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Top Ten!


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My top ten bars and restaurants to cavort in around Boston (and the surrounding area)

This isn’t in any particular order solely because my tastes change and sometimes certain bars are more appealing than others.

Bonfire. Park Plaza Hotel. Bonfire is fantastic because they have the best gourmet ($12) tacos around. If you want cheap tacos that are the closest to L.A. tacos (or so I’m told as I’ve never had L.A. tacos…soon though, soon.) head to Taco Loco on Broadway in Somerville. But I digress…Bonfire also has a great menu with items you won’t find in most places, like bone marrow. Yes, they serve bone marrow. It’s buttery and unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. So yummy. They have a great bar area with friendly bartenders and $2 beers throughout Red Sox season. You won’t find beers cheaper than that unless you go to Fanny…at least at Bonfire the average person wasn’t born after 1986…

Masa. South End. Masa is my favorite restaurant in Boston. Hands down. They have great food and the bar area is chill. They offer salsa nights and during happy hour they have a deal on the tapas menu (10 items for $5). As for drinks, my favorite is the Banderitas shot. It’s a three shots shot. The first is lime juice. Take it, but don’t swallow. Now it’s time for shot number two, tequila. Take the shot and mix it with the lime juice you are already holding in your mouth. Swallow. The third shot is a chaser of their spicy bloody mary mix. Perfection. And sometimes they run specials where the shot is only $5. Can’t beat that.

Blue Ginger. Wellesley. It’s in the suburbs, and a bit of a hike, but the drive is worth it. Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger is easily in my top five favorite restaurants. The food is always cooked to perfection. The first time we went, John Paul ordered duck, which I had never had before. I keep thinking I never should have had it there first because every time we eat it now it’s never as good as Blue Ginger. We only usually go for our February anniversary, so each year around November I start getting excited for February. I also love that Blue Ginger’s anniversary is the same day as ours. When the staff overheard us talking and found out it was our anniversary, at the end of the night, they had “Happy Anniversary” cookies delivered to our table! Last year when they celebrated their 10th anniversary, Ming was actually there! We asked if we could meet him and take a picture and he kindly obliged. The restaurant gets very busy on the weekend and I would definitely recommend having reservations.

Bukowski’s. Cambridge, not Back Bay. I prefer the Cambridge location because it’s larger and you always get a seat. Plus it’s a different crowd. There’s less business peeps and more locals, which I like better. They run a special every weekday. Before 8pm hamburgers are $2 and French fries are a buck. They have an incredible assortment of beers (read: PBR) and I love how they tell you the alcohol content. Why order a 3% when you can get a beer that’s 9%? They only take cash, but they have a generic ATM if you don’t bring enough.

On The Hill Tavern. Somerville. It’s down the street from my old place so it was a place we frequented due to its close proximity…and cheap beer. When we first started going there, they had $5 pitchers of Bud, Bud Lite, and Amber Boch. They’ve raised their prices slightly. I think pitchers are $6.50, but the draft beers are only $1.50 or $2.00. The food is pretty good too. They have yummy steak tips and I love their hamburgers. Most items on the menu are under $10 so it usually makes for a pretty cheap night. They have free darts (bring your own) and they have pool tables. There are karaoke nights, which we (thankfully) never made it to. They also have a lot of TVs and will always have a game on. Tuesday night is stump trivia. It’s a pretty big crowd, so the competition is pretty fierce.

New Saigon Sandwich.
Chinatown. 696 Washington St. Warm French bread. Pickled carrots. Tofu. All this can be yours for a mere $3 at New Saigon Sandwich. These giant sandwiches are filling and cheap. You can also get them with Vietnamese spam and other meats, but I prefer the tofu. They can make a mean ca phe sua da. The people who work there are Chinese though, so you have to order in English because if you say it in Vietnamese they look at you funny. That could also be because I don’t speak Vietnamese very well, or at all…

Pho Pasteur. Chinatown. Washington St. Best Pho in town. Pho Vietnam used to be the best until they suddenly closed. Anyway, Pho Pasteur has great pho tai. The meat comes out rare so you cook it until you like it. Their broth is yummy. Flavorful. Not too salty. And they always give us extra limes when we ask. This place is so good that, I try to go 4-5 times a month. Actually, maybe we’ll go tonight. It’s been too long.

Neptune Oysters. North End. Fresh seafood. Amazing blue cheese mussels (when they are actually on the menu) and the best oysters around. It’s a very small restaurant so if you go when it’s crowded you’ll have to wait. I prefer the bar because you get one on one attention from the great bar staff. The last time we were there, we were told about Mercy. Basically, you show up at 5pm when the kitchen opens and you eat until you have to beg for mercy. You don’t get to choose what you eat; the chef makes you whatever he feels like feeding you. It’s about $75 and it sounds AMAZING. You need 6 people to do it and need to make reservations ahead of time. Anyone reading this that lives in the area that would want to join John Paul and myself, let us know! We’d definitely be down for doing this!

Steak Night. South End. Back Bay. And coming soon, Brookline. A night of steaks, Flour, and lots and lots of red wine. Sometimes steak night has veggies (super-spicy asparagus or yummy green beans), but more often than not, it’s just meat, sweets, and alcohol. They learned from AB how to make the perfect steak. And perfect it is (at least 9 times out of 10). It’s one of my favorite nights of the month and I’m super happy when it happens more than once a month. Good friends, good wine (note to self: do not buy Writers Block again), and it’s always a plus when the next day your home and clothes still smell like steak.

Intermission Tavern. Theatre District. Yummy food, great bartenders, and awesome infused vodka. It’s usually low-key unless it’s before a show. My favorite is the Texas burger with the homemade potato chips. The burger is always perfectly cooked (medium for me) and the bbq sauce tastes great. I love the potato chips because they’re always super crispy and sometimes even come with ranch powder. However, the infused vodka is what gets me to keep coming back. I love the mango, but the pineapple and strawberry/kiwi taste terrific too. They all taste great on the rocks, with a splash of tonic, or with a cranberry & orange juice combo. Also, most drinks are under $10 so it’s a pretty good deal if you’re going to be drinking a lot, which has been known to happen on occasion.

Dino’s. North End. Best. Subs. Ever. Anyone who has ever eaten at Dino’s can attest their greatness. Their steak and cheese is by far the best steak and cheese I’ve ever eaten. I love their chicken parm and The Dino’s Special. The subs are so big, you can eat half before going out and then have the second half when you’re at home, craving food, after a long night of drinking. Their salads are also pretty scrumptious. They’re big enough to share between two people with some leftover. Subs aren’t more than $8 and salads are around the same. Dino’s used to be cash only, but within the last month or so, they’ve started taking cards.

Myers and Chang. South End. Asian tapas. Sounds strange, but it’s a great way to try food without being afraid of wasting it; if you hate it, just order something else. Most dishes are around $10 and they’re small, but big enough for two people to try. I like the green papaya slaw. It’s spicy but cool. I suggest sitting at the bar. You can watch as each chef creates your dish or dishes. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, Ms. Chang is there herself. And she’ll even talk to you (!!), which was obviously the highlight of my night.

Okay so I lied and it’s not my top ten, but I was on a roll and couldn’t stop.