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Want a good/fun restaurant with a round table that will seat 8? any suggestions?

Was at Five Horse Tavern in South End this weekend for the first time and had a fantastic meal. Tons of good beer and really, really good food. I noticed they had two large round tables in the corner.

Apr 08, 2014
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

January 2014 Openings and Closings

Anyone know if Pho Dakao in Framingham has opened yet? The one food-related item missing from the MetroWest is some good Vietnamese food. Their website still shows opening January 2014.

Jan 22, 2014
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Mr. Swank has reason to celebrate! But where?

I have had great times at JM Curley but it is loud.

How about Citizen Public House? Tons of whiskey and pretty interesting menu. Only been once, but had a great date night with the Mrs.

Aug 02, 2013
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Anniversary Dinner in Metrowest

So a big thank you to all who posted. We ended up deciding between AKA Bistro and Sycamore and chose AKA Bistro mainly because it was cheese plate night.

Overall, a very good dining experience. A little bummed that there was no bone marrow last night, but otherwise everything else was spot on and delicious. The space itself is nice and bright and clean. Plenty of parking (which I guess is a perk of living in the burbs). Service was friendly and on point. The cheese selection was incredible, all from Concord Cheese Shop which we will have to visit. I wish there was one runny cheese option, but really can't complain because all four were fantastic. My wife's duck confit was very crispy and tasty. (Another reason we chose AKA Bistro was they had duck leg on the menu instead of duck breast...we love the dark meat.) My steak frites was cooked perfectly and very well seasoned, but I do have one complaint and its my own fault. I love steak to just be steak. Maybe some melted butter on top, but that's about it. So while the caramelized onions and the not so melted butter were very, very good on their own, I just didn't like it on the steak. I saw it on the menu and could have asked for them to take it off, but I didn't so no fault to the restaurant on that. I used the onions and butter on the very crispy fries and that was a nice combination. Because I read a couple of blogs that reviewed AKA Bistro before coming, we ordered the mac and cheese as a side. Sadly, this was the lowlight of the dinner. While it was good mac and cheese, it didn't blow us away like the blogs were raving about. It's ok, because our toddler son will have it for lunch today and he will most likely love it. Flan for dessert topped off a very good dinner. One other quirk was we weren't used to be the last ones at a restaurant. Closing was at 10 and we were the last ones there while the staff was cleaning up around us. Didn't feel rushed at all though as we talked to a few servers about the cheese and even about our families.

Definitely going to try Sycamore soon though and also Stone Public House. Both of those look like really good restaurants for the area. We got a $30 gift card to Tomosso and will give that a try as well, though I'm not sure I'd go there without that gift card.

Thanks again for the information and for letting me know that Metrowest isn't all chains.

Aug 02, 2013
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Anniversary Dinner in Metrowest

Just moved to the Framingham area from Boston (damn having a child and needing space) and trying to fine a nice, romantic spot for our Anny. We would go into Boston or Cambridge but this is our first non-relative babysitter and we want to stay close to the area in case of emergency. Looking on all the regular websites and asking coworkers who live in this area, there doesn't seem to be a place that jumps out to us. Wildwood and Alta Strada seem alright and get decent enough reviews, just don't have the "WOW" factor. Farmstead Table piques me, but not the wife. Belmont and Waltham have some nice choices, but might be out of the radius of where we want to dine. Any good options?

(Oh, I originally was going to have us dine at Coach Grill because I have driven by that place nearly every day for the last 9 years going to work but I looked at the menu and immediately scoffed at the prices. Not because I wouldn't spend that much on dinner because I have, but because it seems like you aren't getting anything special for that price. If we went to Russel House Tavern or Craigie on Main, we'd spend probably less than Coach Grill and I'd know I'd have an incredible meal.)

Anyway, any places in Metrowest that delivers like a Russel House Tavern? Or are we setting our sights too high and our best options are decent to pretty good steakhouse or Italian restaurant?

Jul 31, 2013
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Craigie on Main question

I can't imagine Craigie on Main not being accommodating. Easily one of the best and friendliest kitchens in all of greater Boston and they will cater the tasting menu for your likes and dislikes. Been multiple times and never had a bad meal. Go and enjoy.

Jul 17, 2013
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Best Vietnamese that's not a hole-in-the-wall?

I agree with both Pho Countryside and Pho Basil. I'm also very partial to non-pho dishes at New Dong Khanh in Chinatown.

Jul 17, 2013
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Lump Charcoal West of Boston

Maybe too far for you, but got a big bag from Wegmans for $6.99. Have cooked with it nearly every day in July so far and burns hot and quick and clean.

(Edit: Just looked online and apparently it's Royal Oak with the Wegmans' name attached.)

Jul 15, 2013
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Non-gourmet Food Trucks

Just wanted to update and say that I've been to The Chicken and Rice Guys food truck a couple of times and have been very, very happy and satisfied. While they aren't quite on the level of NYC 53rd and 6th, they do make a damn good chicken and rice (also lamb) platter for only $6. The white sauce is pretty darn good (kinda ranch-y) and their hot sauce is definitely for persons who like it ultra spicy. Add to that the fact that the people running this truck are really nice and friendly will make me a customer as along as they are around. (Truck issues and changing schedule and some what light lines make me dubious on how long they will last, but I'm gonna try to help them out as much as I can.)

On the opposite side, I had a very bad experience at The Chubby Chickpea. Long, long line during lunch time. We waited nearly 45 minutes to order and get our food. I was on my day off so I didn't care, but my wife's lunch hour was basically wiped out just waiting for this not-so-great/not-really-fresh food. I got the shawarma and it was the typical lamb/beef patty you see around Boston. Possibly frozen and just thrown on the hot plate. Can't confirm that, but it tasted like it was. The pita roll up was just too much and it was swimming in sauce. My wife got the falafal platter and it wasn't a bad price at all, just wasn't that tasty and a bit dry. Maybe it was an off day and that's why the long wait and slow service, but really, it's lunch time in Back Bay, you really should know how to do quick service to get people back to their offices.

Finally, I think Bon Me gets praised on a bit too much. The people are always friendly but the food varies from meh to better than average for me. I know it's not suppose to be authentic Vietnamese food and maybe that's my fault for expecting/wanting it to be every time I order it. I definitely think the Boston food scene is better for having Bon Me around, I just wish (to my eyes and tastes) that the food was like what you would get from a Vietnamese food stand. And I wish the price was $1-$2 less. (Obviously I can always go to New Saigon Sandwich and get what I want for half the cost, but sometimes I can't go to Chinatown or am too lazy to walk from SOWA to Chinatown.)

Pretty excited to try The Taco Truck this weekend at SOWA.

Jun 08, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant Crawl Area?

Hi. I'm not from DC but I was just there this past weekend. I would say Cleveland Park or Logan Circle would be perfect for what you are looking for. Both have different types of cuisines just right next to each other. In Logan Circle, on 14th St, we went to Churchkey (Birch and Barley) and Estadio last Saturday night and both were fantastic.

Apr 10, 2012
jpeezey12 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Coming to DC April 6th weekend, need recs

Back from our trip. The weather could not have been nicer.

We arrived on Friday in the early afternoon. Stayed at Hotel Palomar (which will get it's own write up on Tripadvisor) and from there we walked around to get some snacks before our big dinner.

Hank's Oyster Bar - Wife hasn't had oysters in nearly a year with being pregnant and all so she was dying to get some for a quick snack. Lunch menu at Hank's seemed very reasonable with a variety of sandwiches and fried items. We got a dozen oysters and some onion rings. Rings needed a little salt, but were fried nicely. Wish they gave us more than 5 for $5, but the rings were on the large side. Oysters were oysters, and were fantastic.

Panas Gourmet Empanadas - 3 empanadas for $7. We wanted another snack as we were heading back to our hotel to rest up for our big dinner. This place was right near the hotel and I gotta say, wasn't bad at all. The empanadas weren't as greasy as the ones I am used to getting at food trucks or random hole in the walls and actually had good flavor. I wasn't expecting much and maybe that was the reason why, but I'd eat here if it was near my work and I wanted a quick bite.

miniBar - greatest food experience of my life. So unique and different. Did not feel rushed or absolutely full from eating all those bites. (I've had tasting menus in the past where half way through I wanted to just tell the chef to stop and put the rest in to go bags.) There were some misses (and they didn't miss by much) but nearly all 30 bites had me wanting more.

Bethesda Bagel - we went here on both Saturday and Sunday morning. Good bagel. Egg sandwiches and BLT were both big and filling. Long lines that moved very quickly. Weather was so nice we took the food to nearby benches and ate outside. I can see why this place is so popular, but for some reason I kept thinking the prices were about $1-$2 too high. Maybe I'm just a cheapskate.

Alero Restaurant - We went to the zoo Saturday morning with some friends and their young daughter and afterwards walked to Cleavland Circle for some food. Ardeo/Bardeo looked like a great menu but we weren't sure if their daughter would like eating there. Alero had a large patio and it was so sunny that we all decided we wanted to be outside. Decent Tex/Mex food. Guess it's a chain because we noticed the next day there was another location right by Bethesda Bagel in Dupont. Nothing at all to complain about here. Beers were good, food was plentiful and staff was very nice.

Harry's Restaurant - We tried going to the museums and after 45 minutes of being way over crowded and the exhibits we wanted to see were closed for renovations, we had enough and needed a beer. Our buddy walked us over to Harry's where we had a nice pitcher of Yuengling. If I worked in the area I could easily see myself coming here for drinks instead of all the chain places we walked by.

ChurchKey - We arrived at 5:45 thinking it'd be empty since supposedly they just opened up at 5:30, but nope it was packed. Luckily a group left a booth right when we arrived. Tons of ladies wearing very skimpy outfits (along with men wearing playboy bunny outfits) were around getting drinks. We assumed correctly there was some sort of charity run that must have just completed. While waiting for a friend to arrive we ordered a bunch of 4oz samplers and that was nice. Some good beers that I've never had before along with some that weren't to my liking. After our friend arrive we got the mac and cheese sticks, grilled cheese, and tater tots to snack on. All very good. I really enjoyed this bar. One thing I would change would be to have foot rests at the booth on the table instead of on the chair where I was sitting. Felt weird putting my feet way behind my legs to sit.

Estadio - My buddy was raving about the tonic drinks here, about how they were homemade and how we had to have one, so we walked up the street and found a spot at the bar almost instantly. I knew I was going to love this place when I went to the restroom and saw a Pixies "Surfer Rosa" poster. We got some gin and tonic drink that was absolutely amazing. So crisp and with nice citrus flavors. We probably ordered too many as the night went on. For tapas, the brussels sprouts, white anchovies and pork belly bocadillo were all home runs. The roasted peppers with salt and olive oil was nice too but not on the same level. I wasn't a big fan of the fava bean dip either. I'd come back if I was ever in DC again.

The Big Hunt - We ended the night here for a few beers. We found this place last time we were in DC and my wife loved it. Dirty, smelly bathroom, and loud...it's a pretty good bar in our eyes. We enjoyed watching a blind date commence near us.

All in all we ate fantastically well. Could not have asked for DC to be any nicer in terms of weather or people. (Outside of the bearded bum in Dupont Circle that was spitting on people left and right. He got me barely on my left temple and I had to find a bathroom ASAP to sanitize myself.)

Apr 09, 2012
jpeezey12 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Coming to DC April 6th weekend, need recs

Thanks for all the tips. Will definitely skip on Filomena then and hit up Bathesda Bagels since it's near the hotel.

I like how DC seems to have Thai food served as chef tasting menus (at least at Thai X-ing and Little Serrow) and while I'm interested in it, the wife wasn't feeling it for this upcoming trip.

We will most likely go to the zoo and some museums on Saturday and try to do a food crawl while we are at it. Ardeo/Bardeo looks neat as does Oohhs and Aahhs so if we are near by those places I'm going to have to at least grab a snack.

Finally we are thinking of trying to get a drink/snack at Birch and Barley too since it's not too far from the hotel and we love beer. Hopefully it's not as packed and crowded as these boards make it seem.

Will update when we get back. Thanks again.

Apr 04, 2012
jpeezey12 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Gyros in the South End

Awesome list! I too love gyros and shawarma and wish the South End had a better selection. I had the South End Pita a couple of times and it has been inconsistent. Once the meat was really cold (wasn't cut from a large spit of meat should have been a sign to me) the other time the meat was cut in front of me but I only got a couple of thin slices.

In my opinion the best gyros in the South End are when the Greek church on Union Park does it's Greek Festival.

As a side note, Rome Pizza has become our go to for pizza delivery. Wife usually gets a calzone, I'll get a small pizza and the Italian Salad. Never had a bad experience, even their wings are good.

Apr 04, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Best dishes at Congee Village Allen Street

I agree, get the house special chicken and you can't go to Congee Village and not order the congee.

Mar 30, 2012
jpeezey12 in Manhattan

Craigie on Main- Recent Faves?

Second the pig tails. We always get the bone marrow too when we go. If going early enough I'd get the burger.

I also agree with the tasting menu though. Monkfish liver and salmon collar was on the menu last time we got the tasting and were both amazing.

Once with a large group we ordered the pig's head. I enjoyed it, especially the cheek, but some people are put off with their food looking right back at you.

Mar 30, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Getting so bored -- new ideas welcome

I've been to Craigie multiple times and have never had a bad meal. In fact it might be our favorite restaurant in Boston/Cambridge. Bummer it didn't meet your expectations.

One of my other favorite places, though maybe not the type of dinner you are looking for is Tasty Burger. Cheap and fun.

I went to Foundry on Elm randomly last year and it was a very enjoyable meal. I had no expectations for it (didn't know much or read about it) but I came away thinking that's a place we should go to again.

Some love should also be given to Russel House Tavern. Been multiple times and have never had a bad meal. Good for date night or with a group.

Surprised no one mentioned Garden at the Cellar. Another place I have always had a good meal.

Mar 29, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Bar/lounge near Myers &Chang?

JJ Foleys is barely half a block away on Berkeley St.

Gallows is nice, but bar gets crowded since it's small.

Too bad Pho Republic is no longer around, that was my favorite South End spot to grab a drink. (And just a block away from my place.)

A bit further down Washington is Seiyo, it's a sushi spot but I like that they have a great craft beer selection and some good wines and sake.

Mar 28, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Non-gourmet Food Trucks

Well, looks like this was in the works already:

http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com...

I hope it's as good as the Halal Guys in NYC.

Mar 26, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Copley Place/South End/Back Bay Restaurants with Toddler?

I second Picco, great for toddlers when the outdoor area is open.

Not sure how it is for toddlers, but nearby is Salty Pig. I haven't been (going on Saturday actually for first time) but have heard very good things.

Island Creek Oyster is definitely worth the walk in my opinion. And if weather is nice, it really isn't that bad of a walk if you have a stroller.

Coda is a spot that while small, I always see people with children, usually before 7pm.

Mar 23, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Coming to DC April 6th weekend, need recs

Heading to DC to celebrate my wife's 30th. We chose DC because it's a short flight from Boston and I was also able to snag a reservation at miniBar. (I'm an unabashed Jose Andres fan.)

Last time we were in DC, we had very disappointing breakfasts. We will be staying in the Dupont Circle area and any rec on breakfast spots in that location would be great.

For our other meals, we don't plan on going as high end as miniBar (since I couldn't get Komi reservations) and it doesn't have to be extremely romantic or formal. We love hole in the walls and counter bar spaces. Any unique to DC spots that we definitely have to check out? (Other than Ben's Chili Bowl of course, another spot we always hit when in DC.) We saw on TV a while ago some place in DC that have Italian grandmothers making homemade pasta. Couldn't remember the name of the place and after a quick google search the only place I could find was Filomena. Is that a good spot or a tourist trap?

Also, any fun festivals happening that weekend?

(This will also be our first weekend away from our infant son, so any fun lounges/bars that are unique to DC would be appreciated too.)

Thanks in advance!

Mar 22, 2012
jpeezey12 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Pizza slices: variety & high quality?

Another vote for Ernesto's. My favorite pizza in Boston hands down.

Mar 19, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Non-gourmet Food Trucks

Walking around Boston yesterday I noticed by Peter's Park on Washington St in the South End a food cart selling hot dogs. I was thirsty from pushing around my son and his stroller all afternoon, so I wanted to grab a water. The wonderful lady working there told me she had empenadas ($1) but was sold out of BBQ Skewers ($3). I asked if those were "pinchon" and she said yes. She'll be at Peters Park most weekends and daily starting in April. I will have to walk by earlier on a weekend to check it out. I did try an empenadas and while small, pretty tasty and beefy.

Mar 19, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Non-gourmet Food Trucks

Let me preface to say that I love all the gourmet food trucks that are now available around Boston. While it's not quite at the level of say Portland, OR or NYC, NY, in the last year and a half it has definitely exploded and we are getting some fine quality food at decent prices in Boston.

However, and maybe I'm alone on this, but I would really love to see some non-gourmet food trucks pop up. Sometimes when I go to SOWA or am walking around Boston, I really just want a $3 chicken kabob or $5 gyro. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking these type of food trucks don't exist in Boston, but I definitely have not seen them. Would it be that bad for a Halal truck from NYC to come to Boston every once in a while and treat us with cheap chicken and rice? Or maybe those Puerto Rican and Mexican trucks that are parked in New Haven across from the IKEA can do some weekday sales in the Commons. I mean, it may not be gourmet food, but those trucks have some of the best food truck food I've ever tasted. AND CHEAP!

Anyway, if you know of a good taco stand or gyro guy around the city, please let me know and I'll keep up my search and will post any non-gourmet food trucks I find.

(PS, I am aware that there are plenty of hot dogs/sausage and hot roasted peanut stands around, and while good from time to time, not quite what I'm talking about.)

Mar 18, 2012
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Soft Shell Crabs?

Funny you should ask this because I just had some last night at Island Creek Oyster Bar. It was a relatively large crab fried tempura style over a bed of salad and avacado. The salad itself was forgettable, but the soft shell crab was incredible. $23 for the dish.

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Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

Apr 06, 2011
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Where can I find the best Pho in Boston

It's a mixture of Thai and Viet but I really enjoy Pho Basil on Mass Ave.

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Pho Basil Restaurant
177A Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Feb 04, 2011
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area

Vietnamese Banh Chung in Boston?

My mom normally mails me one or two for Tet, but she wasn't able to make her normal batch of it this year. Anyone know of any shops in the Boston metro that sells this?

(It's the square rice cakes filled with pork and mung bean and other stuff wrapped in banana leaf.)

Feb 04, 2011
jpeezey12 in Greater Boston Area