opinionatedchef's Profile

Title Last Reply

salmon roe at bazaar?

mike, inspired by your post, i finally got motivated to climb the snow banks- and went to the Russian store, B.. z... on Comm Ave at Harvard. The very helpful young blonde felt their best was the bulk that they recently started selling ('better than robin hood' she answered to my query, "large eggs and perfect amount of saltiness") $50 lb or $25 for an 8 ou. deli container. (QUITE the deal over WF $30 for 2 ou. jars!! though it's probably a good thing that i do not remember what it used to cost when i last bought it at B.... many years ago.)
I did wait a day, but tonight i have really put a dent in that lovely container. I couldn't be happier :-) so thx much for the inspiration, mike.

about 8 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Best Take-Out Lasagna w/ Unsweetened Marinara?

sorry for the mistaken i.d.
no, funny but i prefer not to mix eggplnt and ricotta!

about 8 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

From NYC: Itinerary for Napa + SF

we have missed a few yrs., buut we have been doing a yearly CA trip for a long time. Aziza is very special. Be sure to try some of their unusual bar bev's (non alcoholic incl.)

La Boulangerie on Pine(at Filmore) is the best French style patisserie/bakery I've ever been to in the U.S. We always get many take-out things for lunch/snacks later. (I'm not in the Tartine-lovers group.) Citizen Cake is also a very locals-faved sit down bkfst/Lu/Dinner place.

Foreign Cinema is our very fav brunch spot anywhere; filled w/ bright warm Cal. light and a mecca for locals and families. Everybody always seems so happy there. We actually book our arrival time such that it allows us to go straight to FC before they close their brunch hour!
In Napa, we have loved Zuzu for lunch.Forget Terra-is my advice. It reads so great and I really was excited to go, but both times it fell flat.Jeanty was disappointing for us as well. Cindy's Backstreet is the dinner I always look forward to the most. LOVE it there. Have liked Mustards for lunch but Cindy's is the great dinner spot for us. Make sure you arrive hungry so you can try everything!!
Wow, you are going to have such a blast!

about 10 hours ago
opinionatedchef in San Francisco Bay Area

March 2015 Openings and Closings

yes, Eater as much said that the H space is where Philip may be headed, as he has said he will be working for the Gallows Group. I hope it means that his significant creatiity will be experienced by large numbers. But i must say, I felt very sad when I first heard of ExNE closing; reminded me of how i felt when Stan Frankenthaler left the restnt business. Both Philip and Stan have a number of core things in common- serious, creative, curious minds, informed and excited by all things Asian(and then some.)Filed under Amazing Talents.

about 11 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Best Take-Out Lasagna w/ Unsweetened Marinara?

i think you rec'd the Italian Kitchen in Wakefield? I forgot i need to try that as well.

I like thinner lasagna but rich and creamy sounds like me.

about 11 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

ISO, Fried Beef Cube Recipes

ZACKLY, a peruvian friend used to make a dish where she took a very thin cut of beef and marinated it in ,essentially, a sugarless pancake batter with lemon and scallions, then deep fried it and served with lemon. Is that similar to what you had long ago?

about 11 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Home Cooking

ISO, Fried Beef Cube Recipes

bliss, i have only used this on pork but i bet it could work on some cut of beef:

LOMO DE CERDO ADOBADO (adapted from Latin American Cooking)

1 Lb. pork loin or boneless pork chops(fat trimmed), sliced in 1/2" x 1/2" strips

Seasoning Paste:
2T. Chili powder*
4 T. Whole wheat or white flour
4 T. Red wine vinegar
1 T. Kosher salt
1 tsp. caraway seeds, ground finely
6 cloves garlic (not tiny),minced

Flour Coating for frying:
1/2 c. whole wheat or white flour
Chili powder or Spanish Dulce Pimenton,
like La Chinata( use alot so flour is ruddy colored)
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Mix chili powder through garlic; add enough water to make a thick paste. Stir with pork strips so all are coated.Marinate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days(more flavor the longer the time.)

Put flour/pimenton mix in a plastic container w/ a tight fitting lid.
Cover and shake to mix everything. Add separated pork strips in small batches, enough to make a single layer in the flour. Snap on the lid; shake well to coat pork on all sides. Transferring each piece of pork separately, fry quickly in 1" (or deeper) hot canola oil (~375 degrees F), turning over after a short time to brown the other side. Drain on rack over newspaper.Serve.

about 11 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Home Cooking

Best Take-Out Lasagna w/ Unsweetened Marinara?

Added: Dom's doesn't sell pieces of lasagna. For my taste, I do not rec either Dave's Pasta lasagna or Pepe Boca's. The former too American Joy of Cooking for me,and the latter has another disappointingly sweet marinara sauce. Tutto Italiano and Vinny's are next on the list! Thx youall!
treb, we haven't been to Vinny's for years( I even thought it had closed) -so we can get their lasagna as take-out, right?

about 12 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

wonderwoman, want to thank you for posting this. We were on a PPacker routine for quite a while, but stopped going after some disappointments. We both really enjoyed their duck confit. It's a dish that can really shine if a chef takes the time to include the garlic, herbs and spices etc., but many times,perhaps because it has become so prolific on the 'Artisinal' food scene,
it gets a 'shortcut' treatment and is unimpressive. But this PP chef has really earned my respect with his confit; he has reminded me of why I loved confit in the first place.

Last week, we got our sandwiches w/o the sugar, and at home, we added dijon and gruyere and griddled/reheated it (mimicing the same at Aquitaine.) I serendipitously had just made a batch of cassoulet-like white beans, and they were a great accompaniment.
(They'd make a great sandwich spread on the confit as well!)

about 12 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

SF Trip 2015

Tats, maybe you're there now? I just wanted to mention a couple things. from our yearly trip to SF.
We LOVE foreign cinema for brunch. It has as much to do with everything but the food- as it does the food. On a sunny Sunday, you just can't beat the feeling there; and there's no better place to people watch the locals with kids et al.Gives you a real sense for this city.

Probably my fav dim sum of all time we had for many years at Yank Sing (maybe they're still doing it, but they had cut back on it by our last visit)- fried Chilean sea bass fingers with a special A-1 like sauce. Hope your trip is great.
p.s. my very fav dark chocolates in the U.S. are at Rechiutti in the Ferry Building.

about 13 hours ago
opinionatedchef in San Francisco Bay Area

Return to Cha Yen Thai Cookery

Notes: i found out that the herb is Chinese Celery (now i want to find out if it is botanically related to lovage. Anyone know?) And the addictive 'curry sauce' with the roti is Massaman curry (same as offered on entrees) with minced sweet potato, not taro, in it.

about 14 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Why doesn't Daikanyama in Lexington get more love here?

well, darn. what is there now? thx for the update.

about 15 hours ago
opinionatedchef in Greater Boston Area

Why doesn't Daikanyama in Lexington get more love here?

chris, maybe you alrdy know all this, but since i loooove yamakake, i'll offer some info:
The tuber is sold at Ebisuya in Medford Center and at the Asian store on Mass Ave very close to M.I.T. Long shelf life. Very easy to deal with: peel, grate. To make your own yamakake at home, all you need is the tuber, some sushi grade tuna (~2 ounces), quail eggs, shredded nori, wasabi and soy. All these are at Ebisuya. It's not easy to find yamakake in local restaurants but very easy and cheaper to make.

I have never seen yama (mountain yam) in any other dishes in Boston but i'd love to know about them if they exist!

canneles in boston

For a 2015 update (to this 2006 thread):
They are made at the new French pastry and candies shop in Belmont at the corner of Belmont St. and Grove St.-- Praline. I haven't had them there yet.


Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

chris, we were so excited when we read about PPN from an Italian CH poster who LOOOOVED it. But neither of us was impressed. I'd take Regina's North End any day over PPN , or Gran Gusto or Posto. BTW,wmute, Regina's (North End location only)v.s. Santarpio's in East Boston--is our Boston version of the Sally's/Pepe/Modern competition. For me, it's a very specific personal love for Regina's because it tastes like the pizza we used to get when we lived in Rome.

What new spot would you try?

While we enjoyed ourselves and the food when we tried Brookline's Barcelona last year,it does not have the artisinal/personal passion that you mention loving.
We have been many times to the other 3 on your list, and it is Ribelle and it's amazing labor intensive and unique creativity that keeps pulling us back.

Asta's food intrigues me (I haven't been) but it might be too small a place for you that night. Townsman is just now opening, (South Station)but there is quite a buzz of excitement about it.

And for the future, keep in mind Sycamore in Newton Center. (And when the kids get older and you can all do a Brunch trip in the city, the brunch at Davis Sq's Rosebud Diner is a kick, and very child-friendly.)

Cambridge Indian Lunch Buffets:Tanjore and Kebab Factory

We used to go to Kebab Factory (KF) once a month or so for their lunch buffet but we stopped going last year because the food just did not change enough and was not great quality.

The other day, we went to our first Tanjore(T) buffet (Eliot St in Harvard Square.) My overall feeling is that the T food is better than KF and ~ $1 higher ($10). You certainly will want to pick and choose, but the deal is still a significant one. Were I living on a strict budget, this would be where i would have my daily meal. The food is not greasy (it is often greasy at KF, with pools of oil) and the spicing varies dish to dish. The owner is present and a very nice relaxed fellow. (<You want a freshly cooked dosa? No worries- I'll bring you some.>). He had a partner when he owned 3 places (including Rangoli and ___ in Brookline, beginning some 20 years ago) but he's down to the easier life of one place now, and no partner. But I'm guessing he lost his original chef, as the food is def not as good as it was for many years. sigh. Their tika masala sauce has taken a dive in flavor and richness; KF's is much better. There was another surprise: while T's samosa filling is good and complex, the potato dosa filling was the blandest i've ever had.
But the other dishes were very good. Physical set up, seating and ambience are much better than KF, where it is tightly packed and awkward. As usual, Buffet items change daily though many dishes are a constant.
Today's Tanjore buffet:
Chicken Tika Masala
Potato in Tika Masala
Tandoor Chicken- on and off bone
Goat Korma
Basmati Rice
Eggplant w/ chickpeas and Potatoes
Black Dal
Spinach Paneer
Masala Dosa- on buffet and made to order
Assorted Kulcha
Kheer- cardamom rice pudding
'Halva' made w/ flour, sugar, ghee
Masala Tea
KF typical buffet:
Chicken Tika Masala
Tandoor chicken w/ onions and peppers
Shrimp do piaza
fried chicken wings
eggplant or okra
pakora sometimes
masala tea
plain naan served fresh at table

FWIW, I don't think Indians would be pleased with either buffet; I wouldn't be surprised if they said that they were raised with home food considerably more sophisticated and better prepared than these efforts. But there are plenty of people who do enjoy these buffets ( and they certainly are cheap.) I'm hoping others will chip in with any other Indian buffets they have tried in Boston.
I still haven't gone to the Somerville Indian buffet on Highland? but I think I passed on it after a CH described it and it sounded pretty identical to KF. I had heard some very good things about the Indian place on the second floor of the Galleria but I don't know if they have re-opened and if they even have a lunch buffet.

Return to Cha Yen Thai Cookery

Wow, did we have a great takeout dinner tonight. The rich coconut curry sauce served with the buttery roti wedges- was a really captivating lead-in.The minced taro in the sauce- gave it a more scoopable thickness and a subtle flavor boost as well. I think this would be a great introductory dish for someone who is new to Thai food. "More" was the operative word!

We have had the Duck Kee Mao many times, but it was really stellar tonight. I love the chewiness of the wide rice noodles, and their special 2 day marinade/roasting which produces that moist flavorful duck (we always order Extra Duck in it[for a very reasonable $3.]) The big surprise tonight was the Pla Pad Cha, Cod w/ veggies and Spicy sauce. The cod pieces were deep fried, light, succulent and clean tasting. (Yay, no Tilapia here!) and the dish featured a very unusual green herb that tasted like lovage to me and took it to a whole different level.

The only minus tonight was the Chicken w/ Spicy Cashew, which just didn't work for us. But now we know. Hope youall have continued to be delighted there as you've tried new dishes.

Brunch at Island Creek-Anyone Been?

Completely agree w/ you. Amazing how much a BISCUIT can influence that decision! (But as we know, it's not just ANY biscuit either!)

Empanadas Report: Capone's, Tango 8/29/08

Since starting this thread 6 years ago, Tango's beef empanadas have gone to ~$3.70 each, though they are still the best i have had locally.
But I did discover a CH worthy empanada at Dom's in Waltham (Go figure- the owners are Italian, the Italian mother learned from some Chileans how to make empanadas and those are what they sell at Dom's. The filling is a very flavorful ground beef, with cumin (FINally!) and some picante element, raisins and hard boiled egg, and no sugar (yay.) But the really weird thing about them is their pastry. It is definitely delicious, but close your eyes and you are eating a meat filled, tender, buttery sweet scone! (yes, they are baked.) I did have some Chilean empanadas in East Boston a few years ago but the beef filling was very sweet and I do not like sweet in my savories. And the pastry was tough. Dom's have an unsweetened savory filling and the sugar is in the crust! $3.75@ iirc, not big amount of filling (maybe 3-4 T.), good snack size. Save the crust and have it with your tea in the afternoon!

Anyone find any other good empanadas lately?

Rice Vinegar question

Hmmm, long idea i taste tested Maruchan vs Maruhan and I much preferred the latter and have used it ever since. Fuller, cleaner, mellower is what i recall....

ISO, Fried Beef Cube Recipes

just remember, beef tenderloin is very tender but very tasteless(my opinion, of course.) Other cuts are better flavor but need marinade to soften their fibers and add flavor to the meat. I have a really tasty recipe for a spice paste made w/ Spanish Pimenton, red wine vinegar, garlic and flour. Let me know if you'd like the recipe.

Feb 13, 2015
opinionatedchef in Home Cooking

Best Take-Out Lasagna w/ Unsweetened Marinara?

Dom's doesn't sell pieces of lasagna, we found out. But we did verify that their eggplant parm is very good (not great but very good.) The eggplant slices are paper thin and they use a flour
coating, not breading, so the flavor of the eggplant really comes through. It does need cheese (i added fontinella and parm) but the marinara is not too sweet, though it is thick.

A Trick to Tone Down Sweetness

jade, i get what you're saying but as a baker, i will mention that significantly reducing a baked sweet's sugar- can affect its outcome considerably. See Alice Medrich's books for a better explanation.

A Trick to Tone Down Sweetness

ah, i knew SOMEONE would grok what i was addressing. Thx much.
p.s. also espresso powder or actual coffee. I find that coffee poured around it- helps reduce perceived sweetness of ice cream or frozen yoghurt.

Best Take-Out Lasagna w/ Unsweetened Marinara?

boy, i thought i knew davis sq., but i must be focused on my regular stops when i'm there. Where is this?!

A Trick to Tone Down Sweetness

Ever since my last year's campaign to seriously cut down on my sugar intake, I have become super sensitive to the sugar that I find ubiquitous in our prepared foods, whther they be crackers, caesar dressing, marinara or potato pancakes. If some American co. made your food item, 99% chance it has sugar in it,somehow and somewhere. It really is ridiculous.

So what's my new trick? Well, it certainly is not full-proof; it doesn't work with every flavor; but I have been adding Green Tea powder, Matcha, to many things: an instant sugared ginger 'tea' i drink alot; canned rambutan and lychee syrup; cake batters and cookie doughs (all desserts really); a Cosmopolitan, and plain tart frozen yoghurt. Once i found out that a good quality matcha was not bitter and unpleasant, i started experimenting. Now I keep a slurry of it (matcha dissolved in a little water, to get rid of the lumps)in a small container - to add as needed.You can see that I have used it in sweet foods, but I haven't tried it w/ any savories. Have you tried using it as a sweetness-reducer?

Alden and Harlow's secret burger makes Huffington Post Top Ten nationwide list

For sure.But PR and media lists or not, I say hoorah for local boy Michael Scelfo. He's poured his heart and soul into his first restaurant, and now his locally popular item has received some national attention. Good for him.

I'm looking forward to his new taqueria opening.

Best Take-Out Lasagna w/ Unsweetened Marinara?

Well, I have basically given up on finding great Eggplant Parm,and am now seeking some great take-out lasagna. Ricotta or Meat- both fine for us. The one thing I need to stress-- no sweet (sugar-sweet or thick tomato pastey)tomato sauce. I guess I felt I had to mention it because when we tried Bob's in Medford last week, their lasagna marinara was so sweet it was like dessert. YuuuuckOLA. (And yes, i do add a PINCH of sugar to counter the acidity in my marinara, but there is a big difference between a pinch and a cup!) There are so many Italian prepared foods shops and I've not really tried any (Comela's, No. End, etc etc)so there must be someone out there that makes delicious lasagna with good quality ingredients and a bright clean marinara?

(We're going to Dom's for another EP sub tomorrow; we'll try their lasagna if they sell that.)
Thanks for your help!

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

wow! shades of Ramen Girl and Tampopo!