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Boston Restaurant Blog -- January, 2013

Below are blog entries from January, 2013. Use the links in the left column to do a quick search of blog entries, or to see blog entries from other months. And feel free to use the "Comments" links under each blog entry to reply to us; your comments just might end up in our Boston restaurant blog! (Note: This page is part of our restaurant features section.)

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January, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Some Facebook Fun

Perhaps more than any other social media site, Facebook seems like a place to have a bit of fun, be it playing games, posting about interesting events, chatting with friends, or asking questions about sports, movies, music, food, and so on. And so it is with the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Facebook page, as we sometimes use Facebook for mindless and silly stuff, including having folks caption photos, compare different foods, guess mystery pictures, complete sentences about food and dining spots, play "guess the restaurant," and more. A few such examples can be found below:

Caption the photo. (lobster roll)

Santarpio's or Regina's?

My guilty pleasure food is ____.

Chili: Beans or no beans?

True or false: You can never have too much garlic.

Blue cheese--like or dislike?

Would you eat these? (cheese curds)

Half moon or black and white cookie?

Caption the photo. (big cupcake)

Would you drink this? (banana bread beer)

MSG or no MSG?

Boston could sure use more ________.

If you have ideas for questions we can ask on Facebook or anything else that might be fun for our Facebook fans, please post a comment here, thanks!

Related Blog Entries: Facebook

Thursday, January 24, 2013
A Trip to Pakarang and L'Elizabeth in Providence

I have been to restaurants in many sections of Providence, but have never really explored the area at the base of College Hill around South Main Street for dining. Recently, however, I got around to visiting a Thai eatery and a dessert place on South Main, with both being excellent (with one big caveat, however).

photo of Pakarang, Providence, RI We started out our Providence trip with dinner at a quiet little restaurant called Pakarang Exquisite Thai Cuisine, which is a few blocks north of Route 195 on a stretch of South Main that has a string of upscale and elegant shops, though relatively few dining places. The restaurant had an almost cave-like feel to it due to the high ceiling and acoustics, and a bit of an industrial look (the building appeared to be quite old). We were immediately seated and our server quickly took our order, and within a few minutes we were dining on a savory glass noodle soup as well as a "Golden Harvest" appetizer, which consisted of veggie tempura with a side of turnip sauce. The battered carrots were especially good, with the broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini being nearly as satisfying. Our main course came out just as we were finishing up with the deep-fried vegetables, and it was all very impressive, with the smoky pad Thai being one of the best I've tried in recent memory and the white-hot basil fried rice not being for the squeamish (they added jalapeno peppers into the already hot dish, pushing it nearly over the edge) but having some rich tastes coming through the heat. Drinks included a sweet-tasting Kirin beer which cooled the palate (which definitely took a beating from the latter dish). Our server was friendly and efficient throughout, and prices were relatively cheap considering the high-rent area in which the restaurant resides.

photo of L'Elizabeth, Providence, RI After dinner, we went to an unusual dessert place/cocktail lounge on the same block called L'Elizabeth. This place was absolutely gorgeous, with low lighting, comfortable chairs, couches, and sofas, and a very low noise level which made it perfect for quiet conversation. The person behind the bar took our order of dessert items and drinks and we were soon enjoying chocolate cake and a torte, along with a hot buttered rum and a bourbon alexander. The pastries were rather large--and delicious--while the bourbon alexander was well made and rather strong. The hot buttered rum was extremely rich and creamy, which, while tasty, was difficult to finish in part because of its size. We took our time with the pastries and drinks, soaking up L'Elizabeth's elegant atmosphere, then decided to call it a night and asked for the check...and wow, did we ever receive it. The total bill was almost comically high, with the two desserts and drinks being much higher (around $65) than our entire dinner at Pakarang (under $40). It felt like we were indeed at the o ya of dessert places when we saw the bill, which would certainly make me think twice about coming here on a regular basis.

Having said that, L'Elizabeth is surely worth checking out at least once, as the desserts and drinks are quite good, and the sultry atmosphere is tough to beat. And Pakarang is definitely a must if you like Southeast Asian food, as it is a place that has a lot going for it--good food, friendly service, low prices, and a nice overall feel. You can surely hit the two places in one evening as we did, but be forewarned, the sticker shock of L'Elizabeth may be especially tough to take after the very reasonable prices of Pakarang.

Related Blog Entries: Providence restaurants, Rhode Island restaurants, Thai restaurants

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Join Our Pinterest Community Board

It has been about a year since we first set up a Pinterest page for Boston's Hidden Restaurants, and we now have a number of boards that thousands of folks are following. And one of the boards is a "community" board where others can add their favorite food photos, whether they are from restaurants, recipes, etc. Joining the page is easy to do, so if you have any interest in sharing your food pictures with others, some simple instructions follow.

To join the community board, which is called "Your Favorite Food Photos," please go to this link:

http://pinterest.com/pin/129619295496005741/

and simply let us know in the comments area that you would like to be added to the board. We'll then send you an invite to join. (You can also contact us directly if you would rather do it that way.) By the way, the board currently has more than 8,000 members, with many from the Boston area--including some folks in the restaurant industry. A link to the community board can be found at

http://pinterest.com/hiddenbostonmh/your-favorite-food-photos-group-board/.

Looking forward to seeing some of your food pictures on the community board over the coming days and weeks. Thanks for joining!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Twelve Starters and Sides from Boston-Area Restaurants

photo of fingerling potatoes from KO Pies at The Shipyard, East Boston, MAOur first photo slideshow of 2013 looks into some of the best--and more interesting--starters and sides that we have had of late, with most of these being from lesser-known spots (Christo's in Brockton notwithstanding). Included among the twelve are items from several ethnic spots, comfort food items from restaurants and bars, and some rather larger starters that are definitely meant for two (or more) people.

To see the starters and sides that we have included in the latest slideshow, please go to the link below. More slideshows will be on the way over the coming months, so keep checking back!

Slideshow for Twelve Starters/Sides

Related Blog Entries: slideshows