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Long shot request about Jim Becker | Rauxa's Spanish Olives

Hi Mindy,

Thanks for posting this! Sorry it has taken me this long to reply. I replied to Veggo on the homew cooking thread. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Quail en Escabeche:Another Great Spanish Dish from Boston's Own Jim Becker

Hi Veggo,
Good question. I used to do probably 24 qual at a time, and we chefs never measure anything-that's why we are terrrible at writing recipes down, but I would think that for 6 quail in a 12" skillet you would probably need 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vinegar. You want them to be covered, although this might even be a a bit too much. Once you have seared them they shouldn't take more than 10 to fifteen minutes to be completely cooked through. Simmer, do not boil. Hope this helps.

Dec 01, 2011
Pa amb Tomaquet in Home Cooking

Long shot request about Jim Becker | Rauxa's Spanish Olives

Hi OC,
Thank you so much for your very kind words. They are much appreciated. I don't post on Chow hound very often these days, but will try to keep in touch!

Dry Pasta Preference and Where in Boston/Burbs?

Forgot to mention that I get my Setaro pasta at Monica's Mercato on Salem Street in the North End.

Dry Pasta Preference and Where in Boston/Burbs?

In my opinion Setaro is the best brand out there. Yes it is expensive, but the quality is unsurpassed, and the packages are mostly 2 lbs. Barilla has changed since they opened up factories in Iowa, Illinois and New York state. Almost all of the Barilla in our supermarkets is made in the US, and not Italy, and it has changed the texture. For a supermarket brand I would always choose De Cecco over Barilla.

Great meal at Bina

I have to say that I think the food at Bina under the current chef is some of the best in the city right now. I was in the night before Hurricane Irene, and again last Sunday night. The dining room was empty on both nights, however, I was blown away by the food. I had the best tripe dish I have ever had there on the last trip. I have been telling everyone I know to give them another try. On this past Friday night, walking past Bina from Chinatown around 7:30, the dining room was again deserted. Its a real shame.

ISO best authentic gelato

IMHO the best Gelato is from Caffe Paradiso on Hanover Street in the North End. They make it there every Tuesday, and if you can go on a Tuesday or Wednesday is is wonderful. I think it far surpasses what the Gelateria offers.

272 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

Long shot request about Jim Becker | Rauxa's Spanish Olives

Hi everyone,
Please forgive me for not responding in a more timely manner, but this flu or whatever it is has really gotten the better of me, and all I really seem to be able to do is sleep,
Madrid, Thank you so much for the very kind words about Rauxa, and what it meant to you. It was really my "baby", and closing it was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but, given the realities of the restaurant business, it was also the only thing to do.
Striper Guy, I am not in the restaurant business right now, but never say never. After closing Rauxa, I took a Head Chef consulting position at Taranta in the North End for Jose Duarte. What a great guy! I told him I would stay 6 months to try and help turn it around, and ended up staying a year longer. Jose is an incredible marketing marvel, and he has singlehandedly turned a struggling restauarant into a little gold mine.
I left Taranta, to take a General Manager position at Caffe Umbra in the South End, and left there in November of 2003. After several years of free-lancing, I joined up with Michele Topor's North End Market Tours. In my early 20's, I had been an Asian Studies/Chinese Language major, and lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong for several years with Chinese families, studying the language, so after joining Michele's team, we decided to re-brand as "Boston Food Tours", and I am now offering culinary tours of Chinatown.
If someone gave me a million dollars to open another restaurant, I would probably say yes, I guess it is in my blood. But with the economy in the shape it is right now, I am happy to be able to sleep at night.

Tatsu, Thanks for trying to locate me. A great olive is never too much work to track down. The oil that I used on the olives was an organic Siurana Arbequina Extra Virgin oil put out by Unio. Once in a great while, I would smuggle back these incredible olives from Mallorca, with pieces of wild fennel. They were dark green and cracked with a good bit of bitterness. No idea what they are called, but if you ever get to Mallorca, you have to try them, they are sold in all of the markets there. However, there will always remain a special place in my heart for those Cassis Les Baux..

Thanks again everyone,

Long shot request about Jim Becker | Rauxa's Spanish Olives

Hi Tatsu,

Fate is a funny thing. This is Jim Becker, and I just happened to log into Chowhound 3 minutes after you posted. I am home with the flu, and just got up from a nap, and imagine my surprise!
Thank you for the memories. Yes, those olives were amazing. Most of the olives in my "mix" were pedestrian, and changed depending upon availability, but there were two that remained constant. The small round, slightly bitter, drab brownish olives were Arbequina, from the Catalan region of Spain. But the olive that really pushed that mix over the edge was a Provencal olive called "Cassis Les Baux". They did indeed have a meaty texture, and, at least to me, tasted faintly of pistachio. I used to get them in in big tubs, and once a week get down and dirty, mixing them all together. I used a good quality Arbequina Extra Virgin Oil, andjust the tiniest bit of Vanilla bean, which seemed to bring out the pistachio tones. That's all. I have seen Cassis Les Baux olives at Formaggios's in the South End.
I miss Rauxa, and I miss cooking that food! It was a difficult location, but I did have a blast while it lasted. Sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you there. Well, back to bed. Let me know if I can answer anymore questions. Hope that helps.

pasta shop in NE

While it is wonderful to have this shop in the North End, I think people need to know that contrary to their website, and despite the fact that there is a woman in the window rolling out pasta every day, most of the fresh pasta sold in the store is not made in the store daily as the owner would have you believe. Most of the pasta is purchased from another company. Hang around the plaza at 5 am and you can see it being delivered. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but I think people need to know this, and advertising the pasta as made on the premises is misleading at the very least.

What is new & good in Chinatown

Thanks for the report 9lives. I'm sorry to hear that the menu is not the same, but can't say that I'm surprised. I don't know why new owners keep the old names. It makes it a bit confusing for us gwai los.

What is new & good in Chinatown

As of today, Wing's was re opened, spiffed up and with the same name. Don't know if it's the same Wings or just another example of new owner/same name/different food. Curious to find out.

New Shanghai/Chinatown

Just tried New Shanghai for the first time since the change and it was fantastic.
Beef Tendons with Hot and Wild Pepper Sauce, Cucumber with Minced Scallion sauce, Cumin Lamb, Ma Po Tofu and Sauteed Water Spinach. Everything was delicious, and quite authentic. I also have to say that the presentation of the food was a cut above most Chinatown restaurants. I am very happy to have this alternative in Chinatown, and I hope that they are succesful. The other westerners in the restaurant tonight were eating Pu Pu platters and General Gau's Chicken, but there were a fair amount of Mandarin speaking Chinese as well, so that is a positive sign. BTW, I did not get the impression that the lamb had preground powdered cumin rather than fresh.

As a side note, Ginza was open for business as usual.

Taiwan Cafe

Taiwan cafe has a sign on the door that says "closed for renovations". Please don't tell me another one has bit the dust. Anyone know what's going on? Also, anyone been to the "NEW" King Fung Garden in CT?

An effusive tale of an honest lamb sandwich

The Lamb sandwich at Antico Forno in the north end is also delicious! It comes with onions and peppers.


I am very wary of a place sporting a tacky bright red sign, with "steak tips in special Ah-So Sauce" on the menu. I kid you not. Alo "Turkey Tips with Italian dressing" and fajitas? Add Fettucine Alfredo described as "We do like Mama" This is a real dumbing down of the North End, and I for one am not feeling optimistic.

Recent closings in the North End

There is word that Caffe Grafitti may be moving into part of the old Martignetti's space which will be subleased by Citizen's Bank,
A fish market- Mercato di Mare is going into the Calore Fruit space.
No word about the Pizza place taking over where La Brace was. What a shame. The food there under the original chef was quite good, but the service became more and more circus-like as time went on.

Upscale Italian Dinner Near the Common

I think that if you are looking for an intimate spot, Via Matta is the better choice. Teatro, is all stone and tile, with a huge vaulted and frescoed ceiling, and although it oozes Italy, it would be difficult to have an intimate conversation there.

Upscale Italian Dinner Near the Common

IMO Sorellina is far superior to Via Matta, and Davios is third. If you go to Sorellina, the Veal Milanese is just like what you would get in Italy. Another option is Teatro, closest to the Common, but one caveat is that it is very noisy.

Lower Mills: New Resto..?

They've relaxed a bit. I guessd you coould call it a semi-dry town. Limited licenses. It has changed a lot over the past few years, even the Fruit Center in East MIlton now sells wine.

Tortilla Press

You can get them at the Hi Lo market in Jamaica Plain. Some Shaws carry them as well, depending on the neighborhood.

Lower Mills: New Resto..?

Yes, the owners of Blue on Highland in Needham are opening a 100 seat white tablecloth restaurant in the Milton Landing ground level behind the station. I think they were just granted a full liquor license, but not 100% sure on that part.

Xiao Long Baos & Stinky Tofu

Can you describe the Stinky Tofu at TC? When I lived in Taibei, a vendor of Stinky Bean Curd used to park his cart right under my bedroom window every morning at 7am. The smell was nauseating, but the flavor was addictive!

Where to buy Harissa?

The little Middle Eastern shops on Blackstone Street in Haymarket all carry Harissa is small cans. They are yellow, with red writing and very inexpensive. I've also seen it in tubes, like Tomato Paste.

Chinatown is a buzz for Chinese New Year

Does anyone know if the shops/restaurants in Chinatown close at all for the Chinese New Year?