What to Eat (and Drink) This Weekend in Boston

A hot toddy (or two), a loaded Japanese-style pancake for savory brunch lovers, football food, and more.

Winter Is Coming Todday at the Friendly Toast (Back Bay)

Winter Is Coming Toddy at the Friendly Toast (Back Bay). / Photo provided

A Hot Toddy

Food and drink holidays are silly, but as temperatures dip below freezing this weekend, we are definitely planning to celebrate Hot Toddy Day on Friday, Jan. 11. So is the Back Bay location of Friendly Toast, where “Winter is Coming” means a mug of Earl Grey tea, birch liqueur, and Jameson Whiskey (pictured). Looking for more warmth and coziness? Get toasty with a dark spirit-spiked toddy (or your preferred warm beverage) this weekend at a restaurant with a fireplace or a pop-up bar that’s making spirits bright, or pick up a bottle of bourbon or rum and make one in the comfort of home. Stay warm!

Okonomiyaki waffle at Waypoint

Okonomiyaki waffle at Waypoint. / Photo by Michael Scelfo

Okonomiyaki

Suddenly craving a Japanese-style pancake, but more of a savory brunch person? Consider the okonomiyaki. Loaded with umami-driven toppings like kewpie mayo, bacon, and bonito flakes, these vegetable-based pancakes are commonly found in bars and on streets all over Japan. Around Boston, we’ve seen several creative versions. Chef Michael Scelfo riffs on it during brunch at Waypoint with an “okonomiyaki” waffle topped with fried oysters and poached eggs (pictured). A menu staple at Hojoko features Neuske’s bacon, shishitos, and taleggio cheese; and someone is even crowning one in caviar—it’s Momi Nonmi. How about a weekend-long, Japanese-style pancake crawl with some sweet soufflés also on the menu?

G.T.O.T.M.with Bully Boy CULT Gin at Toro

G.T.O.T.M.with Bully Boy CULT Gin at Toro. / Photo provided by JK Food Group

Bully Boy Gin and Tonic at Toro

Speaking of food crawls, have you booked yours yet with Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s JK Food Group? Toro, Coppa, Little Donkey, and Uni are now offering one-night tours of three spots, with transportation included. All that travel and tasting is certain to make you thirsty—and conveniently, Bully Boy Distillers just debuted a new custom gin for the group. With a wacky mascot on the label representing all of the restaurants’ spirit animals, look for the acrostic C.U.L.T. Gin in new gin and tonic drinks at Toro and Coppa, or ask for it by name at any of the four Boston-area bars.

jkfoodgroup.com.

Alcove's new lunch menu offers this porchetta sandwich

Alcove’s new lunch menu offers this porchetta sandwich. / Photo provided

New Year, New Lunch

Resolve to avoid the lunch rut in 2019. Three very different dining establishments in Greater Boston are here to help with brand-new lunch services to start the new year. Daily from 11 a.m. until sell-out, Cambridge coffee shop Longfellows now carries a trio of sandwiches on fresh Iggy’s bread, including house-made tuna salad with cheddar and microgreens; and prosciutto, goat cheese, and a seasonal jam. One of 2018’s best newcomers, Alcove is now serving lunch Monday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with a new porchetta sandwich (pictured) and some of executive chef Maxime Fanton’s dinner-menu standouts, such as the charred avocado, and a house cheeseburger. The Lovejoy Wharf restaurant also launched regular Sunday brunch. And finally, Woods Hill Table opens on Sundays this week for the first time since opening in Concord in 2015. Chef Charlie Foster’s brunch menu hits the spot with dishes like cinnamon swirl brioche French toast, and eggs Benedict with Woods Hill Farm ham; then Sunday supper service starts at 4:30 p.m.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds a turkey leg after an NFL football game against the New York Jets Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won the game 49-19. / Photo by Julio Cortez via AP

Football Food!

The Patriots are kicking off this season’s playoff run this Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1:05 p.m., against the LA Chargers. Not among the home crowd at Gillette? Don’t fret; you’ll undoubtedly be warmer than they are. And tons of places around Boston are getting in on the action, such as Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, which is hosting a watch party—and airing it on NBC 10 Boston. There will be an appetizer buffet and a raffle for a chance to win a stay at the Von Trapp Family Lodge; a $20 donation at the door benefits the Boston Police Athletic League for at-risk youth, and comes with a complimentary drink ticket. Prefer to catch the divisional round matchup at home? Try your hand at one of these chef-created tailgating recipes. Go Pats!