5: Flour (Boston Metro): Lavender Thyme Lemon Bar
I’m a sucker for citrus. As such, I’m a shoe-in for a good lemon bar. I’m also obsessed with Flour Bakery (and Joanne Chang). But I will not apologize for sharing how delicious this lemon bar was. It can be challenging to combine lavender and lemon and not have the voice in the back of your head say it reminds you of soap. This confection hit the right balance of floral and juicy tang, without being overpowered by sweetness. If pumpkin spice hasn’t already taken this delight from the pastry case, get it while you can!
Summer in New England all but requires at least one lobster roll to be consumed. This was not my first or only lobster roll this summer, but it certainly was A) the most expensive, and B) the best lobster roll experience of my summer. The stars aligned for a lovely sunny afternoon in Kittery Maine, and (having our dog with us) we decided to find a place with ample outdoor seating to devour some local seafood. Bob’s is famous for exactly this, and I can see why. everything was classic and nostalgic but also prepared perfectly. The cold lobster roll had no celery, or lettuce, or anything taking away from its large morsels of lobster. The fries and clam strips I ordered were also abundant and delicious. Worth a visit if you’re in Kittery.
3: The Porch Southern Fare and Juke Joint (Medford, MA): The Banty
I’m from Virginia. I know good southern food. Having lived in the Boston area for 7 years and counting, authenticity does lack in the available offerings up here; enough that I typically don’t bother. Enter The Porch. A southern fare and juke joint which has opened literal yards from my doorstep in the middle of Summer. Am I skeptical? Absolutely. Was I let down? Nope! This place offers high-quality BBQ, the best mac and cheese I’ve had in Boston, and an outstanding beverage selection, including a frozen paloma know as the ‘chilloma’. I had to pick something to feature, and I settled on The Banty, which is a Fried Chicken sandwich with pimento cheese, pickles, and iceburg. It’s outstanding and way better than the sum of its parts. Super crunchy, tangy and the pimento cheese really elevates this beyond your typical (or even Popeye’s) chicken sandwich.
2: The Candy Shoppe (Bayfield, WI): Strawberry Winebread
We’re going out to the midwest for #2. My husband’s family vacation every summer somewhere new, and Bayfield Wisconsin was our headquarters for a week around the Apostle Islands. I had never been to Wisconsin before, and yes I did have cheese curds and a fair amount of dairy in general, but something I’ve never heard of really took me by surprise. Winebread is a Coratian breakfast or dessert bread made from a yeasted dough that is folded like a book with a filing in the center. It’s not only beautiful, but also incredibly tasty.
1: Flour (Boston Metro): House Smoked Salmon + Summer Bean Salad
This, like the lemon bar, is a seasonal offering, so get it while you can. I was floored when I ate this salad. Every single component was perfect. The salmon was meaty and had the right amount of smokey sweetness. The cider vinaigrette really brought together the beans, quinoa and greens together in a balanced acidity. I loved this salad so much, and I have tried to recreate it at home with some success. But this is really an outstanding summer offering. It’s so rewarding when a salad stands out as actual food, I’m sure Fussy Eater Karen would back me up with that comment.