Neighborhood Staple with Purple Cactus!

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The first time I EVER had Purple Cactus in Jamaica Plain was back in the Spring of 2004.  An ex-boyfriend took me there, raving it was his favorite burrito spot.  I remember the physical experience vaguely but two things stuck out:  my burrito’s size AND my burrito’s taste!  Flash-forward to 2014 and the eatery still stands remaining one of my FAVORITE burrito locations in all of Hub.

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Opened back in 1999 this healthy take on California style burritos has become a neighborhood gem, getting reviews from Boston.com saying, “this place is the bomb!” and “fast food worth waiting for,” from the Boston Globe.  When the first location opened in Provincetown or “P-town” in 1993 the menu had only 3 burritos, chips, guac, and salsa.  Currently the menu has 8 sections, including breakfast, as well as side options.  Normal hours are 9am to 10pm daily with the full menu starting at 10am and Winter Sundays are 9am to 9pm.

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I’ve tried the Vegetarian Chili, which was quite tasty containing a variety of Beans, Monterey Jack Cheese, and Tortilla Chips.  I was quite contempt with my small 8oz. cup.

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I’ve also done the Grilled Chicken and Grilled Steak burritos, but never the Shrimp.  Today was the day!  I ordered my Shrimp burrito with a Spinach tortilla wrap.  Other wrap choices are: white, wheat, none (in a bowl) or Red Chile (I want to try that next!).  I had to make it a “Super Burrito” so I added guac and sour cream on the side.  It was only $1.20 extra and VERY worth it!  For a drink I got my favorite, a Cabo Cooler, a.k.a Lime-aid.

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If you’re more on the no meat or fish side they also offer salads and other vegetarian options, including TOFU burritos!

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What really works for me here is that the customer isn’t skimped by any means with their food.  When your paying the extra for steak over chicken your getting good HUNKS of steak in your burrito, not thin strips.  Prices here vary with the highest priced item being $8.75 for the Carne Asada (Grilled Beef) with Peppers Quesadilla.  My total came to about $9.50, which for the size of these burritos isn’t too shabby.  I wasn’t worried about my shrimp quantity or quantity at all.

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Turns out my Shrimp burrito was Fantastic!  The shrimp were as juicy and poached as described with about 4 nice sized shrimp in each burrito half! Sooo good!  My cabo cooler was refreshing as always.

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Next time I think I’ll switch it up and order a Smoothie.  I wasn’t even aware they had those.  A Classic Blonde – Apple Juice, Bananas, and Strawberries- sounds good, with a Turkey Avocado Wrap.  Yea, that sounds sensational!

With Love and High Recommendation,

Potbelly Tara.  Xo!

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The Purple Cactus

674 Centre Street

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

617 522-7422

http://www.thepurplecactus.com

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Boston Love’s Boloco!

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I love that Dirty Water! Boston’s You’re MY Home!

What can I say, I’m a proud Bostonian and with the recent victory of the Red Sox becoming the 2013 World Series Champions I had to do a write up on one of the successful eateries that’s local based.  This year Boloco turned 16 years old and I thought why not stop in and grab a bite while visiting Northeastern University.

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Imagine 4 guys from the East Coast living on the West Coast decided to share what they love about wraps and burritos from the West Coast back to the East Coast.  Sounds like a lot of back and fourth, but this was how the idea behind Boloco (Boston Local Company) was started.  The chain originally dates back to 1997 when the men opened up “Under Wraps” near Berkeley College on Massachusetts Ave.  Although popular the location lasted for a few months but brought about the group’s newer converted restaurant, “The Wrap” which was later changed to “Boloco”.

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John Pepper is one of the original founders and CEO of the company and continues to keep Boloco innovative with their menu selection.  The menu is broken into a hot section and a cold section.  Options for a burrito wrap or bowl with 3 different sizes assist customers with choosing what best fits their appetite and their wallet.  Prices on the menu are under $10 making a meal within reach for the typical college student.  There’s also the choice of having a shake or smoothie if you didn’t want a fountain or bottled drink.

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Having an environmentally friendly set up within the restaurant for trash, plastics, and compost (as well as LED lighting and Paperstone countertops) it’s clear Boloco prouds itself on being a green restaurant.  They were actually the 1st Certified Green restaurant in the entire country.  Not only healthy, good for you food BUT a good for you Environment too!

I kept my order simple today yet I “goloco” ‘d it.  Goloco is when you, “create your concoction using the ingredients from the add or substitute menu.”  I got boloco rice (white), pinto beans, chicken, and shredded cheese.  The chicken served was (when alive) vegetarian fed, humanely raised, grilled thigh meat.  Good to know what were putting in our bodies wasn’t eating unhealthy.

My chicken was good as always.  I’ve been eating here since 2006.  Always juicy chicken with properly cooked rice and melted cheese.  I got to sample the buffalo bowl too (spicy buffalo sauce, bleu cheese dressing, celery, and boloco rice).  So good.  Lots of flavor and the buffalo sauce wasn’t overwhelming.  Both good options.  For smoothies my go-to is the Cape Codder (cranberries, blueberries, apple juice, raspberry sorbet, and non-fat frozen yogurt) and for shakes I LOVE the Jimmy Carter Shake (all natural creamy peanut butter, banana, skim milk, and non-fat frozen yogurt).

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The Buffalo Bowl…

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I will always visit a nearby Boloco no matter where I am in the states.  There are now over 22 locations (including Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland and D.C.) proving Boloco will continue to share their passion of providing good food and good customer service throughout the East Coast!  I love the fact that even after 16 years there in no rush to expand faster than needed.  The focus here is quality not quantity, which is exactly what brought the Red Sox to their victory this year.  It’s not about how many “all-stars” you have on a team, it’s the Drive of that team, and THAT is why Boloco is successful!

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Wishing you another 16 years and BEYOND! Xo.

Boloco

359-369 Huntington Ave.

Boston, MA 02115

617-536-6814

http://boloco.com

Getting Freaky with Potatoes? Potato Freak!

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Did the name get your attention? It got mines!  One of my friend’s has a thing for eating at places with interesting names and she wanted to give this spot a try.  I’m glad we did!

This family friendly restaurant and café located in Somerville puts a spin on your average potato eating adventure.  Opened Monday through Saturday 7am to 10pm and Sunday opening at 8am this location features their main menu of all day items and a breakfast menu.

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I visited on a Saturday morning, craving something different, meanwhile my friend want to be more traditional.  A perfect setting mix to share meals!  Given a menu with a variety of soups, salads, burgers, burritos, baked potatoes and Swiss cuisines Potato Freak covers a nice variation with cultures.  Prices range from $3 to $16 making eatery a non “pocket breaker” establishment.

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I ordered the Bacalao Rostie Potato, one of their popular choices.  Rostie is a potato pie from Switzerland that has a crunchy golden brown crust with melted cheese on the inside with other fillings.  The bacalao was filled with codfish (bacalao), olives, onions, mozzarella, and cream cheese.  Exciting!  I love codfish so I was thrilled to see how this combination would work.   My friend got the Strawberry French Toast, a Texas toast topped with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.  This was going to be a potential clash for my taste buds, but I was up to the challenge.

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With a $15 minimum Potato Freak has no problem bringing your order to your bedroom!  Well, not literally, but they do deliver to your home or office.

Any rostie comes with a fresh house side salad.  For me, the best part of the salad were the croutons.  They were chewy with a slight crunch.  This was a perk since usually croutons can be too crunchy for me, causing me to flick them to the side of my salad.

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With sips of water in between I went in for my friends’ French toast.  I was impressed.  The thick Texas toast was cooked to a proper texture leaving the bread chewy with no crunch.  The strawberries were sliced perfectly and distributed atop with powdered sugar AND cinnamon playfully sprinkled.  Each bite contained all elements.  So good.

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Next I tried out my bacalao.  The creation was surprisingly delicious.  Not only was the cod distinct in the dish, but the salt from the olives really added to the flavor.  With the mix of cheeses oozing throughout the potato pie I was filled in a matter of minutes and had to take half of it home.  My sister wasn’t mad about that part!

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This location definitely placed a twist on my concept of the typical potato meal.  Yes they have French Fries but why have that when you can get some Swiss Hash!?  Next time I visit I’m having a Baked Potato filled with Chili and Nachos.  Yes, this is an option!  Enjoy!

Potato Freak

102 Washington Street

Somerville, MA 02143

781-823-1773

http://www.potatofreak.com