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Would You Eat Food at This Classic Southie Dive Bar?

Plus, a rotisserie chicken showdown, a Catalan-inspired dinner menu at a cozy cafe, and more news

The 2013 St. Patrick’s Day line at Croke Park in South Boston
The 2013 St. Patrick’s Day line at Croke Park in South Boston
Croke Park [official photo]

Welcome back to Morning Briefing, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.

Obligatory Food Service

At quintessential Southie dive bar Croke Park (268 W. Broadway, South Boston), aka Whitey’s, Boston licensing laws are forcing the addition of food made on premises — that’s the thing about having a food-serving license. (How many dive bars around town have an obligatory old hot dog and some stale popcorn sitting around in case inspectors pay a visit?) Croke Park — “by far, the worst bar in Boston,” according to some guy, but also one of the best bars in the country, according to a much more famous guy — will start serving “simple sandwiches” in order to comply, per Universal Hub.

Two Food Showdowns

The Boston Globe has been pitting cookie against cookie and chicken against chicken lately. Correspondent Kara Baskin examined the differences between the two Girl Scout cookie bakeries, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, finding that the ABC cookies in general are “harder” than their Little Brownie counterparts. When it comes to the universally popular Thin Mints, the ABC version is “heavier on the mint,” while the Little Brownie version has a “superior crunch.” As for chicken, correspondents Sheryl Julian and Sally Pasley Vargas ate their way through 10 local rotisserie chicken options to find the best, from Market Basket to BJ’s. “We ate so much dry breast meat that we ran out of adjectives,” they wrote. The winner? Boston Market, “for its all-golden bird, with breast and thigh meat that were both cooked just right, with teriyaki flavors on the skin.” (Costco got a nod for “best value,” while Whole Foods snagged the “honest chicken award.”)

Catalan-Inspired Dinner in North Cambridge

Noca Provisions (156 Rindge Ave., North Cambridge) — the cozy cafe sibling to the Table at Season to Taste — reintroduced dinner service this week, adding a new chef (Craigie on Main alum Chris McMullan) as well as beer, wine, sherry, and Spanish cider options, per Boston Magazine. McMullan is drawing inspiration from Catalonia, serving dishes such as mackerel à la plancha, red wine-braised duck, and olive oil-poached trout. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Noca is also open for cafe hours beginning at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends.

Someone Was Really Hungry for Tacos

A driver crashed a car into the Harvard Street, Brookline location of Anna’s Taqueria a little after 4 a.m. Monday morning, decimating the front window but escaping injury. With some help from Boston Board Up, Anna’s was able to get the window, well, boarded up quickly enough to open in time for regular breakfast hours at 9 a.m.

One Thing You Should Eat Today

An exciting new addition to the local dining scene this week is Gen Sou En (299 Harvard St., Brookline), a Japanese tea house in Coolidge Corner that is managed by a couple faces that’ll look familiar to Backbar fans (Joe Cammarata and Sam Treadway). Tied to a century-old Japanese tea company, Harada Tea & Foods, Inc., Gen Sou En has a wide variety of teas and other beverages, from matcha on its own to matcha sodas (try the grapefruit), lattes, and more, including some beer, wine, and sake as well. But tea lovers can find baked goods and full meals here, too. For a solid start to the day, try the Japanese breakfast, which includes broiled fish, rice, miso soup, and pickles. (Add a 63-degree egg and/or natto — Japan’s much-maligned fermented soybean dish — for an additional fee.) Breakfast service lasts until 11 a.m. If you miss breakfast, not to worry: lunch (and soft serve ice cream) begins at 11 a.m.

The Japanese breakfast with a 63-degree egg, plus matcha and a sesame cookie, at Gen Sou En in Brookline
The Japanese breakfast with a 63-degree egg, plus matcha and a sesame cookie, at Gen Sou En in Brookline
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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NOCA Provisions

156 Rindge Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 Visit Website

Croke Park/Whitey's

268 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127 (617) 464-4869

Gen Sou En Tea House

299 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446 Visit Website