rlh's Profile

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"Real" Eggnog

The renditions by Josey at Drink (and not to be confused with the stellar Tom and Jerry served there whenever it snows) and the one by Todd Maul (formerly Clio, now Cafe ArtScience) are delicious for bar versions by the glass - be sure to ask as it has usually been stored out of sight - if they make one, I expect it would be great at Backbar or Alden & Harlow as well.

The only comparable version for me is my homemade one using an old school Martha Stewart recipe that makes a punch bowl full and involves whipping and folding in both egg whites and heavy cream along with integrating at least three spirits (brandy, bourbon, and rum) and fresh grates of nutmeg....mmmm.

about 7 hours ago
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Local meats/eggs w/o breaking the bank...recommendations?

Agreed about Chip-In being scarce at Russo's and higher quality than Wilson's - where they always have that hand-lettered sign over eggs by the entrance to the tent that says "laid today" yet the expiration date seems way too soon for that be true and the yolks don't stand up like same day eggs to me (hmmm - but they still beat Trader Joe's for me) - and the rumor I heard is that the Wilson chickens have a pretty hard life (I keep meaning to ask for a tour of the hen house I think is on site) vs. Chip-In where they are really free range, pasture-raised...

Dec 16, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Local meats/eggs w/o breaking the bank...recommendations?

We really like Chip-In Farms eggs from Bedford - usually buy them at Russo's for around $4.50 per dozen. I think they also sell them directly at their farm if Bedford is closer than Watertown.

Dec 15, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Local meats/eggs w/o breaking the bank...recommendations?

Where have you seen P&J eggs for $3.50 or even $4 a dozen? - I am pretty sure they are at least $6 a dozen at their "store" in the horse barn in Concord - jumbo are more and pullet or cracked ones are less...their meats in the freezer are also really pricey for all cuts.

Dec 15, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Best Transparent Restaurants in Boston?

Alden & Harlow - love the high top peering into the kitchen!

Dec 15, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Waltham near Marriot suggestions?

Guessing you mean the Courtyard by Marriott across the intersection from the Westin, this may help:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986994

Dec 03, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Border Cafe - Blackened chicken recipe

You forgot the "open the can" part of the instructions...

Dec 01, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Retail oysters part 2--where to get crushed ice?

and they ship "free" overnight, but 3 dz oysters would be $36 if you picked them up in Eastham, vs. $79 for exactly the same amazing oysters sent overnight from the website....

Nov 26, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Retail oysters part 2--where to get crushed ice?

Resurrecting this to provide specifics that Brookline Ice has 40 lb bags of "snow" for $4 if you pick it up at their site on Brookline Ave - they have LONG hours and are even open on Thanksgiving morning.

For me, this detour and price beats a lot of pounding with a mallet in the small Packard (aka Lewis) bag that we have for this purpose when serving tiki - and the crush will be far more uniform and fine as a bonus.

Our Wellfleet oysters were shipped direct overnight so we couldn't get storing or serving ice from the supplier (Mac's Seafood Market in Eastham, which is outstanding BTW.

Nov 26, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Good American Chinese in Somerville/Cambridge/Medford?

Changsho on Mass Ave

Nov 25, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Thanksgiving ?s

Verrill wins for tasty fillings but most have a crumble top which I don't like - Petsi is all about amazing crust, top and bottom if you wish.
Wilson Farm is pretty good but definitely a lower tier than the other two.

Nov 24, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Rainbow carrots and Turnips

I am pretty sure the ones at Russo's are not local, but they are nice and well-priced - we also got nice ones recently at Wilson Farm in Lexington = shrink-wrapped in plastic on a foam tray - pretty likely not local, either, but tasty.

Nov 24, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Food near the Intercontinental Hotel

Parking in Boston is easier and cheaper than in midtown Manhattan all the time - I can't imagine the difference in the parking rate at the hotel makes it worth the hassle if you're spending at that level for the hotel anyway.

I do not like the food options in your hotel and there is not much to choose from in the Financial District across the Greenway during the weekend. Chinatown is a great suggestion right at the end of the Greenway (to your left as you exit the hotel) and no more than 15 minutes away by foot - same for the North End (Italian) - Mamma Maria is likely to have great truffles (res required).

Trade and Nebo are in the same block and both seem pretty well-received by most.

Most of the restaurants noted will be a crapshoot without reservations - even the former fringe areas Fort Point (Congress St., Summer St, A Street, etc.) and Seaport have become really popular - both are 10 minutes or less walking from the hotel (bundle up for crossing the bridges if it's windy.

New spots to add to for your consideration include Tavern Road, Pastoral, Blue Dragon, and Bastille (supposedly with a fun cocktail bar in the basement, but I haven't been yet). If you are patient, I think Row 34 is worth waiting to get into as a walk-in. BTW, most of the seaport options right on the waterfront (Northern Ave addresses) get average to bad feedback here as tourist traps.

Avoid the Daily Catch at Fan Pier at all costs - consider yourself warned.

Nov 20, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

New to (East) Arlington! Need Recs!

We do most of our shopping at Wilson's (not on weekend afternoons - or park in the remote lot and walk - too much drama in the main lot - the store is fine inside even when crowded as it's huge with a lot of checkout lines), with a bit from Trader Joe's, and deli / basics from D'Agostino's, and now dry goods and big shops at Wegman's on occasion. I have no patience nor use for the Stop n Shop in Arlington or the Shaws in Belmont - subpar and pricey. Arlington Whole Food is OK but really small and limited, and smell the fish before you buy.

Nov 20, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

[UPDATE] Vote for your favorite restaurants in the Boston area for "Best of 2014."

Alden & Harlow
http://aldenharlow.com/
Consistently firing on all cylinders for both bar and food since opening day - creative, energetic, tasty, and fairly-priced - each and every time, regardless of day of week or time of day.

O Ya - guess we should have gone years ago (long...and sad...)

I know you appreciate the very different experience of Sono in Arlington as well, and I would much rather go for the nicely paced, straightforward classic omakase with Tom 4-5 times (seriously) than return to O Ya. Apples and oranges, I know, but I MUCH prefer it.

Nov 18, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

O Ya - guess we should have gone years ago (long...and sad...)

Have heard mostly raves about O Ya for years - that it is really pricey, but special and worth it was our perception - the first part is correct. I could not find any remotely recent threads to post on, but felt obligated to report after have such high expectations lead to big disappointment this past weekend. I wonder if we would have enjoyed it in its prime - it seems like maybe it's the forgotten stepchild now that there's a glitzy NYC sibling in the picture??

We spent over $300 and 2.5 (long) hours there, then went around the corner for some more satisfying food afterwards (Les Zygomates - a fine croque madame and frites - not a destination recommendation, but I'd go back again for the same thing).

Most of the O Ya a la carte items are served as 2, occasionally 3, bites on a plate - literally - and range from $12-$68 each (seriously - that is no typo - but it does get you a couple of bites of toro tartare with Alba white Truffle....).

Of the ten bites we tried, we agreed that 3 were beautiful tasty, and memorable, perfect even, at $14 per two bites - hamachi with banana pepper mouse, kumamoto oyster with cucumber and watermelon (2 admittedly perfect specimens-possibly more than $14 due to the mysterious MP on them...?), and the chicken wing ballotine (2 of the finest nuggets ever). We would order these again, for certain.

The fried kumamotos with squid ink bubbles were pretty good but neither perfect nor memorable, along with the (teeny tiny) nantucket bay scallops in coconut-lime dressing, and scottish salmon belly with hot sesame.

We were divided on the much-lauded foie gras with balsamic chocolate/raisin cocoa/aged sake - loved the complexity and layers but my other thought it was overly bitter and imbalanced.

The fails for us were the spot prawn which was overshadowed by bitterly preserved yuzu and garlic, the "Eceltic" eel/tomago/foie gras that was an utterly unshareable blob of indistinct, unbalanced flavors, and the well-reviewed mushroom sashimi of primarily shiitakes with a very few shreds of chanterelle, supposedly grilled but ours was more raw than cooked, and an unappetizing froth of sesame in abundance.

The simultaneously condescending and absent server was a real distraction and letdown as well - there were LONG pauses between some bites and then multiple plates arrived almost simultaneously - and he seemed to have an entitlement expectation of praise for everything, yet we remained with no water and empty sake glasses for a long time, before flagging him to bring the $14 Japanese IPA 12 oz beer.

Given our uneven and ultimately underwhelming meal, we were delighted NOT to have selected the 17 course omakase ($185 per person) nor the chef's grand white truffle omakase ($350 per person) nor the wildly-expensive and server-pushed "real Kobe beef that only served at Jean-Georges in Vegas other than here" - no, this not our kind of place.

Nov 17, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

Great Soups Downtown

I agree that their soups and (very rich) spanokopita generally outshine their gyros - which can be delicious if not super salty (this does happen once in while) AND freshly carved, but often late during their lunch hours (like 1:30p or after), they have pre-carved and stored the meat (I think they want to preclean and get out quick at closing time - I also have a pet peeve about this at Fresh Pond Seafood in Arlington that I will detail elsewhere at some point....) and it completely dries out - and sadly they alway have those mediocre pitas - meat topping their salads with tzaziki (I don't like ANY of their salad dressings, but the Greek is at least edible) is the best choice for gyros there.

Nov 14, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

First trip to Wegmans: What should I get? [moved from Boston board]

I went again and have to add that the pretzel bagels are neither, but quite addictive anyway and going into the rotation - also, I saw it int he bakery area, but restrained myself from buying Green's Chocolate Babka, which I love (know it from Zabar's NYC) and have never seen it around here - this is quickly becoming my only grocery store, but you still must seek produce elsewhere (like Russo's or Wilson's, in my case) - the selection is OK but the quality is marginal at best...

Nov 10, 2014
rlh in Chains

Great Soups Downtown

It is not clear at all on their website, but the Facebook info is correct - 11a-3p Mon-Fri at both locations.

Nov 08, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

It was really informal and conversational. I guess we are becoming semi-regulars. Tom is a very approachable, friendly, and in my opinion, highly skilled sushi chef - we sat down at the sushi bar, said given it was late, we wanted some light sushi / sashimi, and asked him what he recommended that day - he then said would it be OK if he just made us some traditional dishes(and specified that he would take care of any sauces needed - a very good sign to me) - he knows we always trust him and probably remembered that we really like kama (collar) cuts - we didn't ask the price as it's always fair to often great value at Sono, though we did reject his initial idea of getting their new sizzling sirloin steak main (not light by definition to me) which I think was about $15-$18 - maybe we will try it next time.

FWIW, now I usually stick with really basic items from the sushi bar that shine based on their freshness and his knifework - I have had mixed results with the more razzle-dazzle apps and maki (multi-ingredient, complex sauces, etc) at Sono - and have no interest in the Chinese and Thai offerings at this point..

Nov 08, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

Update: This past Wednesday on the late end of the evening, we arrived to an empty sushi bar and asked Tom for a light omakase meal - so he thoughtfully crafted a stellar progression of 8 small "traditional" dishes for us that we both enjoyed very, very much - the amazing price was $30 each (pre-tip) for this! We will be back for this experience again -- soon.

Standout creations were the sake kama (salmon collar), japanese scallop sashimi with yuzu, and bigeye tuna tataki - there was also flounder, toro handrolls, unagi, uni, and big sweet shrimp - I would have any of the courses again without hesitation. There was no dipping in anything - Tom put the right amount of the right sauce on each bite just prior to serving us.

Nov 07, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

First trip to Wegmans: What should I get? [moved from Boston board]

Strong meat and seafood counters (nice Island Creek oysters! good opah) - OK grocery sushi (rice needs an upgrade), good Wegmans brand smoked salmon, excellent basic honey mustard (if you need that), and the Wegmans Southwest Black Bean veggie burgers are the best I have had, but they didn't have them in stock in Burlington as of this past Sunday.

Nov 06, 2014
rlh in Chains

Great Soups Downtown

They almost always have the Lamb Chili at State St., but they do sometimes run out later at lunchtime - don't know about the white bean but do want to try it now. I like the pork but it's on the same bread I noted above which makes it less than ideal to me - I often get the pork or chicken on a salad with a side of (really good) tzaziki subbed for dressing.

Nov 06, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Great Soups Downtown

The soups at Zo (I go to the one between State St and Quincy Market on the side street) are all delicious and hearty - the lamb chili is a favorite for me - it's a meal - I just wish they had better bread with it - I usually pass on their weird squishy white "gyro" bread cut in half and brushed with flavorless oil.

Nov 03, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Cafe ArtScience - Kendall Square

OK - I am pretty sure it's open now - has anyone been there, particularly to the bar?

I hope to get there soon and will report back - FWIW I have never found Todd remotely insufferable or pretentious over a number of years, and I'll be surprised that he would partner with that ilk...I really appreciate his whizz-bangery, actually.

Nov 02, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Cafe ArtScience - Kendall Square

Eagerly awaiting this opening, which the website says is this Friday - assuming that means Oct. 31.

Has anyone eaten / cocktailed there via soft opening or friends / family opportunities? I really want to take a friend from London there tonight to meet Todd and his creations, and maybe even have dinner, but not sure that it's possible.

Oct 28, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

ISO Lemon Hart 151 rum

Give Liquor Land a call on the Lemon Hart - they have had it in the past when no one else did

Oct 24, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

ISO Lemon Hart 151 rum

I saw it at Martignetti last week - I think they also had the Combier but am not sure on that - have you tried Clement's orange liqueur Creole Shrubb - I like it even better for a more pure orange spirit flavor.

Oct 17, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Best Place to Get an Eggplant Sub?

Casa Razdora downtown - various eggplant specials Tues, Wed, and Thurs - Wed is the most classic for putting on a sub - perfect and delicious.

Oct 14, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area