By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
The North End: a tiny slice of Europe just a T ride away. You know it’s there, but the appeal of delivery and the unwillingness you have to get out of bed keep you from actually spending the $2 to visit Boston’s Little Italy.
The North End is actually a college student’s best friend. With delicious food at this price, you’ll never order Domino’s again. Or maybe you will but either way here’s our quick-and-dirty guide to eating cheap in the North End:
GET A LOAF OF BREAD: Bricco’s Panetteria
Hidden in an alleyway off Hanover Street, Bricco’s bakery serves up the best baguette in the North End. Crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside, still-warm-and-toasty bread is yours for under three dollars, and you know it’s fresh — you can see that heavenly ciabatta coming out of those fire-burning ovens as you order.
DRINK SOME COFFEE: Caffe Dello Sport
Caffe Dello Sport is one of the secret gems of the North End, with straight-from-scratch cocoa you can see those beautiful servers shave straight into your mocha. Make sure to visit Caffe Dello Sport on a game day (Italia, obviously) — the place is crawling with locals and it’s quite the scene. Grab a latte or a drink and enjoy that classic Italian American Ambiance.
EAT A CANNOLI (and not the one you think): Maria’s Pastry
Everyone’s heard of Mike’s Pastry. The line stretches around the corner, and the cannolis are good – but not worth an hour out of your day. Modern, down the street, now boasts a line that rivals Mike’s as the official Mike’s replacement. Maria’s, which rests on the edge of the North End, makes a chocolate-dipped cannoli that might beat Mike’s without the wait. And come December, don’t forget to pick up a homemade Panettone, an Italian Christmas tradition.
TREAT YO’SELF (and don’t break the bank): Giacomo’s Ristorante
Giacomo’s almost always has a line, but if you suck it up and eat like a grandma (as in, at 4 p.m.), you can get into Giacomo’s with little-to-no wait time, and trust me: it’s worth it. At $16 a plate, you get more than enough of the most refined, silky, homemade lobster raviolis in a garlic cream sauce I dream about at night. Not to mention, all bottles of wine are $18 — and you can take those suckers home with you after the meal.
By Nolan Young, Staff Writer
Located along the bustling streets of Allston, @Union is a restaurant as tasty as it is unique.
With its murals, stainless-steel appliances, fresh coffee and delicious food, @Union’s environment is as aesthetically pleasing as the food is appetizing. The menu is diverse, offering a wide array of options for breakfast and lunch that range from creamy scrambled eggs to succulent burgers. The atmosphere is youthful and lively. Music plays overhead, usually to the tune of Mumford and Sons on Pandora. Most notably, the vibrant interior mirrors the eclectic Allston community it serves.
Let’s get back to food though. Two words: eggs benedict. Always perfectly poached, the eggs mix delightfully with the delicious Canadian bacon, hollandaise sauce, and English muffin. The side of home fries is a worthy compliment, the onions and garlic abundant. All for around $10, the dish is easy on the wallet as well. A bit more pricy ($12), the lobster benedict is a great choice for the seafood fan looking for a treat. The lusciousness of the lobster is a sure-fire way to relieve any Sunday morning funk.
In a world filled with Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s always a treat to find a more personalized cup of joe – and as you walk into @Union, the sweet, intoxicating aroma of home-brewed coffee immediately greets you. @Union takes pride in its coffee, brewing their very own dark and medium roast blends in addition to a home brew that is always fresh and adds to the restaurant’s humble, neighborhood character.
It doesn’t stop at coffee though; the restaurant also serves up a large selection of different lattes, cappuccinos, and other caffeine packed drinks that are perfect for jump-starting your day.
And if you’re not a coffee person? The drink menu includes fresh fruit smoothies, juices, Italian sodas, teas and a particularly good hot chocolate.
Although the food is sensational, what makes @Union special is the ambiance. The restaurant is routinely filled with students, Allston residents and a young, enthusiastic wait staff (although service can be a little slow when the restaurant is busy).
What’s more, the crowds mix about in front of a distinctive backdrop: beautiful murals by local artist Taylor M’Leigh that catch your eye as soon as you enter. The artwork’s strong character makes @Union’s atmosphere extremely unique; the murals are as essential to the restaurant as the food and coffee.
@Union does a tremendous job of being an active part of the Allston community. Dozens of local businesses advertise in the restaurant, leaving their business cards and flyers by the exit. Local bands, event holders and venues post there as well. In an attempt to broaden its horizons, @Union has also begun to host live musicians and cater to events and parties. And by offering free Wi-Fi, breakfast all day and Facebook raffles to win free food, the restaurant is clearly in touch with the young, student-oriented neighborhood around it.
It would be hard to find an establishment that embodies its community more than @Union. With its great food, attentive wait staff, and keen ability to produce a vivacious, dynamic atmosphere, @Union is definitely a ‘must visit’ when in Allston.
By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
Dunkin’ Donuts is packing up its shorts and RayBans and moving to California. The famously affordable coffee and donut chain recently announced their plans to expand to the West.
When I heard the announcement, I didn’t exactly raise my hands up and jump for joy. As a native Californian I had never really heard about Dunkin’ Donuts before moving to Boston. DD had a short stint in the 1990’s but the location closed back in 2002, way before I would experience the joy of coffee for the first time.
So when I had Dunkin’ Donuts for the first time I guess you could say I had high expectations.
What a let down.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the coffee is decent, and I also like the donuts. However, with a name that includes “Donuts” in the title, I think their donuts should be a little more epic. I don’t see what makes it so special. Yea I get it, Dunkin’ is cheaper, but I believe the phrase “you get what you pay for” applies here.
DD’s biggest competition on the west is most likely Starbucks, and while Dunkin’ dominates here on the east with practically 10 DD shops for every Starbucks location, Starbucks reigns supreme on the Pacific side of the U.S. Besides the large variety in drinks and food items, Starbucks draws in customers with their reloadable gift cards. Starbucks offers fancy incentives. Dunkin’ offers…cheap coffee.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who are excited about having DD on the West Coast. The CEO of Dunkin’ definitely is. But as for me, not so much.