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Ella Bella's Profile

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Besito (Chestnut Hill)

Broke my rule and went this weekend (their official opening). Yes, it was the opening, so they probably deserve another shot before drying the ink on my opinion, but FWIW, overall I thought it was one of those restaurants that falls into the "eh," "okay," "fine" categories.

The biggest reason we went is that I had a hankering for really good guac. I had heard that really good guac is the big thing @ Besito's other locations, so I was hoping that was the case. We of course ordered it as soon as we sat down (I think it's like $11? In line price-wise with "tableside guac" I've gotten elsewhere). The pro was that it was cheerfully made, 'to order,' by a waitstaff person tableside. The cons were that it had NO acid (something I didn't notice until after it was prepared) - as in, no lime, citrus, what have you (like, it honestly wasn't in the dish - not that it just wasn't noticeable). It also needed more salt and some heat. (The 'prepared tableside' bit was a bit of theatre; it wasn't designed to personalize our guac/we weren't asked our preferences, etc. I also like garlic in my guac, but that's more a personal preference than something I think is widespread practice so I don't fault them there.). In essence, it was bland - some avocado with some cilantro and tomato, but not much flavor.

We also had the steak tacos and the Swiss-style chicken enchiladas. The enchiladas were again, "fine." Neither great nor terrible, they were delivered 'warmish" on a very hot plate (did it sit under a lamp on the pass for too long?). For $20 for two chicken enchiladas on a plate, I was a bit underwhelmed. Again, food seemed bland. Perhaps I have just had such great Mexican food, in Mexico, that my palate has too high expectations. Of course, I wasn't expecting authentic here either, just....something? The steak tacos weren't memorable either.

On the bright sides: the house Patron margarita was quite good, our waiter was clearly trying hard and did a decent job (though service admittedly was a bit uneven at times), and the best thing we ate the whole meal was the complimentary churros they bring you to go with your bill (they were delivered to us warm and were very tasty!).

All in all, our $90 dinner wasn't a bad experience, just not one that left me necessarily wanting to come back. Meanwhile on Yelp it has five reviews, all 5-stars...!?

Anyone want to buy a restaurant?

D'oh. You're totally right. Somehow missed that it was a $869k "business opportunity." Wow. THAT might be the worse deal!

Anyone want to buy a restaurant?

Actually, just found another restaurant for sale in Coolidge Corner, including liquor license, for $869,000. Makes the $4.5M deal look pretty silly! The listing address (7777 Beacon Street) doesn't exist - anyone know which place this is?

http://www.mlsfinder.com/ma_mlspin/ch...

Anyone want to buy a restaurant?

Anyone have any guesses which "confidential" restaurant with liquor license is available in Coolidge Corner for $4.5 M?

http://www.mlsfinder.com/ma_mlspin/ch...

The former Mantra restaurant in Boston (near Boylston) is also for sale, for $3.226 M. http://www.mlsfinder.com/ma_mlspin/ch...

Basque Cake... Russian Cake... What are these cakes!?

I had such a wonderful time and the food was just....amazingly delicious and simple, no way to adequate describe these homemade meals. It was just simple and so, so, so good. I've tried to recreate here at home (in the USA), but have not been successful ;) Bottom line, Americans need to eat more cheese with dinner!

Oct 13, 2014
Ella Bella in France

Basque Cake... Russian Cake... What are these cakes!?

I knew Chowhound would figure it out -- you're entirely right, "Russian cake" looks just like a russe (based on Google image searching; somehow my various iterations I was searching hadn't come across this before). Good call. And not surprising, as I was not far from Oloron-Sainte-Marie!

Thank you!

Oct 13, 2014
Ella Bella in France

Basque Cake... Russian Cake... What are these cakes!?

Okay, apologies if not the right forum.

My family is from Southwest France and I spent some time this summer with my cousins, aunts, uncles, et. al., all of whom live in the area, not far from the Spanish border. They don't speak English and I don't speak French, but it was a fun summer.

Anyways, there were two different cakes I ate a few times (one homemade, one store-purchased) while I was there that I can't stop thinking about. I asked if they have names. One is simply "cake" (when asked for clarification, I was told, "it has no other name," which was in keeping with things ;)). The other is, from what I can gather in English, "Russian cake."

The first "cake" looks like Gâteau Basque (thank you internet searching!), but was much less pie-like, and much more cake-like, than the internet pics look. The "Russian Cake" was a flaky, layer-y, almond-y-pastry type cake with powdered sugar on top. The "Russian Cake" was the purchased cake, while "cake" was home-made.

I am assuming there are regional variations/home cook variations on the Gâteau Basque, and that was indeed "cake," but I am confused as to what the name could be for the "Russian Cake." Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!

Oct 10, 2014
Ella Bella in France

Bagelsaurus: How Early is Early?

Oh, and my significant other, who is a "salmon person," said that the lox bagel was excellent.

Bagelsaurus: How Early is Early?

I was there at 9:20-ish this past Saturday morning and we had no problem getting our bagels....FWIW.

Haven't tried the pimento cheese yet. The salt bagel was quite good. Wish they had chive or garlic/herb-type cream cheese (went with plain given the options).

Personal Challenge for you: Saturday Night - Dinner Reservation for 8

Anyone up for a personal challenge?

Trying to find a reservation for 8 people sometime between 7-8 pm (7, 7:30, or 8 is fine) for Saturday night....in Kenmore/Back Bay/Brighton/Allston/Brookline/Cambridge. Non-chain, spending up to about $50/pp (more is okay for the right spot). Preferably non-Asian (I see that Basho has openings). Anything else is pretty much fair game/okay.

It's for a 30th birthday dinner (thrown together rather last-minute), so a somewhat nice environment for a group dinner preferred (in other words, not looking for a sports bar).

Had my fingers crossed for the wine & tapas place in Washington Square but they said they're already booked. Then I thought about any of the other WashSq places now, but it seems they're ALL full.

Other ideas? Thoughts? Criticisms? Comments?

Stone-Ground Grits (Where to Find)

I was hoping there might be a local purveyor...I grew up in the deep South and there grits are ubiquitous (and not considered gourmet by any means!). Recently had a hankering for them (perhaps in the way we all occasionally crave foods we ate growing up). I've lived in Boston for almost 7 years but never craved them randomly before -- I ordered some online.

Stone-Ground Grits (Where to Find)

Yeah - sadly, they don't carry them anymore unfortunately. I went in person to the Coolidge Corner store as well as called the manager of another local TJ - do not carry them.

Stone-Ground Grits (Where to Find)

Anyone know where I can find white, stone-ground grits for sale in the Boston area or Metro-West? Would prefer Brookline/Allston/Brighton neighborhoods but beggars can't be choosers and willing to travel some.

Something like Anson Mills or McEwen & Sons would be great; even Bob's Mill is fine. Just not instant grits (the only thing I could find at Shaw's or Stop & Shop).

Have already checked Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Stop & Shop, Shaw's.

Looking for Pareve Corn Muffins

Looking for Pareve Corn Muffins for Thanksgiving. Tried my local kosher grocery store - no dice. Anyone have any ideas?

I guess we'll likely have to make them ourselves but I thought surely someone would sell them?

Can't even find a pre-made pareve corn muffin mix (all of them already are dairy). What am I missing?

Nov 23, 2013
Ella Bella in Kosher

Downtown Toronto Suggestions - Birthday Dinner + Poutine + Dumplings (Etc)

Thank you all for your suggestions! These are great!

Downtown Toronto Suggestions - Birthday Dinner + Poutine + Dumplings (Etc)

Hi everyone -

I have a work engagement in downtown Toronto September 9 but because it's my girlfriend's birthday on September 8 (and I'd need to fly up that day), I bought her a ticket to come along. We're flying Porter so we can be right downtown quickly and we're staying at the Fairmont Royal York.

We're from Boston and we like to eat well when the occasion calls for it. For example, for my birthday we did the 10-course tasting menu at Craigie on Main (http://www.yelp.com/biz/craigie-on-ma...). We also enjoy cheap eats, particularly ethnic food (if anyone has any recommendations for homemade dumpling shops near downtown Toronto, my girlfriend would LOVE you!).

All of this is leading up to say:

1) Any recs for dinner for Thursday night for her birthday? We get into YTZ around 9 pm I believe. I've been to downtown Toronto for a work trip before but we had to eat at the hotel restaurant because nothing else was really open that late at night, if I remember correctly. This was a few years ago, I am assuming there are better options now (?).

2) Other recs for food? We're making a weekend out of it and staying until Sunday. We like pretty much anything - - from food trucks to French.

3) We love poutine. Can we get poutine in downtown Toronto? And if so, rec for best place to get it?

Thanks!

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The Fairmont Royal York
100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J, CA

Craigie on Main
Cambridge, Cambridge, MA

Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont Center

Hasn't it been there a while? I swear I went in this place last summer.

Cakes for family get together ?- wheat free or dairy free

*Duh! My comments about the vegan pastries = dairy free.

Cakes for family get together ?- wheat free or dairy free

The new vegan diner in Central Square (it's run by the same people who do Veggie Planet but for the life of me I can't remember the name of it or if its officially opened) has vegan pastries, including cakes I believe. I know they have vegan pies for sure.

They were at Taste of Cambridge tonight and their vegan blueberry pie was actually quite good.

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Veggie Planet
47 Palmer St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Where to find Cuban Chicken Chop-Chop?

anyone?

Where to find Cuban Chicken Chop-Chop?

I am looking for a place that sells Cuban Chop-Chop (chopped up grilled chicken with spices, rice, and served with tasty sauces, typically a mustard curry sauce) - also known as Miami-style Chicken Chop or Cuban Chicken Chop.

Is there any place in the Boston area that sells this? Typically it's sold at fast-food like settings.

I have a huge craving for it - some of my family lives in Miami, where it is ubiquitous - and surprisingly I've been able to find it in many different cities/places but never in Boston.

Only 1 good Italian Restaurant in Cambridge and no French Restaurants at all

Pescatore is great! I think if it were anywhere but its little corner in Ball Square it would be slammed with people. Food is super tasty, prices are reasonable, service is good - what more could you ask for? We love this place - but of course we're walking in knowing what exactly to expect.

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Pescatore
158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144