Summer Escapes: Stick Around
ONE Piccolo Panini
Though she hides beneath an ill-fitting baseball cap, the sandwich-maker here is a star. After deftly arranging tender slices of grilled chicken, prosciutto, and portobello mushrooms on a baguette for the saltimbocca panini ($8.55), this wiz firmly smooshes the concoction between two griddles, resulting in a warm, toasty, and evenly flavored bite.
TWO The Dog House
If we were to judge this hot dog stand on its kielbasa ($7) alone, the Dog House would win awards. This masterpiece features a juicy, tender center peppered with fennel seeds, and skin that gives just so. Skip the bun, though — it can be rather stale.
THREE The Monkey Bar
This decorative booth whips up fine tiki-style juices and smoothies. A mango-papaya juice ($7) topped with a pineapple slice takes you away (for a moment) to a beachside bar.
FOUR Ueno Sushi
There’s no fresh fish display (minus), but they do roll sushi to order (plus). Pleasant surprises await, like a spider roll ($9.50) of deep-fried soft-shell crab finished with avocado.
FIVE MMMac & Cheese
Macaroni and cheese at a counter stand? Ech. But the army of short-order cooks here put pasta to skillet and add a creamy, gently seasoned cheese sauce, plus a fistful of extras (bacon is a fine choice, $7.50).
SIX Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar
This 10-seat counter spot shucks and steams right before your eyes, but alas, the oysters are from Long Island (is there no better Bay State option?). Stick with the steamed clams (market price), which are bathed in a silky sake-and-scallion broth, or the excellent lobster roll ($15.75).
— Erin Byers Murray