Start a tradition, visit a classic Boston restaurant, and other weekend food goals

These are the dining resolutions I'm setting for myself this year. Join me!

J.J. Foley's in Boston was founded in 1909.
J.J. Foley's in Boston was founded in 1909. –Laurie Swope/The Boston Globe

Happy New Year! I hope you ended 2019 exactly how you wanted — but if you didn’t, you can give it another go this weekend. There’s always an opportunity to drink bubbly, count down to midnight, and set resolutions.

I’m not a big believer in establishing resolutions on Dec. 31, choosing instead to set them as needed throughout the year. But there are a few goals I’d love to accomplish when it comes to navigating Boston’s dining scene (as well as my own cooking prowess). So in addition to a few weekend festivities — bagel pop-ups, a brewery birthday — here are a few food goals that I think we might all be able to work on in 2020.

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Do you have any resolutions for your dining and cooking habits in the new year? Let me know in the comments or at erin.kuschner@boston.com.

1. Cooking, coffee, and wine classes

Bottles of wine at Alcove
Bottles of wine at Alcove. —Alcove

Even the most accomplished home cooks have some skill missing from their arsenal (and I am by no means an accomplished home cook). So in 2020, I’m hoping to master areas that I need guidance in. On Jan. 4, Alcove launches its Cellar Saturdays, where owner Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli will lead wine classes, starting with “Worldly Bubbles,” that include educational walk-throughs, wine pours, and light bites. Milk Street continues its cooking classes into the new year, with sessions like Cooking 101 on Saturday and The Milk Street Pantry & How to Use It on Sunday. And extending into next week, Time Out Market will offer a free cupping class on Tuesday at George Howell Coffee, where sippers will be guided through a series of coffee tastings that explore different flavors and terroir. Search out a topic that you’re curious about and dive in.

2. Bagel pop-ups

Sidell's Bagel Bar at MET Back Bay
Sidell’s Bagel Bar at MET Back Bay. —MET Back Bay

I’m pretty loyal to my neighborhood bagel shop, Exodus Bagels, but I might have to break out of my usual bagel routine this weekend — there are just too many great options popping up around town. First, there’s T&B Pizza‘s Love Thy Bagel, when the Somerville pizza joint offers Montreal-style bagels from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays. The wood-fired rounds are offered in plain, sesame, poppy, and everything, and can be ordered in combinations like the Up a Notch, made with bacon-jalapeño cream cheese and housemade marmalade. There’s also Sidell’s Bagel Bar, a relatively new weekend addition at MET Back Bay. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., this carbo-loaded bar is for anyone tired of their usual order, offering a make-your-own cream cheese option with ingredients like scallions, togarashi, salmon roe, olives, curry, jalapeño, and white truffle. And finally, you can pair your bagel with a beer on Saturday (9 a.m.–1 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.–2 p.m.) at Roslindale Village’s Turtle Swamp beer garden, where Exodus (ok, I guess I can’t stay away) will pop up with both loose bagels and bagel sandwiches. 

3. Brewery celebrations

Bone Up Brewing Co.
Bone Up Brewing Co. —Liz Kiraly
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The mustached skeleton that serves as Bone Up Brewing’s mascot has a name — and, apparently, a birthday. Join fellow well-wishers for the brewery’s third annual Horatio Day on Saturday, and celebrate with imperial and barrel-aged beer releases (like El Pulpo, a chocolate orange imperial stout), contests, and food from Speakeasy Donuts and The Bacon Truck. Across the city, the festivities at Dorchester Brewing Co.‘s revamped space (check out the rooftop beer hall!) are still going strong, with a second grand opening celebration scheduled for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Come by for free glassware, a DJ, live music from Cat Daddy, beer, and food from Dorchester Brewing’s new restaurant, M & M BBQ. 

4. Start a new food tradition

Traditions, when they’re healthy and wanted, can be incredibly grounding. We just passed through a whole season of them, but there’s always time to incorporate something new, particularly when it involves becoming a regular at a neighborhood haunt or partaking in a weekly restaurant special. Need a few ideas to start with? Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn recently launched its Viet-Cajun Seafood Suppers on Sundays, where chef Rachel Miller cooks local shellfish in her signature Viet-Cajun sauce starting at 5:30 p.m. Ciao Bella in the North End is now offering Throwback Mondays with plates of pasta for $9.95, Cheap Date Night Tuesdays, and all-you-can-eat spaghetti Wednesdays for $10. Pick a spot, and make it your own.

5. Visit classic Boston restaurants

Amhreins
Passers-by walk past Amrhein’s restaurant on West Broadway in South Boston. —Photo by Patricia McDonnell

Change is inevitable, but the reactions that consistently accompany the closings of old Boston standbys — Doyle’s, Durgin-Park, No Name Restaurant — seem to indicate that we think these stalwarts will stick around forever. The unfortunate reality is that they won’t (hey, forever is a long time!), and so it’s our job to appreciate, visit, and spend our money at these restaurants and bars while they’re still here. This year, I’m resolving to eat at more classic institutions, so that I can’t lament about never having visited if they announce their shutter. Let’s have a bowl of French onion soup at Marliave, an ice cream sundae at Cabot’s, a slice of pizza at Santarpio’s. Let’s order a pint at J.J. Foley’s or Amrheins or Warren Tavern. Let’s go this weekend, and not wait until it’s too late.