Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Boston - No Reservations

Ever since Anthony Bourdain came out with No Reservations on the Travel Channel  I have been a huge fan!

I say all the time to anyone that will listen that my ideal Travel Channel Show would be a day quahoging on Martha's Vineyard with Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and then taking all of our plunder to Larsen's Fish Market in Menemsha where Mike, myself and Bourdain would eat and drink the night away on the beach (heaven right?!  I know!!!!)  

So when I saw that the newest No Reservations episode was focused on Boston last Monday I was over the moon with excitement!  Tony was coming to Boston!!!
The episode focused on the Boston of Tony's memories, dreams and pages of mob mysteries of his youth. The more gritty mob/blue collar Boston in Bourdain's mind from movies and books that he has read over the years.
I thought it was a great way to show the city instead of the typical tourist spots you always see. (Not that I don't love Fanuiel Hall but there is more to our city then that and Union Oyster House).

For one hour Tony perused the streets of Southie, Dorchester and East Boston for some yummy eats, great drinks and stories with "local yocals"

What I didn't expect from this show was the large amount of traffic on Twitter during and after the show of people upset that Tony didn't do the typical culinary tour of Boston.  I agree that our city as some amazing world class dining but lets be honest.  The majority of Bostonians are not dining out at high end restaurants every night.  They are dining at the local mom and pop shops or "stumbling" to their favorite dive bar.

So in honor of No Reservations visiting my town and specifically my neighborhood I thought I would share with you all MY BOSTON.  The places that I frequent and have been frequenting since I moved to this side of Boston almost 8 years ago.  

Oh and if someone from the Travel Channel is reading this, I am SERIOUS about a combined Dirty Jobs/No Reservations special... CALL ME!!!

What can I say about the Banshee except that it is true comfort in every sense of the word.  A local pub with great food, off the boat wait/bar staff and a plethora of sports games going at all times of the day.

I started going to the Banshee when I was still in college and since then it is my default place out.  Whether it is a rainy Saturday afternoon or finishing the night out, the Banshee always seems to be my answer.

Where else can you go for a perfect pint, Irish Beef Stew and still be welcomed and brought into a conversation with the old guy on the stool next to you?  Not many places I hate to say it. There is just something about the combination of memories, good beer and people that make this neighborhood gem my favorite place time after time!!

Mul's Diner

Mul's is a Southie institution that life long residents and "newer" southie implants always seem to flock too. 

Whether you chose to snag a stool at the counter with your Boston paper of choice or wait in a line that can easily wrap around the block for a table it is worth it! 

From huge portion sizes of French Toast, Omelets to a traditional Irish Breakfast. Mul's cooks up delicious simple breakfast and lunch goodies that are perfect for even the worst hangover (just saying....).  Like I said, you can usually find a huge line on the weekends your best bet is to sneak in on a weekday and enjoy a hearty breakfast or simple lunch with the locals.  That way you avoid getting the evil eye from the other hungry patrons waiting to enjoy the goodness that is Mul's!
Nestled right in the heart of Castle Island is a take out place that stole my heart the first time I smelled the amazing wafts of onion rings escaping from its open doors almost 10 years ago. 
Surrounded by some of the best views of Boston, Dorchester Bay and the Boston Harbor Islands is a tiny take out spot that is perfecting hot dogs, fried clams and onion rings!  Nothing fancy shmancy.. just great food that you crave when down by the water....

I have been known on many many occasions to walk the 4 miles to Castle Island from my apartment just to enjoy the onion rings and then walk the 4 miles back.  I think anyone who walks 8 miles deserves perfectly battered halo's of goodness.. don't you?!

Prices are reasonable and you are guaranteed great views and even better people watching!!! 
Tucked inside the Blasi's cafe in Dorchester is perhaps the best deli in Eastern Ma!! (yeah i went there!!!).  This family run deli makes fresh, huge and delicious sandwiches that can feed you for days!!  I personal favorite is the roast beef but the menu is extensive. 

As with the other places listed here there is nothing fancy about the Fat Belly Deli.  The staff focuses on giving you delicious and wonderful sandwiches & salad's with the freshest ingredients. 

If you decide you can't wait to eat your sandwich there is a porch outside or even better you can take a seat inside at the Blasi Cafe and order any of the deli's sandwiches right off the menu.  While there you can usually be guaranteed to see locals that have been coming to the deli for years!!  And like the other places I mentioned, sometimes the people watching can be best thing of the day.

This small list does not even begin to scratch the surface of my favorites for Southie and Dorchester but they do represent what I love about these neighborhoods.  These establishments focus on simple good food and service. They recognize that the people of their neighborhoods are what will keep them successful year after year.  Is there anything better than walking in somewhere and seeing that the guy next to you as been coming since he was a kid and is now taking his kid there? 

We all want a connection to our neighborhoods, something that makes us feel a part of a community.  It just so happens that it is usually the corner diner that does it best.

What is your favorite place in your neighborhood?  Did you agree with Tony's view of Boston?