The Original Tony’s Clam Shop!

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Boardwalk restaurants are the best way to go after a day at the beach, each city with a hidden gem.  For me, it took some time to find this one, but I’m so glad I did.  Recommended by a close friend, I went out to try what she described as her favorite seafood stop, and I can see why.  Tony’s Clam Shop not only offers FAST service, but great quality seafood 300 ft from Wollaston Beach in Quincy.

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Buzzer while you wait.

Established in 1964 by the Kandalaft family, Tony’s started out as a walk up/take-out stand.   Currently Tony’s can now over 100 customers using their indoor greenhouse dining area and outdoor patio.  Celebrating their 49th year in business this summer, Tony’s has developed a loyal customer base as well as staff.  From a customer standpoint, it’s a no-brainer.

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I was VERY impressed with the customer service.  One of the managers, Shawn, always has a smile on his face and an upbeat attitude even if the line is out the door.  I’ve eaten here now 3 times and Shawn is always pleasant.  Table turnover is pretty good, meaning you will find a table for eating in rather quickly.   No long waits.

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Tony’s menu is full of comfort favorites such as hot dogs and burgers, seafood options, and even Middle Eastern specialties, like tabouli and falafel!  Menu items are a reasonably priced, getting two out of four dollar signs on Yelp ($$).  Although seafood is usually a pricey item anywhere, what you get at Tony’s (regarding portion and taste) makes their numbers acceptable.  I heard the Lobster Salad Roll ($18.95) was a MUST so I ordered one, then added Fried Shrimp ($11.45), and a Fried Clams Strips Plate ($14.95).  I wanted all my favorites, including a Raspberry Lime Rickey.  Not into soft drinks, Tony’s has their liquor license giving customers a variety of beers and wines to choose from.

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First to my mouth was Shrimp!  My shrimp was great.  Best part, NO TAIL!  I could just eat them whole.  Hot fresh and crunchy on the outside, steamy on the inside.  So glad I didn’t have to share the box.

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My instagram Shrimp

Next up was the Clam Strips Plate.  Tony’s won me over with the French Fries alone before even getting to the clams.  I love the cut of the fries. No ketchup needed is a BIG win for me and that’s what I received.  Crispy and golden.

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The clams came out crispy and chewy.  Nothing dry begging for seasoning here.  Salt and Pepper brought out even more flavors.  Insert Homer Simpson Drool HERE!  So good.

And last but not least, Tony’s Famous Lobster Salad Roll.  I’ve had the competitors Lobster Salad for 2 years straight and although it was okay, THIS is where it’s at in Quincy.  Chunky bites of lobster overflowing on a toasted bun.  You NEED a fork to tackle this beast.  I love that there’s no overkill of mayo on the lobster, allowing you to taste and appreciate the crustacean.  My only request NEXT time I dine is no lettuce.  I think it gets in the way of my lobster and roll affair.  My dinner of Champions was complete!

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Want a BITE?

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I’ll continue bring my family and friends to Tony’s because I love the well-rounded quality of the restaurant.  It’s something you don’t usually find anymore while getting grub near the beach.  Most places want you in and out to generate more revenue.  Tony’s has a different approach.  Stay Awesome!

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Tony’s Clam Shop

861 Quincy Shore Dr

Quincy, MA 02170

(617) 773-5090

http://www.tonysclamshop.com/

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Take The Walk Down Abby Lane!

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Being a mini theater buff there are three things that make a night for the arts successful: Good Food, Good Drinks, and a Good Performance. Since you can’t control someone’s acting at least one can indulge in the other two areas of the evening.  With this being a fact in my life, I wanted to check out one of my favorite chef’s newest addition to Boston’s theater district since November 2012, Abby Lane! IMG_1997 IMG_1995 IMG_2017 IMG_2016 IMG_2015

Opened 7 days a week from 11:30am-2am (JACKPOT!) this family friendly, date night perfect, after-work cocktails staple is located directly across from the historic Wang Theater, currently know as the Citi Performing Arts Wang Theater.  Not only can someone start their night here before a show, but they can end it here as well.  Sit down dining when you enter with a view of the open kitchen, with a lounge vibe upstairs.  Designer Taniya Nayak did a great job creating this amazing atmosphere of “alluring” meeting “casual”.  Though this was my second time visiting Abby Lane, this would be the experience I so far cherish the most. I stopped in on a Monday evening to check out their latest Monday night menu addition, “Guys and Dolls”.  This special combines 3 oysters with either 3 beer ponies (140ml glass; small beer) or a short bottle of pink champagne for ONLY $20. All smiles here!  I decided to switch up my order a bit.  Depending on if you’re a guy or a “doll” your drink matches the ingredients added to your oysters.  Once broken down what each sex receives on their oysters I decided to get the male oysters with some bubbly.

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Calamari I wanted to capture for another order out

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No shock for me, Jason Santos does it Again!  The former Hell’s Kitchen contestant is the executive chef behind this new location.  He currently owns one of my favorite restaurants in the Financial District, Blue Inc.  With 5 different menu options, including a kid’s menu, guests have a variety between food and beverages to choose from.  The main food menu carries appetizers ($2.50 to $17), soups & salads ($8 to $11), sandwiches & burgers ($12 to $14), individual 10” pizza ($12 to $14), and main entrees ($21 to $27).  Being that I knew I wouldn’t be stuffed after my 3 oysters I decided to add on some Crispy Buffalo Shrimp and tried the Avocado Shrimp Baguette.  I washed that down with my vintage cocktail, The Abby, for $13.  Cocktails are between $12 and $14.

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Out first were the oysters.  These lovely gems of the ocean were so tasty.  Not only were they SUPER Fresh but also because of the toppings of mango, sesame-ginger, and soy the flavor was amazing.  I had no idea oysters could be taken to this level!  My bubbly was a nice crisp, dry tasting rosé.  Next came round 2, the Crispy Buffalo Shrimp and the Avocado Shrimp Baguette.

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One of the things I must say Abby impresses me with is their presentation of food.  Not only how they place the food on their dishes but also the attention to detail of décor.  The shrimp were served on a black slab decorated with celery root puree, gorgonzola cheese, and house hot sauce.  The pairing of gorgonzola and buffalo is a nice alternative to the common blue cheese or even ranch.  The hot sauce was at a good mild level.  Mixing hot sauce and buffalo sauce can cause a fire in someone throat; I’m glad to see Santos has his formulas balanced.

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The baguette had so many amazing qualities in 1 sandwich.  First, it was light!  I’m not always in the search of a meal that’s going to fill me to the point I can’t finish it.  This sandwich has light spices, packs mega flavor, and came with tasty cucumber relish.  My only personal wish is that the fries were a little thicker, but they’re enjoyable nevertheless.

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My cocktail combined grey goose vodka, elderflower, lemon, and moët bubbles.  It might sound “girlie” but this drink could be considered a bit strong for some dolls.  If I wasn’t a small-framed person I would have attempted 2 that night, but that wouldn’t had been wise.  Bartender and Bar Manager Jarek Mountain was very helpful and accommodating, answering all my questions and helping with comparisons.  Love the staff here!

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Be Very Proud Jarek!

IMG_2071 IMG_2073 IMG_2070 Next time I swing by Abby I’m going for their Brunch! I love gin and their cocktail, “Gin and Jam” which consist of gin, fresh lemon, strawberry jam, and a cinnamon sugar doughnut has my name all over it!

Abby Lane

255 Tremont Street Boston, MA

02116

617-451-2229

http://www.abbylaneboston.com/index.php

Many Stops at Tavern Road!

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I always find it funny when I pasted by a place I used to attend or know of and then Poof, it’s gone.  So many bars and clubs have made their mark in the City of Boston to then disappear for random reasons.  However, just because these old favorites are gone, doesn’t mean what’s new isn’t better or equally appealing.  With that being said, I’d like to talk about Tavern Road in Fort Point.

Inhabiting the once home of Blue Wave Lounge, Tavern Road offers great vibes from the moment you enter mixed with savory treats and tasty liberations brought to us by the brothers Louie and Michael DiBiccari.  Louie DiBiccari is not only owner and chef but also runs an underground supper club, Chef Louie Nights, started in 2003.  Since their opening in October 2012, this casual restaurant/bar gives a loungy feel after hours with passer-byers nodding in approval of the tunes pouring out; hours of operation are Monday through Sunday 5pm-2am.

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Ryan McGrale and Louie DiBiccari on the Sneak

Yes!

Not everyone heads home at 10PM for work the next morning around 9AM.  Tavern could definitely become a safe haven for loungers during the week.  Recently added is the lunch menu from 11AM to 3PM Monday through Friday for the workers in the area.  Although I’m sure scrumptious, I don’t think the masses want to eat from the hot dog stand across the street on the corner EVERY afternoon.

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Do It!

I visited Tavern on a Saturday, close to the time it opened and was instantly impressed.  The layout for the bar and seating arrangements for dining is clean, to the point, with a touch of flare.  Even the windows were dressed up. The artwork on the walls and columns does a great job of contrasting the contemporary feel.  Way to pop!

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FOOD

The dinner menu was easy to follow.  Not like when you go to Uno’s and your looking at about 12 pages front and back.  They have starters, featured dishes, sides, charcuteries (prepared meat products; cured), and little snacks. Although prices varied, nothing was more than $20, which for me, in the city is more than reasonable.  Currently offering $18 steak entrees!  I was feeling more nibbly than hungry so I went with a couple charcuteries.  They’re kind of like tapas.  For $5 a piece I got the Smoked Bluefish Pate, Andoullie, and Fried Chickpea Bites.  What did I wash it down with?  That’s where it gets exciting, but first the food!

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First out was my Andoullie, a spicy smoked pork sausage blended with Cajun spices.  These yummy little bites were perfect starters.  Served with spicy mustard and a sweet pickle.  Great compliments.  Juicy and chewy, quite delightful.  In the meantime between my plates I was served a lovely lemon, garlic bread.  Nice and warm.

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Next up were my Chickpea Bites.  What I loved about these bites is the texture.  Crunchy on the outsides, soft and smooth on the inside.  I wish they came with a sauce, but then again that could have ruined it.  A yummy snack for both vegetarians and carnivores.

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Lastly out came the Smoked Bluefish Pate.  That was INDEED so far one of the best pattes I’ve had since my discovery of charcuteries last year.  Whipped and served, tasting like a fine tuna, minus the mayo, this was my favorite bite of the day.

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DRINKS

 Now for the drinks.  I’ve saved this piece because I was very impressed with Bar Manager, Ryan McGrale and what he intends to bring to the Boston scene for cocktails.  I got Heaven on Her Lips.  Sounds impressive right?  This concoction of gin, lime juice, strawberry and basil was created in a series of steps, one of them performed with a hand grinder.

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Grinding!

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Ryan McGrale preparing Heaven on Her Lips

As the basil rimmed my drink as a stamp of perfection, my first sip gave me a moment of bliss.  Not considered a woman’s cocktail (to me) but not overkill to be a man’s drink neither.  Just a nice happy medium.

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The second drink I tried was featured from the Cocktails From Friends section.

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This is where McGrale earns his crown from me.  Cocktails in this section are recipes given to McGrale from friends in bars all around the world.  Literally from South Africa to New York.  Not only are you getting the TASTE of the drink (prepared from a signature recipe), but it’s like as McGrale called it, “taking a mini getaway without leaving the state”.   Agreed.  I tried Blush Baby by bartender Julie Reiner at FlatIron Lounge & Clover Club in Manhattan and Brooklyn New York.  This rum based cocktail not only made me feel like a mini debutant but reminded me of summer, matching the lovely sunny weather outside.  I’m excited what’s next on this seasonal menu of liberations.  How much are these drinks?  Regular cocktails average $10 meanwhile “From Friends” are about $12.  Not too bad for a mind trip.

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What more can I say?  GO TO TAVERN ROAD!  Do not hesitate!  I was so impressed I’ve told all my closest friends about it, and now I’ll share it with the world!

Xo.

Tavern Road

343 Congress St.

Boston, MA 02210

(617) 790-0808

http://www.tavernroad.com

Say Hello to Wafflemeister!!!

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Oxford Street Location

Wouldn’t you like to have dessert as a snack? I mean any time you’d like.

Smell the sweet aroma from a few blocks away, caressing your tummy with each step forward?  Well this is what happens when you visit a Wafflemeister location.

Founded in 2010, Wafflemeister offers Belgian Liege Waffles, Gelato (Italian Ice Cream), Shakes and Frozen Yogurt (FroYo).  Currently with 4 locations inside London (South Kensington, Portobello Road, Oxford Street, and Baker Street) the company has established locations also in Abu Dhabi and coming in September Kuala Lumpur.

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Choose your gelato

Now there are a couple eateries in Boston that offer Belgian styled waffles, but Wafflemeister uses a Belgian family secret recipe for their batter that, “dates back to the 1950’s”.  Talk about serious history.

Waffles can be sold with or without toppings, heated or not…but if you heat’em they’ll charge a few pence extra.  Prices range from £2.50 ($3.71) to £4.45 ($6.61).  Additional toppings cost £0.75 ($1.11).

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I went there twice to the Oxford Street location, opened 7 days a week from 10AM to 12PM, and I left each time SUPER Pleased!  My first day I didn’t want to get fancy.  I purchased the Waffle au Choclat (Original Liège Waffle [plain waffle] covered with Dark, Milk or White Belgian Chocolate Fudge).  I got Milk Chocolate.  So sweet, warm, and comforting.  Crunchy on the outside, while soft on the inside with melted sweet milk chocolate on top.  I think I inhaled that one.  Day 2 was a bit more of a challenge.

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So good!

My second visit I upped my delights and purchased the Black & White (Original Liège Waffle with Freshly Whipped Cream and Dark, Milk or White Belgian Chocolate Fudge).  Once again, milk chocolate was my go to for fudge.  This time, although I finished my waffle I couldn’t tear it apart as fast because of the thick, tasty, yet light whipped cream on top.  Huge in appearance AND full of taste.  Yum.

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All Smiles!

Wafflemeister makes me want to try ALL Belgium styled waffles both far and wide.  And while I have tried a restaurant in Boston that serves some, I can honestly say London (SO FAR) has one This round.

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Wafflemeister

369 Oxford Street

London W1C 2JW

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7629 8178

http://www.wafflemeister.com/?pid=home

Ten-Ichi Dynanmic Kitchen!

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All You Can Eat!

One of my favorite phrases when that involves good food.  I’m not a fan of buffets since the food served usually is unmonitored for quality control regarding taste and freshness.  Here’s where I make the exception:  Hot Pots.  What’s a hot pot?  Well, it’s when you order raw food and cook it in a broth right on your table to your liking then devour.  Sounds like a lot of work?  It’s actually done in minutes.  I decided to head out to Natick to Ten-Ichi Dynamic Kitchen of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean delights and give their hot pot a try.

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Located down the road from Shopper’s World, this staff friendly, zestful restaurant offers an eclectic menu of dim sum, sushi, maki, noodles and rice as options for those looking to satisfy a crowd wanting to sample many different Asian cuisines under one roof.  It’s easily a problem solver.

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Open 7 days a week, Ten-Ichi offers their “All You Can Eat Hot Pot Special” Monday thru Thursday from 11:30am to 8pm.  So far that’s the best All You Can Eat Special I’ve found in Massachusetts for hot pots.  For $22.95 per person you get all the food you can stomach with a 2-hour seating limit. Last seating is 8pm.

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First part of hot pot decision-making is the broth to cook your food in.  My friend and I decided on a split broth of both Shang Tang (light and flavorful) and Kim-chi (a fermented Korean dish with vegetables and seasonings; spicy).

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There are 6 broths to choose from, 4 spicy and 2 regular.  Next came the meats.  Beef, Beef tripe, Salmon Fillets, Shrimp, and White Meat Chicken were are options.  New for me regarding hot pots were the beef tripe and the salmon.

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Although I stuck to the meats and veggies that came with the deal, one can choose from the A La Carte options, which include Rib-Eye, Lamb, and Lobster at various prices.

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Veggies and Tofu

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My favorite part of the entire experience was…THE FISH SAUCE!  My friend taught me how to take this sauce (more like a paste) and mix it with scallions, onions, pepper, and soy sauce and create this magical experience for my mouth.

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I dipped everything in it!

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My salmon fillets were fantastic.  In seconds they gained their white tinned color.  Although I’m not a huge fan of vermicelli noodles, I’m glad I tried them. I like thicker noodles, like Shirataki or just regular noodles presented with the order.  I left not only happy and full, but satisfied and determined to spread the word about this location.

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Raw Salmon

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Cooked Salmon

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Beef Tripe was decent.

Traveling for a good meal isn’t a bother when it’s fresh and satisfying.

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Thank you Ten-Ichi!

Ten-Ichi

1400 Worcester Street

Natick, MA  01760

Phone: (508) 875-1888

http://www.tenichidkb.com