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CoachJ's Profile

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August 2013 Openings and Closings

Not just a name change. I know that Hobson's Homemade, local bakers, are involved and that (I believe) it will be a cafe.

Aug 30, 2013
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area
1

The Single Most Overrated Dish

Swordfish. It's usually overcooked, but even when cooked correctly it's not real flavorful with an unpleasant texture.

May 14, 2013
CoachJ in General Topics
1

maynard

I've taken their stuff home several times. Good stuff, reasonably priced. In my experience, fried seafood doesn't travel great. Often theirs does, but sometimes it's not all that great when it gets to my table, which is only a five minute drive. They have other stuff - grilled, broiled, steamed shellfish, etc. The salads, too, are high quality. The variety on the menu is outstanding. There's something for everyone. My 3-year-old loves the crab bites.

Feb 27, 2013
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Where do you buy your nuts from?

Yup. Love all of the flavored almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts - and the "blister peanuts," boiled before being roasted, were a revelation.

Feb 13, 2013
CoachJ in General Topics

Poor, Cold Service at Boston Restaurants?

I've only been to Craigie once, for the Sunday night chef's whim, and the server was damned charming and easy going. He made a great meal a great experience.

I was uncomfortable with the snootiness in my one visit to TW Food, but it seems it might be a matter of individual servers, no?

Jan 22, 2013
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Wilson Farm CSA or other CSA in Lexington/Waltham area

We did Siena Farms this year, and I absolutely can't imagine better produce.

http://www.sienafarms.com/csa.php

Jan 15, 2013
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Somerville/Cambridge: Where to get food for a 3-hr road trip this evening?

I know you don't want to stop along the way for food, but my road trips are always made that much more tolerable with special food stops. I don't have many, but Pizza in Little Italy in New Haven (I have only had Frank Pepe's, but others are also good I'm told.) I also love Belmont Vegetarian, near I-290 in Worcester. (I know it's not what you wanted, but I'm hoping this will spawn some road trip option recs on the way from here to say, Baltimore.)

http://www.pepespizzeria.com/
http://www.belmontvegetarian.com/

Oct 12, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Cast Iron Kitchen in Maynard - New Owners?

I have no real scoop, but on a recent trip the food was good. I had given up on the place because the food was inconsistent. One trip doesn't prove consistency, but this is literally the first time that everything we ate was acceptable.

The menu was slightly changed, and the service was still just a bit better than unacceptable.

Sep 06, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic Groceries - Western Suburbs

I've now been to Little Market, and I was not favorably impressed with their produce - quality seemed mostly subpar. The bulk items looked good, and the frozen/processed stuff is worth a second look, but I was a bit disappointed.

Jun 16, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic Groceries - Western Suburbs

Yeah, it's really not in my range, but thanks anyway!

Jun 14, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic Groceries - Western Suburbs

I pass Trolley Square on my periodic Trader Joe's wine runs and have often wondered. I will try it. Thanks!

The other places sound interesting as well, and I will seek them out.

Jun 12, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic Groceries - Western Suburbs

Looking for recommendations on places I might have overlooked for produce, etc, not too far from Maynard. I know the two Indian places in Waltham, and I go to H-Mart in Burlington sometimes. I'm wondering about Little Market in Acton, which I will soon check out, but that's about all of them that I know. Any ethnicity is great, I'm just looking for a diversion that might turn into a regular thing.

Jun 08, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

"Least Favorite Vegetable" Poll

I dislike very very few foods. I'm going to have to go with bitter melon. I had it in Chinatown, and it ruined the dish it was in. I'm going to try it again, though, because it's the only vegetable I can think of that I dislike.

May 17, 2012
CoachJ in General Topics

Can I Salvage My Asparagus Plants?

I'm in Massachusetts, where it's been absurdly warmer than usual. But we have frost warnings for the next couple of nights...

Can I add fertilizer and/or compost to the rows that have already come up? I don't plan on harvesting any this year, if that matters.

Apr 26, 2012
CoachJ in Gardening

Can I Salvage My Asparagus Plants?

I've got about 9 sprouts. One is really nice and large, a good 2 feet tall. The others are kind of puny. They're mostly in one furrow, with a few in a second. I'm hoping the third furrow will join the party, and they'll fill in around the sprouts I have. Sound realistic?

Apr 25, 2012
CoachJ in Gardening

One dinner and maybe a breakfast or brunch in or near Edison

We went to Rasoi and found it more than acceptable. We couldn't believe the amount of dishes that we got for the small price we paid, and the quality was very good. Thanks for the rec!

Apr 25, 2012
CoachJ in New Jersey

One dinner and maybe a breakfast or brunch in or near Edison

We ate at Le Peep, and it was quite good. We each had a skillet breakfast, and my son's meal off the children's menu was ample and good. We were on our way home and suffering somewhat from Child Menu Shock - getting inferior food and tiny portions at prices that look good on the surface, but are not good value.

Coffee was good as well, and we liked having the thermos on the table. Exactly what we needed to start the day.

So, thanks!

Apr 25, 2012
CoachJ in New Jersey

Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

Which reminds me! (Thank you.) I went to Italy alone for two months almost 25 years ago. It was Thanksgiving, but I was the only person in the restaurant who knew that. It was in Florence. This place, like many there, seated people with strangers to fill the tables. Me and an older guy who looked unexceptional in any way. He finished his meal as I was finishing mine. Then he took out a toothpick and proceeded to clean the dirt from under his fingernails while I finished up my Thanksgiving dinner.

I hesitated to finish this story. But I've always believed that things like this happen for the best. Sure, it's unpleasant, but you get a great story out of it that more than makes up in the end.

Apr 14, 2012
CoachJ in Not About Food

One dinner and maybe a breakfast or brunch in or near Edison

Also sounds good, thank you.

Apr 14, 2012
CoachJ in New Jersey

Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

Personally, I always tip on whatever the total would have been before any discount. IMO, a waiter/tress just has to deal with the fact that he/she is going to get shafted once in a while, especially when discounts are involved. Assuming the worst about your customers is not a great way to start their meal, but the way she phrased it was key - "This does nothing for me." We both thought she was trying to say that she was going to try to stop us from using the coupon.

Apr 14, 2012
CoachJ in Not About Food

One dinner and maybe a breakfast or brunch in or near Edison

I will, it looks like a good candidate. Thank you.

Apr 13, 2012
CoachJ in New Jersey

One dinner and maybe a breakfast or brunch in or near Edison

We'll be traveling south and stopping in or around Edison for one night, probably either a Sunday night or a Friday night. We like all kinds of food, prefer prices on the moderate side, and have a very calm toddler who also eats most anything. So what do you think is the one place in or near Edison that we should try?

We're leaning toward Wonder Seafood or the food court at H-Mart, but don't get the idea that we have a preference for Asian... anything good is good!

Apr 13, 2012
CoachJ in New Jersey

Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

I was about twenty years old, and a group of us visited a friend in Connecticut. We went out for Chinese food probably around ten o'clock, as we had arrived at his house around nine. After taking our order, the waitress warned us at length that if we were thinking about skipping out on the bill, we should expect to get hurt. At that age, none of us really knew how to react. My friend wrote a letter to the manager, but I don't think he ever received a reply.

Another time, my wife and I went to a local chain and when we presented a coupon we were lectured by the waitress regarding the proper amount to tip. "This doesn't do anything for me," was how she started out. I emailed the manager, who apologized, assured us that the waitress had been disciplined, and invited us back for a meal on the house. I never took him up on it - I didn't feel like going back under the circumstances. We returned to the place once in a while, as it was the kind of place that wasn't bad for a quick bite and a beer, but I just didn't want the attention, dog and pony show, embarrassing "personal" treatment, etc.

Apr 12, 2012
CoachJ in Not About Food

Ocean City, MD area

I've been there! The food was fine, but I found the prices to be a bit steep.

Apr 10, 2012
CoachJ in Mid-Atlantic

Ocean City, MD area

We will be staying in Ocean City from April 16 to April 20. We've been here before, and we have a couple of favorites: Fish Tales, Seacrets (they had a killer special, and the sunset was amazing.) We're leaning toward On The Bay if it's open. We also will get over to Rehoboth Beach for our Dogfish Head fix.

We have a two-year-old, but he's really well-behaved and mellow. We're looking for early dinners, lunches, and really hoping there's a breakfast place we missed in the past, since Thrasher's Fries would have been a more satisfying breakfast than the overpriced unexceptional choices we found in the morning - okay, Fractured Prune excepted, but we do try to limit our donut intake.

We're looking for a crab place, and we're going to be getting around - Ocean City, Fenwick Island, Rehoboth Beach, Assateague Island,etc.

Thanks in advance, people!

Apr 09, 2012
CoachJ in Mid-Atlantic

Potato Chip Afficionado

In England, we found some Papadum Chips. They came in a Pringles-style can. It was probably more of a novelty factor than anything else, but I would definitely try them again. Has anyone seen anything like this elsewhere?

I grew up about a quarter mile from a Granite State potato chips factory in NH. You could get a barrel of chips hot out of the oven. They were fantastic. In the late seventies something changed, and the chips were all of a sudden not so great. The place is long gone by now and much lamented.

Mar 20, 2012
CoachJ in General Topics

Can I Salvage My Asparagus Plants?

Thanks for the reply. I did try those things - dug trenches, filled in gradually - or would have, but almost nothing came up. Can you recommend a good article?

Mar 13, 2012
CoachJ in Gardening

Can I Salvage My Asparagus Plants?

I planted some asparagus last spring. I'm a bit of a newbie, and I didn't pay much attention to my soil. Imagine my surprise when almost nothing sprouted... Anyway, if I fertilize carefully can I expect the plants to come up this year, or should I buy some new roots? And assuming they do sprout this year, can I harvest any, or should I call this the first year and forgo the harvest? What do you think?

Mar 09, 2012
CoachJ in Gardening

Shad & Shad Roe

Currently (yesterday) at The Quarterdeck in Maynard, $12.99 a pair.

Mar 07, 2012
CoachJ in Greater Boston Area

Thanks for the MidCape Reviews

In short, we ate at:

Captain Parker's: We needed a place QUICK, as the 2-year-old was fading, so we pulled in with low expectations. They were met - all agreed that there was nothing to recommend, although nothing was particularly bad either. Actually, the Sam Adams Seasonal beer I had was really good. I am far pickier about my beer than my food, and it seemed that the tap lines were well cared for.

Keltic Kithchen: We had a really good breakfast here. My wife didn't care for the coffee, but it worked for me. I had smoked salmon benedict, which I quite enjoyed. The brown bread alone is worth the trip to the cape. We returned two days later and I succumbed to my gluttony and ordered the breakfast nachos. They were all that I should have expected, which is to say - they were just a bit too much. I enjoyed the potatoes, found the scrambled eggs to be a bit bland, and thought that the salsa brought the temperature down to a place I didn't want it to be. It wasn't a bad meal, but I wished I'd ordered the seafood hash. We'll return some day, and I will order something with the brown bread.

Pain d'Avignon: What a great lunch. The soup was one of the best I have ever had, a lobster-scented tomato soup. My sandwich, prosciutto and mozzarella, elevated this to the level of perhaps the best lunch I have ever eaten, and the homemade potato chips did not disappoint. We also split a cheese plate. We didn't really love it, found the selection to be a bit, well, boring. Not bad, and the accompaniments were quite nice, especially the bread, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Good Friends Cafe: The food was fine, but not exceptional. The vibe lived up to the restaurant's name, just a, well, friendly neighborhood spot. The toast was really good, though. We should have tried more of their reputedly fine homemade breads.

The Oyster Company: We went in for the early-bird specials. The oysters, I thought, seemed like they'd been sitting. My wife thought they were fine. I would have hoped for them to be treated with more respect at a restaurant with this name. I enjoyed my entree, well sort of - our two-year-old had had enough excitement and led us to eat and drink quite quickly to get him off to an early bedtime. It was pasta with clams, spinach, and feta, and it was more than acceptable.

Couldn't have eaten quite so well without you folks, and I thank several of you for it, though I will regrettably not name you here.

Feb 25, 2012
CoachJ in Southern New England