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Quick trip report from a Boston hound

Good point about Ribelle - I haven't been to brunch there yet but dinner was excellent when I went. Glad you had a couple of great meals here!

Quick trip report from a Boston hound

Hi FresserGuy - Here are my oh so subjective opinions:

For seafood I love Island Creek Oyster Bar, and have been meaning to try Row 34 - either would be a great bet (make reservations now on OpenTable.com if you can; if nothing is available for when you'd like to go, call, as they often don't put all tables on the site). I haven't made it to B&G Oyster or Neptune Oyster; I think ICOB is a bit better value for the money, not that ICOB is cheap by any means. But both B&G and Neptune are highly regarded. I love Myers and Chang as well - more of a hip diner kind of vibe - some really creative fusion dishes and well executed standards. I love Sarma as well, has some pretty unique food, though it's a bit of a trek to get to if you don't have a car (we do use Uber a lot though.) Haven't been to the others. One new seafood place that has gotten a lot of good press lately is SELECTboston, on Newbury St. in the Back Bay neighborhood.

I think James Hook does a great lobster roll at an excellent price point (also sides, whole lobsters, etc). They are by the water but also right near a high-traffic'd street (next to the Boston Harbor Hotel), so not exactly clam-shack ambiance, but I still like to hit them up a few times each summer. They have outside picnic tables or you can take your lobster roll to a nearby park.

Barking Crab has had some questionable reviews related to hygiene so I can't recommend it. James Hook is pretty close by anyway.

Other can't misses.... hmmm.... the North End neighborhood is our "Little Italy" - fun to walk around it (Hanover St. is the main drag), Pizzeria Regina is the place to go if you want a slice; I personally like Modern Pastry over Mike's Pastry for a canolli or other sweet.

Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

Quick trip report from a Boston hound

Hi everyone,

I've been lurking for the last couple weeks to figure out our dining choices for a whirlwind trip to Toronto, and I gleaned a great deal of great info; just wanted to repay the favor with our choices and observations. Our priorities were cheap eats including especially great Chinese food. We wound up staying in Markham, so it seemed to make sense to spend one day there and one day in Toronto proper.

Favorites - we *loved* Burger's Priest (on Queen St. West) - two of us shared a High Priest burger and found it really well made, perfectly seasoned and cooked. I had read reviews that noted lackluster fries, so instead we went across the street to Banh Mi Boys and had the kimchi fries. I really enjoyed them; DH thought they were fine but not necessarily incredibly special.

We also really *loved* Beast - went to happy hour (aka Beast 120.) Had a dozen oysters, the pork belly and fried pork skin (DH loved it), cauliflower with pimento cheese sauce, doubles. Really great. Surprised they weren't more full - we got there at 5, and when we left around 6:30 the outside patio was full but still room inside. Will need to come back for brunch the next time we visit.

In Markham we went to Richmond Court twice, mostly because we needed somewhere decent late at night. First night we ordered suboptimally - the wonton noodle soup was decent but rice noodles with pork and veggies were average at best. Second time we got a special of pork with Chinese broccoli (gai lan) which was tasty and huge, and stir fried rice noodles with XO sauce which was great, with lots of wok hay. So all in all we were quite happy.

We really liked Sam Woo BBQ restaurant, which was recommended by a friend. The roast pork had lots more depth and complexity than what we're used to in Boston. We even came back that night to get some pork to go, but the 11pm pork was not as great as the tea time pork, not surprisingly. We still ate it all though.

We really enjoyed our all too brief visit to your city and hope to return soon!

B&G Lobster Rolls = Pricey

It was the default - I didn't make any special requests.

B&G Lobster Rolls = Pricey

Definitely no celery in the four lobster rolls my family and I had yesterday at Hook's. Yum!

Nduja in Boston??

Cutty's had some nudja the last time I was there (a few weeks ago), I believe.

Cutty's Next Special Cluckin' Sunday is Feb 9th, a Week from Today

Funny that - I in turn was behind the guy who got the last two everythings, this past Saturday. For a moment I thought the person at the register said they were out of salmon, but thankfully that was not the case.

Chinese New Year Specials in the 'Burbs

Any details on the new place in Newton? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

less fancy but delicious birthday dinner ideas

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I've been meaning to go to Lineage, forgot about Row 34, and didn't know about Sarma - lots of food for thought!

less fancy but delicious birthday dinner ideas

Hi all - I'm looking for a place to take DH for his birthday late next week. We've gone to some of the fancy places in town (e.g. L'Espalier, Craigie) and enjoyed them, but all in all he would be happiest with a less fancy, less pricey, great value, delicious meal. Any suggestions leap to mind? Right now I'm thinking BT's Smokehouse (which we love,but isn't really special-occasion'ish, even for us), Ribelle (haven't tried yet), or Strip-T's (which we love but again, not really special-occasion'ish.) Other ideas? Thanks!

Thanksgiving Dinner in Denver

I'm looking for some recommendations as well. From some of the previous threads, I've seen recommendations for The Fort, and 1515. Any other favorites?

Nov 02, 2013
newyorker1 in Mountain States

Casual but special dinner for anniversary

Hi folks - DH and I will be spending our first full day (of 2) in Paris on our anniversary, and I've been poring over CH and other online resources (David Lebovitz's blog, Paris by Mouth, etc.) to find some suitable ideas for lunch and dinner. We are staying near the Victor Hugo metro, and it's DH's first time in Paris (my 2nd). We want to keep the visit low-key - we are going to focus on exploring, eating, relaxing.

I figured we will focus on the Eiffel Tower/L'Arc de Triomphe/Champs-Elysees/Seine-boat-ride-type touristy stuff the first day, and picnic in the park/eat ice cream/wine and cheese/pastries/bread in the Latin Quarter-type stuff the second day.

Having said that, we both enjoy good food, and want to have a memorable lunch or dinner that first day. Ideas I have so far are Cafe Constant (or its siblings like Le Violon d'Ingres, or Les Fables de la Fontaine), Le CasseNoix, Le Fontaine de Mars, Chez L'Aim Jean. I'm looking for great food (classic bistro or "neo-bistro" with more vegetables), cozy atmosphere (lively is good, deafening not so good), not overly fussy. (Would love to go to Le Cinq for lunch but it's not DH's ideal for a good time.)

Suggestions for what we might like, for folks with only 6 meals in Paris (less if one is particularly large.) Thanks in advance!

Oct 12, 2013
newyorker1 in France

Anyone have experience with RedBones catering?

FWIW, Red Bones catered the family picnic event at my college reunion 4 years ago and it was memorably mediocre - the pulled pork was completely devoid of any pork or any other flavor. I was quite disappointed.

By way of comparison, my favorite BBQ in MA is BT's (really love the brisket) though I also enjoyed Soul Fire during a recent visit. Blue Ribbon is convenient enough to me that I go pretty frequently and find it at least decent, if not as consistently good as it used to be (West Newton location.)

Great meal at Max & Leo's

We just happened to get lunch there the other day - love that place! The L'Enza is my favorite. They also now have calzones during lunch (not yet on the online menu, for some reason.) Also had the baby spinach salad, which is great.

Five Horses brunch - any favorite items?

I have a livingsocial coupon for brunch at Five Horses Tavern that I need to use in the next week or so - anything folks like (or hate) on the menu to keep in mind? Thx!

Boston Sunday morning breakfast ideas?

Ooh, thanks Penny! I'll be sure to do that!

Boston Sunday morning breakfast ideas?

Thanks for the great ideas everyone! We wound up at Mike's City Diner after all - we were in more of a greasy spoon than "nice" dining kind of mood. It was fine, though I have to admit to being a bit disappointed with the corned beef hash after all the raves I heard.

While there it occurred to me that Sofra would fit the bill (then saw 5thAndNowhere had suggested it too!) Will probably check it out next time. (Have only popped in before for a pastry, not an actual meal.)

Love Flour and have been there many times already. Agree the breakfast sandwich is excellent. Was too full after Mike's, otherwise would have gone down the street for a sweet afterwards.

Boston Sunday morning breakfast ideas?

I will find myself in the Longwood area at about 8am on Sunday, and am looking for ideas for an interesting breakfast at that time, in Boston, Camberville, etc where we can leverage the early hour to beat the crowds and find easy parking. (Not Chinatown as we go there all the time anyway.)

Given the early hour, I've thought so far of Mike and Patty's (any thoughts on the new ownership?), and Mike's City Dinner (never been). Last week we went to the Paramount, which was lovely as always.

Other ideas? Thanks!

Staff Meal -- Leather District Pop-Up

I really wanted to like it (one of my DC's is, like me, a big fan of the truck), but unfortunately we found it disappointing. We thought the burger was not really memorable or flavorful, and thought the monkfish could have been better seasoned. The poached egg was good, and the steamed buns were ok, but a bit overwhelmingly of mayo (and I loved the black bean mayo on the tacos) and skimpy on sausage.

Overall the price/value ratio felt out of whack, and the food wasn't great enough to make up for that, for us. Alas.

Ritu Ki Rasoi in Burlington

We made it there for the first time tonight (thanks greygarious for the post last week!) and really enjoyed it as well. I enjoy Indian food in a not-particularly knowledgeable-but-I-know-what-I-like kind of way, and found a good balance between familiar and new flavors. The variety was incredible, and it was fun being around so many families celebrating the holiday.

Marriott Burlington - anything decent near by ?

As someone mentioned, the hotel shuttle can be very helpful for places a bit further like L'Andana (I've had great dinners there though some colleagues recently had a horrible client business dinner experience, though admittedly during Restaurant Week.) Be forewarned that the Middlesex Turnpike road is not the easiest place to navigate on foot, even if the distances aren't too far. It's a four (six?) lane road, and there aren't always crosswalks and intersections. If you stay on Mall Rd you can walk to the Burlington Mall without needing to cross any big streets.

I'll second Summer/Winter; there's also a standard Irish pub in the hotel that is perfectly reasonable.

Your food truck favorites?

Second the Chinese sausage taco at Staff Meal. Also really like the Double Awesome at MeiMei.

Story behind Ming's supermarket

The link that started this thread doesn't seem to work anymore, and no amount of googling has turned up the story on the Moth's site or on WGBH's - anyone have a link that works? Thanks!

Rox Diner in Newtonville....anyone?

I've been to the Newtonville location several times for breakfast and lunch fare, and once for dinner. I enjoy the food quite a bit - nothing fancy, but pretty consistently well prepared and well priced. It's not a "classic" diner but more in the style of a casual sit down restaurant. Things can be slow at times but I've almost always found the staff to be friendly and accommodating. My favorites there are the salads, pancakes, omelets, and club sandwiches. IMHO a great addition to the neighborhood.

Best Carbonara in town

Alas, the carbonara was off for me last week at Il Casale; I'd gotten it based on my excellent carbonara at Dante a couple years ago. It might have been sitting around a bit; it wasn't *bad* just not great. (The rest of the meal was very good though.)

cooked lamb leg with lots of tiny holes (sponge-like) -- should I be concerned??

So I exchanged emails with someone from UMass (despite my moniker, I no longer live in NYC), and he said he consulted a meat expert who said the holes were from the purveyor tenderizing the meat by using a needle (series of needles??) to break up the tough fibers in the lamb meat. (This was all via email; I had sent the same pictures I posted in this thread.)

Jan 02, 2012
newyorker1 in General Topics

cooked lamb leg with lots of tiny holes (sponge-like) -- should I be concerned??

Thanks for all the feedback!

@oooYUM - I agree! We cut off a small piece when we first roasted the lamb, so the strange appearance didn't really register. The next day when we sliced up the rest of it, is when we realized it was more pervasive throughout the roast.

@DuchessNukem - thanks for the link; very interesting article. I like this explanation (since it doesn't involve us getting sick/dying in the short or long term from BSE, parasites or worms) though the NYT doesn't specify what they mean by spongy - appearance-wise or firmness of the meat (e.g. when you press down on a steak to tell how done it is.) I think the lamb was indeed from Australia or New Zealand.

We do plan to chuck the rest of it (keeping a sample for the local university).

Dec 30, 2011
newyorker1 in General Topics

cooked lamb leg with lots of tiny holes (sponge-like) -- should I be concerned??

Hi all,

I roasted a boneless lamb leg for the first time the other night, and while I manged to avoid my main fear of overcooking the meat, I ran into something unexpected. When I sliced up the lamb, on almost all slices there are very small holes throughout, almost making the lamb look sponge-like (or maybe fried tofu-like, if that makes more sense -- see the attached pics.) I've never seen this before with lamb or any other meat. What's going on, and should I be concerned that there was something wrong with the lamb?? (Mad cow was the first thing that popped into my head, unfortunately...)

Thanks for any advice or guidance!

Dec 29, 2011
newyorker1 in General Topics

Mapo tofu at Taiwan Cafe

Sichuan Gourmet makes my favorite Ma Po Tofu in Boston - at its best it is complex, spicy, incredibly flavorful and addictive. At it's worst it's still pretty damn good, and still worth the trek. (There's one in Brookline now which I have found is almost as good as the Billerica original version; I prefer Brookline to Framingham.)

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Sichuan Gourmet
1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

Romantic Wedding Venue with Outstanding Food?

My husband and I had food as a priority, and we went in another direction, with the Boston Harbor Hotel. We chose the hotel for other reasons (central location, waterfront views, wonderful staff, "vibe") but if we didn't trust that the food would be consistently excellent, that would have been a deal breaker. A year later our guests still say it was the best wedding food they've ever had. And it might have been our particular set of circumstances, but it was cheaper than most of the other historic homes/caterer combinations we priced out. Highly highly recommended.