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LilBrownBat's Profile

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Wood for Smoker?

I wouldn't count on anyone selling cordwood of a specific type suitable for smoking, such as apple or cherry. You'd get hardwood with some suitable types in the mix, most likely.

If I Were A Fundamentalist Locavore in Boston...

The Connecticut River valley was one of early America's main breadbaskets, and it's coming back, as others have noted.

Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts can all be grown in this climate.

Hot pepper do just fine in New England. It is a short growing season, so unless you grow from pots, you won't have them fresh year round, but I grow different varieties every year. This year I have poblanos, jalapenos, Thai, chi-chien, cayenne, an Ethiopian brown pepper and a Tunisian harissa pepper. Looking forward to many frozen and dried pepper feasts this winter.

"Dal" is just a generic term for legumes, many of which grow in this climate (chickpeas for example).

Fine red wine? Depends on your definition. It's not out of the realm of possibility given the climate, there are plenty of excellent cool-temperate wine growing regions, but perhaps your palate runs only to warm-climate wines.

Cumin can be grown in this climate, but I never made a go of it myself.

Pre-MV groceries...where to go?

You may find this website helpful -

It's run by Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture and it's the best guide out there to locally grown products. Good luck!

The best bread (your favorite) made in the Pioneer Valley?

Agreed on the sourdough, not a fan, particularly not in styles of bread that are not traditionally sourdough. El Jardin breads look great, but the sourdough thing, man...

Williamstown- Best Lunch Spots? and Best ~Rt. 2 Lunch fror Going and Coming?

Mmmmaybe. It's quite a distance out of their way, and I'm not sure I agree with "amazing vibe". if you can get in the door and the Ashfield thaaaang doesn't grate too much, it's a decent plate of pancakes.

Williamstown- Best Lunch Spots? and Best ~Rt. 2 Lunch fror Going and Coming?

New this year. Check their facebook page. I think it's better than Gould's but only incrementally so, and it's open much less and is less convenient to get to. The best in the area is South Face which is only open for sugaring season.

Williamstown- Best Lunch Spots? and Best ~Rt. 2 Lunch fror Going and Coming?

I didn't mention them because you didn't mention them -- you seemed to have your spots picked out. The Buckle makes some very tasty food, I think it's the best spot in town for breakfast -- definitely not a white-tablecloth brunch, but very good (their buscuits are special). Also popular, and the kitchen closes at 3, so keep that in mind. And no booze.

Another consideration, depending on when you're going to be up here, but a couple of the sugarhouses serve breakfast during foliage season: Gould's which is right on Route 2, and Davenport's which will open later, late September I believe. Sugarhouse breakfast vs. breakfast at the Buckle is a tough call, really depends on what you're looking for.

Williamstown- Best Lunch Spots? and Best ~Rt. 2 Lunch fror Going and Coming?

If you're traveling Friday through Sunday, your best bet for lunch on Route 2 is Smoky Bro's BBQ in Shelburne ( -- the map pin is at the intersection of Shelburne Center Road, but it is actually just to the west of that, on your right as you travel west -- a small shack next to the trading post). It is only open Friday through Sunday, noon-7 pm, and only has a few picnic tables, but it's a nice place to eat, or you can ease on down the road and find somewhere more picturesque to eat your lunch -- you're surrounded by state forests and so on. It is honest, legit, real-deal barbecue, good prices, super nice people.

Hope and Olive is consistently good, but maybe not what you want for roadfood.

People's Pint has excellent beer -- their food is decent, but not spectacular and I think the price is a little high for what you get.

If by "Roadside Diner" you mean Skip's on Route 2 in Gill, it has been closed for over a year.

Protip from a local: 24 hour gas stations are unheard of between Greenfield and North Adams (about a 30 mile stretch), and between Charlemont and North Adams there is no gas at any time of day, so plan ahead.

Best Year EVAR for MA Melons and Peaches

From what I can see out here in farm country, it's been a good year for just about all crops, with the exception of the first hay cutting, which many farmers missed out on because of bad timing (not a lot of rain, but some every day for like a week and a half). It has been a little cool and a little dry, but not problematically so (no late frosts and enough water). I've never seen a strawberry season that went on so long. For the stone fruits, it seems like most year at least one crop gets a stompin' in the form of a hailstorm when the blossoms are out or the trees are just setting fruit, but that just didn't happen this year. My wild apples are insanely prolific, and the local orchards are already turning out excellent apples to go along with the peaches, plums, etc. This is a great year for Massachusetts agriculture!

Moved to Brighton, MA. Looking for great food, reasonable price!

They're not Central American-style, they're Mexican, just large. There are many shapes and styles of Mexican tamales. The ones sold at that place in Union Square whose name I always forget are the typical size and shape that most people recognize as "Mexican", but that's just one regional variation -- there are plenty of others.

Tony G's Barbeque, Belmont: Anyone?

Ferrari328, again, I refer you to the large number of people in the area who, if the choice is to drive to Arlington or Newton or go to the much more conveniently located So-and-So's Propane Ribs, are perfectly happy with So-and-So's. Just because some of us will do without if we can't get the real deal, doesn't mean that that's what the average "BBQ" customer does. Blue Ribbon locations are in sweet spots with a combination of good population density and a not-impossible parking situation (although Newton, well...). Blue Ribbon has also developed their business through events, comps, catering and so on. There's also this to consider -- Blue Ribbon is pretty damn good, and it's already there, it's not like we lack good barbecue. So you combine the fact that Blue Ribbon is there, as a destination for those of us who are willing to go there for the real deal, with the fact that a lot of people just don't care, and what's the recipe for success? To beat Blue Ribbon at the real BBQ game you'd have to be better than them, because Blue Ribbon is already there, and you'd have to take on an expensive buildout and operational costs to do it.

Moved to Brighton, MA. Looking for great food, reasonable price!

Jenny, they are the monster kind, and if you're picky you might...might...well, I'm not sure what you might better do, honestly. These are decent but I wouldn't call 'em standouts -- it's just that we're so tamale-deprived here in Boston. I honestly don't know the last time that I had a real knockout tamal.

And now you've made me sad.

Tony G's Barbeque, Belmont: Anyone?

My take on it (and I know I'll get a lot of hate about this): I don't think that it's exactly true that there's "no demand for BBQ", but you have to remember that for most people in the Boston area and New England, they don't use the term "BBQ" as strictly as you or I might. When I say "BBQ", I do not mean grilled, I do not mean roasted, I mean cooked low and slow over wood. I'll let you slide and use hardwood charcoal for most of the fuel, but I insist on smoke wood. This is great, but hard to pull off in a built-up area. It CAN be done, but again: chicken, egg. Jimbob may spend a ton of money to create a restaurant where he can low-and-slow the real thing somehow, but if there are enough customers in the area who think that So-and-So's Propane-Grilled Ribs With A Little Smoke Wafted Over Them are perfectly fine, then So-and-So is going to win the day and Jimbob is going to go out of business. Very few people will take the trouble to go to Jimbob's and pay the higher prices when So-and-So's is closer and cheaper. So, yes, I would agree with you that there's little to no demand for BBQ in the Boston area, if we mean "BBQ" when we say "BBQ" and if we mean "demand" when we say "demand".

Moved to Brighton, MA. Looking for great food, reasonable price!

If by "high quality sushi" you mean high quality fish, you won't do better than Asahi in Brighton center. It's a tiny place with just a sushi bar, one table, and no kitchen, so you aren't going to get a menu of teriyaki and tempura and whatnot, and you aren't going to get a long menu of so-called "designer maki" -- and for a lot of people, that's what they want when they say "sushi". But the quality of the fish at Asahi is excellent, beyond anything already mentioned (with the exception of Sakanaya, which is a sushi fish store and not a restaurant). Prices are quite reasonable.

MDM Noodles is a great addition to the neighborhood. I've eaten there a few times, and then got noodles at the much-vaunted Gene's downtown the other day, and MDM wins hands down.

I'm not sure why Boca Grande doesn't get more love. It's not their fault if most of their customers are too dumb to order anything but a burrito, not that there's anything wrong with theirs...but I like 'em especially for enchiladas and tamales and their great black bean soup.

Speaking of soup, Pho Le in Allston and Pho Viet in the 88 food court are solid for pho, and Rod Dee in Washington Square in Brookline has my favorite soup on the planet. I'm not even sure it's on the menu any more, but I always ask for it and get it -- tom yum noodle soup with chicken. Think tom yum broth, rice noodles, bean sprouts, ground chicken, cilantro, ground is tom YUM. And if you don't want soup, Rod Dee has a huge menu of delicious Thai dishes.

Fantasy Question for Boston Old Timers

My picks, and I can only remember the name of one of them:

- Pampas in Central Square, the first place I had rodizio.
- This Brazilian restaurant that was on Jersey Street in the West Fens. Tiny place, did a great feijoada. I forget the name.
- Sushi bar on Newbury, between Gloucester and Hereford as I recall, right side of the street as you're headed outbound - chef's name was Hiro (ha, yeah, right, super helpful, I know) and he was the best.

Sonny Boy in Washington Square: Brookline adds another Breakfast stop


I'm so there.

Local sources for prime grade, whole packer briskets

I'll be interested to hear what you find. At the retail level, I know McKinnon's can hook you up with a good packer-cut brisket...they speak the language and understand that "brisket" != "brisket flat" (give me my point you damn brisket thieves!).

Seeking grass-fed steaks served at Boston restaurants

IN Boston, no, but outside of Boston it's worth looking at Woods Hill Table in Lexington. Steak is not a regular menu item for them, though. I expect it's pricey everywhere, that's why I prefer to grill my own, but I understand why it would be nice to get it in a restaurant too.

True Japanese-trained sushi chefs?

If you spent ten years in Japan, you know that "gaijin" is an impolite term. Why do you use it?

True Japanese-trained sushi chefs?

If you want "true, Japanese-formally-trained", you want "toro", and you want "affordable", I'd suggest that you need to trim your expectations a bit. Both the training and the product come at a price; moaning about the fact is not appropriate.

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

Clear Flour. Not Flour. Not related to Flour, except for that word. Skip H Mart. Just go to Clear Flour. I have not had pain aux raisins there, but everything I've had has been excellent.

Chestnut Flour

Buyer, beware. Chinese markets carry WATER chestnut flour, which AFAIK is not the same thing as castagna.

Throat Coat tea?

Traditional Medicinals teas are a lifesaver! Gypsy Cold Care is amazing stuff if you're congested. Harvest Coop for sure.


What about MetroWest? Route 2 between Belmont (Linda's and Ohlin's) and Greenfield (home of the most excellent Adams Donuts) is Real Donut Wasteland, near as I can tell.

is quan's in boston closed? passed by a few times but was dark...

If so...this will make me sad.

Authentic Puerto Rican Pig Roast/Lechonera event 9/27 in Holyoke -- 5 pigs, yeah!

Nuestras Raices is a community organization, not a restaurant. I don't think they were ever intending to run the lechonera on an ongoing basis. I hope it does find a home somewhere.

The perfect Concord/Lincoln morning

It doesn't offend me if, as you state, your dogs are perfectly behaved in every single situation when they are off the leash. Mind you, that's a bit of a stretch to believe, but if it's really true -- if your dogs have been trained to always return to you when they see another person and not approach that person unless given permission, if they will not ever chase wildlife, etc. -- then I have no problem with it. I will point out, however, that the increased restrictions are almost certainly in response to a real problem.

The perfect Concord/Lincoln morning

Actually, Mount Misery is more liberal than most, simply stating that dogs must be "suitably controlled" at all times (except in pastures where they must be leashed). From lots of trails experience, though, I'd caution that even a well-behaved dog will not behave well when off the leash in an area that's not their home territory. They don't know what's theirs and what's not theirs, and any rules you have for home do not apply here. If they find something that interests them, they will pursue it no matter what you do (can't tell you the number of doting dog owners I've met on trails saying "Come here Fido stop that Fido don't roll in that Fido leave that alone Fido he's really a nice dog now stop jumping Fido put that down Fido that's not yours Fido" etc etc etc. You may know (or believe) that your dogs are nice and harmless, but I've seen plenty of "nice", "harmless", "well-behaved" dogs:

- chase wildlife (in a wildlife sanctuary)
- bark and act aggressively/territorially towards other people
- jump up on people, including those who were too small or frail and who were knocked down
- approach people who were clearly not comfortable with being approached (possibly because of a previous bad experience with a dog)
- lift a leg on something that's not theirs (like my pack...yes, this actually happened, while the nitwit owner did the "Come here Fido stop that Fido etc.", and then yelled at me when I told him his dog was supposed to be on a leash. NO, he didn't offer to clean up after his dog)
- get into serious trouble with hazards, toxic substances, swift-running streams, or wildlife capable of fighting back

I'm a dog-lover, but I find it indefensible for dog owners in letting their dogs off leash in areas where that's clearly prohibited. Believing that there's no harm done does not make it so.

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

As my old granddad used to say, "This is not a competition to see who's the worst."

Good fried chicken in W Mass?

Hattie's has been excellent for decades. But yeah, that trip is not just to get fried chicken.