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Dim-Sum Style Service

Yeah, don't understand either why this isn't a location specific question - are you planning a cross country trip from dimsum to dimsum?
Any major city that has a Chinatown probably has one or more serving from carts. Around Boston, I've eaten at 2 downtown (China Pearl and Hei La Moon) and 2 in the 'burbs (China Pearl in Woburn and China Star in Lowell.) There's probably others.

...so I just googled State Bird Provisions and first link was to a place in SF that serves "American small plates served dim-sum style" - is that the one you're referring to? So are you actually looking for dimsum, or just any small plates "tapas" sort of thing served from carts? (which actually seems like an interesting idea, but I've never seen it.)

Dec 12, 2014
snippet in General Topics

Red Bird - Waltham gets something special!!

I'd like to try this place, but the note on the menus "substitutions are politely declined" turns me off - any experience with how much they mean that? Makes it a non-starter for my fussy other half, and most of the other people I tend to dine with. (I rarely want to substitute things myself but still not crazy about that policy either, on principle - seems rare to come across a restaurant that won't make reasonable substitutions.)

Nov 02, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

What products at Trader Joes to avoid?

I think a single nay thread is useful also.

I just tried their spelt risotto, boy was that nasty. Had some smokey smell/flavor not explained by any of the ingredients.

Oct 22, 2014
snippet in Chains

A beef: "Is this your first time here?"

I agree it's usually a pointless question, but relatively harmless, and don't blame the waiter for it. Sometimes I just answer no whether I've been there or not, especially if I sense a 'yes' would result in a pointless spiel I don't feel like listening to.

Aug 18, 2014
snippet in Not About Food
1

Tomato identification ideas

mm yeah, I can see where pencil wouldn't do squat on milk bottle plastic.

Aug 13, 2014
snippet in Gardening

Tomato identification ideas

That's why I suggested pencil. It seems counter-intuitive, but plain old pencil lasts well. (Maybe not better than the industrial markers - haven't tried that.) It wouldn't have occurred to me but I got the tip (along with the vinyl blind tip) from a garden club presentation I went to.

Aug 13, 2014
snippet in Gardening

Tomato identification ideas

Use an old white vinyl miniblind. Take it apart and cut up the slats into plant marker lengths. You can probably find a free blind someplace like freecycle. Or cheap at a yard sale or your favorite big box discount store. Easily makes a huge supply of markers that are much better than cutting them out of random plastic lids or bottles. You'll have so many you won't mind marking all your seedlings when you start them, then just stick them in the garden. Just write on them with regular pencil or grease pencil. To reuse clean off with a scrubbie or one of those abrasive sponges.

Aug 11, 2014
snippet in Gardening
1

Oh please Arby's...

I used to be an major Arby's lover and get what you mean. But I also understand the pointer to Bedford House of Beef - it does somehow satisfy an Arby craving in a way that not just any roast beef sandwich does, with the bonus of more closely resembling actual beef.

Is it worth it to eat organic peanut butter?

I don't usually buy organic PB, just "natural" ones like Teddy - anything that's just peanuts, or peanuts and salt. Never had any bitter PB and I can't imagine why an organic version should be bitter. If you just bought/opened this and it's actually rancid I might take it back.

Aug 05, 2014
snippet in General Topics
1

Store search: Coconut or Green Tea Sherbet/Ice Cream

HMart in Burlington has a selection. I bought green tea and black sesame ice creams last time I was there.

Aug 02, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Sugguestions for asian groccery stores near Sudbury, MA

2nd New Asian Supermarket (the place in Littleton.) It's not huge like Hmart but pretty well stocked and worth checking out to see if it at least partly meets your needs (especially if you head up 495 for other reasons, it's not too far from the highway.) Little if anything for fresh meats but some frozen stuff, and a decent selection of fresh veggies.

There's also Saigon Asian Market, pretty big place in Nashua NH - which is of course way out of your way, but might be worth checking out if you happen to find yourself in the area for other reasons.

Jul 25, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

New Restaurant in West Concord

Saltbox facebook page says 84 Commonwealth so that would be the Orvis space.
https://www.facebook.com/SaltboxFarm

Jul 23, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

searching for great ginger ale

Your question inspired me to open a bottle of ginger ale I bought a little while ago and never got around to trying. "Q Ginger - Superior Ginger Ale." Lists organic agave, ginger extract, extracts of lemon juice, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, orange peel, rose oil. Slightly frosted wine style bottle with white and red label. Good stuff, trouble is I don't recall where I bought it. Possibly Whole Foods.

Jul 14, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Noodles & Co opens in Burlington

While there may be better quick options around, I don't think that automatically makes Noodles & Co bad. One thing I like about it is there are lots of veg options. But even before I turned mostly veg I thought Subway was awful, and would have preferred this place over that or most mainstream fast food. Different strokes.

Jul 07, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Green Forest Tea Room: Lowell Chinese Bakery Well Worth the Drive!

yes, we like the dim sum place - at least for dim sum, never tried anything else there. There's a thread on it here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896948

Jul 02, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Noodles & Co opens in Burlington

I had 2 lunches there. Tried Indonesian peanut saute with tofu, thought it was pretty decent. Pad Thai with shrimp was ok, not the best or worst Pad Thai I've had. Shrimp were kind of lame so I'd probably skip those next time. A friend had the Tomato Basil soup and the Pesto Cavatappi and thought it was fine. Overall I think it's fine if it's the sort of thing you're in the mood for (which I guess is, not knowing what you're in the mood for) and have a soft spot for any kind of noodles.) Hard to guess if any individual dish is going to be to your taste, given the variety of cuisines covered by their theme.

That traffic pattern though, yikes. Only good thing I can say about that is it sent me on an unplanned trip to HMart.

Jul 01, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Green Forest Tea Room: Lowell Chinese Bakery Well Worth the Drive!

There are 2 different China Star restaurants in Lowell. The Dimsum place is the one on Middlesex. This looks like it is near the China Star on Broadway - have they started doing dim sum also? (I was curious and looked this up, since the China Star dim sum I've been to isn't in any kind of historic building,)

Jul 01, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Why does the Acton/Concord area have NO GOOD RESTAURANTS?

don't think so. The bit in the local paper was "The owner has worked in the restaurant industry in Boston and recently moved to Boxborough."

stopped for lunch today. My husband had the blackened cajun chicken burrito and liked it. I had the mushroom quesadilla and that was good too.

Jun 21, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Why does the Acton/Concord area have NO GOOD RESTAURANTS?

Not fine dining, but Oscar's Burritos and Mexican Grill in Boxborough is now open in the "Hayward Farms" building by the ice rink (where the garden center and ice cream place is.)

No website or menu online (both this and the ice cream place could probably benefit from a little more advertising and visibility than the sign by Rt 111 and traffic to the rink.)

Nachos, Spicy Fries, Tortilla Soup, Vegetarian Chili, Taco Salad, Chopped Salad, Potato Taco (baked potato stuffed with veg chili, cheese, etc.)

Assorted Burritos or Chimichangas (grilled chicken, spicy chicken, grilled steak, spicy chipolte BBQ steak, roasted pork carnitas, chile verde, al pastor, grilled veggies) Also a few "signature" burritos.

Cheese or Truffled Portobello Quesadillas
Regular and Fish Tacos
Mexican Fiesta plate
Enchiladas (shredded chicken or beef, chorizo, or veggie)

I had the fish tacos. I thought they were pretty tasty, though I wished they used something other than tilapia. I will definitely go back soon to try other stuff. (While I have no objective reason to say this, I'm guessing they will make a better burrito than Bueno.)

Jun 19, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Why does the Acton/Concord area have NO GOOD RESTAURANTS?

We finally tried Red Raven again about a week ago. (Our last time was soon after they opened, and was a poor enough experience that we had little interest in returning.) I still don't see us going here often, but it seems much improved and I expect we will occasionally.

Our first visit the service had been comically messed up. I put this down to them being new, though still not really excusable given the prices and what they seemed to be going for. Service was much better this time, and from watching other tables I got the sense things were running pretty smoothly in general and staff was better trained.

The menu didn't seem well thought out in the beginning and we both found it hard to find anything we wanted to order back then, also the prices were generally much too high for what it was. I'd heard about menu changes a couple times which is why we finally tried it again. While not an inexpensive place, prices are more reasonable now. The menu is still a bit more limited than I would prefer, but at least makes somewhat more sense.

Food had actually been pretty good the first time we were there, and it was still pretty good. Nothing astonishing, but a decent option in the restaurant wasteland.
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On other fronts, after a first unimpressive visit we've been back to Sprigs a few times, we like the menu and have been very happy with the food. We've had problems with slow or non-existent service on several visits, but this always seems to be just us, and always for some odd if not humorous reason. It's a good place for a nice evening out.

I just saw that comment about Belle's taking a turn for the worse. Wish I had seen that a month ago. We went after not having been there in quite awhile, and everything just seemed off. I was hoping we'd just hit a bad night, but am wondering about that now.

Jun 19, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

Outdoor lunch, Father's Day, Metro West

Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton has an outside patio.

Restaurant on the lake may have been what's now Bolton Street Tavern, on Rt 85? (formerly Picadilly pub) Or maybe Allora?

Jun 05, 2014
snippet in Greater Boston Area

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