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Catering Recommendation for small baby shower in Cambridge?

I'm not sure if either of they do formal catering, but Crema Cafe in Harvard Square makes excellent quiche and mostly very good pastries. They also sell fruit cups so they may be able to sell you a large bowl of fruit salad. Maybe you could call and see how they would handle a special/large order. Otherwise, I know that East Coast Grill caters, and I'm sure they would do an excellent job.

Ten Tables Cambridge---question about the Sunday 3-course deal

Well, we went last night and you can't order a la carte on Sundays, but there are 4 choices each for the appetizers and mains, and 3 dessert choices, so we hardly felt restricted in our options. Unlike your experience, Bob, almost everything we ate was indeed spectacular. I would have raved even at higher prices, but taking the price tag ($33) into account this was really an extraordinary value. The portions were so generous that my DC and I basically split one of the entrees, took a few bites of the other, and had them box the rest of other one (in two separate portions) for us to take home.

Brief review of what we had (we basically each split everything we ordered):

Apps:
Arugula/pear salad, with some goat cheese and toasted pepitas: unbelievably fresh and delicious. Not sure what was in the dressing but we both agreed it was one of the best salads we had tasted.

Pumpkin soup (using cheese pumpkin): delicate, delicious, simple; not too thick, not too thin; just pure pumpkin flavor, velvety texture, with some croutons for texture and a swirl of creme fraiche.

Mains:
Homemade ricotta cavatelli with porcini broth, delicata squash, brown butter, sage,and crushed amaretti: unbelievably divine; combination of sweet, savory and mild spice; excellent combination of flavors and textures; cavatelli were perfectly toothsome, porcini broth was just right (and in just the right amount to avoid this becoming a soup).

Pork and sausage stew with white beans and toasted bread crumbs: very rich and delicious; tender pork. Can't give much detail since I only had a few bites, then had to set aside given overwhelming amount of food. Looking forward to leftovers this evening.

Desserts: these were comparatively lackluster, but still solid
Chocolate terrine with thai basil ice cream: the terrine was just OK, a bit pedestrian as these things go; no complexity really; but the ice cream was delicious and unusual

Arborio rice pudding with toasted pistachios and toasted coconut: served cold, which was not what I was expecting. It had a high ratio of liquid to rice; I would have preferred more rice; pudding itself was mild and pleasant, but it would have been nothing without the delicious pistachios on top; coconut was not overwhelming, which is good.

Service was excellent. In sum, I highly recommend this place and they really don't skimp on the prix-fixe, as many places do.

Ten Tables Cambridge---question about the Sunday 3-course deal

First, is the prix-fixe ($33 for 3 courses) menu the only option, or can you order a la carte on Sunday evenings as well? (I know there are choices for each course within the $33 menu.)

Also, has anyone done the Sunday-night menu and how was it? I know the menu changes weekly/seasonally.

I went to Ten Tables in Provincetown last summer and really enjoyed it but haven't been to the Cambridge location.

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Ten Tables
5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

Any decent apple-picking still to be had? Preferably a place with good cider donuts.

We wound up heading to North Shore instead (no apple picking). Nice to know that I may still have a chance to snag apples at Tougas before Thanksgiving.

Any decent apple-picking still to be had? Preferably a place with good cider donuts.

Thanks! I will definitely inquire at Tougas Farm.

Any decent apple-picking still to be had? Preferably a place with good cider donuts.

Looking to go apple-picking this Sunday. A place within 45 mins-1 hour of Boston preferred. Went to Smolak Farms last year and found it decent, but wouldn't mind trying a new place.

Best foccacia in the North End?

Not sure about restaurant sourcing, but Clear Flour makes some excellent focaccia. Iggy's is decent too.

La Verdad, just not good?

I also went to La Verdad for the first time over the weekend. While my experience was not as bad as devilham's, I was quite underwhelmed. I also ordered the 4-taco sampler, which had a carne asada taco, a chorizo-sweet potato taco, a fish taco, and a chicken tinga taco. Among these, the best were the carne asada and fish tacos, both of which were solid if not amazing. OVerall, though, flavor and texture were lacking---the chorizo taco in particular bothered me: the chorizo was all in bits and the sweet potato was a puree, so the whole thing was a mushy mass in which flavors did not stand out. The chicken tinga was quite bland. Also, although the fish taco was pretty good, I much prefer the baja shrimp taco at Olecito. In fact, I think any of the Olecito tacos are better (including the poblano-potato "rajas" and the steak "arracheras" from the latter establishment).

I didn't try anything else so can't comment, but I expected much more from a Ken Oringer establishment.

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La Verdad
1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

Olecito
12 Springfield St, Cambridge, MA 02139

What The Heck Is Up With All This "Chipolte" BS?????

The worst is when people (such as waiters) correct you with the wrong pronunciation. I once ordered bruschetta----pronouncing it using the Italian pronunciation "brusketta"---and the waiter said, "oh you mean the 'brushetta'?"

My other pet peeve is "so-MAH-lee-ay" for sommelier.

Sure, we don't all have to pronounce things exactly as in the original language, but some attempt to actually look at how the thing is spelled and come close would be appreciated. Then again, these words are often misspelled, even on the menus of high-end restaurants ("proscuitto" is a big one; along with the by-now-called-out "marscapone"; and there are infinitely many incorrect spellings of cappuccino.)

Oct 12, 2011
bella_sarda in Not About Food

Vegetablarian offerings

East Coast Grill in Cambridge has an amazing vegetable entree, called the 'nightly vegetable experience' or something like that. It includes a variety of grilled vegetables, in addition to a starch such as noodles or rice, and condiments such as quacamole and salsa. It's excellent. They also do great meat and fish dishes, so you should be happy as well. While there arent' multiple choices for the vegetarian, the dish they do offer is really sure to please any devoted vegetable lover, and way better than most vegetarian entrees at otherwise meat-friendly restaurants.

Al Dente, Santarpio's or Regina???????????

I agree---Santarpio's crust lacks flavor (due to lack of salt) and has a crumbly/cardboard texture. Regina's has chew and flavor, and good toppings to boot. So for pizza I vote for Regina.

Trattoria Toscana ??

I'm pretty sure that the closest T stop would be the Museum of Fine Arts stop on the E line, provided you're willing to cross the Fens (and know which path to take to end up close to Jersey St.). Also, the likely extra wait for an E train may offset the benefit of the shorter walk.

Star Market... a chow destination?

I agree that the Beacon St. Star is mostly awful, and just a really depressing place in general, but, like FoodDabbler, I do appreciate the lack of crowds. Also, for some reason, they carry Seven Stars Farm organic plain whole milk yogurt, which I have not seen at the Shaw's in Twin Cities Plaza (McGrath/O'Brien hwy), nor at Market Basket (Somerville) nor Johnnie's (Beacon St.) and which is hard to find outside of Whole Foods, so I make frequent yogurt runs to that Star Market.

*free* cider donuts at Clover Harvard Sq. this week (mornings)

I stopped by this morning for a coffee, which came with a friendly lesson (which can be declined) about single-cup brewing (using the low-tech filter method favored by Clover) and some delicious (and, yes, free) cider donuts, freshly made this morning. Same deal every morning this week from 9-10:30 a.m. The donuts were small and yummy, with a bit of crunch and a nice but not overpowering coating of cinnamon-sugar (and a pinch of salt I believe). I was not too shy to take two!

http://www.cloverfoodlab.com/

posto in Cambridge

I wrote recently that I was very disappointed by Posto's pizza. The crust on the pie we got had absolutely no crispness to it whatsoever, despite otherwise appearing to be fully cooked, with the requisite charred bits here and there. It was so soft as to seem tainted by dough conditioners. The whole place just seemed inauthentic to me, notwithstanding their claims of having a Neapolitan seal of approval. Of course, I didn't try any of their pastas, and I'm certainly curious about the pig roast.

Pizzeria Posto

Finally tried Posto last night for the first time. I was extremely disappointed. The crust, while nicely charred, was absolutely flabby. It did not appear to be undercooked, it just lacked any crispness at all. It was chewy, yes, but way too soft for a true Neapolitan pizza. We ordered the plain Margherita, so it's not as if it was loaded down with toppings. I will admit that the quality of toppings (especially the tomato sauce) was quite good, but the crust just killed it for me.

Did anyone else have the same experience? I notice people here saying the crust was "crisp", so maybe they just don't achieve crispness consistently? To me, there seemed to be something inherent about this dough that did not seem designed to achieve crispness; like they're going for a breadier style deliberately.

I was also irked by the waiter. When we ordered, we said we did not have huge appetites, and that between the two of us would share one arugula salad and one pizza. He said he didn't think that would be enough food, but we stuck to our guns and it was just right for us that particular night. I'm glad we didn't allow him to pressure us to order more than we wanted, but he seemed annoyed with us for the rest of the evening.

Anyone else find the pizza wholly underwhelming?

Asian grocery or supermarkets in Boston area?

thanks, threedogs. this is incredibly helpful! you've gone above and beyond the call of duty. I'll be sure to find it next time I'm at Reliable Market.

Asian grocery or supermarkets in Boston area?

Hey threedogs---where in Reliable did you find the plain fermented black bean paste and what did the label look like? I've looked for it there and couldn't find it. Sometimes the labels have no English translations so it can be hard to tell. On one visit I wound up buying a spicy black bean paste which was OK but not what my recipe called for. I guess I could just ask the owners.

BBQsmith - great food at new food truck in front of chinatown gate

I just tried BBQsmith for the first time today. I had two tacos, one with smoked chicken and one with smoked beef. They come in a small-to-medium flour tortilla (yeah, I'd prefer corn, but the flour actually works well with their meat) with a very nice salsa verde for garnish. The meats were super-tasty and they put a good amount in each ($3) taco. I liked that they didn't try to jam too many tastes in. It was a good balance between the smoky/salty-ish meat and the bright salsa. It didn't taste like any particular ethnic cuisine; it just tasted delicious. I also had a side of sauteed greens (seemed like kale rather than collards); these were good but on the salty side.

I did not see the platter option with sides---only sandwiches and tacos, with sides sold a la carte. Does anyone know if you can still order a platter?

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BBQsmith
No formal address, see Twitter for location, Boston, MA

Best Boston Cream Pie?

I have not personally tried it, but Flour Bakery does make a Boston Cream Pie. Their desserts can be great or not, in my experience, but it seems at least worth trying.

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Flour Bakery + Cafe
12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

Thermomix anyone?

I am really skeptical about this thing but, admittedly, know very little about it. I looked at the forum briefly, and it seems that people are using it to make the kinds of things I would never make and have no desire to make, such as chicken fricassee and other casseroles. I am also wary because I like the hands-on experience of cooking. I've been cooking for a long time and it seems this thing would wrest control of the process from me, which is a very scary prospect. Any other experienced cooks who have had good or bad experiences with this? Does it take the joy out of cooking?

Aug 28, 2011
bella_sarda in Cookware

Good cappuccino around New England Medical Center?

Good to know---I will check out Thinking Cup soon!

Good cappuccino around New England Medical Center?

BTW---the link that appeared automatically in my post refers to a different location of Boston Common coffee, which is not the one I intended. There is in fact a location at 515 Washington St.

Good cappuccino around New England Medical Center?

Boston Common Coffee Co. on Washington St. in the theater district doesn't seem that far away and they make a decent cappuccino (although it can vary from barista to barista). Be sure to ask for foam.

The original Flour bakery in the South End is nowhere near NEMC. It's closer to BU medical center.

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Boston Common Coffee Co
10 High St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02110

ISO Fresh or Frozen Pasta

Thanks. I'll definitely pick up a box next time I go to Sherman Market.

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Sherman Market
22 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143

ISO Fresh or Frozen Pasta

Speaking of frozen ravioli, has anyone tried the ones by Nella Pasta, which is made locally and sold at Sherman Market and various farmer's markets? I have not tried it. Intrigued by the beet-flavored pasta dough, e.g., but also suspicious of it at the same time.

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Sherman Market
22 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143

Restaurant week choices in Cambridge: Harvest, T.W. Food, or EVOO?

We wound up going to Harvest based in no small part on the option to sit outside. However, the terrace was closed when we arrived last night, following afternoon rain. Our meal was decent although nothing was really outstanding. The service was very good and we did not feel rushed. The half-wine pairing was a good deal at $15 (which included 3 different half-glasses of wine). I ordered the gazpacho to start. This had a very lively, clean tomato flavor. I ordered the mushroom risotto as a main course, but split that with a dining companion who ordered the braised chicken main and shared back. The risotto had a nice flavor (including a pea coulis and pea shoots) but the rice was mushy and the whole thing seemed a bit more like a thick soup than a risotto. The chicken was really juicy and nicely seasoned, and there was a tasty sauce on the side of the plate (forget what was in that). The white beans it came with were very bland; the grilled rapini (also on the side of the chicken) was good but there were about 2 bites of it. Overall, portions were on the small side but not tiny. I also tasted the pork belly appetizer, which was actually a rather generous portion. It was delicious. For dessert, we all had the peach panna cotta, which was really nice---straightforward peach flavor, good texture. Only issue was the supposedly roasted peaches on top did not have any of the caramelized, roasty goodness I might have expected, and that would have really put the thing over the top. I also tasted the redfish main; the fish was good but the fried green tomato on the side was a disaster--thick, limp breading, and stuffed with cheese---yikes. Only real misstep of the bunch.

ISO Fresh or Frozen Pasta

I would say the Capone's frozen ravioli (I've never bought it fresh from them) is just so-so. The fresh ravioli from Dave's is far superior. Have not tried Dave's frozen, but I would imagine it's got to be almost as good as the fresh stuff, and therefore better than Capone's frozen. One key difference between Dave's and Capone's ravioli is that Dave's are truly handmade and the pasta sheets are much thinner and the amount of filling greater. In contrast, Capone's are machine-made, with thicker pasta and less filling. Mr. Capone himself even admitted to me that he wishes they were better, but that to be able to spit out the quantity they sell they have to use the machine.

August 2011 Farmers' markets, CSAs, Farm stands Etc.

I've seen $4/half pint for at least 2 years running at most farmer's market vendors. Maybe an occasional $3.50. The yellow sungolds are my favorite, especially the ones from Red Fire Farm (at Dewey Square on Tuesdays only). They're organic too.

I find Siena Farms produce to be by far the most expensive of any of the vendors I've seen. It is organic, but they're also cashing in on the Ana Sortun brand, in my opinion. Their stuff is generally good, but the arugula I got from there was not my favorite.

August 2011 Farmers' markets, CSAs, Farm stands Etc.

I missed something: from which farm is Farmer Al, i.e. who has the awesome blueberries?