Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Transcript of Online Panel Discussion, December 7, 2010

Topic: Great Individual Dishes from Boston-Area and New England Restaurants

Below is a transcript of a live online panel discussion on some of the best individual food dishes from Boston-area and New England restaurants, which took place on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. The panel included several panel members, including area food writers and bloggers. The hour-long chat included talks with the panel on some of the best dishes they have had in Boston-area and New England restaurants, and also included viewer participation. [Note: The original discussion can be replayed at the following link: http://www.hiddenboston.com/online-discussion-1210.html and please go to the restaurant discussions link to check out our other chats.]



Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hello, everyone! Welcome to a discussion on some of the best individual food dishes from Boston-area and New England restaurants.

Carol Yelverton: Hi there.

Marc H.: This is our seventh discussion, and once again we have several people on our panel who you might have heard of. Before we begin, perhaps we can introduce the folks on the panel. I'll start--I'm Marc, the founder and owner of Boston's Hidden Restaurants and the news-based blog Boston Restaurant Talk.

MC Slim JB: Glad to be here!

RichardPF: Morning all

NorthShoreDish: Hey Marc, finally made it back to one of your discussions.

MC Slim JB: I'm a Boston-based restaurant critic and freelance food/drinks feature writer. I review budget-priced restaurants for the Boston Phoenix and fine-dining restaurants for Stuff Magazine.

Carol Yelverton: I publish Vinetown, covering fine wine, sustainable food and craft beer.

RichardPF: Hi, I am Richard, aka The Passionate Foodie (http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com), and cover food, wine, sake and spirits.

Patrick Maguire: Restaurant rat and author of Server Not Servant blog.

NorthShoreDish: We publish NorthShoreDish.com, which covers restaurants, local foods and food events north of Boston.

Marc H.: Hi, everyone. We have at least one or two others who may be joining us late, by the way, so it looks like we may have a pretty large panel today!

Patrick Maguire: Can we talk football????

Marc H.: Maybe in a bit, Patrick! :-b

MC Slim JB: I had a lovely thin-crust pie from Mangia Pizza to enjoy with my crushed Jets.

Marc H.: Oh boy, here come the Jets jokes!

RichardPF: There was no football game last night. It was a butchery demo.

Marc H.: So today, we are going to focus on some of the best dishes you have had in Boston-area and New England restaurants, with a few general categories being covered. For each topic, tell us about a specific item, meal, etc., that has more or less bowled you over, and give us a description of why you liked the dish so much. I'll try to give my own picks along the way to help get things started.

Marc H.: The format of the talk remains the same, as we will address each topic first with the panel, then we will open up the topic to our viewers, who will have the chance to answer the same question asked of the panel.

Marc H.: So let's start with breakfast (which seems like a good place to start!). What are some individual breakfast dishes in the Boston area (or elsewhere in New England) that are particularly memorable? I'll go first--in the immediate Boston area, the Nutella-smothered French toast from Victoria's Diner in Roxbury is a dish that I can't stop thinking of, as the richness of the French toast and the sweetness of the maple syrup are accentuated by the incredibly rich and sweet Nutella that smothers the toast. This is not something you want to be eating before a 3-set tennis match, but if you don't have much going on for several hours afterward, it is well worth trying.

MC Slim JB: I love the griddle cakes at Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown, especially their jonnycakes (they do a thicker, West-of-Bay style), and the ployes, which are a Canadian buckwheat pancake you rarely see around here. Excellent sweet potato pancakes, too!

Marc H.: I couldn't agree more on the jonnycakes, MC. I came close to using them as my example here, actually.

Carol Yelverton: Henrietta’s Table has the best fresh seasonal food. Their oatmeal is thick and rich. I like their Three Egg Omelets, too. You can add your choice of spinach, wild mushrooms, great ham and Grafton Cheddar. They use really flavorful, high quality ingredients. My husband is a fan of their chipped beef on biscuits.

Marc H.: Grafton cheddar seems to make so many dishes quite a bit better. I use it in a lot of my recipes. They have chipped beef on biscuits there? Didn't know that!

MC Slim JB: Deluxe is opening a second outlet in Newton Center soon, too. Pretty much all their food is terrific, but their breakfasts are extraordinary.

NorthShoreDish: The carrot cake pancakes with maple cream cheese butter at Sugar Mag's in Gloucester are excellent. I also love the Portuguese sweet bread french toast at the Depot Diner in North Beverly.

Marc H.: NorthShoreDish, does the Depot Diner have a few Portuguese items on their menu? What else is good there?

NorthShoreDish: Depot Diner (not to be confused with the Little Depot Diner in Peabody does a few Portuguese things, but not as many as you see up around Gloucester. Liked their corn beef hash as well, though the hash at the Wicked Oyster in Wellfleet is my all time fave.

Patrick Maguire: Carrot cake pancakes sound incredible!!

Patrick Maguire: I'm going blue-collar with this one up to Arthur's Paradise Diner on Bridge Street in Lowell, the home of the famous Boott Mill sandwich. Warm fresh bun, homefries on the bottom of the sandwich topped with egg over easy, then sausage topped with cheese. When you walk in at 6am you can smell the freshness of the rolls. It's still one of my favorite breakfast memories. I called this morning and they're still open. Road trip?

Marc H.: We almost did a road trip to Lowell yesterday, Patrick. I'll have to keep that one in mind.

RichardPF: I am a fan of brunch at the Beehive, like their Eggs Shakshuka,a nice mix of eggs, tomatosauce, and polenta.

RichardPF: Plus the chicken and waffles at Tupelo, and have to have a side of fried grits too.

Marc H.: It seems like several dishes from Tupelo could be included in this chat.

NorthShoreDish: Also, must not forget one of our fave Sunday morning breakfasts; sticky buns and coffee from A&J King Bakery in Salem. Sublime.

MC Slim JB: Another breakfast place I love actually does brunch seven days a week, the Dot2Dot Cafe in Dorchester. Cool little neighborhood place, house-baked goods, which makes their French toast really exceptional. I had a grilled fish breakfast there I loved, too.

Marc H.: Some great suggestions here, all! Let's shift this question over to our viewers. Do any of you have any favorite breakfast dishes in the area?

RichardPF: I have to give some love to Donut City in Lynn, an independent donut shop with lots of great donuts and baked goods.

Marc H.: Do you like it as much as Kanes in Saugus, Richard?

RichardPF: I think it is comparable in quality to Kanes, though they don't have anything to compare with Kane's coffee rolls.

NorthShoreDish: Donut City is high on my list of gotta try places.

LDGourmet: Checking in. Will jump in as possible.

Marc H.: Good morning, LDGourmet! Feel free to give some info about yourself!

LDGourmet: I write the Leather District Gourmet blog, contribute to Nourish Network, Good Eater Collaborative and write freelance for pretty much anyone who will pay. Often write about the intersection of sustainable & gourmet foods. Now working on 4th annual sustainable seafood round up.

LDGourmet: On breakfast anyone mention Mike & Pattys?

Marc H.: Let's talk about a favorite topic among a lot of people, namely fried foods. :-) What are some of the most unforgettable dishes featuring fried foods that you have had in the region? I'll go first once again--the deep-fried hot dogs (also known as rippers) at Lawton's in Lawrence are heavenly. They are cooked in oil until they start to burst (or rip) and are more juicy and greasy than just about any other hot dog I've had. Sadly, Lawton's may be closing soon, so head up there ASAP if you like rippers, as there aren't many places in the area that prepare hot dogs like this.

Christine Liu: sorry i'm late to jump in! the fried chicken and waffles with hot pepper syrup at trina's is a treat. also love the fried clam bellies at the clam box. also the (soft-boiled) scotch eggs at the gallows are amaaazing.

Marc H.: Hey, Christine! Feel free to post some info about yourself!

Christine Liu: P.S. i'm urbanspoon's community manager and freelance on boston's food and small-business scene.

MC Slim JB: Fried clams at Neptune Oyster, about as good as the dish gets. Perfect fresh clams, great fry job, superior house-made tartar sauce. Not as cheap as a North Shore clam shack, but no road trip needed, either.

Mmmm Pizza: Absolutely make myself sick over eating the fried pickle slices at Fat Cat.

Marc H.: Now why didn't I think of the fried pickle slices at the Fat Cat in Quincy? That is certainly a "best of the best" dish for fried foods. Can't get enough of those....

LDGourmet: With Slim on the Neptune fried clams. Anything fried is a barometer of kitchen skills. You can tell a lot and theirs are great.

RichardPF: Tempura shrimp at Kyotoya in Stoneham. Simply perfect tempura: light, crispy, flavorful.

Marc H.: I have to thank you again, Richard, for being one of a couple of people who told me just how great Kyotoya is.

RichardPF: Kyotoya is certainly a treasure in Stoneham.

NorthShoreDish: I just recently wrote a piece entitled "Ode to Dube's Fried Shrimp" about Dube's in Salem, professing my undying love.

Marc H.: Do you have a link you could share with us, NorthShoreDish?

NorthShoreDish: http://www.northshoredish.com/2010/10/29/an-ode-to-dubes-fried-shrimp/

MC Slim JB: I love Dube's, too: not just great fried clams, but fantastic old-school neighborhood atmosphere! Not many like that one left.

NorthShoreDish: MC Slim JB, agreed!

LDGourmet: Tempura is often such a disappointment I won't even order. Heavy leaden greasy.

LDGourmet: Rich tempura often had vegetables on the inside. What do you do?

LDGourmet: Also my new favorite chicken wings at Gourmet Dumpling done in tsu yim (salt & pepper style)

MC Slim JB: The jalea at Rincon Limeno in Eastie is unbelievable, too: a fried seafood platter with shrimp, calamari, and grouper. Superb fry technique there, too, and it's a real bargain.

LDGourmet: Does anyone know if Kyotya owners/chefs are actually Japanese?

RichardPF: Jackie, you can order just shrimp. :)

LDGourmet: Slim - we must do an Eastie tour!

MC Slim JB: You're on, LDGourmet!

Christine Liu: salt and pepper shrimp at peach farm!

Carol Yelverton: I love a Clam Roll (with bellies) at PJ's in Wellfleet. They are perfectly crisp on the outside and the centers are sweet, moist and rich. I also love the Lobster Roll. It's simple and pure --fresh lobster meat and mayo.. Good This is always our first stop on the Cape. Once we've had these we know we're there.

Marc H.: I love PJ's, Carol! Their crab cakes are out of this world.

Carol Yelverton: Really? I"ll try those next time!

RichardPF: Plus, Kyotoya is BYOB

Christine Liu: Oh - not sure what it's called, but this brazilian fried baseball-sized thing... stuffed with cheese and chicken. http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/photo_list/53500?photo_id=323808

Marc H.: Christine, that stretch of Broadway in East Somerville is a treasure trove of good food.

Christine Liu: COXINHA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxinha

RichardPF: Fried pig's tail at Craigie is also quite good.

LDGourmet: Dying for that pig head again, Rich.

Marc H.: We've already heard from one of our viewers about particularly good fried food dishes. Anyone else?

LDGourmet: anyone have a recommendation for Korean style fried chicken? What's the best local iteration?

MC Slim JB: Moroccan cigars at Jersualem Pita: filo filled with spiced ground beef or mashed potatoes: greasy but tasty.

Marc H.: MC, that's in Coolidge Corner in Brookline?

MC Slim JB: Correct: pretty good shwarma, too.

Palo Alto: Fried Sardines from Courthouse seafood, along with their soft shell crab sandwich in season. The cheese in the coxinha is "catupiry" where cream cheese is substituted locally. Coxinha refers to the shape of it, a miniature chicken thigh or "coxa."

Marc H.: Hi, Palo Alto! Courthouse is a place I need to get to. Sounds like a classic hidden gem. Fried sardines, huh? Hmmmm....what time does this discussion end again? :-)

RichardPF: Lilly was raving about Bon Chon Korean fried chicken.

Mmmm Pizza: The Tater Tots at Cambridge Common are mighty tasty when paired with beer.

Marc H.: Mmmm Pizza, what kinds of beers go well with tater tots? Oh wait, I know--all of them!

Mmmm Pizza: Exactly! Although Youngs Chocolate Stout is a particular fav w/Tater Tots.

Christine Liu: tater tots at garden at the cellar are last-meal-worthy and also the fries at deep ellum are stellar.

LDGourmet: wow - anyone on that Korean fried chicken? Anyone? Anyone?

MC Slim JB: Bull in Harvard Square will do Bon Chon Chicken, if it ever does open.

Christine Liu: jackie - haven't tried myself but heard there is bonchon chicken at roppongi sushi in allston (comm ave x harvard ave) http://roppongisushi.com/

LDGourmet: Had lovely dead simple fried sardines at Nebo.

LDGourmet: That's not here yet - NYC is too far to go.

NorthShoreDish: Richard, where is Bon Chon?

RichardPF: It is in Allston.

MC Slim JB: Ronnarong Thai in Union Square Somerville does a marinated, dried, deep-fried beef dish that is lovely: sweet and deep-flavored, like a quality jerky.

LDGourmet: Oh fried chicken at Hen House is quite good.

Marc H.: Ok, sadly, we need to move on (I could talk about fried food all day, but...).

RichardPF: MC, I love that beef dish too.

Marc H.: So how about some particularly special spicy dishes that are served at area restaurants? I'm going to go with the Singapore noodles at Apsara, which is a tiny little hidden gem in a little-traveled section of Providence. Unlike the often-unspicy dish of the same name that is served at so many Asian restaurants, the version at Apsara is red-hot and guaranteed to make you sweat, yet the mix of flavors coming from the rice noodles, curry, and vegetables make for a dish I constantly seem to be craving.

Christine Liu: Apsara - is it Apsara Asian or Apsara Palace in Providence?

Marc H.: Apsara Asian on Public Street: http://www.yelp.com/biz/apsara-restaurant-providence

Christine Liu: the ma-la fish at chilli garden in medford. astoundingly spicy. mulan's version is pretty good, too.

Marc H.: Christine, I've had some pretty mild dishes at Chili Garden, but should probably head back there for some of their hotter dishes.

Christine Liu: (an intense density of red hot chilis and mouth-numbing szechuan peppercorns)

Palo Alto: Christine might want to give rissois de camarao a try which have a similar dough to the coxinha but shrimp paste/cream filling. Boston is a bit weak on them, but easy to make at home. Portugalia has the best version, you can sometime get them at brunch at the Neighborhood in Somerville with morcela.

LDGourmet: New Shanghai has dumplings in a chili sauce that are divine. not just heat, but nuance too.

Marc H.: LDGourmet, New Shanghai used to be one of my favorite restaurants years ago before they (temporarily) went downhill. I hear they are back on their game once again, so I will have to head over there soon.

MC Slim JB: Most anything at S&I Thai, if you can convince them you're not a wimp. My favorite is pad gapow moo krob, basically fried chicharron with basil and a lot of chilies, fresh and dried.

LDGourmet: New Shanghai uses the Sichuan Pepper in many things. Sometimes it works sometimes I think it overpowers. I like to have a balance of black/white/Sichuan pepper and other flavors. Mostly New Shanghai gets it right.

MC Slim JB: Lamb vindaloo at Cafe Mamtaz in Southie. Cute little takeout only spot, with Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian dishes. They will bring the heat if you ask for it.

LDGourmet: Agree Marc, they are definitely back. Have you tried the Peking Duck there? We haven't yet but am not a fan of the King Fung version which mysteriously seems to be the one people love.

Marc H.: I haven't tried it there, LDGourmet. And King Fung changed ownership (with the original moving to Brookline), so the Chinatown one isn't quite the same as the original there, in my opinion.

LDGourmet: Vindaloo is magic when it's right.

Carol Yelverton: Just to mix it up, how about great spice without heat -- For Italian, the sfizi or "little bites" of antipasti at Il Casale in Belmont are superb. Dante is a master at cooking meats. He has these maiale ( pork meatballs) that are out of this world--rich with garlic and spice--but balanced too with just enough to enhance every bite.

Marc H.: Yes, definitely a good call on spice without heat, Carol. I really love the chicken saag at Punjab Cafe in Quincy, and it has almost no heat at all.

Patrick Maguire: Speaking of spicey, are any restaurants doing tableside, fresh-shaved wasabi root in the Boston area? Fresh wasabi really makes a difference.

Marc H.: Good question, Patrick. I just started to learn about the wonders of fresh horseradish--grated some on top of a pizza the other day and it was really quite terrific.

MC Slim JB: The hot-chili Russian roulette that is eating pimientos de padron at Toro. About 1 in 10 is flaming hot; the rest are mild. A fabulous, simple tapa.

Mmmm Pizza: India Quality in Kenmore Sq - their vindaloo will have tears pouring but it's so good.

LDGourmet: Carol that sounds wonderful.

MC Slim JB: Lega-tibs at Lucy's, a little Ethiopian joint near Symphony. Sauteed beef with onions and peppers, seriously fiery, with the owner's wife's home-baked teff injera to scoop it up with.

RichardPF: I have not seen any restaurant using real wasabi in Boston.

LDGourmet: Patrick - I always ask. Few have it - makes all the difference. Oiishi on Wash charged us some outrageous amount for it. Can't recall now but it was ridiculous.

MC Slim JB: Kimchi jigae at New Jang Su in Burlington, a fierce stew with pork and kimchi, great cold-weather food.

Marc H.: I hope to head back to New Jang Su very soon, MC. It really is a great little restaurant.

RichardPF: Fresh Wasabi is very expensive. I have seen it for $60-$100/lb.

LDGourmet: Had those pimientos de padron first in a steakhouse in CA love.

LDGourmet: Rich - most often the better sushi-ya will have it but not on menu.

MC Slim JB: Would expect O Ya to have real wasabi: don't they?

RichardPF: Thanks Jackie.

Marc H.: So it looks like we've heard from a few of our viewers about spicy dishes. Anyone else have any? If not, we'll move on.

LDGourmet: That is just silly, Rich. Used to be able to ask for and get for a simple $5 up charge. Then it became a secret way to bilk foodies.

Patrick Maguire: MC- I just had those on Sunday night. Love them and the sea salt(?) that comes with them.

LDGourmet: O Ya - can't recall Slim, but I'm sure they do.

Marc H.: Mostly everyone seems to like cheese, so let's talk about specific dishes at restaurants where the cheese puts these dishes over the top. Again, I'll start, and I'll go with a rather well-known one--the Greek salad at Christo's in Brockton is one of my favorite dishes of any kind in the Boston area, as the tangy, salty, and creamy tastes coming from the cheese puts the head and shoulder above any other I've had around Boston. (The terrific dressing doesn't hurt, either.)

Palo Alto: Anything with huacatay or aji de gallina from Rincon Limeno or El Chalan.

Marc H.: Oops, that was in reference to spicy foods, right, Palo Alto? :-)

Marc H.: And of course I meant to say feta cheese re: Christo's.

Palo Alto: It was intended to be spicy, but the aji de gallina is getting you into cheesiness too. :-) For me the dish where cheese puts it over the top is pizza and I think Marc has a few things to say about that!

Marc H.: Heh, I sure do, Palo Alto. Actually, I was on a food trip south of Boston yesterday and tried the bar pizza at Poopsie's in Pembroke. Not quite the best bar pie I've had, but the cheese they used was incredible.

MC Slim JB: The pincho of Cabrales con sidra at Taberna de Haro is so blue-intense that it will make you dizzy.

LDGourmet: Slim you are correct again. Taberna de Haro is a gem, too.

LDGourmet: Joseph Margate gets some phenomenal burrata at CLINK. and it often pops up in great salad combos.

Christine Liu: the parmesan crust on the flattened fried chicken at MARKET. simple but so delicious.

MC Slim JB: Lots of folks serving up great burrata these days. To my surprise, I got a really good one at Strega Waterfront. To our bemusement, our server (with a really bad fake-Italian accent) described it as "mozzarella stuffed with ricottta". I guess conceptually that's close.

RichardPF: Toro's roasted corn with cortija cheese atop it.

Patrick Maguire: Love the burrata at Coppa.

LDGourmet: Slim I had that same server. I said "you have cheese - stuffed with cheese? Could you fry it too?" she said "probably."

Amy Traverso: Hi, this is Amy Traverso, contributing editor at Boston Mag. Bin 26 has those great cheesy-oozy arancini.

Marc H.: Hi, Amy! Welcome to the discussion!

MC Slim JB: Chili paneer at Indian Dhaba, an Allston joint with a big menu of Indian/Chinese dishes. Paneer stands in for tofu in that dish: lovely.

Marc H.: Speaking of paneer, I totally forgot about the paneer vindaloo at India Restaurant on the Providence/Pawtucket border. I literally had tears rolling down my face when I tried it, but the cheese was tremendous.

Mmmm Pizza: It's a bit old school, but the Mac n Cheese at Winthrop Arms is incredible.

Marc H.: Perhaps the best mac and cheese I've had in the Boston area, and one of the strangest locations for a restaurant!

Patrick Maguire: Richard- This may be old news, but Toro also serves their burger ($8) 'messy' with the same cheese mixture they use on their corn. Simple burger, soft bun, awesome. Full house today, Marc.

RichardPF: I actually did not know that Patrick,so thanks.

Dana: I've found the food (and service) at Indian Dhaba to be inconsistent.

Christine Liu: i think it may have been a special, but epoisses-stuffed tortellini was exquisite at sportello. so stinky and so rich.

Amy Traverso: The yogurt served at Sofra is fantastic. I'm pretty sure it's from Sophia's, a Greek store in Belmont, unless they started making it themselves.

Marc H.: Sofra seems like the type of place that could be mentioned a number of times here.

Carol Yelverton: Sophia's does every thing well. That's where I buy my feta.

MC Slim JB: Grilled sausage trio at Pops in the South End: basically a super-deluxe poutine. Great fries, three kinds of housemade game sausages (venison, wild boar, duck), short-rib gravy, and a not-traditional but lovely soft white cheese curds, probably house-made, too.

LDGourmet: oh Slim, will you marry me

MC Slim JB: Our meals would never be dull, LD!

LDGourmet: especially with our partners pounding on the door...

LDGourmet: I do think Pops is kind of overlooked. I forget about it myself then when I go again, I wonder why I don't go more often.

Patrick Maguire: Seems like Pops is struggling on many fronts. Had lunch there last week.

LDGourmet: Patrick really?

Dana: They used to have a killer Monte Cristo, but I haven't seen it on the brunch menu there in quite some time.

LDGourmet: I see Toro in my future.

Palo Alto: I am a sucker for aged provolone, its a bit tricky to grill on a stick (easier on a plancha) but superlative. I also love it in a Roast Pork Italian with rabe when in Philly, Cutty's gives a run at a similar sandwich. The rabe and italian sausage which Il Pannino express in Harvard did was good (not certain about the other locations), but no aged provo.

MC Slim JB: I still remember the aligot at the original North End Sage: potato-and-Cantal-cheese puree served in a tall cylinder of deep-fried super-thin potato shreds, probably cut lengthwise from big spuds. Stunning presentation, incredibly tasty, like a savory ice cream cone.

MC Slim JB: The free gougeres at the bar at No. 9 Park might be one of my favorite bar snacks in town.

Marc H.: We're quickly running out of time, so let's move onto our last category, which is the best desserts. I'll start, going with the churros with warm chocolate sauce at Loco Tapas and Wine Bar in Easton. The chocolate sauce is indescribably rich and creamy, and the churros, well, I could make into a meal.

LDGourmet: Had nice churros at Noche w/ dulce de leche (and free gougeres always good)

MC Slim JB: I think the profiteroles served at Brasserie Jo are terrific: simple and homey (choux pastry with vanilla ice cream), with a say-when pour of fantastic chocolate sauce.

Christine Liu: any dessert at hungry mother -- especially when paired with the basil ice cream. usually a slice of cake on an adorable vintage-homey plate.

LDGourmet: I like that Brasserie Jo will leave the pitcher of chocolate on your table if you ask nicely. Or so I've heard.

NorthShoreDish: The orange panna cotta with raspberry rhubarb compote at Five Corners Kitchen in Marblehead is light and smooth and lovely, the chocolate bread pudding at Coven in Salem is insanely rich and quite tasty.

MC Slim JB: Jiho Kim at L'Espalier does stunning work. A bit molecular, but never sacrifices deep flavor for the sake of presentation.

MC Slim JB: Example: milk chocolate banana pudding at L'Espalier: http://stuffboston.com/blogs/feed/FOODCOMA_L-Espalier.jpg

Marc H.: I need to add one more that I had forgotten about: The mars bar toastie from the Squealing Pig near Brigham Circle in Boston. It is loaded with strawberries, bananas, and mars bars squished between Belgian waffles and served with tons of cream. It'll probably take years off your life, but worth every year, in my opinion.

LDGourmet: OMG that sounds like something (the Squealing Pig) invented by stoners.

Palo Alto: Its not very refined, but the Pastelaria Christine mentioned earlier does a decent pastelao romeu e julieta -- guava paste and cheese and during the summer you can OD by walking to Louie's across the street or in winter get a passion fruit mousse or pave at Gauchao.

Patrick Maguire: Speaking of asking nicely, you can get a 1/2 banana split at Metropolis in the South End if you are nice to the home team. There are times when old-school and simple are the best.

Marc H.: Does anyone else have any favorite desserts? We're just about ready to call it a day, unfortunately.

LDGourmet: Richardson's Dairy in Middleton has the best ice cream around. Now available in that cafe on Mass Ave btw Harvard & Central.

Marc H.: Yes, and also available (when the place is open in the warmer months) at The Dairy Barn in Randolph.

Carol Yelverton: Cafe Paradiso -- cannoli and espresso

MC Slim JB: Double cone of deep chocolate mousse and malted vanilla at Christina's: like the world's best Whopper.

LDGourmet: Nice

MC Slim JB: Meaning the malted-milk ball, not the horrendous burger.

Dana: Gotta head into a meeting - thanks, Marc!

Marc H.: Thanks, Dana! And thanks to all of you who joined in on this discussion, including everyone on the panel. It was a lot of fun today!

Patrick Maguire: Thank you, Marc. Happy Holidays, everyone!!

LDGourmet: Thanks everyone! and Look forward to the transcript so I can see what I missed.

MC Slim JB: Great fun: thanks, Marc!

Carol Yelverton: Happy Holidays!

NorthShoreDish: Thanks for some great dining ideas, everyone!