Jon: Winter Blues and Comfort Foods

Hello all! The spring semester has kicked off in true Boston style: with bitter cold winds and flurries of icy snow. Californians and Southerners may be horrified by the reality of such severe conditions, but they can take comfort in the knowledge that even for us born and bred New Englanders, winter sucks.

So you might be wondering how to deal with such frosty temperatures, which cut right through even the wooliest scarves, gloves and pea coats? Good question. Toasty clothing is a start, but my personal favorite is a steaming plate of home-style deliciousness served up hot in a cheery and lively restaurant. Thus I present to you my guide to some of the best eats to cheer up those dark and dreary winter nights.

1. Mr. Bartley’s Burgers (Harvard Square) – Perhaps the king of comfort foods, there’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a juicy, meaty, medium rare hamburger. Whether it’s slathered in Swiss cheese or buried under bacon and avocado, a well-made patty on a hearty bun is a great way to warm up the winter. Mr. Bartley’s is known for their phenomenal homemade burgers, all of which are named after celebrity people and places (I’m partial to the Michelle Obama myself). Come into this Harvard Square haunt for a cheery, pub-ish atmosphere with lively conversation, packed tables, friendly waitresses and , of course, delicious burgers. Don’t forget the fries and pickle!

2. Pizzaria Regina’s (North End) – For those who are adventurous enough to make it over to the North End, the original Pizzaria Regina’s is a must for comfort dining. Now a small local chain, this location is the restaurant that started it all. Some people question the quality of certain pizza joints, but located in the heart of Boston’s North End, you can be confident that Regina’s is steeped in all the authentic Italian qualities of that district. Need more reassurance? Look no farther than the menu. When a restaurant only serves pizza and beer, that’s when you know they mean business. Come in for a slice or a pie, and don’t be off-put by the somewhat gruff manner of the staff: that’s just business when you’re the most popular and authentic pizza palace in Boston.

3. Osaka (Coolidge Corner) – For those looking for something a little more eastern in nature, Osaka is the go-to place. Stemming from a restaurant in the Western Massachusetts college town of Northhampton, Osaka provides authentic, exquisite Japanese food for a reasonable price. Split between a vibrant and noisy Hibachi grill, and a quieter and extremely pleasant dining room, Osaka has something to offer for everyone. Though sushi might not be your first thought when trying to escape the winter cold, exploring the menu further reveals a whole host of delicious and comforting options. I personally recommend the Katsu Don: Warm panko-breaded pork over rice with a fried egg on top reminds me of down-home cooking with an eastern twist. It just goes to show that people need a little bit of comfort from their cuisine everywhere.

4. Clam Chowder (New England) – Okay, so this one isn’t an actual restaurant, but nothing is more regionally delightful and comforting as a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder. Great recipes can be sampled all over the north east, but for a Boston fix, Legal Sea Foods has you covered with a great upper-end option (their chowder has been served at several presidential inaugurations!),  and some of the Quincy Market restaurants do a great chowder-in-a-bread bowl, sure to warm up the coldest of winter nights!

Hopefully you’ve worked up an appetite by the end of this post – now go out and explore! After all, 9 out of 10 moms say a hearty meal is the perfect cure to the mid-winter blues.

Until next time,

Jon

 

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