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Belle Isle Seafood

You're right of course. I guess that being underwhelmed by the seafood combo platter, except for the excellent scallops, I was on a "roll" with "and the fries are lousy, too". Not really fair. Anyway, I agree about the Clam Box (which I mistakenly referred to as the Shak) being all-around excellent.
And Farnhams, which to us is a close second, when they have cod cheeks. . . . oh my, they're tasty.
When we need a lobster roll fix, which is infrequent as we get fresh lobster from a friend in the business, we still make it a day-trip and go to Reds Eats in Wiscasset, ME.

Belle Isle Seafood

I might get flak for this but I just don't get the enthusiasm for BI. Stopped there about 4pm today after a perfect Boston Harbor cruise. Mrs and I shared a fried combo plate, with clams, and we were both underwhelmed.
The plate looked huge till we saw that at least half were gerenic fries and rings. The fish was tasty but heavily battered, thin, and on the dry side. The clams were good, the scallops were excellent, but the shrimp were on the bottom in a puddle of oil.
I enjoy rustic settings but the place was dark with dirty floors.
Yes, the afternoon view was outstanding, but everything was meh.
IMHO Clams Shak, Village, or even Farhhams don't have anything to worry about, and, though I haven't had BI's LR, I will drive 3 hours to Red's for theirs.

Liquor store with a good (great) bourbon selection

Redstone Liquors in Stoneham has a very comprehensive selection.

Rainbow carrots and Turnips

Trader Joe's in Burlington. 2pound cello package for $2.49.

Fred's Franks is back in Wakefield

He plans to be at the same old spot, for the 2 hours, every day, weather permitting.

Don't want to speak for Carl, but, I did hear that he didn't have his regulars since "people did not know him there". Also, the town apparently wanted him to apply for a Common Victualler's license, just like the adjacent hotel. That is a significant application and it expires at the end of the year so he decided against it.

Fred's Franks is back in Wakefield

From Fred's web site.
Just had a Schnurble. . . . delicious!

Dear Friends,

Starting Monday October 20th, we will be returning to Wakefield for 2 hours per day, 11:30 - 1:30. We will be setting up somewhere local to where we used to set up. Please feel free to call if you can't find us. 978-818-0861.

Market Basket-Items no longer carried?

Reading MB has the Carando pre-sliced salami and all of the Columbus slice-to-order meats.
I was told by a manager (at another store) that some of the specialty items might take a while to get back due to contract and scheduling issues.

branzino - my dream fish!

I agree that this is an incredibly good tasting fish. First had it at Gran Gusto (fillet with wild mushroom sauce) and I was hooked (sorry!).
Next, had it grilled whole at a little joint in NYC and it was even better.
I usually see them at Whole Foods in Bedford for around $

Market Basket, Thoughts

Went to the Reading MB, mid-week, early afternoon, and had a hard time finding a parking spot and carts were in short supply. Smiling managers, frequently telling random customers "thank you for coming back". A very pleasant experience.

Sam's Bistro Reading? Anyone been?

I, too, was there last year and was underwhelmed by the food - I don't even remember what I had, just thought that I didn't need to return.
Grumpy Doyle's, on Rt 28 in Reading center has, IMHO, better food but it is probably too loud for a nice chat.
I would prefer Sabatino's in Wakefield center for this type of evening, or even Harrington's also in Wakefield on Water St.
Bacci's on Rt 28 in Stoneham has decent food, not too fancy, but could be a nice place to chat for a while.

Mexican or Pizza in Kenmore Square

Thanks to all.
Scoozi worked just fine.
Started with "garlic bread bruschetta" while waiting for the pizza.
That was very meh, 4 pieces of baguette, no hint of garlic, with very bland pre-made diced tomato bruschetta, and a bit of greens with shaved parmesan in the center.

However, the pizza was actually very good. Cooked just right with crispy, thin crust and nice tasty toppings.
Add a decent draft beer selection at reasonable prices and the evening was off to a hit!
Thanks again! You always come thru!

Mexican or Pizza in Kenmore Square

Thanks so much for the suggestion. Scoozi sounds perfect for us.

. . . and you're right, then it's Panic!

Mexican or Pizza in Kenmore Square

I'm taking my granddaughter to her first (all ages) concert at the House of Blues on Thursday, Jan 30. We are taking the T from Sullivan and had planned to get off at North Station and go to Reginas first, but the Bruins have a home game that night and past history says it will be very crowded.
She also likes Mexican.
Any suggestions for low-key (she's 13) Mexican, or Pizza, within walking distance from the Kenmore T stop?

R. Murphy Knives Ayer, MA

Great to hear about R. Murphy. Gotta go see them. We have a couple of Lamson knives but their "LamsonSharp" serrated bread knife is one of our most versatile kitchen tools. Their great factory store is worth a day trip to Shelburne Falls.
Support Local Businesses!

Bon Chon Lowell


Bon Chon Lowell

Where is it?

Lobster Rolls: 2013 Edition

Had the lobster roll at Sullivan's on Castle Island yesterday. Tasty, filling, and for $8.95 (a buck off that day) they can't be beat.

Seafood cocktail sauce without high fructose syrup in it?

I wasn't aware that TJ's had what the OP was asking for. That's great news and I'll have to try it.
But, since we have gotten on the make-it-yourself line, Alton Brown has a good recipe that has worked well, in addition to his brine-and-broil-shrimp I'm not sure if the chili sauce has HFCS.

Looking for a Good Burger & Scotch

Second the Tavern. But just between us. I like to be able to get a seat at the bar.

Looking for an anniversary dinner in Boston

Got to agree that Salts is great for that romantic anniversary dinner for two.

Compare Clams at Clam Box w/ Farnham's & w/ Essex Seafood?(Plse Don't Shoot)

Gotta say that Clam Box big-bellies are about the best I've ever had. But, I have to agree with phatchris that, when I drive by and see the hour-long line, I'll go to Farnhams. They're close enough in quality IMO,and, if Farnhams is serving cod cheeks. . . . sold!

Bob's Lobster-Plum Island

OK, we'll give it another try.
It's impossible to say no after so many complimentary notes. I have to credit our experience to an off day, or even an off batch!

After all, as I said before, the service was friendly and attentive and the outside table seating was beautiful.

Now, for another convertible-and-outside-seating-worthy day!

Thanks to all. Bob's apparently has a very loyal following

Bob's Lobster-Plum Island

We were surprised, too, expecially in light of all the good reviews.
In fairness, it was a holiday weekend, extremely busy, and no one in the shop appeared over early 20's so maybe it was a case of overload on an inexperienced crew.

Bob's Lobster-Plum Island

Well, we must have had some bad karma because, after reading so many complimentary reviews of Bob Lobster we got out the little convertible and spent a beautiful day driving to Newburyport from Ipswich, with B-L as our destination. . . . and had one of the worst fried seafood dinners ever.

Started with a 2X combo with clams and oysters. Heavy coating, tasteless, other than by the size we literally couldn't tell the difference between the two. The fries were equally tasteless with watery ketchup and, as noted above, the tartar sause seemed like mostly mayo.

On the plus side I got an order of fried smelt and they were fresh and sweet, though with the same too-thick coating.

Service was pleasant and prompt, the ambience of sitting by the marsh on a beautiful day was grand, and the prices were fair.

But, sorry, no return trip planned.

New Steakhouse, Raw Bar Coming to Wakefield

From the Wakefield Patch, this morning:
"Slated to open in Wakefield in September of 2012 is a new joint venture of a restaurant: Laurie's 9:09 Steakhouse and Raw Bar.
The new eatery will be a mix of fine dining - think oysters, steak, lobsters and crab cakes - a full bar, and fun entertainment, including live music, trivia and other games.
The restaurant will be located at 33 Tuttle Street, the location of the former Cafe Jag's.

The incoming Tuttle Street restaurant is a joint venture between a Wakefield resident and a Stoneham resident. "

Sounds promising, but we'll see how they deliver on the promises.

Blackstrap BBQ

Another gotta-go-back-to-try-more-stuff place! Read the reviews, had to try it, and we weren't disappointed!
Mrs had The Celtic sandwich - nice moist brisket slice over slaw with a fried egg on top, and mustard sauce over it. Interesting combo and delicious but FILLING! She had collard greens and sweet potato sides and both were outstanding.
I had the dry rub memphis ribs and asian slaw. Ribs were done just right, crusty and juicy! Asian slaw was very good but not great. I was going to try the fried oyster Po' Boy but then I realized that Belle Isle was nearby, so stuck with the BBQ.
Funky little place in a neat square in Winthrop.
Now that they've passed muster, I have to experience both The Hog and The Highway Burger, and any place that has fried chicken livers with onions and mustard is a keeper!

Lobster dinner in Waltham or close by?

I know it doesn't get a lot of love here, but I'd consider Summer Shack at Alewife. The steamed lobster is a good as anywhere (IMO) and the pan roasted lobster is very good. Your colleague might have an enjoyable experience.

Stuffed Grape Leaves Metheun, Lawrence area?

2nd for Babylon. Had their stuffed grape leaves last week, both with and without meat in the filling. Both were excellent.

Stuffed Grape Leaves Metheun, Lawrence area?

Mounir's on South Broadway (Rt 28) in Lawrence. Give it about a -5 for ambience but a +9 for good, homemade tasting, Middle Eastern food.

Best deli in town is at ... the Burlington Market Basket

Gotta agree with Swank that there is more bang for the buck than you can find almost anywhere (the Chelsea MB, too). I prefer their Italian with oil and hot peppers and, to me, that is done right. But, the important thing is that they have a good selection and will make it any way you want and the area is indeed pleasant, bright,and clean. Finishing with a 99 cent espresso is even better. Not really a destination spot but when we are in the area and need a bite it's got the food courts and chains beat by a mile.