My husband and I are contemplating a move back to Boston from W. Mass., and among other concerns, I'm wondering what are some of the chow-friendlier towns around Boston and Cambridge. I grew up in Everett, so I've got the Malden/Medford area down pat, and I lived in Brighton and Brookline during grad school, but I'd like to hear 'hounds' thoughts about the various neighborhoods in Somerville (can't afford Porter, but maybe Davis and Teele?), Watertown, Waltham, Arlington and Cambridge (not Harvard/Central Square, but maybe Inman and East Cambridge?). When I was growing up, Arlington was a culinary wasteland, but I've somehow gotten the impression things have changed.
Thoughts on proximity to chain and non-chain markets and supermarkets, specialty stores (liquor, cheese, fruit and veg stands) and a balance of nice local places and good cheap eats types of places are much appreciated. I don't need specific reccs of places to eat and shop yet, just your general impressions.
Many, many thanks.