Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A weekly notebook about food during the Covid-19 shutdown. Remember, if you’re dining out, doing takeout or getting delivery, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.

Breakfast or brunch for takeout or eating outside

Not many places offer a sit-down breakfast or brunch. For takeout we’ve written about many great options (Clover, Montrose Spa and Sarah’s Market), but what if you want something more: a nice place to sit and share conversation, linger with your cup of coffee and pore over the paper?


A variation on Colette Wine Bistro’s loaded croissant. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Colette Wine Bistro

If that’s the case, Colette Wine Bistro is open for brunch on the weekend with ample, well-spaced indoor seating and a cute, Parisian-style cafe patio out front, and it’s recently taken over the back patio of the Porter Square Hotel where it’s located. That back patio’s a vast space, yet the tables, nestled in manicured garden nooks, are cozy and intimate. Heating lamps have been added, and I’m told tents are on the way as fall moves in. The indoor seating, for what it’s worth, is opened to the outside via big French glass panes that adds to both the experience and safety factor. As far as the brunch goes, the coffee is bold but not overpowering, and the wonderful staff refills your cup just as you begin to have a glimmer of a yen. The fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice is a refreshing palate cleanser. For eats, I’m wildly curious about the French toast stuffed with duck confit, but I never get to it because I am so stuck on the bistro’s loaded croissant, a classic French pastry you can fill your own way. For me it’s real simple: open-faced with a generous amount of gruyere cheese buried under a heap of fluffy scrambled eggs, all topped with a crown of silky sautéed spinach – yummy comfort. I could almost eat two orders, but have yet to attempt it. Colette’s dinner menu is a pleaser too (try the fettuccini with spring vegetables), as is its drink and wine menu. Given the shifts in weather and health concerns, it’s one of the few places around town that has most all the bases covered.

Colette Wine Bistro (1924 Mass Ave., Porter Square)




The Biscuit, revived at Somerville’s Bow Market as The Little Biscuit. (Photo: Tom Meek)

The Little Biscuit

Over at the Bow Market in Somerville, The Biscuit – formerly at Washington and Beacon streets – has relaunched itself as The Little Biscuit. The shop may be smaller, but the sweet scones, quiche and savory squares (think of a focaccia pizza with greens and feta) are the same, if not better, and there’s coffee, tea and anything else you could want in café fare. The market space has a wonderfully cozy outdoor patio that separates tables with well-tended trellises of creeping vines and planters. At night, when Rebel Rebel Wine and Remnant Brewing come fully alive and other eateries open, sitting space gets gobbled up fast. For a relaxing retreat, coffee or lunch is a perfect time to come, set up and do an hour of work or leisure reading while you get your midday meal in. I’m a fan of the tuna salad (sandwich or lunch plate) which has, as far I can tell, little or no mayo and gets its satiating zest from vinegar. In my book, it’s how a good tuna salad should be.

The Little Biscuit takes over Bow Market’s outdoor space for brunch Friday through Sunday (though other vendor food options are available too) where $16 prix fixe platters include a beverage and choice of breakfast biscuit with egg, frittata, avocado toast, smoked salmon croissant or “the ugly one,” a vegan cheese scone with tomato jam, crispy kale and sweet potatoes fries, and a vegan blueberry muffin to boot. Happy to see the Biscuit biz back and buzzing.

The Little Biscuit (1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville)