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Chez Henri offers a delightful french-latin fusion take on food, with a limited, but well executed menu offering some of the tastiest dishes in greater Boston. I hate huge, heavy, button popping portions, so the dish sizes here were spot on for me. I felt satiated without wanting to roll out of my chair and fall asleep after the meal. The dishes are simple, but complex at the same time, showcasing combinations I never could have imagined on my own. If you're scared by the prices, head to the bar--The pressed cuban is legendary around Boston.
Beef tongue? Cheesy Grits? Catfish? Southern cuisine is a bit of an oddity for the New Englander. It's like sampling food from another country, really. But if you're going to give it a try, Hungry Mother is the place to do it. Don't be turned off by the limited menu. They may only do a few things, but I can assure you that they do them well. I mean, who knew boiled peanuts were so good? And I sort of like how, despite the high prices and fancy menus, the atmosphere is actually pretty comfortable and casual. Definitely worth checking out at least once.
A word of advice: don't come here with a big group. Not because the service is bad or anything like that, but because you won't want to have to share the incredibly delicious small plates. I can still remember the feeling of devastation at having to watch one of my fellow diners take the last bite of the glorious "sultan's delight," when I'd only gotten one measly mouthful, which certainly wasn't enough. You really can't go wrong with any of the dishes here. They are unique, well-conceived, carefully prepared and so so tasty. And have you tried their baked alaska? Amazing. This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, by far.
Chang Sho's is always a reliable option when I'm craving some delicious chinese food. The place is massive, so I find I can almost always get a table, and the menu is so extensive, it can be hard to decide what to get, but I think, when it comes to Chinese food, that this is a good problem to have. I've heard people complain that Chang Sho's is too pricey or too "Americanized," and maybe it is, but I think it tastes great, so who the heck cares?
I'm not a very adventurous Indian food eater. I usually stick to my Chicken Korma, Tikka Masala, and the occasional eggplant dishes--last time I got the Baingan Bhartha. So while I can't speak for everything on the menu, I very much enjoyed Mela's delicious take on these classics. It's a little on the pricier side, but when I've really got the craving for some good, high quality Indian I always order from Mela.
I first went to Jacob Wirth's to prepare my tastebuds for a trip to Bravaria, and I must say, they certainly cover all the bases when it comes to German fare. They've got your soft pretzels, your bratwursts, your schnitzels and your sauerkraut. The place is also a beer drinker's paradise, with 46 different varieties on tap. I always seem to forget about german cuisine when I think of my favorite ethnic foods, but sometimes a good brat, kraut and beer can really hit the spot, and Jake's is the place to get it in Boston.
The first time I went to the Burren was actually for brunch and at the time I was completely unaware of its reputation as a popular drinking hole and nightclub. The food is your typical pub fare--turkey clubs, tuna melts, buffalo wings etc, but they've also got some of your emerald island favorites on offer like Guinness Beef Stew, Shepherd's Pie, and Bangers and Mash. But my favorite feature of the Burren is probably the live Irish music and dancers they bring in. They also host live, non-irish musicians from time to time, in addition to open mic and comedy nights. It gets a little too crowded for my liking on weekend nights (am I getting old?), but it's certainly a fun atmosphere.
There's nothing spectacular about Thai Basil, but I like it because it's convenient and affordable. While the interior is small, I've never had trouble getting a table here, and I've always enjoyed their food. I pretty much always order crab rangoons and the crispy pad thai, and I'm never disappointed. It's a winning combo. The crispy pad thai comes with saucy, crackely, crunchy fried noodles that give it that little extra something. Yum!
I'm taking off a star, since this is maybe one of the most crowded, touristy spots on the planet, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a good time when I come to Faneuil Hall. There energy there is off the charts. And while the place is crawling with vendors trying to make a buck, I find you can really still enjoy it without spending any money at all. Faneuil Hall is a mecca for street performances of all different sorts, and you just never know what kind of show, parade or other fun event will be going on on a given day. And you can usually find cheap eats via the street-side vendors or in the market itself.
I love anything involving pasta and/or cheese, so naturally I'm a huge fan of the North End, Boston's little Italy. I like to come here when I want to get away from the pretentious, New-Englandy-ness of Boston and pretend I'm in Italy, wandering the cobblestone streets of the old world. And you really can't go wrong with any of the restaurants in the area. The hoards of crowds and long lines can be a little off-putting, but good things come to those who wait!
The Sam Adams Brewery Tour and tasting is the perfect thing to do with visitors from out of town. It's incredibly Bostony, the tour guides a clever and fun, and the tasting is pretty solid--especially when you consider the fact that tours are technically free, with a $2 suggested donation (which actually goes to charity). The only thing I will say is that it can get pretty crowded on the weekends, so it's best to go earlier--that is if you don't mind getting a buzz at 10 am.
Every Sunday from May to October, artists, farmers, foodtrucks and shoppers gather in the South End for this fun and vibrant outdoor market. I love just walking through the place and seeing what's on offer. And it's fun to talk to some of the artists themselves, and to hear a little more about what they do. It's also a really great place for getting unique gifts for family and friends. Imagine Etsy, in real life, with food, and you'll get the SoWa market. It's the best!
When a friend of mine first proposed that we visit the Mt. Auburn cemetery, I wasn't really sure what to think. I'd heard of the Granary Burial Ground, with Sam Adams and Paul Revere, but not Mt. Auburn. And wouldn't a cemetery be depressing? Not so! The Mt. Auburn cemetery feels more like a park or garden, and I was amazed to discover how peaceful and relaxing it was. You could easily spend hours wandering through the various grave sites and marveling at the magnitude of some of the monuments.
I like the ICA because it's different every time you go. And I just love the some of the weird, oddball stuff that's on display here. I may not always understand the exhibits here, but I can still enjoy them. And I like the way the ICA always seems to feel fresh and exciting; it isn't your typical, stuffy old museum. And admission is free every Thursday from 5-9 pm, so there's really no excuse not to check it out.
Willow trees, swan boats, statues and tulips. These are the things that come to mind when I think of the Public Garden. What a wonderful place for a stroll, picnic, or mid-afternoon nap. And it's no wonder you can always find newly engaged couples taking their awkward photos here--the scenery is gorgeous and so well maintained. And who doesn't swoon when they see little children playing on the "Make Way for Ducklings" statues. I know I do. I'll often go out of my way on my walk home just to pass through here. It's just that lovely!