Name: Joan “Jo” Horner
Occupation: Culinary Instructor/Personal Chef/Food Writer
Neighborhood: Newton (Auburndale)
MenuPages: What’s your favorite restaurant in Boston?
Jo: My favorite Boston restaurant is any kitchen with Lydia Shire at the helm. She is my cooking goddess.
MP: What’s your favorite Boston meal?
Jo: My favorite Boston meal is really totally dependent on my mood. It could be dim sum at China Pearl, BBQ at East Coast Grill & Raw Bar, churrascaria at Midwest Grilll in Cambridge, steamers and cold beer at Summer Shack, or my dad’s chicken cacciatore.
MP: Great! Where do you like to do your grocery shopping?
Jo: Since I am obsessive about sourcing authentic ingredients I have a long, long list of my favourite places to shop.
Russo’s in Watertown for produce, John Dewar in Wellesley and Newton for meats, my new love Captain Marden’s in Wellesley for fish, Penzey’s in Arlington for spices, Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge for cheese, Polaine bread and some of the best charcuterie in the city, Super 88 for Asian ingredients and for the fun of seeing all those bits from nose to tail in the meat case, Waltham India and New Apna Bazaar on Moody Street in Waltham, the Newton and Waltham Farmers Markets in summer, Sevan Bakery and Arax Market on Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown for some of the best muhamara in the city, Gigi’s Mozzarella House in Everett for homemade scarmoza and fior di latte.
MP: Wow! So, what do you think the best-kept dining secret is in Boston?
Jo: With the proliferation of food bloggers in Boston I don’t think there are any more best-kept dining secrets in the city. The internet has become the go to place to find out where to eat in and around Boston and everyone, it would seem, has an opinion.
MP: What closed restaurant do you miss the most?
Jo: The restaurant I miss the most is Biba.
MP: Where do you like to drink?
Jo: I like to drink in my garden in the evening. Lately the drink of choice is Campari, Tanqueray and tonic with loads of lime. Can you tell I like bitter? Seriously, I never go to bars anymore, I lived with a jazz musician for 5 years before I met my husband and I think I’ve seen more than my share of barstools and schmoozed with far too many bartenders waiting for his shift playing the piano to end.
MP: One last question: where do you get your coffee in the morning?
Jo: For a girl who can be rather snobbish about food, I’m not a coffee snob. Newton must have the largest number of Starbucks per square mile for a city of our size so it is rather hard to miss hitting one on my way to teach a class. But a Dunkin’ French Vanilla, iced, light, no sugar, will do in a pinch.
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