From Lunch to Brunch to Gourmet Dinners, We’ve Got Plenty of Ways to Celebrate Mom

Posted: May 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 62 Restaurant & Winebar, Blue Ox, brunch, Event, Finz, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel, Victoria Station | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Forgot Mother’s Day is this Sunday and scrambling to make plans? We’ve got a quick round-up of brunch ideas as well as some less traditional options.

If delighting in a little taste of everything is mom’s style, there are several buffet options. Salem’s Victoria Station is featuring breakfast favorites as well as a carving station and plenty of seafood. And cocktails, of course. Perhaps a “Mom’osa” is in order? ($30 per person, $15 for kids,children under five eat free.)

Is mom a fan of oysters? Next door at Finz, the offerings include a raw bar along with a full buffet and the tasty-sounding waffles with blueberry whipped cream or banana encrusted salmon over coconut jasmine rice. ($39.99 per person, $15.99 for children 12 and under.)

A few blocks away, the Hawthorne Hotel will make mom feel like royalty. Their spread is available all day, with a change in focus at 3:00 from breakfast items to dinner. The veggie options look plentiful, including non-traditional salads like red-white-and-green salad with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, edamame, and fresh basil and a sweet-and-spicy cucumber salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, and red onion. The make-your-own strawberry shortcake will appeal to the kids in the group. ($42.95 adults; $2 per year of age for children.)

Newburyport’s 10 Center wants to ensure mom enjoys herself, too. In addition to an extensive buffet with dishes like stuffed french toast and lobster mac and cheese, they are offering a complimentary mimosa to each mother. ($40 per person, 10:00 to 3:00.)

A reliable favorite of many moms is the Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport for their always-beautiful grand buffet. Live piano music and ocean views accompany offerings like a smoked salmon, trout and mackerel display; chilled salad of shrimp, clams, mussels and calamari; and roasted garlic and gorgonzola encrusted black angus sirloin. ($49 per adult; $24.50 for children ages 3-10; 10:00 to 2:30.)

For those who would rather forgo brunch and treat mom to a luscious lunch or dinner, several terrific restaurants have special menu items on offer.

62 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Salem has a special menu just for mom from 11:00 to 9:00. In addition to regular menu items, Chef Tony Bettencourt will tempt you with crostini topped with whipped ricotta, roasted black mission figs, and aged balsamic vinegar and grilled lamb chops with zucchini, black olives, roasted tomato, crumbled feta, Sardinian couscous, and basil.

Lynn’s Blue Ox has put together a three-course meal for mom that has us salivating.
The pan-roasted cod with spring pea risotto, oven dried tomatoes, fava beans, pea tendril salad, and truffle vinaigrette and the strawberry rhubarb tart with strawberry and mint champagne sauce and whipped cream are calling our names. The special meal is $44 per person, available from 12:00 to 6:00.

Ceia in Newburyport will feature special selections such as a luxe steak and lobster benedict; spaghetti with black garlic, mint, and serrano chili; and shrimp with linguica, fingerling potatoes, kale, and a farm egg.

Last but not least, if the celebrated lady in your life loves eating out, our friends at Dinner Dealer have the perfect gift: a deck of restaurant-discount cards costs $25 and provides more than $300 in savings to North Shore restaurants ($1 from each sale is donated to a local food pantry). And if you contact them in the next few days, Dinner Dealer will throw in a free mini pampering kit with treats like chocolates and skincare products from local, women-owned companies.

Looks like there are plenty of options for treating your mom, grandmom, stepmom, godmom or anybody else to a great meal this weekend. Remember to call ahead for availability and that tax, tip and drinks aren’t generally included in the price, and enjoy!

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Sundays at Reds: New Location, Same Tasty Breakfast

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Breakfast, brunch, Peabody, Reds Kitchen + Tavern | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Having been to Red’s in Salem on many lazy Sunday mornings, we were excited to check out their latest incarnation in Peabody (on Rt. 1). It’s an enormous space but quite welcoming, with diner-style counters up front and family-style tables elsewhere, plus a nice-looking bar.

We arrived around 12:30 and were a bit disappointed to learn that lunch is not served on Sunday; the restaurant moves right from breakfast to dinner (starting at 2:00). Unlike their sister restaurant, this location serves alcohol and is open until 10pm Sunday through Wednesday and 11pm Thursday through Saturday.

Nonetheless, we ordered up some of our breakfast favorites and thoroughly enjoyed them. The pancakes have got to be one of the best deals around, with three platter-sized fluffy cakes for $6.25. We had the chocolate chip, but the blueberry and banana are also delicious. Served with a side of bacon or sausage ($2.50), it’s enough food to last until bedtime.

Two eggs with thick-cut Canadian bacon, home fries, and rye toast also hit the spot ($6.50). The home fries are crispy outside, soft inside, and well seasoned, without being too heavy on the salt or garlic.

Like just about everything on the menu, the omelets are a great value: a huge portion of eggs with generous fillings. We enjoyed the tried-and-true Western with cheese ($6.25) and the more unusual fresh spinach with feta ($6.25). You can create your own concoction from a variety of ingredients and cheeses.

Unfortunately, the breakfast specials that day sounded great and were sold out when we arrived. Guess we’ll have to get up earlier if we want to sample the lobster benedict or one of the other benedict-style offerings. We managed to make do with a respectable waffle ($5.50), bacon, and a tasty Absolute Bloody Mary ($9.00).

The Sunday dinners we saw on the tables as we left looked tempting, so we’ll definitely plan a return trip to try the chicken pot pie ($9.50) and the rib-eye steak ($24).

Reds Kitchen + Tavern
131 Newbury St, Peabody
(978) 531-7337
www.redskitchenandtavern.com

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A Tale of Two Brunches

Posted: February 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Beverly, Breakfast, brunch, Cafe, Organic Garden Cafe, Tryst, Vegitarian/Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Extraordinarily for us, last weekend saw not one but two brunches, both in Beverly. On Saturday, we had relatives staying who wanted to go to brunch, and our favorite Wellesley student is vegan, so we let her choose the venue. She decided on The Organic Garden Café on Cabot Street, which not only serves vegetarian and vegan fare but largely raw foods as well.

The space is small and comfortable, and our waiter was attentive. We were offered both the breakfast and lunch menus and chose items from both, sipping our drinks while we waited for the food. The coffee was respectable; the hot cocoa, made from raw cacao, was super rich; but my favorite was the lemon ginger and raw honey tea. Blended fresh, it arrived frothy and hot and was a perfect antidote for winter weariness.

Our entrees ranged from “live”(dehydrated instead of baked) granola ($6) and quinoa porridge with agave nectar, cinnamon, cardamom, and raisins ($4 with additional toppings $1 each) to the Southwestern faux omelet on baby spinach ($7), made with a combination of ground nuts and veggies in lieu of eggs. We also tried the omelet, nausage patty, & crepe combo ($9) where a mix of sunflower seeds, flax, onion, portabella, and seasonings stand in for the sausage.

Clearly, the faux versions of traditional meat items are not meant to replicate the carnivore’s experience; they are fanciful takes using similarly spiced or textured food. Everything was extremely fresh tasting and well seasoned, and in the end, the savory foods with their layers of flavor won out over the sweet; the southwestern plate being a real standout.

The large case displaying great-looking desserts was enticing, but we were so sated that we opted to purchase a few treats to take home for later. Eschewing the cakes and cookies, we had to try the “I am Mighty” balls ($3.50) for the name alone. A dense combination of fruits, nuts, and seeds dipped in dark chocolate; it was like the ultimate protein bar—tasty, satisfying, and energizing.

On Sunday, we ended up back on Cabot Street just a few doors down from the Organic Garden, to meet a Beverly friend at Tryst. As one would anticipate, this meal offered a much more traditional brunch menu, including the standard Bloody Mary’s and mimosas. Two of our party went for alternate benedicts; the spinach enhanced eggs florentine ($8) and the eggs royale ($11), with a generous portion of Scottish smoked salmon. Our third entrée was the French-style omelet with goat cheese, broccoli, and roasted red peppers ($9) and a side of bacon ($3.50)

The menu mentions that eggs are local, but isn’t specific as to the source. The omelet was huge, and the vegetables tender but a bit heavy on the peppers. The benedicts were lovely, with velvety lemon hollandaise and excellent quality smoked salmon. Each plate included a portion of hash browns and two huge orange wedges. The hash browns seemed an oddity; a small, dry half-patty that I wanted to be tastier than it was.

The weekend turned out to be a lesson in expectations. Having had lovely dinners at Tryst and heard good things about their brunch, our expectations were high. The meal was certainly tasty but didn’t knock our socks off. It’s a solid choice for those seeking a good brunch in a nice room (not as common as you’d think on the North Shore), but in future, we’ll stick to Manhattans and roast chicken at the bar.

My only assumption about Organic Gardrn Café was it likely had a “hippy-crunchy” vibe, which it did, though not oppressively so. The opportunity to sample foods I had never contemplated making at home made it very enjoyable. What fascinated me was not the raw aspect of the food, but the creative combination of textures and tastes. I found myself thinking about returning for lunch or dinner to explore more menu items.

Tryst
282 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 921- 2266
trystbeverly.com

Organic Garden Café
294 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 922-0004
organicgardencafe.com

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Celebrating the End of Summer With Mad Martha

Posted: September 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breakfast, brunch, Cafe, Mad Martha’s Beach Café, Newbury | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Just before Labor Day weekend, we took a day trip to Plum Island to eke out the last of the summer. After a long walk on the gorgeous beach at the Parker River Reserve, we were ready for lunch at Mad Martha’s Beach Café.

We were warmly greeted and immediately felt at home among the bright flowers and hand-painted artwork. The menu is extensive, with breakfast and lunch offerings, plus a number of daily specials.

I was in a savory mood, so I passed up the delicious-sounding blueberry coconut pancakes (next time, for sure) and went with Old Man omelet ($8.75). It did not disappoint: a huge portion of eggs stuffed with onions, mushrooms, large chunks of salty ham, and gooey cheese. The accompanying red potatoes were tender but could have used more crisping on the grill.

My dining companion ordered the portabella burger, which was topped with spinach and roasted red peppers ($8.25). The bread was fresh and slightly sweet, but the sandwich lacked punch.

Given the beauty of the area and the attentive, friendly service we received, we’ll be returning to this funky cafe. We suspect breakfast is the way to go here and that the portuguese french toast is in our future.

Mad Martha’s Beach Café
51 Northern Blvd, Plum Island (Newbury)
(978) 462-7707
www.madmarthasbeachcafe.com

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An Affordable Indulgence: Brunch at Nathaniel’s

Posted: January 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breakfast, brunch, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Looking to extend the holidays a bit further, we set out for the Hawthorne Hotel last Sunday. Nathaniel’s, the hotel’s main restaurant, features a Sunday Jazz Brunch and recently changed from a buffet to a prix fixe menu, giving us the perfect excuse for a last indulgent meal of the season.

And that it was, from the service to the setting to the food. For $16.95, we were each able to choose from a large selection of salads, entrees, and sweets. For salads, we sampled the arugula with smoked salmon with ricotta salata (delicious), the spinach with bacon and hard-boiled egg (equally good), and the caesar (good but slightly overdressed).

The entrees run the gamut from sweet to eggy to more-lunch-than-brunch. We were very happy with the flavorful harvest pasta (also available as a vegan dish), the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and the harvest frittata, which was cooked perfectly and topped with an abundance of asparagus, spinach, onions, and Vermont goat cheese.

The runaway hit was the brioche french toast, which was just crusty enough and topped with a strawberry-rhubarb compote so delicious we didn’t even pick up the maple syrup pitcher. And yes, there might have been some whipped cream involved.

To guild the lily, we sampled the buche de noel, a raspberry/cassis mousse, and an almond pear torte. All were great quality, with the torte being the favorite of the bunch. Note that coffee ($2.25) is not included in the prix fixe.

The dining room is very well appointed, with enough sound absorption to keep the noise level of even a full room in check. We commend the service, which met our every need but never rushed our leisurely meal. The jazz duo was also enjoyable, with classics given a welcome twist.

If you plan to go, reservations are highly recommended, but feel free to bring children, who can choose from their own three-course menu for $9.95. For even more selection, kids or adults can choose from a substantial à la carte menu. Also à la carte are cocktails  ($7.75) like Bloody Marys and Greyhounds made from Gloucester’s Ryan & Wood vodka, gin, and rum or the interesting-sounding lemonsecco, featuring prosecco mixed with limoncello liqueur.

Nathaniel’s Restaurant at the Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square, Salem
(978) 825-4311
www.hawthornehotel.com/dining/index.htm

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Morning Decadence: Gloucester’s Sugar Mags

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Breakfast, brunch, Cafe, Gloucester, Sugar Magnolias | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Carrot cake for breakfast? We came pretty close at Sugar Magnolia’s last weekend—and loved every bite. Along with several savory dishes, we ordered the full stack of carrot cake pancakes with maple cream cheese butter (3 for $6). The pancakes were huge and full of flavor, and the cream cheese was a delicious, frosting-like spread.

It’s hard to beat that level of indulgence, but our other meals came close. We tried the Western Ave and the East Main omelettes. The former contained linguica, onion, pepper, and American cheese; the latter had spinach, tomatoes, bacon, and swiss cheese. Both were large, perfectly cooked, and accompanied by hash browns and toast for $7.50.

The veggie scramble was an abundance of tender-but-not-mushy broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and (our choice) goat cheese, a marvelous combination. With toast and home fries, it was $8 and more food than one person could eat. The crab cake “bene” ($10) was superior to most we’ve had, with two very crisp yet light crab cakes, perfectly poached eggs, and a light, flavorful sauce.

We also tried the pineapple fritters, which came with a delicious brown sugar dipping sauce. They were crisp outside but a bit soggy inside, due to the pineapple. Next time, we’ll go right for the carrot cake pancakes to satisfy our sweet tooth.

The service was attentive, relaxed, and friendly, with as many refills as we desired on our bottomless cups of coffee ($1.50). Note that with food and service this good, there tends to be a wait on weekend mornings. Our wait was 15 minutes on Sunday just before noon—and well worth it.

Sugar Magnolia’s
112 Main Street, Gloucester
(978) 281-5310
www.sugarmags.com

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Celebrating Mom on the North Shore

Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bakery, Beverly, brunch, Danvers, Event, Gloucester, Marblehead, Newburyport, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Wenham | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mother’s Day, May 9, is fast approaching, and if you still haven’t made any plans to honor mom, don’t panic, we’ve got a few ideas for you.

If you’ve got brunch in mind, it looks like Salem is the place. As usual, the Hawthorne Hotel will pull out all the stops to impress, with a huge buffet including both breakfast items and heartier fare, from 10:30 to 7:00 at $40 per adult and $15 per child.

The Salem Waterfront Hotel is offering two different options. From 8:00 to 9:00, it’s $26 per adult and $11 for children 12 and under. From 9:00 to 1:30, it’s $30 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. If you want to make a weekend of it, stay at the hotel Saturday night and receive one free brunch for Mom per room (based on availability). Things that caught our eye on the menu were the mascarpone and lobster scrambled eggs in toasted brioche and the Viennese dessert station.

Another deal that might tickle mom’s fancy is being offered by the Peabody Essex Museum. Enjoy a sumptuous brunch prepared by Hawthorne Catering and served in the Garden Restaurant overlooking PEM’s Asian Garden. After your meal, visit the Museum Shop, where you can exchange your brunch voucher for a complimentary gift for Mom!

Pickering Wharf also offers plenty of options. Finz will be serving brunch buffet from 11:00 to 3:00; it will include a raw bar and several seafood choices for $35 per person, $16 for kids under 12.

Sixty2 on Wharf will also be dishing up brunch. They haven’t published a full menu, but Chef Tony Bettencourt promises pecan sticky buns, brioche french toast, and all sorts of other goodies. Reservations recommended.

If you’re looking for something more casual, Victoria Station will be offering a brunch buffet from 11:00 to 3:00 and a dinner buffet from 3:00 to 7:00, at $30 per person. There will be live entertainment with Joe Mcdonald from 1:00 to 5:00.

Of course, Salem’s not the only place you’ll find a meal to impress mom. Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport serves up a gorgeous buffet with treats like truffle honey glazed salmon over a bed of maple roasted squash and Kahlua Bavarian chocolate trifle, for $45 per person, $22.50 for children ages 3 to 10.

Ten Center in Newburyport will host a buffet in their private dining room, where mom will enjoy a complimentary mimosa. They will offer two seatings: 11:00 to 1:00 and  3:00 to 5:00 at $45 per person and $15 per child.

If your mom is a traditional sort, she might enjoy a beautiful afternoon tea. The Exchange at the Wenham Tea House will be presenting their annual Mother’s Day Brunch featuring a la carte specials, along with an afternoon tea. For more details and reservations, call them (978) 468-1398.

Lastly, there are those of us who find Mother’s Day bittersweet, because while we can celebrate with our children, our mothers are no longer with us. My own mother fell victim to breast cancer almost 20 years ago, and so the Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer yearly event really hits home.

During the week up to and including Mother’s Day, local restaurants and bakeries will be selling special treats and desserts, with 100% of proceeds from the sales of the specific dessert going to breast cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Here on the North Shore, the chocolate buchon from A & J King Artisan Bakers, one of our all-time favorites, is on the list. Cakes for Occasions in Danvers will be offering a traditional whoopie pie with pink cream filling, and Cassis Bakery in Beverly will have Boston crème pies on offer. Participating restaurants include Duckworth’s Bistrot in Gloucester, Mission Oak Grill in Newburyport, Pellana Prime Steak House in Peabody, and Pellino’s Ristorante in Marblehead.

So whether it’s an indulgence for mom or in honor of her, there’s no better excuse to go in search of these sweet treats in the upcoming week.

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Savory Sunday at Cala’s in Manchester

Posted: April 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, brunch, Cala's, Manchester | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Sunny spring weekends inevitably mean yard work, but on Sunday we decided to fuel up before heading to Corliss Brothers to ogle shrubbery and went in search of brunch. We ended up at Cala’s in Manchester, a cute storefront on Beach Street in the center of town. The interior is warm and contemporary with lots of wood and eye-catching oil paintings by local artists.

Being brunch, we had to begin with the requisite Bloody Mary, which was good sized and respectable, though not particularly spicy, if that’s your thing. We decided on the blueberry pancakes ($7), the pan seared lobster cake ($11), and an order of applewood smoked bacon to share.

Two to a serving, the pancakes were lovely—light and fluffy, with a hint of cinnamon and citrus, certainly not your average flapjack. They were served with a standard side-cup of fruit and fried potatoes, which were nice and savory if a bit heavy on the peppers. The bacon was crisp, tasty and not greasy.

The lobster cake was small but quite flavorful and packed with lobster meat. It was served with a root-vegetable and squash fricassee, which included some sautéed greens that were terrific. The whole thing was nicely complimented by the light and tangy chive crème fraiche.

Indulgently, we ordered dessert, the chocolate terrine with berry compote and crème anglaise ($7) The dense chocolate slices and rich cream hit the spot on their own and didn’t really need the barrage of sauces striping the plate.

With reasonable prices, appetizing offerings, and friendly waitstaff, Cala’s makes a pleasant brunch destination, and if you need to walk off those calories, you can take a turn around the park by the bay or pop into the surrounding shops. Before you get back to the yard work, that is.

Cala’s
7 Beach St., Manchester
(978) 525-3304
www.calasrestaurant.com


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Brunch Bunch

Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Breakfast, brunch, Lynn, Manchester, Newburyport, Rockport, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Marge: “What’s brunch?”
Jacques: “You’ll love it. It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end.”

It’s that time of year again, when the spring bulbs start blooming and the people start brunching. Sure, eating breakfast out is always popular, but when the weather improves, a leisurely brunch and a long seaside walk to work off that eggs benedict is an excellent way to spend your Sunday. Spring also brings the two biggest brunch days of the year: Easter and Mother’s Day.

So while we adore local diners and feature breakfast joints all year long, we’ve got a list of places worth considering if you’re looking for something a little more upscale.

Nathaniel’s at Hawthorne Hotel in Salem is well known for its gorgeous Sunday Jazz Brunch, which has been consistently voted Best of the North Shore by North Shore Magazine. They offer seatings at 11:15 am, 11:30 am 1:30 pm, and 1:45 pm, and while reservations are not required, they are strongly recommended.

The Hawthorne will be offering an Easter Brunch Buffet from 10:30 to 7:00 for $40 per adult and $15 per child. Menus for the Jazz Brunch and the Easter Buffet are available in .pdf form on the Web site. A similar brunch will be offered on Mother’s Day, but the menu is not yet available.

Newburyport’s Ten Center offers their Bloody Good Brunch on Sundays from 11:00 to 3:00 with some interesting twists on the traditional and a Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar. They are hosting a special buffet for Easter in the private dining room featuring a separate children’s buffet and a dessert buffet. Seatings will be at 12:00, 2:00, and 4:00; reservations are required. The buffet is $55 per adult and $15 per child.

A couple of places that don’t usually do breakfast are serving up specials for Easter brunch as well. The Blue Ox in Lynn is offering a mouth-watering three-course menu for $29 per person that includes things like baked Duxbury oysters with mascarpone cheese, diced apples, scallions, apple brandy and grilled local applewood-smoked ham with roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus, sherry wine and shallot sauce. They will be open from 11:00 to 4:00 on Easter.

Finz in Salem also has an Easter special, a buffet that will include a raw bar and items like swordfish oscar and banana-encrusted salmon. The buffet is $35 per person and $16 for kids under 12.

If you’re looking for a pretty Sunday drive, head to Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport for their extensive Easter Grand Buffet from 11:30 to 3:30. The lobster deviled eggs and mascarpone stuffed french toast with wild-berry compote are calling our names. The buffet runs $45 per person, $22.50 for children ages 3 to 10. There is limited seating available, so they’re encouraging people to call early for reservations. The Emerson Inn will be serving a similar brunch on Mother’s Day but haven’t yet announced the menu.

And although we haven’t seen any published holiday specials, the following restaurants serve up Sunday brunch on a regular basis:

Cala’s in Manchester hosts a brunch from 11:30 to 2:00 that includes breakfast standards, bistro fare, and a build-your-own pizza menu. Reservations are available but not required, and the menu is available here.

Tryst in Beverly offers breakfast from 10:00 to 1:00, and we’ve heard good things about it, though the menu isn’t available online. It is also first-come, first-served, as they don’t take reservations.

Salem’s Lyceum, which recently underwent a metamorphosis, is open for brunch 11:00 to 3:00, and the menu has some intriguing-sounding dishes at a range of prices. Edit: They have since published an Easter menu, which can be found here.

So whether you’re treating the family, your mom, or just yourself, there are so many tasty options on the North Shore, you’ll wish you had a month of Sundays to enjoy them.

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