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Good selection of eaux-de-vie / grappa / schnapps?

I've seen at least some of these at bars like Eastern Standard/the Hawthorne

Mar 26, 2014
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Breckenridge Bitters

Josh Taylor at West Bridge made me a cocktail last week with tequila, amontillado, dry vermouth, and Breckenridge bitters that was really quite good. I'm thinking of trying to duplicate it at home with Gran Clasico subbed in for the Breckenridge

Jul 23, 2013
rlee21 in Spirits

Which restaurants are on your "to do" list right now?

There was only a 5 minute wait or so when I went at 9 on a Thursday a month or so back. Ordered a regular ramen, but was mistakenly given a bowl of the buta ramen instead. I expected to be catatonic afterwards, but instead, I found myself feeling decent. And as MC notes, quickly seeking out a digestivo afterwards completely settled my stomach.

Jun 12, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Brookline favorites?

I'll have to second this sentiment. Though, I was really taken aback by the friendliness at first.

Jun 12, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Which restaurants are on your "to do" list right now?

Asta
Giulia
Sycamore
Steel & Rye
Szechuan's Dumpling
Rincon Limeno
Spoke

Jun 12, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Uni 11:00 pm Ramen

I agree that Uni is incomparable to a lot of top notch ramen I've had in New York, Vancouver, etc. The broth is thinner than I like and too salty. The noodles I find decent, but the pork is inconsistently roasted.

That said, I do get the late night ramen there on occasion because its better than most late night options, and the hot soup often hits the spot on one of many cold Boston nights. Also, while incomparable to top notch ramen, its still better than some of the other bandwagon ramen options in Boston.

May 28, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Bronwyn

I went this past Saturday with a friend right after the Champions League final, the pairing of German food after Bayern Munich won the title was irresistible.

The beer list did indeed look fantastic, and something Bavarian like the Paulaner would have been perfect. Alas, my physician has barred me from consuming beer, and I chose a glass of blaufränkisch instead. My DC had a glass of a sparkling grüner. Both were decent wines, but a beer really would have hit the spot..

For dinner, we started with the pierogi filled with smoked kale. It was an interesting interpretation of the iconic Eastern European dumplings, the smoked kale pleasantly replacing the usual meat filling without losing any of the usual heft. The knödel came next, which were like sliced bread pudding rather than dense dumplings I was expecting. With the bits of bacon interspersed, it reminded me a bit of dim sum turnip cakes, except with a different texture. The taste of fiddleheads was a bit lost in the dish.

The zungenblutwurst had a richly spiced flavor that was quite nice, but it lacked textural contrast as the filling seemed homogenously ground. The "zunge" part was a bit lost as nothing could be easily identifiable with tongue. The jägerschnitzel was excellent: tender veal scallops with sautéed shimeji and maitake mushrooms, honeyed walnuts. I found this version much more delicate and refined than the jägerschnitzel I have come to expect, which is slathered in a rich gravy of button mushrooms. The spätzle consisted of large, irregular blobs of dough, but the emmentaler and onions made it quite reminiscent of käsespätzle. However, the mint and asparagus were nice touches to lighten the dish. We also had a side of sauerkraut that was altogether too acidic and made me wonder if additional acid was added beyond the natural fermentation.

We arrived at 5:30 because we wanted to beat the crowd. Thankfully, we were seated immediately, but unfortunately, we were finished with dinner by 6:30. We had a huge issue with pacing, as all of our dishes more or less arrived simultaneously. The last dish to arrive was the spätzle, but there was literally no space on our table to accomodate, so the waiter took it back and forth from the kitchen until we had only just finished the knödel.

All in all, I thought the food generally had good flavor and were interesting twists on German classics. Its probably the best German food I can think of in Boston (Jacob Wirth isn't exactly strong competition). I would go back if I were in the area, but its so far out of my way that I can't imagine making the trip specifically to go back just to eat there. To me, its on the level of good neighborhood restaurant, but not destination dining.

Uni 11:00 pm Ramen

It would be easier to respect your opinion if you were comparing Uni to Ippudo, as I have never heard of an "Uppudo" restaurant in New York..

May 28, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Westbridge

I concur with mkfisher, the dozen or so cocktails I've had there have all been on par with some of the better restaurants in town. I personally think there are a few on the menu that are even more interesting than Drink, Backbar, or the Hawthorne.

Apr 22, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

My mistake. I've always gotten the hot one by default.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

Still cash only. There's an atm on the premise.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

I just visited the new location a week ago and had the lobster meat roll instead of the tail only roll. I don't think the amount of meat has changed at all, but I do agree that the lobster meat roll has less tail than before. I think you end up with more knuckle mostly and maybe a bit more claw.

It certainly loses the grungy character of the old location, but the new location is definitely an upgrade in my book.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

Neptune Oyster's lobster roll is a totally different animal being served hot with butter instead of cold with mayo. Its also very good, but totally unlike Belle Isle.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Best Cheesesteak in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville

By the way, I don't think its advertised on the menu at Pat's, but you can order a 'steak bomb' to have mushrooms, onions, and peppers added.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Speakeasy-Style Bars (with Great Mixologists) in Boston

I agree that Backbar may be ideal, though with more of an industrial loft feel. Though small, since they take reservations, it might be an effective route to guarantee seats.

I think Hawthorne might work well for that sized group, and I doubt they would have trouble accommodating. However, its even more or a upscale modern sort of vibe than what I remember at Raines. (As an aside, with Katie Emmerson behind the bar, Raines analogy is especially apt.)

Drink, Brick & Mortar, No. 9, Clio would all be very difficult to find 10 seats in. Although for places like Milk&Honey and the Varnish, a group of 10 would be similarly impossible.

Dec 18, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Best Cheesesteak in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville

Pat's Place, ironically located in Brigham and Women's Hospital, makes a pretty decent steak and cheese.

Dec 18, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Goat Dishes in Boston

There isn't a generally a distinction between goat and lamb in written Chinese.

Nov 24, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy chanterelles (or other wild mushrooms)?

I was lucky enough to meet Ben and his wife a few weeks back and had a nice conversation about stinkhorns. He did introduce himself as Ben..

As for hen of the woods, I've seen cultivated maitake sold at Kam Man. Asian markets are also the best place to get abalone/king oyster mushroom, regular oyster mushrooms, shimeji, enoki, and shiitake. Also, Sakanaya has matsutake from Maine every now and then.

Nov 08, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Mushroom Seasoning? from C-Mart

I have long used the mushroom granules as essentially equivalent to MSG since it adds the same umami flavor aspect that one gets from glutamate, no matter what its form. I have also powdered dried shiitake for a similar effect.

Nov 08, 2012
rlee21 in General Topics

What the Hey? No Dry or Roasted Soybeans at Boston Area WF?

Probably can be found in H-Mart or any other Asian grocery store. If can't find already roasted ones, at the very least, I know that I have boughten dried soybeans there, but for the purpose of making soy milk. What is called edamame is the immature soybeans, so I'm not sure if those can be used for roasting. I think the dried soybeans would be better. Soak them first, then roast in oven.

Oct 13, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Food Truck Throwdown

Its infiltrated even Stop & Shop and Trader Joe's

Oct 13, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Food Truck Throwdown

Boston: Bon Me, Mei Mei, Staff Meal, Roxy, Kickass Cupcakes, Lobsta Love, Cookie Monster
NY: Fishing Shrimp, Bian Dang, Mike N Willies, Muchie Mobile, Nuchas, Big D's Grub, Wafels & Dinges

The only NY truck I am familiar with is Wafels & Dinges since its often parked in Astor Place right across the street from Angel's Share, my favorite bar. I can't speak for their savory options, but the waffles are pretty tasty and can be topped with speculoospasta. And who doesn't like speculoospasta?

Oct 13, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

where to buy fresh / live seafood?

When line fishing for mackerel in Nova Scotia this past summer, 1 in 10 were swarming with anisakis worm that you immediately notice when gutting the fish. With heavily anisakis infected fish, I'm never going to take any chances, so infected fish were fed to the gulls. Freezing and cooking will kill the worms, but sometimes allergic reactions can result even after worms have been killed.

That said, I regularly buy whole fish from Chinatown (Happy Family or C-Mart) and sashimi grade fish from Sakanaya. I have never had issues with either.

Oct 12, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Your food truck favorites?

There is the Food Truck throw-down today (10/13) with 7 Boston trucks and 7 visiting from NY. I believe there is a separate thread about it.

Oct 12, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Fresh bamboo shoots

Kam man, h mart, c mart, etc. all sell both prepared bamboo shoots in cans and marinated or pickled bamboo shoots in jars. Fresh shoots are more difficult to work with and are a rarer sight, especially this time of year.

Oct 09, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Best Martini in Boston

Dutch gin as in genever?

Oct 09, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Kouign Amann Anyone? A Breton Delice Richer than Croissants!

I know you're not a fan, OC, but for the record, Clio usually has Kouign Amann on their dessert menu.

Aug 22, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Boston Area Barbecue Restaurants

I grab some ribs there a couple days ago as its on my walk home. From the look of it, the Brigham Circle location is simply designed to reheat food made elsewhere. The ribs I got were not quite as good as what I've had at Allston: not enough smoke with only the faintest of smoke rings. I have had more consistency at the other location for ribs, so I'll give it another chance soon and hope it was just a one off.

Jul 18, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Sushi Grade Tuna

Probably not geographically convenient at all, but Sakanaya in Allston is excellent. I regularly buy sashimi grade fish from there with very good results. I have bought akami, chu-toro and o-toro; bluefin, yellowfin, and big eye. I can be tricky to get exactly what you want since the selection there is variable depending on what comes in. They do have frozen stocks though if what you want is not in the cold case.

Jul 13, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Saloon - Go, it is good

Brick & Mortar, backbar, Green St., Craigie, Rendezvous come to mind as being places I would cross the river to visit.

My understanding is that the bar program has changed a bit since Tom Mastricola got the ball rolling at the outset.

Jul 13, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area