Thursday, June 28, 2007

Going on Vacation? Try These Resources for Restaurants!

It is almost July 4, and with it, vacation time for many people in Boston and New England. And more than a few vacationers will be traveling far from home, to different parts of the country.

Whenever I travel to California, New York, Washington, D.C., or elsewhere, I typically use a couple of Web sites that allow me to ask those in the know about good restaurants in these areas. One of these sites, which many, many people use these days, is Chowhound. This site is basically a huge forum where you can ask people about restaurants in nearly any part of the country.

Another, lesser-known site, is also a forum. It is called LTHForum.com, and it is based in the Chicago area, but a section of the site is dedicated to restaurants in other parts of the United States. I find that people who frequent this site really know their stuff when it comes to restaurants in around the country.

The URL for Chowhound is http://www.chowhound.com/, and the site for LTHForum.com is http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewforum.php?f=15.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Photos from the BBQ Beach Party in Boston This Weekend

Below are some pictures I took at the Phantom Gourmet's BBQ Beach Party at City Hall Plaza in Boston:


photo of Cowboys Barbeque and Rib Co., Texas

photo of Dave's Good Ole Boys Bar-B-Que, New York

photo of FatDaddy's House of Bones, Ohio

photo of Jack's Down Home Barbecue, Pennsylvania

photo of Q, Virginia

photo of RIB-BINS BBQ, Pennsylvania

photo of Willingham's, Memphis

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Yet One More Review: Sawaddee Thai in Providence, RI

photo of Sawaddee Thai Restaurant, Providence, RIAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. The restaurant, which is on the East Side of Providence, RI, is called Sawaddee Thai. Located in a quiet, upscale neighborhood of beautiful homes and tree-shaded streets, Sawaddee Thai is not well-known outside of this section of Providence, but it is an excellent Thai restaurant that includes both authentic Thai dishes as well as the more familiar, Americanized entrees.

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Some Notes on the BBQ Beach Party in Boston

Just got back from the Phantom Gourmet's BBQ Beach Party at City Hall Plaza in Boston. It was a great time, with the only minor quibble being the extremely long lines for each restaurant. But it was a beautiful day, so it came as no surprise that so many people showed up for this event.

I was able to try food at three different places while I was at the BBQ Beach Party. I started out at Q, which is out of Virginia. I tried their hot dog with brisket chili on it; they call it "the world's best hot dog," and while I don't know if it was the world's best (or even the best I've had), it sure was tasty, with a fairly thick natural casing holding the juices in, and a satisfyingly chewy texture to the meat.

The second place I tried was Dave's Good Ole Boys Bar-B-Que, which is out of New York. The brisket sandwich I had there was nearly perfect, as it was lean, but not TOO lean (too lean is never a good thing when it comes to BBQ, in my opinion), and the mild but tasty barbecue sauce added just enough flavor to make this a quite satisfying dish.

I saved the best for last, though (not knowing at the time, of course), heading over to Jack's Down Home Barbecue, which is located in Pennsylvania. Their pulled pork was absolutely delectable, with incredible flavor coming out of every little thread of meat. And I liked the barbecue sauce at Jack's a little better than Dave's, as it had a more hearty flavor.

After I finished the pulled pork sandwich, I headed out, as I couldn't deal with the long lines (the sun beating down didn't help), so I missed out on a few other places, but hopefully next year, the Phantom will set it up once again so I can try all of them.

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BBQ Beach Party Is..

..Packed as of 2:00 on Sunday. (I am there right now.) Lines are 20 to 30 deep now. Prepare to wait!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Holy Smokes Barbecue in West Hatfield Destroyed By Fire

A West Hatfield institution burned to the ground on Thursday, according to Channel 3 News in Springfield. Holy Smokes Barbecue, which was housed in a church that was more than 100 years old, was destroyed by fire early in the morning. As of this moment, it is still not known what caused the fire.

Below is a link to the news story.

http://www.cbs3springfield.com/news/local/8120492.html

It will probably be awhile before the owners figure out what to do about rebuilding the restaurant, but if they do decide to rebuild and need to do some fundraising, I'll post any relevant links on this site in case people want to help. Let's hope they are able to rebuild, as Holy Smokes was surely an integral part of the community of West Hatfield.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Good Places for Takeout in the Boston Area

We all have our favorite places for takeout food; some are fast food joints, others are sub shops, pizza places, or Chinese restaurants, and still others don't really fall into a specific category but are good for takeout.

Some of my favorites in various categories are the following:

FAST FOOD:
Wendy's (I'm not a big fan of fast food, but their burgers are very good)
Burger King (for the chicken sandwich only)

SUB SHOPS, PIZZA PLACES:
New London Pizza, Concord
Villa Pizza, Arlington
Nick's House of Pizza, Medford
Braintree House of Pizza, South Braintree

CHINESE TAKEOUT:
East Asia, Somerville
Mandarin King, Quincy
King Fung Garden, Chinatown

OTHER TAKEOUT PLACES:
Blue Ribbon BBQ, Arlington
Chacarero, Boston
Boca Grande, Cambridge
Bob's, Medford

What other favorites are out there for takeout? If you have a favorite, please post it here if you have a chance. Thanks!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Our Latest Review: Skip's Roadside Diner in Gill, MA

photo of Skip's Roadside Diner, Gill, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Skip's Roadside Diner, a a tiny roadside food stand on Route 2 in Gill, MA. Skip's Roadside Diner serves inexpensive Polish and Italian dishes, and while it has no indoor seating, it does have picnic tables on the grounds. The Polish items at Skip's are particularly good, and include kapusta, kielbasa, and pierogies.

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We Need Your Restaurant Reviews!

Boston's Hidden Restaurants, which is the site that I started 3 years ago, is becoming more interactive as it grows bigger and bigger. Now there are 3 different sections where viewers can write their own restaurant reviews, and no registration is needed for any of these 3 sections. What are these three sections? Use the links below to find out more about them.

Click this link to review restaurants that we have not yet reviewed.

Click this link to give us a review of your favorite restaurant.

Click this link to tell us about hidden restaurants in New York, Montreal, Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Washington, DC.

Please read the simple instructions in each section on how to post a review for our site. Thanks for any reviews that you give us!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

A Three-Week-Long Food Jag

I took time off over the past three weeks, hitting a ridiculous number of restaurants all over New England and New York City. Hard to believe, but in the past 21 days of so, I have been to the following restaurants (in no particular order):

Geoffrey's, Roslindale
O'Sullivan's, Somerville
Sawaddee Thai, Providence, RI
Quito's, Bristol, RI
Skip's Snack Bar, Merrimac, MA
Skip's Roadside Diner, Gill, MA
Chef Wayne's Big Mamou, Springfield, MA
Lady Killigrew, Montague, MA
Gray's Papaya, Manhattan
Michael's Restaurant, Brooklyn
Di Fara Pizzeria, Brooklyn
Adelman's Deli, Brooklyn
Main Street Bagel, Queens
Grano Trattoria, Manhattan
Utopia Restaurant, Manhattan
Bubby's, Manhattan
Doogie's, Newington, CT
A Lighter Fare, Milton, MA
Ashley's, Braintree
Lawton's, Lawrence, MA
Elliot's, Lowell, MA
Napoli, Lawrence, MA
Sal's Pizza, Lawrence, MA
Stella's, Watertown
Red Parrot, Hull

I believe that's it, though I'm thinking that I missed one along the way. No matter, though; bottom line is it has been a crazy three weeks of trying out restaurants, with some clear winners among the bunch: The Big Mamou, Lawton's, Skip's Roadside Diner, and Bubby's definitely stand out. In fact, Skip's may just be featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants this week. Stay tuned!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

One More New Review: Geoffrey's in Roslindale

photo of Geoffrey's, Roslindale, MAAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. Geoffrey's Cafe is a friendly little restaurant in the heart of Roslindale Village, which is quickly becoming another "restaurant row" within the Boston area. Geoffrey's features upscale comfort food, with such favorites as flatbread pizza, burgers, and fried calamari, and the dining area includes an outdoor patio complete with a working fountain and a small garden.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Status on The Quiet Man Pub in South Boston

It appears that The Quiet Man Pub on West Broadway in South Boston remains open, even after many rumors about its demise. It was noted awhile ago that this classic South Boston pub with some of the best steak tips in the area was going to close its doors, with condos possibly moving into the building, but after more than a year of rumors, it is still open.

If anyone knows what the future holds for The Quiet Man pub, I would love to hear from you--please post a message to let me know. Thanks.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Major Redesign for Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Over the past few weeks, the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site has been going through a rather extensive makeover, and the redesign is almost complete.

The upgrades made to the site will make the pages load faster and navigation simpler. And the design itself is a bit sleeker and simpler, too.

We should be done with all changes over the next week or two. Thanks for being patient while these changes have been going on!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Latest Review: Marco's in Lawrence

photo of Marco's, Lawrence, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Marco's, a Mediterranean restaurant in the historic district of Lawrence. Marco's is an elegant, upscale restaurant that has outdoor dining across from one of Lawrence's canals, as well as an attractive dining area inside the restaurant.

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Surprisingly Good Pizza at the Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk

A group of us went to the Eagle Brook Saloon on Route 1A in Norfolk for lunch earlier today. All of us decided to try the pizza there today, as we had been many times before and had tried nearly everything else on the menu except for the pizza. Well, it turned out to be a good choice, as their pizza was delicious. The secret to their pizza being so good was the fact that they added sharp cheddar cheese along with the more standard mozzarella. The results were terrific, as the pizza had a hearty, slightly bitter taste that helped make all three pizzas disappear within minutes.

I've had some really good meals at the Eagle Brook Saloon (and a couple of average ones), but this may have been the best meal I've had there yet. I'm looking forward to going back to the Eagle Brook Saloon soon so I can try their delectable pizza again.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hot Dog Safari Today

Quick reminder that the Hot Dog Safari is today, so if you like hot dogs, it could be a fun day for you!

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