The veggie burger ($7.50) at the Fort Point Channel Cafe is less a burger than a mysterious food item that tastes really good. Owner Ana Crowley wanted to serve a unique meatless burger, she says, so the kitchen grinds garbanzo beans and mixes them with whole beans, chopped veggies, and fresh herbs, seasons the mixture with a bit of curry, then spreads it on a sheet pan and bakes it. The so-called burger is wrapped in puffy bread, dressed with raita, and served with a side salad. Crowley says some customers take multiple orders home to store in the freezer; others, she says, can't understand why the burger is neither round, brown, nor served on a bun. Channel Cafe, 300 Summer St., 617-426-0695. -- LEIGH BELANGER
Handling groceries gets easier
Attention shoppers: Sale on watermelon in the produce aisle. But how on earth will you get the thing home? The last time you carried one, the weighty melon made the plastic bag handles dig into your palm. What you do -- especially if you have heavy groceries to carry or hand mobility problems -- is use The Baggler ($2.99 to $4.49). These brightly colored gadgets have a comfortable rubbery handle attached to three tough plastic hooks capable of carrying about 50 pounds of groceries together. Mark Eichenbaum of Augusta, Maine, invented the tool with his arthritic 94-year-old grandmother in mind. It's also handy for saving trips to and from the car in inclement weather. When you first put the bags in the car, hook the plastic handles to the Baggler. At home, pick up and carry them into the kitchen. So go ahead and buy all the melons, gallons of water, and large roasting chickens you want. You can handle it. Available at Hannaford and Market Basket stores, or go to thebaggler.com.
-- EMILY SCHWAB
Spice and heat from Indias seaside state of Goa
You can easily satisfy cravings for North Indian food around Boston, and some restaurants offer dosas and other South Indian delicacies. But unless you have your heart set on a fiery, vinegary vindaloo, it's hard to find specialties from the seaside state of Goa. Located on India's west coast, Goa was colonized by the Portuguese, and their influence is still evident in the dishes, which are known by the liberal use of tiny, hot chilies, the tang of vinegar, and the sweet silkiness of coconut milk. Chicken xacuti ($15.95) at Cafe Goa in Westford is a gentle example of this tiny state's distinctive cuisine. It's lush and smooth, with a coconut base and sparks of fresh ginger, which lend both spice and heat. Or look for other Goan specialties, such as shrimp balchao or a traditional Goan fish curry. Cafe Goa, 175 Little Road (Rt. 110), Westford, 978-399-0009.
-- LYLAH ALPHONSE
Heres the scoop on ice cream tools
Scooping is easy with the Eze ice cream and sorbet tool ($7.99), which acts more like a spade than a spoon. As you hold the ergonomically designed handle, which features strategically placed rubber grips on stainless steel, the triangular blade lets you scrape, scoop, or curl all kinds of frozen treats. The only disadvantage is that lefties don't get to benefit. They can, however, eat all the ice cream they want. Available at all Linens 'n Things stores, or go to lnt.com.
-- LISA ZWIRN
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.