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Dumpling House (Central Square)-- details & Chinese name?

Finally made it here two nights ago, and am so happy to have this in the area. It was packed to the rafters, but we were seated quickly, and service was friendly.

We had:
- A13: spicy salt & pepper tofu
- A30: mini soup dumplings with pork
- H6: spicy fried lamb in wok
- E19: braised eggplant with spicy fish sauce

The tofu was just about perfect. Inch-square pieces of firm tofu in a crisp light dry fried shell, done in the classic salt & pepper style. Lots of good sliced spicy peppers and over the top. I could eat this all day.

The dumplings were good. While the wrapper was a little thicker than I prefer, the pork inside was generously flavored with ginger, which I like, and the soup itself was tasty and unguent.

The eggplant had a lovely flavor, though it was a bit sweet for my personal taste, and was a bit oilier than I prefer. Still good though.

The lamb was unlike any dish I'd had before. The meat was nicely wok fried and caramelized, and it was accompanied by thin planks of carrot, big chunks of spicy green peppers, and large thin wheels of lotus root. The lotus added a great textural and flavor balance to the lamb. Will definitely order again.

Great joint, can't wait to make my way through more of the menu.

Aug 30, 2014
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Cans of Moxie in Camberville Area?

Looking for canned Moxie -- I never seem to find it at Shaws, Star, Target grocery, etc. Anyone spotted it in the area lately?

Aug 30, 2014
litchick in Greater Boston Area

BoMag cheap-eats feature

This truly is a great article, thanks for posting! It reminds of the equally excellent issue from last year where they highlighted a ton of great Asian dining in the metro region.

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2013/01...

Jan 30, 2014
litchick in Greater Boston Area

January 2014 Openings and Closings

Looks like Delux in the South End is no more. The sign on the door is a big drawing of a tombstone with "2014: RIP DELUX" on it.

As an artist who works in this neighborhood, it's a particularly sad loss. Now there's nowhere near the BCA that's truly affordable for drinks and food.

Jan 25, 2014
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Zoe's Chinese Possibly Closed "For Several Months"

The facade of the building where Zoe's is, as well as Mixtura, collapsed today. The report in the Globe indicates that both restaurants will remain closed for some time:

"If the building is allowed to stay put, Kelleher said, it could be several months before the two small restaurants, which together employ about 15 people, will open their doors again."

Really sad. I hope they survive this.

http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/...

Sep 09, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Yume Wo Katare, new hours?

This is right. I drove by there today and their window is painted with the new hours: 5-11p.

Sep 05, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Paprika Cream/Paste

The last time I bought this (a year ago?) was Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis. However, I've looked for it there for months now and they never have it. (I haven't gotten around to asking if they can order it.)

Funny, I bought it for the exact same recipe, and made it with the paprika creme and lamb. It was delicious. If you do find it someplace local, please post back with the info!

Aug 23, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Dinner for 150pp that celebrates a sense of place?

Thanks to everyone for responses thus far -- it's a good jumping off point, and you bring up ideas we haven't yet explored.

Aug 18, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Dinner for 150pp that celebrates a sense of place?

I'm trying to pull together a list of options for a banquet location that could do about 150 people on a Saturday night.

The catches are as follows:
- ideally it should be accessible by public transportation
- could be Boston or Cambridge
- is not a hotel banquet hall
- can accomodate a little speechifying (so it can't be too noisy)
- has chow-worthy food

This is for a gathering of performing arts professionals and will cap a 3 day conference in Boston. Traditionally, this event is designed to celebrate locale, history, quirkiness, and identity of place. One example of a previous event was a banquet in a reclaimed factory/distillery for a city that was rooted historically in that industry. We'd like to use this as an opportunity to showcase some aspect of Boston's identity or history.

I think ideally the organizers would love to work with a location that's a restaurant, or has its own kitchen facilities, rather than renting a large hall and also organizing caterers, but all suggestions are welcome.

My personal goal is to help make this an event that is in an interesting space AND has good food. Boston's a great food & drink city, I'd hate for my colleagues to come here and have rubbery banquet chicken.

Any brilliant ideas?

Aug 17, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

I find Zoe's is very underrated here

Love Zoes. I prefer their ma po to almost anyone else's. The green beans, the tea smoked duck, smoked tofu & celery, chicken with strange flavor, duck mala style... so good.

Aug 17, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Looking for a great fried chicken sandwich

Plough & Stars, between Central and Harvard, has a good one at lunch -- with bacon, tomato, and great bread. Not sure how often their menu changes. (Tip: they go heavy on the mayo, so request it on the side.)

Jul 22, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Qingdao Garden, Cambridge -- yum!

Tagging the most recent Qingdao thread I could locate to say:

Last night we meandered into Qingdao after far too long an absence, and had as delicious a meal as I've ever had there. The pork & leek dumplings were near perfection in terms of wrapper density/tenderness and juicy filling. But the piece de resistance, what I can't get anywhere else: the boiled fish filet in fiery sauce. Glorious. Best they've done it, in my experience. Numbing, flavorful, salty, spicy, a flaky meaty fish.

Yes please.

Jul 15, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Hit Wicket scores a century

Went tonight with some friends and had a grand time. Chef was in the kitchen, and came out several times to walk the room, greet folks, and check on their meals. I had the Aussie lamb pie, which is HUGE, incredibly delicious, and perched atop a generous mound of gently smashed green peas. The whole thing was delightful. Others at the table quite enjoyed the roti wraps and the sliders combo. The Jamaican jerk chicken wings were blazing hot and flavorful, like true jerk. Worth the burn. The lamb sausage app was like little pigs in blankets, but tastier (MrLit didn't like it, as he felt it was too greasy). I was pretty happy with the beer options, as I could get an Old Peculiar (bottle), and Cisco's Red (draft).

We'll definitely be back.

Jul 12, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Szechuan's Dumpling Is Amazing, Lucky Arlington

Others here have reported good experiences with the oyster pancake, but lordy the one I had the other day at lunch was inedible. Greasy, undercooked, and mysteriously covered in glutinous slime. I expect that had it been cooked properly, the coating would've crisped up.

Moral: don't order it when there for late afternoon snack. Stick with the XLB.

Jul 12, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Please Solve This Chinese Food Mystery

Dear everyone, I bow down to your collective wisdom.

Now I can tell Mr.Lit to suck up his embarrassment when I special order this like a boss.

;)

Jun 20, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Please Solve This Chinese Food Mystery

Um, you are amazing.

Jun 20, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Please Solve This Chinese Food Mystery

markin617 -- are the dishes you're talking about on the sweeter side? I see a lot of eggplant in "garlic sauce" with basil, but there's something about the black beans that offer a fermented funkiness that balances the richness of the eggplant. I haven't kept an eye on the Taiwanese versions, but now I certainly will.

PinchOfSalt & Gabetta -- thanks for the leads, I'll check them out!

Jun 18, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Please Solve This Chinese Food Mystery

Hello hounds.

Many moons ago in New Haven I got hooked on an otherwise blah generic Chinese restaurant that had a few knock-em-dead dishes. One of those dishes was eggplant and basil in black bean sauce. It was spectacular.

I've eaten far and wide in the Chinese food scene of Boston & its suburbs. I prefer places that do Sichuan-inflected cuisine, and because of proximity usually end up at joints like Zoes, Mary Chung, Qingdao Garden, etc.

Here's the mystery. I've never seen eggplant in black bean sauce on a menu (even in Chinatown), and when I ask the kitchen to make it for me, I get some variation on the following: "Ooooh. Really? You want that? Ooookaaay... you think that tastes good?" They always make it, and most of the time it's very tasty. I usually get a fly-by from the waitstaff part way through the meal to check and see if I really like it, or it I am a dolt. Or maybe both.

So: what Chinese food rules am I violating? Is it regional? Is it that I'm asking for this at the wrong joints? Is it like great-tastes-that-should-never-go-together-in-polite-society? What's the taboo I'm walking smack into? The response is so pervasive that I'd at least like to know how to explain away my insanity to the nice servers.

Bonus question: has anyone seen this on a menu in Boston? Maybe it's some weirdo New Haven thing.

Jun 18, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Menotomy Grill - Arlington (anyone been?)

The current town rules (recently revised) are 2 drinks and then you have to order food if you want any more libations.

Jun 16, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Menotomy Grill - Arlington (anyone been?)

We went earlier this week -- their second night open to the public. I love the space -- they've done an amazing job with the atmosphere and making it interesting and welcoming. The bar area looks like a great place to swing by in the evening to meet friends. There's also outdoor seating, which is rare in this area of Arlington. (Of course, it looks out onto the hotel next door, but beggars and choosers and whatnot.)

Our server was helpful and very nice, though clearly still learning the ropes. As one would expect in the first few days after opening, there were timing issues with food and drink.

I had the cod cakes and beans, my companions had the tuna nicoise and the pulled pork sandwich. The salad got a thumbs up. Lots of rare tuna, and the greens etc were good, but my friend would've loved more of them to balance the tuna. The sandwich also got a thumbs up, and the fries were as good as one would want. My cod cakes and beans were decent, but both were under-seasoned. The cakes themselves were also a bit mushy -- they probably needed a little longer in the pan, or a little less liquid in the cod mixture.

There were several items on the menu we wanted to try, but weren't available yet, including the chickpea fries and the Cooper's Flip, their signature drink (http://goo.gl/zGWbI). The server explained that the chef wasn't quite happy with the fries yet, and didn't want to serve them until perfected. The Cooper's Flip needed another week or so for their cask ale to finish aging. I appreciated knowing that they're aiming for the best possible iterations of their dishes, and I'm looking forward to getting back there to try them.

My one critique really is that the prices seem a little bit high for the portion size and current service level. However, I'm withholding judgement until they've been open for a month or so. I suspect that their prices are reflective of an aim at farm-fresh tavern fare.

All in all, a solid opening with all the usual little hiccups. We love that this joint has opened in the neighborhood, and from the looks of the lines this week, lots of others feel the same way. I have no doubt they'll smooth things out, and we'll definitely be headed back soon.

Jun 16, 2013
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Backbar Open and Worth Seeking Out

Went this afternoon and really enjoyed it. They do take reservations, as noted above, and there are some specials that are only available via reservation: tableside bartending, punch service, and cocktail/food omakase. It was great talking to Sam and having him back in the Boston scene. As MrLit noted, there's no way we poor suckers deserve the embarrassment of excellent cocktail joints now at our fingertips on both sides of the river.

Dec 17, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Who is Lead Bartender at the Woodward at the Ames These Days?

Hi Hounds,

Does anyone know who's in charge of the bar program at the Woodward at the Ames hotel?
Bill Codman was in charge, but I think maybe he's left for Storyville?

http://www.woodwardboston.com/
http://storyvilleboston.com/

Thanks!

Dec 05, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Need idea: casual breakfast meeting, adjacent to multiple T lines

That's a great idea Allstonian. Thanks!

Aug 29, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Need idea: casual breakfast meeting, adjacent to multiple T lines

I'm looking for a place for a 9a weekday breakfast meeting. Someplace casual (not table service), but better than Starbucks. Real food a plus. The meeting will be 4-6 people, and of course they're all coming from different directions by T. Something not too sterile in the downtowny area would be good. I eat a lot downtown, but never breakfast. Any ideas?

Aug 29, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Soft Shell Crabs

...and as an update: for the exact same price, I got a sad little SSC that had been cleaned that morning (as opposed to on the spot) from Whole Foods. I wouldn't have even bought the thing except now that the season has started, I can't remotely think straight. I just want SSC at every meal.

May 24, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Your favorite tempeh recipe

I made a really nice tempeh dish this evening. I cut a block of whole grain tempeh (from TJ's) into pieces about the size and thickness of scrabble tiles, and did a quick marinade of soy sauce, fish sauce, black vinegar, and chili garlic sauce. I let it all stand together for about 10 min. Then I added about a 1/4 c of light coconut milk and let it all marry for about another 5 min.

I sauteed the tempeh till brown on both sides, then mixed it back into the remaining marinade. I served it with rice, and a mix of kale and u-toy greens that had been blanched with garlic and black vinegar.

May 23, 2011
litchick in Home Cooking

Shad & Shad Roe

Yesterday The Fishmonger in Huron Village had beautiful shad roe. I don't recall the price.

May 22, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Soft Shell Crabs

Oh, yes! Sorry, I meant to include that. $5 per.

May 22, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Soft Shell Crabs

Yesterday I got 2 beauties -- slightly small, but excellent quality -- at The Fishmonger in Huron Village. I pan-sauteed them, and had made an openface SSC & avocado sandwich on an olive roll from Formaggio. Delicious.

May 22, 2011
litchick in Greater Boston Area

Need Easy-to-Make Cocktail w/Mint Simple Syrup (not a Mint Julep)

Hi all,

I'm having people over tomorrow night, and want to provide one show-offy cocktail along with the wine and beer. I have a good amount of mint simple syrup leftover from our Derby Party, and would love to use that. My guests are probably pretty game, but are not too experienced with GOOD cocktails. What can you think of that I make that won't be too time consuming for me drink-by-drink, and will still make an impression?

Tx.

May 19, 2011
litchick in Spirits