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End of the year Dining Chat [moved from Boston Board]

Some will say this would be more appropriate in the Media forum... but since it's a discussion about the local food and restaurant scene, I think most of you would find it an interesting read.

Check it out:

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

I even managed to sneak a CH plug ; ) in there.

Comments?

Dec 31, 2008
tbiscaia in Food Media & News

Fresh Smoked Fish

While Spence doesn't have an actual retail storefront, I used to go to their old location, just walk into the reception area and buy stuff directly from them anyways, so I would suggest stopping by and asking.

I would also recommend mail ordering from http://www.mainelysmokedsalmon.com - they pretty much smoke to order, so it's fresh as you will find anywhere, and it's "slightly different" (much smokier) from your average mainstream store bought smoked salmon. Love their kabobs aka salmon sticks... and their prices are incredibly low.

Dec 23, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Looking for best lobster deal

If you can get there today, $3.99/lb at http://www.freshcatchinc.com/php/mans....

Also steamers for $2.79/lb... yum, seafood fest tonight.

Nov 16, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Where would you go for ...

Begs the question, where do you go for veal shank? I don't know who else has it besides Whole Foods...

Nov 15, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Salsa Recipes

Ok, I'll contribute my version though it's not all that revolutionary, it is delicious.

Simply dice up a 1/2 dozen roma tomatos, 1/2 a fresh green pepper, 1/2 a fresh red pepper, 2 jalapenos, one sweet onion, a couple of scallions, and then add the "secret ingredients": 4-5 ripe fresh diced tomatillos, and about a cup of chopped fresh cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.

One variation that gets good feedback, is to add some Pace Picante sauce ( the original, NOT the chunky.)

Nov 13, 2008
tbiscaia in Home Cooking

Premium Steak Advice

The best tasting steak I have found in years, is what Trader Joe's calls their "tri-tip" steak. Not expensive, but every time we've had it, nothing but positive feedback from all eaters.

Nov 12, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Favorite Mole in the Boston Area?

I used to travel to SLC regularly for years, and found this place by accident just because they were next door to an Alamo, or some other rental car lot. It's one of my all-time fave restaurants anywhere.

Angela's is my local favorite also, but surely there must be others worth trying? I've never been to Cafe Azteca yet, and it's been years since my last visit to Sol Azteca.

Any other mole recommendations would be appreciated...

Oct 28, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Need Dinner Recs for I-90 Business Trip

I worked in Syracuse last week and went for a steak at the Scotch & Sirloin. Got one of their Chef Specialties, the Western Ribeye. It was one of the worst steaks I've ever had anywhere, 80% grisle and almost inedible though the spices they put on it were tasty. We used to have a Scotch & Sirloin in Boston but it shut down about 10 years ago, now I know why.

The other place I tried was much better, Tokyo Seoul. Friendly service at the sushi bar, I got a couple of their Sushi Specials, the Yoshimi Roll and another roll that was recommended by the sushi chef off their specials board, the Shrimp Tempura with Spicy Tuna roll. Both were fresh and delicious, and so was the side order of seaweed salad. I'll be back next week and will definitely stop by this place again - anyone care to recommend other restaurants in that area?

Sea salt question

You could always use a good quality pepper grinder to break down the crystals.

I have used all kinds of sea salts over the years, including some international/imports. My current favorite everyday salt is actually a mined salt, even though todao seems to look down on that type for some reason. It's called Real Salt, and it has natural minerals mixed in so it's not white like refined salt. You can buy it locally at various locations including Whole Foods, or online as I do, at http://www.realsalt.com .

I use it both for cooking, and as table salt. Try it, you'll like it! Just don't overdo it...

Ancient sea beds = NO artificial chemicals / pollution!

And you can't say that about any of our seas anywhere in the world in this day and age...

Oct 24, 2008
tbiscaia in Home Cooking

Gourmet's 8 Great lobster rolls in Boston

I guess what I was intimating is, Kelly's probably doesn't cook their own lobsters. Others, who knows? Prepackaged is (maybe) cheaper, more convenient and faster.

Oct 19, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Gourmet's 8 Great lobster rolls in Boston

Just wondering... for those in the know:

Which of these places use fresh cooked lobster that they actually boiled in-house, as opposed to pre-packaged lobster meat?

Not that I expect any of them, or their friends on CH, would admit that they use the latter...

Oct 19, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

British Beer Company

Stella.

Sorry, coulnt resist, so what if it's the french PBR. And then there's Kronenberg...

Oct 14, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Olivadi (norwood)

Interesting, they're also renting apartments with a nice benefit:

"Olivadi will bring up your meal, delivered straight to your door, on a cart. All the food will be served on the restaurant plates, glasses and linens-no eating our of paper or plastic!. "

http://boston.craigslist.org/bmw/abo/...

Oct 08, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Peppers around town for pickling

I stopped in at Russo's today, they have a nice variety of peppers including some locally grown, that you may not find in other places. I bought their last box of fresh olives, although a manager did say they expect to get more. They also have a good variety of mushrooms (I got some funky looking lobster mushrooms that I've never tried before) for those of you that might want to pickle some.

Oct 07, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Spices on the cheap?

Second the TJ's option for decent quality at reasonable prices.

One very cheap option is Ocean State Job Lot, but the closest one to you could be Randolph or Norwood. They carry a brand called Spice Supreme ( http://www.gel-spice.com/spice_suprem... ) and usually have quite a variety, but you get what you pay for. I happen to like their pickling spice mix, and also use their sesame seeds, poppy seeds, bay leaves etc. but I mostly keep them as a backup for when I cant get or run out of the good stuff.

(edit) And oh yeah, the Penzey brand spices mentioned by rlh below are WAY better, I have not gone to any local stores but get their stuff online regularly.

Oct 07, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Better than you make it

finlero, I'm still learning my way around here and didn't realize that weekends are slow, since that's when I can do most of my non-work websurfing.

I have yet to experience any of the 3 of the restaurants in your reply, but that's gonna change very soon. Thanks!

Oct 06, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Pilgrimage to Foxboro

Our old standby is Luciano's on Rt. 1 near Rt. 495, but while they're reliably good, they won't blow your sox off.

Patriot Place has several new Restaurants, but they all just opened in the last couple of months so there hasn't been enough feedback on them yet. Try one and let us know how it went: http://www.patriot-place.com/director...

One place you probably want to avoid is CBS Scene, the feedback on their food so far is not good: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/557469

I will make an effort to check out the "better" places like Davio's, Skipjack's nd Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro and report back soon.

Better than you make it

Disappointing lack of replies, I hoped to uncover a few gems based on people's favorite homade dishes, but... either the CH community is such great cooks that restaurants can't beat their homemade favorites, or maybe it's just not that many of us cook at home?

Come on, take the bait/challenge! Boston Zest, surely some Boston restaurant does Lemon or mushroom risotto that competes with yours?

Oct 06, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Maine shrimp salad

I was looking for Maine baby shrimp at Whole Foods about a month ago to add to my bouillabaisse, but was told they are out of season. They directed me to the freezer case, where they have what seems to be a house brand called Whole Catch. They call the product Coldwater Pink Shrimp and is a "product of Canada."

They were ok, hard to tell any difference when mixed into a bouillabaisse, but we also had some just plain boiled, and they are not as sweet as what I'd expect from fresh Maine shrimp, although it's passable considering that you can't always get the real thing.

Oct 06, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Better than you make it

I think this topic is appropriate for this forum, but if not feel free to move it.

Here's the gist of my inquiry: Think of your favorite dish that you make at home and are very proud of doing well. Now admit, what Boston area restaurant does that same dish, better than you do?

I'll go first. I make a mean Oso de Buco, using a modified version of this recipe: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/re...

My changes: I skip the cornstarch, celery and chicken broth and use mushrooms and white wine instead. I also use 5 times more garlic, because we like it garlicky. Last but not least, I use lamb shank rather than veal, tried both and prefer lamb.

As good as mine is, I have to say that Luciano's on Rt. 1 in Wrentham makes a heavenly version of this dish, and I always order it anytime they have it as a lunch special. In fact, their version is what I was trying to duplicate when I tweaked the recipe.

Your turn.

Oct 04, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Black Rock Cafe Wrentham, MA

Went there for my first time since it was James Roadside, for breakfast this morning. Walked in and smelled burnt toast, so first impression wasn't very positive, however the food turned out to be quite good. Since corned beef hash headlines the breakfast menu page, I had that, comes with hash browns and 3 eggs on top, very filling and tasty. Brough home their Belgian waffles for the wife, and she says they're ok, better than average, but also said the strawberries smelled a bit mildewy. They changed the decor but the layout is still the same. I'll have to go back for some of their lunch sandwiches, or better yet dinner - as soon as they get their liquor license, which is still in the (long, slow) process of being transfered.

Oct 04, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

First Time at CBS Scene

So the real mystery is, why are people flocking to these places? The newness/novelty? Obviously not for the food... a 2 hour wait is the norm? wow, Kraft really must be a marketing genious...

Oct 01, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Food Grade Pails

Ask your local dunkin doughnut stores or other doughnut chains in your area, they probably throw out dozens of them every month. Just sterilize them and they're good as new.

You can also buy them new at beer brewing supply stores.

Oct 01, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Pick Your Own Corn?

Actually, that's similar to the way we cook them too. I use a lobster pot, put about an inch of water on the bottom, them place the corn over a stainless steel circular rack that holds the corn just above the water level. Works great, and as you say also keeps the corn warm.

Sep 09, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Pick Your Own Corn?

Uncooked corn on the cob is a delicacy to us, as long as they're "young" and not over-ripe. We purposefully left 4 of the 12 out of the cooking pot and it's a toss-up which are better, only you can decide. But definitely don't want to overcook them when they're that fresh.

Sep 08, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Pick Your Own Corn?

Ok, so it took me a month to get over to Tangerini's but... they DO let you pick your own after all! It may depend on who's manning the store at the time, but if you can get there this is definitely the way to go, best/freshest (obviously) corn I've had this year. Though it's a bit of a walk and some muddy spots due to recent rain, this will be my go-to corn place from now on as long as PYO is allowed.

(There's even worms visible in a some ears, which in my mind is a good thing because it means they didn't pesticide spray the corn patches into oblivion.)

Sep 08, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Dining in general downhill due to economy?

In my recent visit to L'Espalier in their last week at the old location, I was surprised that there were only 3 or 4 other tables occupied in the 2 hours I was there, though I don't know what their normal lunch traffic is.

This downturn efect will likely only get worse as our summer supply of NE locally grown food comes to an end and the transportation costs become a bigger factor in the winter months.

Sep 06, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Your number one?

I didn't want to start a new thread so I'll put it here: I had lunch at L'Espalier today (my first visit ever) because I wanted to catch them before they move. I chose the Summer Lunch Degustation and the Vintners tasting, and asked about the availability of Foie Gras, which is not on the lunch menu - but somehow was included alongside the scallop dish. The food quality definitely lived up to the hype as expected, and the service was even better than that.

But my main reason for posting today is, they will be moving this Saturday so you only have 3 days left to visit the Gloucester St. location.

Oh and to keep it on topic, yes L'Espalier is my new #1, though I'll admit I have yet to try many of the CH favorites (it's a long list but I'm steadily working on it.)

Aug 26, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area

Bar Harbor & Boothbay Harbor, ME

Just got back from 4-day trip to Bar Harbor, and the best food we had on the entire trip was at Trenton Bridge LP. Some locals we talked to recommended the Chart Room which has a better view but we were disappointed in the food quality (our waitress was also a good salesperson and talked me into the macadamia nut crusted halibut which was ok but, their steamers were bland and flavorless compared to TBLP.

We had breakfast at Two Cats (pretty good) and Jordan's (mediocre food but great service,) and my son who isn't adventurous enough to try places like Maggie's or Mache Bistro forced me to eat at Geddy's, which is interesting but generic and awful food. Wish we'd tried Havana, walked by and read the menu and it looked great.

Definitely go watch the sunset on Cadillac Mountain at least once, and also take in the Acadia Loop Road, awesome cliffs and scenery. Also recommend the Button Point trail though it's fairly steep for old farts like me.

Pick Your Own Corn?

Alas, I was going to head to Tangerini's this morning to pick my own corn, but called first to see if they also head PYO peaches yet (they didn't.) I then asked what do they have for PYO right now, and corn wasn't mentioned so I asked again, and this time was told that they do NOT have PYO corn... oh well.

Aug 17, 2008
tbiscaia in Greater Boston Area