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Dining Off Campus: A Bartol Alternative

Comm 260: Journalism
Emily Slocum
The service-oriented feature either instructs the reader on how to do something or compares options within a particular category and assists the reader in choosing among them. Each begins with a "hook" that draws the reader in, followed by brief, tightly written paragraphs that frame the subject. Students follow Associated Press style and are asked to produce error-free copy for publication in campus or other newspapers.

BOSTON—It is that time of year again: The leaves are turning color, apples are ready for picking, and students are preparing for yet another busy semester. But where can you catch a good, quick, affordable meal?

If you are new to the Simmons community and unfamiliar with the surrounding Fenway area, you will soon discover that one advantage of living in a city like Boston is having the opportunity to sample foods from around the world. Lucky for us, we don't have to travel far.

Peterborough Street is lined with restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines for just about every craving. On this one small street only a few blocks from Simmons, there is an American bar and grill, a Japanese restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a Greek restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, and a few Italian joints. All eateries offer outdoor seating for customers to enjoy the sunny spring air.

Greek Isles—Greek Cuisine
***** (Five Star Rating)
96 Peterborough St
Fenway, Boston

The Greek Isles is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. It is the place to go if you want an enormous plate of comforting, delicious and authentic Greek food. I always order a lamb Gyro Dinner ($11.25), which comes with two sides and a Greek salad topped with great quality feta and kalamata olives. For the sides, I recommend the Fasolakia green beans. Before I tried this dish I never knew it was possible to actually crave green beans.

A friendly Greek family owns the restaurant. My Greek roommate says the food is "just like my Yaya's." For your own sake, go before the Globe writes a review and you have to wait in a three-hour line just to get through the door.

El Pelón—Mexican Cuisine
92 Peterborough St.
Fenway, Boston

On a warm sunny day in early fall, El Pelón is the place to be for lunch. College students from all over the Fenway/Huntington area line up out the door salivating at the smell of spicy chicken-filled tacos and fried plantains. There is nothing better than grabbing authentic Mexican grub and chowing down with your friends between or after classes.

El Pelón is one of the best cheap eateries of Boston. People come from far and wide to enjoy this high quality but low cost dining experience, starting with the casual outdoor picnic tables and the colorful seating area that make you feel relaxed and at home. The corn and flour tortillas are homemade and wonderful. I highly recommend the fish tacos, which are filled with lightly fried cod and topped with arbol chile mayo, limes onions, pickled cabbage and cucumbers.

Trattoria Toscana—Italian Cuisine
130 Jersey St.
Fenway, Boston

If Italian food is what you crave, this is one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in Boston—not Italian-American, but Italian. I spent a semester in Florence last fall, and this is the real deal. Stepping into this little trattoria is like stepping into one you would find in Italy.

A trattoria has a more casual dining atmosphere than a full-service restaurant and usually has a shorter menu and lower prices. The dishes at Trattoria Toscana are simple and rustic Tuscan, served by a local Italian family. Some customers expressdisappointment at the modest-sized portions, but this reflects an Italian tradition where diners order three to four small courses instead of one or two large ones, and it only serves to underline the trattoria's authenticity.

I highly recommend the Caprese salad with prosciutto as an appetizer, and, for the main course, the rigatoni alla norcina, a pasta dish with a creamy mascarpone, tomato, and sausage sauce. The atmosphere is intimate and comfortable—perfect for a relaxing date night.

Treat yourself
So there you have it: The secret treasure of ethnic food delight stands revealed. Now go and test these great, inexpensive restaurants for yourself. Try something new and get to know the area where you live a little better. One thing I have learned from my experiences dining out, is that you don't have to pay a lot of money to treat yourself to a truly delicious, honest, and special meal that I guarantee you won't find dining on campus.