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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Overheard on the General Topics Boards

"Back in Norway, it would be pickled herring for breakfast, open-face shrimp sandwiches (rekker smorbrod) for lunch, and either pan-fried cod tongues and cheeks, baked salmon stuffed with chanterelles, or a reindeer roast for supper." – Passadumkeg, on a hypothetical day of regional eating

"After I slice up a rare London broil, I put it on a new plate, then I make sure no one is looking, and drink up all the blood directly from the other plate." – michele cindy, on secret food behavior

"I'm with you and Chowser—there's nothing I like more than a nice big fat cherry or 200, raw, so as to take advantage of the seasonal wonderfulness. My favorite cocktail is a glass of tequila with a bunch of pitted ripe cherries thrown in, warmed a little in the microwave to convince the cherries to give up some color and juice." – EWSflash

Toscanini’s Flavor Party

As the weather heats up, the discussion of ice cream on the boards also undergoes a warming trend. This week a discussion of the best flavors at out-of-this-world ice cream shop Toscanini's produced some drool-worthy candidates:

• B3, brown sugar, brownies, and brown sugar: "What an amazing collection of flavors and textures in Toscanini's perfectly creamy base!" says calisson, who went ahead and gilded that lily by pouring a wee bit of fleur de sel on the cream. "Heaven improved," she notes.
• Butter chip; simple, but with wonderful flavor, notes voodoocheese.
• Saffron: "I have been dreaming about it ever since," says idealist.
• Butter pistachio, "like butter pecan except with pistachios. Divine," says heypielady.

Toscanini's [Cambridge]
899 Main Street, Cambridge

Discuss: Toscanini's B3 ice cream

Your New Falafel Fix

The Lebanese stylings of Garlic 'n Lemons, a new (as of April) place in Allston, are fine enough to have Allstonian declare, "This place is a gem." And how does Allstonian love Garlic n' Lemons? Let us count the ways.

Roll-up chicken shawarma, upgraded to better bread for a buck, was the best Allstonian's companion had ever eaten. Jallab, a drink made with a syrup of dates, grape molasses, and rosewater, was "very tasty," and baklava was "fresh and buttery and blessedly NOT tooth-achingly sweet." lmuller adds that the rice and lentils and tabouleh "tasted just like gramma's!"

Garlic 'n Lemons [Allston]
133 Harvard Avenue, Boston

Discuss: Garlic n' Lemons

Numb with Pleasure

The former Chef Chang's in Brookline is now the third link in the Sichuan Gourmet chain, joining locations in Billerica and Framingham. Early reports say that many of the same dishes that are good in the older locations are good in Brookline.

Reliable orders:

• Double-bacon, soft, not crisp, fatty pork belly.
• Dried chicken with chiles, "small crispy fried bits, like popcorn chicken," says nightsky.
• Old Sichuan chicken, which is much like the dried chicken, but with more chicken.
• Cumin lamb or beef, which is spicy but not hot, for the chile-impaired.
• Shredded pork with fresh bamboo shoots.
• Chicken, fish, or beef with napa cabbage.
• Hot and sour wonton soup, "NOT the normal hot and sour," advises hargau.

And at all costs avoid the Americanized Chinese side of the menu and order only Sichuan dishes.

Sichuan Gourmet [South Shore]
1004 Beacon Street, Brookline

Discuss: Sichuan Gourmet: Lucky Brookline

Magic Herbal Healing Beers

Go to a liquor store with a good craft beer selection, and you’ll see ingredients like chamomile, lemongrass, honey, black pepper, and even bananas challenging the standard formula of barley, hops, and yeast. But today’s creative brewers are hardly breaking new ground. Many of them were inspired by a book not well known outside the beer geek world: Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Published in 1998, it details beer’s 30,000-year history as an amazingly flexible and experimental beverage used in both ritual and recreation. We caught up with Buhner on the phone from his home in rural southern New Mexico, to find out how he thinks the craft beer industry has evolved—or not—since his seminal book was published.


Overheard on the Boston Boards

"Their dough is made from rice flour and tapioca starch, for crispiness, and it really is crispy; you wouldn't guess." - galleygirl, on gluten-free pizza at Stone Hearth

"I was at Gargoyles asking for anything in a cocktail glass that a pregnant lady could drink so as to feel included and the waiter was like 'Oh, you mean a preggertini.' I hope it comes into wider parlance and I'll do my best over the next 6 mos." - Parsnipity

"The migas are so delicious! All their breakfast sandwiches are so good. That place is a real gem and I love supporting them b/c they're also really nice people." - lypp on migas at Mike and Patty's

One Large Pizza, with Pepperoni and Coffin Bits

The Vera Pizza Napoletana certification is a way for American pizza makers to show that they make their pies in a manner consistent with the traditional Neapolitan model—a wood-burning oven, proper ingredients (00 flour, San Marzano plum tomatoes, and so on), proper technique (800 ° oven, a marble slab work surface), and so forth. Add a new requirement to the list: The wood burned in the oven must come at least in part from coffins dug out of the cemetery by grave robbers.


Do You Like Korean Pasta?

Hulu is a beautiful thing, and one of the most recent blessings I've received from it is Pasta, a South Korean sitcom centered around a character's rise from dishwasher to chef. From the amazing pop techno music to the never-ending kitchen cooking montages and crazy preparation of live lobsters (that would most likely not be allowed on U.S. television), this is one irresistible show for food-lovers. Give it some time, and you'll be craving more Pasta.


Brunch in a Bite, 20 Times

Sunday afternoon, 20 home cooks and professionals met at the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company to battle it out at the sixth SF Food Wars. The theme was "amuse brunch"—which meant that contestants had to create the most delicious one-bite brunch dish. READ MORE

MoMed’s Bold Delights

MoMed is, as the name implies, modern and Mediterranean. It's fresh, boldly flavored, and delicious, says tastycakes: "modern interpretations of very traditional dishes and the result has quite an authentic and yet perfectly California feel to it."

There are pizzalike flatbreads, called pide, from a wood-burning oven. Saganaki is excellent, with very buttery haloumi cheese. The cheese is seared, topped with olive and tomato, and presented sizzling in a cast iron skillet.

Duck shawarma is tender and redolent with spices, says tastycakes, with just enough heat. It's presented on soft, thin flatbread, with slightly crunchy, sweet figs for a lovely contrast.

The real winner here is baleela, "tender chickpeas bathed in brown butter and studded with pinenuts and tangy preserved lemon," says tastycakes. "We were stuffed but I kept nibbling away at the remains!"

MoMed [Westside - Inland]
233 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills

Discuss: lunch at momed in beverly hills - fantastic