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Szchuan's Dumpling in Arlington under new management

The windows are covered in brown paper, and there are signs up in the windows. I tried to peek while driving by and I think it said something about new management.

Their website confirms: "The restaurant is now under new management, Right now is temporary closed. We are waiting for the final approval from Town of Arlington. "

I'm wondering if anyone knows who the new management is? It's one of our favorite places so I am keeping my fingers crossed this is not a bad thing.

Sep 17, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Healthy Popcorn

^^^^^ This. Airpopped popcorn tastes like styrofoam to me, and I feel like I end up loading it up with butter just to make it edible. I use oil in my Whirley Pop and then just sprinkle it with salt.

Sep 04, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Buy a Chicken Pot pie or 8

We do have Costco around here but I think Chicken Pot Pie may be a seasonal item, along with chicken soup, which I've enjoyed from Costco in the past, but couldn't fine when looking for it in Waltham recently. It makes sense, I suppose, that they're probably using their leftover rotisserie chicken (which, I assume, is what goes into the pot pies) for chicken salad this time of year.

I'm overdue for a Costco run so I'll check and see if it's in the case at Waltham. I do like Harrows, a bit on the bland side... wish they'd offer a dark meat version.

Sep 04, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Our 4 Days/3 Nights of Enjoyment in Boston

Thanks for reporting back!

Sep 02, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Big Island Road Trip report 8/17-8/24

That looks like the fruit, thanks! Looks like no chance of getting it here on the mainland, and I'll chalk it up as one more thing that makes a trip to Hawaii so special!

Sep 02, 2014
Chris VR in Hawaii

Looking for a bakery that will make a 3D Patriots helmet shaped cake for a wedding.

The Icing on the Cake, in Newton, http://www.tiotc.com and they have sone really delicious flavors. You can browse some really amazing designs in the gallery on their website.

Aug 31, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Big Island Road Trip report 8/17-8/24

I hope you don’t mind me tagging along on your thread. We were on Big Island for our second time on August 10-20 and trod many of the same paths as you. Nothing groundbreaking, but I wanted to report back here on our trip with some picky eaters:

Shave Ice:

Anuenue Shave Ice in Kamuela was absolutely, top of the pile. It was our first shave ice this trip so I feel like I didn’t really appreciate how great it was until we went everywhere else. It was partly the texture of the ice, which seemed fluffier than the others we tried, and partly the real fruit flavors that seemed to be present in the syrups. The ice cream was also really good. I read the line can be brutal but it wasn’t bad the day we were there…. one nice benefit of going in off season. We had hoped to hit it up for a second time at the end of the trip and didn't manage to do so, and I regret that!

We were trying to find WIlson’s by the Bay in Hilo and it’s moved. In the area where our guidebook says it used to be was Mauna Kea Snow. We had a car full of cranky and tired kids (and adults) so we decided to just go there. It was meh. Chunky ice, artificial flavors and slooooooow. We were the in line behind one person ordering one shave ice and it felt like it took over 10 minutes for us to get 2 shave ices and an ice cream, and that’s with 2 people behind the counter. The store felt a bit grimy as well. Would not return.

There was a shave ice stand on the beach in front of the Marriott, where some of our family was staying (Yelp says it’s Abay Café.) Hours are a bit quirky, and we missed them open the first couple of times we tries. Yelp says they are there from 10-2 and we finally caught them in. Again, chunky ice and artificial syrups but the woman in the stand was nice and quick and it’s a lovely spot to enjoy a shave ice (if it’s not too windy, as it was the way we were there.)

Special event meals:

Evening at Kahua Ranch: this was chosen to appeal to my father in law, and the steak (which is from their ranch) was really good. It’s a fun experience, but a pricey one. The rest of the food was fine, and the s’mores were a big hit with the kids. It was neat to see inside some of the ranches we’d been driving by, and the all-you-can-drink beer and wine was a nice bonus (for the people who weren’t driving!) It’s a bit of a scary drive home, on windy dark roads although they offer a more expensive option that includes bus transport. Without the bus, it's around $100 per person, and you're not really seeing that value in the food, but you do really feel like you're seeing a ranch in operation, and supporting that operation, so while it's definitely a splurge experience, I'm glad we did it.

Legends of Hawaii Luau at Hilton Waikoloa Village: This is pricy, but we got a discount because we were staying at a Hilton property. We could have paid to upgrade to “Ali’i” seating but I'm glad we didn’t. They were served appetizers and I think had waiter service for drinks, also got first crack at the buffet but there was plenty to go around and there were two buffet lines that seemed to move pretty quickly. There are two bars as well, but they weren’t talking that up, so the line at the bar at the back of the venue was really long, whereas there wasn’t much of a line at the bar at the front of the venue, to the right of the stage. The food was all really pretty good. I remember liking the poke a lot, and the coconut milk fish. The pork was good but way too salty for me. Nice dessert buffet and the mixed drinks were decent. The show was impressive and we enjoyed the experience overall.

Eating in Waikoloa resort area:

We were staying in the Waikoloa resort area with a full kitchen, so a lot of our meals were at home. We hit up Island Gourmet a couple of times but regretted it because the prices are so insane there, and there’s not a lot of selection. I did enjoy the poke, which we got twice. Can’t remember what types, but the ahi one with a feathery sort of seaweed was my favorite. Waikoloa Village Market is a MUCH better deal for general groceries and it’s only 10 minutes or so away from the resort area. Well worth it for the savings and larger selection. Costco in Kona is far and away the best deal, as everyone says. We went in close to closing and I wish we’d had more time to wander the aisles, because they had some neat stuff not found on the mainland. This is also a great place to go for souvenir type food- they had large tubs of assorted variety Mauna Loa macadamia 2 ounce bags for a great price. We picked up mostly basic stuff— lunch meat, bread, milk, potato chips.

We had takeout one night from SanSei, and i do really like their sushi, although it’s pricey. They had this neat flower sushi with a quail egg yolk nestled in the center which was lovely and tasty. For some reason they don’t accept takeout orders before 6:30.

We ate a lunch and a dinner at the Marriott resort. Sky high prices, but the food was fine. I had a really nice Furikake-crusted ahi for dinner. Their mai tais are NOT good. They have specials every night (50% off entrees one night, $23 lobster another night) so eating with the specials is a way to keep the cost down. I probably wouldn’t bother going there if you weren’t actually staying there.

We did lunch at the Hilton Waikoloa, at the open air restaurant right by the dolphin pool. It’s a great place to eat with kids, because you can see the fish on one side and the dolphins on the others. Lots to keep them entertained. The food was unexceptional, but not bad. Whatever recipe the Hilton is using for Mai Tais is a lot better than the one the Marriott is using.

We had ice cream at the place in Queens Marketplace that does mix-in flavors, outside and to the right of the food court. It was pretty good. The kiddie sizes weren't that expensive but the rest of the sizes seemed pricey. I think they only allow kids to buy the kiddie sizes, or that's the impression I got from their price board.

Eating in Kona:

We enjoyed Kona Brewing Company last time we were on Big Island and liked it again. Nice beer samplers allow you to try a wide variety of their beers. The breads/pizza are made with spent grains,which didn’t appeal to my picky eater, unfortunately, but they nicely took it off the check, which I hadn’t requested or expected. Everybody else seemed pretty happy with their meal. I liked my pork sandwich.

We ate at Huggos on the Beach for our last meal, when we were killing time before our flight home. We had a personable (and very tall) male server, and the mai tais were really good. They were out of tortillas so couldn’t do the pork quesadilla I’d ordered. I had the catch of the day and it was fine. Nice potato chips on the side. The burgers were really on the rare side, which was odd since my MIL had ordered hers medium well. Usually places overcook, not undercook, burgers. No fries on the menu, only chips. The open air nature of the place, and sandy floor reminded me of Blue Heaven in Key West. Very loud musicians were good but made it hard to talk. The sunset was absolutely lovely. I think it was a bit too offbeat and casual for my in laws, but I liked it and the kids seemed to like it too.

Eating in Volcano:

I had thought we’d go to Cafe Ohi’a but they aren’t open for dinner. Instead we ended up at Lava Rock Kitchen, which is where we went last time we were there. The service was a bit better than I remembered, although we did have a long awkward wait at the front of the restaurant where staff kept bustling by us and not acknowledging us. We stood there for about 5 minutes before someone spoke to us, but once we were seated, our waitress was fine. We did watch people standing and waiting a long time for a table, longer as the night went on, so try to get here early if you can. The food here is eh. Nothing special, but it’s open and we were fed.

The next night, my inlaws took the kids back to Lava Rock and we did a date night at Kilauea Lodge. We both had specials, including a local mushroom appetizer, which was good but a bit underseasoned. I had half duck l’orange and it was also missing something in the seasoning, plus the duck was dry. I can’t remember what my husband had, but he had no complaints. He really liked the celery cream of coconut soup. I think I just can’t taste cream of celery soup without getting a taste memory of the canned stuff, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as he did. I had the Haupia Coconut pie. The crust was tough but I liked it otherwise. He had some sort of coconut macadamia pie and liked it.

Driving around the island:

We stopped at Tex Drive Inn. We had an assortment of malasadas and mostly liked them. The mango and apricot were oversweet but because the dough isn’t that sweet, it balanced out. We made the mistake of trying to have lunch there and the food was dismal. Never again.

We stopped at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory in Waimea and it was great to be able to taste everything they offered. We ended up buying more than we probably would have because of the samples, so it’s a good selling strategy.

We also enjoyed the Greenwell tour, and it was very interesting to see ripe coffee berries and get an understanding of the process. We had stopped at a factory the last time we were on Big Island but it was in May and it’s hard to really get a feel for the process without ripe berries.

The South Kona Fruit stand really stood out in my memory as a fantastic place the last time we visited, and I don’t know if it was the day we were there or just what was in season, but we were disappointed by a fairly small selection. However, we were introduced to a round yellow/orange fruit that was described as tasting like vanilla pudding and it was like nothing I’ve ever had, so it was worth stopping just for that. Anyone know what it's called? We also got some white pineapple, which I’d never had. It took a few days to ripen and the difference between white and yellow is subtle… the white seemed to be more sweet, with less of the astringent “piney” taste I taste in the yellow pineapples. However, we did experience some gastric distress later and wondered if it might be connected to the white pineapples.

There was a “Farmer’s Market” set up in a parking lot one day when we were driving in Waimea, and was really one person selling a bunch of stuff. We got some great bananas (love those apple bananas!) and avocados, although the type of avocado was mostly pit. I later got a big avocado from the Waikoloa Village Market that was better and a better fruit to pit ratio.

That’s about it! Thanks for the tips here, always appreciated!

Aug 31, 2014
Chris VR in Hawaii

Snappy Patty's West Medford: An early report

I"m assuming that you mean "SP" aka Snappy Patty's, not "FP" or is there another place here that would fit the "FP" abbreviation, and i"m just missing it?

Personally, I'm glad to hear a contrary viewpoint, and hope Syje1 sticks around. I think too often we end up with these board darlings, and people are reluctant to share anything but a rave about those restaurants because they're afraid they'll get called out negatively. Different strokes for different folks, and I'd like to hear from everyone, not just the people who all agree.

Aug 30, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Seeking input on outdoor Puerto Rican pig roast facility under development [Holyoke, MA]

Would love details too! Hmm, Lechonera on Sept 27, The Big E on the 28th...? I feel like Templeton the rat just considering it!

Aug 29, 2014
Chris VR in Southern New England

Is anyone going to boycott Market Basket?

I stopped into Burlington MB this afternoon because I was in the area and needed a few things. Some dairy, a bit of meat (not sure what kind), a smidge of seafood, no produce that I saw (but I didn't go wander around there), some bread, a lot of empty space all around the store. Bakery was closed, no prepared foods. Not surprising, just reporting what I saw. It's kind of interesting to see how they tried to fill the space. For example, in the canned fruit aisle, there's 4 shelves full of the same kind of applesauce. I was able to get the cat food I needed, the shredded cheese I wanted, a packaged Boboli pizza crust (don't judge!), jarred pizza sauce, and 2 loaves of white bread (not the brand I wanted, but close enough). There weren't many customers or staff around, but they all seemed really happy. The store was freezing though. I suspect the A/C units are set to handle a higher load of people and food. Couldn't stay long, but it was nice to shop without the typical hordes of people, even if I couldn't get everything I was looking for.

Aug 28, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

I'm out of my depth on this, like I said it's been years (and 2 kids) since I've done it, so my memory really is fuzzy. I got a lot out of the class I took... if you have the opportunity to take one, I'd recommend it. I really got into cheesemaking, to the point where I was doing hard cheese as well, but the kids effectively killed my hobbies for years :)

Aug 25, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

Could be, and different microwaves have different power levels, so maybe try doing it either on a lower power, or not as long.

Aug 25, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

Happy to try to help! This is the method I've used http://www.cheesemaking.com/howtomake... There are some differences from your recipe (the citric acid and rennet is diluted in water, for example). You also don't mention kneading yours, but if it was the consistency of cottage cheese, that's probably why.

Aug 25, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

I've made fine mozzarella with this microwave method. It's not gourmet or top of the line in any way, but a fun thing to do. It's neat to serve mozzarella you made yourself, and the ease of this technique is great for getting people interested in more traditional methods.

Aug 25, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

It sounds like you used the right type of milk. It sounds crazy but try it with the most mundane, off the shelf milk you can get, something like Publix brand, if it's not ultrapasteurized. Sorry I can't offer any specific feedback on your technique, it's been a long while since I've done it. I do remember a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves made kneading the curd when it was a hot out of the microwave much less painful.

Aug 25, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Mozzarella at home...what went wrong..3 times!!!

Try it with another brand of milk. I took the course with Ricki at her location, years ago, and I do remember her saying different brands of commercial milk act differently. Make sure the milk is not Ultra-Pasteurized, but I think I remember that the best results I had was not with the organic milk but with a supermarket brand (Garelick, here in Boston, IIRC).

Aug 25, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Oh please Arby's...

You're right, I looked on their site but couldn't find the menu anywhere.

Aug 19, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Oh please Arby's...

On Long Island, where I grew up, there was some sort of partnership or buyout with Arby's and Jack in the Box, and our local Arby's (where one of my best friends worked) had roast beed and tacos. After seeing what my friend did with the roast beef, I never ate one of those sandwiches, but he would make me these tacos that were loaded up with everything, and got me on the taco lover bandwagon.

Aug 18, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Oh please Arby's...

Closer to home, Spalla's in Natick has a Coney Island dog on the menu. Casey's too, I think.

Aug 18, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Ideas needed: beets for someone who hates beets

This Beet Rosti is the one for non-beet lovers. http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

The beets get all sweet and creamy and caramelized. If your husband doesn't like these, he just won't like beets!

Aug 17, 2014
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Your thoughts on Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa on Big Island? Or other date night recs?

Thanks! We might still make it there. We had a date night while out at Volcano (Kiluea Lodge, which was OK, definitely better than the Lava Rock Cafe we had with the whole family, but not as good as I'd have liked it to be.) Might squeeze in one more date night while in Kona area, and I forgot Beech Tree was a place I'd wanted to try last time we were here.

Aug 17, 2014
Chris VR in Hawaii

Your thoughts on Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa on Big Island? Or other date night recs?

Thanks! Yeah, we're aware of the general meh-ness of Waikoloa resort-area food. I do like Sansei's sushi although the atmosphere of the Waikoloa resort is not great. We loved the one in Waikiki Beach. We went to Roy's last time we were here and thought it wasn't bad, and worked really well for us because they were very tolerant of our young kids.

We got all excited to see Fairmont Orchid nearby because Orchids brunch from our last trip, which included Oahu, was such a standout memory, but it seems there's no connection.

Aug 14, 2014
Chris VR in Hawaii

Your thoughts on Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa on Big Island? Or other date night recs?

From reading their site, they focus on "farm to beach" which sounds nice, but Yelpers are not kind, and based on reviews there, it sounds like one of those places where they count on the great view to distract you from the mediocre food. We are staying in Waikoloa right now and looking to take advantage of the grandparents in tow to go out for a date night, without going to far out of the Waikoloa area. Is there any great food with a view nearby? If not, just great food? Much as I love me some raw fish, we've eaten a lot of it so far, so probably looking for more places of the cooked persuasion.

Aug 11, 2014
Chris VR in Hawaii

Park Place Pantry's Tuscan Style Salsa at local farmer's markets

So now that we're allowed to recommend friend's businesses, I'm going to put in a plug for my friend Ed's Tuscan Style Salsa, sold at local Farmer's Markets under the Park Place Pantry brand, including today in Winchester. They are also at SoWA sometimes. Ed and I have done community theater together and cast parties used to be the only place to count on a supply of this salsa. He launched the business just a few months ago. It's a light, zingy salsa that's pretty different from other salsas. Give him some love if you see in at a local farmer's market, and/or check him out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/parkplacepantry

Aug 09, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Alan Wong for kids...

We're supposed to come in to Big Island on Sunday, while the Julio is (hopefully) offshore. I'm bringing more food than I'd planned to, figuring that shelves may be a bit bare.

Aug 07, 2014
Chris VR in Hawaii

"Back" button, still not working right.

I don't ever encounter this problem, but it's because I don't ever use the back button here on CHOW. If you're open to navigating via opening a new tab for each thread you read (that's what I do) it might alleviate the frustration for now.

Aug 06, 2014
Chris VR in Site Talk

Info on Market Basket new locations?

I suspect we all have to wait and see if MB will even manage to stay in business at this point. The construction was still going on at the Waltham site last week but this hole they've dug themselves into is going to take a while to get out of. If they manage to stay in business, I won't be surprised if any new store plans get shelved.

Aug 05, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Is anyone going to boycott Market Basket?

"In a letter from the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Market Basket's CEOs were reminded that any terminated employee in Massachusetts is entitled to receive any and all compensation owed to them on the last day of employment, and New Hampshire workers are due all compensation within 72 hours of termination." comes from this article http://on.wcvb.com/1qOk48Q

It sounds like if they follow through on their threat to fire anyone who doesn't come back on Monday, they'd better have a ton of financial people on hand ready to process payments to the thousands of workers they'd have to lay off.

Aug 01, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Lasagna... a bit fancy but not too pricey?

That's a really good point, about eggplant vs pasta being softer and easier. Unfortunately we've had to call tonight's dinner off because of the nausea but I'm hoping I can still get some ice cream cake in her tonight!

Aug 01, 2014
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Clicking on names in a thread

I'm finding it a bit harder to get the name to turn to a name with an underline, indicating it's an active link. I have to hover around the middle to top of the outlined box to get the underline, but clicking on when the underline shows up does move me to the post.

Aug 01, 2014
Chris VR in Site Talk