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Windsor Dim Sum Cafe, minor quirks and non dim sum recs?

Winsor has picture menus now, which they seem to provide automatically with the other menus. Maybe you could ask to keep one and then match up the dishes yourself?

Windsor Dim Sum Cafe, minor quirks and non dim sum recs?

The XO sauce dishes are much bigger, entree-sized, dishes. XO sauce itself is also a prized ingredient. The turnip cakes are pan-fried with bean sprouts and Chinese chives, and the other versions simply replace the turnip cakes with rice cakes or rice noodles. It's very different than the plain version, so I encourage you to try it next time.

April 2011 Openings and Closings

Bon Bon, the gelato shop at 197 Mass Ave between Berklee and Symphony Hall, is now Mass Ave Pita. They look to be pretty close to opening. The signs indicate they will have shawarma, falafel, hummus, ice cream, and gelato.

The gelato case has stayed put during the whole transition, so I'm assuming they inherited it from the previous owners. It'd be great to have another quality option in the area, but it doesn't appear to have much seating besides some counter space and a few tables and chairs outside.

Bon Bon
197A Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Boss in town - Where should we take him?

Agreed. Particularly fitting since your boss is looking for non-red meat options. I don't think they'll have salmon on the menu, but they specialize and excel with fish.

Opening date for Saus

Just visited with 2 co-workers. We all got waffles and loved them! They were a smidge burnt in some places and lacked some crunch from the caramalized sugar, but the flavor was great. We tried the nutella, salted caramel, berry berry, and lemon cream sauces. My favorites were the nutella (rich, deep chocolate flavor) and the salted caramel (perfect balance of sweet and salty). Can't wait to try the frites!

Lobster prices in Boston

My dad swears by a seafood shop in Chinatown located in the basement below Winsor Dim Sum Cafe at 10 Tyler Street. He usually gets lobsters there for $3.99-$4.99 per pound.

Coming to Boston from Austin and need HELP!! Please!! :)

Actually, Helmand is close to Lechmere Station. From there you can pick up the E train of the Green Line and also take the 69 bus straight to Harvard Square. The 69 leaves the station every 20-30 minutes during the weekend.

Coming to Boston from Austin and need HELP!! Please!! :)

I agree that Carlos Cucina is a pretty good, less expensive alternative. Based on my recollection, Gran Gusto's price point is about the same as Trattoria Toscana.

Neptune doesn't offer steamed lobster on their menu, but their lobster rolls (both hot and cold) are amazing. For inexpensive oysters, there are a couple of places around town that offer $1 oysters. A few come to mind: Sel de la Terre (Long Wharf), Lineage, Marliave. Check their websites for days/times. That said, I think Neptune is a must for any visit to Boston. Just be prepared for the wait!

I think Helmand is actually the easiest to find a close second for. Gourmaniac was referring to Ariana, which is priced a couple dollars below Helmand but with an almost identical menu. I haven't visited yet, but a number of local reviewers compared it favorably to Helmand. I've really enjoyed the few experiences I've had with Afghan food, but I didn't love it as much as what I've had at Trattoria Toscana, Carlos, or Gran Gusto. Apples and oranges, I know, but Boston has some great Italian food!

Trattoria Toscana
130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

Gran Gusto
90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

Sel de la Terre
774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

November Openings and Closings

Panera Bread is opening in that space. The signs went up last week.

where to get crispy duck with taro in Chinatown?

I've had something like this at Peach Farm. The duck slices were not completely covered in taro paste, but the preparation was similar and very tasty!

Peach Farm
4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

Hamersley's, Aquitaine, Pop or Noche?

I chose Hamersley's for my birthday dinner last month. It was the perfect place for a special occasion.

Is Hungry Mother still good?

There were two pieces of mostly-boned quail lightly fried in a fried chicken-type batter with a hint of spice. Not too much breading or grease but still crunchy, while the meat stayed very juicy and tender. I personally prefer dark meat to white, so the quail suited my tastes. The accompanying greens were wilted and lightly tossed with a vinaigrette, a perfect complement to the quail.

Is Hungry Mother still good?

I was just there this past Friday for a late dinner. Service was great from start to finish, despite the fact that it was still very busy when we were seated at 9:30pm. The beef tongue canapes were as tasty as ever. I enjoyed the chicken fried Vermont quail (fairly new to the menu, I think), and my DC raved about the roasted chicken. I remember loving the cornbread last time around, but this time, it was kind of bland, although the balance of crumbly and cakey texture was perfect. I was also underwhelmed by the ham and cheddar grits and bluefish pate. All in all, I think Hungry Mother still does a lot of things well, but it's not on my go-to list in Cambridge.

Please approve my itenerary!

I actually prefer Neptune's fried clams to the Clam Box's, even their big bellies. I found some of the Clam Box fried clams a bit tough and stringy. I've had fried clams at Neptunes a few times now, and they've been consistent. Big, juicy clams fried perfectly without excess grease. Plus, Ipswich is quite the hike from Boston--about an hour in minimal traffic.

For your second day, I'd also suggest skipping Kingfish Hall. If it is a weekday, hit Coppa for lunch, as you won't have to contend with the crowds then. For dinner, I would personally pick Craigie on Main over L'Espalier. Both are great, but I think Craigie is a more unique experience, especially after L'Espalier moved to the Mandarin. If you like watching the kitchen at work, you can try booking the chef's table and getting the 10-course tasting menu. You'll get an amazing meal and lots of attention from the owner/executive chef himself.

774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

Kingfish Hall
188 South Market Building, Boston, MA 02109

Clam Box
789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Farmers Market prices

I see the Hmong farmers on Sundays at the Charles Square Farmers Market in Harvard Square. Got some beautiful arugula from them last week.

Here is the complete listing on their website:

Quick dinner for 1 in or very near the North End

Yes, take-out from Artu is a great option! Get the roasted lamb (or pork) sandwich and take it to the Greenway if it's nice out. Don't forget to get a treat at Maria's!

NJ Chowhound Needs Some Help

My family celebrated my mother's birthday at Bistro du Midi last weekend and had a great time, but the upstairs dining room may be a bit too formal for your group. Perhaps try the more casual bar area downstairs? Either way, food and service are impeccable, and the view of the Public Garden makes its extra special.

To go along with the other Beacon Hill recommendations, I'd also throw in Grotto. Hearty Italian in a subterranean setting and a great value, whether you order a la carte or prix fixe. It's owned by the same folks as Marliave, but I think Grotto is the better of the two.

10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

Bistro du Midi
272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Where did Lee of Chocolee go?

Yes, I'm also disappointed that tigerswims did not have a great croissant experience. I visited in the late afternoon, so I can't imagine it was in an issue with staleness. I'll certainly visit again and see if there are consistency issues.

Ditto on the beignets, nandrew! I was actually went with the intention of getting beignets but got sidetracked by the croissants when I walked in. They are heavenly but messy, which is why Lee will hand you extra napkins. (Apparently, a lady once made the mistake of eating her beignets while wearing a fancy white shirt, and it did not end well.) I will have to try the salted caramels soon!

Technique, Le Cordon Bleu, Cambridge

$8-$10 for appetizers, $15-$18 for entrees. Menupages' version is pretty reflective of the price range, although the menu items might vary:

Technique, Le Cordon Bleu, Cambridge

I went last year and had a pretty good experience. I knew going in that with a student waitstaff, the service would be a little slow and awkward, so that helped manage my expectations. Our server dropped some utensils, had to be reminded of our drink order, and neglected to tell us that one of the entrees was no longer available until 15 minutes after we placed our order, but she gave me an extra generous pour of wine to make up for it.

I liked the open view into the kitchen, and the dining room is very spacious. It has a loft-like, industrial feel, and the tables are set very far apart in order to fill the space. I don't think you'll get as much elbow room anywhere else in the Boston area.

We shared a duck appetizer and had a gnocchi entree and a flat iron steak/short rib entree. The food was great, although the presentation was a little sloppy (plates weren't completely wiped clean of stray sauce, veggies not cut uniformly), but again, nothing that really took away from the meal. Dessert was disappointing, however, I had a chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream that was very ordinary and could have come from a supermarket bake shop. Nevertheless, my boyfriend and I enjoyed our dinner and felt that it was worth a repeat visit due to the price point and overall quality of the food.

Where did Lee of Chocolee go?

Visited Chocolee's new home at 23 Dartmouth Street this weekend, and the chocolates were as good as ever. Along with a few pieces of chocolate almond bark, I also tried her chocolate croissant for the first time (offered on weekends only). They made me swoon! The croissant itself was on par with Clear Flour's, but it was the generous filling of top-notch chocolate that put Lee's over the top. Even my non-chocolate-loving boyfriend couldn't resist. He ended up eating half of it! We'll have to get two next time...

What do you like to eat at Kantin (and/or similar places)?

Noodle soups are another staple of Cantonese cuisine. You can mix and match the types of meats and noodles that go in your soup to create the perfect combination. I've been on a beef tendon noodle soup kick lately and have thoroughly enjoyed the versions at Kantin and Great Taste Bakery. Hong Kong Eatery is another great choice, and I often find myself ordering their lai foon noodle soup with either wontons, tripe, or cuttlefish.

Hong Kong Eatery
79 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

1095 Commonwealth Ave Ste 203, Boston, MA 02215

Winsor Dim Sum Café

You can try calling ahead to let them know that you're coming with a relatively large party. That way, they can try to keep a big table open, rather than having multiple parties share one. Also, try to get there by 10:30am if possible. It tends to be busiest between 11am-2pm on the weekends.

Chinatown Recs Needed: I'm new andintimidated. Special circumstances. Help a sister out.

I adore Peach Farm, but I think it might be a little crowded and intimidating for a first-timer. First, try to avoid peak dinner hours, as the space isn't big, and many local Chinese families love it. Also, it can get pretty boisterous and hectic when the dining room gets full. Like yumyum said, the food is amazing and the service efficient, but from personal experience, my non-Chinese DCs have been a little overwhelmed by the place on the first try, albeit for weekend/holiday dinners.

A good alternative would be East Ocean City. The dining room is nicer and calmer. The food is almost as good as Peach Farm, and I would recommend the twin lobsters, salt and pepper crab, steak with black pepper sauce, dry scallop and black mushroom yee mein (a noodle dish), and roast duck. The service is attentive and accommodating.

Whichever restaurant you choose, feel free to ask for the server's recommendations. Enjoy, and let us know how it goes!

Peach Farm
4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

East Ocean City Restaurant
27 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Curious about Sensing

I had a pretty good experience at Sensing in October, when I tried them out for their half-priced entree promotion, "Make Sense of Mondays" (now on Thursdays). I had the oxtail terrine as an appetizer and the venison as an entree. Both were nicely presented and executed, with an interesting balance of flavors. I also tried my DC's tuna tartare and lemongrass cod. I preferred the tartare, but the cod was good too--just a bit mild for my taste, especially compared to the other dishes. Service was courteous and competent, and the space simple but elegant. That being said, I don't think I would return and pay full-price. I wasn't blown away by anything, and there are plenty of great options in Boston at a much better value. But the entree deal was a bargain and a great way to try them out.

However, I can't help but wonder about Sensing's viability. The dining room was maybe 20% full that night. The location isn't great, and the price points aren't market-friendly. The launch of new promotions for Monday-Thursday may be another indicator that they are struggling for business.

Dim Sum and Parking

Winsor definitely validates for parking at the Beach Street garage--$6 for up to 3 hours. Just hand them your parking ticket, and they'll be happy to do it!

The best and worst of Brookline?

My boyfriend always, always orders the hot brisket on rye with brown mustard. He likes it more than the pastrami and prime rib. I've tasted the brisket a few times and thought it was pretty good, served warm and juicy. It's a little plain flavor-wise for my taste, but I prefer the tongue and pastrami.

Help with Chicken Wing deals

Soulfire in Allston offers all-you-can-eat wings for $6.99 on Monday nights. I've never done it, but I've enjoyed their fried chicken!

Best Restaurant Missed by Heavy Posters

Agreed! I tried Gari for the first time a few months ago for their "Maki Madness" deal on Sundays ($4.50 per roll, $15 minimum per person, cash only). I was a little skeptical at first, but it proved to be one of the best "everyday" sushi experiences I've had in the area. Much preferred over it's oft-mentioned neighbor, Fugakyu.

Offal for a newbie

Just had calf's brain at Petit Robert last week and loved them!
I've also enjoyed the sweetbreads there and at Eastern Standard and Olives.

How do you feel about hearts? They're heartier and more organy-y tasting than sweetbreads and brains but aren't as pronounced as liver. I like the grilled beef hearts (anticuchos) at Rincon Limeno and most Brazillian bbq places do chicken hearts.

Rincon Limeno
409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215