Welcome to Eater Boston’s best dishes column, where the team’s editor and contributors share the dishes they couldn’t stop thinking about each month.
Arancini at Galleria Umberto
So I’m, uh, new around here (hello!) and right before I started this job, when I was roaming freely on weekdays, I made a mental list of hard-to-get dishes that I needed to nab while I had time to wait in line in the middle of the day. I struck out at Bagelsaurus (note for next time: get there at the crack of dawn, even if it’s a Wednesday) but I did manage to get an arancini from famed North End pizzeria Galleria Umberto during its 3.5-hour-long lunch window. I had planned to pop a couple in my mouth while waiting to catch a train at North Station, but these arancini are built different: the golden orbs are each the size of a baseball and come with eating utensils. I ended up downing it while standing up, swirling my white plastic fork in its molten center of beef, peas, and stretchy gobs of mozzarella. It was incredible. I’m only bummed that I didn’t listen to the elderly customer who saw me walk towards the door at 11 am with my lone, arancini-sized takeout bag and asked, with honest concern, “Are you not hungry? Get some pizza!” 289 Hanover Street, near Parmenter Street, North End — Erika Adams, Eater Boston editor
Cochinita pibil at Barra
I go to this casual restaurant and bar whenever I miss Mexico City; its owners have curated a delightfully indulging menu of artisanal Mexican spirits from small-batch producers while offering bites that instantly teleport me back to Mexico City, where they grew up. Accompanied by housemade blue tortillas, Barra’s tender-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth cochinita pibil is topped with pickled onions that add just the right amount of contrasting crunch and brightness and is one of the best I’ve had in the US 23A Bow Street, near Walnut Street, Somerville — Valerie Li Stack, Eater Boston contributor
Bean jelly and laghman at Silk Road
For the past month, I’ve been studying nonstop for a professional exam, and the only thing that’s kept me going is takeout from Silk Road, an Uyghur restaurant in East Cambridge. The bean jelly, which is mung bean starch served with chickpeas and cucumbers and covered in a spicy sauce, is refreshing in a way that feels appropriate for the cold December weather. I also tried the laghman, fresh, super-bouncy hand-pulled noodles with crisp, fresh stir-fried vegetables and beef, and can confirm this is takeout at its finest. 645 Cambridge Street, at Lambert Street, East Cambridge — Samantha Maxwell, Eater Boston contributor
Hot fudge sundae with banana and grapenut custard ice cream at Cabot’s Diner
After a long day of holiday travel coming home from Logan, I hopped off the Mass Pike at Cabot’s Diner in Newton for their old-fashioned hot fudge sundae with banana and grapenut custard ice cream. The flavor combination is key here! Cabot’s has been consistently putting out some of the best diner fare and ice cream for over 50 years — my grandmother would always bring us, so I like to stop by whenever I want a nostalgic bite of Boston. 743 Washington Street, at Beach Street, Newton — Thomas Ranucci, Eater Boston contributor
Filet mignon from Walden Local Meat Co.
Walden, Massachusetts-based Walden Local Meat Co. Delivers products from regional farms direct-to-doorsteps from Maine to New Jersey. Its grass-fed filet mignon is a restaurant-quality steak that makes the perfect centerpiece for a celebratory meal at home. I seasoned mine with salt, pepper, paprika, and a pinch of sugar, reverse seared, and then served it alongside roasted Brussels sprouts with fish sauce, buttermilk mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and a Vieux Carre. — Stasia Brewczynski, Eater Boston contributor