Thanksgiving is nigh and Hanukkah is almost upon us. Amid the onslaught of togetherness, chances are you’ll crave a chance to get out of the house, change up your culinary repertoire and have someone else do the dishes.
As a food writer for The Boston Globe, I dine out a lot (a lot!), and sometimes with kids. And even when I’m not working, I’m constantly on the prowl for affordable, delicious, family-friendly hideaways. Here are five new places to consider when you can’t bear to set foot in your kitchen one more time.
Coffee Shop Vibes
Shakshuka, excellent hummus, a huge kids’ menu and a casual vibe—Cafe Landwer, an Israeli chain, does it right. Now there are two locations, one in Audubon Circle and another in Cleveland Circle, making it even easier to hoover up their potent coffee (helpful for tired parents) and chocolate fondue.
Should you find yourself at Legoland this holiday season (and, oh, you probably will), try the new Smoke Shop at Assembly Row before or after. The menu’s secret weapon: creamy, dreamy, tangy pimento mac and cheese. The space is loud, it’s casual, it’s reliable, it serves Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert…and you can make reservations. What more could you want after battling the throngs?
Healthy-ish Hangout in Chestnut Hill
Lululemon, Pottery Barn, Simon Pearce, The Container Store, Showcase Superlux—The Street Chestnut Hill is a sleek monument to gleeful consumerism. If you want to offset your spending with a little bit of virtuosity (or offer your kids a healthier alternative to Shake Shack), head to the new Tender Greens, a Los Angeles-based chain known for seasonal, local plates, soups, salads, veggie-fruit juices and other wholesome treats, plus falafel and mashed potatoes worth idling on Route 9 for. They have $7 kids meals, too, that go beyond fast-casual fare (mmm, fried chicken!).
If you’re wandering Harvard Square (The Curious George Store!) prowling for a quick and casual bite, behold: The new Smith campus center has tons of options. There’s Saloniki for fast-casual Greek (plus booze!), Blackbird Doughnuts for massive sweets, Bon Me for Vietnamese sandwiches, Whole Heart Provisions for tasty vegan bowls and more (check out chef Rebecca Arnold’s favorite latke recipe here). This place is the fast, friendly food court of your dreams.
Munching Near the Museum of Science
Not much culinary excitement in this ‘hood, but a few blocks away in Kendall Square, there’s a brand-new dumpling spot-slash-cafe. Weston’s Dumpling Daughter just took over the Ames Street Deli and Study space and serves rice bowls, roll-ups, wraps, dumplings (of course!), and it’s a nut-free zone, so it’s great for families with allergies. Next door is Vester Cafe, serving coffee and all-day breakfast and a mean grilled cheese.
Do you have any other new favorites? Let us know in the comments!