Go Boston: Where to Go When It's Cold and Nope
If you didn't get the chills just thinking about it, you've never seen one. Or we've got us a real badass over here. Either way, when you're freezing your bad ass off mid-January and need an escape ASAP... here you go.
More appropriately Gene's Chinese Hand Pulled Noodles, this Chinatown cash-only counter is all about that good good slurp. You think you've got noodles pretty much down at this point - you've had pasta, maybe even some ramen, too much lo mein. But come in to Gene's on a chilly afternoon and cruise their lamb hand pulled noodle soup right down Bliss Blvd; your game will be changed. Picture a thin, salty broth, packed with spices (the burny spicy kind you can add yourself) and lamb, with a few very long, flat noodles that soak everything up and still retain their chewy texture. This is Destination #1 for curing the cold weather blues.
French fries, gravy, cheese curds, and pork belly. You may well pay for it later, but in terms of good-feelings-right-now, the poutine at Saus is hard to beat. There's also some great craft beer and delicious dessert waffles, and coming for an after-work hangout, if you can find a seat, is highly recommended. A good rule of thumb: the taller the snow drifts outside, the better those fries are going to taste. Keep this spot in your back pocket.
I'm a reader, and while I long ago lost my paper-only elitism, there's an irrefutable magic to cracking open a real book. The same magic can be found in Brookline Booksmith and other independent bookstores, where browsing is encouraged, and the search for just the right escape is equal parts thrilling and relaxing. My mid-winter rec? Head downstairs to the used book section, pull one that tickles your fancy, and head to the strategically located Peet's or Starbucks on either side of Booksmith for a window seat and a hot drink. Afternoon, booked.
Across the street from Brookline Booksmith is a frontrunner for the best ramen in Boston: Ganko Ittetsu Ramen. Snuck into a quiet shopping plaza, Ganko fits maybe 15 people, but wait times are short due to fast output. When snow is falling, you want the tantanmen - a slightly spicy sesame and pork-based ramen that will push alllll the happy buttons. Come with an empty stomach, slurp with abandon, then follow the previous instructions for Brookline Booksmith; except this time, beware of food coma.
Have you ever had a lemon cookie in the vault of a refurbished old bank? Didn't think so. Just around the corner from the next entry, Bloc is far and away one of the coolest cafes in Boston. Depending on where you live, Somerville may not be the easiest place to escape to, especially in the winter. But get on up here and spend an afternoon among Nepalese dumplings and hibernating with a coffee and a cookie in ye olde vault, and that's about as buffered as you can get from the elements.
This Nepalese corner restaurant radiates warmth from every pore. Yes, the food is spicy - just look at Nepal, sandwiched between India and western China. However, Momo n Curry is good spicy, aka spicy with flavor. And goshdarnit if these aren't the best spicy dumplings in the whole city. They're as juicy as soup dumplings from everyone's favorite Gourmet Dumpling House, but with a looser shell that enables one-bite flavor explosion, and accompanied by a pair of delightful curries for dipping. Boston's a city of small, family-owned restaurants, but Momo n Curry especially brings the heart.
One void worth the plunge (Thinking Cup).
I don't know about you (yes I do), but when it's cold outside my first instinct is hot chocolate NOW. And if you like your chocolate chocolatey, it doesn't get more chocolatey than the French Hot Chocolate at Thinking Cup. It's "64% Tainori Valhrona Drinking Chocolate," and 100% amazing. Exactly the right balance of dark and sweet chocolate, a "large" comes in a fancy lil teacup that only enhances the ultimate treat y'self experience. If you're at Thinking Cup North End (because it's impossible to find a seat otherwise), get your cocoa and snag a table up front against the window, then bundle down, watch the passersby, and revel in the knowledge that you are doing it sooooo right.
Not-lobster @ Luke's Lobster
Simple: Luke's has the best (affordable) lobster/crab/shrimp rolls in town, and a solid clam chowder. Yes, it's a New York import, but it's a really really really good New York import. What actually sets Luke's apart is the secret seasoning that you want to put all over everything. Including the pickle. What better way to deal with Boston's infamous winter than by embracing Boston's famous seafood (even if it's kinda from New York)?
The menu at Friendly Toast, top to bottom, is filled with yummy cold-weather foods designed to make you feel so so happy inside. Coincidentally, they also double as yummy hangover foods. Coincidentally. Order yourself up a plate of biscuits and gravy or whatever sets your boat to sail, one of those diner coffees that while never tasty always hits the spot, and feel pleasant about life for a spell before stumbling back into the Windier City. The only trick is getting in - Friendly Toast is no secret - but I'll leave that to you.
Find a cooler place in Boston. I dare you. Double dog, yo.
Did I leave out your fav winter escape pod? Tell me its life story below. Go on, I'll read it.