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Bread + Butter Pastries: Excellent

It was on the Coppa brunch menu today. I asked to see it so i could report to you- even though there was NO WAY i could have eaten it after that fantastic rich banana almond meal 'pancake'!
They get them from Clio and it was definitely the most beautiful KA i have seen myself (bread& butter; 5 corners kitchen;and icr.)I have been told they are very tricky to make successfully,which might account for their rarity here.
I believe they are a Breton specialty and I don't know if one finds them readily in Paris.....

about 1 hour ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Looking for our new go-to restaurants: strong flavors, fun atmospheres

My recs have all been mentioned above: Ribelle, Coppa,Sarma. And I would add East by Northeast (though it may be a bit quiet for you) and Myers+Chang, and Toro, which are the opposite- crazy loud! After just having brunched at and reported on Coppa, I must say that, in my own lexicon,'Fun' requires the right waitstaff,and that is what Coppa has in spades!(And M+C as well)

p.s. can't tell you how perfectly you phrased your OP. Makes it so easy for people to respond to you with appropriate suggestions!

about 4 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Coppa: No Wonder Everyone Loves It !

Sunday at 2pm and Coppa is packed, except for our reserved table.
And they remember us and what we ate the last time we were in, even though it was 2 or 3 months ago.
What a neighborhood gem! Where have you been served by a happier crew? And they smile at you. They are comfortable and proud of their place, but if something doesn't work for you, they want to fix it so you will be happy.

We both had the same entrée (horrors!) a Mediterranean take on Huevos Rancheros, with baked eggs in a cocotte of harissa tinged tomato, cattle beans, broccolini and Parmesan. I liked the balance of components but I had been hoping for a more Moroccan flavor (I didn't really detect the harissa.) The KILLER of the brunch was the Almond meal Banana 'Pancake' which was, in fact, more like a French Kouign Amann (butter, butter, sugar, and more butter). The only thing it had in common with a pancake was its flatness. Soooooo rich, crunchy caramelized exterior and dense moist inside. Pretty darn astounding. (Maybe for our fat quota, it was better that we sent back the side of bacon [it was 4x saltier than I can handle, like Benton's Bacon from Va.]) As I attempted to eat very slowly, I kept thinking, "We should all be so lucky to have that 'pancake' before we die!"
There's a new chef on board at Coppa (and his precursor is now bartending at Clio), so it will be interesting to see how the menu changes. We look forward to returning sooner than later. It's funny that, even though you are likely sitting on a hard wooden bench there, it's the vibe and the people there that make you feel as comfortable as when you're in your own living room.

about 4 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo


This 52 recipe has a better balance of soy and vinegar etc. I have been making this for 30 odd years
and i just made it tonight, so my measurements are all accurate. Try it! It is by far the easiest/fastest chicken dish I make.

about 19 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Recipes

Paris Bakery Hmart Central Raspberry Almond Croissant - WOW!

oh boy, tweets, you would be surprised. Bakeries have so many butter options; blends of butter/marg. coming in many ratios.

Red Bird - Waltham gets something special!!

Well, we've been there about 5 times now, and i'm sure other CHs more. I feel so comfortable there. The high banquettes offer excellent privacy, and it's rare to have a Handsome and conversation-friendly room, comfort, quality food,good wines by the glass, all at the same time and at their price point. IMO of course.Servers have been young but capable,sweet and well meaning.

As to the food specifics, i am so sorry you were let down. Tell the truth, I myself was let down a few nights ago there.This is long and detailed: We were hoping that there was going to be a new 'winter' menu, but it was the same as the one introduced in October.We both repeated our previously loved apps- Gnocchi with veal and wine reduction/ and Short Ribs with Polenta/Grits... We happily scarfed them and would love them in entree portions. Then My Love had the scallops dish , same as your wife, and I had the pork schnitzel. I would not normally order this but I figured it was high time I at least tasted this famous dish, hoping to be delighted. Well, the schnitzel itself was covered with a bed of cider braised cabbage, which i really disliked. I think european cabbage dishes are not my thing, esp when they are so sweet like this one. On top of this pile of braised cabbage was a PILE of spaetzle. Very unattractive presentation imo. I even tried scraping off all the detritus, and tasted the pork by itself, but it was really flavorless to me. Go figure. My Love was o.k. with his scallops. The components read delicious- butternnut squash risotto, sage, prosciutto, pecorino, but i felt it didn't come through.To top it all off, my chocolate souffle was a major disappointment ,as the critical creme anglaise was also chocolate-- and it just didn't work.Too much same same. But this new pastry chef has shown herself to be very talented in the past.Our glasses of red- Boneshaker Zinfandel- we love its smokiness and punch. we first had it there and now we have it at home; and we were delighted to see it recently get a one page feature in the Globe.

So, I do understand your experience, but i would urge you to try again; wait for the next menu. I've had your catfish dish 3 times; twice it was sublime, once the fish tasted muddy. (But I find it's much better with lime wedges and the extra cajun butter I have requested!)

I need your best recipes featuring avocado!

A sure winner is this:

You can make a simple and delicious version by eliminating the rice, tobiko and salmon caviar, so you just have 2 layers: avocado and raw tuna. You could also substitute smoked trout, shredded, for the tuna.(For either simple version, i would suggest topping the timbale with a dab of the mayo mixture.

Zucchini Fritters w/o Much Binder?

thx, i love Smitten Kitten, but this recipe does have flour in it and looks pancakey to me. (btw, hotoy, i have no gluten allergies, etc. I just want a very zucchini tasting fritter w/ focus on the zucchini flavor and texture.)

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

I like your reuse of brine; i do that w/ the feta oil as well.

I don't understand why you would use 'cooking sherry'. I always have on hand a big bottle of Cocktail Sherry, which does not have to be refrigerated.Far superior flavor and very inexpensive.
Lasts me a few years!

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

You might be surprised that some (alot? of) French people love LC but tret it as their guilty little secret. I saw this played out in a rom com French film, Hunting and Gathering, with Audrey Tautou, about 3 roommates. One scene shows the aristocratic roommate, complete with sports coat and ascot, shopping in a small store with his portable plastic shopping basket, and he reaches up to the top shelf of a refrigerator case , all the while looking around to make sure no one sees him. You wonder 'what is this about?' and then the camera shows his shopping basket with the round LC boxes in it that he covers up with other items!!

Zucchini Fritters w/o Much Binder?

I'm still wanting to make zucchini fritters, with feta and dill, but that are like Potato Latkes in texture, not pancakey. I found a recipe and photo of the kind of potato latkes I am wanting to emulate, and it contains only:
•1 pound potatoes
•1/2 cup finely chopped onion
•1 large egg, lightly beaten
No Flour!
What do you think of the idea of using the above but sub'ing zucchini for potatoes(grate, squeeze dry), omitting the onion and sub'ing it with feta, plus chopped dill, S and P?
Serve with yoghurt and fresh lemon. (The Greek yoghurts I have tasted- have been alot less tangy than non-Greek and I prefer the acid tang. Have you had that experience?)

Can you please share your best non pork Jambalaya recipe?

hi bb,
i honestly can't remember what recipe i riffed on--it was sooooo long ago.I don't like stews to have starch in them, so i serve this non-jambalaya? over a pilaf. i thought gumbo and etouffee were brown colored- with file powder at least; but this is def a tomato based stew. When i have tasted cajun stews w/o tomato(much or any)I always miss the punch of acid that the tomato provides. My eccentricity i guess.

Jan 23, 2015
opinionatedchef in Home Cooking

1 night - Between Marlborough & TD garden

I must be confused: Tip Tap isn't the Cambridge St place run by Brian Poe, that has not had good press iirc?

Bread + Butter Pastries: Excellent

Maybe TrJ still have their frozen ones?

Blackbird Donuts?

VAL, want to thank you for the detailed report, which has the details and references I always love to see and learn from.

January 2015 Openings and Closings

If this is a repeat, i apologize, but i just learned that Lee Napoli's Bread and Butter Cafe in NoEnd- has closed. Bldg was bought. What a drag.

Can you please share your best non pork Jambalaya recipe?

I suggest using a recipe that really appeals to you, while substituting for the pork. Mine has ham, and pork kielbasa or andouille, and chicken; you can easily sub smoked turkey thigh meat or chicken or turkey kielbasa for the ham and use turkey kielbasa for the pork kielbasa.

JAMBALAYA serves 12-16

1 lb Kielbasa

2 lb Chicken Thigh meat,boneless,skinless

1 lb Ham or Canadian Bacon, in hunk

1/4 C Canola Oil and/or Unsalted Butter

2 ½ Medium Onions

½ bunch Celery

1 ½ Red Peppers

1 ½ Green Peppers

1 lb. Okra (optional) cut in 1/2“ rounds

2-3 Qts + Whole Pastene Canned Plum Tomatoes , chopped

1 Qt Chicken Stock

½ Peeled head of garlic

7 Bay Leaves

1 T Ea. Thyme,oregano & Paprika(or Pimenton Dulce)

3 T +++ Ea. Hot Sauce & Worcestershire

Cut the ham, chicken and kielbasa in ~ 1- 1 ½” cubes. In a heavy saucepan/pot heat half the butter or oil to Hot, and add the vegetables and garlic and cook over moderate heat stirring often for 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables, add the remaining oil or butter,heat and add meat to the pan along with bay leaves and thyme. Cook over moderate heat stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Add the paprika and stir to mix well. Add the vegetables, tomatoes, stock, hot sauce, worcestershire and salt to taste bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and cook slowly until the meat is tender about 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings (Strange but sometimes it needs a lot more seasoning and/or tomato)and cook another 5-10 minutes.

Better eaten next day or next few days (flavors meld better. all stews are like this.)

Easily freezes.

Depending upon actual quantities of veggies and meat used, I sometimes use a whole 6 lb. can of Pastene plum tomatoes.
** Don’t boil or overcook it which would dry out the chicken.

Serve over rice or a multigrain pilaf or Red Beans and Rice.
I alot 1 1/2 - 2 cups jambalaya per person.

Jan 22, 2015
opinionatedchef in Home Cooking

Bread + Butter Pastries: Excellent

I just read that Bread and Butter has closed.(Had no idea...)
What a bummer.

Best sandwiches in Boston?

If you meant Barry's, some CHs have raved his smoked salmon.

Blackbird Donuts?

I couldn't tell if they had any cake donuts. I did see a photo with one labeled 'old fashioned chocolate' but don't know what they mean by that.Did you see any cake ones there, mc?

1 night - Between Marlborough & TD garden

Their website explains that that was their founding concept, to be a public forum for a rotation of young new talented chefs. It lists their past teams and present, and the current menu.
p.s. don't know if you tried booking through Open Table, but if so, try to remember that @ restaurant keeps aside some open tables for itself, so it's a good idea to call and ask!

Are there any highly recommended vegetarian entrees in the Greater Boston area?

high heat roasting brings out their sugar and the edges caramelize deliciously.fun to roast a mixture of them with sunchokes and celery root.

Mulan take out: need recommendations

Her book, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking.Black jacket. ~15-20yrs old; she died of cancer since then. Much loved and missed.She was the Julia Child of Chinese Cooking. This recipe is the most multi-stepped in the book iirc. Coat/dry brine; smoke; steam; fry. Duck, chicken,and a similar recipe for salmon.

1 night - Between Marlborough & TD garden

I would suggest looking at the menus of Scampo and Beacon Hill Bistro, both halfway between Marlborough st. and TDK. The latter is small/intimate; the former more glitzy and loud. Both have been well reviewed though steak and small plates are not what they are about. (They're both on my list but i haven't been to either.)

Just a reminder that Wink and Nod has a different chef duo than you experienced last year (because they rotate continually)so you might want to go there again since you loved the experience so much. The current menu looks terrific!(Ironically, the current chef was previously at Beacon Hill Bistro, which is suggested above!)

Mulan take out: need recommendations

yes, but i think that grit remains! i do a tea smoked duck recipe from barbara tropp where the 1st step is coating the duck with a ground toasted kosher salt/szechuan peppercorn blend, and you do get that presence.

Are there any highly recommended vegetarian entrees in the Greater Boston area?

yep. whenever the ground's not frozen. enjoy!

Snappy Patty's West Medford: An early report

Yes, the door does open directly into the dining room .Haven't seen it in situ but last time I was in (a month ago?), I was told, w/ much pride, that they were soon getting a thick velvet curtain to block that draft. So maybe it's installed now!

Mulan take out: need recommendations

We got a small(for us) takeout order tonight.The Smoked Duck- as succulent and heavenly smoky as can be; the hot,spicy sour shredded potatoes; and the Ma Po Tofu, which i thought i had read was different from many others. I've figured out a way to best enjoy those potatoes (which ARE spicy)- Mulan's version has alot of slivered long peppers(hot) which are great for giving the dish a welcome punch, but i remove same peppers before eating, and I enjoy the dish even more (though I do miss the delightful crunchiness they contribute.)

The Ma Po Tofu has julienned pork instead of ground/'march chopped'. It is spicy but a lovely dish. I see no szechuan peppercorns though i wonder if they were added and removed, because I thought I detected a bit of that gritty texture.I do wonder how they keep the cubed silken tofu intact through a stir fry. I stopped ordering Ma Po Tofu years ago, so I'll be interested if other CHs comment on Mulan's v.s. others.
Mulan Waltham continues to be a real treat for us!

Breakfast in waltham area.. Anyone tried In A Pickle, Leo's Place or Artistry on the Green/Lexington?

yes! there's an older thread begun by StriperGuy about this super place. We loved the G?.......(guanacha?means 'sandal')-thick masa cake filled w/ meat, etc.

New Menu Format at East by Northeast

They've changed their menu format and we had some terrific food there tonight. It's much simpler now- a page of salads and buns (available individually now) and a page of noodles (including ramen, every night.)
You'd never know I eat way too few veggies at home because Philip always has me delirious over his veggie concoctions.
We loved all of them tonight: ($5-7)
EDAMAME SALAD, apple, kale, pomegranate, creamy sesame miso dressing I think this is one of philip's signature dishes; i don't think people would let him take it off the menu!
DELICATA SQUASH*, fish sauce caramel, marinated maitake, thai basil, spiced pepitas
CHARRED BROCCOLI*, anchovy, grilled onions, chili-garlic sauce, sourdough crumbs
BRUSSELS SPROUTS*, rutabaga and mustard relish, smoked pork belly, fried shallots
*= vegetarian version available
House made BAO with nori fried hake and miso napa slaw ($4)I'm not always drawn to fried fish, but this hake was a real treat.Can't wait to have this again when we return.

The noodle dishes are bigger than before. We had the Pork Ramen with XO sauce
and the Lobster in Red Curry Sauce with chanterelles, spaghetti squash and wheat noodles. The pork broth was rich and well balanced; the smoked pork much more flavorful than the fatty pork I've had elsewhere.
On the second dish, while the coconut curry sauce was bright and flavorful, I think the noodles were underdone and the lobster element needs some work. (Philip was not on the line tonight and that may have had something to do with it.)

As usual, with Blaine managing the floor, service was smooth and friendly, and we had a quiet space where conversation is easy. Can't wait to return and have more from this new menu!