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How loud is Alden and Harlow?

I guess I didn't think it was that extreme. I try to be pretty careful with where/how I spend my money and with myriad great restaurants that don't overpower the Brattle, the choice seems easy.

Perhaps there is some kind of satisfying explanation for why A&H has to have their music so loud, but I'm skeptical. That said, I'd certainly change my mind when presented with convincing evidence.

Mar 24, 2014
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

How loud is Alden and Harlow?

I'm glad they are aware. I hope this resolves itself soon. In the mean time, I certainly won't be supporting A&H, which sounds like the restaurant equivalent of a jerky neighbor.

Mar 23, 2014
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

How loud is Alden and Harlow?

Music from Alden and Harlow has now ruined two Brattle movies for me over the last week. How loud is it in there? Is it at all bearable?

Mar 22, 2014
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Help me break out of my rut

Just out of curiosity, why is Hungry Mother on the don't bother list? I haven't been in a while but always loved it. (I do agree about Ten Tables and (especially) Bondir, though.)

Jan 17, 2014
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Anyone check out Mei Mei brick and mortar yet?

I went there for lunch the other day and had a kale salad and the dumplings special (I think a stroganoff). In short: the food is good and interesting and it worth going.

An oddity though: they used curly rather than dinosaur kale for the salad. I swore I'd had the salad with dino, which I much prefer. This was confirmed by yelp (see picture 10 on their page). Does anybody know whether my experience is abnormal?

Dec 05, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Chilli Garden?

I find Chili Garden to be generally fantastic. In fact, it is probably my favorite Sichuan food in the Boston area. Two standouts are worth a mention: their chicken w/ house-made pickles and their mapo tofu.

Dec 05, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Pescatarian Dinner for four at Mulan?

I just wanted to update everybody. We had a much more successful dinner the other night. Here was the menu:

rice cakes w/o pork
bean curd w/ dry bean sauce
mulan fish
stir-fried watercress
shrimp with bean curd sheets

The rice cakes are a fantastic rendition: quite chewy with a mushroom (?) sauce. I think that Mulan's version rivals Shanghai Gate's version. The Mulan fish was also fantastic and gave us the much needed dose of ma la. The rest were very good, though nobody loved them. The dry bean sauce is just too sweet for me, though I can see how people would like it. The watercress was fine, though quite stem-heavy compared to their spinach or pea-pod stems. The shrimp w/ bean curd sheets has been a long-time favorite, I think we've just had it too often recently.

Nov 06, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Pescatarian Dinner for four at Mulan?

Thanks Stride!

Here's a list of pescatarian options that have been endorsed in another thread (along with Stride's). Let me know if anybody has further thoughts about how they could be combined into a meal for four:

Mulan fish
eggplant and basil
eel with sticky rice
bean curd with dry bean sauce
deep fried bean curd
bean curd strips with mustard greens and edamame
fish filet with chili pepper
Cuttlefish Casserole

Oct 31, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Pescatarian Dinner for four at Mulan?

My 3 regular DCs and I are still mourning the loss of Thailand Cafe, and I'm trying to make the case that Mulan could be our local replacement. We went there last week and had a fine meal consisting of the following:

Veggie Dumplings
Rice Cakes (w/o pork)
Pea Pod Stems
Sauteed Bean Curd Sheet w/ Black Mushroom (#128)
Shrimp w/ Chive and Bean Curd Sheet (#63)

While we enjoyed each dish individually, we found the flavors to be too similar to one another. In particular, it was clear that we needed at least one spicy dish on the table.

So, here's my request for help: provide us with a better menu for four! The pea pod stems (or some similar green) are pretty much non-negotiable, and the rice cakes and dumplings are both favorites, but the other slots are up for grabs. (We could also jettison cakes/dumplings, if compelled.) Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Oct 31, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Sticky Rice?

Thanks everybody!

Sep 21, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Sticky Rice?

Does anybody know where I can buy sticky rice? (It is a type of rice itself, not a method of cooking.) I'm looking to cook a northern thai/lao feast and, somewhat surprisingly, I'm having trouble locating it.

Thanks!

Sep 20, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Best Rice Cake Dishes?

There does seem to be a range of moisture levels, from the completely desiccated to those available in the freezer that barely need any liquid. FWIW, I've made all but the completely desiccated w/o soaking and it has worked fine. Soaking may help, I've never seriously compared. I have found that it is good for them to give off a bit of starch to help form a sauce.

I hope somebody finds all of this useful! Learning to make rice-cakes at home has been very satisfying and saved us quite a bit of money.

Aug 31, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Best Rice Cake Dishes?

I had some success replicating the shanghai gate version with this method: http://www.steamykitchen.com/15288-ch...

I usually don't soak them, and I use a bit more liquid.

Aug 28, 2013
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Strip T's increasing funkiness

A little bit of dissent: my wife and I went to Strip T's last night for the second time, and we were, for the second time, underwhelmed. The two of us split the cauliflower, squid salad, and the okonomiyaki. The cauliflower was, by a long shot, the best of the three. Enough has been said about it that I think I can skip the compliments. The squid salad was fairly good: the squid was nicely cooked (does anybody know how they do it?) and the pine nuts were nice. The problem was that the salad was way over-dressed. There was a pool of dressing at the bottom of the bowl and on each of our plates. The okonomiyaki, on our view, was a disaster. Ours was overcooked on the outside and undercooked and gummy on the inside. It also didn't have nearly as much seafood as we were lead to believe. The worst part, though, was the treatment of the softshell crab. The flavors and textures of the softshell were completely lost to the pancake. Such a delicacy should never end in a gummy grave!

Also, we found the service to be quite odd. Our server was clearly hard-working, skilled, and nice. However, the restaurant had her doing some strage things. For instance, there were at least three cutlery changes. She also wiped down the table between courses. These flourishes seemed out-of-touch and counterproductive. In such a small space, in an informal restaurant, interruptions should be minimized. (We also think that the waitress may have tried to up-sell us at one point, though we're not really sure.)

The experimentation is fun, and we've had some genuinely great tastes there. However, for the most part, we find it inferior to, say, East by Northeast and Myers+Chang. Sorry to be such a downer, everyone. As I said, we like what they are trying to do, we just think what they are doing could use a bit of work.

May 03, 2012
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Supplementing Peking Duck at China King

I've assembled a small group to have a three-course peking duck feast at China King this weekend. Does anybody have thoughts on what dishes would best supplement the peking duck and/or anything we that C.K. does particularly well?

Apr 04, 2012
dlieb in Greater Boston Area

Mapo Tofu in Chinatown

I'm heading into chinatown tomorrow and I was wondering where I can get the best Mapo Tofu. It is a bonus if they can make it vegetarian. This will be a second course, after hitting up Mother's Dumplings.

Jan 02, 2012
dlieb in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Markham Restaurants?

Hello,

I'm visiting my wife's family for 10 days this Christmas and I'm wondering what resturants to make sure to try in Markham. I'm especially interested in Chinese of any sort, though I'm open to anything.

Thanks!

Dec 18, 2011
dlieb in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Some thoughts on Myers + Chang

My wife and I have now been to Myers + Chang twice in three days, so I thought I'd post our thoughts. (I left my credit card there on Fri., so we came back today.) Overall, we had a great time and we look forward to coming back. Here's what we had, along with some impressions:

Lunch on Fri:
Hot and Sour Soup: Absolutely fantastic. The combination of the pork meatballs, creamy tofu, nearly raw scallions, dark vinegar, and egg ribbons was incredibly flavorful and texturally wonderful. I'm so used to this dish being a gloopy mess that I was blown away to have a fresh tasting version.
Papaya Slaw: this is one of our favorites, and was really good. We missed some of the heat in the version from S&I Thai, but an excellent version nonetheless.
Tiger Tears Salad: Very different from the Floating Rock version. There was a relatively modest amount of steak---the FR version is almost entirely steak---though the fish sauce dressing was really nice. The greens were nothing special, though the thai basil was great. It could've used a little more rice powder for texture.
Wok-seared Udon noodles with chicken and bok choy: though the noodles were nicely seared, we found this dish to be a little greasy and not very flavorful (we wanted more smoke). There also was a surprising dearth of noodles.
Pork dumplings: they were fried beautifully, and the wrappers were great. The pork filling was nice, though nothing special. It was a tad bit gummy for us.

Dim Sum on Sun:
Vegetarian Potstickers: Probably the best vegetarian potstickers I've ever had. Teeming with greens and ginger (though I didn't see too many shitakes). Fried perfectly.
Watermelon with spicy/sweet salt: it was a pleasure to have some excellent watermelon alongside the dim sum. That said, it was basically just watermelon.
Fried Calamari and Jalapenos: Not a very daring dish, but well done. The aioli is nice and spicy.
Haka Eggplant: an excellent version of this dish, on par with Sichuan Gourmet.
Nirvana Chicken Bao: the soy-brased chicken is fantastic. The rest was mostly forgettable.
Chicken Congee: I absolutely love congee. It seemed to me that the rice wasn't quite broken down well enough. Certainly enjoyable nonetheless: the chicken is fantastic.
Dan Dan noodles: fine noodles, though not identifiable as Dan Dan noodles (no Sichuan peppercorn at all!). Go to Thailand Cafe or Sichuan Gourmet if you want Dan Dan noodles. These are fine peanut noodles.

Service:
The staff was uniformly nice. One warning though: don't show up until noon for Dim Sum. They opened at 11:30, but clearly weren't ready for a long while after that.

Overall, this place exceeded our modest expectations, given the mediocre chowhound feedback. It isn't as exciting as East by Northeast, and it isn't as authentic as Thailand Cafe/Sicuan Gorumet/S&I Thai, but it is very fun and fairly affordable. The ingredients also seem to be much higher quality than most places in chinatown. We'll certainly go back.

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Floating Rock
485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

East by Northeast
1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sichuan Gourmet
1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

Sep 25, 2011
dlieb in Greater Boston Area