The holidays are here, and holiday shopping is at peak-stress for many of us. It's important to take time to enjoy the season, take in the decorations, and enjoy a scrumptious meal before you must work hours in the kitchen. It's a cold one out there, so we've put together a list of our favorite places – new and old – in town to unwind and warm up. Herewith, our favorite things:
• Bartaco (25 Thomson Pl., Boston): OK, so it's more south of the border than Santa, but the Seaport's newest taco spot – just a few blocks from the hotel – is a great way to pretend that you're at some great little spot instead of in frigid Mexico over the next few chilly months. From falafel to fried fish or carne asada, the tacos here can't be missed. However, Bartaco is more than tacos – fried plantains, poke, and duck confit quesadillas are all popular menu items. Don't forget to wash it down with a margarita or Paloma – the ideal sips to go while it snows outside.
• Bistro du Midi (272 Boylston St., Boston): Imagine being invited over to a chic Boston townhouse and getting served fabulous French food with a New England twist. Welcome to Bistro du Midi. Tucked amid a row of high-end shopping on Boylston across the street from the Boston Public Garden, Bistro du Midi is great for all seasons. While its patio is great in the summer to see and be seen, we tend to head upstairs this time of year to dine next to the crackling fireplace. Sample everything from oysters and cauliflower soup to start and meander through hearty entrees, all to wind up with a nightcap overlooking the Public Garden.
• Pammy's (928 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): The hottest Italian restaurant in Greater Boston right now – gasp – isn't in the North End. Pammy's hasn't been around as long as some of Boston's historic trattorias along Hanover Street, but it has quickly become a neighborhood (and regional) favorite. Unpretentious decor, a cozy fireplace, and filling pastas make Pammy's a must-visit during cold months.
• L.A. Burdick (220 Clarendon St., Boston/52 Brattle St., Cambridge): Let your sweet tooth rejoice! L.A. Burdick has been Greater Boston's go-to chocolatier for decades. Known for its chocolate "mice" and boxes of assorted chocolates, the candy shop will get lines out the door this time of year for people jonesing for a hot chocolate. L.A. Burdick is accessible to all – it even offers vegan treats!
photo courtesy of Pammy's.