Monday, November 26, 2007

Quiet Restaurants Near Busy Boston-Area Malls

Now that Thanksgiving is over, a lot of people are now in the Christmas shopping mode. Malls and shopping centers around the Boston area have been packed the last few days, with many of the chain restaurants completely packed with shoppers coming from, or going to, stores in the malls or shopping centers.

At some point in the near future, a page might go up on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site that lists and describes a handful of restaurants that are near busy malls and shopping centers that are quiet spots to relax and get away from all the craziness. This page might not be available for awhile, though, so if you are looking for quiet dining spots near the malls this holiday season, here is a sampling of places you might want to check out.

House of Siam (Thai), 542 Columbus Avenue, Boston

The Similans (Thai), 145 1st Street, Cambridge

Oasis Restaurant (Brazilian), 373 Main Street, Medford

Strip-T's Restaurant (soup, sandwiches), 93 School Street, Watertown

O'Hara's (Irish pub) -- 1185 Walnut Street, Newton

Capone's (Italian) -- 147 Summit Street, Peabody

Venetian Moon Ristorante (Italian), 680 Main Street, Reading

New Jang Su (Korean) -- 260 Cambridge Street, Burlington

Villa Restaurant (Italian), 48 E Plain Street, Wayland

Olde Irish Alehouse (Irish pub), 2 Bridge Street, Dedham

Campanale's Restaurant (Italian) -- 88 Pearl Street, Braintree

Sweet Lemons (Thai), 828 Washington Street, Weymouth

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Lights (and a Crown) in Boston

photo of Christmas lights on the Arborway, Jamaica PlainWe went to Doyle's in Jamaica Plain the other night for a leisurely dinner, then we took a ride along the nearby Arborway to see what Dominic Luberto might be up to with with the Christmas lights on his house this year. As some readers might remember, we had taken photos of Mr. Luberto's house last year and posted a couple of the pictures on this blog (see Christmas Lights on the Arborway, Jamaica Plain link). Well this year, Mr. Luberto appears to have outdone himself, as he has added even more to his now-famous Christmas display.

photo of Christmas lights on the Arborway, Jamaica PlainThe first thing we noticed has we approached the house was not the Christmas lights on the house, but the brightly-lit crown attached to the roof of the house. The trees to the right of the house were nicely decorated, too, with one of the trees being lit up as an American flag. Next to the trees was a Jewish star, and in front of the house were a variety of life-size figures.

The lights should be up for at least a month if not more, so if you live in the Boston area, you have plenty of time to see the display. In the meantime, enjoy the photos here; by the way, if you want to see larger versions of the pictures, simply click on the ones shown here.

Latest Review: Taso's Euro-Cafe, Norwood

photo of Taso's Euro-Cafe, Norwood, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is a Greek restaurant in Norwood called Taso's Euro-Cafe. Located next to Norwood Memorial Airport (just off Route 1 north, a few miles south of Route 128), Taso's Euro-Cafe is a full-service restaurant that serves homemade Greek and American dishes to everyone from locals to pilots to professional athletes to rock stars (Norwood Airport caters to many who fit in the last two categories). The appetizers, main entrees, and desserts at Taso's Euro-Cafe are all excellent, and the prices are very low. To read more about Taso's Euro-Cafe, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Two New RSS Feeds for Boston's Hidden Restaurants

The Boston's Hidden Restaurants site continues to add more RSS feeds, this time adding a feed for the Viewers' Favorite Restaurants feature, as well as for the Unreviewed Restaurants section.

The Viewers' Favorite Restaurants feature is a section where our readers can post information on restaurants that they think are truly special places. As of this moment, our readers have given us about 100 reviews, with more coming in each week. The RSS feed for this section, which shows the latest posts from our readers is:
RSS buttonViewers' Favorite Restaurants RSS feed

The Unreviewed Boston and New England Restaurants section includes mostly little-known restaurants that we have not yet evaluated, but sound like potentially interesting places (and are also dining spots that we hope to try in the future). And while we have not reviewed these restaurants, readers are able to post their own reviews on these dining spots by using the forms at the bottom of each page. As of today, we have included about 100 restaurants in this special feature. The RSS feed for this section, which shows the latest reviews from our readers, is:
RSS buttonUnreviewed Boston and New England Restaurants RSS feed

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with RSS feeds, please go to our What is RSS? page. This page will give you all the information you will need on what an RSS feed is; how you can use standalone RSS feed readers, or online readers, to view feeds; and which sections of our site are set up for RSS feeds.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reminder About Pizza Poll

Just a quick reminder that the Boston Restaurant Talk blog has a poll going on through the month of November that centers around favorite pizza places in the Boston area.

If you would like to vote for your favorite pizza place, please go to the following page:

Results will be given on this site around the beginning of December. Thanks for voting!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Latest Review: La Hacienda in Somerville

photo of La Hacienda, Somerville, MAThe latest review that we have added to the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is for a place called La Hacienda, in Somerville. Located just south of Union Square on the Cambridge border, La Hacienda is what some might consider to be a dive bar. Their menu, however, is extensive, and they serve some of the best bar pizza north of Boston. La Hacienda has been in this working-class section of Somerville since the late 1930s, and it is still going strong today, though it remains a hidden gem of sorts, partly because of its rather obscure location. For a full review on La Hacienda, click the link shown above.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three Boston Bars Close As the Result of New Fire Safety Law

Three drinking establishments in Boston have been shut down for failing to comply with the new fire safety law concerning sprinkler systems. According to WBZ TV, the Milky Way Lounge on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, Kay's Oasis on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester, and Packy Connors on Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury have been closed because of the law. In addition, a popular bar west of Boston--the Sit n' Bull Pub on Main Street in Maynard--was also forced to shut down.

WBZ also reported that two other bars had not complied with the new law as of the deadline yesterday. However, the Sunset Grill on Brighton Avenue in Allston and The Barking Crab on Sleeper Street in Boston will stay open for now because they are currently appealing the ruling.

The new fire safety law was put into place because of the fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, that killed 100 people in the winter of 2003.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just Out: Best Hidden Boston Restaurants of 2007

The Best Boston Restaurants of 2007 page on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is now up and running.

A quick reminder that these are the best "hidden" restaurants of 2007, as decided by Boston's Hidden Restaurants, so more popular places such as Eastern Standard, Pizzeria Regina, Pigalle, Oleana, and Legal Sea Foods won't be on it. But if you are looking for some of the best lesser-known restaurants around Boston and New England, hopefully this list should be of help. Enjoy the new "Best Of 2007" section, and feel free to post comments about other little-know restaurants that you really like!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Potbellies Kitchen in South Boston Is Now St. Alphonzo's Kitchen

photo of Saint Alphonzo's Kitchen, South Boston, MAPotbellies Kitchen, a restaurant in South Boston that has gotten good press over the past several months, has had a name change. It is now called St. Alphonzo's Kitchen. The food is the same, the decor hasn't changed, and the same people are there; apparently, the only thing that has changed is the name. (St. Alphonzo's Kitchen is at 87 A Street near the Broadway T stop. The phone number is 617-269-2233.)

Latest Review: Shanti in Dorchester

photo of Shanti: Taste of India, Dorchester, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Shanti: Taste of India, an Indian restaurant in the Savin Hill neighborhood of Dorchester. Shanti is a cozy, romantic dining spot at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Savin Hill Avenue that features a wide variety of Indian cuisine. The prices are a bit higher than some of the other Indian restaurants in the Boston area, but the food is certainly worth it. For a full review on Shanti: Taste of India, click the link shown above.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Boston Restaurants, Bars, In Danger of Closing Over Lack of Sprinklers

A number of Boston-area restaurants, bars, and nightclubs may be closing down unless they have fire sprinklers installed by Thursday. According to the Boston Globe, nearly 70 places face being shut down on Thursday, due to a state law passed in 2004 after the tragic Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

According to the Globe, two of the nightspots are Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury Street in the Back Bay and C.F. Donovan's on Savin Hill Avenue in Dorchester.

For more information on this story, go to the Boston Globe article at:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Few More Dining Spots for Readers to Review

Boston's Hidden Restaurants' special feature on Unreviewed Restaurants continues to grow. The restaurants listed in this section are dining spots that we have not reviewed yet, but we believe may be interesting spots to try. And even though we have not yet reviewed these places, each restaurant page includes an area where readers can write their own reviews to post onto our site.

We have already listed a few of the unreviewed restaurants on this blog; some others that we have not yet mentioned include Court House Seafood, which is a highly regarded (but little-known) seafood restaurant in East Cambridge. Another dining spot of interest is Modern Apizza, a classic pizza joint in New Haven, CT. An intriguing-sounding place next to the Connecticut River in Vermont is the Windsor Station Restaurant in the town of Windsor. A restaurant that sounds like one I need to personally check out soon is Kabob and Curry Restaurant, an Indian dining spot near Brown University on the East Side of Providence, RI. And finally, for those who yearn for something a bit more upscale, there is the Harvest Restaurant, an elegant country restaurant in beautiful Pomfret, CT.

Once again, if you have tried any restaurants in our Unreviewed Restaurants section, post a review on our site whenever you have the chance. Thank you very much!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Latest Review: George's Coney Island in Worcester

photo of George's Coney Island, Worcester, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is a hot dog stand in Worcester called George's Coney Island. Located just south of downtown in a dusty, rather nondescript area, George's Coney Island is a classic place with a huge neon sign of a hot dog dripping mustard out front. The interior is as Spartan as can get, and the old wooden booths are filled with carvings of names, etc. But the grilled hot dogs, which cost little more than a dollar, are absolutely tremendous, with the special chili sauce adding incredible flavor to them. To read more about George's Coney Island, please click on the link above.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Webmaster Resources and Utilities

Just another quick aside from the world of restaurants for a moment...

As someone who writes the code for Web pages from scratch, I often find it frustrating to get needed resources and utilities from other Web sites. Because of this, I have started to create a new section on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site called Web Resources and Utilities for Webmasters that allows other webmasters and Web designers (as well as anyone else working on a Web site) a place to find information that may be helpful to them.

This new feature is just getting up and running, so there are only a few pages, including an HTML Color Code Chart that features a chart of 216 Web-safe colors that you can use on your Web site; a page showing Valid Color Names for HTML and CSS Files; a chart of ASCII Character Codes for HTML Pages, including ASCII numbers and entity names that can be used to display both standard and non-standard characters; and a listing of Validator, Spell Check, Link Check Utilities for Web Pages.

I will try to get more resources added to this section over the coming months, including information on XHTML, Web standards, and other items that might come in handy if you are working on a Web site. And if you know of any useful Web resources or utilities that should be added to this section, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Poll: Vote For Your Favorite Pizza Place in Boston [POLL CLOSED]

What is your favorite pizza place in the Boston area? Let us know by placing a vote on this page! Choose from the list below or feel free to write in your own pick. (Results will be listed on December 1.)

[ED NOTE: This poll is now closed. To find more current polls (or view other polls that are now closed), click the "polls" link in the labels section below).

Armando's, Cambridge

Emma's, Cambridge

Ernesto's, Boston

Galleria Umberto, Boston

Lynwood Cafe, Randolph

Monte's, Lynn

The Paddock, Somerville

Picco, Boston

Pinocchio's, Cambridge

Pizzeria Regina, Boston

Santarpio's, East Boston

Upper Crust, various locations

Latest Review: 158 Main in Jeffersonville, VT

photo of 158 Main, Jeffersonville, VTThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is 158 Main, a restaurant and bakery in Jeffersonville, VT (on the other side of Smugglers' Notch from Stowe). 158 Main is housed in an historic building in the center of Jeffersonville, and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also sell fresh homemade breads, made daily on the premises (diners can actually see the bread being made in the morning). For a full review on 158 Main, click the link shown above.