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The Melting Pot

Perhaps not technically "boiled" - it's been awhile and I don't recall exactly what the liquid was up to - but that's pretty much how it tastes to me which was really my point. I think I've tried 2 of the broths there and neither really imported any flavor.

Mar 22, 2014
snippet in Chains

TrJ Cheese Aficionados

I agree about the quality. I'm not remotely a cheese snob, but I've tried enough lame cheeses from Trader Joe's that my rule anymore is to just skip experimenting with their cheeses. About the only cheese I buy there is the shredded pepper jack, since I can't find it anyplace else.

Mar 22, 2014
snippet in Chains

The Melting Pot

IMO it's an overpriced novelty. Especially the "big night out". And the entree course involves boiling your own meat/veggies - I don't want them boiled, yuck, and when I go out I don't want to cook my own dinner. In theory it sounds sort of like a fun thing to do with a group but it doesn't really work that well. Too many tangled forks in the pot and takes forever.

I love a nice cheese or chocolate fondue, and if you limit yourself to that and a salad it's maybe not too bad, but then I ask myself if I really want (ok - should) have a dinner consisting mostly of cheese.

Mar 22, 2014
snippet in Chains

Chicken cheesesteak?

I grew up in Philly-cheese-steak land. There's something particular about a real Philly cheese steak that makes it what it is. I couldn't tell you what all it is, but part of it is the roll. Lots of places that do cheese steaks also have chicken steaks and some may be good but they're just not Philly.

You might try Willy's Philly's in Maynard. I haven't been there in a long time, but when I went there I was expecting someone had stuck the Philly name on a place but didn't "get it" - was pleasantly surprised that they were doing a pretty good job of it. When I mentioned where I was from the guy apologized for the rolls not being perfect replicas, which to me was a sign he understood.

Feb 13, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

thoughts on the pampered chef

It's the Tupperware party all over again. I have a couple things I bought when a friend was sponsoring a party as a fundraiser, and a couple my MIL gave me (that I'm sure she bought only because she got sucked into attending someones party, and figured she may as well get her Christmas shopping done...)

Quality and warranty are pretty good, and I actually like and use all the PC things I have. But still on the expensive side for what you get, and I remember thinking shipping also seemed pricey (seemed to me if you ordered something at a party they should either have it, or ship it to you or at least the party host for free if they don't.) So it's fine, but unless there was something specific I really wanted I wouldn't seek the stuff out over going to a good kitchen store.

Feb 12, 2014
snippet in Cookware

Ditching the mircowave?

We installed a strong shelf above a counter for our microwave. They make brackets for this purpose. So we have the microwave and the counter space. Works well if you have the right spot.

Feb 11, 2014
snippet in Cookware

What size crock pot?

Sometimes putting a smaller amount in a large crock doesn't work as well, but it may depend on the unit. Even though I make things to freeze, I found myself making more than I really wanted with my big one (6 or 8qt?) so I bought a 4qt. My big one cooks too quickly anyway, even on low, so that was another excuse. If you have room I think it's nice to have, I also have one of those little ones that gets used almost exclusively for cooking hot cereals that take awhile, like cut oatmeal (on a timer, so it's ready when we wake up.)

Feb 11, 2014
snippet in Cookware

How do you dry plastic bags after you wash them?

I stick them to the fridge with a magnet, magnet inside the bag and fluff it out a bit. (I tend to do it with the veggie storage bags.) Takes no additional space when not in use.

Feb 11, 2014
snippet in Cookware
2

Where to find Ancho Chiles in Boston or Metrowest?

I usually get them at Penzey's. (I like to make my own chili powder, I use Alton Brown's recipe and can get all the peppers and stuff there.)

I recently saw them at the Market Basket in Hudson, the newish one next to Lowe's near 495. I've never been a Market Basket fan, but the produce section there is pretty good, with a lot of more-than-usual stuff.

Feb 06, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Bondir Concord Just Okay

We went to Bondir Concord about a month ago. All 4 of us thought the food was generally quite good, and we're all reasonably fussy sorts, each in a different way. The check wasn't bad, less pricey than I expected.

Where it lost major points for us was beverages. Consensus was they took the "roll their own and be unique" thing too far here. Like they made their own coffee liquor, and didn't have anything like regular Kahlua, and didn't tell you this - my husband nearly gagged on his drink and pronounced it the worst he'd ever had. He was going to order something else, but found whatever was in that was their homemade version too and gave up. One person wanted a simple glass of cranberry juice, and they didn't have it. So he tried to get orange, and all they had was blood orange juice. He said it was really sour and asked for sugar - this didn't help much, since the sugar was sugar cubes (yes, homemade!) that were really difficult to dissolve in a drink. And they served complimentary sparkling water, which might have been a nice touch, except they had it in open pitchers so it was kind of half flat and yucky. I did have a glass of wine, which as mentioned was fine and a reasonable pour, at least they didn't screw up a simple glass of wine.

Feb 06, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Sake in Boston

Cambridge Wine & Spirits in Fresh Pond (next to Whole Foods) has a huge selection of Sake.

Craft Beer cellar as mentioned has a small but good selection, at least the one in Belmont did. The one near me (Westford) doesn't carry it, they are smaller and say they don't have the space. No idea which is the exception/rule, so you might call and check before going.

Jan 08, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

hmm...first turkey, I guess a roasting pan would be helpful

I have several pans I could use to roast a turkey, but I'm a fan of disposable. There's always lots of stuff to clean up after a turkey dinner, so just getting rid of the pan is a treat. (Plus, we roast turkey in the grill - removing pan for about the last 30 min - and I'd rather not crud up my good pans in the grill.)

The disposable pans with attached rack/handles cost a little more but work well without other support.

Jan 08, 2014
snippet in Cookware

Restaurant Discounts in MA and Alcohol Purchases

thing about restaurant.com, the certificates are bought for less than face value, so there is a discount involved (even if you didn't buy it.)

Oct 28, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Bertuccis Sporkie sausage

My husband loves the Sporkie (sausage & ricotta) pizza at Bertuccis - in particular the sausage they use. I've not found an Italian sausage that has the same taste. Anyone run across a sausage available in the Boston area that is similar or know what they use? Or for that matter, a recipe or idea what the magic ingredients might be?

Oct 07, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Food at Premium Theatre in Framingham?

So we went tonight, but didn't eat there. You enter through the Cinema Grille entrance. There is no sign for the Premium Cinema, so it's not quite clear where to go.

As far as I can tell it's the same menu whether you eat in the sit-down restaurant, or order at the counter to be delivered to your seat before the main feature starts. And the menu bears only a passing resemblance to that one online. Very few people eating in the restaurant, more people eating in the theater - definitely no push of any sort to order food, you almost have to make an effort to do so. Free soda & free popcorn - bags sitting prefilled on trays as you entered the theater.

(The whole thing is a slightly nicer experience all around than the regular theater, though I wasn't that impressed with the seats. You have a bit more space than your regular stadium cinema seat, it's nice to have the little table and not share armrests. But I didn't find the seats all that comfortable, at least partly because they didn't recline at all. Not nearly in the same league as the Superluxe, but of course not nearly the same price either.)

Aug 23, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Food at Premium Theatre in Framingham?

I realize this is an ancient thread, but figured I'd try using it instead of starting another...

I've been to Superluxe but not AMC Framingham Premium, and I'm having some trouble figuring out how it works there. The website for Framingham seems to have no useful info, other than to say there are "In Theater Dining Options." I'm thinking of trying it this weekend but will have an elderly relative along, so would prefer to figure it out in advance rather than winging it.

I take it they have a restaurant outside the theater and when you buy tickets you can make reservations from 2 hours to 45min before the show? Or, you can eat in the theater - I get the impression that in theater they only serve food (a different menu) before the show, not during? How about drinks? How long before the movie starts can you get in? And where can I find the menus? The only one I can find is the generic one at http://dinein.amctheatres.com/Menu - but I can't even tell if this for is outside or inside the theater. Of course it says it says availability depends on the location, and the location tells me nothing.

And of course, how is the food lately? I have no expectations of anything great. My assumption is aside from convenience, if I'm not going to actually eat IN the theater we'd normally be better off eating elsewhere. But I'm more inclined to try eating in the theater if it is decent enough, mostly as a novelty for my guest.

Aug 21, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Where to eat near Concord

yes, Belles Bistro is good. Best to make reservations especially at your typical popular dining times, it's not that big and you can expect them to be packed then.

Aug 07, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Where to eat near Concord

I heard Serafina reopened?

Aug 06, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Where to eat near Concord

Maynard isn't too far and has 2 good Thai restaurants. We usually prefer Thai Chili, but Siam Village is also good and I think either is much better than Benjarong in Acton. There's also a little Mexican place El Huipil, I haven't been in awhile but I think it's still getting good reviews.

Burlington also isn't far from Concord, as long as it's not rush hour. And it seems to have sprouted a lot of new restaurants over recent years from ethnic to higher end. I won't try to list as I haven't made it to most of them, but many have come up on other threads. I think Blue Stove in Nordstrom (small plates) is definitely worth checking out.

Waltham may be about the same distance as Burlington, depending where you are in Concord and traffic. It's another good area to check out for restaurants, lots there.

Aug 04, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Cooking with barbeque sauce

doesn't quite count as cooking, but BBQ sauce on a Quorn burger is quite tasty.

Jul 19, 2013
snippet in Vegetarian & Vegan

Ground chicken

I sometimes get this at Whole Foods but hit or miss if they have it.

Jul 18, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - July 2013 [OLD]

I've been getting their syrup (B) in the jug for years, it's good.

Jul 05, 2013
snippet in Chains

FLAVACOL for popcorn?

ugh. Why would anyone want to go out of their way to put artificial coloring and flavor on their popcorn? I've always considered any fake stuff they put on movie popcorn something to be avoided. So many more interesting things you can do to popcorn. Or just real butter for that matter...

Jun 29, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

ISO Ice cream stands where kiddie size does not mean a scoop the size of a baby's head

I have a few paper bowls stashed in the car for when we wind up at Kimballs. Order 2 flavors in a large dish, then divvy it up. Also some good plastic spoons, their floppy spoons are hard to eat with.

Kimballs pricing has always bugged me - a large is only like 50 cents more than a small, but so much bigger it seems like a ripoff to get the small. So I think that makes people tend to get the large, then be impressed by how much ice cream they got, and I've always suspected that was the goal. I really wish they had something resembling true small, medium and large at prices that matched, but they'd probably sell way less ice cream that way.

Jun 29, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Best Whole Foods in Boston Area

I like Bedford. I think it's one of the larger ones around here and seems to have the best selection. When I go to any others with a list there always seems to be stuff they don't have. The selection in the prepared foods area in Bedford seems to have gone way downhill though.

Jun 29, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Taste of Cambridge

What is this event typically like crowd-wise? So crowded you can't move with really long lines, not too bad, or someplace in-between? Is getting there right when it opens best, or would going late work?

Jun 23, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Recs in Burlington, any cuisine

I guess it's too late, but if you want quiet the Border Cafe isn't the place to find it. It's horribly noisy, I avoid it for that reason.

(In your shoes I'd have done Blue Stove.)

Jun 11, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

The Walnut Grille: new vegetarian dining spot in Newton

I went there Sunday evening. It was quite busy and I decided to get takeout instead of waiting for a table. As it turned out, it took even longer to get my takeout than it would have taken to be seated. (Also noticed my takeout sitting on the cold windowsill well before the person there did and had to ask for it.) Between that stuff and just watching awhile my sense is service still needs some sorting out.

The menu has all sorts of great options. I had the cauliflower app which was very yummy. Also the veggie lasagna, which was ok but way too heavy on lentils for my taste. The sauce had a nice flavor but the whole dish wasn't really what I think of as veggie lasagna.

Apr 17, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Legal Seafoods: Yay or Nay?

While you can get better seafood than Legals, and you could get unlucky with something at Legals (like pretty much anyplace), I've always found it very consistently good. If someone has an itch to try the place and will be in the area, I see no reason to not go there.

I would not put Legals remotely in the same category as Red Lobster. Granted I haven't been to a Red Lobster in a very long time, but I'd be fine with going to Legal's anytime and have zero desire to enter a Red Lobster. I can think of many local seafood joints and even pizza/sub shops around here that probably serve better seafood. I suspect most people in the area feel the same, as it's like 100 miles to the nearest one - think there used to be a few around that didn't last.

Mar 25, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Asia Gourmet in Concord: Very Good Taiwanese

Downstairs Taiwanese is one of our favorite places to eat around here lately. Ordering food from upstairs while sitting downstairs is a nice option to have, but of cousre you lose something of the Japanese dining experience. Be prepared that the servers downstairs may not be familiar with things - last time I tried that I didn't get the things it was supposed to come with (like miso soup) and had to wait around for soy sauce. Maybe the reverse would work better, dunno.

Had sushi upstairs a few months ago and it was great. Been meaning to get back. Chatted with a sushi fan sitting next to me at the sushi bar and he raved about it - said went out of his way to get there whenever nearbyish (he was from Andover or someplace not too close.)

(Upstairs did used to be problematic way in the past, with some previous owners, I had given up on it. I don't even recall what the food was like, as service was so messed up you were even lucky to get what you ordered.)

Mar 12, 2013
snippet in Greater Boston Area