A Mini Guide To My Favorite Massachusetts Restaurants.
A couple weeks ago I announced that I was partnering with Skinny Cow to promote women’s empowerment – in the form of WoCave travel missions throughout the summer. I had no idea what my travel missions would be when I signed up but I have to say that I have LOVED being a part of this project – as a woman and a blogger it has been incredible! I’ve been able to spend more time with my girlfriends and each month I also receive a shipment of Skinny Cow ice cream (how awesome is that?) plus a mystery box full of goodies. Honestly I have been shocked at these boxes because they are so fun to open and I love the items inside! Last month among other things, I got a great new travel journal and a gift card to Sunglass Hut, along with a visa gift card for some foodie adventures!
My second secret travel mission for Skinny Cow was a good one – bring the world to your neighborhood and check out three international eateries.
This is an incredible mission! I LOVE all sorts of foreign food. However there was one small problem – I’m currently in Plymouth, Massachusetts – America’s Home Town. All hail the Pilgrims, The Mayflower and a dizzying amount of cranberry based sandwiches. People here are classic New Englanders – not big on change and not big on veggies – unless they’re slathered in butter and devoid of any nutritional value.
Plymouth is the kind of place where your taste buds go to die.
I’ll admit I’m biased – my palate is not a New England one. It never has been and it never will be. I don’t eat meat or clam chowder. I do like cranberries but I think there is a time and place for the cranberry – it’s call Thanksgiving. I’ve always had a hard time eating in Massachusetts -this is a state where it can be hard to find a vegetarian salad. While the people here are some of the most loyal and passionate you can find in the country I find the food situation here uninspiring and to be blunt, pretty depressing.
Except in Boston – that city has it all! From vegan to Indian to Vietnamese, Mexican to African, it’s a glorious savior for depraved Massachusetts taste buds. I knew immediately when I received this mission that I would be almost unable to complete it in Plymouth making this mission absolutely perfect for showcasing the WoCave concept, because of the fact that I was forced to get out of my city so I could meet up with some of my girlfriends and take them out for a bite! In the end some last minute scheduling issues botched up some of the meet ups but I was still able to catch up with my niece and my sister and it was a lot of fun. I also knew I was going to start off in Boston with my favorite restaurant – The Grasshopper!
#1 – The Grasshopper in Brighton, MA
I discovered the Grasshopper after college and it quickly became ‘my place’. It’s 100% vegan and out of this world. In fact, it’s so good that all of my meat devouring friends would go here regularly with me. So you don’t have to take my word for it – take the word of a bunch of Massachusetts meat eaters – this vegan joint is incredible! It also happens to be conveniently located next to my favorite bar in Boston – The Model Cafe, which you might remember I mentioned in my last Skinny Cow post – Kicking Cancer’s Butt Staycation in Boston.
I’ve brought everyone here that I love because the place is that good. So to kick off my eating extravaganza in the name of good blogging I headed straight into Boston, grabbed my 11 year old niece Kayla who was up for the challenge and immediately headed over to The Grasshopper.
I went for my old standby #77 – which is sweet & sour ‘chicken’ fingers. Kayla got the dumpling version of the same meal. It was a win – the place hasn’t changed one bit. Food is still fantastic and the family that runs the place is very sweet. I was starving and ate my meal right away but still managed to take a couple quick pics before devouring everything.
Actually if you want to know the truth about why I didn’t take more photos it was because I had already eaten a bite and forgotten how good it was. Then my next immediate thought was that I didn’t need to take pics this time around because I would come back the next week, sit next to the window and then shoot the food properly. The only problem was the next week our plans got changed around and I didn’t get back up to Boston. Gasp! So these are the only 2 photos I have but trust me, this place is fantastic.
If you want a change of pace, are looking for a healthy option or are vegetarian/vegan – you won’t want to miss this place! I also noticed a full vegan cake shop has opened up next door – next time I will definitely check that out.
#2. Pizza Barbone in Hyannis, MA
The Phantom Gourmet led me to Pizza Barbone. The Phantom Gourmet is a foodie channel local to the New England area. Their bit on Pizza Barbone grabbed my attention one Sunday morning since they promised ‘authentic, southern Italian pizza, made by hand in a wood fired oven”. It looked pretty darn authentic on the boob tube and so my interest was piqued – could there truly be an authentic Neapolotian pizza in the area or was I dreaming?
Italian is one ‘foreign’ food that there is no shortage of in this state. Where I grew up we had 3 Italian restaurants and 1 Chinese restaurant and that was it. There are several ‘Italian restaurants’ in Plymouth and I use the terms ‘Italian’ and ‘restaurant’ lightly. I have yet to experience real Italian food here and while the pizza is tasty it’s nothing like a true Italian pie. So I knew instantly we would be heading to Hyannis to check out Pizza Barbone and find out if it really was as close to the real deal as possible.
I knew my sister would be into this mission as she is a pizza aficionado and almost built a wood fired oven in the backyard this summer to perfect her homemade pizzas. This girl knows pizza – which made her the perfect date!
Not to toot my own horn but between our time volunteering at the farm, time with my family in Rome & Lacedonia and all the different Italian agricultural pursuits I’ve entertained in Italy I know quite a bit about the cuisine. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I have spent enough time in the country to know what is real Italian and what isn’t. I can even find good food in Venice and if you’ve been to Venice you’ll know that is no easy feat.
I am happy to report that Pizza Barbone is extremely good and definitely the closest thing to real Italian pie in this Spirit Of America state. I was pleasantly shocked to say the least. They even had rocket pizza! One of my favorites in Italy and almost impossible to find in the US. I got a straight up Margarita pizza because that’s the classic and if they couldn’t make a good margarita then this place was doomed. The Margarita was fantastic, although I have no idea why they cooked the basil on top. In Italy the basil as added after the pizza is done and thus fresh and more flavorful. But the pizza was great regardless.
They had so many local Italian staples here I was impressed. In fact, my nod of approval began when the drinks came out – small tumblers for wine glasses (instead of wine glasses) and tiny little glasses for water! Awwwww… You see, in Italy you can’t find a large glass anywhere to save your life. It’s one of the little cultural things I love when I’m there. So the small glasses detail was not lost on me at all – I loved it! Also, with the coffee (which was much larger than it’s Italian counterpart but tasted amazingly Italian) there was a cucchiaio! This is a very tiny, little spoon found all over Italy. The small details here and the flavor of the pizza brought us all right back to Italy and we spent the entire night reminiscing about our time in what may be the world’s best country.
The only two slight disappointments were the blank stare I got when I tried to order a spritz and the fact that the pizzas came out pre-cut. The spritz could be a national drink in Italy but apparently it hasn’t made it all the way to Cape Cod yet – hahahaha! Although the pizzas were individual sized (just like Italy) they were already cut into triangle slices – you’ll never see that in Italy. But we figured people probably kept sending their pizzas back, wondering why they weren’t cut since it is typical to have slices in the US. In any case, we didn’t care and ate our pizzas in the classic Italian manner – with a fork and knife.
I highly recommend checking out Pizza Barbone if you are in the area. Especially if you need a break from the overwhelming seafood fare while on your beach vacation in Cape Cod. This place is as close to the real deal as you’ll get across the pond.
In fact, I should note, their pizza oven was made for them in Italy out of the ash from Mt. Vesuvius. Now that’s dedication to pizza!
#3. Asia Tasty in Plymouth, MA
I felt like I had to do something to show a little love to Plymouth and so one night we all opted for Chinese take out.
I should state that I am not a big fan of Chinese food, normally it’s my last go-to when it comes to foreign foods. That’s why my recommendation of this place shouldn’t be taken lightly – it’s actually quite good and hands down one of the few restaurants in Plymouth worth a visit.
It just seemed right to have it as take out and enjoy dinner on the back porch so we did! Again, my sister, brother-in-law and Randy were my dates for this trip and it was a great dinner. I had General Tsao’s Tofu which is great and everyone else loved their meals. This place won’t wow you with their intoxicating creations but it’s a solid choice for classic American Chinese food. It’s also one of the three restaurants in Plymouth that I would recommend so if you’re in town visiting the famous Plymouth Rock this is a solid choice for getting your chow on.
Another benefit to eating at home was that for desert, we were able to indulge in my latest batch of goodies from Skinny Cow. I’ve got to say I love getting a shipment of ice cream on dry ice each month – it’s like being in an Ice Cream of the Month club but just for Skinny Cow!
The other great thing is that I don’t get to pick the flavors – I’m normally a chocolate and peanut butter ice cream kind of person so trying these new flavors has been really fun. Seen here are the Pretty In Pink Velvet Truffle ice cream pop, Chocolate Covered Cherry ice cream cone and the Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich. They are all fantastic and honestly at 150 calories or less, they make a really decadent, yet light treat. My favorite so far has been the cherry chocolate cone.
I hope you like my mini guide to some of my favorite Massachusetts restaurants. Thank you all for supporting my WoCave missions with Skinny Cow. It’s thanks to their generosity that I was able to write these reviews so thank you so much for traveling along with me and reading about my adventures! It’s because of all you awesome readers that we can do these fun projects.
Do you have a favorite eatery in Massachusetts or in your town? If so, please leave it below in the comments. Then we can give a great shout out to our favorite places while helping other readers find hidden foodie gems around the world!
Want to visit some of these places yourself?
Pizza Barbone390 Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601 (508) 957-2377 Pizza Barbone
Asia Tasty24 Main Street Plymouth, MA 02360 (508) 747-7888 Asia Tasty
Stay tuned for my next and last (sniff, sniff) post for Skinny Cow – it’s going to be all about how to make a home base for yourself while on the road. Lots of little tips for making your home anywhere in the world, even when traveling full time- something I’ve gotten pretty good at the last few years.
*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!