Six Things to Eat in Boston
There are so many reasons to love Boston - at the top of my list, you'll find the unmatched intellectualism, the nostalgic feeling I have on Harvard's campus, the memories of launching Six Things from my apartment in Back Bay and, most importantly, the food. I've said it before and I'll say it again to anyone who will listen - Boston's foodie scene is tragically underrated, even by the locals.
So here are a list of six foodie haunts that no Boston trip is complete without.
1. For craft cocktails and life-altering tapas: Sarma
When I decide to take a trip to Boston, step one is to book my flights and step two is to book my Sarma reservation.
Owned by Chef Cassie Piuma and her husband, Sarma is a restaurant & bar where food, drink and music come together in a vibrant celebration of the good things in life. Cassie brings together flavors that represent the Mediterranean with an ever-evolving menu that never fails to impress.
I have been to Sarma dozens of times since my first visit in 2015 and am ceaselessly impressed with the knowledgeable staff, the delicious cocktails and the vibrant yet effortlessly romantic energy of the space.
They do book up pretty far in advance, though walk-in bar seating tends to be readily available on week nights, so be sure to make your reservation now. In the mean time, please enjoy this photo of the pork belly biscuits that I dream about even from 3,000 miles away.
2. For ooey, gooey, cheesy breakfast sandwich goodness: Mike & Patty’s
Now, here's the thing about me and breakfast sandwiches; I'm from Jersey. Which means if you're going to impress me with a breakfast sandwich, it has to be out of this world because we take this stuff very seriously. So trust me when I tell you that the best breakfast sandwich you'll ever have might just come out of a hole in the wall sandwich shop in Bay Village.
A self-proclaimed "tiny shop that packs a punch", Mike & Patty's sits in an unsuspecting residential neighborhood which you'll get to explore a bit as you stand in the line that sprawls out the door of this teeny tiny storefront. Since opening in 2008, they've been crushing the sandwich game with their signature breakfast sando, "The Fancy", which comes with bacon, egg, cheese, avocado, red onions and their house mayo between two pieces of Boston made Iggy's multigrain bread. My personal favorite is affectionately named "Breakfast Grilled Crack" which has twice the bacon, eggs, cheddar, gruyere and American cheese served between two pieces of buttered Iggy's sourdough.
For such a small shop, I appreciate that Mike & Patty's is committed to making sure there's always something fresh on their menu and that there truly is something for everyone. Not only do that have sweet and savory options (my brother is a big fan of their sandwiches that include Nutella), they also have menu offerings designed for those who are vegetarian or gluten free.
3. For an Eritrean dining experience like no other: Asmara
Whenever someone asks me what my favorite food is, I say Ethiopian - but I really mean is Eritrean and what I really, really mean is Eritrean food from Asmara. This award-winning, family-owned, Eritrean restaurant has been a staple of Central Square for more than 30 years. Designed to give Boston locals and visitors alike, an authentic dining experience, ever detail at Asmara is a tribute to the country of Eritrea. You can dine at traditional woven Mesob tables, sip on Ethiopian sweet wine and take in the Eritrean artifacts, art and paintings that hang on the walls. The Asmara menu offers a variety of food to cater all: from carnivore to vegan and spicy to mild. No matter what you order on the menu, you'll experience something unlike any other dining experience you can find in Boston, it's a powerful experience packed with flavorful food and a rich, beautiful culture.
4. For the ice-cream sandwich to end all ice cream sandwiches: Frozen Hoagies
First, there was a food truck. In 2011, Frozen Hoagies became Boston's Original Hand scooped Ice Cream Sandwich Truck. You could choose from their selection of homemade cookies and locally-sourced, small-batch, ice cream, and they would whip up the most delicious ice cream sandwiches (frozen hoagies, if you will) you could imagine. In 2014, this family business expanded to include a storefront right off of Tufts' campus, where you can enjoy the same deliciousness and so much more (hint: sundaes and espresso).
Have you ever been drinking the milk left behind after you devoured a bowl of Frosted Flakes and thought to yourself "wow, this should be an ice cream flavor"? If so, get in your car right now and go try the Tiger's Milk ice cream between two snickerdoodles and see what it feels like when your wildest dreams come true on your tastebuds. You can thank me later.
To answer your questions, YES they have vegan options (both ice cream and cookies) and YES they have gluten-free options, including these delicious macarons that you can use for your hoagie. If I'm being honest, my only complaint about Frozen Hoagies is that I didn't discover them sooner.
5. For a chic brunch with a bold fusion of flavors: Tatte
By October, there will be 11 of these bad boys scattered across Boston and Cambridge. Female owned, founder Tzurit Or had a vision to bring people together through her kitchen, even when that was just the kitchen of her home. In the last decade, Tatte bakeries have become staples of the Boston foodie world, with menus that feature everything from shakshukas and tartines, to fruit tarts and croissants and lines that often spill out the door.
My favorite location, biased as I may be, is the one in Harvard Square. The second floor of seating comes in clutch on the busier days, the staff is friendly and incredibly knowledgable and the decor is just begging to be Instagrammed. I recommend the seasonal shakshuka - the cream based ones can be on the heavier side, so bring a friend to share with, but I promise you’ll enjoy every bite.
6. For a biscuit breakfast that will make any day the best day: 3 Little Figs
Welcome to the coziest, tastiest bakery and coffee shop in all of Boston. The team at 3 Little Figs prides themselves on filling their bakery case with "unique & rustic muffins, cookies, scones, cakes and biscuits, all made from scratch in the tiny open kitchen set just behind the counter" - and that's exactly what they do.
Now the coffee is delicious and I've heard great things about pretty much everything on the menu, but when I go to 3 Little Figs, I'm there for the biscuits. They make the most delectable buttermilk biscuits you can imagine. On the sweet side, you can get the plain biscuit with butter and jam or you can go wild and get my personal favorite, their lavender biscuit topped with slivered almonds. I used to think this lavender biscuit was the best biscuit in the world, but last week, I went rogue and ordered a savory biscuit situation and it's safe to say my mind was blown. They have a curry biscuit sandwich and a pepper biscuit sandwich, both served with egg, cheese and bacon or prosciutto and my, oh my these things are good. I obviously tried both, and the pepper biscuit might be my favorite but they're both unreal. If you're brave enough, I'd suggest getting the pepper biscuit with bacon (add hot sauce and honey for an interesting kick) and then the lavender biscuit for breakfast dessert - because you deserve it.