Chris VR's Profile

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Boston Bacon and Beer Fest is back for 2015

I believe they've held it every year, since at least 2011. The last time I went was 2012, but I have old emails about ticket on sale in 2013 and 2014. When I went in 2012 it was maybe $40 per ticket. Now it's $53 plus they offered "Early Bird Baller" tickets for $125 which allow you to get in early and skip the line (plus some other extras.) I think it's smart of them to price the tickets at what the market will bear, especially since they are raising money for charity. Since they are usually gone within a minute of going on sale, the price was clearly too low to be making the most money for charity. I really enjoyed the different takes on bacon but not the crowds at House of Blues. Hopefully Fenway Park's setup will make the crowds feel less insane. But I gotta say $53 for bacon and limited tastes of beer (they are changing to a beer ticket system) is too rich for my blood. More power to them, though!

Country Style Ribs Help (need to cook tomorrow or they will go bad)

My favorite way to use Country Style Ribs is in Pozole Soup.

Finally!!! Great Pho in Woburn ~

I picked up an order of Pho Tai Nam last week to go. By itself, the broth has a strong anise scent, but once it's all mixed together, it's not evident. The brisket was way too chewy but that was my only complaint. Otherwise I really enjoyed this soup. Thanks for the tip!

May 18, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Need graduation cake?

I used to get my cakes from Colarusso's Bakery in Stoneham. http://www.colarussosbakery.com/ Reasonably priced, decent cakes (I think I always got the white cake with whipped cream filling.) That being said, Costco's cakes are just as good, if not better, and probably cheaper, especially if you need a huge cake that will serve a lot of people. Colarusso's selling point for me was that they let you do a photo transfer. Costco will only do their set designs and simple inscriptions.

Best wine shop close to Route 128?

Rapid Liquors was my go-to place when I lived in the area, for a better than average selection and good prices. Glad you found it!

May 10, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Finally!!! Great Pho in Woburn ~

This is Cilantro Thai & Vietnamese Cuisine 383 Main St right in Woburn Center? Thanks for the tip! Who would have thought Woburn Center would have become such a culinary hotspot?!

May 10, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

That's it! Cheese! (The Boston cheese thread)

After years of reading how amazing Humboldt Fog is here on Chowhound, I finally found it at Wegmans and can attest that it is, indeed, all that and a bag of chips. Or, more appropriately, crackers. It's got a light goat cheese flavor, with a ribon of bleu in the middle. There's an edible ash rind and the layer just under the rind gets deliciously runny when it's on the riper side.

Ma France in Lexington (near Arlington line) is a fabulous place for a small inventory of really special French cheeses, all of which they are more than happy to let you taste. Their Facebook feed is pretty well studded with cheese porn too. This Tomme au Marc de Raisin (pictured here) from a couple of weeks ago had me very intrigued but I couldn't eat cheese at that time. Not sure if they still have it.

Where to buy lard- Waltham

If you're not squeamish about it, they have chicken feet, which do fabulous things for chicken stock. Yes, they take checks, that's how I always pay.

Apr 28, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy lard- Waltham

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/... gives an up to date inventory of Pete & Jen's mini-store. Very handy if you don't live nearby! Lard is in stock today, 1/2 pint for $3.50, pint for $7 and quart for $14. It says they have both in stock. They also have fatback and unrendered internal fat. Both can be home rendered, but the internal fat gives a purer and less "porky" lard. I've rendered on stovetop, oven and crockpot and find the crockpot to be the easiest.

Where to buy lard- Waltham

If you're out and about or up for a drive, Pete & Jen's Backyard Birds in Concord almost always has it in their mini-store. Good quality stuff, although I'd think anything that's actually rendered pork fat would be as good. Stay away from the stuff that comes packaged up in sticks in the supermarket. It can be a bit pricey, and rendering your own isn't that hard. Your house smells very porky while it's rendering and for a day or so afterwards (up to you to decide if that's a plus or minus).

Apr 27, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Italian Bakery

I'm fairly sure La Cascia's does wholesale and their braided rolls are pretty great. http://www.lacascias.com/

Apr 25, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

April 2015 Openings and Closings

Whoops my head turned 3A Burlington into Third Ave Burlington. Sorry for that. The address for Del Sur is 390 Cambridge St, Burlington, MA, as you point out, not really near Wegmans with the mess that traffic is quickly becoming in this area.

Apr 24, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Besito Chestnut Hill April 2015

I'm glad TimTamGirl spoke up. I do have children and I think the hostess should have tried to separate a family with young children and a couple of older guests. There's no need to sit people in each other's lap (children or no children) when the restaurant is empty except for a desire to keep the tables all in one section.

Apr 21, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

I agree the dots aren't hard to connect. And I don't know for sure that Erbaluce's contract with the credit card merchants dictates that Erbaluce keep a customer's private information confidential. I'd just be really surprised if it isn't some sort of violation of that contract for Erbaluce to use private information they've gathered from a credit card transaction in the way they used it.

Apr 19, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

Yeah, not sure about Yelp and their anonymity policy but that wasn't really the point I was trying to make. Although the policy you quote says there's a "privacy right" which does seem to suggest there might also be issues within Yelp around using private information (and a last name that another user didn't disclosue should be considered private information) on their forum. OTOH Draghi can probably also draw first blood on Rob G on that one, because Yelp also says "You may expose yourself to liability if, for example, Your Content contains material that is false, intentionally misleading..." and Rob was definitely misleading.

""Who was the jerk with the howling baby last night? Oh, right, and here's a guy with the same name/initial slamming us on Yelp the next day." No need to use OpenTable to make that leap."

Do you commonly give your last name to a restaurant when you dine? I don't... except when I make a reservation or when I use a credit card. If they are sharing information they've received via OpenTable or via a credit card, that's where I think they could possibly have crossed some legal lines. But IANAL, YMMV, FWIW. Etc.

Apr 18, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Anywhere to buy sorrel?

Two thoughts:

The Herb Farmacy shows up at a some local farmer's markets, and she has greenhouse-grown pots of herbs, and farmstand hours starting at the end of April. It might be worth contacting her, http://theherbfarmacy.com/ but she is in Salisbury, so a bit out of the greater Boston area. Lexington is the closest market she attends, and they don't open until May 26.

Meadow Mist Farm in Lexington http://www.meadow-mist.com/ offers a lot of quirky organic stuff and her website isn't usually up to date, so it's worth contacting her directly at laurenyaffee@gmail.com She doesn't have farmstand hours, but you can just contact her by email to set up a time to come by. She has a small greenhouse so it's possible she's growing some there.

Apr 18, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

The other thing I come back to in this situation is wondering how Draghi knew Rob G's last name? Was it from a reservation he made? If it was a reservation through OpenTable, I would bet that information is protected by privacy policies. Is it from his use of a credit card? I would have to guess that's even more heavily protected from a privacy standpoint.

I agree Rob was a total schmoe and adding "the other side of the story" wasn't out of line, but there was a line crossed when it came to sharing private information, and possible a legal line. Not a good place for any restaurant owner to go, IMO, no matter how much it feels warranted.

Apr 18, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Destination: Donuts

Don't underestimate the thrill of spinning counter stools for a 6 year old. My kids thought those stools were great fun at that age.

Apr 16, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Destination: Donuts

Reports are that the donuts aren't actually made onsite at the Boston location of Kane's, but at the mothership in Saugus. FWIW you can't see any frying going on in Saugus either, and I wouldn't count on a tour, especially on a busy weekend day. But I do think it's a pretty fun donut shop, as donut shops go, if you don't mind hauling your cookies all the way up to Saugus.

Demets's in Medford would probably be my suggestion if you want to stay closer to the city/highway. I think it's actually a repurposed Dunkin Donuts, with some table seating. Not thrilling but darn good donuts!

Apr 16, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Woburn Food crawl for Birthday

I think Zaika's buffet is only at lunchtime and from the rest of this itinerary, it sounds like you're aiming for more of a dinnertime crawl. I thought it was fine but if Suvaai was open (does anyone know if it is?) I'd go there before Zaika, more because I loved Biryani Park so much. But it's an untried quantity at this point.

Apr 16, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Woburn Food crawl for Birthday

The octopus is what I wouldn't want to miss at Pinxto Pincho!

Apr 16, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Pure Vegetarian/Vegan Indian Restaurant

Ritu Ki Rasoi in Burlington. Here's a previous thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7605... You'll have to ask which items are vegan, but they serve no meat at all.

More info on their site at www.ritukirasoi.com

Apr 16, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Best Boston restaurants that are also great for kids

There are a few non-fish options at Summer Shack, but not many. My dad requires the fried chicken at least a couple of times per year, and it is really good! Besides that, I think they offer a couple of steak options and that's about it.

Apr 14, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

What's your ??????????

It's hard to accept because it's not actually true. What you describe is ONE form of marketing but it's not the only form of marketing. I'd like to think that the marketing I do is connecting people with an actual need for my product with the awareness that my product exists, and how it can fit their need. This is tangential to the discussion at hand, but still a point worth making.

Best Boston restaurants that are also great for kids

If they're on a different time zone, this could work, but otherwise, bringing kids that age to a restaurant ~2 hours past their usual lunch time is a recipe for disaster, for everyone involved.

I agree with Carty, my kids really enjoy Summer Shack and the adults are pretty happy with it as well, especially out of town adults, for whom the copious seafood options are a rarity.

Apr 14, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Pizza in Lexington/Belmont/Arlington?

I'm going to throw a new contender into the mix here. We got delivery last night from Northender Pizza, which opened in March in Arlington Heights. The crust was pretty nice, with a bit of a malty taste/smell. The sauce didn't come across as too sweet to me. I asked the guy on the phone if the sausage was sliced or crumbled (I find sliced sausage to have a consistency I don't like) and he said he could do it either way, but when it came, it was sliced, but I got the sense that English wasn't his first language so perhaps I wasn't really clear in what I wanted. We all enjoyed the pizza, even my kid who has only really liked Nick's (which I do NOT like) and they deliver to East Lexington, so I'll definitely be trying it again.

http://www.northenderitaliankitchen.com/
Northender Italian Kitchen
1345 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476
781-859-5353

Apr 14, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Sarma and the Multiple WOW!s

Sadly I got stuck with babysitting duty and didn't get to go to that dinner. Honestly there isn't a place serving Turkish food here that he's really liked, but some of it may be the prices. I think he likes Sofra well enough but he can't get himself to pay those prices for what he sees as cheap street food.

Apr 08, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Mandatory 20% at Select?

"it is not a good system and has a negative impact on servers overall."

I won't argue with you on your first point, but I wonder what leads you to your second point? Anyone I know who is a server is generally doing pretty well, salary-wise. Yes, individual tables can screw things up a bit, but averaged as a whole, it seems to me that good servers in mid-to-high end places are compensated pretty well via the tip system. Certainly much better compensated than the BOH staff.

Apr 08, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Sarma and the Multiple WOW!s

My husband went here with his Turkish-born and raised friend, and the way he describes it, all of the menu should be in quotes. He said "Imagine if you want to a restaurant serving American food and ordered Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes, expecting to get what you grew up with, but what you really got was Deconstructed Meatloaf with Potatoes. It's not bad, but it's not meatloaf and mashed potatoes." That was his take on everything they had. He didn't think it was bad, but also did not think any of it was authentically Turkish.

Apr 08, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

April 2015 Openings and Closings

As discussed here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9859... Del Sur is planning to open the week of April 22, up in the area of Wegmans Burlington. "It’s a small fast food restaurant, basically to take-out, using organic, fresh and natural ingredients, and supporting local farms."

Apr 08, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area