The night just got away from you. Your listless friends were finally able to find a babysitter. Or maybe that company get-together turned into one hell of an after-party. Either way, the waiter kept bringing you drinks and you vaguely remember doing shots. Revelry has turned into a painful, cotton-mouthed stupor and you can practically feel the booze seeping from your pores. You’re in no shape to cook. What you’re craving is a fried, greasy, gluttonous antidote.
I went around Boston searching for the most gratifying culinary remedies, the dishes that assuage your self-indulgent id. Here are 13 great dishes, whether you’re suffering from the morning-after spins or simply craving a liberating reprieve from the norm.
Lone Star Taco Bar
Breakfast Tacos with chorizo
Sometimes the simplest fare is the most satisfying. Take Chef Rian Wyllie’s fantastic menu of street tacos at Lone Star Taco bar, filled with pickled chilis, slow-cooked carnitas, and house roasted salsas. Everything feels like an authentic Texas taqueria, including his brunch menu, which combines salt-rimmed margaritas and cold lager with plenty of eggs and hot sauce. To capitalize on the success of Deep Ellum’s (its sister restaurant next door) breakfast burrito, Lone Star Taco Bar made a handheld version filled with scrambled eggs, Longhorn Colby, avocado crema, and housemade chorizo. “It just soaks up the booze,’’ says Wyllie. “ It has your meat and your eggs and it’s a little spicy. Plus you can eat it quick and go right back to bed.’’
Price: $5 each
Hair of the dog: Breakfast Margarita – A brunch-only margarita featuring tequila, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, lime and grapefruit juices
479 Cambridge St., Boston
Hang Over ‘Za
Coppa, the joint Italian venture from chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, is a stunning showcase of salumis, pates, and fresh pasta. But during its quieter morning hours there are plenty of enticing cured meats and carby comestibles to tame the aftereffects of blissful debauchery. Case in point, their wood-fired Hang Over ‘Za studded with breakfast potatoes and piled high with housemade proscuitto, bacon, and fennel sausage. “It’s salty, crunchy, and greasy,’’ says Sous Chef Eric Frier. “I mean, who hasn’t woken up after a long night and grabbed a slice of cold pizza?’’
In a bold flourish, two ripe sunny-side up eggs are balanced in the center, ready to lacquer the surface in oozing yolk. “I love to see how people approach the eggs,’’ says Frier. “Some customers take a fork and scramble them all over the top. I like to take a slice and dunk it right in the yolk.’’
Hair of the dog: Smuttynose “Pure Biss’’ – A special collaboration between Chef Jamie Bissonnette and Smuttynose. This whitbier is brewed with kaffir lime leaves, spruce tips, and grapefruit zest in addition to traditional coriander and orange peel.
253 Shawmut Ave., Boston
Sweet Cheeks Q
Buttermilk Fried Chicken and a Bucket O’ Biscuits
Something fortuitous happened when chef Tiffani Faison began researching her menu at Sweet Cheeks Q. While traveling through the American South, particularly that hallowed trinity of Texas barbecue (Lockhart, Austin, and Dallas), she discovered transcendent fried chicken among all the mesquite-smoked brisket, pork belly, and ribs, she says. After returning to Boston, Faison says she spent months experimenting, trying to recreate that elusive synthesis of crackly skin and falling-off-the-bone succulence. Using a two-day, top-secret brine of buttermilk, herbs, and spices, Faison’s chicken might have eclipsed its influential predecessors.
Initially a Sunday-only offering, general manager Fred Graham says, an “angry mob demanded it was on the menu every day.’’ Now this small-batch delicacy is also available weekday evenings. Each tray comes with both white and dark meat pieces and pairs perfectly with Faison’s gigantic, grapefruit-sized biscuits, which Food & Wine magazine named some of the best in the country.
Price: $21 (chicken tray), $10 (bucket of 4 biscuits)
Hair of the dog: “dollywood’’ cocktail -tito’s handmade vodka, lemon cordial, lemon juice, and Kenwood sparkling wine
1381 Boylston St., Boston
Mike & Patty’s
In its sleeker, more efficient incarnation, Mike & Patty’s has retained its many charms — much of the menu and staff remains untouched — without the hassle. Since taking over a year ago, new owners Mike Gurevich and Ania Zaroda have eliminated the erratic hours and the stagnant lines that too often snaked around this quaint Bay Village take-out spot. But the food remains distinctive with weekend hordes still clamoring for Fazenda coffee, migas, and breakfast sandwiches like The Fancy (fried egg, avocado, cheddar, and house mayo on multigrain bread). “Our restaurant is still an homage to Mike Fitzhenry, the original owner,’’ says Gurevich.
Even as they expand and fine-tune their menu, the Breakfast Torta remains a personal favorite. “It’s one of the most unique breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever come across,’’ says Gurevich. Using a heartier Iggy’s seeded French roll instead of a conventional torta bun, Mike & Patty’s is able to pile on a fried egg, crispy skillet potatoes, salsa, creamy hunks of avocado, pepper jack, roasted poblano peppers, and a perfectly seasoned black bean refrito. Also, for those not afraid of a little more heat, don’t miss out on their “house’’ hot sauce made with habanero, garlic, carrot, and a secret blend of Asian spices.
Hair of the dog: Mexican Coke
12 Church St., Bay Village, Boston
Myers + Chang
“Nirvana’’ Chicken Congee
“Congee is often eaten when one is feeling ill, so it makes sense that it is an awesome hangover remedy,’’ says Myers + Chang Executive Chef, Karen Akunowicz. She admits that everyone on her staff indulges in this weekend delicacy, a highlight of their dim sum brunch menu. Congee might be Asia’s answer to chicken noodle soup, but at Myers + Chang, the traditional rice porridge is far more than a savory cure-all. Made with a rich chicken stock, chef/owner Joanne Chang’s “Nirvana’’ Chicken (chicken thighs braised with ginger, garlic, scallion, soy sauce, and sambal), fried scallions, and a spicy soy scallion sauce, it tastes downright hedonistic. Congee is often accompanied by various sides and Myers + Chang doesn’t disappoint with optional toppings like bacon, braised short rib, and housemade pickles.
Hair of the dog: Scorpion Mimosa -orange, cranberry, and pineapple juices with sparkling wine
1145 Washington St., South End, Boston
The Friendly Toast
Green Eggs and Ham
The interior of The Friendly Toast might look like a cross between Pee Wee’s playhouse and a haunted flea market, but the morning provisions at this Kendall Square eatery are serious business. “There are no shortcuts here,’’ says manager Emily Fazzina. “Everything is made to fresh to order using local, all-natural ingredients whenever possible.’’ Customers might gravitate to diner favorites like waffles and pumpkin pancakes, but The Friendly Toast rewards those who embrace the kitsch. Their Green Eggs and Ham is a brilliant riff on eggs Benedict, with poached eggs and seared Virginia-baked ham resting atop a thick slab of freshly baked anadama (cornmeal and molasses) bread. In place of gloppy Hollandaise is a fresh herb sauce laden with chopped basil, dill, and cilantro. Each entree comes with a side of homefries, consistently crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. The Friendly Toast bakes a wide selection of breads each morning, including buttermilk biscuits, cinnamon-raisin toast, and an addictive cayenne-cheddar loaf that you can substitute to give any dish an extra kick of heat.
Hair of the Dog: Luxurious Leah’s Liquid- A vanilla milkshake with Grand Marnier
Cambridge 1 Kendall Square b3101, Cambridge
West Bridge chef Matthew Gaudet calls their annual New Year’s Day brunch, Drunch, “a day of decadence and deliciousness.’’ But even if you missed out on the over-the-top specialties like croque monsieur waffles with whipped bechamel or his pear pancakes topped with seared fois gras, West Bridge has some equally enticing offerings on their weekday lunch menu.
Feeling a bit peaked during the work week? Try Gaudet’s favorite sandwich, and one of the only staples on West Bridge’s ever-evolving menu, the lamb dip. In place of boring roast beef, this take on a classic French dip substitutes tender, pulled lamb shoulder that’s been roasted over night. Gaudet uses a chewy Iggy’s onion longuette to contain the natural juiciness of the lamb, as well as the heaping handfuls of arugula, asiago cheese, and a spicy harissa aiola. What makes this even more delectable though is the side of smokey au jus, which combines the natural lamb drippings with red wine, tomato, Worcestershire, and chili. Paired with a selection from Bar Manager Chris Danforth’s exciting new cocktail list and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
Hair of the dog: Amarillo by Morning – hay infused bourbon, Benedictine, hickory, and sarsaparilla bitters.
1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge
Steel & Rye
Legs n’ Eggs
If you haven’t been out to Milton’s Steel & Rye, on the sprawling sight of a defunct DeSoto dealership, you just might be missing out on the best brunch in Massachusetts. There’s pastry chef Megan Thompson’s cinnamon sugar doughnut slathered in a warm puree of caramelized apples and gooey caramel. The gluttonous hamburger omelette inspired by Chef/Owner Chris Parson’s visit to the popular Baltimore Eatery, Woodberry Kitchen. And an authentic New Orleans poboy made with a chewy housemade baguette, plump Gulf shrimp, and a Tabasco/roasted tomato remoulade. You can visit Steel & Rye for months consecutively without growing bored.
But if you’re looking for indulgent comfort food, look no further than Parsons’s tribute to all things duck: the Legs n’ Eggs. Tender hunks of duck confit are layered between slices of sauteed sweet potato, a Chinese five-spice sauce, and two over-easy duck eggs. Besides the novelty of fowl-on-fowl, Parsons wanted the umami punch that comes with larger yolks. “Duck eggs have a big, big yolk. Two of those eggs is equal to three or four chicken eggs. It just makes the dish so rich and decadent.’’
Hair of the dog: Spicy Bloody Mary- cucumber and jalapeno infused Tito’s vodka, housemade bloody mary mix, and sambal chili paste
95 Eliot St., Milton
You know you’re on the path to a heavenly food coma when a menu touts that it’s plat du jour is “full of NATURAL COLLAGEN.’’ Occupying an unassuming spot in the food court of the Porter Exchange in Porter Square, Sapporo Ramen offers a cash-only, truncated menu of the Japanese comfort food, each with varying levels of heat and optional fixings like kimchi and curry. Seating is limited and lines invariably form during its hectic lunch rush, but the heaping bowls of viscous, collagen-rich broth has a way of pacifying any delayed gratification. The Miso Ramen is the house specialty and comes with al dente noodles, fork-tender pork, and a soft boiled egg. Sprinkle on some shichimi (a spicy, Japanese 7-spice powder) or sriracha and you’ll slurp your way to the bottom of the bowl, undaunted by the massive portions.
Hair of the dog: Coconut water
1815 Massachusetts Ave. (Porter Square), Cambridge
Tucked away in the bustling North End, often packed elbow-to-elbow with neighborhood regulars and tourists juggling Mike’s Pastry boxes, is tiny Neptune Oyster, home to some of the most tempting bivalves and chowder in the city. With it’s tin ceiling, marble-topped bar, and wall-length mirrors, it has the aesthetic of a Parisian bistro. But with its vicinity to TD Garden, Neptune invites every kind of diner, from rowdy hockey fans to curious gourmands. Their hot and cold lobster rolls are recognized some of the best in Boston , but chef Michael Serpa points to one unexpected dish, irresistible to the ailing weekend masses.
“Our burger is extremely popular with the Sunday strollers, the ones who look like they might have had too much fun the night before,’’ says Serpa.
The Neptune burger is an 11-ounce, PGA all-natural Black Angus, glazed in a blend of cocktail and Worcestershire sauces, then seared in its own fat on a cast iron flat top. Serpa tops each patty with white cheddar, pickle relish, roasted garlic mayo, and five fried Chesapeake oysters. At Neptune, it’s difficult to bypass all the fresh crudo and buttery crustacean, but this version of surf and turf is well worth the deviation.
Hair of the dog: A glass of briny Muscadet
63 Salem St., Boston
Biscuits ‘N’ Gravy
There’s a sea change taking place at Lord Hobo where the quality of the food is now as much an attraction as the carefully curated selection of craft beers. This all began with the hiring of chef Nicholas Gardner, who took over last fall, and has placed an emphasis on housemade sausages, pastas, and charcuterie. Definitely don’t miss out on their shaved steak sandwich made with a coffee and cocoa roasted prime rib and their sriracha soup with a base of shitake mushroom dashi. But Gardner understands that “hangovers happen’’ and since “they happen to us in the industry probably more than they happen to most other people’’ he was inspired to create his lush, Southern-inspired Biscuits ‘N’ Gravy for the weekend brunch menu. He uses a flaky, “roll and cut’’ biscuit recipe, sunny side up eggs, a seasonal root vegetable hash made with sweet potato, butternut squash, acorn squash, and parsnips, and an exquisite cream gravy made with pork sausage married down with garlic, jalapeno, and the “Cajun holy trinity.’’
Hair of the dog: Trillium’s flagship saison
92 Hampshire St., Cambridge
Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s Famous Pilgrim
Since Mike’s City Diner was annointed by the meaty paws and bleached-blonde tips of the Food Network’s Guy Fieri on “Diner Drive-Ins and Dives,’’ its seems that owner Jay Hajj has been on an uninterrupted high. He’s now a fixture in Fieri’s burgeoning, flame-shirted television empire, he’s been the beneficiary of countless local accolades, and he’s in the midst of overhauling the renowned Locke-Ober ,which shuttered its doors in 2012.That was all made possible by Hajj’s no-frills approach to casual dining, which includes better ingredients and house-made specialties like his year-round spread of Thanksgiving standards. Mike’s City Diner prepares up to three whole, oven-roasted turkeys every weekday, as well as a turkey giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, and a classic Thanksgiving stuffing showcased across an array of dishes, including his Mike’s Famous Pilgrim. This belt-busting amalgamation of moist turkey, tart cranberries, adnd savory stuffing, is stuffed into a seeded bun and served atop a platter of seasoned french fries. If the Detroit Lions were on TV, you’d be guaranteed to fall into a euphoric, tryptophan-induced lethargy.
Hair of the dog: Good ole’ diner coffee. Black.
1714 Washington St., Boston
The Bacon Truck
“I’m Jewish and J.J. (Frosk) is Italian,’’ says Sam Williams, co-owner of The Bacon Truck. “That’s two cultures that know how to make a damn good sandwich.’’ If you’re eager for a taste, you’ll have to wait until April, when the Bacon Truck is back on the streets.
Having spent years managing other food trucks around Boston, the two owners are also savvy enough to know when to implement change. Faced with a fridge full of eggs because of lagging sales on their Egg Salad BLT, Williams and Frosk said that they decided to cater to the early morning swarms at SoWa, whipping up an inspired breakfast sandwich that sold out within an hour of its debut.
The Hangover consists of four strips of applewood-smoked Blackstone bacon, two fried eggs, velvety havarti, red Fresno ailoli, and a bacon hash (red potatoes, bacon bits, mayo, and scallion) that’s toasted on two buttered slices of Iggy’s sourdough.
Word spread fast on The Bacon Truck’s chef d’oeuvre and now lines seem to materialize wherever they park when on the road. That’s why a second truck is already in the works well before their full-time launch in April. Make sure to follow them on Twitter to keep track of their comings and goings when they return this spring.
Hair of the dog: mandarin Jarritos