My second favorite diner* is back from the dead. Hallelujah!
(* - My favorite is Bishop's 4th Street Diner in Newport, Rhode Island.)
The latest regime at Yankee Diner (23 Worcester Rd (Rt 20) 508-248-7370), twenty minutes southwest of Worcester, is deftly keeping hope alive. Prepare for majesty:
Hash browns: oniony, texturally miraculous
Egg over easy: fine.
a week in New Orleans). Fairly generic biscuit, heated on the griddle. Strawberries pulled out of marination in the back of some distant cooler. Cream hand-whipped to order. The whole was extra more-than-sum-of-parts-ish. I.e.: magic. Devastation was complete.
Yankee Diner remains a great, great hang in a super old-school railroad-style diner. Such nice people (both staff and clientele). I've stolen these two photos from their web site:
Hound can't live from breakfast alone. Thus, lunch. Vaughn Tan's find-of-a-lifetime is the superb Sri Lankan Biryani Park (105 Broadway (Rt99), Malden, MA; 781-397-1307). This place healed a different heartbreak. Dakshin, specializing in Tamil food, closed years ago in Framingham, and it was the absolute bomb. But Biryani Park has depths all its own. The photos tell the tale:
This lamb roti kotthu had crunchy bits of toasted paratha strewn in, reminiscent of Turkish Iskender kebab.
Here's everything we ordered:
Go quickly, as this place may not be long for this world. Prices are not cheap, in spite of the dreary nabe and people's preconception of South Asian as cheap eats. For food this good (and rare), the price is a bargain...but I'm not sure locals will forgive the sticker shock (you'll pay $30 - $40/person if you order generously, as you must).
I've been ordering kringles (big circular Scandinavian pastries that are something like a flakey multi-layered coffee cake) from Racine, WI for years. But I did not know, until this trip, that kringles lurk in the Boston 'burbs. Danish Pastry House, clean, well-lit, and friendly, has branches in Medford (330 Boston Ave; 781-396-8999) and Watertown (205 Arlington St; 617-926-2747). I checked out the Medford location, and enjoyed my kringle. Not as good as Racine, but Vaughn says it was an off day:
Speaking of Scandinavian bakers, back in Worcester, I ate my way through a pile of unrecognizable little Swedish doodads at venerable Crown Bakery (133 Gold Star Blvd; 508-852-0746). I think that's the way to go, ordering-wise: little cookies and twisties and stuff. This is no artisanal mecca, it's an nth-generation Swedish-American joint where corners have come to be cut, and larger, more ambitious items appear sort of flat. My booty was wolfed down post haste, but this one blurry relic (impressive looking, and yummy enough, but containing no discernible butter) remains:
Sorry to bury the lede, but one of the last cuisines I've never tried is quietly offered in a sensational-looking Kenyan place in an outer stretch of Worcester. Safari Cafe (215 Chandler St; 508-799-7989) has a great vibe, but they are, alas, closed Mondays. Also in Worcester: fantastic One Love Cafe (800 Main St; 508-753-8663), which I love for Jamaican. Lots more good stuff in Worcester, too (check out this epic Boston Globe chowhounding piece by Joe Yonan from back in 2005).
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