Sep 2, 2012

The Best of Casual Dining in Boston/NY Summer 2012

This past summer was all about the good food.  It's alwasy fun returning home for a visit, because it ends up being a marathon of binge eating at friends houses or out and about somewhere.  The first stop we made was at a new Asian food destination in Framingham called Tenichi a "Dynamic Food Kitchen"  Not sure about the "dynamic" part, but it was a decent meal.  For starters we had the lovely Salmon plate, garnished with micro greans and capers along with balsamic, I am not sure how this dish was asian, but it was an interesting take on asian fusion cuisine.  They were also running a lobster special that night, prepared in a traditional ginger and scallion sauce.  It wasn't the best I had ever had, but I knew I was in for more lobster, as there was an abundance on the east coast this summer and they were selling it like hot cakes all over town!
For those with a sweet tooth, and I can honestly say I am guilty, here are a couple of New England classics.  Below, my sister and I being silly at Ben & Jerry's as we all know, is a vermont original.  I passed on my usual my usual order to try Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night Snack" with chocolate covered potato chips and salted caramel, and I'm really glad I did! The perfect cure for a munchies craving....To the right a classic Tiramisu from Modern Bakery in the north end.  We enjoyed that after a long night of singing and dancing at the Coldplay concert at the TD Banknorth Gardens!  What a treat all aorund!

Next up was a little Italian joint my dad was dying to take me to called Linguine's in Marlborough, MA.  A casual dining spot with a substantial menu.  As I stepped into this quaint little suburban restaurant, I felt like I was in a time warp, but all that didn't matter when the food arrived.  Everything that came out of that tiny little kitchen was scrumptious from the cherry stone clam linguni to the chicken parm as well as the pizza!  My dad ordered the chicken marsala, but had already attacked it before I could take a proper photo, so it didn't make the cut here.  But this is a great place to come for a casual mid-week meal.  Great comfort food and portions are large enough to get two meals worth.

So, who doesn't love a good jewish deli?!  I for one have really missed them while living in Dubai.  There is something so homely about enjoying a bowl of Matzah Ball soup along side a big plate of sour and dill pickles, and how could you pass up those bagel chips!  Why have I been away for so long???Zaftig's is considered Brookline's finest, but if you ever try to go there on the weekends for brunch.....think again!  Luckily they opened one up right in Natick across from the mall, convenient and equally as delicious as the original.   The baked mac n' cheese my friend ordered was ooey and gooey, the Israeli cous cous salad with cranberries and fennel topped with grilled salmon was the healthier choice, but also packed full of flavor.  Because I went with the healthy lunch option, I thought it appropriate to splurge on dessert, Boston Creme Pie was the obvious choice....

The cuisine I miss the most while living abroad is Vietnamese.  One of my favorite Brighton spots during my University years was Pho Pasteur, currently known as L'es.  It's located on Brighton Ave and still produces top notch quality food for a reasonable price.  They are best known for the Pho pictured below left with a beautiful aromatic beef broth, fresh greens, and tender slices of beef brisket for USD $6.00, you won't find a better deal.  Amongst some of our other favorites is the quail, salt and pepper calamari and the shrimp summer rolls. 

Sticking to the Vietnamese theme was also Pho Real!  I quirky little concept located on Christopher street in Greenwich village (NYC).  They also do a mean Pho, but I really go there for the Bahn Mi.  A hearty sandwich traditionally filled with pulled pork, but I opt for the one with spicy fried catfish, layered with pickles and red onions all nestled in a crunchy baguette!  If I had the ability to teleport anything on earth, it would be one of these tasty delights! Pho Real also served these organic all natural sodas, I enjoyed the fresh ginger ale with pomegranit and hibiscus, it tantilized my taste buds and melded well with the sandwich.

Next stop on the casual dining train was a frozen yogurt joint recommended to me by a friend.  In fact, she was such a regular here, she received e-mails/text messages informaing here about specials and discounts.  The discount of the day was on  pomegranite flavored frozen yogurt.  I opted for the junky version with caramel sauce and crumbled oreos.  Not my usual choice, but hey, I was on holiday, so the calories don't count, right? Out of the hundreds of froyo concepts in the city, this one does not go high in the ranks for flavor, but the aesthetic was cool, and they get points for maintaining cleanliness dispute their busy 6th ave location.
This is the second to last on the casual dining post from this summer's culinary adventures.  Cafe Habana/Habana Outpost located in New York's Soho (Cafe Habana) as well as Brooklyn (Habana Outpost).  The vibe and food at this casual margarita/corn and cob spot was incredible. We strolled into the Outpost on a Friday evening during "happy hour" and there wasn't a seat in the house.  We ordered our corn covered in delicious cotija cheese and drinks, and waited around until we could claim a picnic table of our own.  Successful in hinting down a place to sit, we felt comfortable to order more snacks for the hungry campers.  The chicken and waffle on a stick was by far the most unique item I had seen yet.  The corn still one my vote for best "food on a stick" item, but the chicken definitely made an impression. 

Last post for New York casual dining is Berry Park in Williamsburg, this little gem overlooking the Manhattan skyline is the perfect place to be on a Sunday afternoon.  With giant Bavarian pretzels, duck fat fries, and Frickles (Deep Fried Pickes) I took comfort in all these delictable goodies after a busy weekend in the city.  I was trying to load up on as many fried items as possible, holidays are great to give into all those guilty pleasures.  My favorite of all these brooklyn style bar snacks were the Frickles, served with a spicy aioli, the unusual combination of flavors ad textures will be a fond food memory forever!     


  1. Hi there! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about boston dining deals. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about Boston dining deals. Keep it up!
    Your passport to the best restaurants in Boston.

  2. Thanks for the post Mark! It's always a treat when you can find great food at a great price. I've found there are many hidden gems in the Greater Boston area as well as in NYC. Most are passed along through blogs and word of mouth advertising, but a website such as yours does provide a bit more insight on these hidden gems. Well done and stay in touch!