rlh's Profile

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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

Boston reservations

Do not waste your time, money, or stomach real estate on Union Oyster House - search this board for burgers and Italian (or North End) - lots of great recommendations to draw from. I love the burger and fries at Drink, and the not-so-secret that they run out of it often burger at Alden & Harlow. JM Curley's dinner burger is also great.

FWIW, no burger in Boston has matched the awesomeness of the OMG Burger at Whiskey Cake in Plano, TX, just in case you are anywhere near there and haven't tried it yet...

Oct 13, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

What places in Arlington do you find remotely comparable to Hamersley's? Nothing special occasion, dress up, or with any type of buzz IMHO).

The only things close in my mind would be Scutra (haven't been in while - curious what other think recently?), Flora (have been - unfortunately - not great food at all, except maybe for brunch), and Tryst (sterile and corporate space with mediocre food but friendly bartenders well-versed in the basics of both cocktails and hospitality) - anywhere else I am missing?

Oct 13, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Speakeasy - Boston

Another supporter for Backbar - very small and very excellent - it it is too packed, I like the downstairs at Casa B (tapas place) around the corner for a low key, well made cocktail. Sam is a super proprietor and all of the bartenders have been impressive when I have been there.

Alden and Harlow is a great bar that is really on top of their game in Harvard Square, and it is open until 2am on the weekend -- see if you can sit where Seth (bar manager) is working - he's really awesome - try a housemade spirit or aged cocktail from him. Head of the Charles will probably make this place a zoo for the entire weekend, however.

If Cafe Artscience in Kendall Square, Cambridge, has opened, it should be worth a stop - Todd Maul, founder bartender there is quite a creative maestro and hospitable to boot.

The Hawthorne is also a great recommendation, and Drink sometimes clears out very late (like after midnight), but probably not on a Friday (1am closing 7 days a week). These two on a weekend night are more likely to have the line and door control that sent me running away from The Violet Hour when in Chicago (loved The Aviary, on the other hand). I LOVE Drink early (4p), by the way, and their food is top notch as well (get the burger - and fries).

Oct 13, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

Onion ring rec

When freshly made and served to dine in, I think Kelly's has really good to awesome onion rings, but not good burgers, or beer...the truly awesome ones I have had are not near Boston (Arnold's in Eastham, Lobster Pool in Rockport, and Cindy's in Freeport, ME (the very best.ever.anywhere!) - just in case you are an onion ring fanatic...

Oct 13, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Wellfleet & Other Towns on the Cape

Regular visitor to Wellfleet wondering how it went, what you loved, and what you would not repeat?

For us, we always have an early morning run to PB for bread and croissants (but never their coffee - why is it so bad when there is so much goodness there?), try to get into Mac's Shack every trip, often have a scenic lunch at the Bookstore, got to Moby Dick's in the off season while they are still open (best chowder, great lobster rolls) have added Montano's in Truro for great basic dining, and just discovered the pretty awesome pies at Wellfleet Marketplace.

Oct 05, 2014
rlh in Southern New England

Cape Cod restaurants nobody EVER talks about.

Wow - I think it's well worth bumping this up after quite a shock with takeout from here tonight - why haven't we known about or been here until now? I fully understand why the parking lot and dining room were full at 7p on Sunday in early October - and also appreciated that the order was ready at exactly the time promised.

EVERYTHING in our substantial order was way above average to excellent quality food - the chicken parm was delicious and was seriously enough for 3-4 people! The florentine shrimp was cooked perfectly AFTER the fifteen minute trip home with balanced sauce. The baby back ribs (yes, that's right-still amazed that it was on their menu and that someone here ordered it...) were tender and fell off the bones (not smoky at all, but didn't expect that here), the crab cakes were pretty much just tennis ball sized broiled clumps of lump crab meat (authentic Maryland style to me - but the sauce can be skipped on these), and super fresh garden salad and perfectly dressed Caesar.

Very minor gripes were that the request for balsamic dressing for the garden salad resulted in a container full of just balsamic vinegar and the side of bread was fresh but soft, white, flavorless, and completely forgettable (we threw it outside for the birds /squirrels).

This is really straightforward food that is well-cooked with great ingredients and ends up very tasty / satisfying, along with good service and generous portions. It's going into our cape rotation from now on (clearly with reservations required in the summer)!

Oct 05, 2014
rlh in Southern New England

What are can't miss dishes at Island Creek Oyster Bar?

raw bar oysters - all of them

Oct 05, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

I think Mamma Maria is a great solution right now - it always feels special occasion to me, the service is highly professional, well-informed, and unintrusive, I have never felt the least bit rushed, they have valet parking, and the food has been stellar when I've gone in the past two years (it was always good to me, but it seems to have gotten better recently - different chef?). Give it a try.

Oct 05, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Heading to Boston this weekend...made a reservation at Grotto & Island Creek Oyster

I like and frequent both Prezza and Mamma Maria's, but recently I have enjoyed MM a bit more in terms of food, service, and atmosphere - I used to think Prezza's food was better, but they are pretty close now as MM has improved their while Prezza is unchanged (and solid and good). Also, if visiting, MM feels more special and is not more expensive.

Oct 01, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Lobsters near Long Wharf Marriott?

Definitely James Hook - and ask for a fresh-made lobster roll on a grilled / toasted roll - it makes a huge difference - and they even have outside tables now

Sep 22, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

Thanks for the reminder - we went in Wednesday night for dinner when I wasn't willing to stand and wait at Toraya and the Sono sushi bar was completely open - Tom was working in the kitchen and I did experience the language barrier with the staff out front, but once again really enjoyed the food very much.

My wife thought the hamachi kama was overcooked a bit, but it was tasty and huge as ever to me (I was happy they had it after missing out on the last two visits). The negihama maki was pretty perfectly made with beautiful yellowtail inside and the smoked salmon nigiri was a real standout, along with what I was told was locally-caught mackeral nigiri.

The only letdown for me was the Summer Scallop Roll - pretty flavorless except for way too much, way too undercooked shallots minced up with the equally minced up scallops on top - I think I will stop ordering from the House Specialty designer maki page - they have all been failures over the course of four visits.

When we sit at the sushi bar, ask Tom about what's special that day, and then order basic preparations of the very pristine ingredients, we are impressed and satisfied every time -- I think we need to go here more often - I guess the location may explain why we were the only customers there for over an hour at prime time on Wednesday night...they deserve much more business.

Sep 19, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Recs please: 3 meals in Boston

good call to reserve at ICOB (or Row 34)! enjoy. also - another Oleana plug if you are willing to trek into Cambridge - it is memorable and phenomenal...a must reserve kind of place as well

Aug 29, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Best Chicken parm sub in Boston

Casa Razdora on Water St downtown - awesome, but I think it's special vs. daily menu item.

Aug 28, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant in Arlington or Somerville for 8 people, Saturday lunch

I also immediately thought of Christopher's in Porter Square, but the parking may be challenging on a Saturday afternoon - parking and shopping (first) at CVS, Tags, or the grocery across the street is a good strategy. Sometimes that lot is heavily patrolled, and I know of towing incidents if you park and immediately go elsewhere when it's really busy.

Aug 27, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Recs please: 3 meals in Boston

Lunch: Taiwan Cafe or Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe

Dinner: Neptune Oyster, Row 34, or Island Creek Oyster House

Aug 27, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Kickass Cupcakes Is Closed

Probably the overdue end of a trend, but a bad product at high prices with very poor service may also have been part of their demise - several attempts to like it, but no success at the store or the truck (Dewey Sq - what an attitude!)

Aug 07, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

Upscale Dinners in Boston

These are all convenient and high end options:
Lespalier

Sorrellina (I prefer to eat at the bar here - awesome tuna / salmon tartare

Mistral - the room and service are slightly better than the excellent food IMHO but a good overall experience

Clio - more creative, possibly not as good as it used to be - excellent service, very quiet

Hamersley's Bistro - not as fancy, but consistently delicious and reliabe

Aug 06, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

August 2014 Farmers' Markets, Farm Stands, CSA updates

really nice purple kale, musk melon, and ground (husk) cherries from Red Fire Farm at Dewey Square yesterday - a few heirloom tomatoes, corn, and pattypan squash to be tried tonight...

Aug 06, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy cachaca

Pretty good selection at Kappy's Wellington store in Medford / Malden - Seleta is my favorite so far. While the Leblon bottle is pretty, I don't think it's worth the premium and it doesn't make good caipirinhas to me.

Aug 06, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Low-carb lunch options downtown

Ask whoever seats you - it could be his wife Doris

Aug 06, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Blackfish in Truro or PB Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet?

Wellfleet has great food, and yes - exactly - line up at PB for bread and croissants (or even homemade jam) to go (if you get extra, those day old croissants make the finest french toast I have ever eaten, BTW), but not for their coffee, cocktails, or dinner - this is based on 4 dinner disappointments and no wins over two seasons

Blackfish has excellent food and service, but is very much an indoors venue - I really like it after dark for a nice dinner.

Mac's Shack (on Commercial St, not the Pier) for sushi and any other seafood is always top notch, but try to go off peak and be very patient as it is extremely popular.

I know opinions and reports are mixed on The Bookstore, but if you get an outdoor table upstairs overlooking Mayo Beach, it's hard to beat. The raw bar and service there have always been solid to strong for me over a number of years and visits.

Similarly, the deck and raw bar outside at The Beachcomber at Cahoon Hollow around happy hour times is a must with every stay in Wellfleet for us when it's open.

Aug 05, 2014
rlh in Southern New England

Low-carb lunch options downtown

Taiwan Cafe - beef with longhorn peppers (mildly spicy) or braised eggplant (but this is sweet...)

China King - Hon Sue Beef (IF made by chef Edwin in the old King Fung Garden style - the one the other chef there makes is totally different and terrible) - it should be a dark brown to black pile of slivers of charred beef with a lot of onions / scallions (not a sweet technicolor mess of peppers and flavorless chunks of overly soft beef)

Aug 05, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Low-carb lunch options downtown

Chacarero does offer a spinach salad with their meats over it.

If you can pass up the pizza, pasta, and sandwiches for the steam table specials at Casa Razdora, they are always tasty and pretty much all protein / veg / fat if you select carefully.

It is indeed a salad, but can be a great one at Zo with either their pork gyro or chicken - I prefer their tzaziki to their dressings - hold the bread usually given on the side (their soups and stews are also hearty and delicious - the lamb chili in season is a great choice).

Finally, the meze bar at Boston Kebab House or Cafe De Boston usually has something that would work - just go early before they are reduced to desiccated leftover crusts on the pans...

Aug 05, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

Osso Bucco or Roast Veal or Lamb

Reservations - yes. Mamma Maria or Prezza for meats - definitely.

Aug 05, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

June 2014 Farmers' Markets, Farm Stands, CSA updates

Because we are always bemoaning the fact that there seems to be NO place to get real Ukrainian food (we do frequent and enjoy Cafe Polonia which is close, but it's really good Polish) in the Boston area that is closer than Veselka in NYC, I noted this post and we made a point of detouring to the Exeter, NH, Farmers Market last Thursday - and we are SO glad - this is the real deal - and it's awesome.

Everything we had from a wide range of offerings last Thursday in Exeter at the Farmer's Market was AWESOME, with very friendly service and lots of smiles as well.

My wife declared the vereniki (potato and feta dumplings) very possibly the best she's ever eaten (including homemade and those renowned ones made by the women in the basement of the church in the East Village in NYC), the holubesty (meat and rice stuffed cabbage with creamy mushroom dill sauce) was perfect and delicious, the borsch was great, and the potato zrazy and stuffed chicken we ate on site for lunch was also a meal to remember.

You can really tell that everything is very carefully handmade and that they use an abundance of produce right out of their own garden ("farm to plate", if you will...). The potatoes with the chicken were so full of natural potato goodness that we were reminded of an experience at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse where simple potatoes were also memorable even ten years later.

We can't wait to visit Bucovina again to try new items and get more of what we now know is SO good, or to have a special occasion to use the catering services - and Newburyport is slightly closer than Exeter and during the weekend....thanks!

Aug 04, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

PHX CHer in BOS to imbibe

Yikes - yes - I obviously need to visit Palmer much more often...thanks.

Jul 30, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Toronto Foodie Visits Boston

FYI - Daily Catch in the North End WAY outshines the other locations consistently (and especially Fan Pier, in spite of its waterfront views...).

Jul 29, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Where to eat near the Doubletree?

Chinatown is also very close and a great lunch option - I believe Dumpling Cafe on Washington St and China King are both ground level and pretty accessible from the sidewalk - and very good. You can search for them specifically in more detailed posts to get menu ideas / recommendations.

Jul 28, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area