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Now that Hamersley's is gone, where is Boston's best chicken dish?

I'm not sure I've tried enough of the various chickens around Boston to say this is the best, but Lumiere in WNewton typically does a very good job with roast chicken. I've had it several times and think its lovely.

I also really, really liked the fried chicken at Loretta's Last Call. Not sure I'd do that for a birthday dinner, but if he's also a country music fan I suppose it would be perfect.

Nov 13, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Portland report

sadly, opinionated chef, both DH and I are on somewhat low-carb diets. We overdid as it is, particularly on beer, but had to just stay out of Holy Donuts and Standard Bakery, as much as I really, really wanted to go in.

I wish we had a place like Emilitsa close to home. I do so love Greek food. I guess it was a bit expensive, but the quality was so good I didn't mind. We spent just as much at Fore St and didn't enjoy it half as much.

Nov 11, 2014
ChinaCat in Northern New England

Sazerac rye

not sure how far west you mean, but Julio's in Westborough carries it.

Nov 11, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Portland report

Novare res is on a small alley, between fore st and middle st, off exchange. And In'finiti is right on commercial street near chandler wharf.

Oct 30, 2014
ChinaCat in Northern New England

Portland report

We're just back from a long weekend in Portland and I wanted to share some impressions. We did quite a lot of eating and drinking, and this city definitely lives up to its rep as a great food destination.

Emilitsa -- This was fantastic. Its surprisingly hard to find Greek food in my Boston area suburbs, and upscale Greek is almost unheard of. Emilitsa really delivers with tasty food that is both traditional but has some nice contemporary flourishes. For example the saganaki is very nice pan fried keflogravieri cheese, but it was made exceptional by the balsamic and black pepper marinated figs that were served with it. The braised rabbit with feta and spinach wrapped in phyllo was another excellent app. I loved the moussaka, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed the whole dorade, simply grilled with olive oil. Also very good bar, and exceptional service. We loved it.

Fore St -- I was really disappointed with Fore St. It did not live up to the hype or reputation. Service was poor, there's no excuse for a simple 3 course meal for 2 taking slightly over 3 hours. We sat with menus for 20 minutes before orders were taken (not even cocktails!), and we sat 25 minutes waiting for dessert. The food was all decent, but nothing that wowed me. And everything seemed to be drowning in sauce. The wood grilled mussels were okay, but nothing special. We both had whole sea bass, and the waiter did a poor job of filleting it, leaving us with shredded fish drowning in white wine butter sauce. Really, i feel like I missed something after reading all the good reviews. Maybe an off night, but not one I'm likely to repeat.

Empire Chinese -- conveniently located by the Portland Museum of Art, we had lunch here after touring the Winslow Homer studio. It was excellent. My husband declared their hot&sour soup some of the best he'd ever had. This was a very pleasant surprise.

East Ender -- we had brunch. I had the fried chicken and waffles which I thought was very good, although really too big. Wish they would offer it as a half order, or I had split it with my husband. He had the montreal brisket hash and said it was terrific. Only minor complaint...the bloody mary could really use a bit more spice. Not hot enough, and the hot sauce they brought was not really hot either.

Eventide Oyster Bar -- loved this place. Good oysters, good service. We didn't have to wait to sit on a Sunday evening. The brown butter lobster roll and the lobster stew were both excellent. I discovered cider vinegar mignonette goes great on littleneck clams. Yum!

Novare Res -- stopped in for a beer. Very nice. Great selection of unusual beers, comfortable bar stools, very good service considering they were mobbed.

Infiniti -- stopped in here Sunday afternoon and tried some of their house made spirits. Thought the drinks were okay, but not special. Still a nice place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the Patriots demolish the Bears.

All in all it was a terrific visit with only one dull spot in an otherwise bright lineup of dining. Thanks to all for the reviews and discussion it really helped us choose places to go.

Oct 30, 2014
ChinaCat in Northern New England

Wegmans Burlington... any reports?

I can't speak to the Burlington branch specifically, I've been shopping at the Northborough branch, and I imagine the comments will carry over somewhat. I find their baked goods superior to any of the other supermarkets in the area. Actually, I should say the sweets. They don't do as well on breads as, say, Whole Foods, but their pastries, cakes and cookies are really great. And their store made bagels compete with just about any I've had in Massachusetts.

I think the seafood is quite good, on a par with WF. Pricewise it can vary. I think the variety at Wegmans is better. I find things like whole flounder more regularly.

Oct 29, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Foodie Trip to Portland, ME

does one have to get reservations for Eventide? or can I walk in on a Friday night and find seats at the bar without too long of a wait (15-20 minutes, not a problem...an hour would be a pain).

Oct 01, 2014
ChinaCat in Northern New England

Heirloom apples, *not* PYO

Tower Hill Botanical Garden in West Boylston has a bunch of different heirloom types. I think the sale was this past weekend, but it looks like they have another sale in early October when they have a harvest festival. At least the calendar mentions a tasting.
http://www.towerhillbg.org/index.php/...

I went last year, and they had many, many heirloom varieties to try, it was quite interesting.

Sep 22, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Breakfast near the Park Plaza

Boy, there really aren't many options in that neighborhood, besides hotel restaurants. Several nice brunch options, but we didn't want to wait till 11 to eat.

We ended up having breakfast Saturday at the Oak Long Bar, and it was okay, but a bit expensive. I had lunch at Flour Bakery and that was tasty, but a bit of a zoo.

Wish Mike and Patty's had been open. that probably would have been perfect.

For others looking in the neighborhood, there is an Au Bon Pain around the corner, and the Thinking Cup is not far. But neither of those really offered what we were looking for.

Sep 22, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Breakfast near the Park Plaza

we'll be staying there this weekend, so this topic is kind of last minute.

Any good places for breakfast nearby? We might do Sunday brunch at Bistro du Midi, or dim sum in Chinatown. But what other options do we have, perhaps for something cheaper and more casual for breakfast? would like to be as close to the hotel as possible, maybe 5-10 minutes walk.

thanks!

Sep 19, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

PYT scandal... owner refuses to apologize for sharing tip

"Post Your Tip" ?

Sep 16, 2014
ChinaCat in Not About Food
1

All-time best dessert?

the Taza chocolate cremeux with the caramel center at Harvest. Its the caramel that really makes it stand out.

Sep 15, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Anyone been to Ceraldi

yes, there is wine by the glass, and quite a nice selection. You can choose a single glass of anything that is open for the pairings, as well as some other wines.

We went this past week, and I'm going add to those singing its praises. We had an absolutely wonderful meal. We sat at the bar, so we could watch the chef plating some of the courses, and chat with the servers, which was a pleasant experience. They were quite knowledgeable about the wines so it was fun to discuss them. The meal couldn't be beat in a Boston restaurant.

We also had a single oyster to start, only this time it was a beach rose mignonette. I don't care for oysters that much, but the wellfleets are meaty and briny and very, very good. Swuash soup was well above any other rendition I've had. It was made with a gigantic squash with an italian name that I've forgotten, but its much like a super huge butternut squash. There was a whipped ricotta with heirloom tomato salad that was pretty -- the tomatoes were all different colors and cubed and served on a little cloud of ricotta -- and incredibly tasty. A porcini risotto arancini with leek puree was a tasty bit. My absolute favorite was a beet ravioli with great hill blue cheese, and nuts, it was divine. There was a poached halibut on creamed corn puree. And finally a sweet potato panna cotta topped with a bit of salted caramel.

It was a fabulous meal, served in a very nice atmosphere with top notch service. I'm so glad I read about it here. It was perfect for our 25th Anniversary dinner. I can't wait to go back next year.

Sep 15, 2014
ChinaCat in Southern New England

Recs please: 3 meals in Boston

It sounds like you are traveling solo, and you mention seafood...so for dinner, I would recommend going to island Creek and sit at the bar. Personally, I like sitting at the bar when I dine alone. And the Island Creek bar is pleasant, with friendly bartenders, and outstanding seafood.

Aug 28, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Anadama Bread

I often buy the "when pigs fly" anadama bread at Roche Brothers supermarket in Westborough. Surely its carried at some other supermarkets.

Aug 28, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Best places to eat near York Beach, Maine

I was going to recommend Chauncey Creek as well. We were there just last week and had a great dinner. Drive from York Beach is about 15 minutes, and some of it is a pretty drive. Lobsters were 15.99/lb. And the sides were good...we tried fries, onion rings, coleslaw and beans. you do want to bring your own wine and beer. Also pack some bug spray. Around 7PM the mosquitos started to get hungry.

Aug 25, 2014
ChinaCat in Northern New England

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

I'm a little curious about you disqualifying Deuxave. I've been there twice and it seems like it should fit all your criteria. I actually find it much less casual than some of the other places on your list (Bergamot, Bondir in particular). I went one time after a Red Sox game, so was dressed very casually, and I felt out of place. I went for my husbands birthday, and he wore a coat and tie, and we did not feel uncomfortable at all. I've found the service there to be very professional and the wine list definitely lends itself to a special occasion.

I think you should at least consider Clio. I know the fact its in a hotel is a minus. But the Elliot is one of the least corporate and most romantic hotels in the city, and the dining room doesn't feel fake the way you describe L'Espalier. I think the same about Rialto, so either of those could suit.

Restaurants in Cambridge will almost invariably be more casual. That is part of the so-called "scene" I think. And I get where you are coming from, in that it is a bit of a pain to get to and park. I also live west of Boston, and while Cambridge doesn't bother me, I can't stand trying to get to Arlington or Somerville. But Harvard square is better than some other parts of Cambridge.

No one yet as mentioned the Watham places, I don't think. But maybe Il Capriccio or La Campagna would fit the bill. Both have good service, are easy to get to, and have nice ambiance. Perhaps parking at La Campagna is a little bit annoying.

Aug 21, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Deuxave or Puritan and Company?

you could do Hawthorne for drinks after Deuxave, too.

I went to Puritan & Co just once, and it didn't really wow me. I wanted to like it, but nothing was memorable.

On the other hand I liked Deuxave very much, I've been there twice. Maybe its a style thing. they are really quite different.

Aug 06, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Best Fried Chicken

I have a new candidate for consideration in the fried chicken department. We tried Loretta's Last Call last night (1 Lansdowne, where La Verdad used to be). We both had the "Erica's Buttermilk Fried Chicken". It was nicely spiced, a little salty (but not overly, to my taste), very crunchy and not dried out at all. I liked it very much. An order came with 3 pieces...thigh, drumstick, breast, and one side. We also tried the fried pickles and jalapenos (very good), the loaded mash potatoes (decent, and evil...maybe alittle too greasy), and the coleslaw (okay, but not as tangy as I would like. Not overly creamy either, which is good).

All in all, i thought they were very good and will go back.

Also, we went at 6PM, on the night the Sox were hosting the Yankees at 8PM. The service was excellent, and they dealt with the mob scene quite well. We were able to get drinks, or water refills in a timely fashion as well as all food arriving piping hot.

probably my only disappointment was the uninspired draft beers. Not one craft brew available :(

Aug 04, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Wellfleet & Other Towns on the Cape

we've been in Wellfleet for a week the last 2 years. We've really enjoyed Mac's Shack and PB Boulangerie both mentioned above. If you can get up early to get freshly baked treats from PB for breakfast, that's the best. We've never eaten at the attached restaurant, it seems very expensive to me. But the bake shop is awesome.

For a casual meal, Arnolds (officially be in Eastham, but very nearly in Wellfleet) is a great place for fried clams or a lobster roll. Black Fish in Truro was still good last year for a nice meal out.

I like the Bookstore restaurant in Wellfleet as well. It is not as good as some of the other places, but they have a great view, and a comfortable casual atmosphere. We've found sticking to basics there very satisfying (oysters, fish and chips, chowder).

Jul 28, 2014
ChinaCat in Southern New England

Restaurant after the Sox game

yeah, but after spending $100+ on tickets, who wants to leave early?? :) :) (I certainly understand if you work there!)

Jul 18, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Traditional Boston eatery? Need multiple recs

When I stayed there a couple years ago, the Kendall served a quite nice (and included) breakfast.

If you want someplace close by, walking distance to your hotel, you might consider EVOO. It's good, convenient, and while I don't think its exactly "traditional Boston", it does serve local foods.

Jul 18, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant after the Sox game

you may be right...But I almost always walk past there after a game and there always seems to be a line out front waiting to get in. I go to maybe a dozen games a season, but not too many on Mondays.

so perhaps its just a small postgame crush to get in, and it takes a few minutes to absorb the crowds. It IS a big space.

I find the food decent, if unremarkable but the beer list is fun.

Eastern Standard or Citizens are probably much better choices anyways. And Citizen doesn't seem to be as crowded as ESK.

Jul 16, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant after the Sox game

the Peterborough places close at 11PM, so might not fit the OP's needs.

I think ICOB serves a limited menu after 11PM. Its fine if you want oysters and dessert, but I think the full entrees are unavailable.

the Yard House will be open. But mobbed.

Jul 16, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Switzerland

Its hard to get good recommendations for Switzerland! Seems not too many hounds traveling that way.

We ate dinner in our Montreux hotel restaurant, the 45 in the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic. The view is killer, and the food was quite good. I liked the room in general. However the service was a little on the pretentious side (they seemed to take offense when my husband poured the wine, but then no one actually came and poured when my glass was empty).

We also had a very nice meal at La Rouvenaz, an Italian restaurant, close to but not actually ON the lake. Very good pastas, friendly service. It was very crowded, you definitely want to make a reservation, or you may face a lengthy wait.

Jul 15, 2014
ChinaCat in Europe

P-Town: 50th Birthday

I was going to star a separate post asking where to go for my 25th anniversary when I'm staying in Wellfleet. I think I have my answer :) Ceraldi sounds like the perfect place.

Jul 15, 2014
ChinaCat in Southern New England

Stone's Publick House, Ashland

I've been a couple of times in the last few months. I like the food quite a bit. they also have a decent selection of beers on tap if that matters.

If that doesn't work for you, you might consider Oregon Club. It's not very far away from Stone's, and also has pleasant outdoor seating. the food is decent if not particularly special.

Jul 10, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Chez Nous, Lee, MA - Review

thanks for the review! We were going to go to Chez Nous last weekend, but they didn't have space for our large party. Now I'm excited to try it next time Im in the Berkshires.

Jul 02, 2014
ChinaCat in Southern New England

Concert at Fenway

El Pelon for fish tacos or a burrito is still my favorite pre-game dining destination.

Sweet Cheeks is also right there for bbq or fried chicken. And especially the biscuits.

Jun 21, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area

Inexpensive dinner near Westborough

I like Mirchi, an Indian restaurant on route 9 in Westboro, right next to "Not your Average Joes". Their dosas are particularly good.

Jun 16, 2014
ChinaCat in Greater Boston Area