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Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" is lacking as a great Indian cookbook// Recommend me a different one!

I have been using Julie Sahni's Savoring India (from the library) and so far I've really liked it. The various dals from different regions have been great to try. The photography is also gorgeous.

The Mangalore egg curry I made last night was good but it did include cayenne pepper and I had the same question of whether that was typical. My family is from Goa and usually we would add actual chilies to make things spicy... but everyone has lived out of India for so long whose to say that is typical?

My issue was that cayenne adds such a one-dimensional punch of heat. Is that normal in Southern Indian cooking? Or would is that a substitute for what's more commonly available in the west?

Nov 01, 2013
heypielady in Home Cooking

Craigie on Main, or Should breakfast cost $90?

When I first read the title of the post I thought, "No, not when dinner can be close to $400" But after reading it and seeing that you didn't get an alcoholic beverages it is kind of surprising. It's been years since I had brunch at Craigie (or been out at all since I had a baby) but when it first started serving brunch I really liked it. The "dimanche" house-made sausage were delicious and the bloody mary's are fantastic... I remember ordering pork belly there and it was a little smaller than the size of penguin paperback novel. I didn't find it too small at all even when sharing it as a side with my dad.

And seriously? You left hungry? What are you, professionally athletes? I'm a little bit envious of that. So many times I'm eating something swoon-worthy and I'm either too stuffed to finish it and feel bad about wasting it or leave feeling a little ill because I forced it down.

The 2013 CSA and Farmers' Market season has begun!

I too braved the rain for the Belmont market yesterday. I got some nice arugula and radishes from the Farm School, a mint plant from Dick's and asparagus and snap peas from Kimball. The asparagus was excellent last night.

I really wanted to get more plants but I couldn't carry everything and I was trying to be quick in the rain.

I doubt the popsicle lady did much business yesterday but I do look forward to getting a popsicle while shopping in the future!

Szechuan's Dumpling Is Amazing, Lucky Arlington

Oof, I should have looked at that picture first. I just had the beef stew noodle soup. The broth and noodles were so tasty but the beef! I don't mind the chewiness but the really hard cartilage-y tendon-y gristle-y parts that can only be swallowed whole are just not for me.

Also, as others have said, not spicy at all.

The Harvard Experience

I love the scones at Petsi Pies on Putnam. The coffee is pretty good too. And its tucked away off the square so you can see a little bit of the neighborhood.

Although if you prefer a flaky pastry and a cappuccino I think Crema is better for that.

Best strawberries I ever done had....

Agree. I bought driscoll organic strawberries and they have been better than usual.

Soft Shell Crabs

Thanks Bacardi1. I did end up cooking and eating them and they were just fine... in fact delicious. On re-reading the comments in this thread I realized this issue was, as you pointed out, freshness. I trust my fishmonger to get me the freshest stuff.

My post above was a knee-jerk reaction. I'm pregnant so while normally I don't mind taking some risks with food, I've been a little more cautious lately. All said, there was little risk in this situation.

May 16, 2012
heypielady in Home Cooking

Soft Shell Crabs

Ugh, I think I just wasted $14. I had the fish market clean them last night when I bought them but I was going to cook them tonight. Looks like I better steer clear.

May 11, 2012
heypielady in Home Cooking

First Soft Shell Crabs Sighting

I bought two soft shell crabs last night at New Deal and had them clean them but I was going to cook them tonight. Was that a mistake? Anyone know if the crabs are ok to eat?

The *NEW* East Coast Grill

I'm glad to hear that dinner was still good here. I went for brunch on Sunday which in the past I have always enjoyed.

We arrived at 11:15 and the place was only about half full which is definitely a departure from my past memories of waiting for at least 20 minutes for a table. The bloody mary's are still awesome here. So the outing started off great.

Nothing was terrible but overall I left feeling a little disappointed. We sat near the kitchen. The atmosphere in the room and in the kitchen was rather subdued. I certainly missed the liveliness of my previous visits to ECG. A visit to ECG for brunch in the past was like a little tropical vacation. They used to have reggae pumping in the background... yesterday I could barely hear the music.

Next, despite the half empty restaurant, our orders took kind of a long time to come out... maybe a half hour?. The manager was very nice and came to check on us several times. He even brought some corn bread out to us... but it was a little late for that since our meals came out about 2 minutes later.

The food itself was just ok. Not bad but not great either. I had the smoked duck rellenos which in the past has been awesome. This time it was a little soggy and way too cheesy. The salsa and the braised greens were the highlight of that dish. MRs enchilada was good but he did get a few gristle-y bits of meat in there.

I hope they get their act together but I can't say I'll be rushing back.

deep ellum

Was March 10, 2011 really the last time I was here? We had another great meal at Deep Ellum last night. I had the Green Goddess salad (arugula, asparagus, grape tomatoes, pickled grapes (!), topped with a fried egg) and the Best Wurst appetizer and MR had the pork schnitzel with spƤtzle and pickled beets. We also enjoyed some smoked beers which are so hard to find everywhere else. Me the High and Might Fumata Bianca and he whatever Rauchbier is on draft right now. Both were excellent.

The salad was pretty good. I admit I was mostly attracted to the pickled grapes and they were indeed my favorite part...I wish the dressing packed a little more punch... more garlicky, more herby?.... something like that. That sausage in the best wurst plate is just awesome... especially if you like a sausage with a little kick. It has a nice fine texture that I've only had before in Lao sausage at East West Grille in West Hartford. I loved the generous amount of grainy mustard and pickled veggies they serve with it too (if you like pickled things then run don't walk here).

The schnitzel was also outstanding. After taking a bite of that perfectly crunchy breading on mouth-watering tender pork, I enviously eyed MR's plate the rest of the meal waiting for the moment when he, perhaps, couldn't finish (it never happened).

Hope to return is less than a year this time. [edit] "in less than a year this time."

Strip T's increasing funkiness

Hey Hounds, just wanted to make sure everyone knew that, in addition to the dinner menu, the eggplant bahn mi is now part of the regular lunch menu. Same price. Mostly the same deliciousness. All the flavors are there but I'm guessing the my fried tofu suffered due to the car ride from W-town to Belmont. It was just a little greasy but didn't drag down the whole sandwich. Of course even in the restaurant at dinner the tofu was my least favorite component of the sandwich.

Town Diner Anti-Customer Service

I stopped going there after the time I paid with a debit card but left a cash tip and then later on my debit statement the total price was increased by the amount of the cash tip. So somebody wrote it in after I signed the bill. What the hell?

That was the last straw after they changed their hot dog buns and started charging a little too much.

Strip T's increasing funkiness

MR and I took a chance and at the last minute (7:15) got in the car and headed to Watertown with no reservation. As expected on a lovely spring evening, it was packed. Luckily we were the only one's waiting sans reservation... until around 8 when party after party just started filing through the door.

We were prepared to wait, and good thing because our predicted 25 minute wait turned out to be more like 40 minutes. It was worth it though. The reason we went was because I had an unstoppable fried chicken craving... and not just any fried chicken... it had to be that one. Boy, did it deliver. Even after sharing an entree size portion of mussels (delicious by the way) as an appetizer, I finished every last bite of that chicken. It was one of the juiciest chickens I ever had.

It sounds like a lot of you get it with the grits but I gotta say, the waffles were really satisfying. With the warm maple syrup it was like having dinner and dessert on the same plate. Was Strip T's full of hounds last night ? Because almost every table was eating fried chicken.

MR got the fish and chips for dinner. He says it was delicious. I didn't try any because I was really tucked into my dish. Regarding the kale... perhaps they toned down the sweetness? It wasn't overwhelming to me. I almost didn't get maple syrup with the waffles (!!!!) because I was afraid that the whole thing would be too sweet. Thankfully the waiter talked me into it.

Delicious fun at Scampo

I went to Scampo last night with my family. There were hits and misses (hint: the hits were what previous hounds recommended)

Hits:
-Elephant Ear Walking: My parents didn't know what I was ordering but they were delighted when it arrived at the table. This was a great bread to share with the table and get excited for the rest of the meal. As a previous poster mentioned the tomato sauce was delicious.

- pork chop: When this huge chop arrived at the table compared to by Dad's tiny pasta and my brother and mom's pizzas, everybody laughed at me.... I have never been a pork chop person but based on hound's recommendation I got this and nobody was laughing after that....it was definitely the best pork I've ever had... the meat was juicy and flavorful and the fat was succulent and unctuous.

- seared tuna: MR got the tuna with purple yam puree and practically licked his plate clean. I can always tell when he likes something because he won't want to taste my entree even when its an amazing pork chop.

Misses:

- burrata with bacon and pear: I didn't really care about the bacon with the chop coming but I love burrata so that's why ordered this. The cheese itself was pretty good but it was like a two-tablespoon size dollop buried under a plate of endive and fennel (sliced too thickly IMO). For $19 I would just skip this. I thought at that price there would be enough burrata for everyone to share a little taste but that was not the case. If you need a burrata fix, get it at Il Casale for $6. In general Scampo's "mozzarella bar" is really just a list of salads that happen to have a bit of cheese on them.

- ambience: At 7:30 the music was so loud in there that I couldn't hear what my mom was saying and she was sitting right next to me. In general she's pretty loud too. And I could tell that everyone on that side of the room was pretty much yelling to each other. I did ask the hostess to turn the music down slightly. She was very nice and I think accommodated my request... or the next songs just happen to be quieter.

- cappucino: it was just a huge cup of milky coffee with way to much foamy milk on top- skip it.

Decent Canned Smoked or Unsmoked Seafood? (Not Tuna, Mackerel, Sardines, herring or Salmon)

I'm glad you are tapping into the Spanish stuff. They take great pride in their canned seafood and its a totally different beast then what you deal with here. I wanted to buy some to take home when I was in Barcelona last summer but the choices were so vast that I got overwhelmed and I didn't buy anything! What a regret.

Mar 01, 2012
heypielady in General Topics

Anywhere good for lunch off I-90 close to Worcester?

I love Corner Grille on Pleasant Street in Worcester. It's a cute little pizza place tucked into a neighborhood serving pies with superthin crust and just a little bit char at the edge. The hawaiian and the harvest (or whatever its called with butternut squash on it) are just awesome.

I've actually only gotten take out from there as my friends lived around the corner for 6 years. It was a staple at a lot of their parties big and small. I actually have no reason to go to the Woo anymore and I really miss that pizza.

great meal at Bondir

I think if it was later in the night I probably could have eaten more. The latest I could get was a 6:15 reservation and I had lunch at about 1:00 so maybe that had something to do with it. I was more surprised one entree was enough for my husband. But the gnocchi was very rich.

great meal at Bondir

That is interesting DM. I'm glad I had the opposite experience. In fact, when we had the celerisotto I was kind of amazed that the celery root, which I think of as a very dominating flavor, as being totally balanced with the rest of the ingredients in the dish. Not overpowering at all. I'm sorry the dishes you got were so out of balance.

Out of curiosity, why was the kaffir dish so expensive. The only dish on the menu on Friday that was that much was the truffle dish. Obviously the fresh truffles increase the price... so what was the ingredient in your dish?

I guess I also didn't feel the monetary pinch as much either since we only got two full entrees that were definitely enough food. (I was actually lamenting that I couldn't squeeze in another dish to try). We split a sorbet for dessert just to linger a bit longer (really delicious quince with cambodian black pepper). While MR enjoyed a few beers and tawny port, I have not been imbibing recently so I only had one of their homemade sodas

Strip T's increasing funkiness

I am so glad you guys are running with this! It was worth my two bumps on the head to have the result be MC posting that photo.

great meal at Bondir

MR and I had a lovely meal at Bondir on Friday night. I hadn't been since December 2010 and I'm not sure why it took me so long to get back there.

The minute I got there I felt the need to return more often. The room is so comfortable to me. It was MRs birthday and it was as if somebody from the restaurant went into his brain and downloaded the exact wintry playlist he wanted to hear while eating. That is to say it was excellent.

A couple of the entrees jumped out at us on the menu so much so that I felt like I wasn't really playing along with the concept of the restaurant by ordering a bunch of half portions to taste. Not that anyone seemed to mind. We had the "celerisotto" with lobster, fluke, and smelts which was unique and delicate. They make a "risotto" with celery root and somehow it holds its texture without turning to mush. Something I'm sure I could not accomplish at home.

We also had the gnocchi with lamb neck, foraged mushrooms, and hazelnut pesto. This was truly outstanding... much bigger flavors than the seafood dish.

I really wanted to get the caccio e pepe with fresh truffles which looked and smelled amazing but I was just too full. I also made caccio e pepe last week and really nailed it so I just didn't call to me as much as the gnocchi... but man those truffles looked amazing.

I hope to return soon maybe with a couple more friends to try a lot more dishes. I think I really need to go at least once a season since the menu changes so much. I liked Bondir the first time I went enough that I wanted to go again but I think they are just leaps and bounds better now than when they first opened.

Birthday Dinner Question (Hungry Mother)

I like everything (if well executed obvs) so I'm not helpful on the picky front. I adore HM and my experience over and over again is that even if something on the menu looks a bit boring and limited, it always blows me away when I actually eat it. Probably why I keep going back. My point is even if there is only one thing on the menu that is appealing to your wife, it will most likely be delicious.

Does she have a sweet tooth? The desserts are off the hook.

Strip T's increasing funkiness

Too bad about that chocolate cake DM. MR and I were too full for dessert when we left but when we arrived his eyes lit up and said "ooh do they still have that chocolate cake?" I would have been disappointed to get anything besides that old school bake sale style cake.

Strip T's increasing funkiness

We had a much earlier dinner at ST last night after our quarterly stock-up trip to Target. I was so wowed by my meal I almost forgot about my trunk full or toilet paper and laundry detergent when I arrived back home.

Like opinionated chef I also had the grilled romaine with braised oxtail. Again I say wow! It's flavors were redolent of Nua Yang Num-Tok with those refreshing chilies and mint. But the oxtail is way better than any meat I've had with that dish. I loved the combo of flavors... I wouldn't have minded a tiny bit more heat. The chilies on there were a bit of tease.

We also split the pig head toast. Thanks to MC Slim for nudging the "offal averse" to this dish... I'm not offal averse per se but I just haven't had a lot...I need to go out to eat with an offal enthusiast that will take responsibility of the ordering. I really enjoyed the toasts though MR said there was a flavor in there that he just couldn't put his finger on... I suggested that perhaps it was the pig's head.

For my main I had the bahn mi. I could take or leave the fried tofu but that eggplant! Amazing. A beauty to the eye and to the tastebuds. That was probably the best vegetarian sandwich I've ever had.

MR had the Strip-Ts burger which he loved. Said the miso really worked on it. I didn't take a bite because I was in my own little world. I can't wait to go back for some fried chicken.

Just a head's up: Take your preprandial pee at work or home before you get here. I'm 5'4'' and I bumped my head twice (in the bathroom and on the stairwell) on my trip to the restroom... and I was "being careful" as they warned me. Maybe taller people wouldn't have as much issue because they are always on alert but being borderline petite I'm just not used to ducking. Seeing stars did not ruin my meal though ;)

Shanghai Gate in Allston: Recommendations?

Thanks for the recommendation. Any other places in Allston? or Cambridge?

Shanghai Gate in Allston: Recommendations?

I was there last night as well! But on the earlier end of the evening. We almost had identical orders! I now know why everyone rave's about the lion's head casserole... wow! it was simultaneously like nothing I've had before and absolute comfort food.

I also enjoyed the sauteed rice cakes. The texture reminded me a little of a dish I used to have at Gitlo's (rainbow noodles with XO sauce maybe) but the cakes at SG are obviously much thicker and a chewier. I got me wondering though... where can I get something with XO sauce?

Post Your Three Favorite Things You ate in Boston in 2011

Braised Oxtail with celery hearts and clove @ Il Casale

Fluke Ceviche@ Rendezvous (Monday night tapas)

Chocolate Cream pie @ Veggie Galaxy Diner

Golden Garden Chicken Wings Top Notch

I had been craving chicken wings for about a week now and Striper's post pushed me over the edge. Tried these last night as an "appetizer" to some leftovers I was heating up. I demolished 8 of these while MR only got his hands on 4. (It's ok, he knows how crazy I am about wings)

I enjoyed them (obviously) but I think I need to try them again while dining in. Unlike FD, mine did get a little soggy on the trip home. The flavor was right on and the meat itself was perfectly cooked and juicy. They were not as good as Bon Chon (which btw actually travel surprisingly well) but a decent substitute if you are hankering for some spicy wings and are no where near Allston.

Actually I better compare BonChon again. It's been a long time since I've had there wings. I will report back if the statement above changes.

I'm surprised to hear Taralli state that GG's wings were too spicy and that he/she(?) prefers Spicy BonChon. I like spicy stuff and GG's wings were indeed spicy but my recollection is that BonChon's were way too much for me and I much prefered the soy garlic variation there.

Sweet Cheeks

No, I was there the night of New Year's Day as well. I must be super-sensative to music... in fact, I know I am.

Anecdotally, my husband is a huge Steely Dan fan and while I respect that they are talented musicians but I simply cannot listen to them...It's not a choice. The Dan comes on and I get nauseated (which leads to an uncanny ability to know when they are playing even though I don't "know" the songs.)

Sweet Cheeks

Wow CBZ, you just made me want to go with a big group! Next time my parents are in town for one of my siblings birthdays this will be a great place to go.

MR and I went on New Years Day. We had the biscuits (knowing we'd take some home), brisket, pulled pork, baked beans and slaw.

I guess I've never had "real" brisket. I really liked the what I was eating here. The pulled pork was excellent although I had most of it as leftovers the next day. The biscuits were so good, if not the best I've ever had, that I pretty much spoiled my appetite and had to take most of my food to go.

The flavor of the coleslaw was good but I wish it was the shredded cabbage kind and not just cubed cabbage. That was weird to eat.

Regarding the prices I actually didn't think the meat was too expensive but the sides are ridiculously expensive when ordering a la carte. I mean $7 for a mug of beans? They were delicious but they really should be more like $3-4 tops. Four biscuits the size of a baby's head were definitely worth the $10 price tag BUT it would have been nice if you could just order one biscuit.

Finally, the music they were playing there on New Year's Day was just grating. I love rap and hip-hop but not while I'm eating, especially when its super-aggressive rap as oppose to say,De La Soul or even some dancey-er Kanye. The staff was really nice there but I almost felt unwelcome... like someone wanted to fight me when I walked in there.