bombaybeauty's Profile

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Suggestions for a cheese box?

Well, a friend managed to answer my question.

Tefal makes a Cheese Preserver box -- not sold in the US though.

Tupperware makes (made actually) a box called CheeSmart (cute). You can still find some on Ebay -- which I did.

xo

BB

Oct 14, 2011
bombaybeauty in Cookware

Suggestions for a cheese box?

I am looking for a box to store cheese in my refrigerator. All the cheese mongers I've asked emphasize that cheese must be stored in a breathable container (or wrap, but I'm not looking for a disposable wrap -- I would like something reusable).

I've seen some very practical cheese boxes (indeed Tupperware I believe) which have holes for air circulation. But after some vigorous Googling I haven't found anything yet.

Any leads or ideas?

Thanks for the help.

xo

BB

Oct 14, 2011
bombaybeauty in Cookware

Looking for great croissants midtown or upper west side

I used to think Soutine was pretty good, but either my tastes have become more sophisticated or the place has gone down. I tried them last week, and while they beat some other local alternatives they will not evoke memories of Paris...

I have been looking for a decent croissant between 79 and 66 on the west side, so haven't included Petrosian or Bergamote in my rounds (yet). But within these confines the conclusions are grim. Nothing great. Le Pain Quotidien is barely good enough, but with many reservations. Decent exterior (on a NY scale - would not pass muster in Paris) but the interior fails -- not buttery enough and too homogenous...

Also overrated Margot on 74th street. Fairway is a disaster. Gina la fornarina on 73rd and Amsterdam gets their croissants from Balthazar. But even at their source these are overrated, and by the time they make it uptown, they are further degraded. On the plus side, if you like the cream filled croissants (of the kind found in Italy), they do have these here. The ideal composition differs from a croissant, but the crema in these fails...

In desperation I even tried the Aroma on 72nd Street, who claim to make their own on the premises. Not terrible, but not really worth it either.

Also cross off Gran Daisy - good for their flat, square pizzas, but their croissants don't cut it (actually I doubt they make their own...)

I have one more place to check up on, before I give up hope and start to eat hot dogs for my weekend breakfast...

bb

Sep 12, 2010
bombaybeauty in Manhattan

Central Bottle: Fantastic Wine & Cheese Store Central Square

These folks just opened in Central Square at 196 Mass. Ave. and I'm already sure that this going to be one of my key "food" destinations in Boston. It's a wine and cheese store that's doing everything right. It's run by the former GM of East Coast Grill and the owners of The Blue Room.

It's not a huge wine selection, but it is thoughtfully original and priced right. Most wine stores in Boston, even apparently good ones, are stocking the same over-priced bottles. Here instead you'll find interesting regions and producers. The selection is strong at very reasonable price points: 11-15, 15-20, 20-30... It's what I've always dreamed of: a great selection of everyday wine at affordable prices.

If that weren't enough, they have a great selection of international and American cheeses, with a young, enthusiastic cheese monger happy to advise you. They also have a small selection of breads and bites. It almost makes you wish you could uncork one of those bottles on the spot and start eating... But wait... you can (sort of...)

On Tuesdays they have a $25 wine tasting which pairs 3 tastes with 3 small bites prepared by a guest chef. Tonight the guest chef was (no surprise) from The Blue Room. And on Thursdays they will convert themselves into a wine bar for the night.

I'm no wine snob, at least from my perspective. All I want is good wine for a reasonable price. Here I found myself paying less for better wine --now that's a move in the right direction.

This is my spot from now on...

BB

Central Bottle
196 Massachesetts Avenue
@ Central Square
http://www.centralbottle.com

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East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Blue Room
1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA

Praise for Graffiti

Echoing the praise in this thread. I was there last night with 5 friends. It was my second visit, the first being soon after the place opened. It is really a quirky, gem of a place.

The food is Indian tapas-style fusion, a term which might normally cause me to run for the hills but which in this case is meant as genuine praise. There is nothing here you would recognize as Indian food, so don't come looking for that. But all of the dishes have an Indian spice or flavor deployed in some subtle, unexpected, delicious way, and satisfying way.

The specifics of the meal were similar to recent posts. I would praise three dishes which I thought were incredible. The green mango paneer -- don't expect pieces of green mango as this is a subtle flavor that comes through pulverized green mangoes. This is truly an addictive dish, and I will take me at least week to get flavor out of my mind. The watermelon salad is more like an amuse bouche or palette cleanser, but a startling flavor combination -- a small square of watermelon, topped with mint chutney which has been made into a sorbet. The combination of chill and spice is startling and wonderful. Finally, for dessert I had the strawberries -- so far so good, but a hint of truffle oil gives it an unexpected rich/savory flavor and the pepper ice cream chases the flavors off the palette with a bit of bite.

As others note, the place is tiny so expect to be a little jostled. But the staff, especially chef-owner Mehta, are so friendly that you won't mind.

Between six people, we took about 14 small plates, along with 4 of the martinis, 3 bottles of wine (all are priced at $25 dollars), one wine by the glass, and one dessert. With a 20% tip we paid 60 each. I've not had such a delicious meal in long while. My palette was abuzz. An incredible bargain at this price...

BB

Jul 02, 2009
bombaybeauty in Manhattan

Business dinner, Davis/Cambridge, 40 pp all inclusive (perhaps Barada?)

Thanks for these additional recommendations! I've been meaning to try GG since I've seen it written up on the boards for its wood-burning oven. That's where the next one is, and I've made note of your other suggestions -- many thanks.

A colleague arranged a similar dinner this week and took us to Elephant Walk. I recall this place from a previous stint (and century) in Boston, and thought the food was actually pretty decent.

BB

Business dinner, Davis/Cambridge, 40 pp all inclusive (perhaps Barada?)

Many thanks for the suggestions folks -- BB

Comprehensive Chowish Craft Cocktail Compendium '09

Indeed, I would add Craigie on Main. Don't know the bartenders by name, but early on there was one guy who really knew his craft and was training others. Having been to both Green Street and CoM several times recently, I think they are at the same level for the cocktails I tried, though Green Street does have a huge repertiore. For me it's just a difference of style, one a little buttoned down and the other a little relaxed.

BB

Business dinner, Davis/Cambridge, 40 pp all inclusive (perhaps Barada?)

The accountants are clamping down on us at the flugelbindery (probably rightly so). I've got to arrange a business dinner in the Davis Square area (but Harvard or Central could be ok) with a max of $40 pp all inclusive (drinks, tax, tip) and we need to be able to afford a bottle of wine too. So if I'm doing the math right that works out to an almost-impossible $20 pp on the food.

(For comparison, based on board recs I took our last group to Scampo, which was very good but came out at $60 pp all inclusive. The accountant put me in solitary for a day.)

Finally, the place has to have a reasonable decor and be not too loud (so we can talk).

Is this mission impossible?

Ethnic eateries seemed to be a natural option, so I thought of Barada (Lebanese food having saved me from many a similar situation last year in London). Do you think it checks out by the above? The place needs to be sufficiently attractive so that clients don't think we are skimping, which I suppose we are (being forced to).

Any other thoughts? Ideally we would be in Davis, or say a 15/20 min drive from Davis (putting Harvard, Central, etc.) in range. (The time before we were at Green Street Grill, which almost fit the budget, since no one had dessert, but I'm hoping not to repeat that....)

Finally, for our next dinner I've booked Gran Gusto, again based on board recs -- might it fit the above?

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!

BB

Vegetarian dinner?

I'm a vegetarian and have become a big fan of Craigie on Main, but it is worth noting that they typically have only one vegetarian entree, a salad, and a soup that can sometimes be vegetarianized by dropping some of the good bits as options. For a weekday/ neighborhood dinner, lack of choice may not be a problem, provided that the non-choices are good (and at CoM they typically are), but for a birthday or special dinner I wouldn't take a vegetarian as making a choice is often part of the fun.

A place I've seen recommended on the boards is Garden at the Cellar. Though I haven't tried it yesterday, I walked by just yesterday and can confirm that they do have a very vegetarian friendly menu. Again, I haven't dined there yet, but the place seemed to lack some of the atmosphere that I would want for a festive dinner.

BB

Good Wine Buys for under $10.00?

I've been asking myself a related question - where are the good wine stores? My overall complaint is most places are selling the same stuff. Variety is lacking.

Finlero, thanks for the Federal recommendation -- I'll take a look.

Two places I have had some success -- There's a wine store on Charles Street, near the T-stop (Charles Street Liquors - not the one closer to the Common which is overpriced). They have an interesting, thoughtful selection, and flag staff recommendations and value wines in each section (though value here is closer to $12/13 than $10).

Then there's Corporate Wines, which is essentially a wine ordering service. They have a shop in Woburn. The plus: huge selection, very plausible prices. The minus: most things have to be ordered by the case. But a plausible option for a party or to stock up on your house wine.

BB

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Charles Street Liquors
143 Charles St, Boston, MA

Corporate Wines
16 Cummings Park, A Woburn, MA

Gaam (Indian vegetarian 30th&Bway): quick impression

Indeed - the same in Gujarati --

Update for everyone -- this place has closed, or moved -- back to its orginal name and location, Vatan on 3rd Avenue. I thought the food at Gaam was better than it used to be Vatan so I hope the quality improvement carries back to the old location, and that they've ripped out the overwrought decore.

BB

Dec 11, 2008
bombaybeauty in Manhattan

Late night dining at Craigie

It seems to have been a Craigie night -- I was there too. Had the one vegetarian entree - crispy polenta with vegetables - which was quite fine. I followed with the cheese plate, which was well chosen and served at the right temperature -- too rare. The mixologists still seem to be getting their new cocktails down but were working with the concentration of lab workers. Very promising. BB

Gaam (Indian vegetarian 30th&Bway): quick impression

Gaam is in the location previously occupied by Dimple. But the food and format have changed considerably. As noted by previous comments, Gaam is run by the same folks that own Vatan, on 3rd in 30s. This place inherits some of the good and bad features of Vatan.

The bad: Terrible-to-kitsch decor, non-existent ambiance (at dinner). I thought I saw someone drinking a glass of wine here, but you'd be foolish to try (no, not because of wrong-headed view that wine can't be paired with Indian food, simply because there is no way this place can have good wine). I definitely saw someone with a beer.

The good: Service is efficient and friendly.

The food: I haven't yet found a great Indian restaurant in New York, and this isn't about to change things. But they serve a very respectable home-cooked style thali.

You start with an appetizer plate of farsan (savory finger foods traditionally eaten *with* an Indian meal or a a tea-time snack; especially favored by the Gujaratis). These were really more than respectable. The bhajia were not oily; the dhokla were light, and the dupka were nice. (How does one translate this? Deep-fried dumplings? Really, where else will you get methi dupka in New York?) The mini-samosas had a nice filling but had been made with ready-made crusts. Good tamarind and mint chutneys. There's a reason that farsan are traditional served with the mean. They are a great crispy, savory diversion in the middle of the meal, but get monotonous on their own.

The main thali had really nice puris (really, these people do know how to fry well -- they were not oily at all), a good low-oil yellow daal, chickpeas, eggplants, potatoes, and one kofta-type thing. These were good-minus; not as good as the starters. But cooked in a lighter, healtier format than you'll find at most Indian restaurants in NY.

The thali included a small sweet that was ok.

I don't sound that enthusiastic, but did really enjoy it. It's a bit like visiting an aunt who likes to cook a lot of food, and cooks well but not spectacularly. At 20 per thali, with refills available, you really can't argue.

BB

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Gaam
11 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001

Oct 24, 2008
bombaybeauty in Manhattan

Boston for visiting (mostly) veggie 'hounds

i'm looking forward to the reply as well, as I'm vegetarian though not vegan. In my two previous cities (New York and London), I presumed that any good place had good vegetarian choices, but I find this does not work in Boston. There are many fine establishments that do not have any vegetarian mains. So call ahead!

My one suggestion is the bar / lounge area at Rialto. The resto is very fancy, but their bar / lounge area is pretty relaxed. They have a nice bar menu, and I love their selection of antipasti, many of which are vegetarian and many of which are sublime. Before 7 pm, you can also score some complementary crostini, though these are not always vegetarian. A few antipasti and a glass of wine shouldn't set you back more than $20-25. It's worth every penny.

Cheers,

BB

London - Lebanese Restaurant Recommendation

Following our friend Howler's recommendation I went to Ishbilia and Beiteddine in Knightsbridge many times over the last year. Truly outstanding food and, for London, reasonable prices. Indeed, if I were to pick two places that had changed my perception of the subtlety of a cuisine over the last year in London it would be these two. It's worth the trip even if they are a bit out of your way. Cheers, BB

Jun 11, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

London - where should I live for eating purposes?

Here's a few general thoughts:
1. Geography and transport: London is a very spread out city, so where you live does matter. If you live centrally, it's easier to get N/S/E/W but if you live far out in one direction, it takes an hour or more to cross town. Consider both rail and underground links -- the rail system is very extensive and depending on the line as frequent. But two rail stops from the terminus is often a cheaper place to live than two underground stops, even though it takes as long. Stare down the rail and underground map of King's X and draw your radius.
2. The markets in London are a great resource, and I personally would want to live within walking distance of a market. Currently I walk to Marylebone Market, which is small, but meets my needs. If I were to move, I would probably live somewhere near Borough -- though overrun with people, it's still a great market. It will definitely give you that not-in-Utah-anymore feeling!
3. Space versus location -- In your first year, you might want to get a smaller place, that is central, so you can explore the city and figure out where you would want to be longer term.

Good luck with the move.

BB

Jun 09, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

Visiting London for 3 days - please help!!

Finally had the toasted cheese sandwich at Borough -- with all those onions, spring onions, chives, and a touch of garlic it was very, very good -- indeed, probably the 4th best sandwich I've ever had. And great value too since I didn't feel hunger again for 24 hours! BB

Jun 05, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

Romantic Restaurant in Cambridge? (Engagement Plans!)

Actually the bar area at Rialto has booths which are (I'm trying to recall here...) partitioned off withs some sort of curtains... Intimate and quiet. Worked on me (at least for step A). BB

Heading to Boston, looking for good recs

I would sound a cautionary note on Casablanca. True it is a Harvard Square icon, but this place has been slowly decelerating for years. I used to go here for the vibe, but now the place is pretty dead. The food remains acceptable, but wouldn't rate it as much more. I think Harvard Square offers better food (Upstairs on the Square, Rialto) or more iconic (Mr. Bartley's).

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Upstairs On the Square
91 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Bartley's Burger Cottage
1246 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Rialto
1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

London - Efes Restaurants: Your Thoughts

One useful area-specific tip. Efes 2 on Great Portland Street stays open late. They wouldn't tell me how late exactly but I believe I was there around 12.30 and it was going strong. Useful if you've got the late night munchies and are in the area. I think the downstairs area is used for Turkish lounge music of some sort. The food was decent, not stellar, But one has to be grateful for any place that offers late night sustenance. BB

May 31, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

Fun Place to eat on Harvard Square

I agree it is very HSq, but Casablanca has really lost its vibe (or perhaps I've gotten older and it never had a vibe?. Food is not bad though.

Fun Place to eat on Harvard Square

A good spot for dessert is Finale on Mt. Auburn. I think they have slipped a bit as they have expanded into a mini-chain, but desserts are still above average. The molten chocolate cake is nice. Burdick is another good choice. BB

Charbonnel Et Walker chocolates, Mayfair, London

A great find Limster. I don't know if you've tried Cocomaya yet, but if not I would love to have you review it! I was walking by a few months ago and wandered in. It's a like a jewelry store or fashion boutique, with beautiful vitrines and antique mirrors. The chocolates themselves are tiny jewels made with a range of subtle flavors. The staff are very friendly. I was thinking of reviewing it myself but there's no way I could do as good a job as you!

BB

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Cocomaya
35 Connaught St, Paddington, Greater London W2 2, GB

May 25, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

Opinions on Conde Naste "Hot Tables"?

Marylebone Market is nice if you live in the area, but isn't worth visiting as a tourist. There are better markets to be had. Borough, though crowded, seems atop the list. Spitalfields has its charms. A number of people have recommended Broadway market to me, but I haven't made it yet. BB

May 18, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

Neopolitan Pizza

Interesting - right you are - Most of the VPN certified places I have eaten at (DC, NY) have actually been quite good, using a wood oven and buffalo mozzarella. So either Bertucci's has gotten much better (they list a distinct Neapolitan pizza on their menu, but they use the usual subterfuge of a brick oven pizza and mention only fresh mozzarella not buffalo milk mozzarella) or the VPN certification has become meaningless.

I suppose the answer is obvious...

BB

Neopolitan Pizza

I'm with you in being suspicious of rules in anything, but there is such a thing as an authentic Neapolitan pizza both in rules and in spirit. First the rules. Silly or not, the European Union protects certain foods by allowing countries to designate official products (DOC in Italy, AOC in France). Even in Italy you can get a DOC pizza and pizzerias list it as such on the menu. For reference, there is no place in Boston, nor Bertucci's, that is a member:

http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/vp...

Second, in spirit, of course you can make a pretty authentic Neapolitan pizza without being officially designated. I am not an expert, but for me there are 3 keys: a hot, wood burning oven; the right type of flour, and true buffalo mozzarella.

Third, you can have all kinds of great pizzas that are not Neapolitan (e..g, authentic NY pizza that uses a coal oven), but the poster was specifically looking for th Neapolitan style.

So to stay on topic and avoid the CH penalty box. I've been reading this board and am also on the lookout for authentic Neapolitan pizza in Boston. The only place I have seen mentioned that has both a wood burning oven and uses true buffalo milk mozzarella is Gran Gusto. I hope others can add to this list.

As a final thought -- I am also on the lookout for good pizza in general, but I view that as a different thread, of which for that matter there have been many.

Cheers,

BB

Rasa Samundra: quick impression

This is a quick impression, since I didn't get a chance to try too many dishes. And a second even bigger qualification is that place specializes in seafood and I only tried vegetarian items. But I was on Charlotte Street Sunday evening, in need of a quick dinner with friends, so in I went.

The menu is unconventional -- they truly focus on the Kerala food -- no saag, mater, malai kofta, or paneer in sight. One of the starters was a basket of crisp snacks (murukku, banana chips, batter fried papads, and achappam). I normally associate the first two with teatime rather than dinner, but no matter, it has been a while since I had murukku (which we call chakli in my part of the country) and I was pleased. The second starter was the banana boli (plantain fritters), which were ok: my palate craved some chutney (and for that matter a cup of tea) with them, but they fit the need for a less spicy starter for my friends and weren't bad, just a little light on the spice.

For dinner, we had the following:
- cheera paripu curry: toor dal with spinach. It was not too oily (good!), but again a little under-spiced for me. But still, nice to have a good yellow dal with dinner.
- moru kachiathu: sweet mangoes (never saw them) and green banana cooked in yogurt with chillies and ginger. This was very nice, again a less spicy item, but in this case the flavors didn't crave more spice -- it tasted just right, a bit of richness from the yogurt but also a bit of sour to offset it along with the light spices. It reminded me of a Gujarati kadhi, which goes beautifully with rice.
- pachakkari thoran was another success: stir fried vegetables. You've probably heard me (Howler, other Indians) complain that when we eat at home our vegetables are lightly cooked, and are typically not floating in creamy/ oily sauces. Well this is a fine example. The vegetables were crisp and the the spices light, but pretty good.
- Lemon rice: good.

One can't really come to a bottom line on this place without trying the seafood, which I leave to others. But I was pleased with my meal: nothing my mother or at least 3 of my aunts couldn't surpass, but good, unfussy, light. I walked away without a brick in my stomach, and actually managed to get a few items that one doesn't find on the typical menu.

BB

May 06, 2008
bombaybeauty in U.K./Ireland

Best Indian resto's in Boston (for musicman and others)

Interesting - thanks - will check this out - Bangladeshi food is interesting in its own right. Unfortunately, we most often find Bangladeshi restaurants masquerading as North Indian places, and this does disservice to both. A welcome change then, a place tha wears its Bangladeshi colours with pride... BB

Best Indian resto's in Boston (for musicman and others)

Thanks all -- some useful tips here -- I haven't tried India Quality and will check it out when I'm next in town! BB