By the spring of 2021, people were starting to venture out into the world once again after a long 2020 of being cooped up due to the Covid pandemic. When I decided to head down to Boston to take this fantastic South End tour with Bites of Boston, it was the first time I’d really left my area in a long while. I was so happy to hop on the bus and head down for a day of adventuring.
Sweet and Savory South End Tour
I love the tour company Bites of Boston after taking their Chinatown tour a couple of years ago. It was so fantastic that I knew I needed to experience another one of theirs. The South End Tour was perfect because it is an area of Boston that I wasn’t familiar with. One of the best things about walking food tours is that you get to experience a neighborhood like a local. Walking and eating is obviously the best way to do this.
Orinoco: A Latin Kitchen
The meeting place for the tour was on Shawmut Ave. at Orinoco: A Latin Kitchen. As the stop for our first tasting I was already blown away. This Venezuelan restaurant brings Latin culture and hospitality to Boston and it felt so lovely. We tasted the Datiles, which are almond filled, bacon wrapped dates as well as the Marachuchitos which are cheese filled plantains. WOW. Those bacon wrapped dates were to die for. And look at that light in the restaurant. It was truly beautiful, and made for great photos. It’s a very small restaurant, and I can imagine that it would be a wonderful place to spend the evening with some friends.
Flour Bakery is a bit of a Boston success story led by chef Joanne Chang who is proof that it’s never too late to completely change careers. Here we sampled one of Flour’s “Chunky Lola” cookies which has oats, coconut, pecans, and chocolate. With 10 locations throughout Boston and Cambridge, it’s pretty easy to find a Flour Bakery from wherever you are in the city.
anoush’ella Saj Kitchen: My Favorite of the South End Tour
I was fantastically surprised and delighted by this Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, Anoush’ella Saj Kitchen–it was my favorite out of all of the items that we tasted! We were treated to a full plate of kafta (spiced lamb and beef meatball), falafel with tahini sauce, the creamiest hummus I’ve ever had, and wonderful m’anoush, which is a thin flatbread cooked in a saj oven. The green sauce on the kafta is called Zhoug which is a spicy cilantro sauce. It was all served with a delightful mint lemonade. Everything was absolutely amazing.
The South End is a beautiful neighborhood in Boston, filled with rows of Victorian townhomes and so much brick and wrought iron. There are also a number of community gardens and green spaces that are so lovely. During our tour in early June the roses were all in bloom and it was all very peaceful.
South End Buttery
The South End Buttery is easily recognized by its cheerful yellow awnings and beautiful outdoor seating with container gardens. We didn’t get to go inside for this tasting, but they brought out some beautiful chocolate salted caramel cupcakes called the Dexter (I believe the cupcakes are named after dogs, if I remember correctly). This was a full sized cupcake and it was absolutely delicious!
Formaggio Kitchen South End
Formaggio Kitchen South End is not exactly a restaurant, but rather a gourmet food shop with cheeses, meats, wines, and all kinds of specialty imported foods and housewares. During our tour they were limiting the number of people inside the small shop, so our tour members had to take turns going in and out. I actually didn’t even go in because I didn’t want to crowd the shop. For this tasting we were given half a grilled cheese, individually wrapped to go. I think in pre-covid days this stop usually has cheese tastings along with wine samples, but during pandemic times they were trying to keep things individually served. I have to say it was not one of the best tastings I’ve ever had on a tour, but who can turn down a grilled cheese, ever?
The Elephant Walk South End
Sadly our tour came to an end on Washington Street at the Elephant Walk South End. This is a really cool restaurant that is a French/Cambodian fusion. What? It has such an interesting menu. For this tasting we had the Rouleaux which is Crispy Cambodian spring rolls served with greens, herbs and tuk trey for dipping. We also had a Cambodian Mule, which was a fun drink with Kaffir lime vodka, lemongrass simple syrup, and ginger beer. The interior of the restaurant has an amazing vibe that I would love to come back to.
South End Tour is highly recommended!
The South End Sweet and Savory tour was so interesting, delicious, and fun! I loved exploring this neighborhood that I had never been to. I learned the fascinating stories of the chefs and creators that invented these restaurants, but also heard about the long history of Boston and how this particular neighborhood came to be (hint: it used to be underwater).
New Hampshire Food Photography
Erika Follansbee is a published Goffstown, NH food photographer whose job is to make food look amazing. She is available for hire to help small restaurants and cafes to create beautiful images of their dishes to use for marketing, websites, and social media. Magazine-quality food images are the best form of advertisement.
Erika is also a wedding photographer. Visit www.erikafollansbee.com for more information.