Winter Survival Guide: Hot Drinks, Cozy Cafes & More

By Scott Kearnan  |  February 10, 2014

We're in the home stretch, Boston. Only a month and a half left until Spring. But let's face it: the last half is the hardest to slog through. So here's a handy survival guide to braving the elements with good food on your plate. We have a pick for everything you need, from hearty soups to cozy places to eat by a fireplace. 

  • Hot Drinks, Adult-Style: Cask 'n Flagon

    The famous Fenway-side sports bar is more often associated with the boys of summer than the doldrums of winter. But Cask 'n Flagon recently debuted a winter drink menu of "spiked" hot chocolate and coffee drinks. Stay warm while watching the Winter Olympics by sipping on a Nutty Snowman (pictured) of Frangelico, amaretto, hot chocolate and whipped cream; the Kentucky Derby (coffee with 4 Rose Bourbon with Irish Cream); or Ski Lift (brandy with Kahlua and hot chocolate).

  • Comfort Food Worth the Extra Pound: Towne Stove & Spirits

    The dinner menu at this Back Bay neighborhood fixture features chef Mark Allen’s elevated takes on comfort food and gastropub fare, like veal and foie gras meatloaf with potato purée, and beer-can-roasted organic chicken with prosciutto, parsnip purée, mustard greens and shallot gravy (pictured). If you're going to indulge in hearty comfort food, might as well go with some of the best in town. 

  • Cozy and Romantic Fireside Dining: Bistro du Midi

    Romantic: French dining. More romantic: French dining by the snow-covered Public Garden. Most romantic: French dining by a fireplace, by the snow-covered Public Garden. Get something kindling with someone special at Bistro du Midi, batting eyes by the fire over plates of heirloom beet gnocchi, pan-roasted hake or seared duck breast with chickpea croquette. Finish with chocolate sauce-dipped lavender beignets. Feel the spark yet? 

  • Meal-Making Soup: Forum 

    This time of year, chicken soup is especially good for the soul. But while it might be nice for nursing a cold, it's not necessarily going to fill you up. Unless, perhaps, it's the chicken soup from Forum (pictured), filled with chicken, orzo, escarole and veal meatballs. Still not hearty enough for you? Spoon yourself some of the Back Bay spot's lobster chowder, a hearty stew stocked with corn, leeks and sherry. 

  • "Après-Ski" Bar: Belly Wine Bar

    Okay, so you won't see many slopes nearby. But this cozy wine bar is the kind of place you'd want tuck into after returning to the city from Mount Wachusett - or just after a long afternoon trudging over sidewalk snow mounds. You can sip deep reds during fondue or whole-animal dinners, or kick back with a local brew while roasting s'mores over the patio's open-top fire pit. 

  • Coziest Coffee Shop: Jaho

    Expertly made espresso drinks, super-strong coffee, comfy couches and a relaxed vibe that isn't uninviting to those who want to linger for hours over a cup of Zodiac tea. (At least they haven't kicked us out yet.) The South End coffee shop is cozy and familiar, with a nice array of noshes - chicken salad, mini-pizzas and sandwiches - to keep you sated and caffeinated. 

  • Credit: Jacki Morisi

    Where to Warm Up After Ice-Skating: Rialto

    Sure, you could slide alongside the tourists on Boston Common, but the ice rink at Charles Hotel in Cambridge - open to the public for a nominal charge - is probably going to be much more pleasant. And it's also steps away from star chef Jody Adams' Rialto, where you can refuel after a day on the ice with a dish at her sophisticated Italian, where the changing dinner menus are inspired by different regions of the country. Right now Piedmont is the place, and the fabulous result is plates like this battuta di vitella: veal tartare, quail egg, truffles and crisp bread.