Boston for grownups. BostonZest is your guide for enjoying a full-flavored life in an unbeatable city. We'll show you that there is life in Boston beyond the "club kids" and students.
Whether you live in Boston, plan to visit Boston, or you are moving to Boston; we'll help you locate great food, fun events, and reliable resources.
This year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday Night. This is the worst possible calendar happenstance for the struggling restaurant business. Saturday's are busy anyway and they could use a bit of extra business from this popular dining holiday.
Since this is a night when favored dining spots fill to capacity, we suggest you spread the love around the whole weekend and consider going out on Friday or Sunday as well or instead.
Valentine's Day is also an occasion for prix fixe menus at many of the area's most well-known restaurants. For those, like us, who don't like special menus, we are featuring some places who are offering you regular and a la carte menus on the 14th.
Bina Osteria, downtown will stand by their enticing menu for holiday dinners. And, why not. This newest entry from the Bina family has been greeted with rave reviews from food lovers since they opened in November. We love making a meal of their small plates and consider it a great destination for a bite to eat and fabulous dessert when we're not looking for a full dinner.
Another of the Bina restaurants, Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill, is offering an a la carte menu in addition to a special menu.
Tremont 647 is doing the same thing. A special menu and their regular menu.
Union in the South End is taking it one step further by offering a special menu and their regular menu all weekend long. And that special menu is al la carte not prix fixe.
The Blue Room in Cambridge is also doing a special a la carte menu. A great option for those who find multi courses daunting.
We enjoy Marco on Hanover Street in the North End and they'll serve their regular menu. Here we adore trying small plates of pasta with carafes of their good house wines.
A gift certificate first brought us to Sorriso in the leather district, but the great meal and excellent wine we enjoyed will bring us back. And, if we want to go this weekend, they're not limiting what we can have.
For those who are happy with the special menus or have their hearts set on a certain type of dinner, the details section has some listings of Valentine's Day coverage from around the Boston food community.
If you have a group of friends who don't have football fever,
gather them for an ethnic feast on Sunday evening. One of the best ways
to step out of your safety zone on ethnic menus is to share a
family-style meal with a group of willing tasters.
Three of our
favorite places have told us they will not have TVs showing the
Superbowl on Sunday evening. Many others that we called, even some that
normally don't have televisions will have the game on that night. So,
before you decide to visit a your favorite Indian or Chinese restaurant
call to find out their Superbowl status.
Gather your friends and
visit to Island Hopper on Massachusetts Avenue in the Back Bay on
Sunday evening. Their Pan-Asian kitchen will fill your table with foods
from Malaysia with the flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, China and
Singapore. We love the Island Hopper Roti with their rich curry dipping
If you would rather explore a single Asian cuisine, we
suggest Chili Duck across from the Prudential Center. Once there, we
urge you to turn to the traditional Thai menu pages. The spicy eggplant
with chicken, shown in the photo, is one must try dish. Be warned, it's addictive.
food would offer a new taste to many diners and Beacon Hill's Lala Rokh
is the perfect place to enjoy it. Be sure to choose a good assortment
of appetizers before moving on to their main courses.
Next Sunday, like many people in Boston, we'll be avoiding Superbowl
hype. Last year we heard a lot about the record viewership for the
game. But, if you look a bit deeper you learn less than half the TV
households were tuned in. (see details below)
This week we'll tell you about interesting things to do, places to
visit, and great dining without televisions flashing and people
"getting their edge on" for the game.
We love dining at bars, and prefer places without televisions.
When I called Craigie on Main in Cambridge to ask if they had any
special plans for the night they joked, "What Superbowl?" This could be
your evening to sneak into the one of area's most favored dining spots
with less competition. The hamburger from the bar menu is one of Ed's
If they're full, Central Kitchen right around the corner will also be a
safe place to enjoy a football free evening. Be sure to order the
mussels from Brussels.
In the Back Bay, La Voile will have lovely French bistro fare at their
tiny bar or in the dining area. We were sitting at their bar one
evening when a slightly tipsy patron came up to the computer screen
where orders are placed and asked why the game was not on. While the
staff tried to explain that it was not a TV, we told her we wouldn't be
there if it were. She told us we were not true Bostonians and staggered
back to her table.
If you have a split in your party and someone wants to be near a TV, we
suggest Sel de la Terre in the Back Bay. The downstairs bar has
television and will be game-oriented, but the dining room and upstairs
bar will be a safe zone. This could be your night to enjoy their dessert sampler.
To thumb your nose at sports mania, move next door to L'Espalier where
every ounce of their attention and yours will be on the enjoyment of
fine wine, food and wonderful cheese. We do love their cheese service.
One of our favorite bars and favorite Sunday evening spots is
Hamersley's Bistro in the South End. They have plenty of warm
hospitality, good music, great food, and don't feel the need for the
distraction of TVs or sports.
The photos here are Hamersley's halibut clam roast and their famous chicken.
After last year's football game, Lisa de Moraes on Washingtonpost.com reported, "Household ratings measure the percentage of the country's homes with
TVs tuned in to a show. On Sunday, 43.3 percent of TV homes were
watching the Super Bowl between 6:31 and 10:12 p.m..."
This week's Sunday dogs work on Newbury Street. Sadie and Spike are the
official meeters and greeters for the Back Bay Framery at the corner of
is three and a half years old and loves to take as many walks on the
Commonwealth Avenue Mall as possible.
Spike is nine and loves being a
best friend and shadow to his special person.
They share a job, and they share a favorite toy, the much loved bird in the photo with Spike.
you ever find yourself in need of some doggie time while shopping in
the Back Bay, stop in and meet the pups. The staff will be happy to let
you get down on the rug and play with their pals.
while you're there (or the next time you are looking for the perfect
gift) look around because this is far more than a simple frame shop.
They sell fine art, journals, albums, boxes, clocks, mirrors, and the
most beautiful frames. Bring a photo of your favorite dog, and they'll
help you find a frame worthy of your prince or princess.
their website and we think you'll make this a stop on your next walk
down Newbury Street. Once you visit, you'll understand why they've won
the Best of Boston Award twice since 2003.
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