It’s Thursday, Boston.
⭐ We’re in the final days to give to Globe Santa … which delivers holiday gifts and joy to local children in need each holiday season. It might be the shortest day of the year, but we can make it the brightest for our neighbors in need. Donate here.
👀 What’s on tap today:
- Boston’s big apology
- E-bikes all around
- The worst vacation ever
12 DAYS OF B-SIDE
2023’s best of B-Side certified
Illustration: Gia Orsino.
It’s our turn to add to the litany of “best of” lists of 2023. Throughout the year, we drank, dined, and did a bunch of cool stuff to sniff out the best things around Boston.
Here’s what we think is worth a try:
💏 The best thing to do that isn’t going out to eat. Whether it’s a night out with friends or a second date, we think Mei Mei’s dumpling classes are the perfect outing where you’ll learn a new skill and leave well fed. Over the course of two hours, you’ll practice several folding techniques on your own set of dumplings that you get to sear off and devour. Bonus: You’ll know how to host your own dumpling making party at the end, which for us, is priceless.
🥃 The cocktail we’d order again and again. “The Senator Line” at La Bodega, a Uruguayan tapas restaurant in Watertown, is what speakeasies slinging $20 drinks aspire to serve. This bourbon-based drink is rounded out with vermouth, orange, vanilla, and a literal infused smoke show that makes your table smell like a sultry campfire. It’s smooth, smoky, a little sweet, and we’ve yet to taste something that compares.
🍹 The mocktail we’d order again and again. Equally delicious is Coquette’s spirit-free “The New World,” which effortlessly straddles citrus and spicy flavor profiles with lemon, ginger, star anise, and cranberry. Beverage director Ray Trembley spent months crafting the spirit-free drink menu that’s tempting for those who typically reach for the real stuff. And this is no exception.
🥑 The sleeper hits. Our rapid fire round-up of under-the-radar noshes:
- The lamb shawarma from Sofra in Cambridge with tahini yogurt sauce and pickles is well worth taking the 71 bus for.
- The sweet potato pancakes from Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. So good you could eat them without syrup.
- The smoky guacamole from Cosmica in the South End. No guac has tasted the same since.
🤑 If you’re going to book one Boston dinner reservation in 2024 … Let it be Comfort Kitchen in Upham’s Corner. This café by day, restaurant by night, has been the talk of the town since it opened earlier this year (the Globe just gave it a coveted five-star review). It’s menu is based around the concept of diaspora, showcasing ingredients and flavors from around the world to create “global comfort food.” Between the menu’s thoughtful storytelling, its cozy atmosphere, and community-centric POV, it was one of the most memorable meals in Boston. Our rec? Try the okra, yassa chicken, and Basque cheesecake. You won’t regret it.
Quick & dirty headlines
Image: Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
⚖️ Boston just issued a big apology. Mayor Michelle Wu issued an apology to Alan Swanson and Willie Bennett on behalf of the city for their wrongful arrests as a part of the infamous 1989 Carol Stuart case (in which a white man blamed a Black man for the murder of his wife — which he himself committed). The case’s fallout helped define racial relations in Boston for decades to come. In the apology, Mayor Wu emphasized the city’s commitment to taking accountability and further action. This news comes after the Globe’s investigation and HBO series about the case.
🚲 “Regular bikes are so last year” — Bostonians in like a week, probably. This week, Blue Bikes announced that it would be adding 750 electric bikes into its fleet in the next few months, with the first 50 having arrived Wednesday. The bikes have slick new features and can go up to 20 mph, but all that extra leisure will cost you a little more: For a 30 minute ride, the e-bikes will cost 10 cents a minute for members and 25 cents for non-members, compared to a flat $2.95 for regular bikes.
🎄If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas … Keep dreaming, unfortunately. In great news for travelers, shoppers, and scrooges, there will almost definitely be no snow on the ground this Christmas. And if you’re dreaming of a mild, slightly unseasonably warm Christmas, you’re in luck! For the next week or so, in lieu of snow, we can expect (honestly, kind of nice) dry, mild weather. In fact, according to the Globe’s Dave Epstein, we probably won’t see any snow at all through at least the new year.
🍺 Who said Boston’s nightlife stinks? Well, us, sometimes. And TBH, it could be better … But no matter! There are still many gems to be found, and Boston.com rounded them up in this guide to reader-recommended bars in Greater Boston. A few of the top recommended spots include MEX Taqueria + Bar in Cambridge, Widowmaker Taproom & Kitchen in Brighton, and Committee in the Seaport, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also shout-out The Silhouette (a.k.a The Sil) in Allston. Read the whole list here.
ONE LAST THING
The worst surprise vacation
Image: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff. Illustration by Gia Orsino.
This might be the funniest (and most tragic) mix-up of 2023. This weekend, the passengers on a Bahamas-bound cruise ship from New York got the absolute worst surprise ever when they were rerouted to stops in Boston, Maine, and Canada at the last minute due to stormy waters.
And although passengers were alerted to the change the day before, some of them didn’t learn about it until they were literally boarding the ship — and even then, a few thought the news was a joke. Needless to say, they were pretty upset about the mix-up, which robbed many of their tropical holiday vacation plans, and forced them to swap out their sun-tanning plans for a rainy walk on the Freedom Trail.
So, when something (inevitably) goes wrong this holiday season, just remember, at least that didn’t happen to you.
— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario
⛴️ Thanks for reading! One family that went on the cruise was even from Canada. What cruel irony.
✈️ The results are in: According to B-Siders, the worst part of the holidays is splitting time between a bunch of different celebrations. One reader said: “The actual travel part is the most stressful part IMO, such as flying or driving. It’s always so chaotic!”