Ali G's Profile

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Drink / liquor prices not advertized at the bar

I've noticed that many bars & restaurants will have a drink menu that lists their beer, wine, and house cocktails along with prices, but very few seem to have a spirits list. There are times I might want a whiskey neat, or specify a particular spirit in my cocktail or highball, but I have no idea what I'm going to pay for it. Asking how much each spirit costs is kind of aggravating (to me and the bartender I'm sure).

Any thoughts on why prices are not listed? Do you ask how much a glass of that Pierre Ferrand costs before ordering? I can't imagine liquor prices fluctuate so much that an establishment couldn't provide a menu. I was at a bar recently that had over 100 whiskeys at very reasonable prices. I asked about one particular scotch I had wanted to try, but didn't see on the menu. The bartender said it had just come in and poured me a dram. I was a bit shocked when I got the bill and saw it was almost double the price of others with a similar retail bottle price. My fault for not asking.

1 day ago
Ali G in Spirits

Recipe for Excellent Cocktail Cherries

That's an interesting read. I have 3 jars in my fridge now loosely following Striper's recipe .I left out some of the spice since I was looking for something a bit more mellow. Two jars contain the tart cherries I picked up which I think were too soft for this process. The third has the remaining Bing cherries I had kicking around (sorry kids, Dad needs them for Manhattans). I also found some dried cherries that I tossed into each jar as an experiment to see how they would do.

I found that straight booze strips the color from the cherries. I didn't make the tea or add cherry juice, so that probably takes care of the color bleaching out. Mine is more of a simple syrup, but not a 1:1 like JMF suggested. I'm more booze heavy, but of course, I didn't take notes so I don't recall the measurements.

What I found was that about a week in the liquid the cherries still tasted very boozy. However, after 2-3 weeks something magical happened. The liquid took on the cherry flavor, the booze mellowed, and the cherries are awesome! I might have to keep myself from drinking the syrup. The dried cherries and the Bings are delicious, but very different size and texture. I just added more of the dried to the drink to compensate. I'll tast one of the sour cherries later to see how those held up. I can see this becoming something I make every summer now so I'm stocked for winter.

Sep 15, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Big Joe's Depot - Wilmington

Thought I'd give a little shout out to Big Joe's. I've been brown bagging it lately to cut down on spending and calories, but needed lunch the other day and wanted to try something new. I had heard good reviews from coworkers a while back when the original Big Joe owned the place. Big Joe was a former professional wrestler and was known to speak his mind with no filter. Joe passed away and the place is under new ownership. The new owner is very friendly and asked how I heard of them.

They have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Several subs offered all at $7. The owner is Portuguese and has some of the favorites at dinner (pork w/ clams, cod & potatoes, kale soup, etc). I've only gone for subs a couple of times, but they have been very good. For my chicken parm, I watched him take out a fresh piece of chicken breast, slice it thin, bread and fry it while the sauce was simmering in a second pan. Maybe I'm just use to places dropping a pre-breaded cutlet into a deep fryer, but I was impressed how everything was prepared fresh. I had the house made meatballs another time and these were also great. Looking forward to some Kale soup now that it's getting cold.

The place is sort of hidden next to the Wilmington Commuter Rail station right at the bridge. Can be tough taking a left into the lot, but good food from friendly owners, so it's worth it.

Sep 15, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Recipe for Excellent Cocktail Cherries

I know this is an old thread, but I didn't want to start a new one. I remember reading this a while back, but never got around to making my own cocktail cherries. Well, I happened to pick up some sour / tart cherries and decided to try my luck. These were not super firm, but tasted great while fresh. I started to pit them and then thought, hmmm, maybe the salt water blanch will firm them up. Well, that was a mistake with such soft cherries. About 1 min in and the skins started to peel off. I quickly drained and cooled then and decided, screw it, toss them in the booze, sugar, spice mixture and see what happens.

They are sitting in the jars now and I'll see how they are in a few weeks. We happened to have some regular firm red cherries in the fridge, so I tossed 4-5 in one of the jars that had room to compare. I should have known that these were too soft, but based on other reports of using the sour cherries, I decided to give it a whirl. Also, the red cherries were all enormous and I like a smaller cherry in a cocktail. Hopefully the taste will be good. I don't care too much about the look.

Striper, you are a local, where do you find the cherries you use? Are they the very large red cherries I see at Russos and other markets or do you find smaller ones? Thanks!

Aug 18, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Broasted Chicken Anywhere?

Funny, I passed a sign the other day advertising Broaster Chicken.

I'm not sure of the name, but it's a smallish pizza / corner store / package store. I think it was Bill's. It's on 110 leaving Methuen towards Lowell, so maybe Dracut?

Found it on Google Maps:

http://goo.gl/Y2R5zN

Bought too much plain yogurt.. What do you make with it?

I've used it in marinades and blue cheese dressing as others have mentioned.

My wife made a mixture of yogurt, grated parmigiano, maybe some other stuff and spread it on boneless, skinless chicken breast and baked it. The chicken was very moist and tasted great.

She also recently mashed avocado with plain yogurt, added some red onion and mixed with shredded chicken for a mayo-less chicken salad. That was very good too. I don't have any real recipes, but she seems to find things on facebook and pinterest, so a Google search would probably find them quick.

Aug 11, 2014
Ali G in Home Cooking

Mai Tai Help

I have the Grog Log book from Beachbum and it lists 1.5oz of lime. I looked back in my notes when I was making these a lot and it looks like I used juice of 1 lime. That can vary, but my 1 lime this weekend got ~1.5oz of juice. I think there was a little left over.

I used DeKyuper Curacao since it's what I had. I also have Bols Triple Sec. Both still have a fair amount in the bottle, so I'll probably stick with them until empty.

The only Martinique Rhum I could find was from JM, but it was a Blanc. I assume that's not a good sub for the VSOP. My wife will kill me if I keep bringing home new bottles, so I'll hold out for a bit and try combos of the stuff I have on hand. Maybe mix in some of the Cubans I have. The 7yr is tasty on it's own.

Aug 11, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Mai Tai Help

I used Blue Diamond brand since we had it in the house. My wife uses the vanilla version in smoothies but bought the original unsweetened by accident so it seemed like a good chance to use some up. The other recipe I found online was the same as yours with less extract and obw. They used Pacific brand which had the same nutrition info as mine, so thought it would work. It tasted nice, but once I mixed the drink, it looked like little white bits were floating around the bottom.

Your mai tai recipe is similar to the one I followed but my lime was higher. I also remember skipping the simple for more orgeat but I was using the commercial stuff which is probably much sweeter than homemade. I'll make some turbinado next time and see how that works. Maybe add the orgeat at the end when the acids are more diluted?

Aug 10, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Mai Tai Help

I followed the grog log recipe except I did 1oz Appleton and 1/2 each of Myers and LH 151.

The recipe calls for 1.5oz of lime which is more than most I see online. This was more sour than I remember so maybe I scaled it down in the past. I'm also using a homemade orgeat so maybe it has less sugar than my typical Monin. I had to add more to bring up the balance and taste some almond notes.

By the way, I made the orgeat using almond milk. I followed a recipe you posted as well as another I found online which was very similar. Taste is nice, but it seems to curdle a bit in the cocktail and settle to the bottom.

Aug 09, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Mai Tai Help

Planning to make a Mai Tai but need some advice with the rums I have on hand. My Grog Log book calls for Jamaican and a Martinique rum. Several people here use Coruba and a demerrara like El Dorado.

I have Appleton 12, Myers, Lemonhart 151, Havana Club 7 and Anejo Especial, and Goslings in my liquor cabinet. Any suggestions on a combo? I was thinking to up the Appleton to 1.5 oz and do .5 oz of the 151. Maybe .5 myers and .5 151 to 1oz Appleton?

Aug 09, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Any special MA or NE foods to look for try out/buy?

My mind goes to beer when I travel. I'm sure the bigger breweries such as Harpoon and Sam Adams have distribution in your area, but there are also many great craft breweries in MA and New England. Check out Jack's Abbey, Pretty Things, Clown Shoes, CBC, etc. if you like beer.

I grew up on Cains mayo. My mom would not buy Hellmans. I never knew it was a local thing until recently. We also buy Teddy's peanut butter. Are Cape Cod chips available everywhere? I don't travel as much as I use to.

Jul 22, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Best Mussels (for cooking at home)

I've purchased mussels at several different supermarkets over the years and they almost always seem to be PEI mussels. Sometimes they are decent size, sometimes they are tiny inside. We were recently in Portland and had Bangs Island mussels at a few places and they were huge and delicious. Are different varieties of mussels available in the Boston area? Do they tend to get larger during certain seasons? Just wondering if I'm missing something out there.

Jul 17, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Spicy Food Challenges.

I know this is an old thread, but looks like it's got some recent action. DJ's Sports Pub in Hyannis had a hot wing challenge on the menu. Rules were posted on the menu, but they are the typical eat all wings, no sharing, waiting period after finishing, etc. Prize was free wings, a t-shirt, and a picture on the wall.

Some college kids at another table were asking if they could order them and share, but not do the contest. I don't recall if they got them.

In any case, they make some good wings at DJ's!

Also, AJ's Kitchen in Wilmington is a small sub shop, but they have some 2ft chicken parm calzone challenge. Same prize as above - free meal, shirt, picture. Think you get an hour to eat it.

Jun 09, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Farm fresh eggs?

Chip-In eggs are good when Russo's has them in stock.

I usually buy eggs at Seven Acres Farm in North Reading. The eggs are out on a counter inside the store. Since it's a small family farm, there is typically nobody inside, so you put your money in a small bowl and take the eggs. There is a bell to ring if you needed change or some kind of poultry from the freezers / fridge. Their whole chickens and turkey tenderloins have been great.

Jun 09, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Hong Cuc Sandwich in Lowell - Closed/Closing?

Great, thanks for the reply! After reading this I found some mentions of the new location on Yelp. Sounds like they have some hot food options now as well. I'll have to check them out next time I'm in the area.

Jun 09, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Hong Cuc Sandwich in Lowell - Closed/Closing?

Happened to be in Lowell last week and stopped by Hong Cuc around 6:45pm and it was closed. The hours online say they close at 9pm. The place was still stocked with things, but there is a For Sale sign in the window. Anyone know if they are closing or have closed?

Jun 09, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

North Conway/ Storyland report

Thanks for the tips on White Mountain Cider Co. We are headed to Storyland in a few weeks and picking up sandwiches before the park is a great idea. The website says the Deli / Store is open at 7am. I assume I can order sandwiches early while picking up some cider donuts?

We always grab one dinner at Moat Mountain...mostly because I like the beer. The food has always been good and it's large enough that my semi-well behaved children won't bother the people around us. I think they tend to pack families into the same area.

May Kelly's is on our list this time. It seems to come up a lot and they have grilled cheese for the picky little ones. Maybe lunch on the way home.

Jun 03, 2014
Ali G in Northern New England

Going to Portland for an afternoon

I just got back from a few days in Portland. Sultan has some great recs. I'll add East Ender and Eventide to the list for lunch. East Ender is attached to Duckfat and tends to get a lot of spillover while people wait, but I really like it as a first choice as well. Really good apps, excellent burger, and a bunch of local beers on tap that you are unlikely to find outside of Portland. Eventide is across the street and would be great for oysters.

We grabbed some apps at the bar during happy hour at Zapoteca and really enjoyed it. Not sure of their lunch hours or options. Also had some pizza at OTTO on Congress St and really liked it. They have whole pies or about 8 options for slices. If coffee is your thing, try Speckled Ax across the street. Portland has a wealth of good coffee and beer options which is right up my alley.

We walked off our lunch by following the trail on the promenade. Lots of small shops in Old Port. If you have just one day, that's where I would stay.

Infinity is great for beer and cocktails. I only had a pretzel with beer cheese for food, but it was tasty. As you can see, my trip revolved around food, coffee, and alcohol!

Apr 24, 2014
Ali G in Northern New England

Maine Lunch IPA in Portland??

Funny, I left today and ended up finding a small amount at a local place in Belmont, MA. RSVP had sold out yesterday. Hope it lives up to the hype.

On a side note, the Portland area has an awesome local beer scene. I tried some IPA's from Banded Horn and In'finity as well as several beers from Oxbow. The freestyle 23 was an imperial stout collaboration between In'finiti and Oxbow and was just fantastic. Wish I picked up some Bissell Brother's cans while I was there. I heard good things and saw it on tap at East Ender. Next time.

Apr 23, 2014
Ali G in Northern New England

Maine Lunch IPA in Portland??

Thanks. I called Rosemont and they were out. Also stopped by Portland Public Market House. They had just about every other beer from Maine Beer Co, but were out of Lunch. He said they got some in on Friday, but it sold out right away. I'll check a couple more places before I leave to see if I get lucky.

Apr 22, 2014
Ali G in Northern New England

Maine Lunch IPA in Portland??

I'm in Portland for a couple of days and was wondering if anyone has seen Lunch in any of the liquor stores in the area. I can't make it to the brewery but thought I might find it in a store. Thanks.

Apr 22, 2014
Ali G in Northern New England

Some recent Merrimack Valley eats / lunch

Info & Pine, thanks for the suggestions! We don't make it out as much as we use to, so I like to explore different spots at lunch. Sounds like I need to hit some of these bakeries.

I forgot, I did grab a Cuban sandwich at the Caribbean Bakery in Lawrence a while back and also once of the empanadas from the warmer. Empanada was OK. I liked the sandwich, but I haven't been back.

Apr 17, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Some recent Merrimack Valley eats / lunch

Honestly, I must have eaten 25 sandwiches here over the last year or so and have never had an issue. The husband and wife always wear gloves and food always tastes fresh. Seems like they do more business selling scratch tickets and cigarettes, but it's still my favorite banh mi around. They were growing hot chile peppers last summer and gave me one to eat along with the sandwich. Hot as hell, but nice touch.

Apr 16, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Some recent Merrimack Valley eats / lunch

The pies at Thwaites are English meat pies. They are round and the crust is firm but flaky, similar to a chicken pot pie. Baked, not fried. The standard flavors are chicken and pork, but they must make around 15 different flavors. The pork is hard to describe. It's like lightly seasoned ground pork, almost like a sausage out of the casing. Delicious. They also have scotch eggs available once in a while, which is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage and fried. For some reason they close at noon on Wednesdays, so keep that in mind if you plan to stop by.

I didn't try the empanadas at Jacqueline's, but it looked like there were some smaller ones and some larger ones available. Not sure of the filling. I'm pretty sure this place is Dominican. The chicken wasn't very salty to my taste, but based on the color, they might use some Sazon.

Forgot about the arancini at Il Casale. It's been a while since I've been there. Stella in the South End does a good job as well. If you are in Wlatham, Tara Restaurant on Moody has a good baked empanada with beef, onions and raisins. They also have the smaller fried options, but I typically get the chacarero.

Apr 16, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Some recent Merrimack Valley eats / lunch

I've been spending some time up north during the work week, so I thought I'd post about some of the places I've grabbed a bite to eat. I'm usually solo, so I tend to just grab n go.

Lowell

Nhu Y Sandwich Shop. This is my favorite place for a banh mi anywhere. It's more of a convenience store that happens to sell sandwiches and egg rolls. I've tried just about every option, but the chicken is my favorite. It seems to be just steamed shredded chicken, but they stuff the sandwich a little more than most and the price is around $3. It might have creeped up to $3.50 recently, but still a great deal. Only negative is that they sometimes stop selling sandwiches if the wife is sick or traveling. Luckily there are many other options in the area.

Hong Cuc Sandwich Shop. This seems to be a favorite on here and Yelp. It's very good, but for my taste, not as good as Nhu Y. The staff is very friendly and they have many more food options (fried balls of dough w/ sesame seeds, fresh summer rolls, boba tea, snacks, sausages, etc). I don't care for the chicken banh mi as much here. The chicken has some kind of a sweet sauce on it. I usually stick to the beef or cold cuts here, although the Nem was really good as well.

Methuen

Thwaites Market. This place makes awesome pocket pies. Not sure how else to describe them except that they are small individual pies stuffed with all kinds of goodness. They always have the chicken and pork pies in the warmer, but also carry 5-10 other hot varieties at any time as well as frozen pies to cook at home. I like the standard chicken and pork, but think the turkey is great. This place is also a deli / butcher. Not sure if they will make sandwiches, but apparently the sausages are made in house as well as corned beef and other options. Nice mom and pop old school market feel to it. I think it's cash only.

Lawrence

Tacos Lupita. This place has been covered a lot on here. Great tortas and burritos. I go after the carnitas or al pastor. The pastor reminds me of taco stands in Mexico with the sweet pineapple on top.

Jacqueline's. This is a corner store that happens to sell awesome fried chicken as well as other treats (empanadas, baked chicken, fries, what looked like chicharones, etc). Price is great ($1 per piece of chicken). For $4 you can get 3 decent sized pieces of crispy chicken and some fries. I need to try some of the other offerings. Language barrier can be a little tough, but just point and you will be fine. You order from a woman on the left as you come in and pay the guy on the right.

Tripoli Bakery. I like the pastries and bread here, but the pizza isn't my thing. Apparently sweet sauce is a north shore style and the sheet pizza here gets great reviews. I think it's OK, but wouldn't go out of my way for it. I don't think pizza should be sweet.

Italian Kitchen. Across the street from Tripoli and only open a few days a week I think. This place seems to only sell arancini and crispelli. I think the arancini is a little bland. I prefer Domenic's in Waltham or the recently closed Salem Foods on Moody St.

I've grabbed subs at a few other places in Lawrence but can't place the names. It definitely helps to speak Spanish when grabbing takeout in Lawrence since a lot of the small shops speak very little English. I usually have to point or have another customer help translate for me. Tacos Lupita usually has someone at the register who speaks perfect English, but the guy you order from responds to pointing better :)

If anyone has some other suggestions for quick takeout in the area I'd love to hear it. On my list to try is Korbani's Bakery in Methuen for Lebanese. I hear the Syrian bread is good. Not sure if they offer hot food or wraps, but I'm sure I could put a meal together with various items. Also want to try Pollo Tipico in Lawrence. Read some decent reviews on that place as well. The Cambodians at work have given me a lot of suggestions for Lowell, but I always end up with a banh mi.

Apr 16, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area
1

ISO Troegs Nugget Nectar

I do like Sucks as well and have been seeing 6 packs in several stores. By the way, a 6 was $9.99 at McKinnon's in Salem, NH. I think most of the local spots were $11-$12. I have not come across any bombers.

I agree that these hoppy beers are best as fresh as possible. If I remember correctly, Nugget Nectar comes out around February, so I think ~ 2 months would still be worth drinking. At this point it was more of a mission to find the beer than anything else. I just really enjoyed it the last couple of years. Even a couple of singles in a mixed 6pack would suffice.

Apr 11, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

ISO Troegs Nugget Nectar

Thanks I'll check some of these places. Gordon's on Moody didn't have any a few days ago, but I did not check Main St.

I called about 5-6 stores near work and everyone was out. Also happened to be working in Salem NH today and stopped by McKinnon's. Never knew they had such a large beer selection. No Nugget Nectar however (no Troegs at all for that matter).

Apr 10, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

ISO Troegs Nugget Nectar

I know this is seasonal and I probably missed the boat, but has anyone seen this beer on the shelves recently? Every place I have been is sold out. I happened to see it a week ago down the cape but didn't pick it up. Hoping that some liquor store may have some kicking around. Maybe a place that gets more Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers than craft beer drinkers?

Apr 09, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Apricot Kernals in bulk bins?

I'm looking for small amounts. I was hoping they were available in bulk bins where I could just get a 1/2 cup or so.

Mar 24, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Apricot Kernals in bulk bins?

Has anyone seen apricot kernals in bulk bins around the Boston area? I'm planning to make some amaretto liqueur and wanted to follow a recipe that uses both almonds and apricot kernals. The packages I have found are all over $18 and I only need a small amount. I'd rather not spend more on the ingredients than a bottle of DiSaronno and don't really have any use for the leftovers.

In the same vein, does anyone know if green walnuts ever show up in the area? Nocino is also on my list, but it seems like there is a short window for green walnuts and most come from the west coast.

Mar 24, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area