Our walk last weekend through, well, most of Boston, ended up taking us right down Hanover street through the very center of Boston’s North End (their Little Italy), and right past the epicenter of activity on a warm weekend evening: Mike’s Pastry. Okay, I’ll be honest, Mike’s Pastry is anything but offbeat. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that if I mention that I’m going to Boston to eat, someone in the group will insist on my going to Mike’s Pastry. So, just like all the little offbeat places I review, occasionally I have to review the iconic ones as well. So on a fairly pleasant spring evening, we found ourselves waiting on the sidewalk, and then sharpening our elbows and working our way into the semi-anarchic interior of Mikes for some cannoli.
On our last full day in Cleveland, we wanted to get some breakfast before doing our daily exploring, and, quite frankly, we wanted donuts. The problem is, it’s rather hard to find good donuts these days… sure, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on damn near ever corner, but those aren’t really good donuts (especially since the vast majority of DD locations don’t bake on-site anymore, just truck in their donuts from a regional bakery). I actually remember a time when there were a lot of independent donut shops selling donuts and coffee, but these days you usually have to do a little bit of research to find the few remaining ones. One of those is Becker’s Donuts.
A week after getting back from Iceland, we found ourselves in a mood for Brunch. There aren’t really a lot of brunch options in the Upper Valley (although some of the inns, in particular, have decent ones). But looking over options, we realized that we had yet to try out Market Table in Hanover. Market Table is the relatively recent (if I recall correctly, they opened in May 2011) offshoot of the successful Allechante bakery in Norwich. Nestled in the building on the corner of Main and Lebanon (which I’ve already heard referred to as “The Starbucks building”, that didn’t take long), it’s in the basement space that used to be India Queen. It’s been heavily renovated, including the addition of a nice outdoor terrace, and a nice indoor seating area (as well as a takeout counter nearly identical to its cousin over in Norwich).
Last month, my brother came to visit from England, so on the morning of St Patrick’s Day we had to pick up my brother at Logan, which meant this was a good opportunity to try out a new place for breakfast someplace down in the Boston area. I know a rather good selection of places to eat in the Boston area, but not a lot of breakfast places (a byproduct of the fact that Boston is around 2.5-3 hours from here, depending on traffic, is that we usually get there well after breakfast hours). But several of my friends up here in NH have lived down there, so I asked coworker A for a good Saturday brunch suggestion. She was already going to be in Boston that weekend, so she simply recommended that we just join her and some friends at Sofra in Cambridge for some of their “Turkish Inspired Cuisine.”
My first morning in San Francisco, I decided that it was time to knock Dynamo Donuts off of my hit list. I had been craving a trip to Dynamo Donuts since reading about them on David Lebovitz’s blog almost three years ago. Luckily, it’s only about a mile away from Steve and Emily’s place, and they’ve been there several times, so it wasn’t hard to convince Emily to come with me for a trip to Dynamo. Located in the Eastern part of the Mission, Dynamo is a little bit of an odd fit, being located in a block that’s mostly various Latin American restaurants and stores. But being the Mission, this isn’t too out of place (if I had to pick the two major types of dining establishments in this part of town, “taqueria” and “coffee shop” are probably on the top of the list). It’s also a fairly subtle storefront, being basically just a short ordering counter and a door that leads both inside, and through to a nice patio in back (that’s easy to miss). But really, it’s about the donuts anyways…
A few weeks sgo, we found ourselves driving through Hillsborough and Peterborouh in southern NH. Looking for a snack, we had recalled that several years earlier we had passed some sort of German bakery, but couldn’t recall details. This time, armed with GPS and 3G wireless, we found the place: German John’s Bakery in Hillsborough. A modest storefront in a building shared with an ice cream parlor (which appears to be run by the same folks), it’s a cozy little bakery with a several racks of baked goods, a chalkboard listing available sausages, some shelves of German groceries, and a few tables. We opted for a few classic soft pretzels, and went outside to the tables out front.
Last fall, I had dinner with a bunch of my friends down in the DC area, and during the after-dinner conversation an interesting topic came up: “What would it be like to walk from one end of Manhattan to another?” Well, I’d actually done this before (back in 2006, when I was visiting friends in NYC and had 6 hours to kill), but wanted to do it again, with some more time to kill. So did a bunch of the other folks, so we picked a date and decided to just do it. The result was the “Manhattan Death March”…
In one of the more anticipated changes in the local restaurant scene, Umpleby’s new location at 3 South Street in Hanover (approximately where the hardware store used to be before the big South Main/South Street construction happened) is now open, so Carol and I decided to head over there for Sunday breakfast before heading out for a hike. Previously located in Bridgewater, Umpleby’s has been known for several years as the go-to people for croissants and meat pies at the Norwich Farmers Market. Indeed, either the Umpleby’s line would be quite long, or they’d be sold out.