Our Boston Digital Guide
Boston, Massachusetts is the capital of Massachusetts: it is home to over 700,000 in a state of 7 million people. The population density is high and only growing, and one area that has exploded in the 2000’s is the Fenway neighborhood. Part of the Emerald Necklace park system, Fenway is only about 1.25 square miles but is home to many area college students from Boston University to Simmons.
The name “Fenway” comes from the word “fens” which is a British term for low, marshy area. When the area marshland was filled in under the direction of Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed New York’s Central Park, the area was divided in multiple sub-neighborhoods.
The city’s famous Citgo sign sits over by Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square. Nearby, Fenway Park was opened the same year the Titanic sunk in 1912. As you wander the streets down Brookline Avenue, you’ll see Fenway Green, the color of the park and nearby streets. Today Fenway is thriving, with not only new buildings in development but also plans for a huge indoor arts center and one-acre park.
Phinista (96 Peterborough Street, Fenway)Their breakfast banh mi is so delicious as well as their coffee menu. This spot used to be called Neighborhoods, and now it’s owned by a local Vietnamese family.
What to order
We love their breakfast banh mi. Their coffee is can’t-miss, too!
Jamaica Plain, Boston
Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA is known as “JP” to the locals. It’s a known secret that JP has some of the tastiest and freshest food in Boston, but it’s a bit hidden from the “beaten path” destinations such as nearby Fenway Park. In fact, some JP residents want to keep it that way, and this tight-knit community is definitely keen on preserving its neighborly feel.
A small city, JP is only 4.4 square miles and has 40,000 inhabitants. Today’s population of JP is extremely diverse, with many college students moving into its apartments starting in the 1990’s, and also one of the city’s largest hispanic populations of over 30% which is reflected in a lot of its food.
The early inhabitants of JP were well-to-do farmers supplying vegetables and fruits to Boston and also home to the country estates of government officials, professional and literary men, and city merchants. Many Bostonians summered here. There’s two large pieces of land in JP that were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) who also designed Central Park in NY and is widely considered the founder of landscape architecture.
On one side of town is the world-famous Arnold Arboretum that is 281 acres of land and has thousands of trees, and the other is Franklin Park (first called West Roxbury Park), which is a large 527 acre natural park. That’s why Jamaica Plain was once described as the “Eden of America.” Up near Centre Street where we are now is Jamaica Pond.
City Feed & Supply (672 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain and 66A Boylston Street, Jamaica Plain)City Feed & Supply gets its name from the rural backgrounds of owners Kristine and David, neither of whom had grocery experience before opening the store in 2008. In their local feed stores, they remember neighbors congregating over a coffee – an experience they wanted to replicate here in Boston.
What to order
Their nitro coffee and kombucha on tap are made by worker-owned companies that support small farmers. They also offer a great selection of delicious treats and quality beverages. Wander their store to research local brands you may have never discovered.
Espresso Yourself (767 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain)This recently opened cafe in a former gallery space is owned by first-time entrepreneur Feruz. It’s a friendly, modern cafe right across the street from the famous Loring-Greenough house.
What to order
They import fresh halvah from SumSum in Amsterdam, who makes the sesame seed confectionery abroad. Espresso Yourself also serves delicious stuffed savory pastries and other pastries from local suppliers.
Blue Frog Bakery (3 Green Street, Jamaica Plain)This tiny, dog-friendly spot is owned by Chef Brad Brown and won Boston Magazine’s Best Bread recently.
What to order
On Saturdays they serve their famous chocolate almond croissant bread pudding and delicious pizzas are often available on Fridays.
Fiore’s Bakery (55 South Street, Jamaica Plain)This cafe features vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cuisine and is a verified JP establishment!
What to order
Sit out on their patio and try a delicious peanut butter boomerang.
Located in the City of Boston, Roslindale used to be covered by Roxbury which also included the area which is now Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. Roslindale way back in 1630 when it was part of Roxbury was primarily used for farming at the time, and it wasn’t until the 1840’s that the residents started to work towards separating the towns.
Originally it was called “South Street Crossing” because of the name of its railroad station at South Street which is now where the Roslindale Village MBTA stop is. Roslindale was renamed after the town of Roslin in Scotland which also had similar geography including hills and valleys. It was named by John Pierce who said it reminded him of Roslin. He himself was born in England. He incorporated the use of the word “dale” which means open valley, which is in reference to the south where we have the Blue Hills. As Roslindale developed, so did its architecture and they built not only impressive large Victorian and Queen Anne homes but also smaller bungalows and 2 and 3 family houses. Today the town itself has around 34,000 residents currently and is rapidly growing and thriving.
Square Root (2 Corinth St, Roslindale)This multi-use cafe quickly became a central meeting spot for Rozzie residents, and there’s even evening concerts.
What to orderA delicious homemade chai or local coffee which uses beans roasted in Massachusetts.
Fornax(27 Corinth St, Roslindale)This homegrown bakery has a from scratch baking program including its famous sourdough and other delights including scones, soups, and homemade sandwiches.
What to orderYou can’t go wrong with some sliced bread and baked goods.
Blue Star Diner(11 Corinth St, Roslindale)This greek breakfast joint is known for its omelettes, and there’s quite the selection.
What to orderA delicious omelette plate.
Boston Affiliate Discounts With Food Tour Purchase
City Feed & Supply (672 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain):Show your food tour ticket confirmation email to receive a 10% discount on all purchases excluding wine and beer.
Neighbors Offer Discounts Too:
Red Apple Farm at the Boston Public Market (100 Hanover Street, Boston):Mention Off The Beaten Path Food Tours to receive 10% off any item including their famous apple cider donuts.
Taza Chocolate Tours (561 Windsor Street, Somerville): invites you to their “Intro to Stone Ground Chocolate” tour with $3 off the tour ticket using the code “BEATPATH” at check-out so ticket prices will now be $5 each. Enjoy!
Gracie’s Ice Cream (22 Union Square, Somerville):Mention food tour for a free upgrade to Fluff cone with the purchase of ice cream
Q’s Nuts (349 Highland Ave., Somerville):Show food tour tickets confirmation email to receive 10% off any purchase within six months of the food tour date; valid at Somerville store only.
Opa Greek Yeeros (378 Highland Ave., Somerville):Show same-day food tour tickets confirmation email to receive 20% off any purchase that day.
Bloc Cafe (11 Bow Street, Somerville):Mention food tour to receive a free coffee with the purchase of a bag of Intelligentsia coffee.