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Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

Hmmm..I thought everyone associated with Sono was of Chinese descent. I don't remember ever hearing Japanese being spoken by the staff. It's been a while since we've been, though. Perhaps things have changed in there.

Oct 14, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Szechuan's Dumpling Is Amazing, Lucky Arlington

I've refrained from posting since we only have an n=1 under the new management, but I can no longer hold my tongue. We were there last Saturday night and the kitchen is definitely not the same, as I was assured a few weeks ago. Something is definitely amiss as the food just lacked the pop that the former kitchen was capable of. B's favorite salt-and-pepper calamari just wasn't the same and not in a good way - batter wasn't as crisp and we think they changed to rice flour for the batter. Whatever they used before was different or better prepped. Szechuan fish filets (not the big bowl like we usually order) were fine. Wok-charred green beans had good flavor but were way too salty. Portions all seemed smaller. And we definitely don't care about presentation, but even we noticed how sloppy it was that night. We liked that we could order brown rice. We'll try again, ordering more of our standards for comparison sake and report back, good or bad. Funny, B said to me, if we hadn't been spoiled by the former incarnation, we would think this is decent Chinese food, particularly for our little 'burb. I agreed wholeheartedly.

Oct 09, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Santouka Ramen Coming to Harvard Square

B and I ate at one in Singapore a few years ago, unplanned (we weren't familiar with this chain...I had the kare miso - spicy, rich broth). Funny, we tucked into the mall in which it was located to escape the midday sun and enjoy the a/c and we end up with sweat on our brows, eating ramen!

We were just recently in Vancouver, where their shop is well-liked (though not universally) by BC 'hounds. I had already heard about this opening and told B - we're both looking forward to it!

Sep 10, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Szechuan's Dumpling Is Amazing, Lucky Arlington

I posted last night to the August closings/openings thread in response to a poster who was told that it was permanently closing. The staff (one of whom was the older woman that I always see in there) was worried about inaccurate information getting out but I told them that I would post a correction to the board. It is going to be under new management but the staff told me last night that the cooks will be the same.

Aug 20, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

August 2014 Openings and Closings

TT - You scared the $#!t out of me with this post so we walked over to Szechuan's Dumpling tonight to get the full story. In fact, they are NOT closing but will be under new management, starting this week. They emphasized that the cooks will remain the same. Perhaps there was a communication breakdown over the phone?

Aug 19, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

August 2014 Openings and Closings

Excited about this one based on one really good experience at the Beverly location...La Victoria Tacqueria is coming to Arlington Center, on Medford St, across from the Regent Theater. I saw the papered up storefront just now. No idea about the opening date.

http://www.victoriataqueria.com/

Aug 15, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Help! Struggling to find promising options on Salt Spring Island

We were just on SSI in July and we found it to be fairly slim pickins, restaurant-wise. We poked our heads into Seaside and it looked like a lot of fun, much more locals-focused than catering to the tourist crowd. Treehouse also looked like a fun time, too. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could try them out.

Most of our meals were self-catered and eaten outdoors, with food from farm stands and from the Saturday market. Fresh tomato, cheese, lettuce sandwiches were tastier than anything from any restaurant, in my opinion.

Aug 13, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Hamersley's Bistro to close in Oct

Aug 13, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Trip Report, July-August 2014: Vancouver, Nanaimo, Esquimalt/Victoria, Salt Spring Island, Ucluelet/Tofino, Duncan

Been back for almost a week now and my trip report is due! Had a great time on Vancouver Island and SSI. It won't be our last trip to this fantastic place (it was my 3rd time in Vancouver but 1st extensive trip to the Island).

Thanks to all the BC hounds who chimed in to my original inquiry, linked here. Guess we never did make it off-the-beaten-track, but we will try harder next time:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/981395

A lot of meals were self-catered but we ate out plenty of times, too. Amongst the highlights, there were some low ones, but I like to keep things on the positive tip, so this is not an exhaustive report. And it goes without saying that my partner-in-crime, "B," had fantastic B.C. beer everywhere we went, in restaurants, brown-bagging beer at our picnics (I, unfortunately, am not allowed to drink for another 4 months or even longer but I had some small nips..a favorite of both of ours was the Hopnotist from 49th Parallel).

Vancouver:
-Lunch at Guu with Garlic: Teriyaki chicken for B, which he liked and deliciously homey curry udon for me, which despite the ground beef (my usual diet consists of veggies and seafood), I devoured.
-Poked our heads into Save on Meats, which I didn't know anything about beforehand...we were drawn in by the intriguing exterior and were greeted by friendly hipster-types (who knew - I thought hipsters had to all be dour as a requirement). We vowed to return.
-Dinner at Phnom Penh: B had the requisite chicken wings, of which I had a nibble-man, that sauce really IS all that; pan-fried rice flour veggie buns/pancakes (bland on their own, but with the spicy sauce, quite good), adequate garlicky gai lan (we needed something green), bland shrimp fried rice (we had read something positive about the rice on-line). In our little kitchen the next morning, I crisped up everything in a scorching hot skillet, improving them all, even the rice, which became socarrat-like or Korean nurungji-like
-Coffee at Musette (Burrard location) – As we are cycling enthusiasts, we both loved this place, especially since, when we walked in at 7:30 am-ish, a small crowd was transfixed by live Tour de France coverage and they weren't your typical, testosterone-driven cycling snobs we're used to on the US east coast; buttery banana bread and coffee both hit the spot.

Nanaimo:
-Lunch at Gabriel’s – Quick lunch after getting off the ferry in Nanaimo. Another place we both loved. B had the hearty veggie burger, we shared bread with kale "butter" (more like a spread or tapenade braised in balsamic), and my peanut sauce with tofu over brown rice was huge, rich, and filling.

Esquimalt/Victoria:
-Wild blackberries at Macauley Point were fun to pick and so plentiful. I ate my weight in kg. (To answer a B.C. hound who wondered where we were staying in Esquimalt - yes, it was with Nancy and Andrew Paine at their great little carriage house. Being within walking distance of Macauley Point was a great surprise!
)-Spinnakers – Food was just ok, but we still enjoyed the atmosphere here. Salmon pizza was a bit dry, green salad with sprouts and veggie soup were adequate. Friendly bartender at the upstairs bar and walking off dinner on the waterfront, in the direction of Esquimalt was really pleasant.

Salt Spring Island (We were amazed by the number of farm stands. Martha's Vineyard-esque to the nth power):
-Ganges Street Food – Got take-out veggie dal, curry chicken poutine for a Ruckle Park picnic straight from the ferry based on someone's recommendation on the trip over...she was SO right!
-Forgettable pizza from Uptown and beer at Southey Point at sunset, which made up for the pizza.
-Saturday market – Had a lot of fun here, despite the large, but polite crowd (guess we're used to crowds here). Foxglove tomatoes; tofu jerky; lovely crusty olive boule; huge, crisp lettuce for only $1/head; David Wood herb and garlic goat cheese for yet another Ruckle picnic, just past the very orderly campground and on some rocks at the ocean's edge.
-SSI Brewery had a small but cozy sampling room and the beer was fantastic.

Coombs – Goats on the Roof is insane! Fun to just gawk at the number of food items from all over. How can they possibly turn-over everything?!

Ucluelet:
-4 Spice – Take-out fish and chips, vegan curry for a great picnic near Blackrock Resort, on the fabulous West Coast Trail
-Jiggers – Some of the best fish and chips we've ever had (vinegar in spray bottle is a simply genius idea)

Tofino:
-Shelter – A great salmon burger for B, salmon surf bowl for me, which I loved - enough contrasts in flavors and textures to keep my interest.
-Tacofino - B's fish burrito was definitely better than my vegan burrito - I panicked and went vegan when I should have gone with fish tacos with kimchee. Grrr!
-Kwisitis Feast House - The small snack we had here was nothing to write about, but what a great place to watch sunset over drinks, overlooking Wick Beach. You can get 2 hours free parking from the restaurant if you don't have a park pass.
-Duncan – We stayed at Fairburn Farmstay, where they keep water buffalo. They are producing milk and mozzarella.

Last night in Vancouver:
-St Augustine – Salmon burger, tomato + boccocini salad with salmon - both were just ok...stingy over-cooked salmon in both dishes, but B was quite happy with the beer selection and we had good company at the bar.
-Tai Sho Ken – Tsukemen was a revelation and my spicy ramen was superb as well; we skipped Santouka our first time through since we had eaten at the Singapore location, but I needed my ramen fix! The unseasoned broth at the tables is a brilliant detail - just a touch magically transformed both my and B's broth.
-Alibi Room – B went with the veggie burger on the bartender's recommendation iover the pulled pork sandwich (B was quite happy). My tofu rice bowl was just ok. It was huge and after a while, I tired of the same flavors. It generally needed some oomph, some umami. But we both loved the feel of the room and the happy, after-work, Friday before a long weekend (Civic Day) crowd.

Til we meet again, B.C....Cheers!

Aug 08, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Lasagna... a bit fancy but not too pricey?

Il Casale in Belmont usually has a "broken" (deconstructed) lasagna that is pretty tasty. I just peeked at the Lexington menu (I haven't been yet) and they also offer a couple of lasagnas for under $20, one of which is vegetarian. Maybe that would work? The space, like Belmont, is casual but I think would work for special occasions.

Jul 31, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

three nights in boston -- please help, lots of questions! (warning--long post)

I would temper your expectation about the Boston-area brewery tours. In my opinion, NOTHING comes even close to the Guinness tour if only in terms of sheer scale.

Jul 24, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

three nights in boston -- please help, lots of questions! (warning--long post)

MoS does have a TV and Asgard has multiple TVs.

Jul 24, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Love all the friendly banter that this thread has generated. By all means, keep your suggestions coming! Quick update - we've decided to go to Salt Spring Island after all. We want to check out the Gulf Islands and out of time considerations, it just seemed that SSI would be most convenient. We lucked out and found a cottage for Friday and Saturday nights on Airbnb. Several of the places that we're staying at have kitchens, or in the case of places like Fairburn Farmstay, provide breakfasts. I can't wait to get my hands on the great produce and fresh seafood! Hubby's looking forward to great local beer, too.

PS I had to chuckle at the post re: Boston traffic. As someone who is fortunate enough to bicycle to work everyday, even I find the traffic here horrifying!

Jul 12, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Funny, before I even saw your post, Puffin3, I said to my hubby, "I bet SSI may resemble Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket." We have decided to skip SSI since we are trying to get away from it all, not find more civilization! Tried to plan a trip to either Galiano or Saturna, but unfortunately, logistically, we think it's going to take too long to reach either island (we have a total of only 7 or 8 days on the island).

Love your fishing anecdote, by the way.

The recommendations from everyone else have been fantastic. We can't wait to take you all up on as many as possible!

Jul 07, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

BERKSHIRE eats ( staying near Hancock Ma)

We also love Public - during the last Solid Sound Festival, I think we went 3 times. For breakfast, I adore Brewhaha, which is basically right next doors to Public. I always get a tofu something-or-other bagel sandwich and devour it.

Jul 06, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Guys - This is great info! Just last night, based on everyone's advice, we found a great-looking place in Esquimalt on Airbnb that we plan to use as our home base while we explore the eastern end of the island, with a stopover on Salt Spring Island for a couple of nights. Then we'll head west - can't wait to see Pacific Rim Reserve.

Jul 06, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Where oh where to get "mushy peas"???

Seen them, but not tried them, at KO Pies in East Boston. They are Aussie, not British - I don't know if the 2 styles differ much. Should be a great day to check them out, especially with World Cup on.

Jul 05, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Vancouver Island off-the-beaten track?

Boston 'hound here, looking for towns on Vancouver Island for food (and, of course, great scenery wouldn't hurt) that are passed over in favor of places like Tofino and Victoria (both of which we will visit). We'll be there with a car the second half of July and our itinerary is wide-open, except for the Burrard Hotel in Vancouver when we first land and a place in Ucluelet (which can be changed, of course). We're not into fussy, fancy food - guess we're more casual/New England clam shack/pub types. Any suggestions would be much appreciated (and I make it a habit of reporting back, wherever our travels have taken us). Thanks!

Jul 04, 2014
digga in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Thai E-sarn

Most excellent! Though we've lived for about 3 years within walking distance, we only recently tried it and were pleasantly surprised! We enjoyed the papaya salad (we asked for spicy and it was fairly so) and the pla rad prik (fried fish filets in a spicy garlick-y sauce). We haven't been back yet, but between Szechuan's Dumpling and Thai E-Sarn, we're pretty happy with our Asian dining choices in our tiny corner of the world.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

Bytes was one of my favorite lunch options. Tiny take-out only joint run by a Senegalese man, so often, there would be a West African entree option (always with meat, so I never tried them but they looked delicious).The falafel with spicy sauce was my go-to for years.

Mulan, while awesome, is too far to walk. When we wanted to get our Mulan fix, someone would drive us. If you ride a bike to work, as I did, that will definitely broaden your horizons.

And, of course, Miracle is excellent for lunch, though it, too, gets tres crowded.

Baraka is good, but the service is S-L-O-W. Don't go when you have a 1 pm meeting. Kind of a long walk from your locale.

I never tried 4 Burgers, but that's another option, towards Harvard. I also like Life Alive a lot.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

Definitely in my top 5 choices for lunch when I worked in the area. Gotta get there early, though, since it gets crazy busy and the place is "cozy" (read "tiny"). We used to show up right around 11:45-ish and get seated right away.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

Love Veggie Galaxy for lunch.

Jul 03, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Table, Barrington RI

I haven't been, but it sounds right up my alley (your wonderful descriptions don't hurt, either!). We're down East Bay way as often as we can during the summer...we'll try to resist the call of Blount's clam shack truck next time to check out Table!

Jul 01, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Suggestions for cold, asian style, noodles?

There's a Korean cold noodle soup that you might like, called "nyaeng myun" that is usually offered only in the summertime. Noodles are normally buckwheat or glass noodle-style. Toppings will vary from veggies to slices of Asian pear, hard-boiled egg, and sometimes beef. The broth is cold and there will sometimes be ice cubes floating around in there. It is tangy and vinegary. I don't know who in Boston makes their own broth - I bet most will be made from an instant soup stock (lots of MSG, if you care about that sort of thing). It's one of my favorite dishes!

Jun 26, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

One lunch in Camden

Long Grain for excellent, un-Westernized Thai. Not outside, but an intimate, small, sunny room.

Jun 19, 2014
digga in Northern New England

PVD/RI * June '14 * Open/Closed/Coming Soon

Garris - I haven't lived in PVD in almost 10 years but I always try to keep up with the Rhody posts. Thanks for helping to keep us "expats" in the loop. I hope to see you on the Boston board (which unfortunately, I find much less friendly than the Southern NE board due to some vocal and negative voices). Still, it'll be nice to see a friendly face and hope you'll join in the conversation. Rhody will miss you!

Lately our favorite places in "Boston" have been on the North Shore and even further north. Depending on where you are living, we had a tasty meal at Lobsta Land in Gloucester last weekend (good for kiddos, too).

Just saw RhodyRedHen's earlier post about Sofra. Following on the Turkish tip, Istanbu'lu in Somerville is highly regarded (I admit, I haven't tried it yet) and might be easier to get into, with or without kids.

Jun 18, 2014
digga in Southern New England

Moving to Medford . . . What are the local haunts?

If you mean the Regina Station Landing location (not West Medford), it is pretty good. Heads above Allston, which is the only other one we've tried outside the North End.

Jun 16, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Portsmouth and area report (and $4.99 lobster roll!)

Fun read, as usual J!

Just curious - have you ever tried Warren's Lobster House just across the bridge in Kittery (you can see it from Bow St)? Not much chatter about it. We were considering it next time we're in the area.

EDIT: Ugh...I just found one thread. Sounds bloody awful. Never mind!

Jun 16, 2014
digga in Northern New England

Lobsta Land, 6/15/2014

Yes, photo was taken seconds prior to devouring.

Jun 15, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area

Lobsta Land, 6/15/2014

We had plans to hit the Lobster Pool in Rockport today for lunch and we were foiled...by filming of the Johnny Depp Whitey Bulger pic! We did a drive-by and knew something was amiss when we saw catering set up underneath a tent and lots of film-types (whatever that is) hanging out in front. The expressions on our faces must have been quite amusing to them (although, by 2 pm on this fantastic day, we must have been the bazillionth car of disappointed but curious faces go by).

We headed to Lobsta Land in Gloucester, which I have been wanting to try for some time. We were so pleased that we did! They were still jammed around 2:15 pm but we found 2 seats right in front of the Sox game at the bar, where we had friendly, apologetic (for any delays) service. I didn't expect the nice view out back. B was completely happy with the calamari that he started with, a lobster roll that was overflowing with lobster, and Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale on draft. The roll was a bit too big for his taste, but it was buttery and grilled. I took a bite and realized that it was no ordinary hot dog roll, but Portuguese sweet roll style. Crisp fries and cole slaw on the side. My littlenecks with fettuccine was right up my alley. I LOVE linguine and clams and this was one of the better renditions in recent memory. Plentiful clams (I didn't count), not fresh pasta, but cooked perfectly al dente, and the brothy sauce was very umami, with small cubes of smoky pork throughout (I ate around those and fed some to B as I don't eat pork but I did try one and confirmed that it was delicious) and just a touch spicy. A bit of parsley would have been welcome, as I like the brightness it brings to this dish, but I was completely satisfied. I ate about half and we'll be adding more pasta to soak up that wonderful sauce. We used bits of the lobster roll bun to soak up some of the sauce as well. Bartender recommended the Portuguese haddock for next time. And there will be a next time.

Jun 15, 2014
digga in Greater Boston Area