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Garden at the Cellar, really?

I decided I may have been too critical of my recent lunch and went back to Garden at the Cellar to give it a second and third chance. I'm glad I did because it was a million times better. On one visit we just popped in for an appetizer and shared the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with some kind of cheese (I think) which were tasty, but my favorite part of the dish was the apple hash that came under it. I think I ate all of it. The combination of flavors was perfect: sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy, curry. Yum.

At lunch a different day, my friend loved her beet salad (It looked awesome, but I didn't have any) and my Chicken Panini was delicious. I was expecting chicken breast and got what seemed like roasted chicken pulled from a whole bird. It was the most tender and flavorful chicken I've ever had, a pleasant surprise. Maybe I just ordered wrong the first time? Service was fine again, there was a moment where we needed water, but the glasses are small and I was drinking it fast. I'm curious to try more of the menu, I like the beer list and think the space is cute and comfortable. I'm glad I gave it another chance and I'm glad they were able to change my mind.

Jan 21, 2009
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Garden at the Cellar, really?

You're right, after re-reading that last statement does seem harsh and sure any restaurant can have an off day (and I was probably having an off day that day too). I'll be sure to give it another shot. Can someone recommend a few favorites from the lunch menu?

Jan 17, 2009
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Garden at the Cellar, really?

My second visit to Garden at the Cellar was for lunch. Dinner the first time a few months ago was fine, even tasty. I left thinking that the portions were too big (either your food cost is super low or you're not making any money), but that was the only thing that bothered me. Until today. I was there for lunch with a friend. We each ordered a pint while we browsed the menu. I decided on the Cuban sandwich with French Fries and she got the Falafel with Tater Tots. And then we waited. And waited. There was one other table sitting when we got there, but they were eating so it's not like they were busy preparing other people's lunches. I finished my beer, which is no small feat... I'm not a beer drinker, and definitely not during the day, but today was different. And maybe different for the Cellar too since they usually gather high marks. Anyway, I ordered a second beer and we speculate if this is how the restaurant makes its money; keep em drinking while they wait for their food. Close to 40 minutes pass from the time we placed our order to the time it arrived in front us. Finally. Except... mine doesn't look right. The menu said: Cuban: pork, cheddar, pickles, ham. It looks like dark chunk tuna salad on toast. I see a pickle and evidence of melted cheese, but the rest looks like cat food. I take one bite and I don't like it, it's like pork rilletes gone wrong, but we've already waited and I didn't feel like waiting for them to make me another sandwich. So I scrape it all off, re-assemble my sandwich with it's meager slice of ham, melted cheese and two pickles. The fries were good, but not special, more parsley then truffle if anything. My friend said her falafel was fine, but not great. The bread-to-falafel ratio was so high that it seemed really dry and she had to ask for more yogurt to get it down. The tater tots that came with her sandwich would be better off if they were called 'fried mashed potato balls' because that's all they were. Service was fine, but there seemed to be only one person waiting tables, seating people and running food. I'd hate to see what happened if the place filled up. There was no management presence whatsoever. Am I silly to expect more from this place? It is bar food, after all, in a college town. But why is everyone gushing over it? I don't get it... it seems the standards for dining in Boston/Cambridge are falling fast.

Jan 14, 2009
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Apres-ski chow between Waterville Valley, NH and Boston

A friend and I will be snowboarding all day in Waterville and need some recommendations for re-fueling. We're not that picky, but tend prefer quality over quantity with great cocktails to go with it. And nothing too fancy since we'll be coming straight from the mountain. THanks!

Birthday dinner with "curtained table" or private room

If you want to try someplace new, I think BINA has a private area that seats up to 12. I'm not sure that it has curtains, but it's private enough that I couldn't see into it the two times I've dined there. I think the food is super-creative and a breath of fresh air in terms of Boston's Italian fine dining. There are some fun cocktails and the wine list is sprinkled with little gems, really thoughtfully put together. That and really unique desserts (try the moscato d'asti dish, yum) and because it's so new make it seem like a really special place to take your lady for her birthday. I'd go...

Jan 04, 2009
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

wine stores in Myrtle Beach?

Good question, I'm visiting for the first time from Boston, where most grocery stores don't carry alcohol. I forgot that was an option. I'm excited to try some local wine.

wine stores in Myrtle Beach?

Are there any stores that offer unique and high quality selections with a knowledgeable staff? I'm not looking for anything terribly fancy, just a place to pick up a bottle or two of something off-the-beaten path.

wine stores in Bermuda?

Are there any with unique and high quality selections? Can any one suggest some names?

Chick trip to Myrtle Beach

Alright, we have plans for Salt Creek Cafe, Frank's/ Frank's Outback, and mini-golf at a yet-to-be-determined location (suggestions?)... Any ideas for sunday brunch?

An Evening at Catch Restaurant in Winchester

I've been to Catch twice and both times they exceeded my expectations. The food both times was excellent and the service is genuine and friendly. The last time I went I had the Bibb Lettuce Salad as an appetizer and it was one of the best salads I've had in a while; simple, super fresh and well-executed. It's hard for me to get excited about salad, but this one did the trick. I had Flounder as my main and I was reluctant to share any of it with the other 3 people eating with me. I managed to snag a few bites of the pasta with butternut squash and some sort of salami, I love that the pasta-to-other-ingredients was relatively low and that every bite had a slightly different combination of flavors. The menu has already changed since I was there two weekends ago, it's great to know they keep things super-seasonal. Dessert is another category that I tend to skip entirely BUT the first time I was there it was included in the Restaurant Week menu and I LOVED it. I mean I polished off two desserts and sorry I can't tell you what they were but that pastry chef has a gift.
The wine list is sprinkled with little gems at great values and I love love love the Cooper Hill Pinot Noir that they pour by the glass. Definitely worth the drive!

Nov 19, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Good places to buy fresh ravioli in/near Cambridge?

Dave's Fresh Pasta is good. You could also try Capone's in Union Square (just over the fine line that divides Cambridge and Somerville). And there's always Whole Foods... even the little one on Prospect St has fresh, simple pasta always.

Nov 17, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Misty leaving Green Street?


Nov 08, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Chick trip to Myrtle Beach

Thank you! This is great and helpful start. We're not staying in a hotel, we're staying in a relative's empty condo which, all i know, is less than a mile from the airport. Salt Creek looks great, will be sure to make a stop there.

Chick trip to Myrtle Beach

Is anyone out there with recommendations?

bermuda in November - where to stay for the best food?

It's been decided, we're staying at Elbow Beach! What's good in the hotel? Besides Beau Rivage for dinner and Reefs for brunch, what else should we explore? Any 'traditional' dishes that shouldn't be missed? Where should we go for Dark n Stormies?

Chick trip to Myrtle Beach

A friend and I will be visiting Myrtle Beach for the first time at the end of November and would love your recommendations for good eating. We'll have a car so getting around isn't a problem. We're looking for good, fresh and local; quality and creativity are more important than quantity or bang-for-the-buck. We're light eaters (one of us doesn't eat meat), but love good food. A handful of recs for lunch and dinner at any price point would be great. (I highly doubt you could get us out of bed for breakfast, but if there's something we shouldn't miss, please shout out). And what about bars? lounges? cool places to hang out and have a drink? anything with good food AND a view? We'll be there sunday-wednesday, are most restaurants open 7 days a week? Thank you thank you!

bermuda in November - where to stay for the best food?

We'll be in Bermuda for the weekend after thanksgiving and I'm confused about where the best eating options are. So many of the resorts are all-inclusive, are there any that are particularly good? Elbow Beach is on the list for non-inclusive, what is the ratio of good restaurants on-premise to better restaurants elsewhere? How far away from dining is 9 Beaches? I've searched the board for dining options, but have no idea how close / far things are distance-wise. Can anyone offer guidance?

Finger Lakes Weekend - please advise.

Planning a weekend trip in November, post Thanksgiving, and the Finger Lakes came up as an option as both of are head-over-heels into wine. We are interested in visiting artisinal wineries and will eat just about anything anywhere as long as it's quality (local, organic, thoughtful...). Any recommendations on how to make the most of a weekend stay in the Finger Lakes? Thoughts on accommodations would also be helpful, thanks!

Sideways do-over????

I concur, Chardonnay gets my vote. There aren't enough people in the masses who have crossed the California - Burgundy bridge; they fall off somewhere between 'graduating' to Sauvignon Blanc and 'discovering' Rose and seem to stay stuck there forever.

Aug 21, 2008
aperitif in Wine

birthday meal suggestions

Happy advance birthday! Green St. (which used to be Green St. GRILL) is the first that comes to mind, a block away from the Central Sq T. I'm not sure of exact prices, but I always think of it as less expensive than their neighbors, Rendevous and Central Kitchen. If you pay attention to these boards, you'll know that Green St is where it's at, especially for a cocktail. After dinner, you have Middlesex (club), The Enormous Room (lounge/club), the Middle East (live bands), TT the Bears (live bands), ZuZu (live bands), Phoenix Landing (dj/hip hop), and (my favorite) the Cantab (live dive) all within walking distance.

Aug 16, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Bostonian in need of 'different' seafood

thank you, thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for!!!

Aug 02, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Bostonian in need of 'different' seafood

Adventurous eater seeks evening with underwater edibles. I've had a hundred lobster rolls, a thousand fried clams, a million oysters, and infinity pieces of raw tuna (yes, tartare counts in that). What can I try that is new and different and where can I find it? I love anything asian and haven't been to chinatown in way too long. help?

Aug 01, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

How About A New What Are You Drinking ?

I am drinking Grange-Tiphane's 2006 Ad Libitum which is a Gamay based field blend from Touraine-Amboise. With a chill!

Jul 09, 2008
aperitif in Wine

Favorite warm weather drinks (alcoholic and otherwise)?

The lemonade from 1369 Coffee House is the best ever!!!

Jul 08, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

Any reports on BOKZ Prime?

I also think the name is silly, but had dinner there recently and much to my surprise, it was good!!!! (you pronounce it 'box').

Things that I loved:
Le Craie Vouvray by the glass. Total summer wine!
Delicious Duck Fat Fries that arrive in a trio of three flavors: truffled, herbed, and (I think) spiced.
One big Crab Cake made with giant lumps of crab and hardly any binder, so fresh and so sweet.
The Bone-In Sirloin arrived a perfect medium rare and though expensive ($42?), the portion was quite large... two meals worth for me.

Things that were just ok:
The room, there's nothing special about. It looks nice, but it's weird to have a swimming pool view when you're not on vacation. You can't quite shake the feeling that you're in an ex-Holiday Inn in Newton.

I understand the steakhouse concept of ordering your meal ala carte, but the prices add up quickly when you're starting with a $42 steak and you still haven't picked your sides. I didn't pay, but my mental math tells me that dinner for two was probably in the neighborhood of $150 (without wine).

On to wine, the list has some gems but for the most part, I found it to be pricey with very few wines under $60.

The side dishes were fine, but honestly I wouldn't have missed them. The gratin of potatoes was cheesy and creamy, but almost drippy. The haricot vert were overcooked. I'll admit that I barely touched either, I was way too into my steak.

Service was solid, considering they are quite new, I thought our server did a great job.

Things that were less than great:
The tables and chairs look cheap, in some sections almost diner-ish. The table tops are bare wood which works at some restaurants, but it definitely collected crumbs (and no one cleaned the table in between courses) if I'm paying $42 for a piece of naked meat, I kinda want to eat it off a table cloth.

I don't think I will be racing down the Mass Pike to return anytime soon, but it's a nice option if you find yourself in Newton with a craving for a steak.

Jul 05, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area


I actually had the pleasure and honor of opening a bottle of this very wine for Neal Rosenthal (the importer) recently. It's on of my favorites. Although it's quite light in body, it's deceptively full of flavors: red berries, dried flowers, red apple skins. It's perfect summer wine, delicious with a slight chill. Hope you like!

May 17, 2008
aperitif in Wine

Unfiltered prosecco in the US?

I know of one! Adami makes an unfiltered prosecco that is labeled 'sur lie' and it's very good! It appears cloudy in the glass (as it should) an has a much more vibrant and intense fruit quality that I find lacking in filtered prosecco. It is imported by dalla terra and their website shows who distributes their wines in which states. Defintely worth the hunt, good luck!

May 17, 2008
aperitif in Wine

Can't Get Into Oleana, Where would you take Foodie from New York

They only takes reservations for their indoor tables. The bar is always first come, first serve and so is the patio, depending on the weather. Chances are good, if it's a nice night, you'll get a table. Sometimes indoor reservations give up their table to sit outside. You just have be a little patient and willing to sit anywhere they can put you but, it's definitely worth the wait.

May 14, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area

French Laundry, questions about price

My boyfriend and I will be out west in July and are thinking about trying for French Laundry reservations. We're both in the business, wine & restaurant. We know the rules about making reservations, assuming we get them, how much should we budget for this experience? I want to make sure we enjoy dinner without being stressed about how much it will cost. Their website says tasting menus are $240 a piece, that's fine, but what about wine prices? How much is the pairing? I have heard that per se builds the 'gratuity' into the cost of your meal, is this true at FR or will I have to budget for a tip as well? Thanks for your help!

Best pizza in Boston?

I'm a crust fanatic and especially like thin-yet-chewy crust. Gran Gusto fits the bill! It's a little out of the way if you don't have a car, but definitely worth it; my favorite in the Boston area. Take the trip to 90 Sherman!

May 03, 2008
aperitif in Greater Boston Area