Thursday, October 11, 2007

Everyone Should Visit Mike's Pastry At Least Once in Their Life

Mike's Pastry is Boston's favorite place to get Italian pastries and desserts. This cute shop, located in the North End at 300 Hanover Street, is always packed with customers buying tasty treats. They are especially famous for their many varieties of cannolis. Although you may have to wait in long lines (especially on the weekends) to get your dessert, the reasonably priced pastries are worth it. However, if you are not lucky enough to visit the actual location you can always order your own pastries online at their website, One facet of their website that I found interesting, was that people can order a "Mike's Pastry Ten-Count Fresh Cannoli Kit" right to their door.

But rather than talk on and on about how great Mike's is, I will just let some of the pictures I was able to take last weekend speak for themselves!

What Others Are Saying About Restaurants Around Boston

I wanted to see what other bloggers were writing about restaurants in Boston when I came across "Boston's Hidden Restaurants" on the internet. Overall, I think it is a really good website, but it was difficult for me to judge the accuracy of their comments, because as the name of the website indicates, these are "hidden" restaurants so I have not heard of most of them. However, one that I was familiar with was Addis Red Sea, an Ethiopian restaurant on Tremont Street. Ever since my friend mentioned this place to me two years ago I have always wanted to eat here. "Boston's Hidden Restaurants" had this to say about Addis Red Sea:

"'Unusual' doesn't even begin to describe Addis Red Sea, an intimate, funky Ethiopian restaurant in the South End of Boston. It is almost guaranteed that you have never been to a dining spot quite like this. Dark and hushed, with colorful touches throughout the room, including African artifacts, Addis Red Sea is a restaurant like no other in Boston.

Most of the food served at Addis Red Sea is simple, with healthy ingredients such as flat bread, lentils, lean beef, and vegetables of all kinds. Some of the entrees bear a slight resemblance to those found in Middle Eastern or Indian restaurants. Some dishes at Addis Red Sea are very spicy, but those who prefer mild dishes also have many options from which to choose."

The things that I enjoyed about this website was the clarity and straight forward tone of the writing. Their descriptions made me want to check out these hidden treasures for myself. Angela's Cafe in East Boston piqued my interest in particular, because I have not explored East Boston much in the two years that I have lived in this city. This local Mexican restaurant sounds like a real treat!

The only objection that I have to the setup of their website is that the title of the site is somewhat misleading. When I read "Boston's Hidden Restaurants" I thought the blog was going to be completely dedicated to restaurants and food venues in Boston, but in fact, much of the blog is dedicated to towns immediately outside of Boston and in New England. Still, they cover a lot of restaurants in the city and the website is definitely worth visiting if you want to travel off the beaten path in the world of eating out in Boston.

Here is the link:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Giacomo's Ristorante

Giacomo's Ristorante is absolutely one of my favorite restaurants in Boston and if you haven't been here before I strongly recommend that you give it a try. It is a tiny cozy Italian and seafood restaurant in the North End located at 355 Hanover Street. The reasonable prices and mouth-watering dishes bring in crowds ranging from local college students to families and tourists.

You can watch your food being prepared as the kitchen is staged inside of the restaurant across from where people eat. The red brick walls and menus written on chalk boards gives Giacomo's a down-to-earth quality that is absent from many of the fancy, pretentious restaurants accompanying it on Hanover Street.

It really is tiny and probably only seats twenty to thirty people at maximum capacity, so do not be surprised if on Friday and Saturday nights there is a long line of people waiting to get in. But the food is well worth the wait. My friends and I stood in line for over an hour last Saturday night, but once we dove into our respective meals we did not regret the wait one bit. On the other hand, since Giacomo's only lets in so many people at once, the service is superb. We had two waitresses serving us that made sure our water glasses were always filled and we had everything we wanted.

Due to the high demand for seats in the restaurant the atmosphere is upbeat and fast paced. If you want to kick back and relax for hours at a restaurant I would not suggest coming here. One last tip about Giacomo's, is make sure you bring cash because the restaurant does not accept credit cards.

Here are some dishes to try:

The fried calamari is delicious and contains Chile peppers that gives the dish some extra flavor and at $6 it won't break the bank.

Although chicken parmigiana is a pretty standard Italian fare there is something special about this dish at Giacomo's Ristorante. You can definitely tell that they make their own sauces. The cost for this meal was about $12 or $13. (There is a side of pasta that comes with this but I did not get a photograph of it with my camera.)

Chicken and shrimp in a creamy pesto sauce always makes a nice meal. The cost was just under $15.

Finally if you do not want to take my word for it, just listen to what others are saying about Giacomo's Ristorante:

Frommer's Travel Experts for 50 Years write:

Giacomo's Ristorante
Italian, Seafood
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5-10pm; Fri-Sat 5-10:30pm; Sun 4-10pm
Address: 355 Hanover St
Location: The North End
Transportation: T: Green or Orange Line to Haymarket
Reservations: Reservations not accepted
Phone: 617/523-9026
Prices: Main courses $11-$18
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Frommer's Review:

Fans of Giacomo's seem to have adopted the U.S. Postal Service's motto: They brave snow, sleet, rain, and gloom of night. The line forms early and grows long, especially on weekends. No reservations, cash only, a tiny dining room with an open kitchen -- what's the attraction? The food is terrific, there's plenty of it, and the we're-all-in-this-together atmosphere certainly helps. My dad is a New York ethnic-dining snob, and this is his favorite Boston restaurant.

The fried calamari appetizer, served with marinara sauce, is ultralight and crisp. You can take the chef's advice or put together your own main dish from the list of ingredients on a board on the wall. The best suggestion is salmon and sun-dried tomatoes in tomato cream sauce over fettuccine; any dish with shrimp is delectable, too. Non-seafood offerings such as butternut squash ravioli in mascarpone cheese sauce are equally memorable. Service is friendly but incredibly swift, and lingering is not encouraged -- but unless you have a heart of stone, you won't want to take up a table when people are standing outside waiting for your seat in (no kidding) 90°F (32°C) heat or an ice storm.