You know her as the editor of Eater Boston, where she’s constantly scouring the city for breaking food news and tracking down the very best bites. But Rachel Leah Blumenthal is also a Somerville resident, which means she’s especially attuned to the current can’t-miss dining experiences here in our own city.
We asked Rachel to round up some of her favorites for us here. Hope you’re hungry!
Daddy Jones is a lively little spot in Magoun Square. The burgers (two options) are among the best in town, and the pita wraps (pictured here with spicy pork), stuffed full of fries and more, are always a good option. And when weather permits, take advantage of the excellent patio!
Oh, beloved Neighborhood. The secret’s been out for years that this is one of the best brunches in town, and of all things, the cream of wheat is the truly iconic dish. It’s one of two appetizer choices with every brunch entree (but really, who chooses the fruit?). And file away this important tip for those days when you’re craving the cream of wheat but just can’t face the sheer gluttony of a full meal there: the servers won’t look at you askance if you order just the cream of wheat, no entree. Plus, it’s even available for takeout.
I’ve always been a fan of Casa B thanks to its excellent tapas and cocktails, not to mention the ultra-romantic vibe, although the tiny downstairs bar made it an unlikely destination when out drinking in groups larger than two. Recently, the team made the brilliant decision to revamp the street-level dining room into a rum bar, much roomier than the bar downstairs. It’s a regular stop in my Union Square booze rotation, and I hope more people discover—or rediscover—it.
Sure, Reliable Market is, well, a reliable market for countless Japanese and Korean products, basic groceries and a lot more, including an increasingly excellent beer selection, but did you know that it recently started serving hot entrees for takeout or dining in? (There are a few small tables if you’d like to stay.) Bibimbap, bulgogi (pictured here), sundubu jjigae and lots more.
I’d probably passed by P & K Delicatessen on Beacon Street hundreds of times before finally venturing into the tiny old convenience store that serves up sliced-to-order deli meats and more at a counter in the back. Now my days are consumed with thoughts of the meatball sub and when I’ll eat my next one. (The Italian sub is a solid option as well.)
Hawaiian-style poke is everywhere all of a sudden. Fine by me; I could eat raw fish at every meal. My favorite of the rapidly expanding Boston-area poke scene is the locally owned, extraordinarily friendly Manoa Poke Shop. Its menu is a bit shorter than some of the other shops in town, but that’s to Manoa’s advantage; it feels less like a Chipotle-style chain than the others by keeping things focused on a few great dishes and toppings.
Important weekday lunch intel: Capone Foods, the Italian shop in Union Square, serves lunch Monday through Friday. It’s just one sandwich a day, available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or when it runs out), served on Clear Flour rustic Italian bread. My top picks are the minute steak (pictured here), served on Thursdays, and the meatball, served on Tuesdays.
Buk Kyung perhaps gets overshadowed by all its newer neighbors in Union Square, but it’s been quietly serving up excellent Korean cuisine for years, and it’s certainly worth a visit. On a cold day, I always opt for one of the rich, spicy soups—usually the kimchi chigae—but in warmer weather, I satisfy that same kimchi-and-rice-cake craving with the tofu kimchi jaeyook, pictured here: pan-fried kimchi, rice cakes, and pork loin in a spicy red pepper sauce with steamed tofu and rice.