This year we launched an exciting new column in all three of our cities called Eat Like an Insider. In it, we asked food folks we found interesting — restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, entrepreneurs — to share their favorite places and things to eat in each of our respective cities. The column (in my humble opinion) was a success, and we’re excited to continue the concept in 2017 — but first, we went back to our brave group of participants and asked them just one last question: What was the best thing you ate this year?
The octopus served on top of pea puree and fried capers at Committee. Just phenomenal.
Any summer night at KO Pies at the Shipyard. Curry vegetable pie with a side of peas and mashed potatoes with a craft beer on the harbor.
The pastrami sandwich and salted averna egg cream from Mamaleh’s.
The Istanbul raviolis (manti) at Little Donkey. I still dream about them.
The Tomato & Peach Salad with whipped rosemary infused yogurt at Porto. It was mind blowing. It was like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
The best dish that I ate this year was the Shima Aji at Bar Mezzana. It is perfection.
The Banana Rum French Toast from Olde Magoon Saloon in Somerville! It’s the perfect mid-morning indulgence that you cannot skip!
This is so difficult! Such a toss-up! But, it’s gotta go to Little Donkey’s miso banana bread toad-in-the-hole for a brunch treat or Hops Test Kitchen’s kale pappardelle with pork heart, beef tongue and parmesan. Don’t make me choose!
The 1905 Salad at Columbia Restaurant in St. Armand’s Circle, Sarasota, Fl. — I head down to Anna Maria Island to thaw every January and this restaurant is a total gem! This salad, originated in 1905, is one of those salads that makes it easy to pass on a more deluxe, indulgent entrée. It is made tableside, and tossed with iceberg lettuce, ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, green olives, nothing too crazy…. but the dressing, made with copious amounts of garlic, Worcestershire sauce and more than a few secrets, is amazing! Throw in sunny alfresco seating, amazing Spanish sangria, and watch the fabulous people and Bentleys go by in this swanky part of town. C’est Magnifique!
This year I discovered that B.T.’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge has the best BBQ in New England, and literally the best smoked beef brisket. A bonus is the central location to destination breweries such as Treehouse, Rapscallion and Homefield — and B.T.’s is BYOB which will help you rehydrate after playing disco golf all day.
The best thing I ate this year was dinner at Fat Hen. I loved every minute of being there. The rigatoni with rabbit sausage was a standout dish, but we ate everything on the menu on that first visit and every dish was perfect. The space is cozy, service is impeccable and food is remarkable. It was the most memorable dinner of the year for me.
My two favorite meals this year were from Tavern Road and Smoke Shop. Both places have so much to offer but what really surprised me at Tavern Road were the chickpea fritters and the eggplant fritters —which is stunning because I never choose vegetables as my favorite! Smoke Shop has everything I love to eat but the dish that made me stop in my tracks was the wings.
The best thing I ate this year was Mamaleh’s in Kendall Square. It’s by the team that owns State Park, and the reuben, cheese blintzes and potato latkes are to die for. Everything on the menu is incredibly old school and authentic right down to the Brooklyn Egg Cream.