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Walking near Sheraton Back Bay

Thanks everyone for suggestions.

We ended up at Brasserie Jo.

Warm baguette in a bag with soft butter always a winning start.

The steak frites was OK but frites were neither as hot nor as crispy or interesting as I would have hoped given the reputation.

Creme brulee was plain but good; crepe was enormous but/and hit the spot for everybody.

Service was quite good.

Thanks again, folks.

Aug 19, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Walking near Sheraton Back Bay

Asking for suggestions for group of 5-6 near as possible to Sheraton (Prudential). Good but not super fancy (Brasserie Jo seemed best option on Open Table) but also open to local/ethnic/not-on-Open Table.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 19, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Flavored syrups -- where to buy?

Cardullo's in Harvard Square has some I believe, though I don't recall the flavors. Although, maybe these were intended for coffee actually? Does it matter?

Jul 07, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Lunch between Central and Kendall

New job - office on Mass Ave at corner of Main Street (by Asgard, across from Miracle of Science). Would be grateful for recommendations for lunch, assuming a 5-7 minute walk radius. Anything goes.

Thanks in advance!

Jul 01, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Seta's Cafe Belmont

Agreed with SG about the space, to the poster below - when I went for lunch, there were two groups of four enjoying themselves. I do wonder if they could handle a ton of volume without hiccups / delays.

I had the falafel sandwich and it was excellent and large. Fresh, hot falafel with good salad in the lavash. Fries were handcut, hot and fresh (could have been a bit browner/crisper for my taste but still good). Service friendly. Only complaint is I wish it were cheaper but I'm not sure it's much more expensive than alternatives.

Feb 19, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Intro to Indian

Thanks everybody for chiming in. For convenience reasons (i.e., other things we had to do in the area) and Yelp reviews, we tried Punjab in Arlington Center. It was OK for my objectives - passable tikka masala and lamb saag, and the guests are willing to try Indian again sometime - but I wasn't impressed and wouldn't recommend to Hounds in the area.

Jan 22, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Rock salt for seasoning molcajete

I have the seasoning instructions that came with the molcajete, and I see a number of similar ones online. My question is:

Do you mean rock salt like what I'd buy at a hardware store / Home Depot? Is that OK for something I'm going to put food in? Or does it have to be rock salt purchased at a grocery store? Any particular terminology or names I should look for? Do I have to buy 50 lbs?

Thanks in advance!

Jan 22, 2014
Imby in Cookware

Intro to Indian

Sorry, should have said - ideally near Belmont, e.g. Waltham, Cambridge, Arlington, Watertown. Somerville, Allston, Brighton also ok I guess.

Jan 20, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Intro to Indian

Hoping to take a couple of folks to Indian for lunch tomorrow (Tuesday) and looking for a recommendation. Doesn't necessarily need to be best or most authentic or spiciest: what's the best welcome to a couple who want to try it, but aren't terribly adventurous? I realize a weekday lunch may point to buffets, in which case those recommendations are welcome.

Thanks in advance!

Jan 20, 2014
Imby in Greater Boston Area

August 2013 Openings and Closings

Seta's Mediterranean Cafe to open in August in Belmont.

271 Belmont St, next to Sophia's (!). This location was formerly Chicken Express.

Based on facebook research, this appears to be first physical location, but Seta has had booths at local farmer's markets for a while.

Here's the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Setas-...

Aug 01, 2013
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Large Packages of Roasted Nori Snacks?

Sorry, my bad - didn't catch your packaging issue. Costco and Hmart are, as far as I know, collections of small bags. I also hate the silica packets - would rather not have poison in my child's snacks! The two issues may be related - if the snacks are prone to soaking up moisture from the air, that might make larger packages undesirable. Good luck!

Feb 05, 2013
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Large Packages of Roasted Nori Snacks?

Saw some at H Mart last weekend.

Costco also.

Feb 05, 2013
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Sea to You

Thanks everyone! Thought I'd report back:

- Went to New Deal, right at opening (Saturday, 9:30am)
- Good thing, too, because there were 8 or so customers by the time we left.
- Got salmon, big-eye, pacific yellowtail and baby octopus.
- Salmon was fine. I feel like salmon is pretty consistent in Boston and this probably rated a 7/10. I've had better, but it definitely made the grade.
- I find tuna to be a risk, generally - often the texture or flavor are disappointing to me - but this was above average for Boston sushi
- The Yellowtail was superb. Better, I think, than I've ever had at a restaurant in Boston.
- Wasn't sure what to do with the baby octopus, but I marinated in soy sauce and then a quick saute in butter. Kids enjoyed eating the tentacles.
- Service at New Deal was great. Very knowledgeable help, happy to remove the skin for us, etc.

Overall, we were very satisfied and will be back. Thanks to everybody for the input. Though I'll always miss the rawness of the Sea To You @Fish Pier experience, we still appear to have the option of do-your-own sushi night!

Feb 04, 2013
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Sea to You

Thanks to everybody for their input. If I go with Sakanaya or New Deal, is there a "best" time to go for freshness / selection (objective: making Saturday sushi dinner).

Thanks again!

Feb 01, 2013
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Sea to You

Years ago, we used to go to Sea to You's Fish Pier location to get fish and make our own Saturday night sushi dinners. I see they have a Brookline store now - is that all now? Is the Fish Pier location closed?

Either way, is it still any good? Can't figure out their hours from the website either...

Thanks in advance!

Jan 28, 2013
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Bakery for a party cake near Santa Rosa

Thanks for the input folks. Pressed for time, we went with Oliver's and got a half-sheet black and white mousse cake for $90ish. Design was attractive, service was friendly and the crowd was pleased with the result.

Jan 10, 2013
Imby in San Francisco Bay Area

Bakery for a party cake near Santa Rosa

Request for recommendations: We are having a semi-catered anniversary party for 20-30 folks and need a quality cake. Considerations include budget and timing - 2 day turnaround required.

Thanks in advance!

Dec 27, 2012
Imby in San Francisco Bay Area

JJ Foley's a good idea for our group?

9 people for dinner tomorrow night. Celebratory occasion, but not a group that wants fancy. 2 youngish kids, 1 toddler included, so a reservation is preferable to just showing up. Honorees like pubs, seafood, Italian. Highland Kitchen would have been ideal, but no reservations on Saturdays. Thought about ICOB and Il Casale, but not available per Open Table.

Closest to meeting my criteria on Open Table (to my eyes) was JJ Foley - I had remembered some positive words on the board here, though that may have been limited to the burger. Is the overall menu pretty good? OK vibe for a family including grandparents and grandkids?

Thanks in advance, hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season.

Dec 21, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Gift ideas for budding home bartender

Looking for ideas for wife, who has great taste and natural mixing talent and curiousity. I'll be grateful for any ideas, but was guessing in the areas of books, tools and ingredients. We have all the basic tools already and are not looking for expansive, drink-specific glassware collections :-)
Thanks in advance!

Nov 25, 2012
Imby in Spirits

Bar w/food Metrowest near Pike?

Returning to Boston from UConn: Anywhere west of Boston, not too far from I-90, with great cocktails and bartending, where you can eat at the bar and watch drink-making?

Alternatively, any place in that area with a good view of the cooking (tasty food would be desirable as well)?

Thanks in advance!

Oct 07, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

First time in Seattle, near Convention Center

Will be in Seattle for first time, staying near Washington State Convention Center. Any ideas for something great or something unique?

Visiting from Boston but seafood and sushi still desirable. Great pastry / coffee suggestions also appreciated. Walking range ideal.

Thanks in advance!

Sep 07, 2012
Imby in Greater Seattle

Ideas for a St. Germain / elderflower syrup?

I made some St. Germain - flavored syrup for Mothers' Day French Toast, and now I've got a cup of the stuff. Any suggestions for use?

Thanks in advance and Happy Mothers' Day!

May 13, 2012
Imby in Home Cooking

Where can I buy fresh duck?

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

Apr 05, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Where can I buy fresh duck?

I think that says it all. Where can I buy fresh duck in the Boston area? Ideally, I'd love to know where to get it and not pay an arm (wing?) and a leg.

And if someone feels great about their frozen duck source, I guess I'd like that idea, too.

Thanks in advance!

Apr 04, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Cooking for a Cause Fundraiser, March 30 2012

Last night was the Cooking for a Cause fundraiser for East End House of Cambridge. Highlights, in no particular order:

1. Surprisingly good pulled pork sandwich from Tremont 347. ECG Cuban pulled pork at the next table wasn't nearly as good (and we love ECG).
2. Island Creek Oyster Bar had some kind of lobster roe / orzo / puree of something that my wife raved about.
3. Hawthorne was mixing a variation on the French 75 cocktail that had me thinking I ought to visit. Craigie on Main had a decent cocktail as well, though I'm not remembering what it was...
4. My overall favorite may have been the "caramel corn cake" from Area Four. A brown sugar mini-cupcake, with popcorn-infused buttercream frosting topped with a single, homemade crackerjack. Unreal.
5. Superb meatball from Il Casale/Dante. And Chef Dante was polite enough to take my dirty plates when I had been unable to find a disposal area. For me, anyway, a big part of the experience is seeing the extent to which the chefs and owners are going out of their way to ensure folks enjoy themselves and to promote the cause.
6. Decent lamb kibbeh (sp?) with tzatziki from Grill 23
7. Took more generosity than effort to open bottle after bottle, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Pretty Things was pouring Jack d'Or and St. Botolph's Town.

Mar 31, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Gen Sushi, Belmont

Recently opened, right next door to Golden Garden on Concord Ave.

I'm not a sushi expert, nor especially adventurous. Benchmarks for us in the mid-tier are Bluefin (Porter), Fugakyu and possibly even Whole Foods (since we live in Belmont, this is partially an evaluation of possible convenient takeout).

Appetizers of edamame, miso soup, steamed gyoza and tempura shrimp were all similar quality to those benchmarks. Tempura shrimp maybe a bit better.

Salmon, tuna and hamachi nigiri also similar quality to those benchmarks. No problems, but certainly not to be mistaken for a super-premium sushi place (I’m thinking Yasuda in NYC as my benchmark for that).

They had a “tuna taco” special of tuna, avocado, cilantro, onion, lime and hot sauce on some kind of crispy shell. We all enjoyed it, though it was more about the combination of the flavors and textures than the fish itself.

Dining companions were pleased with their udon bowl (with chicken, shrimp, boatload-of-veggies) – it was enormous and beautiful to look at, I can attest – and the chicken teriyaki. The latter was a very large portion, good quality and respectful of non-sushi-eaters.

Service was over-the-top good. They bent over backwards to satisfy us, and it was appreciated. They brought out some complementary things as well (possibly in part due to it being a birthday dinner for my daughter). It took a bit long for the main courses, but not terribly so. Hard to conclude anything, but given the small space and staff, I could imagine them getting overwhelmed on a weekend.

The space is small; our party of 6 barely fit. But it’s also nicer than I would have guessed from the outside; even the bathroom is newly modeled and super clean.

Certainly good enough to warrant take-out attempts and a return visit when we want some respectable sushi.

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Fugakyu Cafe
621 Boston Post Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776

Golden Garden
63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

Gen Sushi
61 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

Mar 15, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Who makes the best french fries in Boston?

Il Casale does have french fries, and they're superb. They're a side dish, listed as being topped with some kind of cheese, but I get them without.

Feb 09, 2012
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Is There an ETA for Gustazo in Belmont?

Got take out last night. My observations:
- They still have some operations work to do (e.g., no take-out menus yet, AmEx swipe wasn't working), but were appropriately apologetic that they didn't have it all nailed down yet and aiming to please.
- Ultimately, the order worked out fine - my ropa vieja was ready in 15 minutes, just like they said it would be.
- The Ropa Vieja itself was good, but only 2 maduros (one of the sides, along with rice and Cuban-style black beans) was disappointing, especially for $16.95.
- Overall, the menu was more formal and more expensive than I expected. Sure, there were about 5 or 6 hot apps (e.g., camarones al ajillo, masitas de puerco (sorry for bad Spanish)) and 5 or 6 cold apps, and maybe 4 sandwiches (including a Cuban and some other pork sandwich in the $10-12 range, but the entrees were all in the $16-19 range for some kind of meat with rice, beans and plantains. All good stuff, I just expected / hoped it would be less. That's Belmont, I guess.
- The space itself is very small, cozy and more upscale than I expected - seems like a nice place to eat-in!
- Oh - in case it wasn't clear, they are in fact open for dinner (there had been an earlier suggestion of lunch-only)

All-in-all, glad to have them opened and looking forward to trying more from the menu.

Sep 23, 2011
Imby in Greater Boston Area

Outer Cape report

First, thanks to the Cape Hounds who responded to my post "Outer Cape Questions" last week - the responses were very helpful!

Here's my report (YMMV), which in some cases expands beyond the Outer Cape.

Breakfast

PB Boulangerie, Wellfleet - the lines start even earlier than last year, it seems - getting there at 6:45am had me roughly 8th in line at opening, twice (Sunday and Friday). Croissants and pain au chocolat once again a hit. LOVED the apple tart "Normande."

Moonakis Cafe, East Falmouth - our crowd was, as usual, more than satisfied with the pancakes (esp. Lemon Poppyseed), Corned Beef Hash and other breakfast basics. Get there early or expect to wait.

Lunch and Dinner

Arnold's, Eastham - My wife found the Lobster a bit off, not as fresh as usual, but everything else was on target, so hopefully it was just one bad lobster. Onion rings very good as always. Oysters seemed fine to me, though I'm only a recent convert and no expert. We will be back, to be sure.

Mac's Shack, Wellfleet - Very good all-around experience, though not amazing or better than what you can get closer to Boston. I'm not above telling the family to be ready to eat at 5pm, so we didn't have to wait. Service was excellent, even with kids more fidgety than usual. Appetizer highlight was tempura pickles. Edamame and miso soup were helpful to get the kids something they liked. I had the hanger steak, it was good but not spectacular. Sashimi platter was good and fresh, though no better than what you can get at good Boston-area places. One of the better restaurants I've been to on the Cape, overall.

Patio, Provincetown - The look of the place screamed "they don't care about food quality," and we only ended up here because of the power tool noise at Lobster Pot (dealing with "emergency water damage repair"). But what a pleasant surprise! Lobster roll reported to be very fresh. Gazpacho a big pleaser. "Chop Chop Salad" a tasty and filling lunch. Rosemary potatoes a side dish that I anticipated would be perfunctory, but was quite good. Drinks are good, and they don't skimp on the pours (confirmed by a return visit to the bar later in the week). If you can sit at the bar, Flo and Thea are friendly and entertaining.

Seafood Shanty, Edgartown (Martha's Vineyard) - we ducked in at 11:45, tired from the drive to Woods Hole and the Ferry, and afraid we would have trouble getting into a better place for lunch. Definitely an overpriced tourist trap ($9 for edamame appetizer!!). Food was OK, not special, and service was good and accommodated kids. Not a disaster, but not my proudest hound moment.

Fairway, Eastham - It was a lazy choice but food was decent. Nice to have a place that's busy but not mobbed. Service was good. Chicken parm sub was solid. Fishermans platter decent as well. Kids well-treated. Not a revelation by any means, but if you're in the area with young kids, it's nice to have this as an option for once per week-long visit.

Mahoney’s Bar and Grill, Orleans – I had considered this an under-the-radar gem, but we had a sub-par lunch. Burger was flavorless. The wait from order-to-food was more than 30 minutes. Might consider going back but very disappointed (for once – we’ve been pleased there before).

Other

Truro Vineyards - Lovely setting, obviously unique to the area. Nice shop and pavilion for tasting. Tastings ($8 for 5 healthy tastes and a souvenir glass) are scheduled and tightly managed. I didn't enjoy this aspect of it (I'm used to NoCal wineries), but it's understandable given the economics.

Ice Cream - plenty of local options. Nauset Ice Cream (on 6, next to Friendly Fisherman), Arnold's, Nut House (Provincetown) and Mad Martha's (Vineyard) all pleased. None particularly stood out but all pleased.

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Mahoney's Atlantic Bar & Grill
28 Main St, Orleans, MA 02653

Patio American Grill
328 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA

Arnold's Restaurant
3580 State Hwy, Eastham, MA 02642

Fairway Restaurant & Pizzeria
4295 State Hwy, Eastham, MA 02642

Moonakis Cafe
460 Waquoit Hwy, East Falmouth, MA 02536

Mad Martha's
7 N Water St, Edgartown, MA 02539

Nauset Ice Cream
4550 State Hwy, Eastham, MA 02642

Seafood Shanty
PO Box 3450, Edgartown, MA 02539

PB Boulangerie Bistro
15 Lecount Hollow Rd, Wellfleet, MA 02667

Aug 15, 2011
Imby in Southern New England

Outer Cape questions

1. Suggestions for best scallops - fancy or otherwise- between Chatham and P-town?

2. Please recommend a special occasion place (also Outer Cape) that's ok for kids? We don't need chicken fingers on the menu, we just don't want to be uncomfortable or a problem for other guests.

Thanks in advance, I will post a report at the end of our visit!

Aug 08, 2011
Imby in Southern New England