Snapped this photo at Matt’s gig a few weeks ago but forgot to post.
Useful instructions for those who both a) choose to consume the food (namely the pu pu platter) at All Asia and b) choose to consume the scorpion bowls at All Asia and run the risk of thinking the sink is the toilet.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, Photos | Comment (0)
I like to write reviews on Yelp. It’s a hobby of mine. I’ve written almost 300 good reviews, 58 mediocre reviews, and 78 bad ones.
When I felt ripped off by the smoothie I bought at the Clear Conscience Cafe in Central Square, I Yelped. I gave it two stars and said that for a whopping $6, I thought the smoothie was sub-par, too sweet, and small.
First, I got a scathing message from an owner of the Clear Conscience Cafe. I was LIVID. I lowered my rating to one star, and then today, I got another message in response to my Clear Conscience Cafe review from someone who I imagine is also an owner saying:
“you sound like a very snotty person. have you ever considered the fact that you are, in the end, completely wrong about everything you believe to be true? it’s a helpful exersize.”
I messaged them back telling them to NEVER contact me again and I reported them to Yelp. I also received a message from someone else saying that they also received harassing messages from people about his negative review of the Clear Conscience Cafe.
This whole situation is surreal. I certainly don’t think it helps their cause. I have gotten contacted by business owners in response to a negative Yelp review before, but usually they’re asking for my opinion on how they can better serve me or apologizing for any bad experience I’ve had. I think that’s wonderful. But sending out nasty messages to people who don’t like their service? Highly inappropriate.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, food | Comments (8)
I’ve been sick this week, and I’ve become totally addicted to Yelp! (Yes, Wordsteal is still down, but I’m learning to live without it.) I’ve written an insane amount of reviews while hunkered down on my couch with my purring cat and mug of Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea.
I think Yelp is actually a brilliant social networking tool. You can compliment people, and vote on reviews being cool/useful/funny. I think that positive reinforcement is what brings people back. I know I love when I get compliments on a review. I’ve even gotten messages from friendly local “Yelpers”, which is super cool. They have fun events and stuff too. Once I’m no longer a newbie, perhaps I will start attending some of them.
I joined Yelp a while ago for the sole purpose of writing a bad review of The Courtside Karaoke, and then I forgot about it. It’s really a fun site. I like to dine out, so I had lots of restaurants to review. I just went through a phase where I reviewed a bunch of record stores. We collect records.
Anyway, it’s a fun site. I’m having a good time with it and I really like writing reviews.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, internet | Comment (0)
Well, I just spent fifteen minutes attempting to shovel snow. Yes, attempting. The attempt was failed. I didn’t pick up more than a tablespoon of snow.
The plows finally came to our street and pushed a nice amount of snow in front of the driveway. I should have shoveled it immediately instead of waiting until the next day. The snow is now hard as rocks. The snow is so icy in our yard that I can walk over it and sink in — or even leave footprints. It’s as slippery as ice.
I couldn’t pick up ANY snow with my shovel. It was the most frustrating thing! I was trying to smash up the icy snow, but it was as productive as trying to smash a boulder. I think I’m going to need an ax to break up this snow! It’s supposed to hit 37 on Saturday so maybe it will soften up a little so I can shovel it then. I can another day without my car.
I can walk to run most of my errands, but the sidewalks are like skating rinks so I can imagine myself sliding back from Trader Joe’s and dropping eggs.
Stupid snowfall! We finally get some snow and it’s not even good snow! There will be no making snowmen or snow angels! A snowball fight could land in a concussion!Filed under Greater Boston Restaurants, My Life, snow | Comments (7)
Went to Cabot’s with a few friends for lunch on Saturday. It was a little crowded, so we were waiting in line to be seated. A group of people blatantly cut in front of about three parties of people who had been waiting previously, including us. I was very hungry, my blood sugar level was dropping, and I was filling with anxiety at the very thought of getting seated after that party. They also cut in front of a woman holding a baby carrier and a toddler!
I debated over whether or not to say anything, and by the time I decided that saying something would be appropriate (especially because they cut in front of a bunch of people), I realized that I had missed the boat and that it was too late for me to say something.
I was still preparing to get aggressive if necessary, so my group sort of inched our way next to them, and then in front of them…and the host luckily knew we had been waiting for a while to be seated, so he seated us first. The cutting party nearly threw a fit.
I smugly sat at my table and thoroughly enjoyed my lunch and dessert.
Part of me felt silly for getting so annoyed at these people for cutting…although in elementary school circles, cutting is nearly a crime! I remember waiting in line at the school cafeteria (especially on minute steak day…how I loved minute steak — with some tater tots and carrot coins, yum yum yum!) and people asking each other to cut and we’d chant, “No cuts, no butts, no coconuts!”
I googled that phrase after the Cabot’s cutting debacle, and I was brought to a wikipedia page about cutting in line.
There is a lot of etiquette when it comes to cutting in line:
The act of cutting is generally frowned upon by most people. However, it has developed a set of rules to allow for “fair” cutting. These include asking for “cuts” (or “cut-sies”) – permission to enter ahead of the person that was asked, or “back cuts” – permission to enter behind the person that was asked.
I recall being fairly generous with the “back cuts.”
Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, New England, Things to do in the Boston Area, nostalgia | Comments (4)
Sometimes, a recitation of the rhyming phrase: “No cuts, no butts, no coconuts!” is given, although this may be seen as childish. A simple “no” is also effective.
Newton is great because of its close proximity to Boston and Cambridge…but fellow Newtonians have lots to do without even leaving the city limits!
Here are some of my favorites…
Paddy’s has delicious pub food and Irish fare. Their beef stew is delicious. They also make pizza and calzones — try one of their calzones with eggplant! The atmosphere is festive but mellow and the decor is cozy. There is often a long wait, but the waitstaff is friendly and the wait is worth it!
For a traditional ice cream parlor, try Cabot’s on Washington Street in Newtonville. I recommend going there with an empty tummy, because their sundaes are HUGE. But they’re delicious! They have lots of creative toppings and tons of flavors. I recommend a Belgian waffle sundae (split that with someone!) or a “Chipperoo” — their version of a Chipwich.
For something quick and smaller portions, I like Coney Island in West Newton Square. They have “microsundaes” which are cheap and the perfect amount of ice cream. (I always eat too much at Cabot’s!)
Well, my favorite Indian restaurant in ALL of Greater Boston is Little India on Moody Street in Waltham…but since I’m focusing on Newton here, I recommend another delicious Indian restaurant. India Paradise in Newton Centre is fantastic. Great flavors, good price, and lots of food. You’ll leave pleasantly stuffed and with a bag full of leftovers to take home!
My favorite is Sweet Tomatoes. A little pricier, but worth every penny. It’s Neopolitan style, so the pizza has a thin and crispy crust. I like their pizza with garlic and basil…anything else just distracts from the fresh tomatoes and crust. They don’t deliver, but with locations both in West Newton and Newton Centre, it’s worth going to pick it up. The West Newton location has more seating inside, but neither have that many tables.
Another place to get pizza from is Ravioli’s on Beacon Street. Good pizza and really inexpensive. They deliver, too.
Marty’s on Washington Street in Newtonville. Lots of cool beers, wines, and hard liquor. They’re also a deli and they carry some gourmet groceries. I always go to Marty’s to pick up lots of beer before we have a party!
Baker’s Best!!! Baker’s Best, in Newton Highlands, is fantastic. There’s usually a huge wait on weekends, but I can’t stress how worthwhile the wait is. They have delicious brunch food. Some of the best I’ve had in all of Greater Boston.
Want to catch some good indie or foreign films? Check out The West Newton Cinema. It’s an alternative to those giant corporate movie theaters, and they always show great movies. They also have the best popcorn I’ve ever had at a movie theater.
Otherwise, there’s always Chestnut Hill Cinema, which is a perfectly good theater.
Antoine’s in Nonantum is one of the cutest bakeries around. It specializes in French and Italian pastries…and they also have great chocolate chip muffins!
Another great bakery is Keltic Krust in West Newton. They specialize in Irish baked goods, but they also have coffee, tea, smoothies, bagels, and sandwiches. I love their panini!
I love Fiorella’s. You don’t have to go to the North End to get great Italian food! Their food would definitely get the seal of approval from my Nonna. Great selection of traditional Italian food, in a cozy restaurant with attentive waiters. From ravioli to eggplant parm, everything I’ve tried there has impressed me. They also have a nice wine selection.
Lam’s in Newtonville is great. Their spring rolls are fantastic and their noodle dishes are impressive too. Great flavors and very quick service, too!
OK, I’m cheating because New Ginza is technically in Watertown. But it is THISCLOSE to Newton Corner, so I’m putting it here. It’s that good. The fish is so fresh that it tasted like they caught it after we ordered our sushi. Nice atmosphere inside, too.
OK, we’ve got our fair share of Starbucks (and Dunkin Donuts, of course), but the nicest coffee shop in Newton is Lincoln Street Coffee in Newton Highlands. They have tasty hot chocolate (I’m not a coffee drinker but I hear the coffee is good too), sandwiches, couches, and acoustic entertainment. Definitely worth checking out!
I’m the first to admit that I’m no Mexican food aficionado…I’m from New Jersey, for crying out loud! But I think Sol Azteca is really tasty! I love their enchiladas! They also have a nice location on Beacon Street, near Fenway.
Wainwright Bank. Forget Bank of America, Citizen’s Bank, and all of those places. Wainwright is my bank of choice and I love it. They’re very reasonable and they do a lot for the community. They have locations in Newton Centre, Watertown, Central, Davis, and Harvard Squares. They’re a small bank, but part of the SUM Network, so it’s always easy to find an ATM to use free of charge.
Value Gas & Repair is my choice. The people here are friendly, quick, honest, and reasonably priced. I used to always go to auto places with my stomach in knots, because a lot of places would take advantage of the fact that I am not too car savvy. But this place never stresses me out. (I always go to Keltic Krust for some hot chocolate while they’re working on my car!)
Clothes at a bargain:
Filene’s Basement, of course! Obviously, nothing can top the Downtown Crossing location but Newton’s got one on Needham Street. Another nearby one is in the Arsenal Mall in Watertown. I am wearing a lovely shirt I purchased at the Watertown location last week! There’s also Marshall’s by both of those locations.
Matt’s a Home Depot man, but I prefer neighborhood hardware shops, like the one in Nonantum!. It’s not as big, obviously, but less intimidating to someone like me who knows little about hardware. The employees are helpful and I feel good about supporting the little guys.
Shing Yee in West Newton Square is where we usually get our Chinese food from. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had there EXCEPT for the spicy wontons in peanut sauce. Avoid those. But overall, the food there tends to be enjoyable. I like the soup! They’re also very, very fast with delivery and very friendly if you chose to dine-in.
Definitely try Great Harvest Bread! Ignore the surly teenagers who work behind the counter, and treat yourself to a loaf of nice, fresh bread. I recommend the challah!
Totally unhealthy comfort food:
Blue Ribbon BBQ…now, I don’t enjoy traditional southern BBQ, but whenever I’m in the mood for some culinary indulgence, I’ll go to Blue Ribbon for sausage, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes. They have tables but it’s largely a take-out place. It’s probably better to take out, because a meal like that calls for beer.
Best place to take kids on a rainy day:
The Kid’s Place! It has pottery painting, plaster painting, digging for gems, mosaics, and build your own teddy bear. It’s awesome.
I’m still looking for Thai in Newton, but I’ve found a few good Thai places in Waltham. I’d also like to find good bagels. This summer I plan to do some exploring of the parks in Newton…looks like there are a few state parks here. I wanted to add a category for my favorite parks, but that will have to wait.
Anything to add? Any suggestions?Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, Things to do in the Boston Area, Uncategorized | Comments (17)
Yesterday Matt and I did a little day trip to Wilton, Connecticut to visit some family.
We travel down to the Tri-State Area regularly to visit family and friends. Connecticut has a surprisingly high amount of cute diners. Being from the diner capitol of the world, I love a good diner. Watertown’s got a few good diners but aside from those and The South Street Diner, Greater Boston doesn’t have a whole lot in the diner department.
My criteria for a diner:
1. It should be CHEAP. I should be able to spend less than $7 and leave feeling stuffed.
2. It should serve breakfast all day.
3. It should have fantastic grilled cheese.
4. It should have a rotating display case with desserts in it.
5. It should have frappes/milkshakes.
6. The waitress should be spunky, maybe a little rude, but will always call you “hun” or “sweetie”.
7. There is always Sweet-N-Lo at the tables.
8. They should be ready to fill Matt up with lots of coffee.
Jukeboxes at the tables are a plus.
On Saturday we found a very nice little diner in Milford called Kimberly Diner. It was crowded, cozy, and cheap. Matt got eggs and I got grilled cheese and a shockingly tasty cup of Manhattan clam chowder. The service was a little slow, but the food hit the spot and the total was only about $10.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, New England, New Jersey, New York, Uncategorized | Comments (6)
My mom has been visiting from California. Some highlights:
-Dinner at Fiorella’s in Newton. Really yummy Italian food! And we took advantage of the recorking law with a very nice Pinot Noir.
-Ice cream at Coney Island in West Newton Square.
-Breakfast at Keltic Krust in West Newton Square. My mom says their hot cross buns are the best ones she’s had in over 30 years. She was mistaken for my sister, which made her day!
-Walking around Newbury Street. The weather was fantastic, and people watching was a lot of fun!
-Trident! Going into a bookstore with my mom can be stressful because it’s difficult to get her out! We left with a mere three magazines, luckily. I love their periodicals section.
-The Life is Good store…I love their stuff. So cute!
-Some kid dancing around to the Jackson 5 in front of his window on Newbury Street. He was in his underwear. People were gathered around watching him dance, laughing…a few tourists were snapping photos.
-Ran into Dave Alpert on Newbury Street!!
-Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. Yummy yummy yummy!
-Getting ingredients for chicken parm at Russo’s. Fantastic homemade pasta, and a good deal to boot! $2.90 for a pound of fresh ziti. My mom made the chicken parm last night and it was wonderful!
-Making out really well in the bargain basement of Urban Outfitters!
-Getting some gorgeous wall hangings at A Taste of Culture.
-Lunch at Martsa’s Tibetan Restaurant in Davis Square. It was our first Tibetan food experience and a very good one! I really enjoyed the flavors.
-Cute skirt found at Filene’s Basement.
-The chicken parm made mostly from Russo’s ingredients!
And the weather couldn’t have been better, aside from the brief rain on Saturday afternoon. What a nice weekend!Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, My Life | Comments (7)
When I first moved to Massachusetts, I lived right by Watertown Square. The only person I knew was Matt and some of his coworkers. I didn’t work for the first few months, either. It took me a few months to really make my own friends. So needless to say, I was bored at first.
Not only was I bored, but I was scared to death of driving in the Boston area. Now I drive with the best of ‘em (or the worst, depending on how ya look at it!) - I inch in front of people to get in front of them in slow moving traffic, my reflexes are fast enough that I can pound my hand on the horn as soon as someone makes me angry, and driving through a rotary has become a way of life for me. But initially, I was so scared that the only place I’d really drive was to the supermarket, and those were always interesting experiences.
And so, I’d take the 71 bus to Harvard Square. Often. I’d stand outside of Vito’s Pizza (and sometimes go to the icky convenience store next door to it to get an ice cream sandwich on a hot day) and wait for the bus. I’d sit towards the back so I could watch all of the people go in and out. I’d listen in on conversations. And then, when the bus pulled into Harvard Station, I’d walk off the bus and breathe in the unique Harvard Station odor: Dunkin Donuts, popcorn, and bus fumes.
It was gross, but always comforting.
I didn’t really have much to do in Harvard Square, really. Sometimes I’d hop on the red line and go to Davis Square or towards downtown. Other times I’d just wander around Harvard Square. I’d go to the Harvard Bookstore. I’d sift through the remainders and used books. (This, of course, was before I became enamoured with the local libraries) Sometimes I’d get a snack somewhere. I’d usually end up going to Little Tibet to get a skirt. Going there made me feel like I had a life, and it was a little escape from the house we lived in where we had to listen to the neighbors fight ’round the clock.
A couple months later, once I had a decent sized group of my own friends, I’d often wind up meeting them at Harvard Square since it was sort of a central point to meet. I’d get off the 71 bus and say to myself, as I breathed in the disgusting concoction of Harvard station smells, “I’m going to meet my friends! MY friends! I have friends now! I have my own friends!”
Since I’ve moved to Newton, I realized that the best way for me to get to Harvard Square is to drive to Coolidge Square and leave my car by DTD, and catch the 71 bus the rest of the way. That way I don’t need to look for parking in Harvard Square. Searching for parking in Harvard Square makes my heart palpitate.
On Wednesday, I went to meet some friends for dinner at Bombay Club (and allow me to rave about their chicken saag - I love all that is saag!) and taking the 71 bus brought me a feeling of comfort. It had been the first time I took it in a while, and it felt like I was visiting an old friend. Especially after I exited the bus and smelled the Dunkin Donuts, popcorn, and exhaust fumes.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, My Life, Uncategorized | Comment (1)