Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Transcript of Online Panel Discussion, December 10, 2013

Topic: Best Dining Experiences (and Food Dishes) of 2013

Below is a transcript of a live online panel discussion on the best dining experiences (and food dishes) of the year, which took place on Tuesday, December 10. The chat included several panel members, with media people, restaurants folks, and food writers participating. The hour-long chat included talks with both the panel and viewers about their most memorable restaurant experiences in the Boston area and elsewhere in New England for 2013, as well as best specific food items from dining spots. [Note: The original discussion can be replayed at the following link: and please go to the restaurant discussions link to check out our other chats.]

Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hi, all! Welcome to yet another live online discussion, with this one being on some of the best dining experiences--and food items from restaurants--in 2013. As always, there's a panel of people here who you may know, including media folks, people in the restaurant business, and food writers and bloggers. Before we begin, how about some introductions? I'm Marc, the founder and owner of Boston's Hidden Restaurants, along with the news blog Boston Restaurant Talk. (I also have a column in Boston Magazine.)

Richard Auffrey: Hello, this is Richard Auffrey, the Passionate Foodie ( a food, wine, Sake & spirits writer. Twitter: @RichardPF

MC Slim JB: MC Slim JB here, twitter @mcslimjb, blog: Currently reviewing both fine-dining and casual restaurants for The Improper Bostonian.

Julie King: Julie here, Mexican restaurant chef and owner at @VillaMexicoCafe!

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: I'm Jen Kain DeFoe. Owner Kain DeFoe Communications -, editor of Cape Cod Travel Guide, write, etc.

Michelle Lahey: Hey all! This is Michelle Lahey - I'm a local food writer and blogger ( My Twitter handle is @MichellePC.

Jonathan Fenelon: Jonathan Fenelon, formerly of ribelle and Strip T's.

Marc H.: Hey there. What happened to this snow event, by the way?

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: It's snowing on Cape Cod, baby. Bring it on.

Walt Perkins: Greetings everyone. Walt Perkins from WBZ News Radio and lover of food. Wine, too. But that's for another day.

MC Slim JB: I just read Walt Perkin's comment with the voice of Walt Perkins in my head.

Marc H.: Ha ha ha!

Walt Perkins: Haha!

Drew Starr: Drew Starr, contributing editor at Eater Boston

Marc H.: We definitely have a bit group today, with more possibly coming. But I think we can start in a minute.

MC Slim JB: The only other person on this chat that I know what they sound like is Jonathan Fenelon.

Marc H.: Huh. That's interesting! You and Julie haven't met?

Julie King: Me and who my dear?

Marc H.: MC.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: I have a deep voice and wasn't often mistaken for a boy on the phone when I was in HS. Any help, MC Slim?

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: I mean WAS often mistaken...

Rachel: I'm Rachel, do some Boston food writing for Serious Eats, the Globe, etc.

Marc H.: Hi, Rachel! Welcome!

Steve Leibowitz: Just can pop in for a few, Steve from the wubulous world of HubFoodTrucks

Marc H.: Hi, Steve!

Marc H.: As I mentioned earlier, this afternoon we'll be looking at some of the top dining experiences of the year, along with specific food dishes from restaurants that greatly impressed. I'd like to look at some of the lesser-known restaurants whenever possible, but definitely feel free to include more popular spots as well.

Marc H.: Oh, and while this is mostly a panel chat, there will be some guests and readers who will likely be posting as well.

MC Slim JB: I am socially awkward and don't like meeting people.

Marc H.: Ha ha

Marc H.: o why don't we start by looking at best/favorite overall dining experiences first, then best specific food dishes a bit later? Let's start in the Boston area and move outward from there.

Marc H.: Any that stand out for 2013? I definitely have a few in the Boston area, including meals at Vecchia Roma in Newton, drinks at Steel and Rye in Milton, and a few others.

Julie King: I feel like we ate out so often this year, it will be hard to remember all the dishes!

Drew Starr: Asta blew me away, in a year where I had a lot of excellent meals

MC Slim JB: I really enjoyed Ribelle this year, eating my way through several iterations of a frequently-changing menu. Too many dishes to mention, but I will cite an outstanding hot cocktail called The Dickens. Cider, spirits, spices, and amaro whipped cream on top. Wow.

Marc H.: Asta and Ribelle are commonly mentioned for best spots in the area, and both are new/fairly new.

MC Slim JB: Hence how I know Fenelon's voice.

Jonathan Fenelon: I will try to keep my biases out of this chat ;)

Jonathan Fenelon: But I agree with Drew with Asta.

Richard Auffrey: Prezza, Craigie on Main, & Shojo all impressed me this year. Prezza reopened after the fire that shut them down for 6+ months.

Michelle Lahey: I've actually had several outstanding meals at Post 390 this year, as well as some incredible pasta (and cocktails) at Giulia in Porter Square

MC Slim JB: Very happy with how the suburbs seemed to get a bunch of great restaurants this year. Sycamore in Newton really impressed all around, especially their boards for two. Vegetarian one this summer especially awe-inspiring.

Marc H.: Any favorite dining experiences from lower-end restaurants? I always seem to have memorable dinners in the old Sears building in Cambridge. So many good Asian spots there.

Marc H.: I also had a memorable night out at the Venus Cafe in Whitman--great bar pizza, great crowd, cheap prices, and nice folks working there.

mrnegroni: Duck at Prezza was pretty great. Super nice bar staff. Steel and Rye had great drinks. Wasn't as impressed with the food.

Richard Auffrey: Outside Boston: Bergamot, Taberna de Haro, AKA Bistro & A Tavolo all impressed

Marc H.: I've been meaning to get to AKA Bistro. Anyone else been?

Michelle Lahey: I'm a big fan of AKA Bistro, Richard! Worth the short drive to Lincoln.

Richard Auffrey: Excellent Michelle! They do great lunch, brunch and dinner, and now have a full liquor license.

Rachel: Memorable, relaxed dinners with friends and family at smaller local spots: Vee Vee, El Orientale, the Haven, Redd's in Rozzie.

Drew Starr: Mei Mei has only been open a few short weeks, but I'll be surprised if I don't find my way to dinner there twice a month. I'd love to see more places at their price point / style. Reminds me in some ways of Strip T's. Ridiculous, unique food, in a casual more-affordable environment

MC Slim JB: As many great cheap dishes as fancy ones this year. A few: egg salad with radishes and oil-cured olives on white at Cutty's. Hand-pulled noodles at Gene's Chinese Flatbread. Sanwich ripleta at Mana Escondido. Lamb meatballs in pita at TR Street Foods.

Marc H.: Ahh, you got to Gene's....the original in Chelmsford is pretty incredible.

Walt Perkins: My dining out experience is limited because of my ridiculous schedule. But a few places are memorable because of the dining coupled with an accompanying visit to Fenway. Eastern Standard was enjoyable. Especially the Chappaquiddick cocktail

Marc H.: Walt, have you been to the Hawthorne as well? Finally got there a couple of weeks ago and loved it.

Walt Perkins: I have not. It's on the list.

Julie King: I'm looking back at my check-ins to remember some names ;)! I really liked the food we tried at Union Bar and Grille in the South End. Also, it's not fancy but we love breakfast food and Dwelltime in Cambridge has great, fresh, brunch, I think we've eaten there almost two to three times per month for weekends now

mrnegroni: Passport in Weymouth Landing had some delicious tapas offerings. Bartending needs to be spiffed up. Eye droppers and various infusion concoctions gave me a false sense of security.

Drew Starr: Also finally made it to East by Northeast this year, speaking of affordable modern-Chinese restaurants (add in Shojo to that list, too)

Guest: Super Cluckin' Sunday at Cutty's has been something to look forward to.

MC Slim JB: That's tripleta: steak, ham, roast pork, potato sticks, Swiss, grilled onions, hot pickled peppers, mayo, ketchup on toasted Puerto Rican bread. Fresh in my mind, as I had my second one of the year yesterday.

Richard Auffrey: In Malden, enjoyed Oye Cuban Cafe, especially their killer bread pudding.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Eastern Standard is always a fave of mine too. Had a great pre-game brunch there this season. Fab hash.

Guest: Chef Patrick has been doing an excellent job with the menu at Eastern Standard

Marc H.: Any favorite Boston-area spots this year for drinks?

Marc H.: As I said before,. Steel and Rye in Milton was fantastic, as was the Hawthorne.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: The Hawthorne for drinks...and food.

Drew Starr: Hawthorne and jm Curley see the lions share of my bar-business.

Guest: Again, Eastern Standard's Monday Night Wine List is a great way to experience some special wines at reasonable pricing. Colleen does a great job.

mrnegroni: I have a big soft spot for Starlite Lounge. It's always my go to place. Nice balance of drink knowledge, innovation and cheerfulness.

Julie King: When we went to the Berkshires I also loved a small bakery... let me look for the name. And in Roslindale, Birch Street Bistro was pretty delicious!

Richard Auffrey: jm Curley for their own barrel of 4 Roses Bourbon

Michelle Lahey: I've actually had some fantastic cocktails at Toscano in Harvard Square, and backbar always makes a mean (and dangerously strong) cocktail.

MC Slim JB: I finally tried Spoke Wine Bar in Davis Square recently, and that's also a great spot for drinks/wine

Michelle Lahey: I've actually had some fantastic cocktails at Toscano in Harvard Square, and backbar always makes a mean (and dangerously strong) cocktail.

Jonathan Fenelon: West Bridge has always been my under the radar favorite for drinks. Always known for food, not necessarily beverages. Being a brown spirit guy, Josh convinced me to try, god-forbid, a vodka drink. JM's is a great spot as well.

Walt Perkins: My wife had the Skate special at Eastern Standard and it was tremendous.

Rachel: Julie, agree on Birch Street Bistro. Friends held their wedding reception there, and the restaurant did a great job.

Drew Starr: Salty Pig in the Back Bay is another place worth mentioning both for great meal (red sauce Sunday two weeks ago renewed my hatred for the crappy places in the North End, because it CAN be done right) and surprisingly interesting cocktails

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Oh yeah; Harvard Square. Park - great vibe.

Rachel: Tacos El Charro went poof this year and took my favorite cinnamon-y sangria with them :(

Marc H.: Yes, sad to see they closed...again. :-(

Drew Starr: it was the West Bridge Bar (having loved Josh at ES) that first drew me out there, Jonathan. I agree wholeheartedly

Marc H.: Before moving on to great dining experiences elsewhere in New England, any other spots you'd like to mention?

Richard Auffrey: In Saugus, the new Iron Town Diner makes an excellent breakfast, and their lunches are good too.

Drew Starr: new chef at Eastern Standard (Patrick Campbell, previously at #9) has breathed some fresh air into a menu that, while I've always enjoyed it, was probably ready for it

MC Slim JB: Ramen options really diversified this year, too. Great weekend bowls at Yakitori Zai (RIP), with Hakata-style noodles at Inaka (great takoyaki -- octopus fritters -- there too), the tremendous jiro style at Yume Wo Katare.

Richard Auffrey: Taberna de Haro in Brookline for superb Spanish wine collection, with over 50 sherries.

Marc H.: I need to get back to Taberna de Haro. Haven't been there since they expanded.

Walt Perkins: Il Forno (West Boylston location) is in an old McDonald's. They could spend a few bucks to spruce up the place but the food is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the Rib Eye Marsala last week.

Marc H.: West Boylston? I don't think I even know where that is! :-)

Steve Leibowitz: Regrets that I have to leave for a meeting and thx to all, but I want to put a quick outside Boston plug for Pain D'Avignon's Cafe Boulangerie in Hyannis. Fine meals and they give you bread to take home at the end. Happy holidays!

Marc H.: Happy holidays, Steve! Thanks for swinging by!

Walt Perkins: West Boylston is just north of Worcester

Julie King: Thank you Steve!

MC Slim JB: Bronwyn filled a big hole in the scene this year with German-and-thereabouts cuisine. Boston Chops brought some great steaks and popovers (and that machaca beef cheek app) to the South End. Giulia killed it with handmade pasta over in Cambridge. Love Gilson's food at Puritan & Co., what the DiBicarri brothers are doing at Tavern Road (great cocktail program there, too).

Walt Perkins: Unless your name is Tennessee Tuxedo

Julie King: It's actually not as bad as I thought it would be!

Julie King: Good time to make hot chocolate from scratch ;)

Richard Auffrey: I also liked the new Bread+Butter bakery in the North End, Lee Napoli's new spot.

Marc H.: Oh, I love Bread and Butter. Nice patio (not today, of course).

Marc H.: All right, Walt got us started on memorable dining spots for 2013 that are outside of the Boston area. Any others?

Marc H.: I have to say that Armbsy Abbey in Worcester blew me away both times I was there. And I had terrific experiences at Thompson House Eatery in Jackson this year (twice as well) and Newes in Edgartown on the Vineyard.

Walt Perkins: Bullfinch's in Sudbury another favorite

Guest: Short & main in Gloucester for incredible pizza

Marc H.: I also had a great night of dining out at 158 Main in Jeffersonville, VT and more recently, a similarly good experience at the Ogunquit Lobster Pound up in Maine.

Michelle Lahey: I will always love Unum's in Nashua, N.H. Have never had a bad meal there.

Richard Auffrey: In Provincetown, loved breakfast at Cafe Heaven: cornbread French toast.

Marc H.: We had a nice night out at the "other" Squealing Pig near there, Richard, in the center of Provincetown.

Richard Auffrey: Phu Ket in Wakefield for reasonably priced and tasty Thai.

mrnegroni: Village Tavern in Kennebunk. Far better food, drinks and service than I expected for a non-tourist locale. (This is about 20 minutes outside of Kennebunkport)

Marc H.: Village Tavern? Anywhere near Duffy's? I was at Duffy's Friday night.

mrnegroni: Yes. about 10 minutes inland going towards Sanford.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Best overall experience on the Cape for me this year was STARS at Chatham Bars Inn. Incredible and inventive food, service, atmosphere all great.

Marc H.: Jen, that's a special occasion place, isn't it? Is it formal?

Drew Starr: Portland Maine: Pan Mei Miyake for best ramen I've had in a regularly open restaurant in New Enlgand, Hot Suppa for brunch (yes) - get the corned beef hash, especially if you think you hate corned beef hash, lobster rolls (on Japanese steam buns!) at Eventide oyster, the tasting menu at Hugo, fries at Duckfat, and the quail eggs at Boda Thai

MC Slim JB: Found myself driving miles out of the way to get to Pai Men Miyake in Portland for ramen and pork buns more than once.

Marc H.: Wow, great minds...

Julie King: You know here in Stoneham, there's an Asian fusion restaurant under management of the Sato II owners called Fusion Taste I was impressed with. I don't typically like Asian food, but they were fresh and very tasty, seemed like homemade fresh noodles and all

Marc H.: I like Sato in Waltham.

Richard Auffrey: For a chain,the new Seasons 52 in Burlington was very good (and food is healthy). Nice wine list too.

Jonathan Fenelon: Agreed on Short&Main/Market duo of Amelia and Nico. Simple, spot on food.

Yuki: Was in Nantucket a couple weeks ago and Ventuno and Languedoc were pretty amazing. They brought it in the off season for sure.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Best unique pizzas on the Cape: prosciutto, honey-roasted pears and arugula at Outer Bar at Wequassett and the "Rustica" at The Lanes in Mashpee. Superb lobster risotto balls at Lanes as well.

Walt Perkins: Michelle, Nashua has some nice restaurants. Throw in Buckley's, too.

Drew Starr: oh, one of my absolute best of the meals was at Simply Khmer in Lowell.

MC Slim JB: Glad I got to Sushi Island in Wakefield before it closed. One of my favorite Japanese places. Our best modest ones all seem to be in the suburbs, for some strange reason. Toraya in Arlington help up its great track record again this year for me, too.

Richard Auffrey: Provincetown actually has plenty of very good food, from casual to high end

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: STARS is a special occasion place. Steep (but worth it) prices and fairly formal.

Drew Starr: ha! love it. my fiance and are taking a mini-honeymoon to Portland this spring before going down to NYC this summer for the "real" one

Marc H.: Congrats in advance, Drew!

Rachel: Up in Keene, N.H., Nicola's and Luca's are two nice Mediterranean special-occasion spots.

Julie King: They were good, if you like Sato maybe give them a try

Richard Auffrey: Julie, I haven't been there yet but plan to stop by soon

Richard Auffrey: Julie, I do like Sato. And Oye in Reading.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: We "discovered" two places right in Harwich (hometown) this year. Mooncussers- great tart with ham and gruyere - and The Port for monster martinis, oysters for a buck and awesome fish tacos.

Marc H.: Any other great spots that you visited in 2013 that are outside of the Boston area? If not, we'll move on to specific dishes.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Guapos - a taco shack in Brewster for years - expanded to a sitdown location in Orleans. Shrimp tacos are great as is the surf and turf burrito.

mrnegroni: Three Muses in New Orleans count?

Marc H.: Ha ha, sure, why not?

Richard Auffrey: Can we mention Los Angeles, as it is outside Boston? :)

Marc H.: We'll call it an outer suburb. MetroWayWest.

MC Slim JB: Lanna Thai in Laconia, NH. So odd to find traditional Thai out in the woods.

Marc H.: That is odd. I found a great Peruvian place in Lee, MA, off the Pike by the NY border. That was strange as well. It was called.....Alpamayo, I believe.

Walt Perkins: HA

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Red Pheasant in Dennis has incredible food - they were into local before it was a movement and chef Bill Atwood's food tastes clean...pure.

Richard Auffrey: One of my best meals of the year was at N/Naka, a kaiseki inspired Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles. Simply WOW.

Michelle Lahey: Gypsy Cafe in Lincoln, N.H. is fantastic - great food, great martinis.

MC Slim JB: Gina's by the Sea in Dennis. Old-school Italian-

MC Slim JB: Italian-American, like Anchovies with beach-bar atmosphere.

Marc H.: Oh nice!

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: "Italian-American, like Anchovies with beach-bar atmosphere." What an apt description of Gina's!

Marc H.: How about favorite specific dishes of 2013, starting in the Boston area and moving out from there?

Marc H.: I'll go first, posting one that isn't for the squeamish.

Marc H.: Also, the Indonesian fried rice from 3 Country Bistro in Woburn. Good God...

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Oooh...that looks so good!

Richard Auffrey: At Craigie on Main: Slow-Roasted Pheasant Breast & Confit Leg with quince, chestnuts, and matsutake mushrooms.

Richard Auffrey: Shojo's "Damn! Damn!! Noodles!!!"

MC Slim JB: So many. I'll start with venison pastrami app, and the giant schweinshaxe entree at Bronwyn.

Jonathan Fenelon: Mei Mei street kitchen is quickly becoming a a regular spot for me - great food without breaking the bank - incredible value. Rib and Belly Pork Chops is a must have. And though not necessarily a dish, their house-made N/A beverage program is pretty fun - the haymakers punch.

Richard Auffrey: At Prezza: Chestnut Raviolini with pulled duck, butter and parmigiano cheese

MC Slim JB: 30-day aged NY strip at Bogie's Place, with one of Kevin Mabry's variants on a Manhattan alongside.

MC Slim JB: Sundubu jigae (soft-tofu stew) with octopus and beef at the new Kaju Tofu House in Harvard Square (lunch today, actually).

Marc H.: If only I had known, MC, I would have met you there (I was very close to there earlier).

Julie King: I had some delicious pasta at Cinquecento, I have my places for pasta because I know they do it right and these guys were new for me but good

Marc H.: I miss Rocca, but have heard good things about this place.

MC Slim JB: Pan-fried stuffed eggplant dim sum at Bubor Cha Cha.

MC Slim JB: Smoked cod fritters at The Abbey in Washington Square, Brookline.

MC Slim JB: Soft-shell crab appetizer at The Gallows.

Michelle Lahey: The smoked gouda and lobster mac and cheese from Harvest has been haunting me since I had it 5+ months ago. So simple yet incredibly delicious and comforting!

Marc H.: Walked by Harvest the other day and really wanted to go in.

MC Slim JB: Snails and snail-shaped pasta (help me with the word, Fenelon) at Coppa.

Julie King: It was their truffle fettuccine fyi!

Marc H.: Ooooh

Drew Starr: Jonathan beat me to it. that pork chop at Mei Mei is absurd. sliced off the bone but served with it, along with house made steam buns. I have 2 slices left in my fridge still from a meal we had 3 nights ago

Marc H.: You guys have convinced me about Mei Mei. Is it getting some crowds?

MC Slim JB: Hot dog with everything from Boston Super Dog, f/k/a Speed's. RIP, Gregg Gale.

Marc H.: Yes, a huge loss. And way too young.

Tom Bartlett: Totally random but I love the avocado tacos from the Taco Truck.

Drew Starr: they got slammed on Friday night, apparently, but it was quiet when we were there Sunday evening. I hear they're doing a steady lunch

MC Slim JB: Breakfast sandwich: fried egg, American, bacon, ketchup on oversized English at Sidewalk Cafe in Southie.

Jonathan Fenelon: Crowd isnt there yet at Mei Mei, which is why you need to go now. I have a good feeling about reviews...hint, hint, press guys

Yuki: Soup dumplings, duck buns & lobster at Dumpling Cafe. I agree on the steak at Bogie's I go back once a month for it. The pasta a Guilia. Halibut special at West Bridge and was lucky enough to get the collar as a chef's treat.

Drew Starr: that may have been the single worst piece of news in the Boston food community this year. absolutely gutting. There is a scholarship at Future Chef's in Gregg's name.

Marc H.: Yes. Any word about the future of Super Dog?

Tom Bartlett: I find Mei Mei slammed every time I head over. They sell out of favorites often.

MC Slim JB: Three course Peking duck with housemade noodles at China King.

MC Slim JB: Kimchi jigae at the funniest-named Korean restaurant I've ever been to Bethlehem To Go.

Drew Starr: was the 30 under 30 event from Zagat last night at ICOB. I hate 4 of them to confirm, but their oyster slider is still my favorite thing in the city.

Drew Starr: I spoke with someone in his family a couple weeks after he passed (only because they had a note on their website to call with inquiries) and they weren't sure yet

MC Slim JB: Veggie burger at Root, in Allston.

KidNosh: Hi! I have to agree with everything about Mei Mei. And can the staff be any nicer??

Tom Bartlett: Oh yeah? MC Slim is it a grain or bean based?

MC Slim JB: Trotter/puy lentil salad at Kirkland.

MC Slim JB: Roast beef scallion roll and pork/crab XLB at Dumpling Cafe.

Marc H.: Not to make Julie blush, but her taquitos at a popup I went to earlier this year rivaled some of the best items I've had all year.

Jonathan Fenelon: Damn Slim, I am incredibly jealous of your life. Take me along for the ride?

Rachel: Tofu banh mi from Ba Le Bakery in Dorchester.

Walt Perkins: Anejo Steak Frites at Anejo in Falmouth

Marc H.: Walt, I want to know more about those! Also, we're moving on to the rest of New England, so good timing there. :-)

Drew Starr: everything. really, everything, on the dinner menu at Lucy Ethiopian on Mass Ave near Symphony Hall

Marc H.: Oh yes. Great, great place.

MC Slim JB: Root's veggie burger is black bean and quinoa based, a beauty. Love their sweet potato quesadilla, too. They don't go out of the way to point it out, but it's a vegan joint.

Julie King: haha, thank you my dear ;)!

MC Slim JB: As I said, I am socially awkward, which makes eating so attractive. No talking with one's mouth full.

Julie King: More pop-ups may come soon thanks God!

Marc H.: Woo hoo!

Richard Auffrey: Gotta give kudos to the fried pickles at jm Curley

Tom Bartlett: Eggplant sub at Depasquales in the North End

Julie King: Where is the Ethiopian food?

Marc H.: It's by Symphony station near where the Back Bay and South End meet. Lucy's, that is.

MC Slim JB: Smoked brisket po' boy and plate o' fried chicken at Estelle's.

MC Slim JB: Ethiopian: Addis Red Sea, Lucy's, Fasika.

Marc H.: All right, how about specific dishes from restaurants outside of the Boston area this year?

MC Slim JB: Done the coffee ceremony at Lucy's yet, Marc?

Marc H.: Not yet. It's on the list.

Julie King: thank you!

Marc H.: So this may be the best thing I've had all year, and it's from When Pigs Fly on the Kittery/York line in Maine.

Marc H.: House-made coppa. That's all I gotta say.

Tom Bartlett: Oh man that looks good

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Pigs Fly looks pretty darned tasty.

Marc H.: One of my five favorite restaurants in New England.

Tom Bartlett: I wish Boston wasn't so lacking in good pizza.

Walt Perkins: Looks damn tasty, Marc

Marc H.: Everything is good there. Everything. BTW, I'm crashing right now because I ate too much of their chocolate bread today.

Richard Auffrey: Mmm..I have to get to When Pigs Fly then. Always just stop for bread.

Tom Bartlett: I will be getting in the car and driving to Maine for that pie.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Cape faves: Palourdes sautees de Richard Blakely at PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet. South of the Border pizza at Zia Pizzeria in Orleans. Curried oysters at Regatta of Cotuit.

Walt Perkins: Anejo Steak Frites served with spicy cotija frites and a chipotle sauce. Good stuff

Drew Starr: Let me know when you do Marc, that's not quite a football field away from me. Dishes outside of Boston? Back to Portland for the quail eggs I didn't full describe earlier. Scorching hot pan (it might be an okonomiyaki or escargot pan than they drop quail eggs into each slot with a couple shots of seasoning. Simple, perfect late night bar snack

MC Slim JB: Fried cauliflower sandwich at Strip-T's, in the remote hamlet of Watertown.

MC Slim JB: Strip-T's queso de cabeza sandwich was a close second.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Roasted Local Cod with white bean, steamed clams, parsley at 28 Atlantic is sublime.

Marc H.: Ohh. What town, Jennifer?

Julie King: My mouth is watering

Tom Bartlett: I have had that cauliflower sandwich upon reading one of your reviews Slim. It was delicious but so heavy. Maybe once every six months unless I got an off one.

KidNosh: Strip T's Eggplant Banh Mi for a close 3rd!

Marc H.: Another top item from this year was the Argentine beef sandwich from Armsby Abbey in Worcester. Goes well with a beer or two or three or....

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: It's at Wequassett in Harwich. There's also a dive fish market in Harwich Port that's a must; George's place has incredible fish tacos and lobster salad rolls. The place itself is picnic tables on a highway. The food is remarkable.

Tom Bartlett: I am starving now

Tom Bartlett: Going to try that eggplant bahn mi next

MC Slim JB: The crispy pig's head with squid ink crumbs at Strip-T's' guest-chef dinner was also stunning. Lamb sandwich on the everyday lunch menu for a while, too. (I like Strip-T's.)

KidNosh: Amazing sushi at Mac's Shack in wellfleet.

Julie King: hmmmmm, maybe because of the name???

Marc H.: All right, any others? I have two final questions for you in a minute.

Julie King: sounds fun!

Walt Perkins: Okay, I need to win the lottery tonight so I no long have a 2am wakeup call can can visit every single one of these places

Marc H.: Me too. Maybe we can pool our money.

Walt Perkins: and can.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Go Walt, go!

Julie King: you're right Walt!

MC Slim JB: Tete de Moine, scraped with a girolle, served with quince jam on black-pepper bread at Steel & Rye.

Walt Perkins: damn keyboard. Too many Cabernet spills

Marc H.: Ha ha.

Drew Starr: Slim, if you like Strip T's, they're doing a "mashup" with El Pelon on New Year's Eve day. We're going there for lunch and then to the Ribelle and North combination dinner that evening.

Marc H.: All questions....

Marc H.: Ready?

MC Slim JB: I saw that, Drew. Looks good enough to violate my "no going out on NYE or NYD" rule.

Tom Bartlett: Oh yes, Ribelle

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: I see you shiver with...anticipation.

Marc H.: If you could pick your #1 most memorable dining experience of 2013, what would it be?

Marc H.: I may go with Armsby Abbey in Worcester. I wish it were closer to Boston.

Richard Auffrey: N/Naka restaurant in LA. Locally, Alsatian wine dinner at Craigie on Main.

KidNosh: West Bridge Tasting Menu (sans kids)

Tom Bartlett: Ugh newborn here, barely got out besides some take out and some food trucks sadly

Michelle Lahey: Whew, that's a really hard question! But the two that immediately came to mind are Puritan & Co. (local) and vegan Mexican food at Gracias Madre in San Francisco (not so local).

Drew Starr: a popup dinner that Mei Mei did with Washington Square Tavern. It introduced me the charcuterie at Wash Sq (should be on everyone's best charcuterie list) but also let me know just how much beyond (excellent) street food that team is capable of producint

Marc H.: Locally (since Worcester isn't quite local), I might go Yeah, I'm going with it. The Newbridge Cafe in Chelsea. There, I said it. Incredible tips, homemade meatballs, and servers who are 110 years old.

MC Slim JB: Kitchen Fire Night at Ribelle. The smokiness really added something.

Walt Perkins: I really enjoyed Enzo in Newburyport.

Marc H.: Walt, did you hear the news?

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: I can't separate the emotion from that question so I have to say The Port in Harwich Port. It was a spur-of-the-moment we're-too-tired wedding anniversary thing. Very good food, excellent wines by the glass, the aforementioned monster martinis and dollar oysters but mostly having way too much fun with one person for 20 years. So I'm a goofball. Sue me.

Julie King: It was not at a restaurant, it was at a friend's house. They made a homemade Venezuelan dinner for my daughter's birthday and our dear friend, Angie, who just passed from cancer was still with us to celebrate. A little sad, but that's the most yummy and memorable. At a restaurant, we had a touristy but nice dinner at Top of the Hub and it was very special, but we eat out often so every time we try a new place we are happy!

KidNosh: Tom - lots of great kid-friendly dining options even with a newborn. Check out

Rachel: Vee Vee in JP. I ate off everybody's plate: beet soup, oysters, scallops, turnip puree, pollack, potato gorditas, butterscotch pudding.

Tom Bartlett: Oh I forgot, yes we went to West Bridge too. Very tasty but a little precious with the foams and all. Felt like I was in a Portlandia episode.

Walt Perkins: no

Marc H.: Enzo is closing. :-(

MC Slim JB: Also loved taking a food-geek friend who had never been to China King for Peking duck.

Tom Bartlett: Thank you Kidnosh!

Walt Perkins: Wow. That surprises me.

MC Slim JB: Food wasn't great, but it was worth it for one last meal at the Hilltop for the stolen fiberglass cow.

Walt Perkins: LOL

Jonathan Fenelon: Thank you, Julie, for mentioning best dining experience being out of a restaurant and in the company of good people.

Yuki: Guilia - ate at the pasta making table in the back with a big group, so we ate everything. Amazing.

Marc H.: #1 favorite meal this year, locally and/or outside of the area.

Marc H.: I'll go with the coppa pizza from When Pigs Fly.

Drew Starr: Thanksgiving. First year that I did the bird for the whole family.

Marc H.: Nice.

Julie King: It's usually how it is my friend, the people make the memory :)

Julie King: In Mexico, for my birthday, fresh made Chiles en Nogada this July. Just delicious.

Marc H.: Oh that sounds so good, Julie.

Richard Auffrey: Caviar, cheese, and other apps with 6 bottles of Franciacorta at home.

Tom Bartlett: A friend of mine is a crazed pizza guy, had one of the best pies ever at his house. Roasted mushrooms with truffle oil. Good Lord.

Michelle Lahey: This is super lame, but our wedding meal was my favorite - it was all of the food we wanted, each paired with a different craft beer.

Marc H.: Not lame at all! That's so cool!

Tom Bartlett: Or just a simple bowl of ramen at Sapporo

Marc H.: All right--I'm going next door and will add the rice bowl with chicken katsu and egg from Ittyo. That'll be my other fave.

Julie King: Thats sweet Michelle!

MC Slim JB: Valentine's Day lunch at Drink. Then off-the-menu double cheeseburgers, playing hooky from work and drinking a lot of highballs.

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Crap; can't remember name. Someplace at Lafayette Square in DC. Great restaurant experiences all around on a recent trip to DC.

Drew Starr: that's my favorite part about going to Mei Mei. Since they're catering our wedding, every meal is like a tasting

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Agreed. That is so cool Michelle. Congrats!

KidNosh: Kids brought me donuts from Linda's in bed on Mother's Day. Awesome.

Jonathan Fenelon: Table 21 at Volt, in Frederick, MD.

Michelle Lahey: Thanks, Jennifer and Marc!

Yuki: Whole fish at La Sirena Clandestina in Chicago

Tom Bartlett: Still haven't been to Drink. I fear my wallet and the hangover.

Marc H.: All right, we could continue talking all day about food, but our time is up (and I'm actually meeting 30 people for dinner!). Thanks so much for joining in today. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Walt Perkins: Michelle, congrats. Nothing wrong with a great meal on a great day

Rachel: Early-morning tuna sashimi at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Fresh and unforgettable.

Richard Auffrey: Are you paying for dinner too? :)

Marc H.: No. :-(

MC Slim JB: Thanks again, Marc; great fun as always!

Tom Bartlett: Thank you all! Happy Holidays!

Walt Perkins: Marc, thanks as always. And thanks everyone, for the wonderful information

KidNosh: Thanks and happy holidays everyone!

Michelle Lahey: Thanks, Walt! I agree. :)

Michelle Lahey: hanks, Marc - Happy Holidays to all!

Rachel: Thanks for hosting, Marc! Lots of fun.

Julie King: Thank you my friend and everyone!

Richard Auffrey: Thanks all and happy holidays

Julie King: Happy holidays!!!

Jennifer Kain DeFoe: Merry Christmas, everyone. Thanks so much. So informative!

Jonathan Fenelon: Thanks and Happy Holidays everyone

Walt Perkins: Happy Friday the 13th!

Marc H.: Whoa. :-D

Walt Perkins: somebody's birthday....wink, wink, nudge, nudge