My mom just left Boston after an amazing weekend of exploring, hanging out, and of course, eating. Anytime I have visitors in this beautiful city, I always make sure to capitalize on the opportunity of non-dining hall food.

1. Stephanie’s On Newbury


Photo by Jessica Citronberg

This stop was a late lunch/mid-day snack to hold us over until dinner (and a pretty good excuse to stroll down Newbury Street). We split the seared atlantic salmon salad. Thinly sliced red beets covered the bottom of the plate like a warm blanket. Lightly tossed in a lemon vinaigrette, the arugula was the perfect base for the small roasted yellow beets, pistachios and fennel.

We also devoured the lobster guacamole. This ish was like no other guac that exists on this planet. The lobster was juicy and vibrant, the guac was creamy and filled with flavor, and the corn was fresh and crunchy. It was served with tortilla chips with the crunch and style of a pita chip.

2. Carmelina’s


Photo by Jessica Citronberg

This North End institution is our favorite destination. Every time my mom comes to Boston, we make sure to secure a reservation at this twelve table establishment. The space is intimate and makes you feel like everyone is enjoying the same incredible meal.

Full disclosure, two of my friends joined me and my mom for this meal. Although we probably could’ve eaten all the food I’m about to describe on our own, we had help.

First we started with a caprese salad. One big mound of buffalo mozzarella surrounded by freshly picked from the vine yellow and red tomatoes.

My mom and I split one of the pasta specials. This dish was stacked with Mimmo’s baked meatballs, house made sausage and the biggest pieces of rotini you’ve ever seen. The flavorful red sauce was poured over the dish, spreading its tomato goodness all over the plate.

Our second dish was a fish special: roasted sea bass. The skin of this firm but flaky fish was covered with a garlic pistachio crust and deep blood orange and saffron sauce.

Both of my friends got the same thing: gnocchi al forno. Each dish is individually baked in a shiny silver bowl, but its shine is barely noticed next to the bubbling cheese and vibrant red sauce. It’s impossible not to completely destroy every last bit of these Italian style potato dumplings.

3. The Friendly Toast


Photo by Jessica Citronberg

Breakfast was served hot and delicious at this newly opened Back Bay location. My mom and I met my grandma here so we could all enjoy delicious food together (everyone always wants to see my mom wherever we go, so we have to fit people in where we can).

I ordered the biscuits and gravy. It started with homemade biscuits, which is the part of the menu that hooked me.

#SpoonTip: If the menu has home made biscuits, order them to avoid weeks of regret. 

On top of the fluffy goodness of the biscuit was grilled sausage (veggie option too), tomato and an over easy egg. Then they ladle on a plentiful amount of white pepper gravy. When I cut into that egg and the yolk ran through the dish, I immediately knew this whole plate would be finished within minutes time. The full in flavor gravy complemented the spiced breakfast sausage perfectly, and each bite got better and better.

My mom got house-made oatmeal and granola, alongside a cup of fresh berries. A semi-lame order for this decadent establishment, but she was the guest so I let it slide. And it may have been lame but the in-house part is no joke, and it pays off. The granola was crunchy and filled with nuts and spices and the oatmeal was the perfect bed to lay out all of the toppings.

My grandma had an egg white omelette with mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. The egg whites were fluffy and bright, and the fresh veggies added excitement to the plate. Let’s not forget about those home fries too. Thinly sliced and perfectly crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

4. Bambara


Photo by Jessica Citronberg

Prior to heading out east, my mom had expressed interest in checking out what the other side of the river had to offer. We know that the people are smarter (lol, hey Harvard and MIT…) on this side of the Charles, but they are serving up some pretty good food over there. We tried out Bambara, which is attached to Hotel Merlowe on the east side of Cambridge.

We were seated at a cute little date table in the back of the restaurant, allowing us to gaze at the luminous chandeliers lining the center of the room. We were baffled by the menu because we had no idea where to begin because everything looked like innovative versions of our favorite foods.

We started with chickpea fries. As avid fans of Middle Eastern food, we are no strangers to chickpeas. We were so curious to try them and it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to eat fries. Cut into rectangles and towered almost like Jenga, there were infinite opportunities of ways to dive in. Herbs and parmesan were sprinkled on this light and crispy tower, and the aioli served with it was worth dipping your spoon into.

We split our entrées, and started with the goat cheese and arugula flatbread. The grilled flatbread was soft and light but held up to the goat cheese, arugula, oven-dried cherry tomatoes and aged fig vinegar piled on top of it. Every bite was full of texture and flavor. The creamy goat cheese, acidic arugula, juicy and bright cherry tomatoes and the sweet and savory fig vinegar all balanced each other out to make a delicious dish.

We made our way diving into the braised short ribs. They were tender and juicy and WARNING: NO KNIVES NEEDED. That’s how tender it was. The beautiful meat was surrounded by marinated rainbow carrots, celery root purée and an orange zest gremolata. It’s safe to say neither of us had ever had braised short ribs quite like this rendition.



Photo courtesy of @jugosboston on Instagram

This fun and fresh juice bar and more has set up shop in an unconventional location, the Back Bay train station. The place is tiny and can sometimes get a bit crowded when more than seven people are in there, but they make up for it with fresh and real deal ingredients.

We split the Los Verdes açaí bowl. Digging your spoon into the green goodness gets you excited for what you’re about to eat. It’s hard to find green things that actually taste good, but JUGOS knows what they’re doing. The crunch of the house made granola balances out the smoothie-like deliciousness. Topped with fresh bananas and goji berries (read up on this super fruit here), every spoonful makes you feel healthy and fit enough to run a marathon.

We also split a tostada with almond butter, blueberries, bananas, and maple syrup. The bread was thick cut and full of seeds and flavor. The plentiful spread of creamy almond butter made a nice home for the blueberries and bananas to stick. The drizzle of maple syrup added the perfect amount of sweetness to the tostada.

6. Douzo


Photo by Jessica Citronberg

Sunday night dinner was done delivery style because the Oscars red carpet was on, and we definitely weren’t about to miss it.

We started with seaweed salad and steamed shrimp shumai. They were the perfect start to our feast. The seaweed salad was fresh and bright, and the shumai were warm and full of flavor.

The Oscars are a big deal for us, my mom even added an extra night to her trip so we could watch together. A lot was on the line, so ordering four rolls seemed necessary.

First up is the Caterpillar Roll. It’s filled with eel, cucumber, tobiko and spicy mayo wrapped with layers of avocado and unagi sauce. The creamy avocado and spicy mayo balanced out the crunch of the cucumber. The eel was warm and tender and paired well with the unagi sauce drizzled over everything.

Next is the Tiger Roll. It started with eel and cucumber and was then wrapped with smoked salmon, torched squid, salmon roe, and mayo.

Then comes the Rainbow Roll. It became hard to keep everything in between the chopsticks due to the overwhelming amount of ingredients, but the mess was totally worth it. On the inside there was shrimp, crab stick, tobiko and spicy mayo. On the outisde, it was wrapped with tuna, salmon, white fish and avocado.

Finally, we have the Douzo Roll. This simple, but satisfactory monster was stuffed with tuna, salmon, crab stick and asparagus.

Every piece of this feast was delicious, and the fun continued when Leo won his first Oscar.

Can you tell we had a blast?


Photo by Jessica Citronberg