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Good restaurants in Mattapan/Roxbury?

M&M Ribs (technically Dorchester, but close to Dudley Square)
Pepper Pot

I hear Flames is good, but I haven't been myself.

Feb 07, 2012
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Green Street Grill: Opinions and Favs?

I tend to do most of my cocktail-ing at home these days, and I wouldn't call myself an connoisseur by any stretch... but off the top of my head, I've had good drinks in the recent past at Drink, Rendezvous, Island Creek Oyster Bar. I haven't yet been to some of the new craft cocktail places that are getting a lot of buzz on this board (e.g., Hawthorne, Brick & Mortar). I'm sure other posters/past threads will have plenty of recommendations to offer...

Jan 05, 2012
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Green Street Grill: Opinions and Favs?

I think this varies depending on time of day/night; we've been turned away from the dining area a few times because we only intended to order drinks. I think that they keep the dining area for diners only during peak hours, then open it up to everyone a bit later on in the evening.

Jan 04, 2012
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Green Street Grill: Opinions and Favs?

I'm glad someone else mentioned the weird smell - I've also noticed it several times, especially in the dining area (less so at the bar). I wonder what it could be...

that said, I really like Green Street. The drinks are (broadly speaking) not as recherché as some of the other craft cocktail places around town, but the quality is top-notch, the value excellent ($7-9 for almost all cocktails, as opposed to $10-12 and up at comparable places), and the vibe unpretentious. The food is not quite as consistent as the drinks, nor is it as good a value - but if you pick and choose you can do well, especially with the snacks and appetizers (I like the yuca) and the burger.

Jan 04, 2012
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Samichlaus Bier

I saw single bottles of Samichlaus today in the fridge at Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville.

Dec 23, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Looking for glass bottles? Help please

China Fair (Newton and Cambridge) has flip-top glass bottles in a variety of sizes.

Dec 23, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

August 2011 Openings and Closings

L'Impasto in North Cambridge (Mass Ave near Dover St) is now open. Sign in the window says that they are baking their own focaccia and loaf breads.

Aug 22, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Bagels in Boston

I really like the bagels at Rosenfeld's in Newton and Katz's in Chelsea. Most people will tell you that nothing in Boston can stand up to NYC, Montreal, etc., but I think these two can...

That said, in my experience, the other bagels around Boston aren't too great. (Although I am a sucker for the occasional Au Bon Pain asiago cheese "bagel.")

Apr 15, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Smoked turkey parts?

McKinnon's is like that with less mainstream items - sometimes they've got them, sometimes they don't. The selection in the open cooler in the middle of the meat section reflects what they happen to have cut up recently in the back, as far as I can tell - pork skin one day, then tons of chicken backs and hearts, then beef marrow bones, etc., etc. Not sure about the smoked turkey parts as I doubt they smoke their own turkeys, but who knows.

Apr 04, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Japanese Food Stuffs: where to buy?

whoa, seriously? any details/links?

Mar 13, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

March 2011 Openings and Closings

We stopped in last night for a take-out pie and it was good - well balanced, good chewy crust, reasonably priced ($12 for a large with two toppings). We got sausage (high quality) and hot cherry peppers (quite hot) on ours - next time I'll skip the toppings as it all was a bit overloaded and overwhelmed the thin crust. But this is a solid new option for pizza around Davis, especially considering the generally poor quality of other takeout joints nearby (at least in my experience). The nice woman at the counter told us that she and her husband are the owners and had previously run a bigger place in Waltham for 20 years. The place was empty on a Friday night and they didn't seem to be fielding too many phone orders...hope things pick up! In any case, we will return for sure.

Mar 12, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

CSA 2011 Share for one person?

Enterprise Farm does a half-share and we've been very satisfied with the quality and variety of ours. The produce is almost all organic (some IPM type stuff from partner farms occasionally). That said, even the half-share might be pushing it for one person, but if you eat a lot of vegetables (and occasionally have a guest for dinner or something) I think it'd be OK.

Jan 22, 2011
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Seeking steak in Cambridge

I had a very nice steak at Rendezvous (Central Square) last week.

Nov 09, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Fried Pickles in Boston?

Have to disagree with the evaluation of Cambridge Common's fried pickles - I personally like their spears and wouldn't describe them as "soggy." Although the insides are certainly juicier than the chip style, it's not unpleasant, and the outside/batter part is always nicely crispy (in my experience). I also find CC's batter more flavorful than Redbones', although I like Redbones' pickles a lot too.

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Cambridge Common
1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Redbones
55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

Oct 04, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Oktoberfest thoughts - Boylston Schul-Verein?

Actually, we went yesterday evening and it was a great time. Pretty substantial lines for both food and beer (25-30 minutes), at least when we were there (~7pm). Fair pricing on both - $9 bought a plate of OK sauerkraut (in my opinion it was a little insipid, but then again I tend to like stronger flavored sauerkraut) , two pretty good if not spectacular sausages (a brat type and a weisswurst), brown bread, and tasty potato salad. There was also leberkäse available, which was good, and potato pancakes which I didn't try. Warsteiner on draft, which isn't my favorite, but there were also $4.50 Paulaner Salvator bottles (not a bad deal at all!) as well as Weihenstephaner hefeweiss (and I think they had other Weihenstephaner varieties available earlier in the day). Also a full bar as well as wine by the glass (well, plastic cup). There was plenty of seating both inside and outside the pavilion and the atmosphere was very cheerful - kids dancing all over the place to the oompah band, older folks in traditional garb, etc. All in all, it's probably not a chow destination, but I had a lot of fun at a decent price.

Sep 12, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Oktoberfest thoughts - Boylston Schul-Verein?

Can anyone comment on the chow and atmosphere at the Boylston Schul-Verein Oktoberfest in Walpole? I'm wondering whether it's worth the trip out there next weekend. Nothing comes up when I do a board search. I know that a lot of the Oktoberfests closer to Boston are not particularly food-oriented and/or totally packed madhouses... is this one different in any way?

Sep 04, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Cheese

Having worked as a cheesemonger, I can say that if you're shopping for decent cheese (i.e. something you'll be eating on its own rather than cooking with) you should *always* taste first, and any reputable cheese shop should let you try just about anything they're selling. Good cheese, even when handled perfectly, varies enormously from wheel to wheel and over the course of time - a cheese you might like at one time of year or at one point in its maturation process may be less to your taste at another time. I know WF and Formaggio will let you try anything, and I imagine Russo's would as well. Personally, I wouldn't buy higher-end cheese at a shop that wouldn't let me taste.

As for the Formaggio staff having a "heavy hand," I would suspect that any instances in which you've received a bigger piece of cheese than expected are due to the inherent uncertainty in measuring pieces to order by sight (trust me, it's hard!) rather than deliberate upselling. But again, a reputable shop like Formaggio will ask for your approval if the piece cut is significantly lighter or heavier than the order, and you can absolutely ask for another one if you see fit.

Aug 30, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Housemade Ginger Beer?

How do you order it/when is it available? I've eaten at Izzy's several times and have never seen homemade ginger beer, or signs/menu listings for it. When I asked once at the counter, they directed me to the bottled Goya stuff.

Aug 11, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Cafe Casal (Inman) has reopened

A quick heads-up - Cafe Casal (Cambridge St. near Webster Ave, in Inman Square) has reopened. According to a sign the owners are the same as before. It looks like they've done some remodeling (although the awnings outside are still pretty battered...) I stopped in today and picked up some decent coxinhas and pao de queijo. They also have have typical American-style pastries, coffee and juice, etc.

Aug 10, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Any Whole Foods better?

I can only speak to Cambridge - but the Fresh Pond and Cambridgeport locations are both good, in contrast to the Central Square store, which is cramped, crowded, and has a limited selection.

Jul 14, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Sustainable shopping in Boston Chinatown?

You two might be thinking of Flats Mentor Farm, which is run by Hmong immigrants and produces great SE Asian specialty greens and produce. They sell at a bunch of local farmers' markets - Harvard and Allston are the two I frequent and they're always there, but they might be elsewhere too.

Jun 14, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

gift certificates for incoming Harvard freshmen

My two cents - do them a favor and buy them gift certificates for somewhere *outside* of Harvard Square. Many, if not most, Harvard undergrads go four years without significantly venturing outside of the square and its lineup of generally crappy restaurants...having just graduated, I can say that exploring (and eating in) Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville was one of the best parts of my college experience, but this area can be confusing and overwhelming (especially for recent transplants) and the "Harvard bubble" definitely traps a lot of people. So I think it'd be great to give them a little nudge to venture even a square or two away...

with that in mind, some initial suggestions per your guidelines:

coffee shop: Simon's (Porter), 1369 (Inman/Central)
pizza: Emma's (Kendall), Regina (North End)
ice cream: Toscanini's (Central), Christina's (Inman)

I'm sure other posters will have additional suggestions.

If you're set on getting them gift certificates for somewhere in Harvard Square, I'd suggest Crema Cafe, Burdick's, Cafe Pamplona, Darwin's, Pinocchio's, Algiers, Hi-Rise, or Berryline.

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Burdick's
Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

Crema Cafe
27 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Cafe Pamplona
12 Bow St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Jun 10, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Romance on a Budget? Help!

What's your idea of pricey? In any case, I like Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore - good atmosphere for a date, attentive but not intrusive service, and very good food. The entrees are all under $20 and the wines are also pretty reasonable. They have a few other locations, but I haven't been and from previous threads it seems they may be a bit less consistent than the Kenmore restaurant.

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Petit Robert Bistro
468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215

Apr 13, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

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

I went to Kantin, in the Super 88 food court, for the first time yesterday and really enjoyed the roast pork plate and the Hong Kong minced beef. I've been eating almost entirely Szechuan and Taiwanese since I moved to Boston, so I'm not particularly knowledgeable about Cantonese cuisine. Anyone have recs for particular dishes at Kantin (to which I'll certainly be returning - cheap, accessible and damn tasty) or at other Cantonese places in Boston (judging from a board search it looks like Vinh Sun and Hei La Moon are well liked)?

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Hei La Moon
88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Vinh Sun
58 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Kantin
1095 Commonwealth Ave Ste 203, Boston, MA 02215

Apr 01, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Cambridge source to buy miso paste?

I think I know the one you're talking about. It's on the left as you go north, a few blocks up from Pemberton. The sign says "Oriental Market" - not sure if that's actually the name of the place though

Mar 28, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Oyster values

I love the deal at Lineage - the bar there is really pleasant, especially in the early evening when the restaurant is a bit quieter. Their website just says "nightly," so I imagine the deal holds for the weekends too. And yes, the oysters are Island Creeks from Duxbury.

Mar 24, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Cookie-Cutter Cool?

Well, "priced beyond reasonable" means different things to different people (and different incomes).

I can't altogether agree with the OP's take on the *quality* of the new restaurants around Inman - I'm a Tupelo fan for sure, and I don't have enough experience with the other new places to draw informed judgment. But I think s/he's right to note that even as the dining scene in Inman is gaining diversity in certain respects, it's stagnating or losing diversity in other respects (e.g., pricing).

I'm glad it's possible to get quality gumbo in Inman, but I certainly can't afford to eat at Tupelo etc. more than once in a blue moon (and I'm the kind of college student who doesn't mind putting my extra dollars aside for food). I imagine the same is true for big families, lower income folks, etc. I also doubt that the urban chic atmosphere and more adventurous menus at a lot of these places appeal to the same ethnic/economic/age groups as, say, Cafe Casal (btw, is Casal closed or just renovating? does anyone know?).

Again, I don't think this is an entirely bad thing, and in any case Inman is still a wonderfully diverse place, generally speaking. But IMHO, the new places in Inman definitely reflect the younger, somewhat wealthier, more cosmopolitan demographic that accompanies gentrification, and in turn, there are ways in which they're a lot more similar than different...and it does bug me sometimes.

Mar 21, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Cambridge Common - Wow, what a terrible hamburger.

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience! I've had the (half-pound) burger there a few times and while it's certainly not top tier, I tend to think it's a solid burger - I've certainly never had it as bad as you did. In any case, I generally get appetizers there - the fried pickles and buffalo wings are both excellent, in my opinion at least.

Mar 05, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Beer battered pickles?

In Cambridge, Cambridge Common, on Mass Ave between Harvard and Porter, does excellent fried pickle spears in a lightly spicy beer batter. The ones at Redbones are good too; the batter is much lighter there, and they use chips instead of spears (in addition to jalapeño slices).

Feb 28, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area

Flour Bakery and Cafe Coming to Cambridge

In my (limited) experience, Flour's sandwiches are terrific; I was especially impressed by the BLT. But the other stuff is somewhat uneven. People I know rave about the sticky bun in particular - I thought it was good, but not outstanding.

Of all the bakeries you mentioned, I think the best comparison in terms of vibe and array of offerings is probably Hi-Rise, which is even more expensive, but to my taste has better and more consistent breads and sweets.

Feb 13, 2010
zach272 in Greater Boston Area