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where to buy lamb shanks in Metro West

McKinnon's in Somerville usually has meaty Australian shanks that have been excellent. It may be worth calling ahead.

Apr 01, 2014
weg in Greater Boston Area

Pizza and beer...

Upstairs at Bocelli's in Medford Square might work.

Feb 13, 2014
weg in Greater Boston Area

Whether out or in, what did you eat on New Years Eve?

We have an annual get together with friends for NYE/NYD. Both families cook and we combine our efforts into a continuous feast that begins at around 4pm on NYE and continues until about the same time on NYD.

NYE: Beginnings: home smoked salmon, deviled eggs with anchovies, buffalo wings, shrimp, cheese, crackers, olives. tabbouleh, chips, dip, crudite, herring. Mains: rIb roast, noodle kugel, salad. Dessert: cheese pie with blueberries and brownies.

Beverages: glogg, Prosecco, Cava, a Corsican red and a Tuscan red. I think that some ouzo came out later as well.

NYD: Early: Bagels, cream cheese, lox, whitefish salad, fruit, smoked salmon, herring.
Later: Leftovers from the previous 24 hours plus black eyed peas and rice for good luck in the new year.

It was a great meal. Happy new year.

Jan 03, 2014
weg in Greater Boston Area

Biryani Park - Sri Lankan in Malden

November 2013 Report:

My wife and I ate at BP last night with another couple. It was the first time for all of us. Our friends arrived before we did, and the owner sat down with them and explained the menu before she took her elderly mother to church. By the time we arrived, she was gone. We went through the menu and ordered two appetizers and four entrees, sticking to South Indian or Sri Lankan dishes. The food was fantastic. There was not a dud among the dishes. Standouts for me were the Samosa Chat and the Chicken 65, the fish curry and the Sri Lanka version of risotto - unfortunately, I do not remember what it was called. The spices in all the food were amazing - deep and complex. We had leftover Dosa, which actually tasted better at room temperature than it did when it came out on the table.

Service was, well, servicable. Our dishes came out one at a time -- we rarely had more than one plate on the table at any given time because we would finish one before the next dish came. I am pretty sure that one of the dishes was not what we ordered, even though we wrote everything out for the server. (We ordered the Puttu, but were delivered a different dish - probably belonging to the unfortunate couple mentioned below). The dining room was not full, and I would guess that things move more smoothly when the owner is present.

Anther couple came in shortly after we did, and ordered only a few minutes later. They were visibly seething as they watched the server bring us dish after dish -- oh, the aromas! -- while they had not received a single one. Another couple came in after them, and started receiving their food before this couple did. They made one inquiry, were told their food would be out in five minutes, waited another 10, and then left, visibly upset.

The restaurant itself is great -- overflowing with decorations and dishes and vases. I could do without the large screen tv, but in a way, it added to the atmosphere.

I am dreaming of my next meal there.

Nov 18, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Local food market pet peeves, or worse!

Likewise, I feel we get much higher quality and fresher fish at the Medford SS than we do at the Medford WF. The selection is not as good, but I will take freshness over variety any day.

Nov 15, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

A Chowhound Challenge: Older, Finicky Theatre District edition

What about Salvatore's ? The space looks pleasant and the food is probably innocuous, and it is right in the Theater District. My wife has been to the Medford outpost, and she reports that it is fine.

Nov 14, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Local food market pet peeves, or worse!

Your dogs eat well!

Nov 13, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Everyday Budget Wines Under $15

I have to second all these recommendations for Spanish grenache. Due to budgetary restrictions, I live in an under $15/bottle world. The Borsao Garnache is our house red -- we can get it for about $6.50 a bottle in MA when we buy it by the case. Vina Borgia is also widely available and decent, though not quite as good as the others. Castell de Remeii Gotim Bru is a Spanish blend that is mostly tempranilllo and is usually under $15 and is very good.

Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno is widely available and is under $10. It is a very good Italian bargain and is mostly Sangiovese with some Montepulciano.

I keep trying under $15 California blends (e.g. Coppola Rosso, Big House Red etc.), hoping to find a good one, but they are consistently one dimensional to my taste. The Spanish reds are much more interesting and much more food-friendly.

Nov 13, 2013
weg in Wine

Vegetarian Downtown?

You could try My Thai Vegan Cafe on Beach Street in Chinatown. It replaced Buddha's Delight. It is inexpensive and not great, but good.

You could also go to Falafel King on Washington Street. It is chap and good. A falafel salad plate would be vegan. The falafel is decent. I think that they close at 8:00.

Sep 27, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Where do you shop for under-the-radar wines?

I have had great luck at Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville for under $20 bottles and Federal Wines in downtown Boston for the rest. The staff at both stores are very knowledgeable and they know their inventory really well. I have been a happy customer of both stores for 15 years.

Sep 16, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Best place to buy higher quality boxed wines?

The wine and Cheese Cask usually has it, as does Federal Wines in downtown Boston. The wine is very good. Also, Big House Red comes in a box, and it is very drinkable.

Aug 23, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Chez Panisse 2013 [Berkeley]

I ate there with a friend about three weeks ago. We had a memorable meal (salmon carpaccio, ravioli with a confit of basil and tomatoes, grilled beef tenderloin with morels and a Meyer Lemon Tart), very good wine (Donkey and Goat Carignane) and terrific service. It ranks as one of the best meals out of my life. It was first time dining there -- the restaurant did not feel at all past its prime. The restaurant had just reopened that week, and everyone seemed to be elated to be back.

Jul 16, 2013
weg in San Francisco Bay Area

Native Corn

We were in Western Mass yesterday. First corn is just arriving. We bought 4 ears from a farm in Hadley. Ears are small and sweet. Cukes are in as well.

Jul 05, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Spring = Shad Roe and Morels

We bought shad roe on Sunday (05/12) at Fresh Pond Seafood in Arlington. They were not cheap -- $12.99 each -- but and were very fresh and were delicious.

May 14, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Comforting takeout food for a really horrible day

How about Bob's on Main Street in Medford? I think that they are open until 8:00. Also, Guru the Caterer.

Mar 18, 2013
weg in Greater Boston Area

Non dairy mashed potatoes

We almost always use olive oil to taste and enough of the the water that we boiled the potatoes in to make them adequately moist, along with salt and pepper.

Dec 27, 2012
weg in Home Cooking

Chinatown for a large group

I want to thank you all for your suggestions. We did end up at Cafe 456 on Mott Street, and it was perfect for the mixed group that we had. We were a party of 11 and the waiter was good at recommending dishes and making sure that there was enough food and drink. He was patient in showing everyone how to eat the soup dumplings, and had a sardonic sense of humor which cut through the language barrier. We arrived early for our reservation and the table was ready for us. The place was packed on Saturday, with a line on the street, but we were not rushed at all.

Highlights of the meal for me were the cold sesame noodles, crispy duck, and string beans, eggplant and broccoli in spicy basil sauce. I do not eat pork, so did not have soup dumplings, but they received raves. I also liked the veg. dumplings as well.

There was nothing ethereal here, but the food was solid, the atmosphere was pleasant, and the service was very good. Recommended.

Dec 03, 2012
weg in Manhattan

Bagels and lox near South Station

It might be worth giving Milk Street Cafe a call (617-542-3663). They always have bagels and cream cheese in the morning, and in the past they have had smoked salmon as well. It is no more than a 10 minute walk from South Station.

Dec 03, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Chinatown for a large group

We are looking for a restaurant in or near Chinatown for an early Saturday dinner. There will be 11 of us including 3 kids. I was thinking that Cafe 456 might work. Any other suggestions? Many thanks.

Nov 29, 2012
weg in Manhattan

Hunting for lamb

I second McKinnon's. I recently bought a whole shoulder from them, when I was making a tagine during the high holidays. It was vacuum packed from Australia and was excellent. You might want to call ahead to make sure that they have exactly what you are looking for. I also second Signal Rock -- we had lamb liver last week, and just bought very meaty shanks yesterday for a stew for next week. Again, it may be best to contact them first so that they can bring what you want to the market.

Oct 25, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Is there anyplace like Russ & Daughters in Boston?

I have had good smoked fish from Rachael's (formerly Axler's) in Springfield. If you buy one of their pre-selected packages, prices are pretty reasonable. (springfieldsmokedfish.com). I have also stopped by their facility -- it is like stepping into the past.

Oct 15, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Best places to buy cases of good wine cheap?

I also would recommend Wine and Cheese Cask. They will be able to find you a crowd pleasing red for $9. I have had good luck at Atlas in Medford as well. They currently have a Spanish red, Atalaya Almansa, for about $10 that may fit the bill. I would call to make sure that the wine manager is there before heading over. Best wishes!

Jun 20, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Best Fresh Bagels In Boston?

Katz of Katz' Bagels suggests the opposite: he says to allow them to cool in the paper bag and then transfer to plastic.

May 07, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Best Fresh Bagels In Boston?

I would like to know what you order for fish at the Russian shops. I bought some decent smoked chubs(?) at Bazaar a year or so ago, along with some pickled herring. The herring was bony, barely pickled, and immediately caused hair to grow on my chest. I have not been back, in part because I was not sure what to ask for.

May 02, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Best Fresh Bagels In Boston?

I will put in a plug for Katz bagels in Chelsea. http://katzbagels.com/ You have to put up with a little "atmosphere," but the bagels are great, especially when fresh.

What I would really like to know is your source for smoked fish. Please let us know.

May 01, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Any place to get a reasonably priced side of beef?

According to the website, the steers are 95% grass-fed. This is pretty consistent with how most dairy farms raise beef: they are pastured with the dairy cows and finished with some additional grain and silage before slaughter. The process adds a little fat (and flavor) to the beef and is nothing like feed-lot grain-stuffed commercial beef.

Apr 24, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Inexpensive catering in Cambridge (on a student budget)

For Indian, I think that Guru or Namaskar would work. For Middle Eastern, recently used Fordee's on Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, and it was terrific.

Apr 03, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Moderately priced Passover wines in Boston area

The Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville has about 10 or 12 different kosher wines in the $10-20 range (some, but not all are KLP) along with the ubiquitous Manischewitz.

The Butcherie in Brookline also has low to moderately priced kosher wine.

Chag sameach.

Apr 02, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy lamb shoulder?

I bought shoulder chops at McKinnon's last week (which I cut up to make lamb stew). I think that they were $4.99/lb.

Mar 27, 2012
weg in Greater Boston Area

olive oil?

I received Trasimeno Mills Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil as a gift a few years ago from my Dad and we have been using it ever since. (the importer lives out in WMass in my Dad's home town). It is pricey, but delicious - -especially for salads and drizzled over vegetables. It has a long shelf life. Website is:
http://www.tuckawayfarmllc.com/Trasim...

Otherwise, we use use the Costco extra virgin, and the lighter Filip Berio for higher temp cooking.

Dec 23, 2011
weg in Greater Boston Area