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Chris VR's Profile

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I lied, more questions.

I've made it to Salem in 30 minutes from Lexington, and Google maps with real time traffic information concurs that right now at 9am on a Monday, it's 41 minutes from Concord to Salem. I agree it's more driving than I'd want to do in a day, and traffic will make a big difference on transit time, but it's certainly doable if that's your goal.

Best Year EVAR for MA Melons and Peaches

Although apples are primarily a fall crop, there are a fair number of early apple varieties. Cider Hill's got some in now (Paula Red, Zestar, Red Free and Early Mac). Honeypot is scheduled to start this weekend. Russell has some in store but the orchards aren't usually open until September.

I usually try to pick in early September, while it's still warm and before the crowds have figured out that it's apple season already. I know a lot of people like to go on Columbus Day weekend but I think the orchards are pretty well picked over by then.

Aug 17, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

A visit to South Carolina: Lexington & Charleston

Just got back from a visit to Lexington, SC. My in-laws just moved to the south shore of Lake Murray, so we were looking for some food options that would keep everyone happy. They are pretty basic eaters and I have a very picky kid so I didn’t suggest a few that looked interesting to me (Mr Friendlys, Keg Cowboy). Here are a few thoughts on our food:

http://libbysoflexington.com/
Very nice server. Not a huge menu but we all found something we liked. My picky kid was happy with mozzarella sticks and pizza. The more adventurous kid liked the loaded french fries and didn’t have much room left for the Carolina Reuben (turkey, bacon, swiss, coleslaw) but she liked what she was able to eat. The hand cut fries were a bit on the limp side. I had a special of pasta with chicken, spinach, sundreied tomato goat cheese and maybe a few other things. I liked it but wasn’t blown away. Others were happy with Philly Steak Sub, burger and the recommended Folly Beach fried shrimp. It was fairly quiet when we arrived at ~5:30 but packed with a line waiting at 7pm. Inlaws were really pleased with this one.

http://www.thepompeiioven.com
Previous recommended here under another business name (which I can’t remember right now), it’s The Pompeii Oven now, located in Irmo. Our server was lovely and the owner introduced himself. He seems to be doing what he loves and it shows in the food. The menu is limited to a few salads and a number of different 12 inch Neapolitian style pizzas. The crust was a bit less charred than I think is traditional but that was fine with me since I don’t like charred crust. I think the pizzas are the right size for 2 moderate eaters to split, although if you come with a big appetite, you’ll probably finish most or all of one pie.

I was nervous that my picky FIL was going to hate it since there was a lot of “weird” options but his basic margherita (hold the basil!) couldn’t have been that bad... he finished the whole pie. My picky son was ecstatic that for once in his life he could order a pizza straight from the menu: their Marinara pizza was just sauce, oregano and garlic, no cheese. Just how he likes it, and he ate it all. The rest of us shared a few pies: Whip Cream had no red sauce, with a sweet whipped cream & cheese sauce, topped with a fairly spicy italian sausage and a sprinkling of black pepper. An interesting mix of sweet & spicy but not a favorite. Prosciutto & Fig was a bit sweeter than I’m used to with this pie, and less arugula, but that was fine with me since I hate wading through an entire salad on top of a pizza. Meatball (hold the onion and basil) was very nice, the meatballs were homemade and had a really nice flavor to them. The favorite was the bacon & blueberry pie. The only drawback is prices are a bit high, it came out to ~$100 for 6 pies and soft drinks, but we went home with 2 entire pies leftover, and I’d rather patronize a place that is willing to make great food and charge for it than go to a place that cuts corners and prices more affordably.

Fatz Cafe
This is a chain and not really that worth mentioning. We needed something that would work for everyone and it was OK. Oddly sweet dinner rolls, everyone’s meals were pretty salty, even my MIL who loves salt thought so. I suspect my combo of “Calabash Chicken” and popcorn shrimp sat in the pass for a bit because it wasn’t that hot, and the crispy coating was fairly soggy by the time it was served to me.

I wanted to try The Backyard Cafe (http://www.thebackyardcafe.com) but the timing didn’t work out.

If you’ve got anyplace else to recommend in this area, please let me know. Thanks!

We escaped for a weekend to Charleston, and I haven't written it up yet, but will post back here when I do.

Aug 17, 2015
Chris VR in Southeast
1

Big shoutout for Meadow Mist Farms-Lexington!!

I'll enthusiastically second this recommendation. I dropped my egg share after it turned out that a dozen each week was just too many eggs for us, but I do my best to buy there when I can. It's hard to tell what's current, and although I've tried to subscribe to their mailing list, it doesn't seem to stick. Regular mailings telling me what's in stock on any given day, and regular business hours would go a long way towards getting me in there on a more frequent basis.

They are so nice and that's actually the one disadvantage... it's such a small operation (you are buying from their kitchen) I have a hard time not buying something even if the produce isn't exactly what I want. Unlike a store or farm stand where you can browse around and leave without buying, I always feel like I want to support them by buying something. There are worse problems to have :)

Aug 05, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Chowhound Beta for Boston users

You're right, I don't reach most of the threads, but I do visit fairly regularly (LOL ok who am I kidding, daily ;-) so it's easy enough for me to look at the date stamp to see if I've gotten back to the last approximate time I viewed the board index. I also have a pretty good memory for what I've seen and not seen. For boards I don't frequent as often, I just scan until I'm tired of scanning. I probably do miss some stuff that way, but since the more active (and perhaps more interesting) threads will keep getting bumped up to the top of the index by new posts, I generally am able to have a pretty good picture of what's new and interesting since I was last there.

Aug 05, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Chowhound Beta for Boston users

It's so interesting to hear how different people view the site!

When I view the thread index by "Last Reply", I think I do it similar to you, scanning the new bold threads down until I get to the grayed-out threads that I saw on my previous visit. I used to do it the way you do, going to the oldest thread I've read and scanning up the new threads to the top of the index, but I changed that a while ago just because it was easier to scroll down via the space bar than to scroll up via the scroller. I click on the number of posts next to the thread, which brings me to the first new post I haven't read on that thread, and I scan the thread down from there to read the new posts.

I'd think you'd be missing out on a lot of interesting new content by viewing it the way you do. I will usually search out an old thread to add new information rather than starting a new thread. The only time I start a new thread is when I can't find a previous thread on the topic I want to discuss, or when the threads I find are very old, and have outdated information. I get the sense that a lot of people on the Boston board post the same way, so you're probably missing out on a lot of new info that you won't see by only looking at new threads started since you last viewed the board index.

Aug 05, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Chowhound Beta for Boston users

If you follow the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1021025 you'll see that sort by Date Started is not an option with the new layout and as per this response http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1021... won't be addressed in the short term.

I'm curious how you use it? I always find it to be a hindrance, when I accidentally clicked on it and then cant figure out why the most recent posts aren't displaying?

Aug 05, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area
1

Announcement: The Beta Site is Open to Everyone!

My concern is that it's confusing when you hover over an avatar from a new poster, for example laurav02223 in this thread http://beta.chowhound.com/post/sour-s... and you see "Total posts: 0" when you're looking at a post that poster made. That will always going to lead to questions and confusion. It will confuse newbies, who may feel that the number is somehow negatively judging the quality of their contribution. It will lead people who don't really understand the system to assume that posters who really are quite active but haven't started threads are brand newbies, and treat them accordingly (unfortunately, not always in a welcoming manner).

If it's important to use the number of threads started as a benchmark of quality, then "Threads started: 0" would be a better wording, but that still feels to me like it's a negative judgment, especially for a poster who is very active but just doesn't like to start threads. I agree with others here that the number of threads started doesn't have any bearing in my books on the quality of that poster's posts. If there's going to be a number, and it's going to be called "Total posts" then I would like it to be a true reflection of all of that poster's participation on the site.

Announcement: The Beta Site is Open to Everyone!

Singapore is a location tag http://beta.chowhound.com/tag/singapore (found it via a search on the Location tag page) but I didn't find one for Penang. There's a "suggest tag" option on the feedback form.

Aug 04, 2015
Chris VR in Site Talk
1

Chowhound Beta for Boston users

"Tags allow topics and even posts I believe" No, it doesn't seem individual posts can be tagged. Just topics.

Aug 04, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Godavari South Indian in Woburn

One other thought, if you're going to touch base with them any time soon. I have a friend who is gluten free and I know a lot of South Indian food meets her needs, but it's hard to tell which ones do. Since they do have such a descriptive menu, if they could also add a "GF" icon to show which dishes are gluten free, that would be huge. We thought we were doing well at Suvaai but she ended up in bad shape that night, so having this info easy to find and understand would be awesome.

Jul 21, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Godavari South Indian in Woburn

"It's a shame they didn't pull up the website that has all the descriptions of every dish on the iPad!! They definitely need descriptions handy to get us westerners up to speed."

They gave me the iPad with their site pulled up, but now, looking at it, I realize that I clicked on "View Menu and Order" in the center of the screen which brings you to eat24's interface and lackluster descriptions. I think he must have meant for me to click on the "Menu" on the upper left corner which pulls up a menu with really detailed descriptions. That makes SO much more sense. We were baffled about what was going on, but it was user error :) I am now going to peruse that for future reference!

I did mention the salt issue but didn't get much response from him about trying to order differently next time. Perhaps it was a language barrier. I do want to go back so I will try that next time, but I suspect a lot of the salt is already there in the bases of the dishes, and there's not much they can do about it. Sucks to be me :)

ETA... aaaaand now I am kicking myself for not finding the menu earlier, because reading it is making me want to go back and be annoyed that we didn't branch out some more in our ordering.

Jul 21, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Godavari South Indian in Woburn

We went for dinner this week. The menu is impressive but cryptic. I feel the same way here I feel at Suvaai and Ritu Ki Rasoi... very lost but also fairly sure that I can't go wrong. All the staff was friendly and one brought over an ipad, I thought, so we could see descriptions, but it was word for word what was on the printed menu, so, not much help there. We picked a few things that sounded good and weren't disappointed.

I like "65" seasoning so we started with Gobi 65. YUM. Great flavor and the level of spice was perfect for me... just close to a burn but not over the line. Salt was way too much for me in this and everything else but the chapati and rice, but that's more my issue than a problem with their seasoning. I have to be on a low sodium diet so even salted butter tastes too salty to me. By the end of my meal I had a burn in my mouth, but I’m honestly not sure if it was from the spices or from the salt. The food was all good, don’t get me wrong, but just because of my dietary issues, Godavari is going to have to be a very rare splurge into Saltsville.

We ordered the paneer butter masala more for familiarity than anything else. It was good... it's an inherently bland dish but it was a nice sauce, less spicy than the other dishes we ordered.

The Bengaluru Bendi Pulusu was described as "Okra special" so we gave that a go. It was sort of an okra stew, in a thick tomatoey sauce sprinkled with a bit of cilantro. I'm really enjoying discovering the different ways South Indian cooking treats okra and I found this dish very enjoyable.

We didn't want to overorder so that was it for us, along with a side of chapati. They seemed to be out of most of the drinks so we stuck with just water. (If I”m not mistaken, I saw another table bring in a brown bag, so I might try that next time.) The bill came out to ~$45.

In short, really nice people, very interesting (if confusing) menu, really good flavors but unfortunately the level of salt is going to keep me away… but I also have the same problem at Suvaai and RKR. My husband can’t wait to go back with his friends, though!

Jul 21, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Gigantic cucumber?

Cucumber Agua Fresca is my favorite way to use up a lot of cukes. I use vickib's recipe here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5471... It's quite lovely, especially with a bit of rum!

Jul 19, 2015
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Native corn

A friend on Facebook posted a pic of his kid eating corn from Marini Farm's field. I haven't seen any yet myself.

Jul 19, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Native corn

I picked up some today from Wilson Farm, this time it's from Connecticut. It was OK, closer to a 5 on the VR Corn Scale, although one piece was more of a 7.

I bring a pot of salted to a boil, drop the corn in, cover it, bring it back to a boil and then turn it off and take it out.

Jul 13, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Native corn

Against my better judgment we got some of that Georgia corn a week or so ago and much to my surprise, it was a solid 6 out of 10 on the highly scientific VR Corn Scale. Not local corn good, but a lot better than I expected, and good enough to tide me over until the local stuff is here.

Jul 12, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

What's your impression of sous vide? I discovered it recently and am curious to see what people think about it

It sounds like you've already tried it. How did the steak you mention cooking here come out for you? http://www.cheftalk.com/t/86502/whats...

Jul 10, 2015
Chris VR in Home Cooking

Sacramento tomato juice in Boston area

Bumping this up... it's not at Market Basket anymore as far as I can tell, and I'd love to locate some for my dad. Any spottings?

Jul 09, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Biryani Park is Coming Back (I Hope!)

She was there when we ordered it, so I'm not sure what to make of that. Besides the odd bits sprinkled throughout, the texture wasn't for us, but it also had very little flavor, we thought.

Jul 07, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Biryani Park is Coming Back (I Hope!)

Ah you're right. I googled Suvaai and it brought me to the Curry & Wok site, not the SNS one I'm used to seeing.

Jul 07, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Biryani Park is Coming Back (I Hope!)

Glad it worked out for you! We went last week a little after 1:30pm and there was no food on the buffet (despite the sign outside advertising it). I don't blame them, since it was just us and one other table, but my friends had never been there and were looking forward to the chance to try a lot of dishes from the buffet. We were happy to order off the menu, though. I really loved it when they were in Malden and I still like it but so many of the dishes were too salty for me (but I do have to keep to a low-salt diet, and my friend who loves salt said it was perfect.) They are still so nice, and the owner (I think?) was happy to bring the chef out to help us try to figure out which foods would be OK for my gluten-intolerant friend. We thought we ordered well, with only one dish she couldn't eat, but even sticking with the dishes he said were OK, she ended up having a gluten reaction and needed to spend the next day recovering from it.

I liked the flavor of the Gobi Manchurian (which was nicely spicy) but I couldn't eat much of it because of the salt. Mixed Vegetable Pakoda was also VERY salty.

We all loved the Egg Bajji and Paneer Tikka Masala. Dosa was also very good. The Rotti in the Coconut Rotti was a hit but the vegetable accompaniments were surprisingly flavorless.

The Puttu-Kotthu with was our least favorite dish, with bits of bone and cartilage in a fairly flavorless sort of mushy textured dish.

So I just checked their website, and it's been revamped. Now there's no mention of the Woburn location (sad face) but they do now offer online ordering & delivery through http://eat24hrs.com/... although there's a $50 delivery minimum, which means I probably won't take advantage of that often! The URL is http://www.currynwok.com/index.html. There's no mention of the Suvaai name there, but it's Suvaai on the online ordering form.

Jul 06, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

info for kouign amann fans

Is Paul in Burlington open yet? Their website says to check back for a phone and hours.

Jul 05, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

New weirdness from popup ad

Same thing happened to me. I had to reload the page before I was able to read it. That time, I got one of the banner ads you can't dismiss across the bottom of the page, but that didn't have any effect on the font size like the popup ad did.... it just reduces the area you can read in, because the banner ad across the bottom won't go away.

Jul 02, 2015
Chris VR in Site Talk

I need opinions

Marshmallow Fluff!

Jul 02, 2015
Chris VR in U.K./Ireland

Really good hardwood charcoal in Lexington area?

Second BBQ Barn. I think I've also seen a decent selection at Wagon Wheel but don't hold me to that.

Jul 01, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Please help- need meatless mains for eater with sensory issues

Unfortunately at this point he's convinced himself that eggs are inedible and I'd rather find other foods than try to fight him away from that view.

Jun 25, 2015
Chris VR in Home Cooking

ISO Halibut - either retail or restaurant

I didn't order it. I had a cup of chowder and a 1 1/2 pound steamed lobster, with a side of coleslaw. We like Summer Shack. It hits the spot when we want seafood and don't want any hassle, and it's very kid-friendly, which we usually need when dining out.

Jun 23, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

ISO Halibut - either retail or restaurant

Summer Shack in Cambridge had a halibut special on the menu last night.

Jun 22, 2015
Chris VR in Greater Boston Area

Please help- need meatless mains for eater with sensory issues

There's a TJs less than a mile from my house. I'm going to give this a try soon. It's something we'd all eat, too. We recently got him eating a salad oficeberg lettuce with cucumbers and shredded mozzarella with Italian dressing, so I wonder if we can add some tofu in there to make it more of a meal. Hmmmmm.

Jun 20, 2015
Chris VR in Home Cooking
1