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garnetmemory's Profile

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Ode to Brookline

I lived in Brookline for ten years, a short walk from Kurkman's. I remember it from before the renovation they did in the early 2000s.

I'd often stop there on the way home from work. It was easier than going to the Stop and Shop on the other side of Route 9. It's a small store in comparison to the mega marts of today, but they always stocked the things I needed and new finds to try.

Having moved away, it's definitely a food destination I miss.

ISO a store-bought tomato based pasta sauce

I try to stay away from acidic foods. Alas, that means cutting way back on tomatoes.

I've used Dave's Butternut Squash pasta sauce ( It's a great alternative to a typical sauce and I don't feel like I am missing anything.

Aug 18, 2015
garnetmemory in General Topics

Pho---can it be ordered without the noodles?

How about shiritaki noodles (

Aug 18, 2015
garnetmemory in General Topics

Dinner and breakfast recs, Mahwah

Friends and I will be in the Mahwah area over Labor Day weekend and we are looking for dinner recommendations for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Low key and casual with great food are the requirements. Kid friendly is also important. One of the kids will eat anything, the other has a more limited palate.

Last year we wound up at Nagoya for sushi and Zaytoon for meze plates. Both were wonderful and I'd recommend you go.

We also made a trek to The Ridge Steak and Sushi in Airmont/Monsey (none of us keep kosher, but the reviews were great). The food lived up to the compliments.

All were amazing but I wanted to get some other options.

The hotel we are staying at serves breakfast that is beyond dreadful (nothing ruins your appetite for breakfast more than the Mahwah Fire Department having to show up to put out a grease fire), so we will skip that on Saturday and Sunday and just eat at the event we are attending or subsist on protein bars and coffee. We will need breakfast on Monday before heading home. We liked State Line last year but again, what other options are must trys?

Aug 12, 2015
garnetmemory in New Jersey

So you are moving away

Coffee ice cream topped with hot fudge.

Lucia's Tavola | Italian Restaurant | Ayer, MA

I am not sure if this is the correct board for Central Massachusetts, so moderators please move my post if it is in the wrong place.

* * *

I brought my MIL to Lucia's Tavola for her 75th birthday. I have been there a few times before and the food and service have always been outstanding.

I called ahead to make sure that the bill came to me at the end of the night and to ask if they could do something to acknowledge the birthday girl. I was given a choice of desserts and arrangements were made to have it delivered tableside with a candle.

We arrived on time and were sat immediately. Our waiter, Matt, was very welcoming. He asked if we had been to the restaurant before. I said that I had but my tablemates had not. He made sure to welcome them and thank me for introducing more people to the restaurant.

Drinks were ordered and we started to review the menu. Everything looks so good and it was hard to decide. MIL asked for the Aragosta e Gnocchi, lobster and handmade gnocchi in a sherry cream sauce, so we ordered one for the table. I would be happy eating this every day for forever. Light, creamy and totally addictive. The white whine sangria was sweet, citrusy and refreshing.

MIL ordered the veal Marsala and I had the salmon special with house made ricotta and pea ravioli. Our dining companion had the chicken Parmesan. Both were very happy with their choices. I loved the salmon and ravioli; my only complaint being that the peas and diced onions in the dish felt very under cooked, meaning I'd get hard little nuggets mixed in with the creamy sauce and delicate salmon.

After plates were cleared, Matt came to the table offering dessert. MIL and companion both declined. I tried to telepathically communicate with him, reminding him to bring the cake. Apparently my psychic powers were lacking that evening. He must have thought that us saying no meant to 86 the birthday dessert. MIL didn't know I had requested the cake so she does not think she missed out on anything . . . and it's not like any of us needed dessert or could have eaten any of it anyway, being happy and full on dinner.

Matt brought the check and handed it to me, so at least that part of the message got through.

Lucia's Tavola is truly a hidden gem in Central Massachusetts. If you go, get the chocolate cake. It is incredible!

What to serve?

No, but since they are coming over I feel the need to serve something. It's a cultural thing.

I opted for a few cheeses on a pretty board with dried fruits and some grapes.

Aug 07, 2015
garnetmemory in Home Cooking

What to serve?

These cucumber cups sound like a perfect finger food. Thank you for the suggestion.

Aug 06, 2015
garnetmemory in Home Cooking

What to serve?

Great idea about the roasted peppers. I wish I had time to roast some. Homemade is so much better than the jarred ones.

When I roast them, I peel them then slice and put in a Mason jar with a garlic clove or two and some good olive oil. Delicious on toasted Italian bread with a slather of ricotta.

Aug 06, 2015
garnetmemory in Home Cooking

What to serve?

My MIL and a cousin are stopping by for a visit on Saturday around 3:30. They both likes eating dinner early so I have dinner reservations set for 5:00.

I feel like i should serve _something_ when they arrive, but I don't want everyone filling up and not being hungry for dinner.

I was thinking a few cheeses, some nuts and olives would be good, but I was hoping you all would have some other ideas for nibbles.

Aug 06, 2015
garnetmemory in Home Cooking

Go-to cookbooks for "must impress" dinner parties

With the advent of the internet I tend not to buy cookbooks anymore since they take up so much room. I tend to search online for recipes.

This thread made me realize I can't recall the last time I opened any of the books in my collection (which is quite extensive).

For books, I am old school:
- Anything by Julia Child. I am a huge fan. I grew up cooking from Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol 1 and 2. I also love her Menu Cookbook and The Way to Cook. Even simple dishes like Poulet Bonne Femme and Turkey Soubise are elevated to gourmet stature with her recipes. Add a simple green salad and a great wine and dinner will be perfect.
- Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook and Essentials of Italian Cooking. Her recipes for minestrone and ragu Bolognese are both perfect. At the end of recipes she give suggestions of other dishes to pair for a meal. I have not been steered wrong. It sounds really simple but one of the books has a recipe for macerated orange slices that is to die for. It's only three ingredients (orange slices, a bit of sugar and some lemon zest), but it's the perfect end to a meal.

Jul 30, 2015
garnetmemory in Home Cooking

Dinner near Franklin, MA

It's been a while since I have been in this area and I am clueless about what's still open or what's new.

The MIL will be in town during August and I need to find two nice places to take her for dinner. Since Belle's Bistro in Westford has closed (which makes me very sad), dinner 1 is slated to be at Lucia's Tavola ( in Ayer, so that is taken care of.

Dinner 2 is later in the month and needs be be further south, in the Franklin area. Asian, Italian, seafood, steak are all good options, just no Indian. Quaint, cozy and non-chain would be ideal.

Thanks in advance,

Salumeria in/near Worcester?

I am looking for a salumeria in the greater Worcester area. Something like Salumeria Italiana ( Does such a place of meaty deliciousness exist in the hinterlands?

cake, cake, cake!

I have had really good luck with Cake ( in Lexington. The product is fresh and delicious and Michele's designs are fabulous.

Looking fo Taiwanese ice "Snow"

Try Snowdaes (, 1075 Westford Street in Lowell.

Pie for Pi Day (Route 3 from Burlington to Nashua)

Thank you.

Petsi's was my plan B since it means a drive to Somerville or Cambridge. Since I have never been, which has a better parking situation?

Pie for Pi Day (Route 3 from Burlington to Nashua)

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. It's Pi Day and since it's 2015 it's even better (3/14/15).

Does anyone have any recommendations for a place to find a great pie or two (savory or sweet, quiches and whoopie pies also are ok) between Burlington and the NH border?

Seoul Kitchen in Westford-Anyone Been?

I went back again last week. The avocado salad was fresh and perfect. the dumplings were delicious. The bibimbap was flavorful and warm, perfect for the last few (hopefully) cold days of winter. The spicy pork bulgogi was also excellent

We also tried the pear tart which was tasty but obviously came direct from the refrigerator. It was served far too cold.

Diners at the table next to us ordered the firecracker roll, which is wrapped in foil and set alight tableside. Kitchy, but it looked fun and I may try it next time.

Blood Farm is back!

This is great news! I am planning a shopping trip now.

Seoul Kitchen in Westford-Anyone Been?

I went with some friends to Seoul Kitchen right after the soft open. The owners completely renovated the space and it is dark and sleek.

To start, the person who answered the phone when making the reservation was just so lovely. It made a great first impression.

I loved the complimentary kimchi that was brought to the table.

We started with the southeast Asian wings, which came out quite under cooked. The server handled it well and the properly cooked wings were brought out by the manager who was very apologetic.

We also ordered the Wagyu beef croquettes (crispy and delicious), the Korean dumplings (excellent) and the avocado ball with tuna and tobiko (I didn't taste it).

I did order the $22.00 bulgogi and it was worth the price for me. With all the apps we ordered, I had enough of it to bring home for lunch the next day. The beef and cabbage worked so well together.

Friends ordered sushi and said they enjoyed it very much.

Bundt pans?

What is your favorite bundt pan?

I am in love with the Nordic Ware Heritage (

May 08, 2014
garnetmemory in Cookware

Sushi Yanagi at Drum Hill

I went to Sushi Yanagi for the first time back in February. I had been to the location once before when it was a Greek restaurant named Evzon.

The interior has been completely redone and is now dark and sleek. Booths line the exterior walls and the bar and sushi bar are raised up.

We had made a 6:30 reservation and were seated immediately.

The menu is extensive, with a wide variety of sushi, sashimi and cooked items.

The wait staff was very attentive and took drink orders immediately.

We started with the steamed shrimp shumai and the pan fried pork gyoza. Both were delicious.

We ordered the spicy tuna sushi and the salmon sushi, the salmon sashimi and the tuna sashimi. The presentation was gorgeous and the fish was very fresh.

We also ordered two shrimp tempura rolls (with spicy mayo on the side). The spicy mayo had a real kick and the extra flavor of sesame oil, which I have not tasted at other restaurants. The shrimp tempura rolls were amazing. I think the best I have ever had.

One member of our groups is a former chef so he has very high standards for restaurants. He said this was his new favorite sushi place.

Since that first visit we have been back several times. Each time the quality of the food and service has been wonderful.

Boston Chinatown

I've always liked Jumbo Seafood on Hudson Street. the food is good and not expensive.

Ben's Kosher Deli from NYC coming to Boston

I remember going to their LI locations. Can't wait for this to happen. I wonder where they would open.

Foodie stops between Nashua and Sugarbush

Driving from Nashua to Sugarbush (Warren, VT) on Wednesday for Thanksgiving.

Are there any nice stops for lunch on the way or little shops to pick up a perfect hostess gift? I am planning on Route 3 to Route 89.


Not in the area you asked about but I want to plug a local business.

Christine's Bakery on Route 4 in Billerica (in the strip of stores just south of Treble Cove Road) makes amazing donuts.

I love their vanilla cream filled and the caramel drizzled.

Dinner for six in Burlington/Bedford

Some friends are coming in from out of town for the weekend. They are staying in Bedford. I am looking for recommendations for dinner for six on Friday night nearby. I'd like delicious food and great service and also to avoid the touristy-ness of Legal Seafood and the price of L'Andana.

Any Chowhound suggestions?

Early Sunday dinner in Providence

I am looking for recommendations for an early Sunday dinner in/near Providence. We will need to be at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in LaSalle Square for a 7:00 PM show.

There are four of us (one kid, who is a total foodie).

I am looking for great food and service, but not super expensive. Is there anything in or near the DownCity area that fits the bill?

Lox and nova, north of Boston?

Can anyone make a recommendation for lox or nova along the Rt 3 corridor between Burlington and Nashua?

Easter dinner out or catered

Based on suggestions received here, friends and I went to L'Andana on Saturday evening. Dinner and service were impeccable.

I now come to you, oh wise readers of Chowhound, seeking more wisdom.

On the off chance you could not cook dinner yourself,

- Where would you take a party of ten for Easter dinner?
- Who would you call to have dinner catered?

Location or caterer should be between Nashua and Burlington.

Thank you,