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Whole Foods Charles River

This is where I've been regularly shopping for about two years. It's not uncommon for a cashier not to be familiar with what fresh turmeric is (they ask me if it's ginger) and they thought that the ramps I picked up were leeks.
My point is- I don't think the source of this is malice more than it's a case of naivete from the cashiers. When they don't know they've asked me though- so I'm more inclined to pin mistakes like those you've described to cashiers rushing through an order.

All of the registers I've gone through have an electronic screen showing each item as it's being rung up. If they're trying to cheat anyone, I doubt they'd have these displays and certainly, you're right in that you should always check to make sure you got what you wanted.

May 23, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

I've now tried Paul several times, each time trying something different: plain croissant, pain au chocolat, chocolate croissant, and an almond croissant.

Plain croissant was ok- slightly sweet with a hint of saltiness. Not bad, especially for the DTX area.
Pain au chocolate- best I've had of their croissants so far. Good ratio of chocolate to bread, not too sweet either.
chocolate croissant- left me with a slight sugar high and messy fingers. Not bad but not exceptional enough to be worth the calories.
Almond croissant- very rich, almost soggy from the almond paste. Not really a croissant- more like almond paste with a hint of bread. I found that texture odd to eat, though the flavor itself was fine. Very filling and quite rich, you need a coffee to counterbalance it!

Tatte: I got here hungry, so I picked up a ham and cheese croissant. Not by any means a good test of their croissant-making abilities, but found the texture of the croissant somewhat flat. Its size was enormous- probably twice that of a normal croissant. The ham and cheese portions were generous and overall was quite filling. I'm curious to try more, especially their pistachio croissant which looked great.

May 23, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Soft shell crabs

I'll second the softshell crab at Shojo rec. Got it Thursday night and shared half with a DC. Had to get a second order of it! The fry job was really well done. Oddly enough, I found that the Thai empanada (also fried) was quite heavy with oil. Odd but I hope that this special can remain on the menu for a bit.

May 23, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Best place in Boston for lobster roll?

Indeed - lobster's always struck me as a veblen good. I like the flavor from crab more, especially when you get female crabs with roe.

If anyone gets to Row34 and doesn't want to be a fool, I really liked the salmon cheek that they had (maybe still have) on the menu for $12. It's a good amount of fish and has quite a bit of flavor.
I've seen fish cheeks on a few menus this Spring- is it becoming a fad?

May 23, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Best place in Boston for lobster roll?

Went to Row 34 last week and their roll is now $29.

May 23, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

I've tried Sapporo (inside Hmart), Santouka (got miso), Yume Wo Katare (Porter), Shabu and Mein (East Cambridge), and Shojo (Chinatown).

From these, I like Yume Wo Katare the most followed by Shojo's, then Santouka's.

Like with so many things, it's a very personal question which type of ramen you like as the styles are distinct.

The Yume Wo Katare version is extremely rich- fatty and salty. I'm usually buzzing when I leave that place even though I hate having to announce my dreams to the crowd.

I like Shojo's take which somehow feels healthy (who am I kidding). Their noodles had a great bite to them. The broth wasn't overpowering and so I felt that the focus was more on the noodles which was interesting. The char siu is crisped on the outside and tender in the middle- very nice.

I agree with Zaoss above that the char siu at Santouka's is a little underwhelming given Santouka's billing.

Have to say that the Sapporo inside Hmart would probably finish last in my own informal ranking. Limp noodles, weak broth. I've continually heard great things about their Porter Exchange location though and will try it (someday).

At Santouka, I only have had the miso ramen which was good but didn't have me buzzing afterwards. I'm eager to try the tonkotsu though on my next trip.

May 18, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

May 2015 Openings and Closings

NOOOOOO! I preferred them to Pho Pasteur and Pho Hoa when I needed a pho fix.

For what it's worth the froyo place a couple of doors down, Wild Cherry, closed sometime in the last month or two.

May 18, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Burmese?

There is YoMa in Allston which is Burmese. They've got tea salad, ginger salad, I love the prata (prefer it to the roti canai at Penang and Royal East), and an assortment of noodle and curry dishes.

The Mandalay predates me so I cannot compare them, unfortunately. Nor have I ever been to Burma to try the real thing, but I think YoMa is good particularly so in the summertime as I find the various salads on offer to be nice and light.

May 18, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Anyone seen white asparagus?

I went here yesterday and they were NOT carrying white asparagus. I'd been buying regularly for weeks now and had to settle for plain old green.

May 18, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Anyone seen white asparagus?

The Whole Foods at MGH carries it along with purple asparagus (and green of course). The white asparagus is from Peru iirc and it's not "organic"!

May 16, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Crush Pizza Boston

The pizza is fine, but didn't blow me away. Though, it may be the best in the immediate downtown area. I like it more than Pastoral's but prefer Babbo's or Regina's if that helps (the closest places I've had pizza worth mentioning within a mile or two of Crush).

I'm not sure it'd be the best venue for a office meeting unless you can claim a bunch of tables and arrange them into a larger one for your meeting attendees. The times I've been, I was never rushed and had time to chat and this was during workday lunch hours.

May 15, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

May 2015 Openings and Closings

I believe that the Chatime that was in that space previously moved to Hudson Street.

I hope Beard Papa's didn't renovate the bathroom though- it has to be one of the most charming in all of Boston.

I swung by this area a couple of nights ago and was alarmed that the lights were off at Juice Bar quite early (8 or 9pm). I hope that's just a one-off event. Anyone know?

May 15, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Best place in Boston for lobster roll?

I've had good rolls at:
Row 34 (Seaport -South Station T or #9 bus from Copley)
Neptune Oyster (North End - Haymarket T stop)

Both offer lobster rolls that are hot n' buttered or cold with mayo.
I don't have a preference for one or the other, just alternate each time.

There are other places here in Boston that are well regarded but I've not tried their lobster rolls (yet) so can't comment. I'm sure others will have something to say. Also both are pretty far from being dive bars and can get quite loud (particularly Neptune).

By the way, both of these places are expensive. You're looking at $20 or $25 for the lobster roll itself. I don't think that they're outliers when it comes to that price point- I've seen the same price at Legal Seafoods among others.

If you're looking for a quintessential New England experience, you may want to head outside of Boston though that won't be T accessible. Closest thing to that experience I can think of is getting a lobster roll at Kelly's roast beef in Revere by Revere beach (Wonderland T stop on Blue line). If you try this, watch out for the seagulls that can snag the roll right out of your hands!

May 15, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

Labor can't cost more here than in other cities like SF, NYC which do have these places. And I'm not trying to open up a can of worms by comparing Boston to other cities, just making the point that the labor costs, if different, cannot be large enough for that to be the reason alone (and while I'm at it, I'd doubt rental/re prices are a factor either).

If we take a step back, there's some pastry shops in the North End that are Italian/Italian American that haven't been mentioned as they're not turning out French pastries.

Maybe it's a demographics thing.

I will say that I feel the situation is changing in Boston for the better, so who cares if a popular bakery shop isn't to someone's taste. There are plenty of others that may appeal to them and having some variety is something I'm all for.

Back on topic:

I've now tried Paul and like it- I encourage everyone else who's interested to give it a shot. Only got a plain croissant, but thought it was well executed. Looking forward to trying more there.

Looking to try: Praline (thanks for the tip), the croissant at Tatte (tried other stuff there, very/too sweet)

Forgot to mention:
*Athan's in Brookline and Brighton. Haven't been to either location for years now, but they turned out some nice pastries like the Jamaica and Amendoa, plus had some nice cookies too.

May 15, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

May 2015 Openings and Closings

Stopped by Paul yesterday afternoon and got a plain croissant.
I enjoyed it- sweet and salty which was interesting to me. The sweetness was dominant though it wasn't too sweet by any means.
I'm eager to try the pain au chocolat there today.

I agree that the layout inside is a little odd and I didn't see any croissants in the case when I went (around 2 or 3pm).
They moved them up onto a shelf, while desserts dominated what was in the case closer to eye level.
They have outdoor seating and there were a handful of people sitting both inside and out.

Great addition to the area. Can't believe how DTX has transformed so quickly with Roche brothers, Paul, Ogawa coffee, and hopefully soon enough the physical shop for the coffee trike opening nearby too.

May 15, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

And I first tried Indian food in Amsterdam. So where in Boston can you get a good strudel or sacher torte?

As an aside, I had forgotten about the Ames Street Deli (Kendall sq, Cambridge) which has some kind of rotating desserts on offer plus some experimental macaron flavor combinations. A worthy addition to the discussion, though not a traditional bakery. Their pourover coffees are damn good. I swung by there tonight, only to see that the don't do coffee after 5 so get there early in the day if you want to try any of these suggestions.

May 12, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

Whenever I've had one of Flour's oreos- I always remark that it tastes like something I'd make at home and though I cook frequently, I'm pretty far from being a pastry chef.

I can't say that I ever felt that way about what I've had at Clear Flour or Cafe Madeleine here in Boston or during the week I spent in Paris getting fat at Gontran Cherrier, Pierre Herme, Patrick Roger, among others.

It can seem absurd if you know the level of skill and attention to detail that goes into making macarons, eclairs, mille feuille, and other pastries that the Parisian pastisseries put out as compared with Flour's oreo. I think that's kinda hard to dispute from that point of view.

On the other hand, winedude could simply not care for fancy pastries, may like that someone created an oreo clone, may be joking, or something else entirely.
There are times when I'd prefer a burger to a tasting menu at Menton and I certainly know plenty of folks who would never spring for a tasting menu anywhere who are happy eating well but nothing too special. It's not absurd, just a mentality/sentiment/preference.

There's room for all of these kinds of sweets though both on the high end and low end. Can't we all be brothers?

For the OP- there are definitely capable bakers here who deserve credit for their skill and what they put out.
I'd suggest trying Cafe Madeleine (South End)and Clear Flour Bread (Brookline) for your typical items and then if you want to get a little adventurous, try Cafe Japonaise (Brookline by St. Mary's) and Yi Soon Bakery (Allston).
I'm blanking on others right now, but that's not an exhaustive list of worthy bakeries here- just where I regularly go.

I haven't tried Paul yet, but looking forward to it.

Pre-ballet dining

Personally, I'd hit up Shojo on Tyler St. followed by a cortado at the Thinking Cup (to stay awake during the performance).

jmcurley (Temple Place) is another good option not mentioned yet though may be packed just prior to the show.

I also think Legal Crossing would be fine and you can probably make a reservation there via opentable unlike the others.

Hope you enjoy the show.

Apr 07, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Top quality chinese restaurant in(near) Boston

It's hard to know what to recommend if you've already tried some spots and didn't think they were up to par.
In any case, I'd suggest trying Shanghai Gate (Harvard St. in Allston), Gene's Flatbread (Bedford St), and Chef Chang's at Mass. Ave and Marlborough.
If you are willing to extend Chinese to include Taiwanese as well, try Jojo Taipei and the Yi Soon Bakery across the street. Both are at Brighton Ave and Linden St. in Allston.
You could make a mini-crawl out of it if you also hit up Shanghai Gate and the Super 88 food court in that same part of town.

Good luck and I hope you find a bunch of things that hit the spot.

Apr 07, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic breakfasts?

There's Turkish breakfast at Istanbullu in Somerville (menemen- egg based dishes, Laz pancakes, and a big spread of bread with cheese, jams).

Mar 24, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

canneles in boston

The canneles at Cafe Madeleine are good- the one I tried was somewhat moist and flavorful though I can't remember an overwhelming beeswax taste to them. At the time, I was more interested in trying their croissants and macarons both of which are oustanding. In general, the standard is quite high there for baked goods and I recommend trying it out.
In addition, Render coffee is down the street, making for a nice two-fer.

Feb 20, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Anyone Seen Canned Rambutan in Local Markets?

I would also consider checking Sunrise Market in Allston (on Brighton Ave, by the Brighton Music Hall) as they definitely do carry canned goodies, though I cannot confirm whether or not they have canned Rambutan until later this week. Will report back though.
If they don't have it, you can console yourself with some S&I or Blue Asia action.

Feb 11, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Source for barley, rye, farro and kamut flakes in Boston area?

At the Somerville Winter market on Saturdays there is one farm, called Misty Brook, that mills grains. They mark the milling date on each bag and they tend to have whole wheat and pastry flours. You can also order them online if that's more convenient, but I enjoy going to this market each Saturday.

Misty Brook: http://mistybrook.com/store/index.php...

Somerville Winter market: http://www.somwintermarket.org/

Feb 06, 2015
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Chinatown up and coming?

For Chinatown, the first thing that comes to mind, even if it is two years old, is Shojo. It's not cheap, but the (modern Asian) food and drinks are inventive and the room is clean and well-kept. I'd be ecstatic if new buildings replace the run-down and more Shojos opened up on their ground floors!

You can malign the Chan money in Harvard Square opening up Night Market, but I think that kind of place is exactly what will survive and preserve the character of the neighborhood should Chinatown go the way of Fort Point.

There is room for optimism if you want to preserve the cheap, ethnic, and authentic eats. Look at Chinatown in Manhattan for example. There are plenty of cheap and authentic eats along with the likes of Rice to Riches. I don't intend to start a Boston/NYC war, but if it can exist there, then why not here as well?

If you're concerned about the residents' fortunes, then you may want to get involved with the Asian Community Development Corp: http://www.asiancdc.org/content/our-m....

Dec 10, 2014
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

I don't think the size matters here when you have free and easily manageable content given to you by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you insist on having a reserved name like myrestaurant.com, you can hold it but redirect traffic to any of your social media feeds.

Dec 10, 2014
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Tea shops in HK

Hi,
I'll be in HK soon and am hoping to taste some teas and buy what I like the taste of among the whites, greens, oolongs, and puerhs. I've tried finding good shops in HK and am going to visit the shops listed below. I'd love to hear opinions on any of the shops. Thanks

Sunsing Tea House
Kee Chan Tea Company
Best Tea House: http://www.besttea.com.hk/eng/branche...
Map: http://www.nicolastang.com/tea/hongko...

Penang - Gaik Ten Eating House - Strangest Seating Arrangement Ever

Sad to hear, I hope there are no other culinary casualties due to the hotel being built!

I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for other places where there is this type of seating just to try it out unless this place will still exist in February (fingers crossed).

where do I buy microgreens?

I don't know about watercress specifically, but the Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge is where I've been buying mine, though I haven't been in 3 weeks.

Sep 30, 2013
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

March 2013 Openings and Closings

In case it hasn't been mentioned yet, Grill Station in Allston has closed (old Indian Dhaba space). That went much faster than I would've thought!

Mar 13, 2013
fragolino in Greater Boston Area

Karl's Sausage Kitchen - Anyone been to the new store?

I think you'd get a much more satisfying meal buying stuff there and cooking them at home, but if you go to Karl's hungry or just can't leave without downing a wurst, it suffices.

I went over the Christmas holidays. The cafe is rather small, maybe 4-5 tables and is set right at the back of the store abutting the shelves with packaged food and goods. It's not as large or comfy as I'd imagined it'd be.

They had two beers on tap (plus a few bottles) and the menu consisted of standard German classics: different wursts with sauerkraut, spaetzle, a pretzel and altogether had maybe 10 options on offer although it's not like you can have anything in the deli cooked to order (which is sorta what I was hoping for). From what I remember, they had a selection of cakes that you could get a slice from for dessert. The focus is still very much on the deli and packaged goods here.

I don't remember if they had a breakfast menu, the stuff I saw would be fine for lunch or dinner though.

Feb 11, 2013
fragolino in Greater Boston Area