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early dinner near MFA?

Go to Trattoria Toscana. It's just across the fens from the MFA, and if there's not a Sox game that night, should be easy to get into.

The food is fantastic - easily some of the best authentic Italian in Boston.

Jul 23, 2013
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Dairy & Soy Free Dining Options?

Thought I'd reply back with our latest find. After several incidents where we think restaurant employees either weren't thorough enough or they just messed up, we cut way back on our eating out. It's annoying, but not as annoying as a grumpy baby!

One bright spot, however, has been Not Your Average Joe's. They've won national recognition for being extremely sensitive to food allergies. We went to the Arlington location on Saturday, and they were tremendous. Our server detailed who in our party had what sensitivities (gluten for my brother-in-law, dairy+soy for my wife), then reported back on what we ordered and offered customization for every dish with non-offending alternatives. It's really mind-blowing what has soy or dairy in it. My wife originally ordered salmon with a balsamic glaze, pineapple salsa, veggies, and rice. As it turns out, the balsamic glaze, pineapple salsa, and rice (!!) had soy in them. But huge kudos to NYAJ for a) knowing all that and b) offering lots of alternatives. We were so pleased we ordered dinner to go for additional variety at home. They may not be as chow-ish as our pre-baby favorites (sigh, Golden Garden), but the food is solidly good and I'm bowled over by how good they were about the ingredients.

Jun 11, 2012
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Bourbon with high rye content?

I'm a big fan of Knob Creek - it's Jim Beam's high-rye mashbill, and it's one of my favorite sipping bourbons.

Jun 04, 2012
sdwr98 in Spirits

Dairy & Soy Free Dining Options?

All these suggestions are great! I called Tamarind House, in Porter Square, and they said they could make almost anything dairy- and soy-free, and if they couldn't they'd let me know.

And every fiber in my chowhound body screams at this, but the big chain restaurants are really great about allergen info. We hadn't eaten at Burger King in years, but we did discover that their chicken nuggets and fries are safe to eat, so that was one of the first meals on the new regime :-)

Trader Joe's is also really good for folks with allergens - they have a lot of options for the various stuff-free people.

May 11, 2012
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Dairy & Soy Free Dining Options?

Thanks, everybody. Meats are good, although we have to watch out for things like tandoori chicken (marinated in yogurt) or lamb kebabs (often have soy-based filler). I had thought about Red Lentil, so we'll definitely give them a try.

lergnom - thank you for that link to Peace o'Pie - that place looks great. My wife is really craving a pizza right about now...

May 11, 2012
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Dairy & Soy Free Dining Options?

Hi all,

My wife and I just had our daughter 3 months ago and it looks like she's sensitive to either dairy or soy. As a result, my wife is now completely dairy- and soy-free while we're figuring out which, and now we're both tired of eating chicken and rice and veggies (plus cooking time is scarce with a little one).

Does anybody know of any good chow-ish places to eat (bonus points for delivery to Fresh Pond/Cambridge) that would have a decent selection of dairy and soy-free food? I've called a few places, but I thought I would also see if anybody else had been in this situation.

Thanks!
Scott

May 10, 2012
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Trattoria Toscana Tonight- Suggestions?

I feel like it's going to be a chowhound-packed evening at Trattoria Toscana tonight - as soon as I got the tickets to El Bulli, I thought - nobody will be out late on a Thursday in winter. Then I saw this thread...

Oh, and I always get the meat dishes there - I had the best lamb shank I've ever eaten there, and the pork chop is right up there, too.

Dec 29, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

East X Northeast

I, too, had the 10-course BuyWithMe meal this past Saturday. My wife and I were really looking forward to it, as we'd had a delicious dinner at ExNE a few months prior. However, this time, we were majorly disappointed. It seemed and tasted as though they had just made giant batches of the food for the tasting menu way in advance and were just doling it out. As my wife remarked, "everything just tastes the same, and not in a good way." The pork belly sandwich, such a standout the last time we went, tasted nothing of pork - just a big hit of vinegar from the pickled onions. The green beans were overwhelmed by garlic and the vegetable ragout that we got nothing of the green bean taste.

I can understand why this happened - no doubt lots of people bought the coupon and it's hard to serve up a bunch of 10-course dinners in one night. But it sure was disappointing to those of us who had been there before, and I could see it being off-putting to those trying it out for the first time.

I certainly hope that this was a temporary blip in what is a quite good restaurant.

Sep 19, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

tw food or Clio

I've been to both, and the answer is, "it depends". If you're looking for an all-out, expensive but amazing tasting menu, go to Clio, no question. But TW Food has been good every time that I've been there. I'd go to Clio once every two or three years, but I could eat at TW Food every month or so.

Sep 16, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

fried chicken???????????

I've always enjoyed the fried chicken at Summer Shack (the one by Alewife, not sure how the others are). It's a nice batter, a little on the heavier side, but the meat is always really tasty.

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Summer Shack
149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02140

Sep 06, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Winter CSA Help Needed

I actually get a half share, so I didn't get everything on that list - but as far as I know, the full share people did.

Sep 01, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Winter CSA Help Needed

They moved to a different publishing format, but those examples are pretty representative. Here's what I got the week of January 17 of this year:

Rainbow Carrots: Atlas Farm, Deerfield
 Arugula: Dalponte Produce, Lake Placid, Florida
 Cilantro: Dalponte Produce, Lake Placid, Florida
 Tangelos: Eagle’s Nest Grove, Crescent City, Florida
 Strawberries: Wish Farms, Plant City, Florida
 Baby Spinach (Sust): Equinox Farm, Sheffield
 Yellow Onions (CV): Long Plain Farm, Whately
 Butternut Squash: Riverland Farm, Sunderland
 Beauregard Sweet Potatoes: ECO, N.Carolina
 Braeburn Apples (IPM): Apex Orchards, Shelburne

and this is March 7:
Apples, Apex Orchards, Shelburn, MA
Braising Mix, Atlas Farm, Deerfield, MA
Strawberries, Wishnatzki Farm, FL
Baby Bok Choi, Lady Moon, FL
Red Cabbage, Deep Root Coop, VT
Red Leaf Lettuce, Lady Moon, FL
Mesclun Mix (sust.), Equinox Farm, MA
Red or Dino Kale, Lady Moon, FL
Dandelion Greens, Lady Moon, FL
Portabella Mushrooms, Country Fresh Mushrooms, PA
Zucchini, Bryson Farm, FL
Bunched Beets, Lady Moon, FL

Aug 31, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Winter CSA Help Needed

I got Enterprise's winter CSA last year (we're on the year-round plan). There was a good variety of food because they source produce from up and down the east coast. There were still times when I had to store the potatoes and butternut squashes in the oven because I didn't have any room elsewhere (I have a small condo), but there was still a good mix of food.

You can see some of their winter lists here: http://www.enterpriseproduce.com/arch...

Aug 31, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

CSA Rating

I've used Enterprise Farm for two summer and one winter share so far, and really enjoy them. Sometimes the greens and lettuce come to me a little limper than I would prefer, but I always really enjoy the variety of produce that I get from them. Like the previous poster, I've only used one, so it's hard to compare - but I would recommend them to anybody asking.

Edit: Forgot to mention - I'm also a Chestnut Farm meat CSA shareholder, and I love it. The crew at Chestnut Farm are hard-working and always happy to answer questions, and the quality of the meat is outstanding.

Aug 26, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

8/25/11 Il Casale: Terrific Italian in Belmont

Glad to hear you say that. My wife and I went to Il Casale a year ago (or so) and were unimpressed, both by the food and the service. But we decided to give it another shot a month ago, and were much happier with our experience.

We started with the pork meatballs, the avocado pesto crostini, and a special tomato bread pudding. All three were delicious, with the avocado pesto being the standout. Then for entrees - my wife had the carbonara, which was great, I had the bolognese, which was very good, and my mom had a bronzino fish special that was the absolute standout. The fish was cooked perfectly and the sides were delicious as well.

The service was much more courteous and welcoming than the last time we were there.

I'm glad we gave it another shot, and Il Casale has now moved onto my "recommend" list.

Aug 26, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Dinner near the MFA

Trattoria Toscana in Fenway - just over the water from the MFA

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Trattoria Toscana
130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

Aug 24, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Sweet Potato Bistro- Newton

I decided to venture over here for lunch today. My friend and I were the only people there for about half our meal, but then again the front is covered in scaffolding so it's not really ripe for walk-ins.

We both had the hot and sour soup to start, which was OK. It wasn't too gelatinous but could have used a little more vinegar, I think. I was tempted by some of the non-Americanized Chinese options, but I decided to get something off the lunch specials list for my first time. I got the twice-cooked pork and my friend got the shrimp in chili sauce. The shrimp was "meh", but the pork was tasty - not too overloaded with sauce, served with fresh, crisp veggies, and the fried rice was good too.

I'll definitely be back, and will be eager to try some of the other options. The MaPo Tofu sounded good, as did some of the Taiwanese Tapas.

Aug 16, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Bad experience w/ Punjab in Arlington?

I've enjoyed the food at Punjab, and have gotten takeout many times. However, I've definitely experienced poor customer service (our 15 minute wait for takeout turned out to be 60, and no compensation) and challenges with spicing, although in the other direction.

I feel like the trick here is ordering dishes that are mild by default (saag, korma, maybe biryanis) rather than hoping that they can tone down their vindaloo. If you already did that, then maybe time to pick a different restaurant. We've been enjoying delivery from The Kebab Factory.

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The Kebab Factory
414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

Aug 10, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Old Monk Rum and Rittenhouse 100 Sitings And an unusual Indian Rum

Thanks for the info! If Martingnetti's doesn't have it, I'll head there next.

Aug 09, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Old Monk Rum and Rittenhouse 100 Sitings And an unusual Indian Rum

On a similar note - has anybody seen Russell's Reserve Rye around? I've found the bourbon, but I really enjoyed the Rye the last time I found it...

Aug 05, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Menton 7/30/11 Report

There were several fois gras items on the various menus at Menton that looked amazing, but alas - fois is apparently a no-no for expecting moms, and I certainly wasn't about to eat it if my wife couldn't!

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Menton
354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Aug 01, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Menton 7/30/11 Report

It was a little north of $300 including tip, drinks, and the $10 upcharge for the toro appetizer. We were definitely pleasantly sated afterwards. The steak wasn't a lot - it was 5 slices, plus the sides, but all four courses plus cheese was absolutely enough food.

Aug 01, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Menton 7/30/11 Report

My wife and I went to Menton on Saturday night to celebrate the news of our impending parenthood, and came away extremely impressed. We had been eager to try it since it opened, and this seemed like the perfect occasion.

We were seated in a small niche off to the side of the dining room. Some might find that isolating, but we very much enjoyed the seating arrangement - we could both see each other and also the rest of the room. There was one table next to us, but they finished up right as we were seated and the next seating didn't come in until late in our meal. It felt very private and was quite comfortable. The dining room itself is fairly modern and muted, which we really liked.

We opted for the 4-course prix fixe, and the chef started us off with an amuse bouche - a sphere of cauliflower mousse with a pea inside, all sitting on a cracker. It tasted amazing - the richness of the cauliflower, the pop of the pea - we knew we were off to a good start.

The first course was a salad for my wife, and I had the sliced toro (tuna belly) with a jalapeno sauce, cilantro, and dried fig vinaigrette. Both were outstanding.

The second course had us trying salmon over a chorizo sauce with sultanas and ratatouille and lobster in a pea foam with Chef Lynch's famous ricotta gnudi. The lobster was the most tender lobster I've ever eaten, and the salmon and chorizo played amazing well together against the sweetness of the sultanas.

For course number three, we had the duck with fig en croute, and the ribeye steak with braised shin. I was actually expecting to like the duck more, but my steak was quite possibly the best-prepared piece of beef that I've had since my bite of Kobe beef at o ya.

Before dessert, we were offered cheese. Happily, they did have some pasteurized cheese (as raw milk is off limits for another few months) and some hard cheese. We sampled three different kinds, all of which were wonderful.

Finally, for dessert, I had the banana creme brulee and my wife had the chocolate. And the mini macaroons after dessert were little works of art.

Throughout the entire evening, the service was impeccable. Our server, when asked to identify a particular vegetable, knew it off the top of his head and told us about the preparation method. He also did an excellent job of wine recommendation.

All in all, it was an outstanding dinner. This was what we had hoped to experience at L'Espalier last year and didn't. Peaceful atmosphere, wonderful service, and food cooked with absolute precision and talent - this was a home run.

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Menton
354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Aug 01, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Myers and Chang - disappointing

Just to add datapoints - my wife and I have been to M&C 4 times in the last year and have always had a very positive experience from both a food and a service standpoint. Oversalting, well, that's a matter of taste. It's Asian-style food, which to me always seems a little on the saltier side, but I really enjoy it.

Favorites of ours include the tiger's tears, wok-charred udon noodles, miso-glazed carrots (which are *awesome*), and the pork belly buns.

Jul 26, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Citizen or Coppa?

I ate at Citizen this weekend and was not very impressed. The food was OK, although the bourbon selection was excellent. If you're going for food Coppa is a much better bet. If you're after lively and fun, Citizen might be better.

If you want a lively atmosphere and more "normal" food you might check out Toro, by the same guys who run Coppa. The food there is fantastic.

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Toro
1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Apr 25, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Anyone tried Costco's 7 year old small batch Bourbon?

Tried this last night and tasted it side-by-side with Knob Creek. It's definitely the same family, and it's smooth enough to sip (maybe with an ice cube). A really solid deal, I think.

Apr 22, 2011
sdwr98 in Spirits

Need place to bring 20-25 co-workers for fun drinks in Cambridge or Fresh Pond

I know a lot of people don't, but I really like Summer Shack for what it is. I tend to order things like the meatloaf or fried chicken (it's really good) rather than fish, which is always good but sort of overpriced. But it would be a great atmosphere for drinks/snacks.

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Summer Shack
310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

Apr 21, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

April 2011 Openings and Closings

That would be a real bummer about Midami - we rely on them for decent delivery sushi and were nervous about the recent closing.

Apr 08, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Boston Area Chinese Buffet

I've had the weekend brunch buffet at Changsho and enjoyed it more than your average Chinese buffet. They have some hot entrees, some dim sum, some sushi, and some desserts. All reasonably tasty.

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Changsho
1712 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Apr 04, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area

Qingdao Garden MARCH 2ND RE-OPEN

So, I'm lucky enough to live almost equidistant from both Golden Garden and Qingdao Garden, but had never heard of QG until it popped up here on Chowhound. I eagerly placed a delivery order last night, getting two dishes that everybody here seems to love - the spicy lamb and the pork with cilantro. I was looking forward to having a second option for awesome Chinese delivery.

However, I must say - I was underwhelmed. The lamb had zero heat to it, and since it also had cilantro, I mistook it for the pork (I hadn't opened the other box yet). The pork, while extremely tender, also seemed bland - in fact, both dishes seemed under-seasoned. Also, the portion sizes were really small for the cost.

For comparison's sake - the spicy cumin lamb at GG is amazing. Good lamb taste with actual spice. I also like the shredded beef and the beef with cabbage in spicy sauce there.

I'm totally committed to going back, probably in person, since delivery isn't always a fair test. I'm just hoping for something with a little more punch - what do you all recommend? I gather from these that the pork with cabbage and the spicy chicken are good. Any good spicy beef dishes?

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Qingdao Garden Restaurant
2382 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

Golden Garden
63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

Mar 11, 2011
sdwr98 in Greater Boston Area