Wenham’s Grassy Roots Feeds Body and Soul

Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breakfast, Cafe, Grassy Roots, Wenham | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Let’s face it, healthy food is not always delicious. But we’re happy to report that at a lovely new spot in Wenham, we found a lunch you can feel good about. We stopped into Grassy Roots last weekend and were delighted by the airy space and the fresh selections.

We started with one of their juice combinations, which are made on the spot from whole fruits and vegetables. The Get Up and Go is a tasty combination of pineapple, lime, and cucumber ($7) that was made on the less-sweet side at our request. (It would be fabulous with a touch of gin in it, but that’s another story.)

The store carries a great selection of smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and panini, along with fresh baked goods. We tried the Lovely Viola, which featured large chunks of moist poached salmon, arugula, onion, and dill tartar ($10). Definitely worth returning for. We felt the same way about the Barstool, a combination of roasted eggplant, hummus, roasted red peppers and watercress that tasted incredibly fresh and more decadent than most vegetarian sandwiches ($8).

Of course, since we wanted to report on all of the shop’s offerings, we had to try a few of the goodies on display. Honestly, the things we won’t do for you people. The triple chocolate brownie was dense and fudgy, though we’re not sure the small size was worth $1.50; the muffins were moist and flavorful; and the cheddar chive bacon scone was one of the best savory scones we’ve ever had—cheesy and smoky with a wonderful light texture.

If you’re traveling on Route 1A, definitely stop into this high quality breakfast and lunch spot, and if you try the mocha morning smoothie, let us know how it was because we already regret not trying it.

Grassy Roots
152 Main St, Wenham
(978) 468-5200
grassyroots.squarespace.com

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The Boys From Essex Bring Their BBQ to Beverly

Posted: October 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, Beverly, Casual/Pub Food, Farm Bar & Grille, Farm Downtown | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In April of ’09, three young entrepreneurs, Noah Goldstein, Bradley Atkinson, and Ryan Cox threw their lot in together and opened the Farm Bar and Grille in Essex. When we visited the following week, the place was packed.

This afternoon, we experienced a bit of déjà vu when we stopped by for the grand opening of the trio’s newest venture, The Farm Downtown, on Rantoul Street in Beverly. There was a line out the door, and the atmosphere was jovial with lunch seekers and well wishers.

Of course, that may have had something to do with the free pulled pork and chicken sandwiches the guys were handing out. We tried one of each, and they were superb; tender, smoky melt-in-your-mouth meat with just the right amount of savory sauce on a grilled bun. We’re talking seriously tasty.

Whereas the Essex restaurant was created as a destination, featuring a huge indoor space with live music and a patio with outdoor games, in the smaller Beverly location, the focus is more on the food, Goldstein (pictured) told us. All of the offerings are freshly made, including hand-packed burgers using Angus beef (never frozen) and hand-cut French fries and tortilla chips. The specialty of the house is of course the barbeque, which is slowly smoked in their famous custom smoker in Essex and prepared on site in Beverly.

The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, salads, and seafood at reasonable price points. Everything is packaged and ready for take-out, and you’re welcome to eat there, though there is limited seating.

Although small, the storefront is appealing and fun, with custom tables inlayed with the signature pig logo. It’s extra impressive when Goldstein lets on that this has all been put together in just one month. Clearly, it was a month of late nights and a dedicated crew.

We’re betting The Farm Downtown will quickly become a welcome addition to the thriving Beverly restaurant scene. Tasty food, competitive prices—and did we mention they’ll be open late? Until 2:00 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, which is a rarity here on the North Shore. And really, how can you not appreciate a place whose tagline is “We’ll Pull Your Pork”?

The Farm Downtown
350 Rantoul St. Beverly
(978)922.0011
www.farmdowntown.com

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Great Coffee, Good Vibes at Atomic Café

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Atomic Cafe, Beverly, Cafe | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Some places just have a good vibe, and Atomic Café is one of them. We stopped into their Beverly location for lunch recently and found the food very good, the coffee terrific, and the counter service eager to please. The place is small but manageable, and there’s something on the menu to please many palates, including a great selection of vegetarian options.

The goat cheese and pesto panini was the best of the three sandwiches we tried ($5). Crunchy grilled bread, well-flavored pesto, ripe tomato, and a generous serving of goat cheese made it a stand-out. We also liked the curried chicken salad ($6.25), with a hefty amount of chicken chunks in spiced-just-right mayo. The hummus special was fine, with a good amount of tomato and a fresh wheat wrap ($5). The thick-cut muenster cheese overpowered the hummus, but that’s a quibble more than a criticism. All sandwiches are served with a dill pickle and ruffle-cut chips, available on a selection of breads, and, if you’re eating in, served on ceramic rather than paper.

As you’d expect from a place that roasts their own coffee (available in store and online for $10 a pound and up), the iced coffee with milk was delicious ($1.90). We also tried the lemon Italian soda ($2.85) but found it too sugary.

Tempted by the bakery case, we tried a blondie and a frosted cupcake ($2-$3) and deemed both worth the calories. The cake was fairly moist, and the frosting was neither cloying nor overly sweet. The blondie was terrific—good sized, pleasingly dense, and filled with chunks of dark chocolate.

Atomic Café has a sister location in Marblehead with the same great coffee, friendly service, and pleasant vibe. The lunch menu is somewhat more limited, however.

Atomic Cafe
265 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 922-0042

14 School St, Marblehead
(781) 631-6464
www.atomicafe.com

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Serious Sandwiches in Ipswich

Posted: April 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Cafe, Ipswich, Stone Soup Café | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

We had heard good things about Stone Soup Café in Ipswich, so when we found ourselves in the area and in need of nourishment last week, we stopped in. Good thing we were hungry—this place serves up a serious lunch.

The menu is large and includes salads, burgers, dogs, roll ups, specialty sandwiches like grilled cheese and avocado, fried chicken and fish, plus pizzas with gourmet toppings and a selection of house-made soups.

Breakfast items for lunch are a favorite of ours, so we were thrilled to see not only pancakes ($4 for one, $6 for two—and they’re huge) and eggs benedict ($8), but a monster egg sandwich ($7). It lived up to its name: after a cup of excellent spicy lentil soup with sausage ($3), we had to take half of this delicious grilled sandwich home. It featured fried eggs, hash browns, bacon, cheese and sautéed onions.

We also sampled a cup of clam chowder (creamy and full flavored, $3.50) and a reuben filled with pastrami and sauerkraut on grilled bread with melted cheese ($8). And yes, we took half of that home as well.

The service was attentive and friendly, even going so far as to bring us a sample of the lentil soup so we could judge the spice level. The décor is less pleasing; it looks like not much has been done since the restaurant moved from its downtown Ipswich location last spring into what had been Marco Polo, an Italian restaurant.

Stone Soup serves breakfast and lunch every day as well as dinner Thursday to Sunday, with entrees ranging from $9 to $17. A full bar is available for lunch and dinner, including beer from Wachusett Brewing Company in Westminster.

Stone Soup Café
141 High St, Ipswich
(978) 356-4222

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Get in Line for Wrapture

Posted: August 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Cafe, Wrapture | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Foodies know that ingredients are as important as technique—whether it’s an expensive dinner entrée or a sandwich. So it’s no surprise that there’s always a lunch-time line at Beverly’s Wrapture, where the ingredients are fresh and top quality.

On a recent sunny day, we snagged one of the café’s outdoor tables to enjoy some of the bounty. We ordered all wraps on this trip but noted several interesting bowls on offer, including asian, curry, and pad thai (all $7.50 without meat). There’s also a homemade soup that changes daily.

We’re big fans of the burrito with black beans, sour cream, salsa, jack cheese, and rice ($5.25). With the steak and guacamole we added, it was $7.50. The steak had great flavor, the combination was wonderful, and the wrap was big enough for two lunches.

The junior member of our party ordered one of the day’s specials, the turkey club wrap, featuring cheese and crispy bacon. Another satisfied customer.

We also tried the crabcake wrap, which was flavored with chipotle mayo and combined with onion, red pepper, corn, black bean, and romaine ($8.25). The crabcake was warm and tasted great, but we weren’t crazy about the corn/bean addition. The portabella mushroom with goat cheese, baby spinach, red peppers, onions, and roasted garlic puree ($7.25) was a success and a must-try for garlic lovers.

On our way out, we admired two more wraps and were assured they tasted as good as they looked: the middle eastern with falafel and the gyro with tzatziki. We were told they were best on spinach wraps (other choices include plain, wheat, and sundried tomato).

Wrapture, run by the folks who own nearby Soma, is certainly not the most cost-conscious choice for lunch, but if you don’t mind paying a dollar or two more for cooked-to-order, quality ingredients, it’s well worth braving the lunch line.

Wrapture
284 Cabot St, Beverly
www.wrapturebeverly.com
(978) 524-7710

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