Category Archives: Restaurants

Event: Hometown Comfort XOXO

Event: Hometown Comfort

Our neighborhood is forever changed by the tragedy of April 15.  Dorchester is a community of action and determination and despite our grief and shock we are compelled to act.  We can all make a difference on May 19, 2013 at Hometown Comfort, a day for our community to honor victims and first responders by collecting needed blood for the Red Cross, raising money for The One Fund-Boston, and supporting one another with the embrace of a hometown. All proceeds benefit onefundboston.org.

The host committee includes: Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Mike and Kitty Dukakis, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino,University of Massachusetts Chancellor J. Keith Motely, Boston Globe Publisher Christopher M. Mayer, New England Council President Jim Brett and Author Dennis Lehane.

Master of Ceremonies for the evening event is Tom Ashbrook host of  NPR’s “On Point”  from WBUR Boston.

The Red Cross will conduct a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. inside the IBEW Hall at 256 Freeport Street in Dorchester. From noon to 4 p.m., in an outdoor event tent, there will be games, food, raffles, and other activities for adults and children. Admission is $25 per family. From 6-9 p.m., the tent will be converted for an evening of comfort food, live entertainment, and a live auction. At least 20 restaurants and caterers are expected to participate. Admission is $75 per person. Buy tickets HERE.

Warming up at Steel & Rye

When the temps drop into the single digits and the snow piles high, our minds turn to comfort food and  libations to warm the soul. In the most recent Boston Globe Dining Out section, writer Katie Johnston dished on one of the DottieHotties favorite new spots to warm up this winter: Chef Chris Parsons new restaurant and bar, Steel & Rye in Lower Mills. On a cold night in February we cozied up to their candlelit bar while  mixologist Emily Conroy served up some of their signature cocktails. She was kind enough to share with the recipes for our three favorites … some of the ingredients are definitely hard to find so we’ll probably just head back to Steel & Rye and leave it to the experts!

Steel & Rye

Rye Manhattan  (Leslie)

 2 ounces Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

½ ounce Cardamaro

½ ounce Antica Formula Carpano

1 dash angostura bitters

Build in glass. Stir for 20 seconds. Strain into chilled small rocks glass. Garnish with a luxadaro cherry.

Good Life (Bekki)

2 ounces Tito Vodka

1 ounce housemade ginger brandy liquer

½ ounce lime juice

¼ ounce simple syrup

1 dash whiskey bitters

Build drink in glass. Shake for 10 seconds. Double strain in a chilled martini glass.

Verona By Night (Meghann)

 1 ounce Tito vodka

1 ounce grappa

½ ounce maraschino

½ ounce fruit rouge

½ ounce lemon juice

Build in glass. Shake for 10 seconds. Double strain in a chilled coup glass. Garnish with a grapefruit swath.

We Fancy … Summertime Plans

… dotted by the DottieHotties
“… and the livin’ is easy.”
Songs about summertime are never in short supply.  With longer days, and higher temperatures, even the meekest songbird is prone to belt out a tune about jumpin’ fish, two bare feet on a dashboard, or sitting back to rewind.  With the glow of July and August before us, we share with you our “hottest” Dorchester plans …

Leslie fancies … shaking it.

… ordering the best summer take out meal when it’s too hot to cook: fresh tofu spring rolls and pineapple shakes from Pho Hoa.
… tuning up and outfitting my new bike at  Ashmont Cycles, then cruising the Neponset River Trail and the closed Chickatawbut Road on Sundays.
… shaking my tail-feather at the Dot YMCA during Monday night Zumba!
… and being determined to make it to the Ashmont Grill’s buttery-shellfish-fest, “The Lobstah Bake” on August 12th.

Meghann fancies … filling up.

… make it to A Sweet Place in Fields Corner for some sugary treats.
… check out the new PS Gourmet Coffee – a South Boston chain – in Adams Village and try one of their famous breakfast sandwiches.
… trying Karma Longtin’s yoga classes at The Stitch House.
… and stopping in at Repeat Boutique on Pope’s Hill to see if there are any bits and baubles to supplement my boring maternity wardrobe.

Bekki fancies … splashing on.

… treating the kiddos to a creamy treat from the Sugar Bowl - we’ve never been!
… becoming splash park experts; our standby is the Spray Deck at Neponset Landing II, while there is a wonderful buzz about the new park off Centre Street behind St. Marks.
… meeting my newest fantastic facebook friend, Katie Ryan, of Katherine Jane Photography, in real time.
… and joining fellow DottieHottie Leslie in signing up for our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and becoming a regular at the Peabody Square Farmers Market every Friday afternoon (3pm-7pm).

We fancy … Rainy Day Dot Spots

… by the DottieHotties

“Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade?”

Rain can ruin everything; it negates your day at the park, your ability to wear suede, and instead of reaching for a healthy salad, you are forced to eat warm chocolate chip cookies, with frosting, and perhaps a side of peanut butter.  A day of gloomy weather can quite literally rain on  your parade.  Before you start wishing that rain-rain to go away, however, the sunny DottieHotties are here to tell you what we fancy about rainy days in Dorchester.

A Dorchester Rainy Day

Bekki fancies … a book with some spice.  

Leave it to the teacher to get all literal, but libraries have always held a special kind of magic for me.  My dad used to let us check out 2 books every Saturday, and now I enjoy watching my own kiddos explore the stacks — especially when the playground is soggy.  Dorchester boasts six branches of the Boston Public Library, more than any other part of the city!  On the way home, we’ll to stop for a treat at one of the cozy Flat Black cafes.  I melt at the mention of spicy chai tea, and my mini-dots both fancy a cookie from “the kangaroo sign”.

Leslie fancies … being cheesy.

My rainy day pick would be grilled cheese and tomato soup at The Plate.  I’ve been anxiously watching the little shop come to life during its renovations.  Located within view of the Red Line’s Central Avenue Station, it is a fantastically scrumptious lunch spot.  Stay tuned for a full post all about their delicious handcrafted comfort food.  With tummies full of warm cooking, my family fancies watching the river run fast from fresh rainfall on the Lower Mills bridge.

Meghann fancies … monkey business.  

My 3-year-old and I love to head over to the Gorilla House at the Franklin Park Zoo. It’s usually pretty quiet there when the weather’s grey so we get a front-row seat to watch the gorillas. After checking out Little Joe (my son’s favorite), the baby (my favorite) and the rest of the group, we wander through the rest of the complex and visit the ant-eater, the pygmy hippo and all the birds flying around the enclosures. Then, when the hunger bug hits, we drive over to The Mud House for hot chocolate and sandwiches … yum yum!

*     *     *

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Brunch on Wheels at Chau Chow

…Dotted and Photographed by Leslie

The DottieHotties gathered on a recent rainy morning at Chau Chow , Dorchester’s only Dim Sum restaurant. Before we had a chance to pour cups of Jasmine tea, the ‘cart ladies’  were upon us, beckoning us with their offerings of steamed Shrimp Dumplings, Roast Pork Buns and Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce.

We ate until we felt full and even then we murmured: “I could eat more..especially those sweet, sticky buns…what’s in those, anyway??’.

When I was ‘with child’, I craved Dim Sum instead of ice cream or sweets. All I wanted was Dim Sum dipped in soy sauce. You could find me most days waddling through the door of Chau Chow to get my fix of Ginger & Scallion Beef Dumplings and Sesame Balls. To me, it’s a warm, inviting place that nourishes the soul – instantly. Meals on wheels, people. It’s fast. It’s inexpensive.It’s delicious.

It’s what’s for brunch.

Crunchy Shrimp Balls and Shrimp Cheung Foon

Taro Shrimp Pancakes

One of each please!

Dim Sum is served daily (that’s right, daily!) from 9 -3 at Chau Chow. We suggest showing up on the early side to get the freshest choice dumplings and for a table by the window. Great place for a crowd too, tables can seat up to ten people. The noise, general chaos and alright, slight smell of gas from the carts, lends for a festive atmosphere.

***

Chau Chow

699 Morrisey Boulevard

Dorchester, MA 02122

617.288.8188

Focusing on the Dot with realtor Larry Gettings

…dotted by Bekki

“We should focus … Dorchester.”

Larry and I are a dangerous combination: we are both hilarious, we both have beautiful flowing tresses, and we both love to gab.  The gabbing part is what usually gets me and the realtor in trouble; on this particular evening, we are trying to talk about the neighborhoods of Dorchester, but keep getting sidetracked.  Have I mentioned the amazing paintings in his office? Or his cool new sign graphic? It looks like a fence AND a row of houses!

Larry Gettings of The Real Estate Group outside the Carruth, 1910 Dorchester Avenue

“We should focus … on Dorchester.”

I called my friend Larry Gettings of The Real Estate Group because I needed a geography lesson.  All this DottieHotties “discovering of Boston’s best kept secret” has highlighted my shortcomings in the Where is That? category.  As one of the top five real estate offices in Dorchester, I figured he and his business partner Milo Tavoliero could show me how to know a Hill from a Corner and Park from a Point.

I pulled up a chair in their Carruth building office, and was prepared to get to work.  Focusing … on the neighborhoods of Dorchester.  Innocently, I gave him a little DottieHotties history lesson.  It all started at Flat Black, the cafe also located at the Carruth.  Leslie, Meghann and I gathered at the cozy cafe for our first official meeting of the minds; two coffees and and a chai later our misson was born.

Naturally a conversation about Flat Black lead us to Tavolo, the Carruth’s neighbohood restaurant.  My mister and I had recently enjoyed their Spreadables appetizer and a moment of reverence for its whipped ricotta was held by all.

Tavolo, 1918 Dorchester Avenue

“We should really focus … on the neighborhoods … of Dorchester.”

An hour of frantic scribbling later, and we had made some progress.  We moved outside to take some photos and were met with a new challenge: Larry’s friendly demeanor.  As we circled the building, from his office towards the Ashmont T station, he greeted just each and every person that we passed.  As a resident of the Carruth himself, he is about as neighborly as they get.

Joe Wheelright's "Sleeping Moon" at the entrance of the Ashmont T Station

Eventually there was a lull in foot traffic, and I was able to take his portrait.  We bid each other a fond farewell, and I headed home.  As I unfolded my notes I realized three things.  First, I am really bad at focusing.  Secondly, these gentlemen really know how to highlight the amazing aspects of Dorchester and third, there was no way I was going to fit all of this into one post.

My frantic attempts to keep up with Larry and Milo as they give me a lesson in Dorchester geography

Each month, the DottieHotties will focus on highlighting one of  Dorchester’s varied neighborhoods.  It was my pleasure to begin this adventure by spending an evening soaking up the Carruth’s community.  With a snug cafe like Flat Black, a tempting restaurant like Tavolo, a gleaming new T station and a good friend like Larry Gettings, it would be hard to imagine a better way to begin.

The Carruth by Bruce T. Martin Photography, 508-655-7557

For even more reasons to love living in Dorchester, read Boston City Councilor — and Carruth resident — Ayanna Pressley’s interview in Boston Magazine.

————————————————————————————-

Larry Gettings

The Real Estate Group

1908 Dorchester Avenue

617-436-4800

The Mud House: When You Wanna Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

…dotted by Meghann

To be honest, I don’t even remember how we found The Mud House. We moved into our new home in May and by June we were already calling it “our” place.

Mud House Menu

Snuggled into a corner of Neponset Circle at 389 Neponset Avenue (just before the bridge to Quincy), this sweet little cafe serves, in our humble opinion, the some of the best coffee and breakfast sandwiches in the city…not to mention the delectability that is their lunch menu.

Helen hiding at the Mud House

If you haven’t been, it’s an absolute must but be prepared for a little bit of a wait (regardless of the time of day that you’re going); this place is uber-popular and you’re just as likely to be behind someone from Milton as someone from Dot. But — and I can’t believe I’m actually writing this — waiting in line is actually fun. Artwork by local artists (including DottieHottie favorite Celia McDonough) adorns the walls in a revolving exhibition, family cards filled with bright-eyed children collect en masse on the bulletin board, and the place is filled with happy voices of all ages, races, and creeds.

Mud House Kids

But really, the food and ambience isn’t the best part of this little jewel.  The best part is that by your second visit, owners Helen Ryan and Moira English and their team will know you by name, act like you are the only person that they wanted to see walk through the doors, and ask you — and really care about — what you’ve been up to. It’s the morning equivalent sidling up to the bar at Cheers…without a resident Carla.

Mud House Exterior

Not to get all schmaltzy on you all, but to a young family fresh off of 93 South and still a little dazed from a move and the onslaught of parenthood, the sense that these born-and-bred Dorchesterites believed that we already belonged to the neighborhood — and to Dorchester at large — was such a gift. So…thanks guys!

The Mud House
389 Neponset Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02122
(617) 282-0024
Monday-Friday: 6AM – 2PM, Saturday: 6AM-1PM

Baltic European Deli: A Kielbasa Love Story

“I love you.”

He was standing at the open freezer,  professing his love to a block of stuffed cabbage — golabki to be exact.  They were one of the many delicacies that I brought back from my hot date with Baltic European Deli.  Traditionally my mister is the one to escort our Polish fare home, but with a DottieHotties post breathing down my neck, he let me have my way.

Baltic European Deli flirts with the Dorchester and South Boston border.

I was quite bashful upon entry.  It was all so overwhelming and new.  Like a good girl, I had brought my mother along to chaperone the soiree.  She became engaged at once with the fresh baked bread, and our senses were stimulated with the beautiful variety of loves — ahem — loaves.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Bread-holder

Once I composed myself, the object of my desire was located — in the freezer.  The label reads: rice, ground pork, cabbage leaves, tomato sauce, tomato pasta, flour, sour cream, spices.  In my heart, however,  golabki are so much more.  I tasted my first bite of the dish as a newlywed, made by my mister’s Gramma Mary.  One trip to Baltic European Deli, and a little heat is all it takes to transport our taste buds back to a Connecticut kitchen, and a plate-full of hugs.

The Glamorous Golabki

Both lovers of international food, my mom and I took our sweet time walking down the aisle of imported groceries.  Once we rounded the corner, my heart skipped a beat.  Never in all my life had I laid my eyes upon so many pierogi!   Cheese, potato, mushroom, sauerkraut, and more … they had filled dough in ways that I had never imagined possible.  It was more than any one woman could handle.  Vowing to honor my husband’s potato and cheese wishes, I selected a ziplock bag full of Baltic European’s Deli’s homemade version.

I can bring home pierogi, heat it up in a pan ...

My final conquest was the kielbasa.  The expansive deli counter was a literal meat market.  Gripping our cart, we waited in line, our hunger growing more intense by the moment.  Finally, our eyes met with Kamila, a true goddess.  As I timidly ordered the house kielbasa, I confessed that it was my first time.  We got to know each other a little, and I shared my story of woe: a failed relationship with homemade pierogi  – according to Gramma Mary, I didn’t pinch the dough tight enough.

Kielbasa, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways ...

The establishment has been open for over ten years, and is owned by Joanna and Tadeusz Barcikowski.  They also own Cafe Polonia, which is located across the street, and will most certainly be the site of my next dinner-date with the mister.  Divulging her favorite part about working at Baltic European Deli, Kamila said, “I like introducing people to Polish food, checking out their shopping cart, and making sure they have everything that I would put on my table.”  I revealed my groceries, and she had some great advice.  We strayed from my prearranged list, and had an affair with Chrusciki or “Angel Wing Cookies”, Apricot filled Sour Cream Cookies and an additional brand of pierogi: Alexandra’s Home Style Dumplings.  They were still potato and cheese.  I have my type.

Tempted by the fruit of another ... Apricot filled Sour Cream Cookies

As we parted ways, Kamila was all smiles.  She made a promise to teach me more about kielbasa and deli meat the next time I was in the area.  As a token of her hospitality, she added their sandwich menu and the bi-weekly edition of the White Eagle newspaper to our bags.   I am often tongue-tied, so an enthusiastic “This was great!” was all I could awkwardly exclaim.  The experience was so pleasurable that I told Kamila “I’m not so sure about letting my husband do all the shopping.  I want to come back.”

“You should come together next time!” Kamila suggested.

Perhaps we will.  We can make a date out of it.

—————————————————————————-

www.balticeuropeandeli.com

Baltic European Deli: open 7 days a week, offers catering

632 Dorchester Avenue

617.268.2435

http://www.cafepolonia.com/

Care Polonia: Fine Polish Cuisine

611 Dorchester Avenue

617.269.0110

224 Boston Street for Restaurant Week

…dotted by Bekki

“You had me at lettuce wraps.”

He was reading our menu options, and I stopped him in his tracks; I had heard enough.  Lettuce wraps: they get me every time, and 224 Boston Street was serving the appetizer as part of their prix fixe menu for Dorchester-Milton Restaurant Week.

As we drove down Dot Ave towards Boston Street, I was super nervous, and my husband let out an audible groan when he realized why.  I needed to take photos … of our food … with a flash … in a quiet, cozy, dimly lit, upscale restaurant … and my mister, he’s no big fan of the limelight.  I was fidgeting with my scarf tassels as we parked near 224.

Fortunately my fears – and my scarf tassels – were abandoned as soon as we passed through the iconic gate; we were greeted with a twinkling garden entrance, warm interior colors and a huge comforting smile.

224 Boston Street's Enchanted Entrance

I failed in shooting the lettuce wraps.  I barely know how to use my middle-of-the-road camera,  so my flash knowledge consisted of “on” which was too bright, and “off” which was too dark.  I tried to pull in some light from the window, but alas my beloved Asian Lettuce Wraps with Stir Fried Chicken, Water Chestnut, Carrots, Pineapple, Peanuts & Hoisin will remain imprinted only on my palate, if not on my memory card.  My date quietly ate his White Truffled Potato Gnocchi with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms & Micro Arugula.

For the main course, I channeled the wisdom of a fellow shutterbug art teacher.  I swiped the paper napkin from underneath his Pappardelle Bolognese.  Wrapping the thin material around my flash diffused the light just enough for me to do justice to our absolutely scrumptious meal.

Pappardelle Bolognese: Wide fresh pasta with rich meat sauce of Beef, Veal, Sausage & Pancetta topped with fresh Basil Ricotta

At some point during this heavenly voyage of food, Kevin the owner arrived in our corner.  I had been nervously babbling about DottieHotties to our server Debbie, and in the process had encouraged her to invite the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker over to our table; my other half was officially mortified.  Thankfully, 224′s owner was gracious, accommodating and compassionate towards the plight of my companion.  Kevin suggested we focus on enjoying the food.

Black Diamond Flat Iron Steak, Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potato, Glazed Carrots

“I just. want. to. eat.”

I am married to a very patient man, but by the time dessert rolled around, my window of opportunity had shrunk.  I was able to get in one last quick shot before he started devouring his Apple Wonton.

Digging into an Apple Wonton, with my S'mores Marshmallow & Hot Fudge Sundae in the foreground

I left 224 Boston Street with some hefty accomplishments.  I had: mustered up the courage to promote DottieHotties,  filled my belly for $30.12, revived my appreciation for kid-free meals, strengthened a deep gratitude for my sister-sitter, and earned a new nickname.

Thanks to my intense, napkin-flash wrapping, photojournalism techniques, he now calls me “Scoop.”

Viva La France and Mondays At The Ashmont Grill too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ….Dotted by Leslie

Local Butternut Squash Quiche paired with Potel Aviron Beaujolais

It’s Monday night. The husband is home from Hong Kong. The grandparents want to see the kids. Think quickly: where are we going? Refer to the line up for Restaurant Week.

We decide on a local fave, Where Everybody Knows Our Name, The Ashmont Grill.

And we’re in luck; for only $38 we will experience a delicious 4 course vegetarian dinner expertly paired with complementary French wines. Chef & Owner, Chris Douglass, shops Dorchester’s Winter Market on Sundays this month for the ingredients and inspiration behind the Wine Club menu. Our choice dish of the evening was a sublime Cassoulet with Roasted Root Vegetables paired with a glass of Domaine De L’Hortus Coteaux, Languedoc. Perfection!

Celery Root & Apple Soup paired with a glass of Hugel Gentil

And what a hopping local scene for a Monday night. First there was a DottieHotties fast and furious brainstorming session over a round of Dottini’s. Later in the evening we shared our table with local pioneers Jenny Silverman, Founder of The Dorchester Food Cooperative and Bing Broderick of The Haley House Bakery. Bing, we’re coming by soon for some of those famous Haley House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Oh yeah, a couple DottieHotties husbands swung by and Governor Deval Patrick stopped by for a late meal post State of State Address!

Wine Club is every Monday night at 6:30 at The Ashmont Grill, each month benefits a different charity or non-profit. Reservations are recommended.

Cranberry Linzer Tart paired with Chateua La Croix de Jauge St. Emilion