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Boston Restaurant Blog -- February, 2012

Below are blog entries from February, 2012. 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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February, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Ten Great Seafood Dishes in the Boston Area and Elsewhere in New England

photo of lobster from Ogunquit Lobster Pound, Ogunquit, MESpring is just around the corner (believe it or not), and with it, the upcoming openings of seafood shacks all over New England. Because of this, we figured it would be a good time to show 10 particularly good seafood dishes from around the Boston area and elsewhere in New England, including from little-known clam shacks and seafood restaurants as well as more popular spots (such as Arnold's in Eastham). And even though they don't represent the springtime quite as much as classic seafood shacks, we also included pictures from an Italian restaurant as well as a sushi bar.

More slideshows are coming, so keep checking back for updates via the "slideshows" tag below.

Here is the slideshow...below is a link to it, which will take you to the photos of ten seafood items.

Slideshow for Ten Great Seafood Dishes

Related Blog Entries: slideshows

Thursday, February 23, 2012
A Pinterest Page for Boston's Hidden Restaurants

photo of Cuban sandwich from Chez Henri, Cambridge, MAOne of the hottest websites that is out right now is Pinterest, which is basically a social media site for sharing photos. Members of Pinterest can "pin" their pictures onto their personal page, and they can also "like" and "re-pin" other people's photos as well. And folks can also make comments about photos, and they can follow others, much like people do on Facebook and Twitter. Categories of photos (called boards) can be set up and include anything from fashion pictures to travel photos to images of food to, well, any number of topics or themes.

The Boston's Hidden Restaurants site recently joined Pinterest, adding a variety of photos that include food pictures and images of restaurants. The two "boards" we have that contain these photos can be found at the links below:



For those of you who are on the Pinterest site already, feel free to follow our page (and we'll definitely try to follow as many of you back as possible), and for those who aren't yet on the site, I'm thinking that many of you will be over there soon enough, as it truly an addictive social media site.

Friday, February 17, 2012
Memorable Dining Experience at Gaslight in Boston's South End

One of the best dining experiences that I have had over the past couple of years was at a tiny place on Tremont Street in the South End called the Metropolis Cafe; the food there, to put it mildly, was extraordinary, and the professional waitstaff and the charming atmosphere only added to the greatness of the meal. Well, I recently had another dining experience that rivaled that of the Metropolis, and oddly enough, it was at a place (Gaslight Brasserie) on Harrison Avenue in the South End that happens to be run by the same folks. Coincidence? Probably not.

photo of Gaslight, Boston, Massachusetts Gaslight is located in one of the many wonderful old buildings that line Harrison Avenue in the SoWa district of the South End. The interior of the space is rustic and charming, feeling much like a classic neighborhood dining spot that you might find on a narrow side street in Paris. Some of the nicer touches include a beamed ceiling with classic globe lamps, walls lined with bottles and antique-feeling "streetlights," an old wooden floor, and a particularly attractive bar area with a zinc bar, a low beamed ceiling and lots of dark woods used. Indeed, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that there are few dining spots in Boston are more visually appealing than the space in which Gaslight resides.

While most online reviews that I have seen of Gaslight have been positive, it seems that one complaint that occasionally comes up is the fact that service can be a bit of a sticking point. We found, however, that this was anything but the case, at least during our time spent there. Everyone--from the host to the waiter to the busser to the person in charge (who came over to our table to make sure everything was to our liking)--was friendly, pleasant, and professional, with all of our food and drink items coming to us neither too quickly nor too slowly. And the food was indeed something special--the French onion soup with truffled beef short ribs was rich, hearty, and heavenly, though very filling; the handcut frites were perfectly seasoned and crisp without being overcooked; the steak au poivre (which was a special that night) had a wonderful combination of cracked black pepper and a rich pan sauce with cognac and cream on top of the tender cut of meat; the house-made tagliatelle came with little pieces of smoked short ribs, bacon, and mild-tasting pearl onions, making it almost like a high-end version of a carbonara; and the chocolate beignets which ended the meal were almost too rich (we couldn't finish them), but these deep-fried pieces of dough were nearly perfect, with the rich chocolate dipping sauce simply being icing on the cake, so to speak. Drinks included a terrific version of red sangria as well as two classic Belgian beers--Duvel and Chimay. Prices were not all that bad considering that Gaslight is considered an upscale French restaurant, and as mentioned earlier, service was flawless.

Our meal at Gaslight Brasserie was certainly something special, being on par with our similarly unforgettable experience at the nearby Metropolis. I'm not sure that either one would qualify as being a hidden gem (perhaps Metropolis may be closer to this, as relatively few people seem to know about it), but both places pretty much blew up away--and in Gaslight's case, the atmosphere alone probably makes it worth checking out.

For those who want the address for Gaslight, here it is: Gaslight, 560 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118. The phone number is (617) 422-0224.

Related Blog Entries: Boston restaurants, French restaurants, South End restaurants

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
A Redesign of the Boston's Hidden Restaurants Site

You may have noticed a change in the look to our pages of late, as we have been in the process of switching the site over to a new design. Well, the changeover is now mostly complete, with all of the site having the new look and some minor tweaks on the way over the coming weeks. So what is new with the design? Well, aside from a change in the overall look (including new colors and the use of shadows, gradients, and "soft-touch" links), there is now a link bar toward the top that includes a way to get to our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well as the Boston Restaurant Talk blog (our news-based sister site). Also, each page now a link to our food photos section, which seems to be one of the most popular parts of the site. And finally, the site's pages now load a bit faster and the site is more "smartphone-friendly" (and it is also set up for tablets as well).

As mentioned above, the redesign is not totally complete, with minor changes on the way. A few of these include enlarging all of the photos within the site, adding a few more soft touches (including the use of "fades," much like with e-Readers), and some very minor color tweaks.

Once all of the tweaks are complete, we'll post a quick update to let you know. Thanks for visiting the site while the changes have been going on, and thanks as always for your overall interest in the site!

Friday, February 3, 2012
QR Codes for Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk

Over the past few months, you may have seen more and more of these odd-looking bar-code type squares show up in newspapers, magazines, and ads. So what exactly are these? Well, they are called "QR codes," which is short for "Quick Response codes," and they basically allow folks to "scan" a website to their smartphones (using the camera within the phone), much like a checkout person at a market might scan a food item. These codes can come in very handy if, say, you are on the road and want to go to a website quickly and easily via your phone, or maybe if you are looking at a site on your computer and want to send it to your phone without having to do a search for it or type in its address.

We recently added QR codes to both this site and our sister site (the Boston Restaurant Talk blog), with the two codes being found below. Give them a try--we spaced the two of them out enough so that they should be easy to scan individually.

Here is the QR code for this site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants):

photo of QR code for the Boston's Hidden Restaurants website

And here is the QR code for our sister site (the Boston Restaurant Talk blog):

photo of QR code for the Boston Restaurant Talk website

Currently, all of the pages on the Boston Restaurant Talk blog contain the QR code, while for this site, the QR code can be found on the home page only (but we will be adding it to other pages soon). Please let us know if you have any problems getting to the sites via the codes, and happy scanning! (Note: Not all phones will have the capability to scan the codes, but most smartphones are easily able to do so.)