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charlieg's Profile

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Boston Bubble Tea Roundup

I am still very partial to Juice Bar in Chinatown, where I had my first bubble tea years ago. I have a regular business meeting that requires me to walk not far from there, and I stop in for a drink on the way back every time. Infusions is second best, very good but not my favorite.

Dec 16, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Aaron's Best Kosher Turkey

I don't know whether or not that brand is still available - the parent company has had a lot of legal and financial problems in the past year. The Butcherie in Brookline is a good place to start in terms of looking for kosher meat and poultry.

Nov 22, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Apple Picking Near Boston NOT Like Disney?

Dowse is my personal favorite. The farmstand has great variety (including the always useful "utility apples," perfect for applesauce) and is very low key. The orchard has good picking, is a pleasant setting and, as the other poster indicated, is no frills. Last year there was a guy under a tent, a picnic table and a portapotty.

Sep 12, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Power Breakfast Spot in Newton?

While not upscale, a lot of serious business gets done at Johnny's in Newton Centre on weekday mornings.

Sep 03, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

oleana suggestions

Was there last night (7/31/09) and enjoyed the carrots and dukkah "mini-app," a salad special that had fennel on it and a tuna dish. Soft shell crab looked good. Excellent desert that included bay leaf ice cream! Service was a little slow but polite and responsive.

Aug 01, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

CSA Fail?

An update: Land's Sake is now reporting a total crop failure with no shares until the fall and offering partial refunds. They are partially blaming the weather (although, as responses to my original post show, this hasn't crushed other farms), partially poor planning. There has been a staff reshuffle. Looks like a total washout, which is a real shame.

Jul 20, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

CSA Fail?

We have been Land's Sake CSA clients for several years and were shocked to get an email today telling us that there will be no share at all this week! They blame the weather and also some management issues. I know that there was a lot of staff turnover in the off season this past year. The shares thus far this summer have been fairly good sized, lots of greens but we don't mind that. This epic fail was a big surprise.

Is anyone else running into shortages or delivery fails for other CSA this summer?

Jul 13, 2009
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Kosher for Passover in Cambridge/Somerville?

Stop and Shops, in general, do a good job as far as stocking up for Pesach. When I lived in Cambridge/Arlington I used to try and get to the Brighton Stop & Shop, which seems especially well stocked. The Arlington S&S on Mass. Ave. is OK. The Butcherie will have everything you need, and will also be a total zoo unless you hit it first thing in the morning or during the workday.

Apr 13, 2008
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Chennai Woodlands in Ashland

It is now called Dosa Temple and it is still both vegetarian and Indian. We go there every month or so and like the dosas, some of the south Indian specialities and the chaats. The Ind-Chinese dishes are not as good, and the north Indian "standards" are fair. Service is usually decent, but was very, very slow on our last visit, on Valentine's Day. The waiter did warn us up front that the kitchen was backed up.

Feb 26, 2008
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

New Pie Bakery in Newton Centre

I had a nice scone from there the other morning, and look forward to trying some other things soon.

Jan 02, 2008
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Dosa Temple-formerly Chenai Woodlands

My wife and I were fans of the old Chennai Woodlands and were eager to try out the new incarnation. It is definitely very plain, but a little spurced up from the Chennai Woodlands days. We liked our dosas a lot, especially one with uttapam in it, and the other dishes (which I have forgotten, but included a nice chaat of some sort) were very good as well, except for the golbi manchurian, which was bland and gloppy and not as good as it was previously. The other dishes were as good or better than under the previous regime, and the service was friendlier and quicker. They did not seem especially busy on a rainy Saturday night in November.

Dec 21, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Need suggestions for Natick area

I had a really good dinner at Stones two weeks ago - great fish and chips and steak frites out on their patio, good beers, nice people, ample parking. A band was setting up as we were leaving. Go for the bar or the patio, the dining room always seems a little stiff.

Jul 22, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Publick House, Brookline, 6/9/7

The weekend noon opening is great, the place is very mellow and they have lunch and a brunch buffet in addition to the usual line up of beers. They stop it for the summer, for staffing reasons I'm told, and I miss it terribly. It is my favorite time to be there, and is one of the few reasons that I look forward to Labor Day.

The latest I heard on the hostess was "maybe eventually" but they are in no hurry at all to implement it. I'd go more often if they did, but the lines on the weekend suggest that they aren't hurting for my patronage.

Jun 11, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Metrowest with kids ..

We take our three year old and one year old out frequently in Metrowest and have since the first one was 6 months old. Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham has great food and is very family friendly. There are always other little kids there, tons of families and they are very friendly.

Rosie's in Wellesley is good (and much better than the execrable Vidalia's), John Harvard's in Natick is decent food and beer and actually great for little ones.

RIP: Udupi Bhavan in Framingham, where you could foist vegetarian South Indian food on your toddler and they'd put up with it because trains kept going by. Dosas and choo choos - a great combination.

Apr 14, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Captain Marden's or Jimmy's in Wellesley?

They are a short walk away from each other, but the walk is not a fun one right now as Linden Street is all dug up on both sides for major construction projects. I have not tried Jimmy's but Captain Marden's is okay, not great, very basic and weak sides.

Mar 28, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Best fried Calamari?

My current favorite as well, when I can tear myself away from the Chinese "salt and pepper calamari" rendition at Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham or, if time permits, Jumbo Seafood in Chinatown (not Newton). I have had several nice dinners of the calamari and fries at Stones, and my wife enjoys their "fancier" entrees and salads.

Mar 12, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Disappointing food at Publick House

I go to the Publick House a lot and usually enjoy what I order. The "pub classics" (burger, fish and chips, basic salads) are first class, they run a good fryer and I also like some of the Belgian food. I had the stoempe saucisse recently and it was very tasty - great masked potatoes and excellent sausage patties. Some of the more "restaurant" style entrees fall flat from time to time. I find the "micro frites" with the moules strange but I guess they're trying to keep the portion small plate/appetizer size. My wife finds the moules & frites plus a salad a perfect dinner.

The lines and the waiting system can be insane, but within a month (apparently their new taps are stuck in Customs) they will have more seating and a hostess. Some of the lines can be deceptive - as a couple we usually sit fairly quickly (15-20 minutes), but larger parties (more than four) can wait a long time. Candidly, this bothers me much less than the common Boston restaurant game of giving you absurdly short wait estimates and then leaving you cooling your heels (and running up a tab, they hope) at the bar for an extra half hour. The waiting to pay is a huge problem in so many places that I wonder if it is almost unavoidable.

The beer selection is probably the best in the region, the tap lines are clean, the glassware appropriate and the staff generally pleasant if harried. I go back again and again for the beer, for good food, for decent service and for the beer. And did I mention the beer?

Feb 17, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Wellesley late on a Sunday night?

You might also look west towards Framingham or Natick. Oga for sushi or Sichuan Gourmet for Chinese, both on Route 9, might be open that late.

Feb 13, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

South Indian food in Boston and vicinity?

The place in Framingham is Dakshin and you're right, it is overpriced and has gone way downhill in the past six months or so. Chennai Woodlands is much better and totally without pretension.

Feb 08, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Anyone Been to China Sky in Wellesley?

I've never been to CK as I've heard bad things here. Went to China Sky once and was unhappy with the price/quality ration, in that the prices were high for the small portions of decent enough but not wonderful food. That said, my employer did a small event in their back room and the food was good and the staff very accomodating.

We usually drive a few miles out of Wellesley to Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham, where we feel the prices and portions are fair and the flavors much, much better. We recently tried Beijing Star in Waltham and were impressed.

Feb 07, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Good pumpernickel?

I had the same reaction to the same bread.

Jan 24, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Mr. Crêpe: good crepes and great waffles

Is this a revival of the old Mr. Crepe in Davis Square? Where is it located?

Jan 13, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Prepared Food from Bazaar, in Brookline

I was in recently on a Saturday and my gesturing and pidgin Russian was interrupted by a slightly Boston-accented "I speak English" from a nice young woman behind the counter. On other occasions I have found other English speaking staff as well. Don't let a language barrier scare you away from some really good and often ludicrously cheap food.

Jan 03, 2007
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Chennai Woodlands, Ashland

My wife and I had a nice dinner at Chennai Woodlands on Christmas Eve. Last year we went to Dakshin, but I feel that the food has gone downhill there and the service has deteriorated as well. We usually get Chinese food on Christmas evening (and Taiwan Cafe was very good tonight), so we needed somewhere else that was open and not too far away.

We started with a bhel puri chaat, which was crisp and tasty but not as good as Dakshin's version. The entrees were better. Gobi Manchurian "with gravy" were nicely fried chunks of cauliflower in a slightly spicy sweet and sour sauce with a distinct ketchupy tang - I mean that in a good way. "Special Uppuma" was excellent - tender cream of wheat with chillis, cashews and peas. Imagine a dinnertime oatmeal. House special rava masala dosa was flat, huge and full of a lot of different flavors. I liked it, but I'd love to try some of their other, simpler dosas as well. The menu is totally vegetarian, very South Indian and quite extensive. They appear to offer a pretty substantial buffet for lunch, and each buffet meal comes with a plain or masasla dosa. No alcohol.

On Christmas Eve the place was about 2/3 full, mostly Indian families (many with toddlers and babies) and a few tables of white people. It is in a non-descript strip mall next to a "Hispanic Market and Christian Library," just down the road from a Market Basket not far from the Framingham line. The service was cool but efficient and courteous, and much faster than Dakshin. In terms of decoration and atmosphere Chennai Woodlands makes Taiwan Cafe look like The Federalist. We ate ourselves silly for $30.

A very good meal at a fair price. We'll be back.

Dec 26, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Bialys in Boston?

Yes. In my native Connecticut both terms were used. Does anywhere in greater Boston ever make pleztl/pletzlach/onion board?

Dec 20, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Mulan or Chinatown on Christmas Evening?

I usually meet some friends for a Chinese food dinner the evening of Christmas (not Christmas Eve). We are all fairly adventurous and are fans of Jumbo Seafood, Taiwan Cafe, Peach Farm, Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham and the much-missed New Taste of Asia in Brookline. We have little kids and don't get out for Chinese together a lot.

For this year we were thinking of trying either Mulan in Cambridge or somewhere new to us in Chinatown (our past favorites are listed above). Any suggestions, and a sense of their quality relative to Mulan?

Dec 20, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Poppy Seed Filing in Boston?

The Butcherie in Brookline usually has the Solo filling, and sometimes their own as well. I have also seen Solo at Stop & Shop in Brighton and Natick.

Dec 14, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Private Dining Newton/Needham or MetroWest

I have not cared for China Sky in the past, but they recently did a dinner for about 25 people for my employer and it was very good. Excellent service, and better than decent food.

If you are inclined towards Chinese, Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham has a nice backroom that I see used for a lot of family banquets, etc. It could probably handle 15-20 people.

Dec 14, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Buying high quality cheese outside of Formaggio

I live walking distance to Wasik's, it is great, but I'd pick the Formaggio in Huron Village over it in a heartbeat. I have never encountered anything other than good service there, even when it is very, very busy, and the selection is unbeatable.
The customers are another matter, but I can't hold them to blame on that issue.

I have gotten some good cheese at the Whole Foods Markets in Fresh Pond and River Street as well.

Dec 11, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area

Looking for restaurant for client lunch in Wellesley/Newton/Needham area

An option in Newton would be Pava, in Newton Centre. I had dinner there last week with my wife and the food was very nice, a bit pricey but not outrageous. The service was pokey. They are definitely open for lunch.

I have done a good number of business lunches for anywhere from two to fifty people at the Legal Sea Foods in Chestnut Hill, and while the food is not the most wonderful, it is solid enough, the service is decent, there is lots of parking and there is something for everyone.

Dec 08, 2006
charlieg in Greater Boston Area