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Quiet dinner near Northeastern

I'm trying to come up with a quiet, comfortable spot for a weeknight dinner with a friend near Northeastern. She isn't a very adventurous eater, so sushi and heavily spiced foods are out. I thought of Trattoria Toscana, but need somewhere that will take a reservation. Toro is too loud. Any other ideas?

2 days ago
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

June 2014 Openings and Closings

Noooooooo! Disaster! I love Mrs Jones'! Cheryl and George are just the nicest people and their cooking always hits the spot. Anyone who has more info, please post a follow up.

Jun 13, 2014
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

It's Strawberry Season Again! Anyone seen the local ones yet?

This is no help for the OP but I've been harvesting strawberries from my downtown garden for about a week now so they are definitely in season locally.

Jun 08, 2014
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area
1

Branch of Paul Opening in Somerville!

I like their hot chocolate. Super, super rich.

May 11, 2014
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Lard Bread/Prosciutto Bread

It's my favorite thing that Bricco the bakery makes. It has Parmesan in it along with diced prosciutto. Definitely worth checking out!

Feb 11, 2014
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Good South Shore Bakeries?

I was very excited about this suggestion until I noticed that French Memories website mentions a connection between it and Cafe Vanille. That freaks me out. I'm totally unimpressed by CV, can FM really be any good?

Oct 18, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area
1

December 2013 Openings and Closings

Ack! All the cozy older places are going! Locke-Ober, the Oak Bar and now this. Granted, the food at Upstairs has been disappointing for years... Still sad.

Oct 18, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Grow your own Saffron

I ordered 100 bulbs from McClure and Zimmerman a few days ago. They're on sale 50% off now so I couldn't resist.

Oct 13, 2013
peelmeagrape in Gardening

Bricco lately?

Next time you are picking up a loaf from the bakery, try the prosciutto and parm one. Too good, especially when still warm.

Oct 10, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Neat House-Made Non-Alcoholic Drinks?

Island Creek makes something they call a Wags No.2. I think it has saffron in it, among other things. Absolutely dreamy, and alcohol-free.

Sep 09, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Latest (changing) Ice Cream Flavors at Toscanini, JPLicks etc.

Ooooh, I love taro - and I've just gotten into making smoothies. The thought of being able to make a taro smoothie is irresistible. Do you remember which vendor you bought the powder from?

Aug 28, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Good Food near BC

The original location of Oishii in Chestnut Hill. Wonderful, wonderful sushi. (But tight dining quarters: one table plus a bar.) Otherwise, Lumiere in West Newton if you want something with a nicer ambiance (and still excellent food).

Aug 23, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

August 2013 Openings and Closings

The new Whole Foods in Charlestown is slated to open tomorrow morning (Aug. 7th) at 10am, according to their Facebook page. I am so relieved! Slightly to home for me than the Charles River Plaza WF and with way, way easier parking. Whoot!

Aug 06, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

Thanks for the idea - I go there quite often and do enjoy it. (If we're just talking about good meals in Plymouth, I like the Rye Tavern too.) BEC reminds me of the kind of seafood you'd find on an island vacation (as opposed to New England fried seafood): pretty cleanly-cooked fish with some spices/a light sauce.

Aug 04, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

I hear you on the So. NE Board but it's kind of a peeve of mine on these boards that something within a 1 hour drive of downtown Boston somehow might be considered beyond the "Greater Boston Area". Generally miffed that Plymouth gets treated like a geographic no man's land (not close enough to Boston to be mentioned when people are giving recs for the South Shore - even though it is on the South Shore - but not the Cape either).

Are there really no Portuguese places in the environs?

Aug 03, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

I think you're the second person who's described it as pretty decent. Maybe this is something to try after Bangkok Thai...

Aug 03, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

I'd never noticed that place. Thanks for this idea...I will definitely check it out.

Aug 03, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

"Ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth

Hi all,
I'm trying to compile a list of good or even (dare I hope?) excellent "ethnic" restaurants in Plymouth and immediate environs (no more than a 10 or at the very most 15 mile radius). I'm putting "ethnic" in scare quotes because although obviously Italian, French, Irish, English are ethnicities, I'm interested in Portuguese, Mexican (as opposed to Tex-Mex), Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and whatever else might be good out there. Hole in the wall is totally fine. I know the pickings are slim but is this a completely lost cause?
Thanks!

Aug 01, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Lacking a "go-to" restaurant

I second Eastern Standard. I always sit at the bar and it's 100% true that the bartenders remember you very quickly and are extremely accommodating (and it doesn't hurt that the drinks are second to none). The menu is extensive enough that you won't be bored...though you'll quickly find some favorites. There are other places I like just fine for weekly visits but none can match ES for the consistent warmth of their service.

Jul 28, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Looking for Glasses with Cowgirls

RH just launched a line of glassware (and other tabletop stuff). Definitely not in the printed-with-a-cowgirl style of things!

Jun 27, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Best Whole Foods in Boston Area

I like the one in Hingham best, but am content with any of them (the "new" Wellesley store, Newtonville, Winchester, even River St by Mem Drive) - wherever I happen to be running errands - just so long as I can avoid my closest store: the dreaded Charles River Plaza location in Beacon Hill. So tiny, so crowded, the parking lot is a beast to get into and out of, and maybe it's the cramped quarters but the patrons seem crabbier than elsewhere. I can hardly wait for the Charlestown location to open (which I guess will be soon because there was just a job fair) - so I never have to set foot in the Beacon Hill store again.

Jun 27, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Are there any hidden gems on the South Shore?

It's a bit further south than you were thinking but I really like the Rye Tavern in Plymouth (exit 3). Very pleasant atmosphere, especially outside in the nice weather. The menu changes seasonally (they have their own vegetable and herb garden) but if the ribs are on the menu, I always get those. Also, their Stagecoach cocktail is really good. I like the Blue Eyed Crab too, but it feels somewhat more casual to me. (Not that the Rye Tavern is fancy, but to me it feels a little nicer.)

Jun 21, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Ramps 2013

I saw them at the Hingham Whole Foods yesterday. Looked good!

Apr 14, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Inexpensive pre-theater dinner near Calderwood in So End?

+1 for Vejigantes. Totally different and delicious.

Apr 09, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Who's cooking at Clio

I had dinner there last week and was very disappointed in the experience. (I hadn't eaten there in a couple of years.) The menu looks so promising, with lots of usual flavors like birch and juniper. The actual dishes, however, were just a cacaphony of elements, with too many ingredients on the plate to even be able to taste each one or to have a sense of how they might work to complement each other. Oddly, despite the fact that the menu tends to list a half dozen ingredients for most of the dishes, there were also some dishes where very strong flavors/ingredients (such as capers) weren't even mentioned in the descriptions at all and came as a complete surprise when the food arrived on the table. I feel like the kitchen would do better to scale WAY back in terms of the number of different things they're putting on each plate. FWIW, for mains we had the buttermilk braised chicken, which had a nice texture but nothing more (the oak gnocci were two or three Tic Tac sized things that tasted of nothing in particular); the butter braised lobster which was sitting on a bed of greens that just tasted off/rancid to my palate and therefore inedible. The foie gras laquee and the fish crudo appetizers were fine but unremarkable for the price. My favorite thing was the birch ice cream that accompanied one of the desserts. Honestly, I would have been happier with just that, in a bowl, and scrap the rest of the tortured production. I won't be going back I am a bit embarrassed to have brought our guests there.

Mar 24, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

New Swiss Bakers in Allston

Oh, you have to try Bricco Panneteria's pancetta and parmesan bread. It's long and thin like a baguette. Also, on Mondays only: their cranberry walnut. Too good.

Mar 05, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Wings

+1 for Bon Chon's wings. Really good!

Feb 21, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

JBF 2013 seminfinals discussion

I'm thrilled that ES got a nomination for their outstanding service. As far as I'm concerned, it is the best in the city. Among the things that make them amazing:

Without our asking, they remember allergies from visit to visit and always check our order (quietly behind the scenes) to make sure none of the dishes we've ordered contain allergens. The only reason we know they do that is that they have occasionally come back to notify us that an allergen is a non-listed ingredient in a dish. It's outstanding service in part because it doesn't make a fuss about itself.

The bartenders are extremely efficient and helpful in making sure patrons get seats at the bar in a truly first-come-first-served way. (Unlike too many bars where they say bar seating is "first come, first served" but it's actually "most aggressive, first served", forcing patrons to monitor where along a bar seats might be about to open up, then hover and snatch the chairs as they are being vacated in order to prevent people who arrived after them from swooping in just because the seats they happen to be standing closer to were the first to open up. We've given up on Russell House Tavern because the bartenders are completely unwilling to help, even when we tell them upon arrival that we're waiting for seats and they can see we've been waiting longer than a latecomer who pushes himself in.)

The ES bartenders remember our drink preferences from visit to visit. They even remember what we drank on specific occasions.

The comps in various forms...more because of the thoughtfulness than because its free. And sometimes when we're trying to decide between two things they'll surprise us gratis with the one we decided not to order.

Not the least, the staff is unfailingly warm, helpful and eager to oblige patrons' requests.

Really, I have no idea how ES's service could be better. It could certainly be more formal (as at l'Espalier) but that's an entirely different matter. I hope they win.

Feb 20, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Unique Regional Foods in Boston

Or the grape nut ice cream at Crescent Ridge in Sharon, MA. Soooo creamy!

Feb 10, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Boston Area Tapas

I would steer you away from Estragon. It had been on my list of new-ish places to try and we finally made in over there last week. The food was actively bad (good service, though) and given that the tab was about $125 for dinner for two and a pair of cocktails, I left feeling ripped off. The baby octopus was the rubberiest I can remember, the chard and chickpea dish was completely bland with only a handful of pieces of almond, scallops also bland, meatballs unremarkable, drinks too spicy (my husband kept coughing after taking a sip, when the spice would hit far back in his throat...and he's a fan of spicy.) The only dishes I thought were okay were the chicken stuffed with cheese, (but I think it's pretty hard for me not to like anything with melted cheese), and the grilled lamb chops, which were lightly seasoned but very nice pieces of meat, cooked to exactly the right temperature. I felt like no one in the kitchen was tasting anything before sending it out. Beyond the food, we found the space uncomfortable: very loud even though it was only half full, uncomfortable chairs, tables reminiscent of a diner. Really not what I have in mind when I dine out at that price point.

I used to enjoy the food at Toro (though found it loud and often crowded) but I haven't visited in a while.

Jan 06, 2013
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area