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New Swiss Bakers in Allston

I work down the street from Swiss Bakers and have visited 3-4 times. In my opinion it's not a destination yet and I'm happy to have it within walking distance from my office.

Croissants- not as buttery and flaky as expected, but still very nice pastries for the price. They have a few savory varieties that make for a nice lunch bite. They use a nice chocolate for the sweet ones.

Sandwiches- I had a ham&swiss on their pretzel roll. It was also satisfying but not a home run. Again, a nice lunch bite at a reasonable price.

Soups- this is the only disappointment. Nice broth with not much in it. Come on, we're New Englanders and it's COLD out. Give us a hearty soup!

Still, I've had a far better experience in that space with Swiss Bakers than I ever did with the Volkswagon I bought there years ago. I really like the friendly staff at Swiss Bakers and hope that the place is successful.

Pastured meat in Greater Boston

I agree with much of jgg13's comments regarding Chestnut Farms.

The chicken tastes like chicken (rather than being an invisible vehicle for sauces) and typically you get either a whole chicken, a whole breast, and/or mixed parts. It's very good and on par or better than what we typically get at Whole Foods in terms of flavor and texture.

The pork is very good though sometimes their sausages a little dull. The occasional ham-steak is a pleasant surprise.

We haven't received enough lamb to form an opinion.

The beef steaks are hit or miss. As jgg sates, the cuts are sometimes a bit wonky. The flavor and texture are generally good, but you rarely can replicate steak house results. They are fine for a quick dinner on a Tuesday night.

However, the ground beef is worth singing and dancing about. In fact I am salivating right now just thinking about the burgers. I don't know what ratio of what cuts go into the grind, but it results in the best ground beef for burgers I've ever had. I'd stay in the CSA for this alone.

Sorry to tangent! Good luck with the chicken hunt, Frouss.

Jun 05, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

AKA Bistro

Dave MP
There is definitely a division between the two cuisines. I would not call it fusion cuisine at all. Regarding seasonal items:

-French side: A DC had a pea soup that was luxurious spring on a spoon. The color was that kind of green that I imagine nature photographers stay up late trying to eek out of Photoshop and an eye-closing texture. I believe it had creme-fraiche and something pancetta-like.

-French side: Another DC had a lamb stew that was colorful with tender lamb, vegetables including carrots, and a broth that could stand on its own.

-French side: Asparagus with duck egg. This one is simple but everything is just so right.

-Japanese side: The miso soup, which I think is always on the menu. They serve it in a ceramic mug rather than a bowl. The broth has an elegant balance to it and is a great way to start a meal as it's not too showy but inspires confidence in the kitchen.

Madrid
If you visit Drumlin farm be sure to visit the pig pen; I believe they had piglets born earlier this week.

May 03, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

AKA Bistro

AKA Bistro in Lincoln, MA, has received nice comments on this board, and deserves its own thread.

AKA Bistro
145 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, MA
(781) 259-9920

For those unfamiliar, AKA Bistro is run by Christian Touche and Chris Chung, both of whom came through the kitchen at Clio. They have something special in Lincoln; they have excellent French dishes and excellent Japanese dishes (primarily sushi). Those that live in metro west probably already know about it; those that live in Boston/Cambridge should make the effort to visit (I have some day-trip ideas for you below: you don't even need to drive).

Especially if you fit either of these descriptions, AKA Bistro is for you:
-loves sushi but spouse / someone-in-group does not
-wants to cap a day-trip in 'the country' with an excellently prepared meal...all without driving

I had a truly superb dinner there last night with friends. We were able to try several items from both the French and the Japanese menu. Not only were there no duds, every single item was a wow (okay, the baguette was simply on par). Since the menu is seasonal I won't get into everything we tried as items may not be there when you go, but here are some highlights that I've seen more than once:

Seasonal Oyster with with yuzu mignonette, ponzu, caviar and uni

Tuna Tartar (Yellow fin tuna) with cucumber cornet, tobiko and spicy aioli
-(This was even loved by our non-sushi eater)

Homemade Kobe Dumpling with Sukiyaki consommé and mushroom

Moules frites Mussels steamed in white wine with french fries

Steak Frites Grilled Angus New York Steak ( 9oz) with Maitre D’butter, caramelized shallots and french fries

Lincoln happens to be one of the more beautiful towns in metro west. Here are some ideas for those that don't drive but want to work AKA Bistro into a day trip:

Take the commuter rail from North Station or Porter Square to Lincoln. AKA Bistro is right at this stop. From here you can easily visit any of the following:

-Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary (Mass Audubon)- This is a 10min walk from the train stop and has a sidewalk the entire way (if I recall correctly). You could spend hours walking the farm, looking at the sheep, pigs, chickens, etc. They have interesting programs and exhibits.

-Codman Community Farms- 5min walk from the train stop. This is a great farm for a walk, though it does not have programs or exhibits on the scale of Drumlin. But the community gardens are fun to browse during the growing season and they have a lot of animals to check out.

-DeCordova Sculpture Museum- this would be a 45min walk, but it'd would be scenic 15min bicycle ride. They have several interesting programs and exhibits, and it's a really nice place to bring a picnic.

May 02, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guys Weekend

Get some cocktails at Hawthorne, then beers and dinner at Eastern Standard. Island Creek Oyster Bar would be excellent as well, but I would pitch ESK for a bachelor weekend in that it has a slightly more masculine vibe. ESK has great oysters expertly shucked. The beer list has great range without being a chore to get through.

However, if you are from somewhere that does not have great seafood and want that, go to Island Creek Oyster Bar.

(Go to Hawthorn either way)

Apr 13, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Who still serves Baked Alaska???

I will third this suggestion. The only hard part is saving room for it since the menu has so many delicious items.

Apr 05, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Killer Roast Lamb Sandwich - Greek Corner Cambridge

I also like that Baked Lamb Dinner (they describe as lamb shank with red sauce). For those that haven't had it, I believe the "red sauce" is stifado, which traditionally is red wine, onions, garlic and cinnamon.

Mar 22, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Killer Roast Lamb Sandwich - Greek Corner Cambridge

I love that sandwich and have eaten it frequently enough to say it is consistently excellent.

Mar 21, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Gem Opening This Weekend

I will go so far as to launder my pajoveralls.

http://hairlikepony.wordpress.com/tag...

Mar 20, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

The Painted Burro

We received chips and salsa at one of the tables in the bar area. This was Saturday at 6ish. I'm pretty sure we got more at table once we were seated, too.

I'm sorry to hear you had bad service. I'm not sure if this relates to your experience or not, but we did hear on Saturday that the bar staff had been a bit overwhelmed with some of the cocktails previously. Apparently they tweaked a few recipes prior to Saturday night to alleviate this.

Mar 20, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

The Painted Burro

Granolagurl, in another (2008) thread you mention looking for a good fish sandwich. I'm not sure if that request was for you, is outdated, or was for someone else, but Painted Burro does have a variety of seafood items on their menu.

Mar 20, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

The Painted Burro

So glad you liked it! And thank you for reminding me about the chips and salsa. I agree, they were excellent. The chips just salty and oily enough to feel indulgent without the guilt, and the salsa 'safe' but fresh and flavorful. I really liked the consistency of the salsa, too; it seemed like all of the chunks were about the same size and it was not runny.

Mar 20, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

The Painted Burro

Update with address.

219 Elm Street
Davis Square
Somerville, MA

Mar 19, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

The Painted Burro

The Painted Burro
219 Elm Street
Davis Square
Somerville, MA

Friends and I ate at the Painted Burro on Saturday night. We enjoyed the margaritas, tacos, and other nibbles, and the atmosphere was very lively for a Mexican restaurant on St. Patrick's Day.

Margaritas-
Major points from me for serving these in tumblers rather than unwieldy, wide-mouthed stemware. I rarely want just one margarita, and after the first the bathtub-on-a-perch presents problems. They have a few varieties that I tried; I preferred their house version that had the most appealing balance of sweet, sour and tequila bite. You have the option of rocks and/or salt.

Bar Snacks and Appetizers
Chingon Cucumbers-
A nice presentation of pickled cucumbers, radishes and grapes. Nicely presented in a round jar. These weren’t the hit of the evening, but they did offer an appreciated vinegary balance to cut through the…

Pork Chicharrones-
Wow. Tamarind glazed pork belly. This went really fast and was the talk of the table throughout the meal. Bite-size chunks of fatty pork belly in a just-sweet-enough glaze.

Guacomole w/ optional roasted poblano-
The guacamole was creamy, fresh and colorful. The poblanos were savory but didn’t add a whole lot to guac. If you really like poblanos then it’s a nice addition, but you won’t miss them otherwise.

Ceviche del mar-
This was very nice with a variety of delicate flavors and textures. The fish was firm enough to fork.

Tacos
Each order has two tacos. We were given two corn tortillas per taco, which for these you need as the filling amount is generous.

Lamb Neck w/ Apricot Barbacoa-
These were nice but a bit one-note compared to the others. The apricot sweetened but didn’t brighten the lamb enough. The lamb itself was rich and savory. A generous squeeze of lemon or lime will finish these.

Shrimp Diablo-
These were the table’s favorite. Compared to the other tacos these had stand-out variety of textures and flavors. The creaminess of the avocado played well against the plump shrimp, and while there was considerable heat it brought flavor, not just burn.

Skirt Steak Asada-
These had rich and smoky steak and poblano flavors right out front, with a pleasantly lingering sweet garlic note.

Crispy Maine Redfish-
I made it around to these right after the spicy shrimp taco and my palette was a bit blown out. My wife sang their praises, though.

Chupacabra Tacos-
This is a hot mess. I don’t think they intend for you to pick this taco up, but rather to eat it with a fork. It’s four corn tortillas laid overlapping one another, with what seemed like two cups of a variety of their taco fillings (chorizo, lamb, beef and pork). It was delicious but I wouldn’t call it a taco.

The four of us were too stuffed to explore the entrée menu.

The staff was very friendly and attentive, though there were some new-restaurant jitters on display.

Mar 19, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Drink

I've only been once but had a great meal at 606 Congress. They do have charcuterie, though I didn't order any. I wouldn't necessarily describe their menu as "interesting" but everything was well-executed and flavorful.

Feb 21, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Thoughts on KO Pies/Catering

Yes, that's the location. We chatted with KO's owner (I assume) about it.

He said the new location will have the meat pies they're known for and will expand upon their current menu, offering more entree-like items. Also, for chowhounding yachters, you'll be able to radio in an order and they'll deliver it to the docks (I'm not sure on the specifics). I believe they will have beer and wine, as well, though that may be wishful thinking on my part.

Feb 21, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Thoughts on KO Pies/Catering

I've been once and had the classic beef pie, a bite of the chicken sandwich, and shared the calamari.

Everything was fantastic, but really that calamari is a must have; fresh, light and flavorful. Probably the best calamari I've had.

I think this has been mentioned in other (more current) threads, but KO is expanding to the Scup's location.

Feb 21, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guchi's Midnight Ramen

I think it's a combination of Momofuku's success (specifically Chang's recent cookbook) and a natural wanderlust of many Bostonian pho lovers (pho-ophiles?)

Feb 16, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guchi's Midnight Ramen

Just for clarification, my understanding is that the $25 was for three courses as WorldWarMichael states above: a starter, the ramen, and a desert. I believe I read elsewhere that it also included a beer.

Feb 16, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guchi's Midnight Ramen

Congrats on getting tickets, WWM, and thanks for the report.

(Time to revisit my computer's warranty to see if F5 key replacement is covered)

Feb 13, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guchi's Midnight Ramen

I certainly understand the frustration with the hype-machine, but I mostly find it amusing.

Ultimately, any ramen publicity is good for ramen lovers, though, right?

Feb 13, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guchi's Midnight Ramen

Yes, I saw the sold-out page a tidy 33 seconds after seeing the GMR link posted on Facebook. My poor F5 key overworked for naught.

Thanks for the tip on the Uni ramen. I had missed that. I did a search and found some appetizing ramen photos online; the David Chang-esque pork bun looks excellent, too.

Feb 13, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Guchi's Midnight Ramen

Has anyone had the opportunity to try Guchi's Midnight Ramen?

It's a ramen pop-up that was at Sportello last night / this morning, and was at Bondir recently.

Feb 13, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Good Restaurant Options near Sudbury

Another vote for Pongal II. The tandoori lamb is especially delicious.

Also:
80 Thoreau in Concord
AKA Bistro in Lincoln
Coach Grill in Wayland
Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham

Jan 06, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Farmer seeking ideas for a CIDER DONUT SUNDAE

I agree that cider donuts deserve a subtle hand. I am picturing the Chopped or Iron Chef judges praising the dish but scolding its creator for hiding the inner cider doughnut-ness.

I would want to balance the flaky warmth and delicate apple-sweetness of the cider doughnut with the creamy chill of a vanilla ice cream. Too much ice cream or a powerfully flavored ice cream and you lose those aspects of the doughnut.

Also, when I think apple cider I think mulled cider. Perhaps a warm topping with cinnamon, orange zest, star anise, and clove? This could be delivered in a chocolate sauce that isn't overpoweringly sweet. You could put some or all of those flavors into the ice cream, but they wouldn't be as aromatic.

While I definitely think a cider doughnut twist on the brownie sundae or ice cream sandwich is a delicious idea (and I would likely want seconds), I think your idea merits something more focused on the cider doughnut.

Jan 05, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Dressy cocktails with light food?

I'm not sure if Noir Bar has changed; like I said, I haven't been there in a couple of years. I never had an experience as bad as the one you describe, though.

Perhaps the bar at ICOB, bar at Craigie on Main or Oak Bar. Your parameters are pretty challenging!

Jan 04, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Dressy cocktails with light food?

I can't come up with anything perfectly suited to your request, but Noir Bar at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square fits these comments:
"mellow place to have cocktails and a snack"
"without breaking the bank"
"Any of the hotel bars that could work?"
"wouldn't be a loud meat-market style atmosphere"

Regarding attire it's a mix; you won't feel at all out of place if you're dressed up, though.

Caveat: I haven't been there in a couple of years

Jan 04, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

Eastern Standard Aging Gracefully

I'd like to offer a differing opinion on the service at ICOB. As someone who has dined there with my 7 and 5 year old children several times, the staff at ICOB has bent over backwards consistently to make sure that we all have a great experience. My wife and I regularly cite them as having the best service in town.

We also very much like ESK and its service, and have had consistently great experiences there.

Jan 04, 2012
Area Man in Greater Boston Area

what cocktail to make with apple cider

Apologies for the thread necromancy, but I figured better to revive than reinvent the conversation.

Bob McCoy (Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston) has a great article in the most recent Edible Boston called Heartwarming Cold-Weather Cocktails. It includes a recipe for Hot Apple Cider; this is fabulous on its own, however I've had a lot of fun using the chilled cider in cocktails. He calls for steeping the cider with cinnamon sticks, allspice, cardamom, cloves and star anise. I did this, then let it cool for a few hours outside.

This worked in the following:

1 oz Applejack
1.5 oz spiced cider
Juice of 1 lemon

1 oz Appleton Rum
1.5 oz spiced cider
1 oz. fresh lime juice
grated nutmeg

You don't HAVE to use liquor with "apple" name; that's just where we were at that point in the evening :)

Dec 23, 2011
Area Man in Spirits

Beer/liqueur tasting, throwaway glasses what is best type and source

Before settling on disposables, please consider Peterson Party Center for rented glasses.
http://www.ppcinc.com/

We did this recently for a holiday party and it was perfect. We picked them up in Winchester and returned them (dirty). They also do delivery and retrieval, though we wanted to cut costs.

Dec 23, 2011
Area Man in Greater Boston Area