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CSA Share North Shore of Boston (near Wakefield)

Thanks, Marilu - Peabody is a bit far for me, but that is a brilliant idea to have a town-sponsored CSA... I will have to see about bringing one to my town next year!

Mar 06, 2013
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

CSA Share North Shore of Boston (near Wakefield)

Thanks, Chris! I didn't know Melrose had a farmer's market too - my realtor said the one in Wakefield is good. Honestly, part of the appeal of the CSA model for me is as a way to keep my farmer's market spending in check! I will take a look at Farm Direct Coop - sounds great!

Mar 06, 2013
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

CSA Share North Shore of Boston (near Wakefield)

Hi Elizabeth, can I ask which CSA you ended up signing up for? We just moved to the Wakefield area and are trying to find a CSA for this summer.

Our CSA in Toronto was market-style, and I'd like to find one like that here (we got burned with a previous pre-boxed CSA and endless cabbages). It looks like Warner Farm offers a market-style pick-up in Woburn... does anyone have any experience with them or other suggestions?

Thanks!

Mar 05, 2013
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

Buttercream Icing Cakes - Bakery

Coffeejess, I don't have any suggestions, but I would *love* to know where you end up ordering from - I'm looking for the same thing myself!

I would not recommend the Cupcake Shoppe - their cake is decent but their buttercream is a major letdown - not sweet enough at all.

Mar 05, 2012
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Group dinner for 20 in Cambridge/Boston

Thanks for the suggestions :) We spoke to both EVOO and Henrietta's Table, but the food and beverage minimum for Henrietta's was pretty steep for us. We ended up booking at EVOO and can't wait!

Sep 30, 2009
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

Group dinner for 20 in Cambridge/Boston

Thanks for the recommendations, opinionatedchef - I've heard great things about EVOO, and their menu right now looks delish. Can I ask you how you found having a group dinner in their main dining room - are you right in the middle of everything?

Sep 21, 2009
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

Group dinner for 20 in Cambridge/Boston

I'm trying to find a restaurant for a small rehearsal dinner (20 people, $40-$50 pp before drinks, taxes and tip).

Since 3/4 of the attendees are from out of town, we had initially thought someplace Boston-y like the Union Oyster House, but then we actually ate there.

I'd like to find someplace that focuses on local ingredients and thoughtful preparation (but not necessarily regional/Yankee style cuisine), in either Cambridge or downtown Boston, and that has private or semi-private space for 20 on a Friday night. I don't care how casual or fancy the place is as long as the food is good.

I keep having flashbacks to UOH's cold, rubbery scrod. Please talk me down from the ledge!

Sep 18, 2009
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

Best fruit/veg delivery in Toronto?

EarlyDrive, I've been disappointed in my Plan B share this year too. We had a share last year and loved it. We got so many delicious and unexpected things, all kinds of different greens like purslane and mizuna, zucchini and summer squashes, watermelon, peppers, tomatoes... There was always at least one sexy veggie.

This year it's been meh. Cabbage, potatoes, salad mix, repeat. I don't know if the cold weather has been difficult for their crops, but there has been no expectation setting and no communication with CSA members.

I don't really want to do a food delivery box because I really like the CSA model, but there are so few CSA options in Toronto, I feel like it's basically Plan B or nothing (especially if, like me, you don't have a car).

Aug 06, 2009
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

DC Conference Visit - recap

I just got back from 5 days in DC, theoretically for a conference but mostly to see the city for the first time. I got some wonderful advice on restaurants from this board, so I just wanted to return the favor with a recap of the highlights.

Saturday:
After a long and hot day sightseeing I decided to follow iowagirl's example (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588373) and sprawl on my hotel bed with takeout from Pizzeria Paradiso.

I got the Atomica. The dough was meh (I've been spoiled by Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto) but the toppings were amazing. This pizza singlehandedly made me reconsider my position on olives - never been a fan, but these were meaty and juicy and briny and went so well with the cheese and salami that not only did I not pick them off, I actually admit that they enhanced the pizza. My only regret is ordering the 8" instead of the 12".

Sunday:
Afternoon snack at Georgetown Cupcakes. I sampled the peanut butter fudge and the red velvet. The peanut butter frosting on the peanut butter fudge was perfect - strong peanut butter flavor and perfect buttercream texture - but the cake was disappointing. The "fudge" filling had the taste and consistency of Hershey's chocolate syrup, and although the cake was moist with a good crumb, it wasn't very chocolate-y. The red velvet was much better - frosting had the perfect amount of cream cheese tang and the cake had good flavor as well as texture.

Dinner at Eatonville. I love Zora Neale Hurston so I really wanted to try this restaurant even though they're so new. I had the fried green tomatoes and the crab cake burger with the light beer on tap. I'm a New Englander so I'm not the best judge of Southern comfort food, but I thought the tomatoes were great - the red pepper aioli was spicy and flavorful. The crab burger was so huge I had to abandon the bun halfway through to focus on finishing the burger. It was all crab meat, very fresh and tasty, but I found myself wishing for some more of the red pepper aioli to jazz it up a little. Fries were crispy but oversalted. The service was definitely still learning (my main was served before I had finished my appy, I had to chase a server down for ketchup), but everyone was so earnest and friendly I didn't mind the glitches.

Monday:
Lunch at Mitsitam, the National Museum of the American Indian's cafeteria. I had the pupusas and coconut-pineapple agua fresca. The pupusas were filled with black beans and topped with fresh slaw - they were tasty and so filling that by the time dinner rolled around I only had room for beer.

Tuesday:
Lunch at the National Gallery of Art. I did the Spanish buffet in the Garden Café and it was surprisingly good - especially the gazpacho (nicely chilled with well balanced flavors) and the little meatballs (with a sweet plum sauce). At $19.25 it is definitely on the overpriced side, but since the gallery is free I figured it balanced out.

Romantic dinner for one at Equinox. For my last night in town I took myself out for a nice dinner. Equinox is doing a 10th anniversary tasting menu for $40 pp, which is great value for the quality of the food. (I also did the wine pairings for another $25). The menu is 4 courses, plus an amuse-bouche - actually 2 contrasting bites, one a spoonful of cold salad (basically gazpacho that hasn't been blended) and a shot glass of hot cream of mushroom soup. There were also airy, salty little gougères. The first course was crab agnolotti with asparagus and a sherry sauce. The crab and sherry were a lovely flavor combination, and the pasta was perfectly al dente. The second course was a tiny dish of roasted veggies, mainly summer squash and mushrooms. The veggies were delicious but the bottom of the dish seemed to be coated in mayo which was a little gross. The main course was bbq'd salmon with a fresh corn salad and onion rings. I'm a bit of a Pacific salmon snob, but this Atlantic fish was so perfectly cooked I fell in love. It was grilled to a crispy on the edges and brushed with a sweet barbecue sauce, but the inside was basically still raw - the contrasting textures and flavors were perfect. Dessert was disappointing - it was deconstructed strawberry shortcake, with a biscuit, whipped cream, strawberry-basil sorbet and strawberry sauce. The strawberry sauce and sorbet were wonderful, and the cream was nice and thick, but the biscuit was dense (what my moms would call a hockey puck) and the whole thing was topped with "phyllo hay" that tasted like packing confetti. Dessert was, however, paired with a lovely Moscato d'Asti that more than made up for the dismal biscuit. Service was impeccable, unsurprisingly.

Wednesday:
Farewell lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl. I got the chili half-smoke, of course, and a chocolate shake. In flavor and thickness, the shake was eerily similar to McDonald's, so let's skip right on to the dog. The chili was OK, but oh my God, the sausage underneath it was amazing. Crispy charred skin with filling that is blessedly more smoky and spicy than salty. I would buy these by the dozen and then some.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time in your city and I can't wait to come back without any conference to distract me from eating and sightseeing.

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Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Pizzeria Paradiso - Dupont Circle
2029 P St NW Ste 102, Washington, DC 20036

Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe
Independence Avenue Southwest Washington DC, Independence Avenue Southwest Washington, DC

Equinox Restaurant
818 Connecticut Ave NW Frnt 1, Washington, DC 20006

Georgetown Cupcake
1209 Potomac St NW, Washington, DC

Jun 20, 2009
fitzlicious in Washington DC & Baltimore

best burgers in T.O.

I haven't tried Harbord Room's burger yet but if it's like the rest of the food there it would be amazing. The best burger I've had recently was down the street at Loire Casual Gourmet - it was thick, juicy, pink on the inside, and served on Harbord Bakery's delicious challah.

May 09, 2009
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Hunt: Fish n' Chips

I agree on Chippy's and Harbord. I want to like Chippy's since they promote sustainable fishing, but their fish and chips are just not that good - both are greasy, soggy, and heavy. I love Harbord Fish and Chips - I've seen blocks of lard on the counter, so that probably explains how their food gets so crispy. Penrose sounds delicious - can't wait to try it!

May 09, 2009
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Canadian desserts in Boston

Thanks for all the tips, everyone! I'll definitely be checking out Blue Frog Bakery.

almansa, I'd love your grandmother's recipe! Coffee Crisp - good call.

SpicyTea, my Canadian looooves Nelson - now that I know there's at least one option for non-Tim Horton's coffee I might have to visit someday!

Apr 05, 2009
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

Canadian desserts in Boston

I'm getting married to a Canadian in Boston this fall, and my mom and I thought it would be cute to feature some desserts from his home and native land.

Specifically, I'm wondering if there are any bakeries inside 128 that make either butter tarts (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1837/canadian-butter-tarts) or Nanaimo bars (http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/200...).

I just saw in the NYT that there are tons of Canadian expats in eastern Mass - can anyone help me out?

Mar 17, 2009
fitzlicious in Greater Boston Area

What's your most disappointing dining experience?

I also had a horrible experience at brunch at Thuet. We made a reservation since we were a large group, but there was a revolving door of servers assigned to our table. It took an hour to give our order, our food took forever to come, we had to refill our own coffee and water and then our empty plates sat on the table for 30 minutes. And then they added the standard big group gratuity to our bill! The worst part is I wrote to the restaurant to say what a shitacular birthday brunch it had been, and I got no response - not even a non-apology apology. Marc Thuet can Bite Me.

Jan 26, 2009
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

What's the best affordable fine dining in Toronto?

I second Quince - the food is good and the vibe is nice and low-key... worth the trek uptown for.

I would also put Rosebud and Silver Spoon on my cozy and affordable list.

Jan 19, 2009
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Loire on Harbord

I have to agree with you - it is looking like a great neighborhood restaurant. I was not a huge fan of Olive + Lemon, but so far Loire Casual Gourmet is doing everything right. We went tonight (in the middle of snowmaggedon) and they fit us in without reservations. Service was great - friendly, attentive and unobtrusive (I used to waitress so I'm pretty picky about service); the room is very cozy and candlelit.
The menu is short but incorporates a lot of local ingredients. Their take on the ubiquitous pork belly was delicious - fatty and warm with a crispy edge, with a little julienned apple to cut the fattiness. The burger (lamb is from New Zealand but beef is Ontario) was so much better than a pub burger - on the rare side, nice and juicy, topped with brie and served on Harbord Bakery's challah - an awesome neighborhood touch. The fries were delicious - not as good as Nota Bene's - but crispy and golden.
For dessert we had the dark chocolate marquise, with a fabulous little scoop of mint chocolate chip gelato.
Portions were on the smaller side, but really well presented and totally filling.
Dinner for 2 with wine, tax and tip was about $100, so the prices are a little easier than Tati's across the street.
I'll definitely be going back!

Dec 19, 2008
fitzlicious in Ontario (inc. Toronto)