"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts

Filet Mignon
2012/12/14 00:40:57
Thursday November 8, 2012 - I had been hoping to attend one of the Boston area meet-ups that Ayersian, Bethgrd, Karilyn and Paulde have put together over the last few months and my timing finally worked out in early November.  I had planned to spend the weekend with my friends on the South Shore and I came up a day early to make the dinner in Cambridge. Chris & Amy were the most generous and  wonderful hosts and made up the spare bedroom for me.  I rode Greyhound from Port Authority in NYC to South Station and then picked up my Charlie Card and boarded the Red Line to Harvard Square.  Though it was an overcast day, this was always one of my favorite views, looking at the Esplanade along the Charles River from the T heading into Cambridge, with a view of the "Pru" and the Hancock Building.  

   The "Square" part of this thread title refers to the fact that many of my meals were in various squares (Harvard, Central, Kendall and Inman) and the "Old School" will be revealed later in the report...  Since I had a couple of hours before I was to meet up with Chris, I decided to grab lunch at an old favorite, Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers (aka Bartley's Burger Cottage aka Bartley's).  When I lived in Boston I loved their food but was never a fan of the burgers as I had found them to be too charred on the outside and undercooked (for my taste) on the inside, but I figured today was as good a day as any to give them another try.


 The power of the onion ring compels me!  The power of the onion rings compels me!  Huge, crispy hoops of wispy thin onion-y goodness!

 And my "go-to" side dish of baked beans.  Cooked until soft but not mushy with just a faint sweetness to them.  

 Each burger on the menu is named after a person of some or a lot of notoriety and/or in the public eye.  Musicians, politicians, sport figures and others get their names on the menu.  I think some of the burger have names that the owners/staff just find to be funny.  My "Mitt Romney" burger described on the menu as "feeling really, really "BLUE"" yet oddly it didn't have bleu cheese on it but swiss cheese and grilled onions.  I asked for BBQ sauce on top and for it to be cooked medium.  

 This was massive and messy burger to eat and really, really good.  A pronounced beefy flavor and the toppings only added to my enjoyment and didn't get in the way.  I happily finished every bite!

 My waitress, Heather, suggested that I use this sweet pepper relish as a dip for my onion rings and she hit the bullseye with that one.  What a great idea.  A few spoonfuls on my plate and a swipe of the rings added another layer of sweet, peppery flavor.

 The walls of this 52-year old institution are covered with all sorts of posters, artwork, street signs, etc (some of it Boston/Cambridge themed).  One of my favorites (that I didn't see this time) was a caricature of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as babies in a crib wearing their respective team onesies.  The Famous Brains On Drugs poster has been there for years.

 On my last visit here I missed the chance to try the Grapenut custard but I was not to be denied today.  Served chilled, this really reminded me of flan.  It was tasty but not what I was hoping for.  The Grapenut flavor was barely there and I think I really prefer my puddings/custards served warm as the flavor seems to be more pronounced.

 That'd be a sight to see!

 Ooh, free parsley!  Wait, are they trying to tell me something?

 Words to live by.  That really is a great outlook to have!  

 Never really thought about that...

 This was the most confusing/mind-blowing thing I saw during my visit.  A crosswalk signal with 61 SECONDS on it?  And this was at a tiny side street!  Each intersection I walked across seemed to have a different amount of time on it that didn't appear to be related to the width of the street/road.  Massachusetts Ave., a major avenue, had 34 seconds on it.  It's almost as though they drew numbers out of a hat.  In NYC, you get 20 seconds, maybe a few more, at almost every intersection.

On my way to Chris & Amy's apartment I came across these signs and realized that one thing I don't miss is PARKING in Boston.  NYC is just as bad if not worse, but I sold my car before I moved here.  Is it legal to park here?  Let me know when you figure it out!

Chris met me at their apartment, which I absolutely love!  I miss hardwood floors, light switches OUTSIDE of the bathroom and the way apartments in that area are laid out with rooms jutting off one another.  Chris & Amy were incredibly gracious hosts, setting me up in the spare bedroom and knowing my love for them, they even had a sticker from the Canadian band Rush on the bed as a gift for me.  Thanks so much for everything!!

Chris & I walked over to L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square to meet up with Bethgrd and Karilyn for some fantastic hot chocolate before dinner.  They didn't end up going so we detoured to OTTO for an "amuse bouche" of sorts.

The place smelled great and there are so many pizza on this menu that I need to come back to try.  That butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry caught my eye.

We settled on sharing a slice of the mashed potato, bacon and scallion.  It was a marriage between a really good baked potato and a really good slice of pizza.  I don't think there was any cheese or sour cream on it but the potatoes were creamy which took the place of any dairy.  The deal closer for me was the crust.  Crispy, crunchy, chewy and it had a lot of flavor.  I know the Boston area isn't exactly known as a notch on the pizza belt but if you're in the area, I'd highly recommend a stop here.

(I copied and pasted the text for these next photos of Mary Chung and Toscanini's from the Boston Monthly Feasts thread rather than re-write!)  Chris and I hopped on the T and headed to Central Square and walked a few blocks to Mary Chung (Mandarin and Szechuan Cuisine).  I asked Chris & Amy to keep my appearance on the QT and it was a real hoot to see the surprised looks when I walked in!  RFers Bethgrd, Karilyn, Paulde and Wanderingjew (with his girlfriend, Sandra) were already there and Amy arrived a few minutes later.

I think Bethgrd did most of the ordering for the table as she has been coming here for quite some time.  Suan La Chow Show (sp?) which were steamed, meat-filled dumplings in a spicy sauce which really tingled the lips and I absolutely loved.  I'd come back just for these. 

The scallion pancakes were greasy, as scallion pancakes ought to be and they helped soak up some of that spicy dumpling sauce. 

And some of the fried dumplings.  My note taking was poor but I remember liking these. 

 The super spicy Dun Dun Noodles which had me chugging my water but I couldn't stop eating.  A kind of heat that made me crave it even more.

I'm guessing that these are the Spicy Fresh Green Beans.  As a child, I grew up on a LOT of canned vegetables and it wasn't until the last 15 years or so that al dente vegetables with a crunch really worked for me.  These were just right and added even more spice to my already smoldering taste buds.

The Lion's Head Meatball.  I wasn't crazy about this as it seemed a bit heavy to me and to be honest, I have preconceived notions about what I want from a meatball.

Yu Shiang Eggplant, which I believe is fried and served in a garlic sauce. 

Stuffed Eggplant.  I'm not sure with what this is stuffed or how the other eggplant dish tasted as I am a bit of an eggplant frowner and I didn't try it.  Yeah, I need to be more adventurous.  Perhaps the others can elaborate.  I know Chris is a big fan of one of these dishes.  Happily, my note taking was so bad as I was engaged in great conversation with everyone and it was a treat me meet Paulde and Sandra and to reconnect with everyone else after so long (too long!).  I was even able to meet up with Dale & Sandra for a meal at the Second Avenue Deli in NYC a few weeks later along with their friends Joel & Ellen and my girlfriend joined in the RF festivities too!

After our most satisfying meal, we walked down the street to one of my favorite ice cream shops in the Boston area, Toscanini's.  I came here quite often when I lived in the area and I was soooo looking forward to this visit.  They give out free samples and I tried one of the Burnt Caramel and one of the Salty Lemon.  The Salty Lemon was like combining lemon curd and lemon icebox pie with a hint of salt.  It made my lips pucker and was quite good.

 Ultimately I went for a scoop of the Burnt Caramel and a scoop of the Grapenut covered in their homemade bittersweet hot fudge. That Burnt Caramel was just teetering on the edge of sweet/burnt and was just divine.  The Grapenut has long been my "go-to" flavor here and it was just a amazing as I had remembered.  They are generous with the Grape Nuts and some are soft while others still have slight crunch to them.  A flavor that is very popular in Massachusetts and the version here is the yardstick for me.  And their bittersweet hot fudge is something to be savored a tiny bit at a time so it will last as long as possible.  The only complaint I had on this evening is all of this incredible ice cream reminded me that I no longer live here and I'm hard pressed to find ice cream of this caliber in NYC.  Sniff.  Yeah, first world problems, I know!

 I had almost forgotten to get a group shot before we went out separate ways.  Sorry Paulde, it didn't occur to me until after you had left!  The reason we're laughing is the girls in the window decided to get into the photo too!  From left to right:  Karilyn, Wanderingjew, Sandra, Beth, Amy, Chris and Billyboy.  Thanks so much for a wonderful evening and Paulde and Sandra it was a pleasure to finally meet you both!

post edited by billyboy - 2012/12/14 00:47:02
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/14 09:51:04

I rode Greyhound from Port Authority in NYC to South Station and then picked up my Charlie Card and boarded the Red Line to Harvard Square.
Hmmm...is there a Kingston Trio connection here?
Now all night long Billy rides through the station
crying, "What will become of me?"
"How can I afford to see my sister in Chelsea
or get some ice cream at Toscanini?"
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2012/12/14 09:52:10
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/14 12:28:00
Yum;love those photos;especially the chinese food.I've had the eggplant they bring around on the cart for dimsum at Golden Wok in San Antonio.It just like melts in your mouth.Got to be careful with the spicy foods;but  i do like spicy chinese food.Can tolerate it better than the cumin and such found in Mexican food.My sister and her hubby went to Boston and Salem;and got some really yummy food there.
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/14 16:23:32
First the picture of the cannoli and now this.....I am missing Boston big time!  Great report and pictures.  Thank you!
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/14 17:46:29
Awwww, adorable photobomb!  I am so sorry we didn't make it around to Bartley's, that looks like a wonderful burger.
ann peeples
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/14 18:56:39
My first thought, Nancy, was great photo bomb!
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/16 22:52:14
Friday November 9, 2012 - I awoke after a good night's sleep to find a note that Chris & Amy had left for me.  They both had already gone to work but Amy was able to meet me for lunch at one of their favorite sandwich shops.  Chris added in that he was jealous and I was looking forward to it as I had heard about this recently RF-reviewed place for some time!  I put on my running gear and knocked out scenic 2.75 miles near Harvard University before heading out to breakfast at the Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery in the Union Square neighborhood of Somerville, MA.  I had seen it featured on an episode of "24 in 24" with Jeff Mauro on The Food Network.  


 Just a 15 minute walk from Chris & Amy's, they have outdoor patio seating but it was closed as the weather had begun to get cold.  The tiny place was packed and there was about a 10 minute wait for a table so I put my name on the list.

 They did have a buffet available today...

 but #99 and #93 caught my eye.  

 However, when I got inside I ended up ordered the #15: three eggs with linguica, fried banana, home fries, Portuguese toast, small OJ, unlimited tea and my choice of fresh fruit or cream of wheat.  I knew the cream of wheat was homemade and a big reason for my coming here.  The tea, OJ and cream of wheat was the first to come out.  Cream of wheat has been a favorite of mine since I was a little boy and one of my favorite things for breakfast on a cold winter morning.  As much as I love the store bought version, this homemade bowl was go creamy and filling.  I would come here just for this alone!  The sprinkling of cinnamon on top was all that was needed.

 Next up was the plate of fried eggs, crusty home fries, that sweet fried banana that really was a wonderful counterbalance to all of the other rich flavors and the powerfully intense linguica sausage.  

 And the accompaniments of a muffin (not sure what kind exactly) that I thought was just okay and the slices of toasted, buttered Portuguese bread with jelly.  This bread was so good on its own that no jelly was needed.  They make their bread in-house and I ended up buying 2 loaves as gifts for Chris & Amy and my friends on the South Shore.  Chris & Amy told me they ended up using it to make some eggnog french toast and I was the happy recipient of some tasty homemade french toast as well a couple of days later with my friends outside of Boston.  

 During my walk to Harvard Square to catch the #66 bus to meet Amy for lunch, I came across this "mini library".  Love it!!

 When I left for Boston, my apartment in NYC hadn't had hot water since Hurricane Sandy hit, so taking my first hot shower in 10 days at Chris & Amy's was most welcome!  The walk to the bus took longer than I had anticipated and it ended up breaking down about halfway from my destination so I texted Amy to let her know that I'd be a bit late.  Between the Ayersian review and seeing it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I was very eager to check out Cutty's in Brookline Village.  

 I like that they are committed to using local products as much as they can, knowing where they come from and letting their customers in on it as well.  

 They roast their own pork in house so this is a super cool by-product to offer.

 I forget what Amy had to drink but my chocolate milk was creamy, rich and had a bold chocolate flavor.

 Amy's recommendation of the house made chips was spot on.  These were super crispy and almost melted in my mouth.  That doesn't seem like that would be a good quality in a potato chip but trust me, make sure you get some if you come here!

 We decided to order two sandwiches and split them.  First up was the "spuckie" (fennel salami, hot capicola, mortadella, mozzarella and olive-carrot salad on ciabatta bread).  They offered it pressed and toasted to which we readily agreed.  Salty, briny, crispy, toast and creamy are just a few words to describe this.  Such a great sandwich.  

 Our second choice was the Roast Beef 1000 (slow-roasted beef, crispy shallots, 1000 island dressing and sharp cheddar on a brioche bun).

 As much as I loved the "spuckie" this "1000" was simply incredible.  The bun was so fresh and I first tasted the onion-shallots, then the freshly made dressing, the sharpness of the cheddar and finally the high quality beef.  These are definitely sandwiches made by people who know and love sandwiches very much.  I though about getting a second one but they were getting ready to close for the day.  The staff there was so nice and let me stay past closing as I was looking at their t-shirts and even let me use the rest room to try them on.  The one I bought was fantastic.  It has the store logo on it and nothing more which has prompted comments from many people every time I wear it.  Amy and I parted ways and I headed to South Station to catch the Red Line T to Braintree to meet my friend, Greg.  

 When I arrived at their house, Greg & Jackie had the downstairs bed made up for me.  They used "chalkboard" paint on the wall so they can make personalized greetings whenever a guest comes to stay.  Very sweet of them  

Really old school, coming up around the bend...

Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/16 23:03:50
Really terrific report. Thanks.
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/16 23:44:12
Great report. Wonderful food and even better friends, Thanks.
ann peeples
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/17 05:43:48
This is a fun report! Thanks!
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/17 09:08:06
Mmmm...pork fat!  Does Cutty's use it for the potato chips or any other cooking?
I'm not familiar with Portuguese bread.  What are its unique features?
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/17 18:35:01
Saturday November 10, 2012 - My godson has been learning about the native Wampanoag Indians and the English colonists (pilgrims) in school so we decided to take a trip to Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA.  I had been here with my family about 35 years ago but I don't have any recollection of it although apparently there is a picture somewhere of me in the stockade in the plantation square.  Thanks, Mom!

 It's great that they offer the perspectives of both sets of people living here



 We didn't have a chance to go on the Mayflower II.  Perhaps next time.

 Just in case you didn't know.  I think this type of pudding was generally savory (but could also be made sweet) and is different from the Indian pudding dessert found at Durgin Park in Faneuil Hall in Boston.  A bit of Plimoth Plantation food history:  https://www.antiquesjourn...ges/nov05/cooking.html

 There were lots of trails on which to walk to the various parts of the plantation and it was a beautiful, crisp fall day to explore our history.

 I wish I had taken some notes but I believe this "lean to" may have been used for storage.  That's a "mishoon" (the Wampanoag word for a boat underneath.

 Billyboy, going nowhere fast!  They use fire to hollow out the tree to construct these and we were able to watch a native historical interpreter working on one.  It was so incredible to see how resourceful they were and how nothing went to waste.  We even played with a children's toy similar to the "ball in a cup" only they used a long, pointed animal bone and 2 or 3 small bones without the marrow were tied to it by string and the goal was to catch the smaller bones on the large one.

 This is a "nush wetu", a house with three fire pits inside though I think this particular one had only one fire pit.  The historical interpreter was great an answered everyone's questions about day to day life, whaling, diet, winterizing and just about anything else.  One thing to note is that the people working in the Wampanoag part of the plantation are not role players.  They do speak in modern language.  Some are Wampanoag and some are from other tribes but all of them posses a vast knowledge of the life of the Wampanoags.

 The interior of the nush wetu.

 Outside, there was a woman coking a pot of wild turkey soup and it smelled great!

 I don't recall what this was for.

 Gotta get back in time!  This path brought us to the 17-Century English Village.  Here the people are role players who do not break character.  It was interesting to watch little kids try to ask them questions about modern conveniences!

 The central meeting house for the English Village.

 Mark my words good people!  I WILL find out who stole my pot of Indian Pudding and they will rue the day!!

 The view from the top of the meeting house was just breathtaking.

 The fireplace was a focal point of most of these houses for warmth and cooking.

 And the bedrooms were all part of the same room though some of the larger houses did have beds on a second floor level.

 Carving a spear for whaling.

 We did quite a bit of walking and visited a craft center where some really ornate furniture and pottery was made made.  We worked up an appetite with all of that exercise and that meant lunch at the Patuxet Cafe in the visitor's center.  Wanderingjew, I saw the crab cakes and Boston baked beans, stuffed quahog, peasecod and Indian pudding and thought of you!

 And this is the "really old school" portion of the trip.  How could I come here and NOT try some of the same foods that the Wampanoags ate hundreds of years ago?

 Greg went with the turkey dinner which looked good to me (I'm a sucker for any turkey dinner) and the little bit that I tried was pretty tasty. 

 I went with the Wampanoag Sampler (a cup of succotash, stuffed quahog and squash).  The succotash had a bold, peppery spice to it and was very warm and comforting.  The quahog was buttery rich and had a good clam flavor to the stuffing.  The squash was good but I definitely prefer mine grilled with some char on it as opposed to steamed/sauteed as I think it is here.

 I definitely had to try their Indian pudding but sadly I wasn't a fan as it is served cold and big part of the appeal for me are the spoonfuls of hot pudding and cold vanilla ice cream!

Truly a wonderful day with great friends and an education for me for sure.  I hope to go back soon as I could spend a week there and still learn so much every day.  
Coming up next...a sandwich the size of a Nerf football, "That's Sklarmageddon" and some fresh Italian pastries!
ann peeples
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/17 18:58:30
Very cool, billyboy! Thanks for the history!
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/17 22:19:11
I really enjoyed those photos of Plymouth Plantation. I've never been and I now reallze I need to get there.
I've never had succotash that looked like that before. It's now on my "must try list"
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/18 00:44:58
Lawd Gawd............Ye have brought back me Youth! Grew up on Cape Cod.we used to play Plymouth in Football...the first time I saw Plymouth Rock (GAWD what a disappointment.........like the little mermaid in Copenhagen), a rat ran across it. later, in college, I helped Jimmy Deetz on the exacavations of "old Plymouth" so that we re-routed all the walls properly and spent many an evening listening to Bluegrass and um......non-Pilgrim like libations.
Then after a stint in NYC, back to Boston to find some of those places you mentioned.....and some long gone.....like Elsie's in Cambridge who had a summer shop in my hometown..........best damn Roast beef sandwich ever.............with Bermuda Onion, Russian Dressing......and some of the cutest waitresses ever......and GREAT Lemonade.
A few.ok..quite few.......years later.......went back to Plimoth Plantation with friends from the UK...they couldn't get over the role playing!
But..you hit the nail on the head about some of the Best..although no Buzzy's Roast Beef!  We will forgive you missing fried clams at many fine establishments..............and no comments on lobster rolls!
thanks for a Great Report!
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/18 03:34:07
Great looking food. Enjoyedthe food photos and the writeup
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/18 14:31:51
I had forgotten to include these in the last installment.  D'oh!  We strolled through the gift shop at Plimoth Plantation and I picked up some wonderful Cranberry Bog Frogs that I love but can't get here in NYC and no, they didn't last very long.  I'm a sucker for just about anything with cranberries. I'm looking forward to making my own baked beans for the first time and having them with some of that tasty brown bread.

On the way to Plymouth, we passed a number of new wind turbines.  I had seen them when I was driving through California many years ago but these were the first I have seen on the East Coast.  Seeing them lined up in a row was really cool.

I've seen these on sale before at different street tables in Union Square, NYC.  Love it or hate it, it does make an interesting point.

And we went to a hip-hop dance birthday party my the niece of my friends (no, I didn't engage in any poppin' & lockin'.  My breakin' days may be in the rear view mirror, maybe...) and I managed to get some quality time with their very sweet Portuguese Water Dog, Cosmo.  Interestingly, the litter he came from were all named after cocktails.  He has two siblings named Martini and Gimlet!

More to come...
TJ Jackson
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/18 14:38:52
I was looking at the pictures and skipping the accompanying text
I saw the pic with the "pork fat for sale" (by the pint) sign and then that was followed with a pic of a frothy tan liquid in a pint-sized cup, and I thought, oh no, surely he didn't
yeah, I really, really have to start reading the text too
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2012/12/18 16:20:22
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/18 15:10:10
ScreamingChicken, not sure if Cutty's uses it for anything else, but I'd be surprised if they didn't.  The first time I visited Boston after they instituted the "Charlie Card" I was confused as I had no idea what the name meant.  Someone finally explained to to me.  The MBTA wanted to do a retro/throwback to the days of old and I guess they thought the "MTA" song reference and a logo featuring a guy looking like a 40s/50s commuter was the way to go.  The Kingston Trio was a bit before my time.  Love your lyrics, SC!  The Portuguese bread is sweet and has a tender crumb.  I've always thought of the texture to be similar to that of a cinnamon roll.

Thanks HollyDolly!  I love and miss the food and scene in Boston.  I used to work in Salem but never really explored the food options up there.  One day...

Thanks leechef!  It's one of my favorite cities.

Nancy and Ann, we all got a really kick out of those photobombing girls!  They really wanted to get in on the act.  That burger was pretty awesome and Harvard Sq. is a great place to find lots of good eats and there is always something interesting going on in the neighborhood.

WJ, I figured you'd like that section of the report.  Plimoth Plantation holds endless fascination for me.

FriedClamFanatic, thanks so much!  Haven't heard anyone mention Buzzy's in many years!  Are there any spots for good fried clams in "Boston proper"?  Without a car, getting to the North Shore institutions is a bit tricky and being somewhat a of a clam frowner I wouldn't go the extra mile for them (I'm more of a steamed mussels kind of guy).  Lobster rolls always seem to me like a summer, sitting-at-a-wooden-picnic-table-by-the-water sort of food to me and having one indoors in the winter just feels odd to me.  Though, if I'm really jonesing for one, I'll forget everything I just said and knock one back!
TJ, TJ, TJ!  Not for $1,000 would I even consider doing that!
post edited by billyboy - 2013/03/05 09:32:50
TJ Jackson
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/18 18:59:06
well, it was a pint cup, you know, and they were sellin it by the pint, and well, uhh, I dunno.....
maybe a big cup of frothing pig fat is something runners like before the big race? :-)
To everyone else: since Billy has set the floor on the pricing, we're trying to raise the necessary $1,001.00 necessary to make this a "can do". 
Give now, give generously, give often.
Bless you all
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2012/12/18 19:01:25
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/19 19:12:12
WOW!  Great report.
Boston is a wonderful destination: along with The City and Chicago, one of our 'trinity' of truly "world-class" cities.  Though not especially noted for such, it is really hard to find a bad meal in any establishment that has been open for more than a month.
Just be careful driving a rent-a-car and know that iced tea is not available in Winter.
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/19 19:24:31
This stuff - to my palate - is simply magnificent.  If you have not tried it, you must.  When we have burgers at home the ever-proper Mrs. Metro fills a small ramekin with it and provides me a demitasse spoon with which this heathen shovels a heap of it onto each of my "intended bites".  OMG GOOD!!!

Double Cheeseburger
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/20 10:56:16
Those sandwiches look AMAZING. We are hoping to crash the monthly meet up one of these days - it's tough with work schedules etc., but maybe 2013 we will make it happen.
Filet Mignon
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/20 22:38:14
Sunday November 11, 2012 - I woke up early and went for a run with my godson and his mom as they were participating in a 5K run the following weekend.  It was great to share with him something that I really love and that brings me a lot of happiness.  Later, I went shopping with he and his dad before heading over to their local YMCA to do some laps in the pool.  I have never seen a facility this massive, so clean and that offered so many options: rock-climbing, a plethora of classes, a water slide for kids (and adults!) that was wicked fun!  We certainly worked up an appetite and decided to check out the newest branch of the old Fenway Park standby, the Cask 'n Flagon, in Marshfield, MA.  Sorry, no pics for this one as I just didn't feel like taking any for some reason.  After my sandwich came out though, I immediately regretted not having my camera!  
I ordered the "Triple Play" (the description for their website: A large boule roll, sectioned into three mouth watering sandwiches... Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese, ham and Swiss with honey mustard, roast beef and boursin cheese with creamy horseradish sauce, all brushed with butter then dusted in parmesan cheese and baked... a big league sandwich!).  I was a bit nervous when they brought it out with a giant steak knife plunged into the center of it like some sort of culinary Excalibur in the stone just waiting for me to claim my rightful place at this most tasty throne!  It was an amazing sandwich.  The ham and cheese had tons of flavor and that bread was so fresh.  Crusty on the outside and soft inside.  The buffalo chicken was great too.  Crunchy, yet moist tenders doused an honest Buffalo sauce and lots of pungent bleu cheese.  Their roast beef was good but I think it suffered a bit from the baking process as it was somewhat dry but still a worthy sandwich.  I ALMOST finished it and didn't care what anyone thought.  Unlike my beloved Red Sox, I won't be waiting 86 years for another one of these!
Monday November 12, 2012 - I said goodbye to Greg the night before as he had to work early this morning and thanked him for such a terrific weekend with he and his family.  Jackie and the kids took me to the commuter rail where I gave them lots of hugs.  Back in Boston, I hoped on the Red Line T once again to my next destination, The Friendly Toast in the Kendall Square/MIT neighborhood of Cambridge.  Between Ayersian and Stephen Rushmore Jr. , I have had this place on my list for a few years.  I had some difficulty finding it as it is tucked away in the back of a plaza but after a quick phone call to the "Toast" I turned around and finally found it!

 When gazing upon the interior for the first time one phrase came to mind, "Bomb Shelter Chic".  There were tons of cool and interesting things to see all over the place.  Some of it reminded me of the furniture and decor in my grandparents' house. 

 I don't recall the Tom Swift books...

 ...but I have been a HUGE fan of the Franklin W. Dixon "Hardy Boys" books since I can remember.  Most of them are still sitting on the dresser in my old bedroom at my mom's house.  My Uncle Paul used to given them to my for Christmas every year and I spent many a rainy day following the adventures of Frank & Joe Hardy.  

 I loved collecting Wacky Packs and I may even have some tucked away in a shoebox somewhere.  Having read MAD Magazine for many years, these just seemed like a natural off-shoot of that brand of humor.

 As much as I was truly enjoying the visual stimuli in this place, it was time to eat!  Maybe Don Draper could clue me in on what to order?  A martini with my 3-hour lunch, perhaps?

 Honestly, I knew what I was getting days before I ever set foot inside.  The "Sklarmageddon" (from the website: an omelette built to kill, with sausage, bacon, ham, red-chile pecans, jalapeƱo-jack & Swiss cheeses and topped with a zesty maple sour cream).  It came with home fries and toast, for which I chose the Anadama bread, a cornmeal-molasses bread.  This truly was a killer omelette, too much in fact.  It was really good, though I thought the breakfast sausage inside was, for lack of a better phrase, a "weak link".  I like my sausage to be dark and crusty and this was somewhat soft and rubbery.  That aside, the rest of it was great.  The maple flavor really came through in the sour cream, the eggs had a fresh taste to them and those red-chile pecans added a wonderful crunch and spice to the dish.  I'd get it again if I was sharing but it really is too much for for me in one sitting and eggs aren't a food that I would want to eat as leftovers.  The red skin home fries were creamy, a bit crusty and nicely spiced.  The Anadama toast was okay but I do wish there had been more of a grainy cornmeal texture to it and that the molasses flavor had been more pronounced.  

 What can I possibly do to fill myself even more, you ask?  How about a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake?  And a proper one, at that!  They had already poured the first portion in a glass for me and left the huge beaker at the table with almost two more glasses in it!

 After that belly-filling meal I walked around for a bit and then took the T to Park Street and walked to the Orange Line and went one stop to Haymarket Station where I walked over to the North End to check out on of my favorite place on Hanover Street...

 ...Modern Pastry Shop!!

 Lots of cannolli from which to choose

 And Black & White cookies (which look suspiciously like Half Moons to me!).

 I did come here for the Torrone

 and the cookies

 Love the artwork on their boxes.

I just HAD to get a cannolli which only lasted about two blocks!  Note to self: do NOT wear a dark shirt when eating a cannolli with powdered sugar on it.  This was really fresh and it was one of the first cannolli shells that I have ever truly liked.

 Pignoli cookies which, next to Florentines, are my favorite Italian cookies.  Crispy on the outside and meltingly tender inside.  These were great.

A Sfogliatelle which I wasn't crazy about as the flavor of the filling seemed to be "off".  I think it was more a personal preference, having consumed many, many Sfogliatelles over the years.

 And the main reason I wanted to stop here, some classic almond Torrone and a chocolate covered version that was rolled in crushed coffee beans.  Wow!  These were both wicked good.  

And that's it for this trip!  I hope to make it back again one day son to visit some of my old stomping grounds, indulge in so much of the food that I enjoyed while living in Boston and exploring new places as well and most of all, to spend quality time with my dear friends!  
"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!" - billyboy , 2012
The 411:
1.)  Mr. Bartley's
      1246 Massachuetts Avenue
      Cambridge, MA 02138
      Ph# 617-354-6559
      Website:  http://www.mrbartley.com
2.)  OTTO Pizza
      1432 Massachusetts Avenue
      Cambridge, MA 02138
      Ph# 617-499-3352
      Website:  http://www.ottoportland.com
3.)  Mary Chung
      464 Massachusetts Avenue
      Cambridge, MA 02139
      Ph# 617-864-1991
      Website:  http://www.marychung.com/en/
4.)  Toscanini's
      899 Main Street
      Cambridge, MA 02139
      Ph# 617-491-5877
      Website:  http://www.tosci.com
5.)  The Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery
      25 Bow Street
      Somerville, MA 02143
      Ph# 617-623-9710
      Website:  http://www.theneighborhoodrestaurant.com
6.)  Cutty's
      284 Washington Street
      Brookline, MA 02445
      Ph# 617-505-1844
      Website:  http://www.cuttyfoods.com
7.)  Plimoth Plantation
      137 Warren Avenue
      Plymouth, MA 02360
      Ph# 508-746-1622
      Website:  http://www.plimoth.org
8.)  Cask 'n Flagon
      804 Plain Street
      Marshfield, MA 02050
      Ph# 781-834-2275
      Website:  http://www.caskmarshfield.com
9.)  The Friendly Toast
      1 Hampshire Street
      Cambridge, MA 02139
      Ph# 617-621-1200
      Website:  http://thefriendlytoast.net
10.)  Modern Pastry Shop
        257 Hanover Street
        Boston, MA 02113
        Ph# 617-523-3783
        Website:  http://www.modernpastry.com
post edited by billyboy - 2013/01/19 07:00:21
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/21 07:51:19
Re:  the sweet bell pepper relish - our local Albertson's carries this:  https://www.mezzetta.com/product/10106570.html .  Absent the home-made stuff illustrated above, it certainly "does the trick"!
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/21 09:05:55
Beautiful report Billyboy!

That Sfogliatella looks suspiciously like a Lobster Tail!
TJ Jackson
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/21 09:39:38
Donations so far: 37 cents and a 7-up bottle cap
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/21 13:19:12
Nice report, Billy - The Friendly Toast looks like a place I'd enjoy very much!  It's too bad it doesn't have actual Hardy Boys books to read but I suspect they wouldn't get along well with greasy fingers.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/22 13:27:25
Wow..such a great report......just "wicked"!  But you were doing so well until you said " I don't remember Tom Swift!........for shame!  Bet you don't recall Brains Benton either!  ( To be honest, neither would I until your Tom Swift comment).
Double Cheeseburger
Re:"Square" Meals and Kickin' It (Really) Old School in Massachusetts 2012/12/22 14:05:10
Awesome report and photos...makes me really miss Beantown. Thanks!