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September 2014 Openings and Closings

Cutting and pasting (minor format edit) from the Davis Square Livejournal post: http://bit.ly/1BVDsCv

Sessa's successor
After 35 years in Davis Square John Sessa has sold his business to Giovanni Maione, a Johnson & Wales graduate from a Neapolitan baking/restaurant family. After a four-year stint at Four Seasons, Giovanni helped to launch his family's Waltham restaurant, La Campania, where he has worked since its founding in 1996.

Giovanni will retain the Italian delicatessen core of the Sessa's business and add a few new touches:

-- fresh bread (the oven arrived today) and other baked goods (e.g. ricotta pies
)-- a line of Neapolitan street dishes
-- more prepared foods
-- licensed seating for 20 persons indoors (+ 10 outdoors) for sit-down lunches and fresh espresso

He expects the new elements to be in place in about a month.

John Sessa will be at the store for the next three weeks to say goodbye to old customers.

about 9 hours ago
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

Thumbs up to Posto on the pig photos - that’s very cool.

Sep 16, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Seoul Korean Restaurant Beacon Hill

I also was invited to Seoul this week by chance. I’d never had juk before and was curious, so I ordered the vegetable variety (other varieties available being abalone and sesame. They drizzled dark sesame oil on top. I liked the salt level fine. Vegetable bits were somewhere between brunoise and macédoine dice - carrots, mushroom, seaweed I think - so not much textural element, but that may be the point since everything I could find in my search for Juk emphasized “food for sick people, because it’s easy to digest.” Which it was.

Sep 13, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Brass Union: Somerville

Recently attended a birthday party there. Had a chorizo open-face sandwich - a sorta hollowed-out canoe of a roll with chorizo inside and herby chop on top. It was okay - a little dry. Probably better if drinking.

Sep 11, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Somerville Salvadoran Enchiladas: I cannot get enough

Rincon has tostadas, which are basically the same but Mexican, not Salvadoran. Chicken only - the chicken is charcoal-y and delicious, but otherwise the thing has no acid component beyond a drizzle of crema and wears out the palate quickly. Ask for a lime?

Sep 10, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Where to eat near the Doubletree?

How'd it go?

Sep 10, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

mods pls delete; users please flag for deletion.

Sep 10, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

East Somerville Foodie Crawl - Reports?

I wish - it’s my late night at work. Still, it’s hard to go too far wrong in that neighborhood. Even La Brasa, about which I have recently complained, works hard and cares a lot.

Sep 10, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

September 2014 Openings and Closings

That’s what does it for me. I believe them that it was an unfortunate coincidence, but they still don’t care.

Sep 10, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

Out of the Meh. This was the first restaurant I could duplicate or better at home.

Sep 08, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

Agreed that nearby is worth it: Sarma, Highland Kitchen, Sabur, Istanbul’lu, Qingdao Garden, Flora, Montecristo.

Sep 08, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

A WORLD OF BLUE

(and right, I forgot Spoke. I _still_ haven’t made it there.)

Sep 07, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

Good call on Deli-icious, though I haven’t been there in a few years. They used to stock plain whole wheat bread and applesauce just for me.

Sep 07, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

The story I tell myself - which may be inaccurate - is that Davis restaurant owners have successfully hit the sweet spot between yuppies and students, which for a chowhound means a two-steps-up-from-Bud beer list and consistently, moderately disappointing “upgraded pub” food. For nearly all the fanciest restaurants in Davis, I can have a good time if I focus on company instead of food - it’s all tolerable, but never satisfying.

They all seem to be making money hand over fist, so don’t expect change anytime soon.

my Meh list: If I were invited to any of these places, I wouldn’t complain, but I’d never take anyone to any of them for the food.

Redbones
Foundry
Saloon
Posto
Painted Burro (my personal favorite of the also-rans)
Five Horses
Flatbread Company
Snappy Ramen
Mr. Crepe
Johnny D’s
Taipei Tokyo
Martsa on Elm

my Yuck list: Were I invited to any of these, I _would_ suggest something else. If I wrote a post about them I’d have to post it in the “Not About Food” board.
Boston Burger Co
Orleans
Joshua Tree
Diva.

BUT help is at hand in Teele Square! I’m a big fan of Istanbul’lu, and Sabur, and despite the jerky name I even enjoy True Bistro (True Grounds objected to the name early on because similar, but no change happened). And Masala is pretty decent; their lunch buffet often has a little dosa-to-order station which is super cute.

Sep 07, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Anybody sell REAL double cream?

Thanks!

Sep 06, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Anybody sell REAL double cream?

Are you all referring to clotted cream, e.g. Devon clotted cream, or is this a different thing?

(If clotted cream, the afternoon tea at the Langham gets theirs from “The Devon Cream Company,” and it’s shipped in complete, in serving-size containers, and sadly tastes nothing. at. all. like Devon clotted cream. Which is saying a lot when clotted cream has such a mild flavor on its own.)

Sep 05, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

La Brasa, Somerville

Off-topic a bit, but this comment makes me want to plug Pinxto Pincho just for you. No steps to the bathroom, and the pastry chef doubles as a server, and a small enough staff that they recognize you after just a few visits. I’m not a service-seeker in general, but Pepe, Hernan and Gina made me feel at home enough to learn their names.

Relevant thread including my gushing enthusiasm: http://bit.ly/1u82eg0

Sep 05, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

La Brasa, Somerville

YES. I’m right there with you. Although rereading more deeply, Small Plates liked it a lot, and they know what they’re talking about.

Sep 05, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

La Brasa, Somerville

So reading the thread as a whole, I’m reading a sense of La Brasa as “earnest, eager, dedicated, somewhat skilled, and irritatingly and disappointingly overconfident."

Sep 05, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

La Brasa, Somerville

Our experiences are so similar that I wonder if we sat at the same table together. (Although on my night, the quinoa hushpuppies were better than you describe, save one with an uncooked center that got us a very nice whole-order replacement.)

Sep 05, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Buy a Chicken Pot pie or 8

I don’t know that I’d suggest it particularly, but Harrow’s Chicken Pie - well, that’s all they do.

To give you a sense of their priorities, it’s white-meat-only, and you can choose size and you can choose “with vegetables or without.” The vegetables are the pea-carrot-corn-greenbean veggie medley you know and love from your grocer’s freezer.

They do a lot of business with church dinners, rotaries, elks and the like.

Sep 03, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

La Brasa, Somerville

Friends invited us again to La Brasa, so after an uncomfortable and previously-noted service experience I gave it another try. Service was friendly and fast, and seating was comfortable. Our waiter made sure to drop the name of the exec’s former Big Name Boston restaurant job.

Oysters: $3 each, which I suppose isn’t too far off base but a little pricey. They were skillfully shucked and grit-free.

Tacos de Carnitas: I only had an “outside third” as these were cut and passed among the table. I didn’t get much filling, but the tortillas were decent.

Roasted carrots: my second try; the mole had much more sweetness this time. I hope they adjust the mole for that day’s carrots, since carrots can vary quite a bit. This was, again, pretty good, and you could make an entree out of it if you wanted. Last time was four carrots about 1.25” at the thickest part; this time was maybe twelve small carrots. If the kitchen adjusted this purposefully because they saw a larger party passing plates, I’d be impressed - or maybe it was just chance.

Mexican Fried Rice - $8 for a scant cup of rice seemed pretty steep to me. It was oily, which I don’t mind but some might. Peas and onion bits were the only identifiable vegetables. One member of my party didn’t like the char on the onions, but I liked the char fine. If you’re trying to order a dish with lots of vegetables, this ain’t it, but the rice was properly cooked and seasoned. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn’t order it again.

Brisket: this braise arrived alone on a piece of parchment paper on a toaster tray. $19 seemed a bit much to spend for eight ounces of meat and zero garnish, but I suppose at East Coast Grill I’d be paying $28 for the same meat and more veg, so maybe it only seems more expensive. Again, nothing wrong with it - good braise, properly seasoned thick sauce, not particularly to my taste but that’s personal.

Quinoa Hushpuppies: not on the web menu. Some made with yellow quinoa and some with red quinoa. Both properly and freshly fried, good crust, these were a good idea on someone’s part. I liked the cornbready-yellow a little more than the red, but both were seasoned properly. They are shaped, rather hilariously for the farmhouse-and-meat-hunk vibe, as quenelles instead of just balls or scoops, but I suppose if I were that good at quenelling I’d show off too. Garnished with some mayonnaise with some sort of red chile (guajillo? pretty mild) that I found rather zingless (no detectable acid here) but I ate it anyway. A single hushpuppy in our order was undercooked and still batter on the inside, so they gave us a whole fresh order, which was very nice. Quinoa has enough protein and fiber that one could make a utility meal out of this and a veg.

I wouldn’t complain if invited, but frankly I’d rather the space was used by another Salvadoran or Brazilian-owned restaurant.

Oh, on the way out we stopped at the store and laughed at the $17.50 for a fun-size piece of honeycomb and $15 for 12oz of honey. That’s triple the price of stop&shop, but half the price of “Follow The Honey.” Maybe it’s single-bee honey or something.

Sep 01, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

August 2014 Openings and Closings

In the former Spün location (or maybe next door, it's the same building at Powderhouse Circle in Somerville) there's a sign up that says "Frozen Hoagies" with a picture of an ice-cream sandwich in a cookie. No further information.

Aug 27, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

August 2014 Openings and Closings

I saw somewhere (sigh, can’t find it now) a report that Teriyaki House (fka DooWee and Rice) had “closed for renovations,” but they did, in fact, renovate and are now open.

Same bao, some house made udon.

Aug 23, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Somerville Salvadoran Enchiladas: I cannot get enough

I'd happily visit any other Salvadoran leads that folks have.

Aug 18, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Where can I get my Market Basket favorites?

I’m told by people who eat cottage cheese that Friendship is a brand good enough to make convert the curd-phobic. I’m one of ‘em, though, so I can’t tell you where to buy it.

Pearl hot dogs I’ve seen at Dave’s Fresh, presumably at a higher price point.

I wonder if Modelo butcher in Magoun has good turkey breast. I’ve only started walking by there recently so I can’t say confidently, but I like their style.

Aug 17, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Caffeten Salvadoreno - Mystic Ave, Somerville

Seven years later, yes: see post on Salvadoran enchiladas Aug 2014.

Aug 17, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Somerville Salvadoran Enchiladas: I cannot get enough

Salvadoran food is my #1 "had no idea until moving here, now I love it" about Somerville. It even beats out Brazilian food.

Recently I've been having an enchilada craving. Salvadoran enchiladas are pretty similar to Mexican tostadas, not Mexican enchiladas: fried-crisp tortilla topped with browned meat, lettuce, tomato, cotija cheese, maybe a slice of egg, maybe avocado if you're really lucky, sometimes curtido. I have no expectation of ever eating one without the toppings falling all over everything.

Taco Loco on Broadway (well-liked on this board for other lesser items) was my favorite: pre-wrapped in plastic wrap which helps it hold together as you eat. It also has diced curtido on top (which is so mild as to maybe be coleslaw, except they probably use curtido since they have it already). You can see them on a tray on top of the glass case.

But now the Mesoamerican Restaurant on Mystic Ave, aka Caffeten Salvadorean, aka some other name, aka has a for-sale sign on the side of the building but has been there forever, has taken the top slot. This is the place you have driven by a zillion times exiting and driving under I-93 to enter Somerville, but that left turn feels like work so you skip it. But there's parking in the back! (Note: the music is usually very, very loud even when the restaurant is empty.)

This enchilada: the tortilla is fried to order, the steak bits are really well browned, and there is no egg, avocado or curtido.

Nothing special about it except the tortilla is hot and the veggies are cold so you get that McDLT effect, and the meat is really really well browned (as in "they might have tossed 'em in the fryolator" browned) and everything is seasoned nicely. And the cotija is grated, not crumbled.

I also like the enchiladas from Los Paisanos restaurant, also on Broadway in Somerville, and if you screw up at Los Paisanos and accidentally order the Mexican enchiladas, those are awesome too. (I think the sauce is guajillo chili but I'm not really able to tell. All I can say is it's not from a can, it doesn't taste like red or green enchilada sauce, it's sweet and kind of mole-ish and delicious.)

There is no Salvadoran enchilada I have not gobbled without wishing for another. Any further suggestions?

TL;DR: Mesoamerican (fka Caffeten Salvadorean), Los Paisanos, Taco Loco. Salvadoran enchiladas are more like Mexican tostadas than Mexican enchiladas.

Aug 17, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Boston - Saturday Night - No Reservations - Where to Go?

Well, you’ve got great taste, and I see you’ve already settled on a place so don’t read this until your next Boston trip?

Pinxto Pincho, in Woburn, is tapas, new, excellent, and as-yet-not-mobbed. Housemade txistorra (little sausages)!

http://www.pintxopincho.com

Aug 16, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Who is the most chowhound-ish caterer?

Evan Hennessey of Portsmouth NH’s Stages at One Washington catered a 150-person Boston event I was involved with, and I loved him. I chose him specifically for his interest in modernist techniques like sous vide. A couple of months after the event, he was named a James Beard Award semifinalist (northeast). I remember passed apps such as made-in-house duck pastrami, lacquered foie (a riff on a Modernist Cuisine recipe), pork belly, and the only crab salad I’ve ever enjoyed. He was, at the time, eager to travel to Boston (though this may have changed; he got a lot of local press for the award).

http://stages-dining.com

Also-rans we did not hire included Season To Taste (they catered Tony Maws’ wedding) and Forklift Catering. Since we insisted on sous vide, neither moved forward to the second round.

Aug 16, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area