Beyond Cooks

Must-Do F+B Experiences in Boston from Your Friends in the Industry

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Written by Kelly Daigle

Jamie Bissonnette, Toro & Coppa
Killer Brunch and amazing pastry bar at Puritan & Co.  Crush a bottle of wine, then leisurely walk through Central Square for shopping and coffee.  Head to Harvard Square, and sit upstairs at Charlie’s Kitchen for beer and a shot and the best jukebox in the Boston area.  Play some Descendents or Thin Lizzy and snack on a double cheeseburger.

Anna + Kit Paschal, Roustabout (Portland, ME); Eastern Standard Alum
We love a visit to the ICA, the glass facade overlooking the frozen harbor on a cold winter day is pretty cool, then we walk to Neptune Oysters for lunch; oysters in the early winter are the best. We follow that with tiramisu, pistachio gelato, and an espresso at Cafe Vittoria.

Kelly Daigle, Clothbound & The Industry Press
Stock up on candy and catch a matinee movie. After the movie, walk through the Commons to head over to No.9 Park for some bubbly at the bar or cozied into their front window nook. Then we walk to Chinatown for dinner. We rotate between our favorites: Peach Farm for some of the best seafood; don’t miss surf clam and yellow chive and periwinkles in black bean sauce. Gourmet Dumpling House when you want melt your face off spicy Szechuan fish soup – this is so good on a cold day, but expect to wait to sit here. East Ocean City for a whole fish in ginger, soy, and black vinegar. If you feel adventurous, some of the coolest ingredients in the city are sold in the markets in Chinatown. Take a walk through the stores after dinner and see what you can find.

Aimee Francaes, Flour Bakery, Myers + Chang
For dinner out I have a few favorites. At State Park, the Nashville Hot Fried Chicken (always cooked to perfection) and World’s Best “Soda, Splash of Cran” is my comfort dinner away from home. The kale garlic confit served with the chicken is tops! I love eating here because the staff are so friendly and laid-back with timely service. A hard line to balance. At Myers+Chang the tea-smoked spare ribs are never to be missed! The bone marrow at the end can and should be devoured. I am in love with their Green Monster – warm, delicious, green everything (greens, avocado, pistachio lemongrass pesto) – a meal unto itself! Their Pisco Thyme and Bloodlust cocktails are super delicious. They are always the friendliest! Love walking in to MC!

For dinner in, I head to M.F. Dulock Butchers in Somerville for meat – nowhere else has such incredibly well-sourced pork, lamb, goat, beef and chickens. Central Bottle Wine + Provisions is my fave for cheese and beers, and their staff is incredibly knowledgeable.

Carrie + Michael Bergin, The Fat Hen
Recently we were on a mission to find some great lunch on the Cambridge side of the river when a friend recommended Strip T’s.  Mike mentioned that Russo’s market is just a few miles away in Watertown, so we packed in some smoked miso ramen and delicious Zusslin then walked the aisles of Russo’s.  For me, it was just as therapeutic and refreshing as spending the afternoon walking the European wing at the MFA. If its a special occasion, we’ll do midday cocktails at Marliave, there’s something so quaint and classy about that space, and then walk through the Common to L’Espalier for some cheese and sherry in the Salon.

Francisco Millan, Row 34 Boston + Portsmouth
I went to BU, so I have a soft spot for Allston. I like to start with a stroll through Super 88 and grab a bahn mi from Pho Viet for an early lunch. Shopping at the market at Super 88 when you want some authentic Asian ingredients is also great. Then head to Deep Ellum for drinks, sitting on the patio when its nice. For second lunch, head over to Lone Star for a few tacos. Walk it off and start heading towards Coolidge Corner. Make a pit stop for a beer at The Avenue and walk down Harvard Street for dinner at Lineage. Belly up to the bar for $1 oysters (any day from 5-7pm) and I’ll have anything they’re cooking in the wood fire oven.

Eli Feldman, Clothbound + Lori Busch, TripAdvisor
Something we look forward to all year is Christmas dinner at Eastern Standard followed by a movie.

Ted Hawkins, SRV (Opening Soon)
There is no better power lunch than the Spicy Miso at Sapporo Ramen in Porter Square. They are known to have a line, so off hours are best for a quick seating.

Andrew Foster, Fairsted Kitchen + The Frogmore
When I lived in Inman I was going to the Antique Mall or one of Boston’s many great art museums a lot, I’m a member at the MFA and love going there. And then on the way home I’d typically stop off at my secret bar, the Midwest Grill.

I think it’s important for every restaurant worker to have a few bars where they can go that isn’t an “industry hang out.”  Our profession can get a little self congratulatory and a little distance from the industry scene can be very therapeutic, gives me some healthy perspective.  As you walk into the Midwest Grill, just keep going straight, past the dining room and counter top where they put up delivery and take out.  In the back, there is a tiny bar with a separate bar menu.  They serve old blended drinks like pina coladas with whipped cream and a cherry on top, mudslides, strawberry daiquiris, and their infamous glow in the dark (LED ice cube) caipirinhas.  The bar menu is a bunch of different fried things and a lobster.  They have 10c wings, huge plates of fried chicken hearts, Jamaican beef patties, fried hot dogs, shrimp, and of course an $8 whole lobster.  It’s a locals only bar where there is always a football game on.  I’m pretty sure I am the reason there is now a 20 wing at a time per person cap.  The bartenders are great; I visited there this summer after a year or two absence, and she immediately remembered me and what I liked to eat and drink, pretty amazing spot.  The kind of place that reminds you “craft,” “artisanal,” “boutique” of everything isn’t always best. A really an amazing spot.

About the author

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Kelly Daigle

Kelly is the Editor of The Industry Press and a co-founder of Clothbound. She loves cats, sparkly nail polish, and classic fiction, but none more than restaurants and people. She always roots for the underdog.