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BarmyFotheringayPhipps's Profile

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Baja style fish taco?

Two words: flour tortilla.


Haagen-Daaz caramel cone for me. Cherry Garcia remains a strong second, though.

Favorite beef cut and why?

Top sirloin: fairly tender, but with a little chew, and strong beefy flavor. Like many other folks, a strip is my second choice.

The best (non-tourist) seafood restaurants in Boston proper, please.

What you're asking for doesn't really exist in Boston proper: there is little "locally-caught" seafood in Boston, because Boston is a shipping port, not a fishing port. The main fishing port nearby is Gloucester, about an hour up the coast on Cape Ann. There you can get locally-caught seafood. In town, not so much: mostly you'll get chains of the Legal Seafood/Summer Shack variety, who cater mostly to tourists who assume there must be a ton of old-fashioned seafood places in Boston.

Myself, what I'd recommend is Dolphin Seafood on Mass Ave in Cambridge, heading out of Harvard Square towards Central Square. It's not touristy, it's quite old-fashioned, and it specializes in simple preparations.

Dolphin Seafood
1105 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Cutty's - Brookline Village in Salon

Given that the roll in this sandwich is neither dry nor overwhelming...signs point to yes!

Topsfield Area

Well, from the fairgrounds, it's just a few miles up Route 1 to the Agawam Diner in Rowley, which isn't the greatest food ever in the world, but much of it's decent and the atmosphere is nice and the kids would like it.

But honestly, the Agawam is at the corner of Route 1 and Highway 133, and if you go east on 133, at that point you're only...what, three or four miles, tops?...from the Clam Box. And this early in the season, the wait at the Clam Box, even on a Friday night, isn't gonna be anything like what it'll be after Memorial Day.

If it were me, I'd go to the Clam Box.

Agawam Diner
166 Newburyport Tpke, Rowley, MA

Red Rose Cafe, Weymouth -- barbecue?

I've heard this place in Weymouth (800 Broad Street) is serving decent barbecue. I'm planning to check it out myself soon, but any reports in the meantime? I'm particularly intrigued because I've heard good things about the brisket, which absolutely no one does right around here.

Red Rose Cafe
800 Broad St, Weymouth, MA 02189

Another Burger Thread...Best of the Retail?

I'm confused, are we talking best ground beef, best pre-formed burger patties, or what, exactly?

Best Chicken Biryani in Boston Area?

Honestly, the tikka masala is the first disappointing thing I've ever had from here. As I said, the saag dishes are uniformly quite nice, and make good accompaniments to the biryani.

Best Chicken Biryani in Boston Area?

Hm. I don't *think* so, but given that my own biryani (ironically, what I'd decided to make for dinner tonight even before I saw this thread!) does have a handful of nuts and diced fruit thrown in, I'm having trouble being positive that JMP's biryani doesn't, if that makes sense. I know theirs has no fruit, and I'm pretty sure it has no nuts either, but I'm not comfortable enough to say 100% that it doesn't.

Cheapest cases of Sam Summer?

Costco or BJ's might be worth looking at, but thinking about my (admittedly relatively limited) experience with their liquor departments, I fear you may have trouble getting full cases of their seasonal beers. They tend to have full cases of the lager, maybe the ale, and then a variety pack with a sixer of the current seasonal.

My gut feeling is that the best ratio of price to ease would be to stop in New Hampshire on your way up to Maine and load up there.

Now that I think of it, there's a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Rt. 1 in Portsmouth NH that has a beer and wine license. That might be worth a shot. Here's their phone number: (603) 433-6008

Dorado Tacos & Cemitas Total Disappointment

Yeah, the bagels at Kupel's are tolerable if not terribly exciting, but I've never had one of their baked goods that I've ever been able to finish more than two bites of. Straight up revolting.

Friendly's Express in Coolidge Corner now open

Some have suggested that this will fill the niche that terrible old McDonald's that used to be on the same block did: social center for the neighborhood elderly. There are worse fates for a chain.

I'm still unclear what kind of menu this place has. I'm certainly not above an occasional Fishimajig, and I genuinely like that orange sherbet-based frappe-thing, whatever it's called, but Friendly's is like a once-a-year thing for me at best.

Mostly I'm just amused at the concept of a Friendly's "Express," given that the defining Friendly's experience is that it takes frickin' forever.

Best Chicken Biryani in Boston Area?

The chicken biryani at JMP is fantastic, but the lamb is even better.

One of our standard "I don't feel like cooking" takeout dinners is a lamb biryani, one of the spinach dishes and a garlic naan from JMP. However, last time we got takeout from there, I finally got something I didn't like: avoid the chicken tikka masala. Unless, that is, you're having a severe case of childhood nostalgia for Spaghetti-Os. Then you might love it.

Privus closing, Bon Chon moving to Harvard Square

I actually prefer Roppongi to Privus.

1243 Commonwealth Ave, Allston, MA 02134

Recent Burgers

Believe it or not, the folks at Bartley's actually brag that they don't season their beef, like that's a good thing.

While I don't care for heavily seasoned burgers myself, the judicious application of a bit of salt and pepper as you're forming the patties is crucial. Not doing that is like not salting french fries as they come out of the fryer: the customer can add all the salt they want at table, but it's not going to help.

fiddleheads 2010

The point at which they're trimmed off the plant can get either slimy or dried-out and papery, so you might want to cut those bits off. A pair of kitchen shears works best. After that, we usually steam them, although this year, Allstonian sauteed them in olive oil, garlic and minced shallots as I knocked out a chicken fried steak and some mashed potatoes.

Privus closing, Bon Chon moving to Harvard Square

While losing Privus is a shame, it's collateral damage from having a bar that's recently devolved from shouty-fighty into stabby-shooty finally get shut down. I'll take a short ride on the 66 in exchange for fewer violent deaths in my immediate neighborhood.

Grilled Halibut on Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Griddle - Sticking Issues!

I didn't say that, Ambimom said that.

What I said was that preheating the pan for a longer time over lower heat (and then doing the actual cooking over the lowest heat possible) leads to food that cooks through without either burning or sticking, and still provides a decent sear.

Cook's Illustrated letter from the editor: Henry?

There was a great profile of Chris Kimball in the Boston Globe Sunday magazine a while back that touched on the fact that everyone hates his essays. His quote was something along the lines of "It's my f---ing magazine and I'll do whatever I want with it." Which...fair enough!

I actually really like the essays, in large part BECAUSE they're such an odd, quirky thing to put in the magazine, plus he's not a bad writer.

Periodista at Chez Henri: Ingredient Question

I've been hearing good things about it, but I'm so enjoying my explorations with the Triplum that it may be a while before I feel like trying something new.

Periodista at Chez Henri: Ingredient Question

I do 1 1/2 oz. rum (I've been using Goslings Gold lately) and a half-ounce each of Apry, Luxardo Triplum, and fresh lime juice, shaken like hell and strained. It absolutely does NOT need sugar or syrup.

Grilled Halibut on Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Griddle - Sticking Issues!

Well, yes, you can get it hot enough to sear a steak in five minutes. But what does that have to do with how to grill a piece of halibut?

Grilled Halibut on Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Griddle - Sticking Issues!

I have the exact same Lodge reversible griddle you do, and it required much more of a learning curve than I expected. Based on my experience, your intuition is exactly correct: you actually had the pan way too hot.

What I've learned works for me is to heat the grill by giving it a LONG preheat over relatively low heat (four out of ten, or medium low, is where I usually set my gas burners). I have been known to start preheating my grill as soon as I start my mise en place, but give it a minimum of 10 minutes to preheat. And then I do the actual cooking with the knobs turned to their lowest setting. This is plenty hot to cook just about anything (you still get a good sear if you're doing steaks or chops this way) but it's low enough that you run much less risk of incinerating anything.

Another trick that helps me: I have a mess of small disposable aluminum pans (technically, they're called half-size hotel pans -- I buy them in bulk at BJs or Costco: one bag costs about $7 and lasts me about a year) that I originally bought to use as drip pans when I'm doing indirect charcoal grilling. But I quickly learned that they're also useful when I'm using the Lodge, especially when I'm cooking relatively delicate things like fish or most vegetables: placing one of these pans over the fish traps the heat, essentially turning the grill into a miniature oven and allowing the fish to cook faster, release more readily, and keep from getting dried out on the grill.

But first and foremost: it's even more important to keep this pan seasoned than your other cast iron: remember, when you're using the griddle side, you've got flames in direct contact with the grill side, and vice versa. That can cause you to lose seasoning much faster than you will on a piece that has only one cooking surface.

Your recs for best fried...

Clams: I think the best overall clam shack experience is the Clam Box on Route 1A in Ipswich, but if you're just talking quality of clam by itself, I lean towards the Hingham Lobster Pound on Route 3A in Hingham.

Oysters: Allstonian and I had some spectacular fried oysters at Tupelo recently. Perfectly fried and delicious.

Frittura mista: I recuse myself because I never order this. It usually just ends up being almost all calamari, and if I have a taste for deep-fried squid, I'm going to Chinatown.

Sunday Sandwich?

Go to Russo's, get your shopping done, pick up a sandwich from the deli and then head out to that park that runs along the river on California Street for some al fresco dining on a day that's turning out to be considerably nicer than advertised!

fiddleheads 2010

There's a batch from Russo's in our fridge as I type. Tomorrow evening, they'll be alongside a couple chicken-fried steaks and some mashed potatoes.

Chorizo Verde in Boston?

Some kinds of reptiles. Also Vulcans.

But actually, no, chorizo is not a blood sausage.

Recent Burgers

Not as of Tuesday night.

It's like Galleria Umberto in July: I haven't eaten at Flat Patties in weeks, but now that I don't have the option, I'm dying for one of their burgers!

Flat Patties
81 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Who carries fresh garlic in Boston?

I am 100% satisfied with the garlic we buy from Russo's. I just killed a head last night (slivered into some broccoli cooked on the grill alongside an amazing butterflied boneless leg of lamb) that had to be at least a month old, and it was firm, unsprouted and delicious. Cheap, too: I think their price is $2.98 a pound, which means a head of garlic runs about 40-45 cents.

As nsenada points out, this place sells garlic by the metric buttload (as one would expect from a greengrocer proudly bearing a fine Italian name), so sheer volume makes it unlikely that you're going to grab a head that's been sitting there since Jane Swift was in office.

When we get them home, our garlic heads go into a jar roughly similar in size and shape to this:

Which sits on a shelf next to the fridge under the CD player, so not a particularly "cool, dark place" or anything. However, ever since we started using this kind of ventilated jar, we've had no problem whatsoever with sprouting heads until they get genuinely elderly. And even then it's little shoot, not like those giant green scallion-like things we used to get in our garlic.