshly roasting coffee, I’ll get a cappuccino or a black iced coffee, and ask David if I can taste a few beans before I pick up a pound or two. Otherwise I seek them out at the winter markets.
- Chocolate and confections: I have openly admitted that my favourite hot chocolate is Swiss Miss, but I appreciate the rich joy of an L.A. Burdick’s hot chocolate too. Recently, my daughter and her friend were treated to a sweet delivery from Phillip’s Candy House. The hot chocolate gift package came with their hot chocolate blend, a bag of mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips, and a peppermint stick. I’ve never seen the hot chocolate disappear so fast! The peppermint stick as a swizzle stick and the chocolate chips melting into the hot chocolate were a definite hit. My 1st choice for local chocolates is still EHChocolatier though. Their caramels cannot be beat and I’ve seen the work that goes into perfecting each flavour and new treat. I still love the ancho bars, the tea bonbons, and of course the pecan clusters, but my newest find are the beer nut bars. Last but not least, I love Sweet Lydia‘s confections. She is the queen of local s’mores. In fact, I’m heading out to Gather Here‘s holiday fair to pick up a few right now.
Posted in Bakery, Boston, bread, Breakfast, burgers, Buy it., Cambridge, cheese, Christmas, Coffee, coffee, Craft Fair & Artisan Market, Dessert, Dinner, Do it., Drink, Food, oysters
Tagged Boston, Cambridge, Coffee, comfort and joy, drink, Food, holiday offeringsB, Somerville
When I was child, my family and I went out only a handful (probably less) of times a year and when we did the rule was that we ordered no drinks and no dessert. We always went to a place in Waterloo called Marbles.
It was a burger joint with marbles in the table, in jars all over the place, and we ate burgers. I haven’t been there in close to 30 years so I’m not sure what it’s like now, but I guess I left my heart at Marbles because until this year, I would never really go out and get a burger.
I don’t really think of myself as a burger person, but thanks to people like Richard Chudy of Boston’s Burger Blog and chefs who use really good meat, understand the art of the burger, and now have added it onto their menu, I appreciate a burger more than twice a year.
What I have also learned is that everyone has different rules for what makes a good burger. For me, I like a patty that is fairly thin, a sour pickle, good condiments, and bread that is neither too rich nor has too strong a presence. Some of my favourite places to get a burger are: Rialto for their burger special on Sunday nights, Craigie on Main (I’ll share this with my husband but it’s a bit intense for me alone.), JM Curley (for before or after the ballet), and Kitchen on Common for a burger at lunch.
Posted in burgers
I love oysters. My daughter loves oysters and we recently became members of the Oyster Century Club. We don’t really need any incentive to go out and eat oysters, but it is fun trying to diversify our oyster slurping habits.
Often my daughter and I will feel the need for a spontaneous oyster night out. We’ve done everything from swanky oyster bars in the South End to post dance class detours out to a neighbourhood spot that posted about $1 oyster night on Facebook. $1 Oyster Nights can be found here and there. Call ahead to confirm space (at the bar) and availability.
Almost 7 days a week of $1 oysters in Boston and environs.
Mondays at Rialto, Sundays at Noir, Tuesday through Sunday at The Red House Restaurant, Myers and Chang on Sundays after 8 p.m., Bergamot Sunday-Tuesday at the bar, Mondays at Zebra’s Bistro, Tuesdays at 51 Lincoln at the bar starting at 5 p.m., Wednesdays at Abby Park starting at 5 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays at Ledge Kitchen & Drinks, Thursdays at Ashmont Grill, Thursdays at Brine from 9:00 p.m. to 11:45, and Eater Boston seems to have a running list going as well so check out this map for more options. Just remember to check in ahead of time to be sure the buck a shuck is still running when you plan on going.
It isn’t always about the $1 oyster though. Sometimes you want to indulge. Some of my favourite places to enjoy oysters are: Island Creek Oyster Bar, B&G Oysters, brunch at Henrietta’s Table, Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet, and MC Perkins Cove in Maine. Places I’m looking forward to trying in the new year: Eventide Oyster Co. in Maine, and Row 34 in Fort Point, Boston. If you must have fried, try the crispy oyster slider at Island Creek Oyster Bar or head to your favourite seaside shack.
Posted in Do it., Food, oysters
Tagged $1 oysters in Boston, best oysters, Boston, Cambridge, Dorchester, Milton, Newburyport, oysters, Wellfleet
Once upon a time there were “gift of the month” clubs. They were expensive, unique, somewhat personal, but the food itself was nothing to write home about. It was more about the novelty of a monthly gift, and beautiful packaging. We’ve come a long way from the original “gourmet” gift of the month clubs.
Here are just a few types of monthly subscriptions and memberships you might like to give as a gift this year.
Posted in Food, Parenting, Boston, Cambridge, Buy it., Bakery, Beverages, Dessert, cheese, Christmas, Gifts, bread, wine, Beer, cheese, charcuterie
Tagged Gifts, Holidays, membership, delivery service, mail order gifts, club of the month, foodie gifts, gifts for food lovers, gifts for beer lovers
The gift of charcuterie: You’re such a ham
Formaggio Kitchen‘s Charcuterie Share is like having your very own cellar filled with beautifully hand made meats. Formaggio’s award-winning charcutière Julie Biggs transforms locally and humanely raised meats into pâtés, sausages, terrines, and cured delicacies. She sources rabbit, pork, duck, and other meats from small family farms across New England, and maintains the highest standards for quality and taste. An In-House Charcuterie membership will keep your larder stocked with essentials such as fresh sausages, pancetta, bacon, and pâtés, plus a few subscriber-only treats. A sample share would be: 2 fresh sausage links (lamb, pork, or chicken), 1/4 pound of pâté or rillettes, 1/4 pound of cured meat (bacon, pancetta, guanciale, etc.), 1/4 – 1/3 pound of a seasonally appropriate “surprise”. The charcuterie share is available as a three month share ($105) or a six month share ($200).
Posted in Boston, Buy it., Cambridge, charcuterie, cheese, cheese, Christmas, Gifts
Tagged Boston, Cambridge, charcuterie, cured meats, Formaggio Kitchen, holiday gifts, local charcuterie
The best kind of cheesy gift! Formaggio Kitchen memberships.
Formaggio kitchen is more than a majestic cheese cave, but I think you know that already. Of course there is a cheese of the month club. Each month, Formaggio hand selects three cheeses with a special focus on seasonal cheeses, and what is looking its best at that time. Each monthly selection will include a variety of milk types, textures, flavor profiles and regions and will be approximately 1.5 pounds in total weight. It is available for three months ($199), six months ($385), and twelve months ($740). There is the connoisseur cheese club as well that includes cheese and an accompaniment that highlights the cheeses as well.
In addition to the clubs, but just for locals, Formaggio has two “community food share” memberships. Similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) but for cheese or charcuterie.
The Local Cheese share includes four varieties of cheese from different producers around the Northeast. You’ll get to know more about the variety of local cheeses, but also the stories and people behind them, as each cheese will be accompanied by information about the artisans and farms that produced it. Members of the Local Cheese community will also receive special subscriber-only cheeses not regularly available at Formaggio Kitchen. The Local Cheese Share, you’ll receive 1/4 to 1/3 pound of each of four cheeses every month. The shares are available for three months ($99) or six months ($179).
If you’re looking for cured meat you’ll have to check out the Charcuterie share here.
Posted in Boston, Buy it., Cambridge, cheese, cheese, Christmas, Gifts
Tagged cheese club, cheese membership, Christmas, Formaggio Kitchen, mail order gifts
Beer is not just a passing trend. Beer in our fair city and country has grown up over the past decade. From pairings to offerings beer is no longer wine’s plaid wearing, “hoser” like, scraggly bearded younger sibling. She’s all grown up! But like wine, it’s not easy to know what you like and why until you get out there and try more bottles. The Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont has a monthly beer club delivered right to your door. If you prefer to get out of the house to enjoy beer then consider Hopster’s: Brew and Boards 99 Club.
Hopster’s Brew and Board and Craft Beer Cellar have you covered for all the beer lovers in your family.
Craft Beer Cellar’s Beer Club comes in different forms. There is The Sampler, The Half Sampler, and several specialty bundles. The beer is delivered to your door on the first week of every month. Craft Beer Cellar aims to run a spectrum of styles each month, bu also focus on seasonality and time of year, as it’s relevance to craft beer.
- The Sampler: Twelve – Small Bottles (9.3 – 12oz) and Three – Large Bottles (12.7oz – 25.4oz) is $54.95/month for a year, $57.95/month for 6 – 11 months or $59.95/month for 1-5 months.
- The Half Sampler: Six – Small Bottles and Two – Large Bottles. $29.95/month for a year, $32.95/month for 6-11 months, or $34.95/month for 1-5 months.
- The Wee Belgian: Four – Small, Delicious, and Notable Belgian Bottles (typically 11.2oz) $30/month. For $15 add on Westvleteren, Drie Fonteinen, De Struise, and other rare specialties.
- The Mighty Belgian: Two – Large, Devine, and Extraordinary Bottles (typically 25.4oz) $30/month for $15 add on Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Fantome, and other RARE Specialties.
- Small International Flare Four Small, Ecentric, Hipster Bottles, from some of the worlds newest breweries for $30/month For $15 add on Barrel-Aged and other similar specialty beers.
- Sour Business: Two – Small, Tart, Puckering Bottles of Damned Fine Lambics (11.2-12.7oz) and Two – Large, Lucious, Sweet, Tart, and Sour Lambics (typically 25.4oz) for $45/month. For $15 add treats such as Drie Fonteinen Golden Blend, Fantome Extra Sour, etc.
Posted in Beer, Buy it., Christmas, Drink, Gifts, How to, vegetarian
Tagged beer, Craft Beer, Craft Beer Cellar, delivery service, holiday gifts, Hopster's Brew and Board, memberships
Wine clubs membership is a gift that won’t go to waste.
Just because beer options have become incredible doesn’t mean that wine disappears in the shadows. There are beer lovers and there are wine lovers and there are those who are smart enough to appreciate it all. This one is for those who appreciate wine. From cocktail hour to night caps there are all sorts of wines for all occasions and the best way to get to know which ones you like best for what, is to try new things.
90+ Cellar Wine Club is a perfect way to keep the wine fridge stocked. The club allows you to try new bottles every quarter including exclusive releases from 90+ Cellars. Price ranges from $90 to $170 for a six bottle delivery. Tasting notes and additional information is sent along with each shipment. Club members are also get 15% off all other orders from 90+ Cellars online store.
90+ Cellar sent me a few bottles to sample. I was very impressed with the quality of the wine and I will continue to seek out 90+ as I shop to restock my wine cellar this time of year.
May I have this dance… I mean brew?
One thing that we don’t do nearly enough is go out with our friends. We are all too busy somehow. Newcomer, Hopster’s Brew and Boards will take care of that with their 99 Club.
Photo by, Nina Gallant
Every 3 months, you will gather with friends (the more the merrier) and up to a total of 20 other local beer crafters to make and taste beer. The cost is $99 per quarter. You gather to make the beer and then two weeks later you’ll gather again to bottle, sample, share recipes and take it home. I suggest you swap a few bottles before to make it a mixed pack. Other perks of the club are that you get 15% off on merchandise, 10% off ingredients, 15% food discount and free bottling and custom labels. It’s not just making beer, it’s a whole experience. Just like going to Napa isn’t just buying wine, going to Hopster’s Brew and Boards isn’t just making beer.
Gorgeous boards at Hopster’s Beer and Boards. Photo Credit: Nina Gallant
Posted in Drink, Parenting, Boston, Do it., Beverages, Fatherhood, New England Outings, cheese, Christmas, Gifts, Newton, Beer, cheese
Tagged gift, membership, club, brewing, outings, beer club, Newton, Hopster's Brew and Board