Thursday, November 30, 2006

The New Punjab Location in Arlington Looks Just About Ready

Walked through Arlington Center the other night and I noticed that the new spot that Punjab is moving into looks nearly ready. The new place looks beautiful as seen through the windows, and much bigger than the present location of Punjab (a couple of doors down).

As soon as they move into their new spot, I'll try to head over there to check the new digs out. Can't wait!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fasika to Re-Open in Somerville

Fasika, an Ethiopian restaurant that was located in Mission Hill at the edge of Jamaica Plain before closing a few months ago, has moved to a new location at 145 Broadway in East Somerville. The restaurant is supposed to open this week, so hopefully there will be reports back soon on whether Fasika is as good as it was when it was in JP. If anyone tries it, please send a comment along. Thanks!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eastern Pier II and Seaport Bar and Grille: The Future Looks Uncertain

The South Boston waterfront property that includes the Eastern Pier II and the Seaport Bar and Grille has been sold. According to the Boston Globe, it appears that the property will probably be developed into luxury condos, along with restaurants. Whether Eastern Pier II and the Seaport Bar and Grille will stay here remains to be seen, but if luxury condos indeed go up, these two restaurants might not fit into the plans, as they are gritty dining spots that tend to cater to working- and middle-class folks.

According to the Globe, Eastern Pier II has about 5 years left on their lease, so hopefully they will be around for awhile. The lease at the Seaport Bar and Grille expires next year, so they may have a tougher time of it.

Here's hoping these two restaurants can somehow remain open, as there are precious few casual, reasonably-priced restaurants along the Boston waterfront that are still in business.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Yet Another Review: Sal's Pizza in Lawrence

photo of Sal's Pizza, Lawrence, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Sal's Pizza, a pizza place and Italian restaurant on the Merrimac River in Lawrence. Sal's has terrific pizza, much in the style of some of the classic New York pizza places. And the atmosphere is very nice, with a large outdoor deck facing the river, and classic lounge music piped into the place.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Desmond O'Malley's in Framingham Is Closed

Desmond O'Malley's, an Irish pub in Framingham that was built in Dublin and shipped to America and rebuilt, has closed for good. It appears that some kind of steak house may take its place.

Desmond O'Malley's was a popular spot, with decent food and drink, and good music. It will definitely be missed, as the Framingham area has relatively few decent Irish pubs.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Back to the Bean!

photo of Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, CTI went with some of my family to a post-Thanksgiving meal at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, CT today. The Vanilla Bean is a great place to go for healthy, delicious food if you are in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. Since it was such a nice day out, we decided that it was the perfect place to head to today.

The food, as always, was perfect; my steak and bean burrito was outstanding, as were the sandwiches that others ordered. And the desserts were terrific for the most part, with the chocolate chip cookie and the brownie being pretty sinful.

I wish the Vanilla Bean Cafe were a little closer to the Boston area, but I suppose half the fun of going there is the drive, since that part of Connecticut is so beautiful. I can't wait to go back!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to Help Danversport Residents

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! As always, there is so much to give thanks for, but I'd say that by far the biggest thing to give thanks for is the fact that no one perished in the terrible chemical explosion in Danvers.

The good people of Danversbank have set up a fund to help victims of the explosion. If you would like to donate, go to either of the links below for more details. And once again, I hope everyone has a terrific day today!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Olive Branch in Arlington Is Closed

After many years of serving decent Middle Eastern food in East Arlington, it appears that the Olive Branch has closed. The place is dark and renovations are taking place.

I had several good meals at the Olive Branch, but the problem was that it used to be a Dairy Queen, so the atmosphere was lacking, and its location on Broadway between Arlington Center and Somerville is not the best place for a restaurant.

It is unknown at this time as to what will be going into this space. As soon as I find out, I'll let everyone know.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A First Look at the Best Boston Restaurants of 2006!

photo of Duck Creeke Tavern, Wellfleet, MAThe "Best Boston Restaurants of 2006" page on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is complete, but it not quite ready to be placed onto the site yet. For viewers of this blog, however, you can be one of the first to see this Best Of list by going to the Best Boston Restaurants of 2006.

Keep in mind that these are the best "hidden" restaurants of 2006, as decided by Boston's Hidden Restaurants, so more popular places such as Pizzeria Regina and the Brown Sugar Cafe won't be on it. But if you are looking for lesser-known restaurants that are true hidden gems, this list should be of help to you. Enjoy!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Another New Review: A Lighter Fare in Milton

photo of A Lighter Fare in Milton, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is A Lighter Fare, which is an outstanding breakfast place behind East Milton Square near the Southeast Expressway. A Lighter Fare is not well-known, as it resides on the second floor of an upscale marketplace away from the hustle and bustle of East Milton Square.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Update on O'Rourke's Diner, Middletown, CT

Just a quick update on O'Rourke's Diner, a Middletown, CT institution that was destroyed by fire a couple of months ago.

A fundraising committee they have has raised over $90,000, with another $60,000 needed to begin construction. As far as demolition, it is pretty close to completion.

If anyone has any ideas for future fundraising for O'Rourke's, give them a call at 860-759-4081...


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wings, Beer, and Peanuts at Donohue's in Watertown, Then a Coyote Sighting

My usual Friday night crew and I went to Donohue's in Watertown last night for some good conversation over a few beers, a couple of servings of peanuts, and some wings. As usual, it was a good time had by all at this great pub situated on a back street near UPS and the Arsenal Mall.

Later that night, however, I was driving along Route 60 through Arlington when I saw what I thought was a mangy dog sauntering down the middle of the road. As I approached, it moved to the side, and I noticed that it was a full-sized coyote. The nasty-looking animal just looked at me, then continued to head toward Arlington Center.

I guess this should be a warning to Arlington residents to keep their cats inside, at least for the next few days!

Donohue's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


Friday, November 17, 2006

Canestaro's, Boston, MA (phone number: 617-266-8997)

My apologizes to Canestaro's in Boston: We have been showing an incorrect phone number for their restaurant on the restaurants near Fenway Park page within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. The correct phone number (which we fixed on the page) is 617-266-8997.

Sorry for any inconvenience...

Boston Restaurant Blog (Another Blog I'm Involved With) Getting an Upgrade

As many of you know, the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site has its own blog, which is a bit different from this one. While this blog typically has short news stories and brief reviews on an almost daily basis, the Boston Restaurant Blog has fewer, but often more detailed, blog entries.

The Boston Restaurant Blog is also in the process of being updated, with real permalinks being added (separate pages are being given to each entry, rather than a section of a longer page, as was previously the case). In what way will this help viewers? Well, if someone wants to bookmark a specific blog entry, he or she will be able to bookmark a specific page from now on.

Please note that this is a long process, so it will be awhile before all blog entries are given their own pages, but for now, here are a few entries that have been updated:

>> Bringing Back Tacky at Kowloon, Saugus

>> Quincy Dynasty: Another Good Restaurant in Quincy

>> Good Comfort Food at Grumpy White's, Quincy

>> Get Automatic Updates with Our New Feature

>> Good, Basic Breakfast at the Breakfast Connection, Randolph

>> A Few More New York City Restaurants

As always, you can post comments to the Boston Restaurant Blog, or copy the RSS feed to get automatic updates on it. Let me know if you have any questions on this "other" restaurant blog!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brazilian Churrascarias in Boston

photo of Green Field, Allston, MAHas anyone noticed that more and more Brazilian restaurants are popping up in places like Woburn, Everett, East Boston, Allston, and other places around the greater Boston area? And some of these places are churrascarias (Portuguese for "barbecue house") that are ideal places for lovers of all kinds of meat. Two Brazilian churrascarias that come to mind are the Midwest Grill in Cambridge and Green Field in Allston. I love Green Field; have yet to been to the Midwest, though.

If anyone can think of any other churrascarias in the Boston area that really stand out, let me know! I really want to try them over the coming months.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

RSS Feed Information

Now that Internet Explorer 7 is out and much more RSS-friendly than Explorer 6, it seems that all the major browsers are now capable of handling RSS feeds.

Both this blog and Boston's Hidden Restaurants have been RSS-capable for quite some time now, and a few upgrades have been done to the RSS feeds on Boston's Hidden Restaurants to make it more user friendly. The RSS feed for the blog on that site now includes photos and handy links, and the RSS feed for the forum includes links to the particular forum where each forum entry resides.

Whether you use an online RSS feed reader or a desktop reader, these feeds should help viewers easily find information on both this site and Boston's Hidden Restaurants. Below are the RSS and Atom (for this site) feed links you might want to bookmark or copy.

Boston Restaurant Blog:
Boston Restaurant Forum:

RSS Feed:
Atom Feed:

You might be wondering why this site has both an RSS feed and an Atom feed. Well, it's a bit like the old VHS vs. Betamax debate; they pretty much do the same thing, but some people prefer RSS, while others prefer Atom.

Send along any questions or comments on these feeds, or RSS feeds in general. Thanks!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Alta Strada to Replace Figs in Wellesley

Figs, a popular restaurant at 92 Central Street in Wellesley, is now closed, with a new restaurant opening up in its place. It appears that Alta Strada will be an upscale, yet casual Italian restaurant; no more details are known at this time, and the Web site for Alta Strada is currently under construction. If anyone has any more information on Alta Strada, sent a comment along.


Monday, November 13, 2006

One More New Review: Armando's Pizza, Cambridge, MA

photo of Armando's Pizza, Cambridge, MAAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. Armando's Pizza is a terrific little pizza joint located in the Huron Village section of Cambridge. In addition to having delicious thin-crust pizza, Armando's is an institution of sorts in the neighborhood, as the owner is a friendly, gregarious person who gives free cookies to children, supports little league teams, and just seems to really like people. Armando's is definitely worth seeking out if you are a pizza lover...


Sunday, November 12, 2006

An Old-School Kind of Weekend at Sal's Pizza and Kowloon

photo of Sal's Pizza, Lawrence, MAOn Saturday, we went to two, uh, rather cheesy restaurants. We started out at Sal's Pizza in Lawrence, which actually gets better and better with each visit. The pizza was fantastic; fresh, delicious traditional pizza with lots of pepperoni on top. Delicious!

For dinner we headed down to Kowloon in Saugus. The food was just ok, but the atmosphere is classic, with volcanoes, lakes, and pu pu platters everywhere!

Every now and then, it's good to go to the old-school places. They are anything but generic, that's for sure. And with Sal's, you also get some amazing pizza (and a great view of the Merrimack River, which flows past the windows there).


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Veteran's Day, and Thanks to Those Who Have Served

Just a quick timeout from the world of restaurants to say a great big thank you to all who have served for our country. And to those folks who are presently stationed in Iraq and elsewhere, best of luck to you all, and fingers are crossed that you get home safely to family and loved ones when your stint is over.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ground Round in Cambridge Is Closed Again...This Time for Renovations

Once again, the Ground Round in Cambridge is closed, but it appears that they are actually renovating the place. I'm not sure whether they are trying to make it more "upscale" (egads if this it true) or just replacing old carpeting, repainting walls, etc.

Based on the meal I had there a few weeks ago, I'm not sure I want to check out the renovations when they re-open. The meal I had there was horrid.

Still, if anyone does go there once they re-open, let me know what you think. Perhaps I'll go there for a beer during the Pats game if I feel so inclined...


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Boston's Hidden Restaurants is Number 4 and climbing

In our last newsletter, we had mentioned that Boston's Hidden Restaurants was the 6th site that came up in a "Boston restaurants" search in the #1 search engine (we all know which one that is!).

As of this week, Boston's Hidden Restaurants is up to number 4 in the search engine.

Much of our rise toward the top has to do with the viewers of the site, including their participation in the forum, the favorite restaurants section, and the "other" blog that is within the site. Once again, a great big thank you to all who visit Boston's Hidden Restaurants!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pizzeria Regina in the North End: Still Great, But...

photo of Regina's in Boston, MAA large group of us went to Pizzeria Regina in the North End of Boston the other night. Their pizza is truly amazing, with one of the best crusts I have ever had (made even better by requesting it to be "well done" so that it is slightly blackened on the bottom).

As much as I like the gourmet pizzas there, I tend to stick with the classics, such as the pepperoni or mushroom pizza, though the gourmet toppings are pretty popular at Regina's (the people who were with me went for those instead of the basics).

So why is there a "but" here? Well, after going to Pepe's in New Haven, CT, and Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, NY, I'm not so sure that Regina's and Santarpio's (in East Boston) are my two favorite pizzas anymore. The more I think about Pepe's, the more I realize that it may be at the top of my list. Things change quickly, however, so ask me again in a few months! But I guess the bottom line is, you really can't go wrong with any of these incredible pizza places.

By the way, if you would like to get involved in a discussion on the best pizza place in Boston, go to the Santarpio's vs. Pizzeria Regina Debate in the Boston Restaurant Forum.

Pizzeria Regina on Urbanspoon


Monday, November 06, 2006

Yet Another New Review: Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT

photo of Traveler Restaurant, Union, CTThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Traveler Restaurant, a roadside dining spot just off of Route 84 in Union, CT. The Traveler Restaurant is a quirky place that has stacks of books along with its food. In fact, if you order a meal there, you get your choice of three free books!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tapatio Mexican Grill in Somerville Destroyed By Fire Last Night

A large fire occurred at Broadway in East Somerville last night, gutting the Tapatio Mexican Grill and at least two other businesses. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire. At this point, it is unsure how the fire started. Whether Tapatio rebuilds or not remains to be seen; hopefully they will be able to re-open at some point.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Time for a Restaurant Poll!

It is getting close to the end of the year, and I am getting the "best restaurants of 2006" list ready for Boston's Hidden Restaurants. It is not easy to pick a winner in some of the categories this year, since there have been so many good restaurants that we have tried, but I suppose that's half the fun!

My question to viewers out there is, what are your favorite restaurants of 2006? In particular, I'd love to hear from you in particular about any or all of the following:

Best Pizza in the Boston Area
Best Hamburger in the Boston Area
Best Hot Dog in the Boston Area
Best Italian Restaurant in the Boston Area

Feel free to pick from any other categories. I'm just curious to hear from you about this. Perhaps I can check out a few of your choices as we head into 2007. Thanks!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Speaking of the Boston Restaurant Forum...

image of Boston Restaurant ForumNow that the Boston Restaurant Forum is back online, I figured it might be a good time to update folks on some of the latest topics added to the forum. A few of the forum topics are listed below if you would like to read them: [ED NOTE: We have taken out the links to our forum, as it is now closed.]

Feel free to sign up for the forum if you are interested in posting new topics or replying to old ones!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Salem Wood Cafe, Malden

We tried a restaurant in Malden last night that has been getting some good press of late. The Salem Wood Cafe, which is on Salem Street in Malden, is a place that looks like so many other working-class bars and restaurants in Malden, Everett, Revere, and the surrounding area, but it is a big step above most of them as far as quality is concerned. The steak tips, for instance, seem nearly as good as those at the New Bridge Cafe in nearby Chelsea, which is saying a lot. The tips were tender, had a slightly sweet marinade, and had very little gristle at the Salem Wood. In fact, I'd say that the tips themselves were equal in quality to those at the New Bridge, though the New Bridge may have the best marinade anywhere in the Boston area.

The other food was good there, too, including a special they had last night. It was a type of lasagna that had sheets of pasta rolled into cylinders, and it was very good. The lasagna came with dense, hearty meatballs that had at least two or three different kinds of meat in them (I definitely tasted pork in them; possibly veal, too). Other items we had included a baked sweet potato, good rolls of bread, and basic salads.

I want to get back to the Salem Wood Cafe to try some of the other dishes, including the veal parm and the burgers. But it will be tough to get past those steak tips, so perhaps I'll have to go there a few times!

Salem Wood Cafe on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Boston Restaurant Forum Is Back Up!

Thanks to the good folks who fixed the database problem within the Boston Restaurant Forum. It is back up and running!

If you would like to read posts on the forum, or post new topics (or reply to old ones), head over to the Boston Restaurant Forum and join in on the fun! [ED NOTE: We have taken out the link to our forum, as it is now closed.]

Boston Restaurant Forum is Down Today

Just a quick note that the Boston Restaurant Forum within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is down today because of an issue with the database, so if you try to get into the forum, you probably won't have any luck.

If this problem looks like it might go on for awhile, I will let everyone know later today or tomorrow. It looks like a simple problem in that the database is not accessible right now; hopefully it will be up again ASAP!