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Boston Public Market is here

I love my local meat with a side of class warfare.

Aug 11, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Boston Public Market is here

I think that's an exaggeration too. Lots of produce, way more meat than I expected, and plenty of other products like cheese, honey, fresh pasta, and beer.

Aug 04, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Boston Public Market is here

Dessert desert?
- Ice cream from Crescent Ridge dairy
- Cider donuts from Red Apple Farm
- Regular donuts from Union Square
- Pastries from Mamadou
- Candy from Sweet Lydia's
- Candied nuts from Q's
- Baked goods from Sofra at Siena Farm stand
- Baked goods from Swissbakers (coming soon)
- Chocolate from Taza (coming soon)

I think once the initial crowds clear out, it can be a stop for a quick bite.

Also, since "$17 pastrami sandwich" has been echoed a lot in this thread, as a counterpoint, most of the prepared food I saw was in the $8-12 range. Still not cheap, but not outrageous.

"Seasoned Fries" - love them or hate them

Warrant, hair metal, and seasoned fries are all awesome. Maybe not every day, but they all have a place in my life. However, places should warn you in advance if fries are seasoned, since they're often overseasoned and much too salty.

Also, if you have such strong feelings, I suggest that you overcome your shyness about asking waitstaff. Practice in the mirror, saying confidently to your reflection, "Do your fries have any seasoning other than salt?" and imagine the waitstaff replying, "Of course not, we would not dream of sullying our fries with such things."

Favorites from Watertown Markets?

My personal favorites:
- Arax: Produce; black bean salad; grape leaves; mouhammara (if you like it sweet); etch (tomato-bulgur salad); manti (beef dumplings) in freezer case
- Hero's (next to Cass Florist): Selection of breads; my favorite is matnakash bread from Montreal. They have pretty much the same breads at every store but I think this one has the biggest selection.
- Jasmine: Hummus, they sell it in to-go containers
- Sevan: Simit (O-shaped sesame seed-covered bread); "Armenian potato salad"; baklava; stuffed eggplant (imam bayaldi); kazandibi (thick, creamy pudding-like dessert)
- Eastern Lamejun Bakers: Lamejun; spinach and cheese pies
- Sofra: Anything brioche-based or with a pastry crust
- Praline: Cannele
- Sofia's: Frozen yogurt
- Coolidge Provisions (little store next to bank): Meat, especially freshly ground beef/lamb
- Linda's: raised donuts
- Ohlin's: cake donuts
- Vicki Lee's: any baked good including occasion cakes; regular food is good too, service can seem a little snobby

I haven't found a favorite tabbouleh; I like it without much oil and with a lot of parsley and bulgur. Any thoughts?

Jun 17, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

2 days in Boston with 12-13 yr olds, what eateries not to miss?

Indian pudding at Durgin Park too, speaking of hometown desserts. Durgin Park isn't one of the best restaurants in Boston, but it is great for New England fare, and good for kids. I'd suggest lunch there after the Freedom Trail tour. Or lunch in the North End might be fun.

Picco (pizza & ice cream co.) isn't too far from you if you're willing to walk.

I would only go to Shake Shack if you don't otherwise have access to it and are wondering what the hype is about.

Jun 15, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

Praline! I've been going there regularly.

Cannele - Perfection. Better than any others in the Boston area. It is really hard not to stop by for one every day.

Cakes and tarts are uniformly excellent. Some patisserie with multiple components and some are more home-style, slices of cake wrapped in plastic.

Pain aux raisins, the one time I tried it I was not impressed -- it had lost its crispness already by 8 a.m. and the texture seemed compressed. But I'll give their croissant another try.

Macarons and chocolates, have not tried yet.

Between Vicki Lee's, Praline, and Sofra, this Trapelo/Belmont Street corridor has excellent bakeries in a small area.

Jun 03, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

canneles in boston

Praline in Belmont has PERFECT canneles.
I have had them at Crema, Burdick's, Canto 6, Clear Flour, and anywhere else I can get my hands on them. Praline is the best. The exterior is deeply caramelized and yields immediately to a custardy, slightly boozy interior. Worth a trip just for these.

Jun 03, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Naco Taco

I am astonished the restaurant opened with this name. I'm not Mexican but my understanding is that naco is a really bad racial/class slur, the equivalent of the n-word in the US.

Jun 01, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

All About Braising: Poultry and Game Recipe Reviews

Six years later... I made this adobado recipe too, using about 3.5 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken thighs and leaving out the pork. I made some substitutions to use what I had on hand -- lemon zest instead of lime, and instead of white wine vinegar I used a combination of (mostly) cider vinegar, white vinegar, and red wine vinegar. I was a little worried that the skinless thighs would get dry when they were fried at the end, but they turned out beautifully. We loved this -- although I have to admit, it's a lot more work than my dump-and-go slow cooker version and I'm not convinced the extra work is worth it. Maybe the slow-cooker approach plus reducing the sauce and frying the meat at the end would combine the benefits of both. In general, I wonder how well her recipes would adapt to the slow cooker -- so far I've really enjoyed her recipes but they require hours of kitchen time.

Apr 30, 2015
Pia in Home Cooking

Best Salad Dressing You've Ever Had

Salsa verde!

Apr 29, 2015
Pia in General Topics

Tips to cut grocery bill

I think you need to figure out whether you currently have any waste -- for instance, are you throwing out produce that's going bad, or do you have five six-packs of beer in the fridge because you keep forgetting you already have some.

Also, just a shout-out to meal planning. You can be creative WHILE you're making the meal plan -- see what you already have and build around that, trying to buy as little as you can to make it through that week. And since you are doing a CSA, your cooking will inevitably require creativity since you don't know what you'll get. You can also meal plan but have two days a week that are "CSA night" or "Leftover night," to keep some creativity and spontaneity while still hopefully cutting down on grocery bills by eliminating unnecessary purchases.

Apr 20, 2015
Pia in General Topics

Destination: Donuts

I have to disagree -- Linda's (in Belmont) is very exciting for my little kids. True, it has ugly tables, formica, and the crowd of retiree regulars may not strike you as charming, but I find the whole scene charming because it's a true neighborhood place that you don't find so often these days. And the kids are especially thrilled when we go there for a whole breakfast, eggs and bacon with a donut for dessert.

Apr 16, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Regional snacks for gifts?

Mentioned on one of the 2014 threads, but Effie's Oatcakes! They're available at a lot of smaller area stores, plus Whole Foods.

Mar 01, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

February 2015 Openings and Closings

The old location of Gustazo on Belmont Street in Belmont is being replaced by a barbecue place (Tony Q's?). Not sure when it will open, but it looks like they are getting ready.

Jan 26, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Mostly homemade chicken soup = cook onions, celery, and carrots in a little butter; add water, Knorr's chicken stock gelatin cubes, and chicken breasts; remove chicken and add noodles, and then shred the chicken and add it back in at the end. Takes half an hour.

Jan 22, 2015
Pia in Home Cooking

Best sandwiches in Boston?

Yes, but they only cost around $5. Two of them would be a good meal.

Jan 13, 2015
Pia in Greater Boston Area

What are you baking these days? Happy New Year January 2015 edition! [OLD]

That cake is perfect! The one with brown butter, pears, and chocolate chunks, right? I made it a few years ago and I still remember it fondly. I don't think I have any tips, but I loved it as is.

This weekend I made blueberry muffins from an Ina Garten recipe, which the kids loved, and black bottom oatmeal pie from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds cookbook. The pie was delicious and an interesting take on chocolate pecan pie. No nuts -- perfect for me, since I have a nut-free kitchen due to a child with nut allergies -- but the oatmeal part on top was like the top third of a pecan pie, chewy, nutty tasting, and a little gooey. Underneath was a layer of creamy chocolate ganache. Pecan pie tends to be too gooey and sugary for me to enjoy more than once every year or two, but this pie was nicely balanced and separating the chocolate from the goo was a good way to enjoy the two distinct flavors.

what is a good restaurant near Mass General hospital

You could try Seoul, a Korean restaurant about a 10-minute walk away. If you're up for a walk you could also go to the Paramount for breakfast or lunch.

Dec 11, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Anyone else crazy enough to bake with a preschooler?

I cook and bake all kinds of things with my three-year old. (He's the exact same way -- when I'm in the kitchen, he grabs a stool and climbs up next to me. If I need ingredients to be measured precisely, I measure them into a measuring cup, and then let him dump them in the bowl. He can pour, stir, sprinkle a pinch of salt or spices, look at the numbers on the kitchen scale to tell me when to stop (again, not very accurately, but I don't rely on his word). He can also chop soft ingredients with a butter knife.

Pancakes are fun because they're quick to whip up and then you can eat them right away.

Dec 09, 2014
Pia in Home Cooking

ISO Quiet place for a winter drink, Harvard-Porter-Davis Squares

Henrietta's Table would work.

Nov 30, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Bao Nation

From their Twitter account (@baonation) it looks like they have a variety of different fillings, but maybe not all at the same time.

I'm excited to try this place.

Nov 19, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Sheherezad food truck

I visited the Sheherezad food truck at lunch today. You should go there. This is not the usual dry schwarma and falafel. According to Eater Boston, it's run by Burke Weston, who came from Hamersley's. Entree selections were a cinnamon-spiced chicken stew, beef kubba (which I know as kibbeh; mixed with bulgur wheat and toasted almond slivers) over rice, and a cauliflower pita with fresh herbs and pickled veggies. There were also some appetizer and "snack" sized dishes and a dessert, which I can't remember now but I think was billed as an Iranian pastry.

I got the beef kubba, topped with roasted eggplant and tomato, and it made for a very satisfying lunch. The rice, in particular, was fantastic. I'm not one of those people who eats plain white rice for fun, but there was something about the texture of this rice. It reminded me of stuck-pot rice/taddiq but without the browning. It cost $7.50 and it took all of two minutes from the time I walked up to the truck to the time I walked away with my lunch.

Seriously, go there.

Here's the Eater link:

Nov 18, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Return to Cha Yen Thai Cookery

I have ordered takeout a few times, without specifying any heat level, and haven't found it too spicy. (And I'm not a chile-head, I prefer my food to not cause me physical pain!) They are very nice and won't give you a hard time if you ask for your food to be mild.

Nov 17, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Great Soups Downtown

The new place in the Financial District, Flame Cafe, also has pork gyros. I haven't tried the pork. The chicken was good, I liked it better than Zo, but I haven't had an amazing gyro in Boston.

Nov 14, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Uh oh, convention at Boston Seaport Hotel

Mostly. There are some tables. I wouldn't go there with a big group. I would say 2 people for counter seating, 4 max for tables.

Nov 09, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Uh oh, convention at Boston Seaport Hotel

For a group like that, I'd go with Pastoral or Tavern Road for a good meal. Sportello for a more upscale meal. Sam's if you want a great view and decent but not great food.
If they like chain restaurants, Legal (not the Test Kitchen) or Del Frisco's, Morton's for steak.
Flour, J. Pace, and Sweetgreen if you want a casual soup/salad/sandwich (just salad at Sweetgreen).
Flour and Barrington for morning coffee and pastries. Flour has breakfast sandwiches too.
Drink for fancy drinks, Lucky's for non-fancy drinks.
Beer and soft pretzels at Harpoon if you can make it over there before they close.

Nov 09, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Great Soups Downtown

Yes, the lamb chili is great, and my other favorite soup there is the fasolada (white bean and veggie). All the soups I've tried at Zo have been very good. And I like the grilled bread.

Nov 04, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Bagelsaurus - new Cambridge location.

Argh, why didn't I read this post before this morning? Around 8 a.m., we were hungry and I thought, perfect opportunity to grab some bagels at Bagelsaurus! So I loaded the 3 year old and 7 year old in the car. We waited on line for about 45 minutes, during which the 7 year old complained about the cold and the 3 year old yelled and ran around. (Not blaming this on Bagelsaurus at all -- I didn't realize how long the wait would be and had I known, I would have immediately gone to Plan B. Just saying this to warn others who might have companions who aren't so good at waiting. However, I agree with the other posts here saying they could speed it up. NY bagel places sometimes have an "express" line on weekend mornings for people who are just taking out bagels to go and aren't ordering sandwiches or anything. Bagelsaurus would benefit from that too.)

I wanted to love the bagels, but I found them very tough and hard to eat. The pretzel bagel, especially. I actually gave up and threw out 3/4 of that one because my teeth were starting to bother me. Plain had excellent flavor but was also tough. Seeded wheat was softer and probably my favorite of the ones I tried.

For the price, the long wait, and the quality, it wasn't worth it for me.

Nov 01, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area

Oh Snap! Is there a gyro arms race heating up in Downtown Boston?!?!?

(This is meant to be a reply to total13.)

Piperi is great, but they don't do gyros. It's their "gozi" flatbread (like a tortilla, but chewier and with more heft), or salad greens, with either falafel, chicken, steak, or roasted veggies, and with any combination of their salads and sauces on top. Salads include shredded carrot with cumin, pickled red cabbage, white bean with parsley, and tomato-cucumber relish. I'm not doing it justice with this description, though. It's all fresh, healthy, and delicious, and a great place to grab a quick lunch. The staff is unfailingly friendly and polite. I go there regularly because it's very close to work, and I'm always happy. BUT, if I want a gyro, I walk two minutes to Zo.

Nov 01, 2014
Pia in Greater Boston Area