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Help me plan my own chocolate tour!

If you have any interest in places a little further away, Byrne and Carlson in Portsmouth, NH is the best in the region for high quality, in-house produced chocolate.

Their factory is in Kittery though. And you can get their chocolate locally at Formaggio

Feb 14, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Savin Bar and Kichen (old Donovan's space) opening soon

Banner up saying opening soon and they were bringing furniture in yesterday. Same people as McKenna's so hopefully it will be just as good a value and consistent/friendly.

http://www.savinbarandkitchen.com/

Feb 10, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Bourbon Ice Cream Question

I think your idea it good as well. I might suggest for the "smoosh-in" actually freezing (sticking it in the freezer, it wont freeze) the bourbon then processing a smaller amount of the ice cream (rather than sweetened cream) with ALL of the bourbon and then smooshing that into the rest.

Feb 06, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

新年快乐Where to take four 6'2" Fraternity Brothers for the Lunar New Year

Did you see if they had (can't remember Mandarin name) "shredded dough". I had it at a restaurant in Taiwan and it was a rolled puff pastry-like dough, griddled and then shredded. Just plain wheat dough with lard. Can't find it or the name for the life of me.

Also, how did you find the prices/value?

Feb 06, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Bourbon Ice Cream Question

You cannot make it at home without an ice cream maker (which are quite affordable BTW).

You could try adding ice cream (vanilla) and bourbon in a food processor and then refreezing. Just don't add too much bourbon and don't mix too long (you don't want it too melt). The more commercial the ice cream, most likely the better the result as you will get better re-freezing with added stabilizers and higher overrun.

Feb 06, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

momofuku noodle bar type places in boston???

I had the noodles at the shop in that Times picture at 7AM. One of the top breakfast in my life.

Jan 28, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

yeah, why?

;)

Jan 18, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

You are right, of course. And I don't know if it is evident by my posts or not (certainly not to some) but I HAVE tried a large number of restaurants in the metroplex and most of the places mentioned in this thread. And I will continue to keep trying new places and revisiting old ones.

The point of my thread was to start a discussion about food culture here and for the most part I think that goal was achieved.

It is not fair to only focus on Boston's shortcomings and AndyTee put it right when they said that even though central Mass has good mainstream food, he would enjoy the options available in Boston. And you are right about the diversity here.

It has also been interesting seeing how defensive people can be about keeping the culinary borders of Boston so large. Queens may be 20 miles from the North Bronx but you will pass 9 million people on the trip there, not a fair comparison in the least.

In the end, I have to disagree with one of your points. And that point was the idea behind this thread. The idea that Boston has better options than other cities of it's size. Without a doubt you are correct when considering the fine dining scene.

But I again state my belief that for everyday fare, Boston falls far behind other similar or smaller cities, both in value and in quality. And especially so considering the metroplex's resources. I don't consider this a "food" city and don't understand those who do. It might be improving, but every other city in the country is as well, and in my opinion, most are moving faster.

I really appreciate yours and other's points and hope to continue to benefit from the suggestions I have been offered.

Jan 18, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

That is a nice place to grab oysters and I have been there. It is quite an attractive restaurant.

Jan 17, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

I agree with a part of what everyone is saying.

McSlim's profession is to make the food culture of boston seem as enticing as possible while still being objective about individual restaurants. I don't know why he has a problem with things being mediocre. Food is just like any other subjective interest, there are shades of gray but sometimes something is just bad. I also don't agree with him that Burlington and the like are part of Boston. I have no problem with driving an hour for a meal, heck, I have gone way further than that. That being said, Burlington is not part of Boston. Mango II might be in the running for best of Tewksbury but it should not be in the same race as Rod Dee.

Hckybg makes a good point but I often find that if someone thinks a particular place is good (for example, certain burger joints), I probably will not agree with any of their recommendations and it might be best for them to use Cocodan's doctor's prescription ;). I'm sure if I recommended the BK stacker and the best bite around, people would ignore anything else I said.

Winedude, I really appreciate your suggestions. I have been to every place you mention. Ten Tables is good and I have enjoyed both good and bad dishes there. Clear flour is a bakery with a consistent product. Regina's makes the best pie in Boston in my opinion. I do appreciate your understanding of the point I was trying to get across.

Jan 17, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

I used to produce ice cream in a commercial environment. Stabilizers (in a non-molecular gastronomy sense) are used as a shortcut, they are a sign of a lack of skill and of quality ingredients.

Stabilizers and bases are what mcDonalds uses. If haagen daaz can make ice cream without them, so can a city with 150 universities (or how ever many). They are used to replace butterfat content, proper manufacturing technique, increase shelf stability (always great in fresh products!) and decrease food cost. Many ice ceram producers do not use nor need them and are better for it. You are incorrect about the "realities" of commercial service.

I don't know if you wanted an explanation, but you got one.

Jan 17, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

Dinner at Istanbul'lu was only OK but I need to return to try their breakfast as it looked more promising. I did not like family restaurant or the one on comm ave across from super 88.

In NYC I have had great meals at Hanci and Balkanika which is not only Turkish food.

Yes, i have tried Ali's, also a tasty place. It was a while ago and I think I actually ate a roti then walked up to Poppa B's to try a platter there.

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Poppa B's
1100 Blue Hill Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Jan 17, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

Clam Chowder and Roast beef don't count as specialties in my book and the fact that they are considered "specialties" is, again, the point I am harping on.

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

The distributor was playing favorites and wasn't shipping to many stores in the area. That guy has been fired so the supply should open up.

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

" you will dig yourself a deep and bitter hole."

yup.

In all seriousness, you are grasping exactly what I am saying ("a hard nut to crack"). Hit the nail on the head with the parm sub comment. Pho 200 is my favorite but most of their other dishes are lacking. I agree with your Lowell finds and I enjoy the Clam Box as well. Neptune Oyster is quite good, if a bit pricey. I drive down the South Shore once in a while to get my oyster fix.

I have a favor to ask and since there in no PM option, I'll ask it here. Would you offer up a list of places that you consider to be great? I have tried every place you mentioned but you must have others.

Please andy , SHOW ME THE LIGHT! (P.S. What store did you find that Handy Rye at? I have a whole case of the regular Sazerac Rye coming in for me as I couldn't find it in stock in Boston.)

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Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Clam Box
789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

And what is your standard for quality ice cream?

I think good milk/cream, quality flavors, no stabilizers, freshness and good technique are required. What company meets those expectations in Boston?

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

I do enjoy most of Rincon Limeno's dishes.

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Rincon Limeno
409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

Excellent points and a reminder that I need to try harder.

I think I get most discouraged with Boston when I cannot understand why some foods aren't better. This is the "culture" I am talking about. Batch (hipster JP ice cream) is not that good and obscenely expensive. Gran Gusto (very expensive), Cafe Polonia, Taqueria Jalisco, Gauchao, Peach Farm, other Pho places, New Deal, Compare, Rosenfelds (terrible every time, I do like Katz's) and every French bistro in the freakin' city are all mediocre. I think my standards are higher than most.

And although H Mart, Arax, Moody Street and Framingham all are enjoyable food destinations (still bummed about Little Q moving), they cannot be a part of my daily food experience due to their distance (2.5 hours out of my day to get Kim Chi?). I live in Dorchester.

I have been to many of the stores you mentioned. I work in most of those cities and am in a vehicle most of the day so I get to stop in to places and check them out. I need to check out the rest of the places you mention as you seem to understand what I am looking for.

Again, getting back to the "culture", I think a lot of your points support what I was saying. How is it that Boston, an educated, wealthy city with 600,000 residents does not have a quality dairy? How is it possible that New Deal is the only decent fish market around when we are next to the ocean? How can it possible be that within the city of Boston, there is no quality bakery? WHY is there no good burger? I could go on.

Again, I am inviting many flames and annoying a few people but I think the boards are a places to get different opinions. I really appreciate your response and it has again motivated me to get out and try some new places. I think I should start a foodie group of other frustrated people and we could go try places, criticize everything, go home and make better stuff. Who is interested?

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Peach Farm
4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

Cafe Polonia
611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

Gran Gusto
90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

I have been to about 3/4 of the places you mention. I think the fact that R.F. Osullivans and Rosenfelds is on your list means that our tastes are quite different.

Jan 16, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Food Culture in Boston (or lack thereof)

I am interested in starting a conversation about the food culture in Boston. I have only been here 2.5 years after living in the South, Vermont, NYC and Southern France.

I can't afford expensive meals (>$50/pp) and rarely eat meals costing more than $20/pp. I have eaten at quite a few places around town and while there have been some good meals, most are very disappointing. I think am am just so frustrated and have given up hope.

I think what it boils down to is a population that does not demand good food. I cannot understand this though as Boston is a wealthy city with an educated, diverse population.

And even though Boston has a diverse population there is better Vietnamese in Denver, better French in Austin, better bagels in Oregon, better Mexican food everywhere else, better Turkish in NYC and the list goes on. Chinese, even with the large population is hit or miss. Dallas has better Dim Sum. My point is that Boston can't even manage good ethnic foods with a supporting population. How about a freaking Italian joint!? Not American/Italian but a nice eatery with decent value.

How does Boston not have a bakery with a wood fired oven? Rural Vermont has better pizza and bread. I have had better burgers in Berlin ($8) than I could possibly hope to find here. How hard is it to make a good burger? Meat, potato roll, salt, proper heat, done.

Markets are a whole other story. The best Japanese market doesn't sell local fish? How about a butcher shop (Savenor's is just for looks, they defrost and cut primals up, just like the supermarkets)? Cheese there are great choices, without a doubt. Latin American groceries are sad as well. I have no idea why people recommend the Hi-Lo. Market Basket in Chelsea seems like the best option but still is rather lacking. Or an Italian Market? J. Pace is the best out there and but none of their locations even stock artisinal/quality products. How about a good ice cream joint? One that doesn't use stabilizers nor pre-made mix. Or coffee roasters in the city?

Well that's the end of my rant. I'll end with places I like.
Baraka Cafe - excellent
Pho 2000 - best pho in the city but that's it
Habesha - Very good
Singhs - Very good Roti
Oleana - Best upscale place I have eaten at

And no, cities as far away as Burlington, Waltham and Providence do not count as Boston. Sorry.

please commiserate with me. or flame away.

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Baraka Cafe
80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Pho 2000 Restaurant
198 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122

Oleana
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

Habesha Restaurant
535 Main St, Malden, MA

Jan 15, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Today's Groupon- Petit Robert Bistro

agreed

Jan 14, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Kefir grains?

Jan 04, 2011
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Mixed review for Tupelo

I do mine with a corn porridge. Corn meal and a decent amount of hot water (let sit), eggs, salt, fat + cast iron pan really hot, then into oven. If I have jalepenos, ok, maybe some cheese. No sugar.

Dec 31, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Mixed review for Tupelo

Last night my wife and I had dinner at Tupelo. We also ate there a few months ago for brunch.

While brunch was good, dinner was a disappointment. The fried oysters as an app were the highlight of the meal. They tasted fresh, properly seasoned and were served with a piquant dipping sauce. They also came with cumin/ginger pickles which were quite good.

Everything else was OK or bad. The cornbread served with dinner was cloyingly sweet served with unsalted, cheap butter. I had the pan-fried catfish which was properly cooked and fresh although under seasoned. It was served on unremarkable mashed potatoes with a roux or cornstarch thickened jalapeño sauce that was muddy and mushy. There might have been 2 pieces of mustard greens under the fish.

My wife had the chicken legs/thighs with black eyed peas and mustard greens. The chicken was undercooked, stringy, cooked at too low a temp so the skin was slimy and not crisp as well as being incredibly over salted. The peas were well cooked but again, quite salty. The mustard greens were tasty but portion size was small.

Overall, prices were reasonable to a tad bit high. Service was friendly and prompt.

For brunch I had the chicken and waffles which were excellent. My wife had a quiche/egg dish that was OK.

Maybe it is a case of too many chefs in the kitchen, I have no idea. There is clearly someone talented in the back however there is no excuse for over salted food and no excuse for undercooked chicken. If you can tell when you pull the chicken out of the oven that it isn't right, what do you put it on the plate? And bad cornbread is just a shame.

I wont go back again but I wouldn't advise others not to go. Just order carefully I guess.

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Tupelo
1193 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Dec 31, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

A little culture?

Just saw your post, you are welcome to some of mine if you want. It's active and in Dorchester by UMass.

Dec 21, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Japanese groceries?

ditto

Dec 15, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

New(ish) Guatemalan Bakery in Dorchester

Unless they have changed hands, they have been there for at least a year or more. I have gone there a couple of times but not recently. Food was OK but if you are craving Guatemalan food it definitely works.

Dec 09, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Donovan's (Savin Hill)

I live 4 minutes from Donovan's and I share your wishes astrid. I would just add a request for one room without TV's. And an offering of a carafe of cheap, decent house wine. And to turn the burnt rubble/hole to the right of it into a patio. And Harpoon White on tap. That's it for now.

Sep 01, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Exchange Street Bistro in Malden now has the chef from Zon's...anyone been?

I work in Malden, and I used to really enjoy a meal at Zon's.

Went there Friday night, got the burger and fries, my "I'm hesitant to order anything else" meal of choice. The burger was quite large, cooked properly but everything else was mediocre. Fries were pre-frozen, the cheese sauce that was included was bad and unnecessary, the caramelized onions (more of an onion confit) that were included were good but overpowered the burger so i had to scrape them off. The rolls that they threw in were pre-frozen as well and were served with some sort of "butter-spread".

That being said, it looks like they have a fantastic happy hour from 4-7 with super cheap food and drinks, the people were nice and the prices for food were fair to slightly pricey.

They need to shrink their menu and improve quality, then I will be back.

Jun 29, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area

Tortillas/GOOD Mexican food in either Cambridge or Malden?

As there aren't really that many Mexicans in Boston, there isn't that much Mexican food.

I know of no place making tortillas in bulk with lard. That would not acceptable to any company's customer base here in Boston.

Jun 29, 2010
fishmanator in Greater Boston Area