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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Review’ Category

Tides Restaurant

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Tides Restaurant & Pub – 2B Wilson Road – Nahant, MA. 01908 – (781) 593-7500

Open for lunch and dinner at 11:30am.  Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

website:  http://www.tidesnahant.com/home.html

***********************   ***********************

We just returned from a fantastic trip to the Greater Boston area and decided to visit Marblehead, MA. and just chill driving along the shore, stopping wherever the spirit moved us to stop.  It was one of those days which draws you to the area – sun, warm, some wind – but not a lot.

We passed Marblehead and were driving along sometimes seeing the water and sometimes passing houses thinking we were moving away from the coast.  We saw a couple walking their two dogs as we neared a dead end and stopped to ask for their recommendation of a place to eat.  Their suggestion was “Tides” – a restaurant we passed just minutes before.  They were sort of hesitant to suggest Tides because they knew the previous owners and didn’t know what was happening at Tides in todays’ world.  They cautioned us that it might not still be a great place to eat, but from past experience, before ownership changed, they said it was  really fantastic.

Amazingly, it was an encounter with New Englanders who fit the stereotype.  The “new owners”  bought the place some 20 years ago.  CHANGE is hard in this part of the world, but after having dinner at Tides we understand why.  When you find a really fantastic place you don’t want it to change – just stay the same because how do you improve on perfection?

 

We sat on the sun porch and had a glorious meal.  The menu said “don’t feed the birds”, but as soon as we sat down a sea gull joined us and so we had five for lunch instead of four and that great seagull helped to make our meal.  He entertained us in ways he had apparently learned paid his benefactors back for their generosity. The restaurant was surrounded by rock outcroppings, sand and the ocean splashing against the rocks.  With that accompaniment to oysters, shrimp, clams, lobster, haddock we were in heaven.  We felt as though the fish had just been caught by the owners next door bringing it immediately into the restaurant to fulfill your order. That was our narrative – which is not true – but the location and the porch brought us to that imaginary happening.

Next time we will bring bathing suits because we were sitting right next to a public beach.  On a holiday weekend the beach was sparsely populated so we know it is a great place to sun, swim, and paddle around whenever we go, with some certainty that we won’t be tripping over half-nude bodies lying side by side.  It looked as though that very beautiful beach was peopled by the neighbors – people who lived close by.

The food was substantial, well cooked and seasoned just perfectly – well except for one of us who brings her Louisiana hot sauce in her pocket book for times like this.  Each plate was enough for two so we brought our left-overs home and warmed them up for dinner the next evening.  What a memory that brought back.  We wondered if we could move next door and eat at Tides on a regular basis.

The wait staff was exceptional and they appeared whenever we looked around, sometimes anticipating what we were about to ask.  Dessert was hot fudge sundaes.  As we ate our dessert the smacking sounds  should have  embarrassed us, but it just made the desserts taste better.

All in all we recommend Tides whenever you are in the North Shore area.  It is worth the stop or even if you have to drive a few miles out of your way – it is worth the drive.

There was a Keno Contest going on when we arrived and we were told they offer full service lottery in addition.  As we waited for a table mesmerized by the view, the hostess told us about their Drink Menu – cocktails, 30 ice cold draft beers, a wide variety of bottled beers and a large wine list. People in the bar were watching a game and we were told they have over 20 HD TVs!  That was all very nice, but we weren’t interested – the beach, sitting on that incredible sun porch, talking (and feeding) the sea gull which adopted us with really great food was what captivated us.

We will return!

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you. Please also tell us if you want your name as your byline or if you want your article to appear without your name.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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The Lobster Stop

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
589
copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2015  – by  – Marceline Donaldson
The Lobster Stop
 723 Washington Street – Quincy, MA. 02169
Hours of Operation: Wednesday-Monday 11am-8pm
                                                    Telephone: 617 405 4760

I am in love, again!

We discovered a great restaurant.  One that will take you through the summer with fresh seafood cooked the way it used to be cooked in New Orleans.

I have been nostalgic for the restaurants in New Orleans that once upon a time, many years ago, lived on Claiborne Avenue.  That was before the Federal Government came in and built an overpass which killed the neighborhood, the street and most of the businesses that once thrived there.  It was the place you went to if you wanted an oyster Po’boy sandwich.  No one fried oysters the way they did along Claiborne Avenue.

Well, those businesses are gone and have been replaced by ones that are only a memory of the past.  However, we found one recently that is a total replica of those old New Orleans Creole Restaurants, only this one is in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Before I go any further I have to say this restaurant does not serve organic food. That is a downer, but the way they prepare and cook the food, along with the ambiance of the place, means maybe we should all take a bit of time and lobby for it to serve only wild-caught seafood and everything else organic.  I bet if they put their sandwiches and rolls on organic bread the place would be a run-away hit.

In the meantime, it is a place you have to try.  I loved the red and white checked tablecloths, the large tubs for live lobster, the friendliness and ‘down home’ attitude of the people who work there, but most of all we loved the food – fresh seafood cooked by those who knew what they were doing and we had no complaints.

Everybody with us had something different.  I reluctantly ordered fried oysters fully expecting them to be the way I normally find fried oysters in this New England area – not great, with lots of breading and kind of soft even though they claim to have been fried.  Can you imagine my surprise when the oysters arrived cooked to perfection.  In just a few minutes I was ready for seconds, but instead of ordering seconds, – I knew my job – I helped those with me finish their meal.  One had Lobster Bisque – which I couldn’t eat because I was within the sight line of the live lobsters.  Several years ago, I bought lobsters for one of my daughters birthday dinners, and they turned the lobsters into pets.  Since then, I have not been able to eat another lobster.  The clam chowder, however, was superb.  One person had a Combination Platter and I just had to help her finish what was too much for one person.  The Onion Rings were incredibly light, crisp and tasted like a little bit of heaven.  I ate until I literally had to be helped to the car I was so full.  Can’t wait for a return visit.  I did resist the French Fries.  Next time, I will bring a bag of organic potatoes and hope they will fry them up for me so I can add potatoes to what I enjoyed at the Lobster Stop.

What more can I say?  Next visit, maybe I will take a flyer on fried clams – or maybe I will try a Clam Roll – although the shrimp looked great!!!!!

Whenever you get close to Quincy, Massachusetts try the Lobster Stop – right next to the bridge.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

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The Concord Cheese Shop

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

copyright 2010 by Julie – Traveling Taste Buds

Hours Open: Tue-Fri 10am-5:30pm and Sat 9:30am-5:30pm

web site: www.concordcheeseshop.com
email: peter@concordcheeseshop.com

29 Walden Street
Concord, MA. 01742-2504
978 369 5778

One of Concord’s celebrated establishments, a perennial “Best of Boston,” not to be missed by any visitor to the town center, has lured foodies down Walden Street since 1967. Its current (and third) proprietor, Peter Lovis, has been serving out samples of the 150-200 varieties of domestic and international cheeses since 1976. You will never buy a cheese there that you can’t taste first! But cheese is not the only food for sale at the Cheese Shop. There’s a vast and excellent (including some bargain specials) selection of wines; there are many gourmet items including chocolates, pastries, spices, olive oils, holiday treats, nuts, pickles, jams, and more. The Cheese Shop Deli is famous for its chicken salad, for carrying “Famous Phil’s Subs,” for its terrific charcuterie, coffees, and its many fabulous freshly made preparations. Besides its warmth, the overwhelming attribute of the Cheese Shop is its internationalism: indeed, at one count the shop’s offerings represented 80 different countries!

NOT TO BE MISSED AT THE CHEESE SHOP:  Make a note to spend December 1st in Concord so you can be present at the Cheese Shop’s Cheese Parade.  A 400 pound wheel of cheese is rolled down the red carpet with music and rose petals.  Be there for this fun event!  Missed this year?  Mark your calendars and make your reservations at one of the Bettina Network homes in Concord to be present at next years Cheese Shop’s Cheese Parade.

A special feature offered by the Cheese Shop deli is their “Friday night supper” menu. $75 brings home a three course gourmet dinner for two, including a baguette and a bottle of wine. All you have to do is heat up the entree; often as not you’ll have enough for lunch on Saturday, too. Many Concord couples make this a monthly treat, but a “Friday night supper” could also be ideal for those taking advantage of ‘eating dinner in’ at the Bettina Network Bed and Breakfast where they are staying. The hosts are always happy to lend the service of their oven or microwave. Just remember that the meals are not offered during the holiday season, which is an extra busy time for the Cheese Shop.

In short, any visitor to Concord would enjoy doing what concordians do: take a stroll down Walden Street for a taste trip around the world. As Peter Levis says, “don’t come in a rush!”

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

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La Provence – Restaurant Review

Friday, August 13th, 2010

copyright 2010 The Bettina Network, inc.

105 Thoreau Street………. ….. …….. ……Weekdays: 7am-7pm
Concord, MA. 01742………. ….. ……………Saturday: 7am-5:30pm
phone: 978 371 7428 fax: 978 287 4221…………..Sunday: closed
web site: www.laprovence.us

We spent an incredible day sightseeing in Concord, MA. and then looked around to find someplace to eat which was not too formal, had great food and a nice environment. We found La Provence.

The menu for a deli-type restaurant was great. The food lived up to its reputation. We found La Provence by asking someone on the street, who looked as though they lived in Concord, for a great place to eat. Without hesitation, they said La Provence. We asked if they had eaten there and they said at least two to three times a week. Once we’d finished lunch we knew why they chose to frequent this restaurant.

I was able to have a paté and cheese sandwich. The paté did not disappoint and combined with brie cheese it was a cybarite’s dream and at a reasonable cost. We went back later and had Salmon au Champagne and took home a light and dark chocolate mousse cake which lasted about two hours.

Situated across the street from the train station, La Provence held its own in this place surrounded by so much history. A touch of France in the middle of an English story.

We spent time looking out the large windows watching the people go by and commenting on the incredible diversity of people coming and going. We were tempted to sit at the tables outside under the canopy, but it was hot and it was much better to look out at those sitting outside from an air conditioned space.

We would return to La Provence in a heart-beat and will remember the food for a good long time.
We can recommend La Provence without hesitation or reservations.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

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Harvest Restaurant

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

copyright the Bettina Network, inc. 2010

44 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA. 02138
617 868 2255

Hours: Mon-Th 12pm-10pm
Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 11:30am-10pm

We were roaming around Concord, MA., went into a beautiful modern art gallery and heard about the Harvest Restaurant’s history. The person in the store lived in Cambridge, once upon a time, and her husband worked at the Harvest so we got an earful. We were on our way to reviewing another restaurant, but after that conversation, which was fantastic with lots of history we didn’t know, we decided to stop in for lunch and maybe dinner to take another look at the Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge.

The history was intriguing. Many of the ‘greats’ in the restaurant world in Cambridge/Boston started out at the Harvest Restaurant or worked there at some point in their career. The Harvest and Design Resource – a great place to shop, once upon a time – were connected by the same ownership and we had just enjoyed the retrospective display in the window of the old Design Resource while it waited for a new store to open. The Marimekko fabrics and other items once considered consumer items, now in the area called art were beautifully presented.

Lydia Shire, Chris Shlesinger, and we heard, but couldn’t verify that even Jasper White worked at the Harvest. We couldn’t verify any of the stories we heard because we called the Harvest’s PR person, who was in a hurry and didn’t have time to talk with us. We asked our questions, she promised she would send info on the Harvest’s history – weeks ago. We are still waiting for either a return phone call or marketing information.

That is symbolic of our entire experience.

Our first trip to the Harvest was for lunch on a week day. The restaurant was only about 1/3 full. We were happy about that. Service would be great, no crowds with which to contend, no running out of dishes on the menu, etc.

When we walked in we were confronted with large flower arrangements, which were exquisite, but looked as though the florist had just arrived and put them wherever there was space – pushing some things out of the way to make room for the flowers. That was disappointing. The Harvest would have looked better without the flowers. Someone’s aesthetic sense is missing.

We looked at the menu and looked and looked and looked. It was hard deciding what to order, because nothing really struck us as great for lunch. I came from a place which cooks great rabbit, but somehow Bacon Wrapped Rabbit Leg with grilled nectarine foie gras stuffing just didn’t do it. My food memories growing-up include foie gras and great bread for breakfast and an even greater foie gras for dinner or a late evening snack. The thought of eating a grilled nectarine foie gras – stuffed into a rabbits leg which was wrapped with bacon, just spoiled all those memories so I bypassed that item.

After taking a long time to decide we settled on hamburgers. Going to an upscale restaurant for fast food was just debilitating. There were three of us and we all settled on the hamburgers for lack of being enticed by anything else. The hamburgers were a forced selection, – since we were there we had to choose something. It was not a choice we jumped for joy about.

When the food arrived, it was disappointing! The burger was alright; the aioli good; there were huge proportions; the fries were good; the bread not so great; way to much raw onion – a huge thick slice of raw red onion on the sandwich overpowered everything else. Since we had a meeting to go to after lunch and didn’t want to run everybody out of the room with our after lunch bodily smells, we took the onion off the sandwich. A smaller, thinner slice might have held its own, but this was way over the wrong top.

For an upscale restaurant, it was a decidedly downscale meal. The service was more than adequate, but the wait people were totally lacking in energy. I wondered if they would make it through the meal.

We were bothered by flies throughout our meal and we chose to sit inside so we wouldn’t have to worry about the insects. A fly settled in the rim of the glass at the empty table next to us and stayed there for over an hour. Could that be why many restaurants turn their glasses upside down once a table has been set? – to keep tiny, unwanted intruders out of the crystal and off the porcelain? It was more than a little upsetting to have to battle flies, but we weren’t excited about the food anyway so we skipped dessert, ignored the coffee and left most of the food uneaten.

Because the room was not full the table arrangements didn’t bother us. If it had been filled we would have left before ordering. Somehow, we didn’t expect to see tables lined up along the wall – one table after another, where you would probably elbow your neighbor at the next table before the end of the meal because there wasn’t room to eat with any sense of privacy and distance from others trying to do the same thing. Stuff another table along the wall and push them all closer together to accommodate the extra service for another party – seemed to be the ethos!

All in all – too much money – for a forced upscale-wanna-be menu. One choice we skipped over was a Burgundy Escargot Tart with Chorizo Butter. We wondered what Chorizo butter would do to the Escargot – a delicate taste mixed with – what – butter whipped with chorizo sausage? It sounded greasy, unappetizing and we just couldn’t imagine ordering it.

Would we return? Uh-Uh! We did, however, for dinner – to make sure we weren’t judging on just one visit where things could have been a bit off that day. Dinner wasn’t any better. Especially since NOTHING was organic. The only item close was the “natural” Boyden Farm Vermont Burger. For the same money they could have made that burger an Organic one.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

L. A. Burdick’s – A Restaurant Review

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

copyright The Bettina Network, inc.

52-D Bratle Street
Cambridge, MA. 02138
Phone: 617-491-4340
website: burdickchocolate.com

Hours: Sunday 9am-9pm, Monday-Thursday 8am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 8am-10pm

Visiting the newly renovated Burdick’s was a bit of a disappointment. I passed many times, but didn’t stop because I didn’t have time to wait in the line which seemed to be perennially outside the door – to the point of having signs telling you not to block the neighboring store and how to stand in line to wait.

I passed with a friend about noon this week and was able to get in without waiting and to even get an empty table.

Given all the people in line, I expected an outstanding list of offerings and there was my first disappointment. The lines formed because there are only ten tables in the restaurant and those are tiny table which can barely accommodate two people. On one side there are six tables with seating for two – on the other side there are four table with seating for one at each table unless you want to scrunch in and squeeze next to the two people at the neighboring table trying to do the same thing.

People seemed to be there for the hot chocolate since that is what was on everyone’s table. That was great, but I wanted something more. Friends have given me boxes of chocolate from Burdick’s, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was like a teaser, which wasn’t followed through on by what I found in the restaurant.

We had two chocolate pastries, which were good, but they took me back to when such pastries were introduced in the U. S. about 1980’s. It was kind of ho-hum and not really spectacular.

Getting tired of being pushed into the people at the next table, I bypassed the hot chocolate and wanted to go home where I had organic chocolate waiting for me.

It is very hard to enjoy a restaurant when you have accumulated a bit of knowledge about real food and your taste buds have moved definitely way beyond your childhood tastes.

Bottom line for us – Burdick’s is a nice place to go if you want to buy a gift for someone and you think a pretty box of chocolates would do. Beyond that I don’t see the attraction.

I went to Burdick’s before they renovated the store and I like the old store better. The tables were larger, you could sit with your friends and enjoy conversation with what you were eating. This is neither one thing nor the other.

The bare wood floor down the middle of the store which divides the tables – looks as though an aisle was made so those coming in to buy something would have room to wait in line while others eat on the sidelines. As a consequence, the light color of the wood may have been a nice idea on paper, but it has worn and looks as though it needs more stain to cover the wear which is not that appetizing as you sit and try to enjoy your dessert. Neither is it great to sit at those tiny tables, trying to balance yourself with people coming and going and sweeping past you. The concept of the store leaves a lot to be desired and is not the sophisticated place Burdick’s marketing claims.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Darwin’s Ltd. (A Review)

Friday, January 8th, 2010

2010 copyright The Bettina Network, inc.

148 Mount Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA. 02138
617 354 5233
www.darwinsltd.com

hours: 6:30am – 9pm six days/week
sundays: 7am – 9pm

A really Cambridge-style grocery, deli, wine-cheese-beer store, with tables for those who want to visit and eat and enjoy this neighborhood gathering place.  It is a magnet for those who want a Harvard Square experience they can go home and talk about.

Darwin’s on Mount Auburn Street, while being Cambridge, has an underlying New York tone, which makes it a little more upscale.

What we liked best about Darwin’s was the picnic basket you could order and take with you wherever you wanted to go.  Not many of us can find such when traveling, especially a picnic with good food.

Second were the sandwiches!  They are incredible.  Buy one and have lunch and dinner, just ask them to cut it in half and wrap the second half for take-out.

The ambiance drew us in – it is great – would the food keep us there and make us want to return.  Well,  we were at Darwin’s two or three times in so many days.  Whenever we were there,  someone always came in who we knew and we wound up with a table for four instead of the two of us who first wandered in wondering if the food would live up to the promise of the environment.

Our table mates bought a very nice bottle of wine, shared it and took what was left home with them.

There are enough teas at Darwin’s to satisfy anyone and you can order a pot to just sit and savor.  And as for Bettina’s, they would approve because a full third of the teas are organic.

If you want lunch, you have to go early.  Darwin’s is a popular place. At lunchtime you will find a line which curls around, sometimes going outside as people come in for lunch from all around the area. That tells you about Darwin’s reputation.

We particularly liked the soup.  It was a cold day and we weren’t sure what we wanted, but when we saw the soups, we knew that would be our late lunch.  We also liked the pastries and brought some back with us for another day.

Darwin’s had several kinds of beer, but not being connoisseurs, we can’t comment pro or con.

There were people reading newspapers, visiting with friends, some were sitting on the bench outside Darwin’s eating – because smoking is not allowed inside – and it was cold outside, but they didn’t seem to even notice as they gestured-laughed-and generally enjoyed themselves on a cold Cambridge day eating on Mount Auburn Street.

We very much recommend Darwin’s and hope you enjoy whatever you eat there.

Editor’s Note: Steve and Isabel Darwin’s parents stayed at one of the Bettina homes in Harvard Square when they visited Cambridge to help their children get the store ready for its opening.  Their parents are in the same business so the Darwin children had good consulting experience, which they used for the opening and beyond.

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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar (A Review)

Monday, September 28th, 2009

copyright Bettina Network, inc. and (Eska) 2009

415, Washington Street
Somerville, MA 02143.
(Corner of Beacon & Washington Sts)

Ph.: 617-661-3254  Fax 617-661-2813
Web: www.dalirestaurant.com


House: dinner, 5:30-11pm, Sunday noon
Phone: 617 661 3254  Fax 617 661 2813
            
A visit to the Dali Restaurant is appropriate both for a romantic evening for two or a lovely night for a group.  Small private tables within their own compartments and larger tables in open areas make this possible.  The detailed decor is a feast for the eyes (picture yourself inside one of Salvador Dali’s paintings).  


Either way, prepare yourself for a festival of flavors.  You can find traditional Spanish dishes such as paella, a rich rice stew seasoned with saffron into which might be mixed a wide range of vegetables, sausage, chicken, meat, and seafood (the possibilities are endless; I have three cookbooks on my shelf containing   nothing but paella recipes).

The real specialty of the restaurant is the numerous tapas, small plates, that enable the diner to sample many different dishes to make a meal.  Each member of your party should start with three or so, but it’s not likely that you’ll stop there.  Perhaps some thinly sliced serrano ham, the finest in the world, and some marinated olives to whet your appetite.  If you’re more adventurous, perhaps some octopus vinagrette.  The wonderful thing about tapas is that you can stick mostly with your favorites, or be just a little adventurous, or maybe a lot.  Never had stuffed squid in its own ink or pheasant or quail or rabbit or venison?  Try them all in a single dining experience, each in a regional Spanish preparation.  My personal favorites are braised rabbit in a red wine, juniper, and garlic sauce, and venison sausage in pomegranate sauce, but the tapas menu changes monthly, so
there’s almost always something new to try, even after repeated visits.  



The Dali Restaurant features a delicious, all Spanish wine list, many at surprisingly affordable prices, to accompany your meal, but perhaps you’ll want to try their home-made sangria, which has little in common with the prepackaged products that you can find in your local wine store.  


The staff are very attentive and efficient; they’ve always been anxious to make my visit an evening to remember.  The Dali Restaurant is to be recommended both for an intimate evening for two or a party for multitudes.



(ed.note) a restaurant review by a Bettina guest who frequents the Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar.

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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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The Tea Leaf

Sunday, January 25th, 2009
copyright The Bettina Network, inc. 2009

487 Moody Street                                                                hours: Wed thru Sun

Waltham, MA. 02453                                                                      11:30am – 5:30pm
781-891-1900                                                                      web site: thetealeaf.us
We spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying a ‘low tea’.  We could have chosen ‘Cream Tea’, ‘Light Tea’, ‘Children’s Afternoon Tea’ or we could have ordered from the a la carte menu.  The only draw back was the fact that none of this was organic.
When one walks into The Tea Leaf, you have to pause a moment to take in where you are.  You feel as though you have been transported to another place and time, apart from the one you were in moments before on a busy street with cars and other contributors to 21st century life outside.
There are only five or six tables (don’t remember exactly) with flowing brocade cloths which also covers all of chairs.  Shelves on one entire side line the place with teas of every description all for sale. Another wall has beautiful ‘things’ all tea related – prints in interesting frames, pictures created from layers of paper depicting tea parties, dolls in 19th century dress.  Look up over the tea shelves and one finds tea pots by the dozen.  One can shop before or after having tea for beaded purses, scarves,  tea pots of every description, cups and even clothes.  But we were there for tea.
We had two menus – one for tea and one for everything else.  What a nice switch from being presented with the wine list.
It took a few minutes for our order to arrive, but we enjoyed just sitting and soaking up the atmosphere. It wasn’t high French elegance, it was lovely, middle class Victorian England with an American entrepreneurial twist.
Our ‘low tea’ was wonderful.  You will probably find some of the ideas of this service showing up in Bettina breakfasts and/or afternoon tea in houses which serve such.
Food was served on a three tier tray – scones, with clotted cream and strawberry preserves on the bottom tier, finger sandwiches elegantly made on the second level and small assorted dessert pieces on top.  We each had a pot of tea and we ate everything except the scones.
We started with the finger sandwiches which were made for tea service.  They were perfection – with the expected cucumber, cream cheese, parsley combination to the unexpected very Italian-like eggplant sandwich.  The cut sides of the sandwiches were dipped in finely chopped herbs and they were half white and half wholewheat bread, very thinly sliced.
After a few moments to recover from the swoon, we looked at the scones – tasted one – and decided they would be left.  Our organic food bias threw up barriers to scones which looked and tasted as though they were made with bisquick or its equivalent.  They were not what we wanted to intrude on our lovely ‘low tea’, in spite of the clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
So on to the ‘assorted sweets’.  These began to restore our excitement about The Tea Leaf. They were all wonderful, except, maybe, the Madeleines. – After one bite we decided not to ruin the rest of the sweets by continuing to eat this one.
The proprietor fits the tea house.  She was very knowledgeable about her teas and very gracious in her service – which was impeccable.
Our thanks to Thom Roach of Gore Place for telling us about The Tea Leaf and with the above caveats included we elegantly recommend it to you for an afternoon well spent.
One bonus – we eavesdropped on the next table talking about their impressions of the inauguration and they were fun to hear, but after a few minutes we couldn’t hear them anymore because the atmosphere and food of The Tea Leaf changed the focus of our attention.
One does need reservations before arriving because you are greeted when you step in the door by the proprietress who very pointedly asks “do YOU have reservations!”
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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Flour Bakery

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
copyright 2008 Alice Mitchell
editor’s note: This is a restaurant Alice’s daughter takes her parents to when they are visiting her in Boston and they all look forward to  stopping there and love the place.  (Please note – the food is not organic).

1595 Washington Street

Boston, MA. 02118
telephone:617-267-4300
hours: Mon-Fri 7a-9p; Sat 8a-6p; Sun 9a-5p
web site: www.flourbakery.com
One of the delights on the way to the new ICA Museum in Boston is to stop at Flour Bakery for lunch!  Besides the mouth watering pastry, coffee cakes and cookies, Flour Bakery features wonderful and generous portions of soups, salads and sandwiches.
Joanne Chang, the owner and fantastic baker was an honors graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics.  She left a career as a management consultant to enter the world of professional cooking.
I like that one can find the very rich and also the more basic cake and bread.  Flour Bakery was featured on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” on the Food Network in which Joanne’s sticky buns won over Chef Flay’s judges.
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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Antico Forno

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

copyright 2008 Susan Turtz

In our recent trip to Boston we visited one of our favorite restaurants in the North End. (The traditionally Italian Section of Boston).

Antico Forno
93 Salem St. North End
Boston, MA 617-723-6733

When you walk into Antico Forno, the first thing that will strike you is the noise. Happy diners seem to love to chatter. As soon as your friendly server approaches and gives you bread and a wonderful white bean spread, you’ll be one of the group.

We started with Caprese (with fresh buffalo mozzarella) and a Caesar salad. Two appetizers fed three of us with leftovers.

We then went on to linguine chock full of clams, pizza and pasta with homemade sausage and mozzarella.

Everything was generous and delicioso.

Almost everything is finished in their high-heat brick oven, which gives a lovely crusty topping.

Make a reservation so you won’t be disappointed. And don’t do what we did — leave room for dessert!

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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Received via e-mail 6/20/2008

Legal Seafood Restaurant

Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Charles Square – in Harvard Square, Cambridge
Open basically 11am to 10 or 11pm depending upon the day of the week
Sunday Brunch is served from 11am-2:30pm.
Telephone for reservations 617-491-9400

During a recent tour around Harvard Square we stopped in at Legal Seafood in Charles Square. At one time it was exciting to eat at Legal Seafood.  I remember my first trip to the restaurant when they just opened in the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston.  No reservations allowed.  You arrived and waited quite a while to get in.  Once seated you ordered and paid the waitress – cash – for your food before she placed the order with the kitchen.  That was fine with us because the reputation was high and the food was fantastic.  A group of us from Harvard Business School got together for a night on the town.  We passed plates around, tasted a little of everything on the menu and had a great time.

So this day we had high expectations for our meal at Legal Seafood.  It turned out to be just ho-hum.  You can still get a decent meal there, and some dishes are excellent, but the quality is spotty and the draw backs are many.

Our first problem – our coats.  It was a cold day, we were dressed for the weather and when we arrived there was no place to put them.  Since it was a busy time of day, we couldn’t draw up extra chairs because there were none close by so we shifted in our seats with our coats thrown over the backs of our chairs and the lumpiness of that very uncomfortable.  The waitresses apologized for having no place to put our coats, but looking around the room they must have spent a lot of time apologizing to a lot of people that day.

We started with the Lobster Bisque with mouths watering from the description and were very disappointed when it was served.  With great fanfare, the small bowls arrived and the wait staff put the lobster meat into the bowls and then the hot liquid.  There was a need for these theatrics because if you hadn’t seen the little teaspoons of lobster going into the bottom of the empty bowls, once the liquid was poured you wouldn’t have known there was lobster meat in your Bisque.
When we tasted the Bisque it was thin, sort of adequate, but not great.  It tasted as though it was made of the equivalent of dry powdered milk, lots of water and a little lobster stock thrown in with food coloring to fool the eye.  Having been raised on really great Crawfish and Crab Bisque,  I was looking forward to giving my taste buds the advantage of another great dish, especially on this cold day.   Instead of the wonderfully thick and tasty Bisques on which I was raised, this one brought an abrupt end to great expectations.
We moved on to Ceasar Salad and that was barely adequate.  I look for anchovies in my salad since that is what makes a great Ceasar Salad – otherwise it is lettuce with a sort of adequate salad dressing, but please don’t call it a Ceasar Salad. The rest of the meal was quite nice, but averaging things out I would say this meal was adequate to disappointing.
We enjoyed the restaurant environment and the large picture windows where we looked out over the cleaning crew washing the middle of  lovely, large, desolately empty Charles Square with all of the clanging and loud chattering that this entailed.  Thankfully, we met several friends coming and going from the restaurant so the social side was quite nurturing, its just too bad the dishes we were served didn’t make the grade – cut the mustard – leave us feeling well fed and beautifully cared for on this cold day.
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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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