Every once in a blue moon the neurons in my brain fire just right, and I have a good, no, great, no, fantastic idea. This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I found out I was going to Boston on a business trip. I began searching the googles for the best foodie finds the city of Boston had to offer, and after about 45 minutes of dredging through one commercial advertising driven site after another, an idea popped into my head, one that was so damn prodigious that a freaking light bulb should have appeared over my head and shined brighter than Lil’ Jon’s grill. This idea I am speaking so highly of was to forgo the internet search that is riddled with paid advertisers and subpar eateries and go to the heart of any great foodie scene, the blogosphere. I aimed to contact the food bloggers of Boston that patrol the city night and day in search of the finest fare that THEIR city slings, and then take the time out to write poetic verses about these establishments so others will not be led astray by the likes of Bing and AOL.
With this thought in mind, I had only one problem, where the hell do I find a list of food bloggers from the Boston Area. I once again fired up my internet browser, but this time I switched my search criteria around and was able to find that UrbanSpoon.com had just the list I was looking for. Armed with the best of Boston Food Blogger List courtesy of UrbanSpoon, I began to contact the bloggers that seemed to match my style of epicurean adventuring. I trusted the foodie community and the food bloggers of Boston would come through for me, and even though I did not know what to expect as far as return e-mails, I ended my research that faithful afternoon. Shortly after sending the first message my inbox was inundated with responses from Boston’s finest foodies. At that moment I knew just how Tim Tebow must have felt after being picked up by the New England Patriots, proud and excited to go to bean town.
The amazing food blogging community of Boston welcomed me with open arms and helped me compile a list of Boston’s Best, Blue Collar Foodie Approved, restaurants and watering holes. Considering I was in Boston for my actual nine to fiver, I was only able to hit up a few of the great suggestions these gracious gourmands had provided but the ones I did visit were absolutely amazing. Due to the tremendous out pour of assistance I received from the helpful blogging community of Boston, I will be doing this from now on, and I suggest you do the same. Not only will you be happy with the results, but I assure you it will make a food blogger smile when they receive your e-mail, so it is a win, win for everyone. Without further ado, buckle up gastronauts and prepare for the Blue Collar Foodie’s voyage to Boston’ belly!
The first stop on my gastro tour of Boston was a rather easy choice, as damn near every food blogger I spoke to, agreed this establishment was a must visit, and it was in walking distance of my hotel. This highly touted, often blogged about, and relatively new restaurant is none other than Sweet Cheeks BBQ in the Fenway area of Boston. Now since it was the only BBQ joint I ventured to during my brief visit to Boston, I can’t proclaim that it is the best BBQ in the city, like most Bostonians, but I will say that anyone attempting to compete with this Texas style BBQ spot is in for quite a battle.
Sweet Cheeks’ offers all of the staples that you would expect a BBQ place to provide, such as Pulled Pork, Ribs, Chicken, and Brisket for the carnivore in you, and hot and cold sides featuring coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, and collard greens. They also throw in some not so standard options for the adventurous foodies like yours truly, including their Berkshire Pork Belly, and Great Northern Short Rib. Furthermore, Sweet Cheeks allows you to create a combination tray of their offerings so you can create a custom metastatic mixture that is sure to please.
What further separates Sweet Cheeks from the BBQ spots that I have visited in the past, is their extensive and impressive craft beer list that adorns the back of their menu. Even though I fancy myself to be somewhat of a novice cicerone, Sweet Cheeks offered more than just a few beers that not only have I never tried, but some that were not even on my radar.
After eating at Sweet Cheeks I fully understand why the foodie scene in Boston is all about this local eatery. The food was fantastic, and if you find yourself in Boston, you must at least go there for a cold craft beer, an overstuffed meat sandwich, and a biscuit with honey butter. If you do not, unfriend me on Facebook immediately before you return, because I will publically shame you until you cry. Although I highly recommend grabbing a fat cheeks tray and knocking down three of their righteously smoked meats paired with two sides like I did.
With happy bellies full to the brim with meaty goodness, my partner in crime and I decided to walk to our next destination, The Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar. According to the locals that I spoke to the food here is really good, but what they are known for is their far-reaching whiskey menu that is a must see for travelers who enjoy a good stiff drink. Since an entire pig was resting nicely in my gut and food was out of the question, I decided to take a gander at their spirit selection, and I was impressed. After perusing the menu for a short period of time, I was overwhelmed by the enormous selection of Bourbons, Scotches, and Whiskeys that decorated the Citizen’s menu, so much so that I had to enlist the assistance of the bartender to aid me in this daunting task.
This was a fantastic decision, because the bartender was like a whiskey shaman from the isle of knowledge. After speaking to him for about five minutes not only did I know what Whiskey I wanted to order, I felt as if I could write a Wikipedia article on whiskey and simply use him as the source. The clientele was great as well, and as I sipped my Hirsch Small Batch Bourbon, I conversed about all things sports with a few delightful local Bostonians. Sadly, as my glass ran dry, I had to call it a night, as I had to be responsible in the morning, so I walked back to my hotel in preparation of the morrow, so I could dream of the next Boston food adventure I would embark upon.
After a long day of work, I was extremely excited to hop on the T near my hotel and make my way to the Government Center stop, where my next eatery would be found. The Tip Tap Room was recommended to me by a few of the food writers that I contacted and described as a place that was known for exotic meats and craft beer. Friends, you had me at exotic meats, TWSS. The moment I arrived at this eccentric eatery, located in the center of the bustling Government Center area of Boston, I knew I was going to enjoy my stay. Their vast tap menu was proudly displayed on the wall and due to the beautiful weather the large front windows were open allowing the pleasant breeze of the fledgling evening to whisk its way throughout the dining area.
It took me seconds to realize what I wanted as my meal, Antelope Meatloaf, but as for the beer list that was a horse of a different color. I had some bad luck in the beginning, as I chose two beers that had literally just tapped seconds before the waiter had taken our order. Fortunately though, our server was well versed in the art of beer drinking and selected three small samples of beer that were similar to the ones that I had ordered so I could try them before I made my final selection. This small, yet greatly appreciated service elevated my appreciation for this trendy eatery immeasurably.
I would highly recommend that everyone hit up the Tip Tap Room while they are traipsing down the Freedom Trail or visiting Faneuil or Quincy Market, which are all very close. The food divine, the service was wonderful, and the location simply can’t be beat. Furthermore, where else can you eat succulent Antelope Meatloaf, while sipping on local craft beer in the city of Boston?
Another one of Boston’s restaurants that almost every foodie that wrote me back included on their list of must eats was the original Regina Pizza located in the North End of the city. Being from the land of great pizza, the words best and pizza in the same sentence without being combined with the phrase, “other than in New Jersey,” is like uttering the phrase the Mets stink, without adding the caveat “because of their owners.” With that said, I was not willing to ignore the endorsement of almost a dozen food writers because of my own New Jersey centric, pizza related hubris.
When we arrived, we soon found out that Regina Pizza is not a secret in Boston, as was evident in the fact that there was a line out the door to score a table in this famous pizzeria. While waiting for our table, I researched the menu online and decided that I was going to partake in the most sought after pie Regina’s serves, The Giambotta, which consists of pepperoni, sausage, salami, mushrooms, peppers, onions, anchovies, and Mozzarella cheese.
Once seated which did not take too long, our order was in and a beer was in my hand in no time, thanks to the speedy service that is provided at Regina’s. Shortly after we ordered, our Regina’s masterpieces were delivered to our table, and I was ready to try what everyone was telling me was Boston’s best pizza. Now as I said, Pizza and Jersey are like Guns and Texas, Hockey and Canadians, or Lies and Politicians, so I know pizza, and Regina makes damn good pizza. Now I am not saying that Jersey pizza is not better in some places that I have been, but if I ever had to move to Boston, I could surely get my Pizza fix within the confines of this North End staple.
If you read my blog regularly you know that I am infatuated with the cannoli like Courtney Love, well, loves her some crack cocaine. So when multiple foodies tell me that Mike’s Pastry is the place to get a cannoli in what is basically Boston’s Little Italy, I had no other choice but to venture down the street from Regina’s and give one of them a try. This decision was almost as good as the decision I made to marry my loving and supportive wife. Mike’s offers a myriad of cannoli, filled with everything from the traditional cream to specialty cannoli such as peanut butter or pistachio. To add to their appeal they also serve a wide array of other Italian indulgences that would make Kirstie Alley fall off the diet wagon once again.
I chose to treat myself to a Peanut Butter Cannoli topped with powdered sugar. Judging from the looks of this pastry shop and the fact that it was crowded at 9:00 PM on a Wednesday night, I assumed this decadent, overstuffed phenomenon was going to be good, but I was not ready for the shear awesomeness that this shell full of heaven was going to deliver. With reckless abandon for my shirt and pants, I could not stop eating this bliss wrapped in a flakey shell as powdered sugar rained down on my clothes like hell fire. Afterword, I not only looked like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan after a night at the Roxy, but I was just as happy as them as well.
There was only one thing left to do after treating ourselves to a wonderful evening in the North End of Boston, and that was, return to the Fenway area and drink a cold beer at the coolest bar in town. Once again my fellow foodies came through in the clutch and informed me of a place called Bleacher Bar that is located literally under the bleachers of Fenway. These Uber sports bar not only have a decent selection of draft beers, but they have something that no other bar in town can boast. This sport’s enthusiast’s mecca has an enormous window that overlooks Fenway Park on the field level. Not only do they have the greatest view of any bar in the city, check that, the country, they don’t charge a freaking cover! That is correct, you heard me right, NO COVER.
Considering that I am an Ordained Reverend with the Universal Life Church, when a few of my blogging cohorts suggested that I visit the Church of Boston for a pint and a meal I could not resist. This chic Boston Eatery boasts a gourmet gastro pub menu combined with a notable selection of adult beverages. Adding to the appeal of this epicurean sanctuary, The Church of Boston offers several choices of seating types for their patrons to enjoy, including booths, high top tables, and even couches for a relaxing place to rest your rump while imbibing a cold after work cocktail. Boston’s holy bistro also has a separate room for live music where the area’s top local bands perform their unique hymns seven nights a week starting at 9 P.M.
Church delivers a truly unique design premise with an accompanying relaxed ambiance that I have not yet to experience in any other bar that I have been to. The stained glass windows that adorn one full wall of the bar are an additional luxury, which enhances the already chic interior of this amazing eatery. To top it all off, their menu had so many delectable choices that it took me quite some time to decide what to have. Furthermore, their drink selection is quite substantial and formidable in its own right. When visiting Church, it would be a sin not to indulge in their specialty cocktails appropriately labeled the Four Horsemen and the Seven Deadly Sins. If beer is what you’re after to pair with your amazing food, I suggest trying the always original and tasty Pretty Little Things Offering, which is basically whatever crazy concoction that four Massachusetts beer obsessed hop heads created that week.
After eating at the Church of Boston, we made our way to one of the last true Baseball Churches left standing, Fenway Park to catch a game and drink some beers. After the game I was a little bit hungry and was in need of a midnight snack. I checked my list of foodie approved eateries in the area and stumbled upon a place called El Pelon Taqueria. Not only was this well-known Taqueria on our way back to the hotel, but honestly, nothing quenches a nighttime craving like a burrito.
After a quick look at the menu, I decided to go with El Guapo Burrito stuffed with pork, Mexican rice, black beans, fried plantains, Jack cheese, fire roasted Salsa, romaine lettuce and sour cream. Upon ordering this utterly tantalizing Burrito, the very cordial waitress simply uttered I hope you’re hungry. She was not kidding; the Burrito she handed me was so hefty that I could have done curls with it, and its girth would make Ron Jeremy blush. Not only was this burrito gy-freaking-normous it was bursting with such immense flavor that my taste buds decided to do the Mexican hat dance. This was the perfect ending to my culinary globetrot through Boston, and I went to bed that evening not only full but awestruck by the Boston Foodie Scene.
I have to thank all the wonderful foodies that helped steer the Gastro Express that I rode through Boston during the course of this week. Without them, my trip would have been filled with dirty water dogs and hot pockets. If you are ever thinking about going to Boston, I suggest visiting their blogs, liking them on Facebook, or following them on Twitter before you go so you too can get their expert advice on where to go in their magnificent city. The following is a list of their sites so you can find them:
A Boston Food Diary: http://www.abostonfooddiary.com
Pig Trip: http://www.pigtrip.net/
Blog and Tweet Boston: https://twitter.com/BlogAndTweetBos
Peace, Love, and Food: http://peaceloveandfood.com
Foodology (Actually from Vancouver but has visited Boston): http://foodology.ca/
Hidden Boston: http://hiddenboston.com/
The Economical Eater: http://www.theeconomicaleater.com/
Chow Down Bean Town: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/blogs/chowdown/
Just Add Cheese: http://www.justaddcheese.com/