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Visiting Boston in June, need food tips for meals near the convention center

I have two affordable recommendations for you just walking distance (half block) from the Hynes Convention Center, perfect for a student budget:

1) Mentei (Japanese), at 66 Hereford Street, between Newbury and Boylston. You can get a nice dish of pork or chicken served with rice for under $10. Decent sized portions and good flavor, also very fast. You'll notice it's a favorite spot for students of local colleges and schools.

2) Café Jaffa (Middle Eastern) at 48 Gloucester, between Newbury and Boylston (Gloucester is parallel to Hereford, this place is around the block from Mentei). Info at http://cafejaffa.net/ It's not as cheap as Mentei but offers affordable and filling menu options like the Falafel Plate or the Houmus Plate, both at $9.50. Both are nice sized portions and good options for lunch.

Hope this helps, have a great visit in Boston!

Apr 20, 2012
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Lynn: Tacos Lupita and Lupita Restaurant--same? wazzup?

Hi, sounds like you were at RESTAURANTE Lupita, which is just a half block from Market Street and right next to the Food Project land plot. TACOS Lupita is half a block down the street. They are owned by the same owner, they basically expanded their business by opening a second place. Restaurante Lupita is located where Pho Lynn used to be. In fact, when they opened the new place, they remodeled the older Tacos Lupita and had a sign up sending people to the other location. Both are operating now. Almost the same menu, Restaurante Lupita has a few additional options that Tacos Lupita does not have, but yes it's the same food, same quality, same flavor so you didn't miss out :-)

Apr 20, 2012
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Surprisingly good Indian food at the Burlington Mall...

I agree, that's an unexpected great spot in the food court. Heading there today btw :-)

Apr 20, 2012
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Recommendations for CSA meat share Boston North Shore?

Any recommendations for CSA meat share, preferably in the North Shore? Also, I've done a farm share with the Food Project for the last two years but I am not familiar how a meat share works, so any tips will be helpful, thanks!

Oct 05, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Looking for a good Saturday lunch spot in Somerville

I'd encourage you to try Machu Pichu at 307 Somerville Ave. if you're looking for something interesting and reasonably priced. If you havent tried Peruvian food, you're missing out on simple but delicious food and great flavors. If you have tried it then you'll probably be glad there is a local place that serves authentic Peruvian cuisine. While different to Mexican, Brazilian and other Latin American flavors, here is something very special about Peruvian cuisine. More info at http://www.machupicchuboston.com/

If you're looking for recommendations, I'd suggest choclo peruano, ensalada de quinua, pollo saltado, aji de gallina and definitely try ceviche mixto or leche de tigre, if you like fish/seafood.

Oct 05, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Breakfast recommendation near Coolidge Corner?

I go there every month or so for early appointments (8:30 AM) and the last couple of times I looked for places listed on Yelp that apparently closed two years ago. Any favorite breakfast places near Coolidge Corner that you can recommend? Thanks :-)

Oct 05, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Looking for good lattes in greater Boston - like in Seattle

I like Espresso Royale Caffe at 286 Newbury Street. It's the best I've had in Boston, leaf patterns and all. They take forever to prepare your coffee but if you don't mind waiting and dealing with rude baristas this is the place to go (cashier's very friendly though).

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Espresso Royale Caffe
288 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115

Oct 05, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Need a solid dinner recommendation, please

Check out Davio's http://www.Davios.com, if you are staying in downtown boston it's walking distance from major hotels. It's a bit on the pricey side but not outrageously expensive, great drinks and wine selection. I think they're categorized as Italian although the menu is quite eclectic, I think it'll be different to hat you're doing Saturday night. Everything I've had there was delicious, the ambience is great. Service is a bit snobbish but ok.

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Davio's
75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Tamale Ingredients - Where in Boston?

Thanks for the tip emannths, definitely interested in checking them out ...

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Tamale Ingredients - Where in Boston?

Oops I just noticed this is from 2004 that's funny LOL

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Cooking classes on Fundamental Techniques

All the info you guys are posting is very useful, really appreciate it, many thanks!

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Mexican chorizo sighting

There are three places in my area where I've found authentic chorizo: Poblano's in downtown Lynn (they carry two brands, one is very fatty, both are so-so quality but with the taste I was looking for), there is another small Hispanic store on Union Street (can't remember the name) that carries what looks like homemade chorizo which is quite good but I don't go there anymore (long story ...). Finally, Whole Foods in Swampscott had Mexican chorizo some time ago that was really good but they don't anymore :-( I asked the guys at the meat department (it was next to the pork sausage) and they told me they started making it right there in the store but no one was buying it (I guess I was the only one). If you have a favorite Whole Foods maybe you can ask the butcher if they can make some?

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Union Street Restaurant
107R Union St, Newton Center, MA 02459

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Where do I find Mexican Q&Q Fideo?

Not sure about that specific brand but I get my groceries from Poblano's in downtown Lynn. I've bought some fideos recently and they're pretty good although they are the cheap inexpensive type that you use for soups. Are you thinking of making sopa de fideo seco? If so, I assume you might need a decent quality brand that won't stick or disintegrate when cooking. I can take a look next time I go and see if they carry this brand, I go there once every other week or so. My local Stop & Shop at Washington Street also carries fideos (also the cheap kind).

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Cooking classes on Fundamental Techniques

Thanks for the replies. I've checked Cambridge School before and cannot make much sense of their website, it seems they only offer full time programs? The BCAE looks pretty good, if anyone has taken classes there I'd appreciate some input, thanks.

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Mini Tamale Pies

I like the concept, especially since you can make them as appetizers. I make mini-tamales for apps and they're a LOT of work but of course they look amazing when you serve them. The mini tamale pies seem like a good option and easier to handle when eating but I'm wondering about the taste and texture, which is what you get when steaming in banana leaves or corn husks. I'll try them!

Oct 03, 2011
rcastanon in Recipes

Excalibur Food Dehydrator - 5 tray or 9 tray?

I have a Nesco 5 tray and it's enough for my needs, but keep in mind that you'll get better results when you leave one tray empty. At least that's how it works with mine, you might want to check if it's the same with Excalibur. I don't eat nor make jerky, only use it to dry fruit and herbs but I'm guessing for meat it'll be a few hours.

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Cookware

Cooking classes on Fundamental Techniques

Can anyone recommend a place for classes on Fundamental Techniques (Braise, Sautee, Braising, etc.) in the Boston area, preferably North Shore, Boston, Brookline ... looking for evening classes that I can attend after work and not too expensive :-) thanks!

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy canning supplies, preferably on North Shore

I am in the exact same situation (Food Project farm share in Lynn). I decided to simply order from Amazon, they actually have a canning section :-) They also are promoting Amazon Prime this month, you get it for free and after a month you can cancel. Soooo I'm getting all my supplies with free shipping with two day delivery :-)

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Tomatillos - Boston / N. Shore

I can usually find them at Poblano's Grocery in Central Square, Lynn. They also carry canned tomatillos which is what I use when they don't have fresh and they work quite well for salsas and other dishes.

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Moved to Lexington (on the Waltham line) -- trying to find new "go to" places

I used to work in Waltham and a favorite of mine for Thai food is Green Papaya. Good food, reasonable portions and affordable, so in summary, good for families. Dine in, take out or delivery. They are very busy weekdays during lunch time and sometimes it's hard to find a place to park so I'd say if you have to, get there before noon or after 1 PM Good place to bring kids. http://www.greenpapayawaltham.com/
For pizza, I like B&F House of Pizza, for delivery, take out and dine in. Also good for kids. I don't eat a lot of pizza (gluten/wheat intolerant) but I can eat a slice or two of their pizza. They are on Lake Street in Waltham http://www.bfpizza.com/
Both places are near my workplace so I hope they are convenient for you. There are great places to consider for a kids free date on Moody's Street, my favorite is Tapas.

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Green Papaya
475 Winter St Ste 1, Waltham, MA 02451

House of Pizza
206 Division St, Pawtucket, RI 02860

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

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

I love Al Dente and don't even place it in the same category as Regina or Santarpio's. Their food is exactly what you'd expect from an Italian place in Boston's North End. Cozy (ok, crowded), busy place with large portions and good Italian food. I've read other responses and realize we all have a different POV so I hope you find this helpful!

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Al Dente Restaurant
109 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Restaurants with which you have a love/hate relationship

There are two in my list of love/hate: Legal Seafood and Tango (Arlington). Legal is not the same restaurant I knew when I visited Boston for the first time back in '96. When I moved here in '98, it used to be our favorite place for birthdays and celebrations, not anymore. First of all, they dramatically reduced the portions, secondly, they used to have the most amazing and knowledgeable wait staff. While the waiters now are polite and polished, they're not at the level they used to have, they knew the menu inside out and were always able to recommend a good wine to pair with your meal, NOT ANYMORE. As for Tango, while their service continues to be outstanding, I feel that the food is not what it was a few years ago, it is just OK. I continue to visit since they are still favorites but I am not as enthusiastic about them as I was a few years ago.

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Been to Acitron Mexican Restaurant Lately?

I've been there several times, most recently about a month ago. It is definitely not your typical Mexican "taco" place. I've tried several dishes like tostadas de tinga, filete sonorense and camarones en mole de tamarindo and I can honestly say this is authentic Mexican cuisine, what I'd expect to find in an upscale Mexican restaurant in Mexico City. I'm somewhat surprised by the negative reviews you mentioned, I checked Yelp reviews and most of the negatives are service related. There is a review on Yelp from someone in San Diego that claims he "knows" Mexican food and this is not it; what I'd say to this person is that Mexican cuisine is so varied that he might be familiar only with food from a certain region and quite frankly he's missing out. Acitron's menu includes dishes from different regions, including the Northwest (Filete Sonorense), Pacific Coast (Ceviche), Central Mexico (Quesadillas Surtidas) and Southeast (Cochinita). While this sounds like they cover a lot, there is still more variety to discover! I'd definitely recommend you try it, please post a follow up if you do.

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area

Tamale Ingredients - Where in Boston?

Eat Well I get my ingredients at a local store in Lynn (Poblano's on Central Square), however I am sure you can get them at other places if you look for Mexican/Latino supermarkets. If you are in Somerville/Medford I'd check East Boston, Revere or Lynn. The place I mention above is a small hole in the wall but the owners are Mexican and they carry a lot of stuff I cannot find elsewhere (queso fresco, salsa Valentina, maseca, Poblano peppers). I recommend you call first to make sure they have what you need, sometimes they run out. I don't think they have a website but their phone number is (781) 580 9156.
One thing to keep in mind: there are two types (that I know of) of Maseca, one is used for tortillas and the other one is for tamales, so make sure you get the right one. I don't know what the difference is but I've tried both and the other one (tortillas) gives you a rougher dough that crumbles when cooked.
Hope this helps!

Oct 02, 2011
rcastanon in Greater Boston Area