This weekend: Order Japanese sandwiches from a local ghost kitchen
Plus, the food news you may have missed this week.
We’re all eating a little differently these days: Cooking at home more. Ordering takeout. Dining under heat lamps. Whatever your comfort level, here’s what’s been going on in Boston’s restaurant world recently, plus a few ways to enjoy some of our region’s best restaurants and bars from both the comfort of your own home and out in the world.
Here’s what you may have missed this week:
“The location could not be more perfect”: Harvard Square landed its first community fridge. Here’s how it came together.
Kowloon is planning for its future but has no immediate plans to close. “There will be an end at some point … just not right now.”
Chef Jason Santos is Gordon Ramsay’s new sous chef on “Hell’s Kitchen.” The blue-haired chef talked to us about being yelled at by Ramsay, helping restaurants in need on “Bar Rescue,” and how local eateries can stay afloat during the pandemic.
Esquire says America “can’t afford to lose” these five Massachusetts restaurants.
If you missed the Boston.com Cocktail Club on Thursday, you can still make Jared Sadoian’s tequila-based old fashioned this weekend. We’ve got the recipe right here.
Downtown sports bar Finn McCool’s has closed for good.
Union Oyster House was named North America’s Best Landmark Restaurant by the World Culinary Awards. “We’re very excited,” said owner Joe Milano.
Need a jolt? Dunkin’s new Extra Charged Coffee packs in 20 percent more caffeine than its classic coffee.
Check out the latest hibernations announced this winter, including Beantown Pastrami Co., Pennypacker’s, T&B Pizza, and Terramia Ristorante.
I talk about Mahaniyom, a Thai restaurant that opened in Brookline shortly before the pandemic started, to anyone who will listen. From the soulful food to clever cocktails, they’ve become a go-to spot for me when I’m in search of truly excellent Thai food. I’m also a big gin and tonic fan, so Mahaniyom’s latest cocktail creation — the Keg-Huay G&T — is a bright spot at the end of this long, trying week. The canned drink is a collab with Nikka Coffey Gin and the Canned Cocktail Company, and features Chrysanthemum-infused gin and Fever Tree Tonic. They also just introduced the Mali Negroni, another canned cocktail using Nikka Coffey Gin, Avèze, vermouth, orange bitters, and jasmine. Grab ’em via takeout or delivery.
Eating and cooking alone, together:
Kat Bayle has worked in kitchens for more than a decade, baking and cooking in San Francisco, France, Slovenia, and Somerville. Now she’s taking her latest concept, a pop-up dubbed Blueberries for Sal, to Cambridge’s Bondir on Sundays for the month of January. Each week, Bayle will highlight a spread inspired by both her New England and European adventures; this week’s lineup features a lovingly curated menu of sweet buns, gravlax, fish cakes, and a smorgasbord starter kit featuring rye bread, cultured butter, cheese, pickles, cranberry reserves, and more. Bayle calls the kit “a choose your own adventure” spread, and emphasized that all of the ingredients are sourced from New England farmers, producers, and purveyors. If you missed the cut-off time to order for Smorgasbord Sunday this weekend, don’t worry: Bayle will be back at Bondir every Sunday for the rest of the month, with slight changes to the menu each time. Takeout orders can be placed at Bondir’s website.
I’ve seen an increasing number of ghost kitchens pop up around Boston since the pandemic began, both as a way for chefs to experiment with more casual concepts while their brick-and-mortar restaurants see a slowing of traffic, and as a way for a concept to gain a following before testing out the restaurant waters. The latest ghost kitchen to catch my eye: Mikkusu, which launched this week and serves Japanese sandwiches made with shokupan, a soft, fluffy milk bread. Chef KT Cheung is behind the venture, and she’s crafted dishes like the Tamagoyaki Sando, featuring an omelet dredged in panko, and the Pork Katsu Sando — fried heritage pork loin paired with cabbage slaw and katsu sauce. There are also housemade lattes and juices that can be made alcoholic. Cheung bakes the shokupan daily, so sandwiches are fairly limited; be sure to check in at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays when the daily menu goes live. Pick up is at 795 Main St. in Cambridge.
Read this: The restaurant industry has long followed the maxim “the customer is always right.” But that might be changing: In this excellent Food & Wine piece, Khushbu Shah examines the increased abuse that restaurant workers have faced from their customers during the pandemic, and interviewed Lauren Friel, owner of Somerville’s Rebel Rebel, about why a shift in what restaurants “owe” their diners is necessary. “Owners really need to rethink the idea of what hospitality is, starting with their staff,” Friel told Shah. “[A]ll of this preaching about hospitality for others doesn’t work if your staff is miserable and being abused all the time.”
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