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lergnom's Profile

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Lineage: Thanks for being in my neighborhood

All true. I agree.

about 15 hours ago
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Soul fire in Brighton

We ate there a few days ago. It is my favorite barbecue place in the area. For 3 or 4 reasons:

1. The side dishes can be really, really good. Cornbread, potato salad, baked beans ... not always fantastic but sometimes are and always good.
2. Food is not sweet. I've been to Blackstrap, for example, and while it's obvious they care about the BBQ process, their food is way too sweet for my taste. Soulfire has a fiery sauce that isn't sweet at all and which mixes well with their other sauces. (They have a sweet sauce, labeled as such.)
3. The smoked chicken is always really good. And really smoky.
4. People have very strong feelings about ribs. I find both their spare and baby back ribs to be meaty in taste and mouthfeel. I also like fat on mine, meaning I don't like when the fat has been rendered away, which often means too high a temp.

In general, I don't "rate" ribs because talk about "smoke rings" and the like don't convey actual taste to me. I like BT's ribs but most around here just aren't to my taste. Soulfire seems committed to the essence of BBQ, which is that it's a process that must be repeated over and over.

Apr 15, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Best dessert in Brookline

High end pizza, etc. I believe the husband of the team is the restaurant guy. Decor is high tech. Big place. Food is good. Chairs are very uncomfortable.

Apr 14, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Best dessert in Brookline

Another, less savory version is dates, blue cheese and honey. It's really good with "hot honey", meaning honey with hot sauce added. The When Pigs Fly restaurant serves this as an app.

Apr 13, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

30 Yrs of Michael's Deli?

I wish they'd expand the seating.

I got along with Michael but my kid absolutely hated him.

Apr 09, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Best dessert in Brookline

Hard question to answer because I don't normally eat dessert (and the cake is for a birthday). I prefer their yellow cake but I don't think it's the cake that's special. It's the frosting that stands out and the way they frost, with beautiful flowers that are also made of frosting, not that dry hard meringue.

By comparison, something like Rosie's carrot cake, which is sort of famous around here, is too moist for cake and too sweet and the frosting is not in the same level.

IMHO, we need is a really good French pear tart. (Even an apple one would be nice.) The version Clear Flour sells isn't it. Most places don't seem to understand the concept of French baking and either make it hard or mushy.

Stellina's in Watertown makes a pretty good creme brûlée.

Apr 07, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Best dessert in Brookline

I currently have a lemon cake with raspberry filling in my fridge. And it isn't even my favorite of their cakes. To cut this short: Party Favors makes the best butter cream frosting you can find in this area.

Apr 06, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

What is a traditionally odd, spicy and delicious thing to order at a Sichuan restaurant?

This is one of my 3 favorite foods, along with ma pa tofu and shredded potatoes. I sometimes stop at One of the Kind at Super 88 and down an entire order of the potatoes.

Apr 04, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

My Grillo pickle mystery

I like "old" dills much more than new dills and prefer Ba-Tempte to POE.

I've left Grillo's in the fridge for a while. It brought out too much sweetness.

Mar 30, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area
1

Lunch near the Peabody Essex Museum?

I also like the restaurant in the museum. Go to PEM.org and check the menu for the Garden Restaurant. It usually has 2 or 3 veggie choices. It's a few dollars more than you can spend in the area but the food is good and the setting is nice.

Mar 28, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

BBQ Catering?

I know Soulfire caters - they have it listed on their site - but I don't think they have any veggie entree, just sides.

Mar 27, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Canadian foods sold anywhere?

Amazon sells them.

Mar 25, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Where Have All the Greek Restaurants Gone?

There was a place on Harvard in Brookline whose name I forget. Where Gari is now. The owner was Greek. He'd sit with us sometimes and talk about how he wanted to do a more genuine Greek place. We encouraged him and at some point he did change the name to include his, Nikos, but he never felt the market would accept an actual Greek cafe.

He might be right. I remember New Taste of Asia's lunch business with that superb chef turning out beef & broccoli for the lunch workers who didn't realize they could get fantastic, real Chinese food. Or maybe who didn't want it.

Mar 23, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Spring 2014 Openings and Closings

I've been a Modern Apizza fan (State St, New Haven) for 35 years. I'm half afraid to try a Pepe's in Boston because it might distort too many memories.

Mar 21, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area
1

Where Have All the Greek Restaurants Gone?

I come from a city with a large Greek population. It had many Greek restaurants and they too have diminished in number. I've asked why. The response has largely been this: most Greek restaurants were run by immigrants who were home cooks, not restaurant people. (They tell me there wasn't a deep restaurant culture in much of Greece, but I don't know about that.) Unlike other cuisines where new generations came in who were from restaurants (and hotels, etc.), there has been relatively less of that from Greece. So the restaurants become less Greek and you find Greek-Americans doing all sorts of food with maybe a nod here and there toward Greek cooking. Last year, I asked the owner of Esperia about Greek food and the chef (the wife) told me Greek food is meant for the home.

I have no idea how much of this is true. It would seem to me that any cuisine can carve a niche - like Chinese(ish) food in every strip mall in the South - so the actual number of Greeks in the US shouldn't be the issue.

Mar 21, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Whole bean coffee: identifying characteristics and local recs

BTW, the least acidic really good coffee I've had is from India and sold by Flat Black. They don't always have it.

Mar 19, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Whole bean coffee: identifying characteristics and local recs

I can list 3 places to look into:

1. Flat Black. They roast their own. Interesting varieties and different degrees of roast depending on the bean. Locations downtown and in Lower Mills. They will discuss the qualities of the beans and roasts with you.

2. The Thinking Cup. They sell Stumptown Coffee. Their darker roasts are really good. There's one on Tremont (on the Common) and one on Hanover in the N.End. They have an assortment of beans at all times.

3. Polcari's in the N. End. Not saying they source their coffee from specific farmers in Guatemala or anything like that but I really like some of their dark roasts, particularly their Italian. And it is a special place run by special people. (Bobby ground bags of barley for my wife a few Saturdays ago, just because she asked if they have barley flour.)

Mar 17, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Unfathomable Patience

You're saying it wasn't the Purim crowd? I hate when all the little kids in Queen Esther costumes take over my bar, slamming down their Shirley Temples.

Mar 17, 2014
lergnom in Not About Food
4

ISO a Good Bowl of Chili

You could try Soulfire's chili. I like it.

Feb 24, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Lox & Bagels

I either get the Norwegian smoked salmon from Costco or pick up smoked white fish from one of the Russian markets. I wouldn't be surprised to find it's made by ACME, the smoked fish company in Brooklyn.

Pair with Iggy's bagels or Katz's, maybe Rosenfeld's. Until recently, I had a big cache of Balsam Bagels from Rochester, NY. Just the best you can get ... but the freezer died a horrible death.

If I get something like this out, I expect a more upscale presentation with capers and creme fraiche.

Feb 12, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Dinner near Seaport on Saturday 2/15

I like Sam's

Feb 11, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Dinner near Seaport on Saturday 2/15

We had a solid dinner at Legal Harborside a few weeks ago. We wouldn't normally go there but we met people in town for the skating championships. The room is very nice, the service was very good - managers came over to make sure a food allergy was addressed - and the food was good. Not inspiring food but good.

Feb 11, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

I must admit: I love the North End

To add a bit of backstory: they had a baker - named Ben Tock - who developed the recipes. (His picture was on the ad outside.) He's a bread fanatic, totally devoted to the craft. Loved to talk bread and hydration levels, would show some of his experiments. He moved on to Bread Alone in upstate NY, one of the first artisan bakeries. He was looking for new challenges and said Bread Alone was moving into more challenging grains. The current crew, which is mostly Italians - Marco is from Napoli, etc. - is doing a great job with the recipes. I haven't eaten some of their more recent creations. The dough for the French and Italian baguettes is the same but they're baked a little differently and the Italian one weighs more so it puffs up differently.

Feb 01, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area
2

I must admit: I love the North End

The baguettes are only $2. The other things tend to be pricey. The olive bread is excellent.

Jan 31, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

I must admit: I love the North End

I don't eat out that much for dinner but I'm in the North End a lot.

I get my coffee and some other things - dry beans, spices - at Polcari's. I think their Italian roast is excellent - and it's $10/lb. And Bobby and Nicky are keeping up one of the few really old places left. Cash only.

While not Italian, Thinking Cup, Bread + Butter, and Boston Common Coffee all have good sandwiches. And Bricco makes excellent bread - sign on Hanover, go down the alley and down the stairs.

Jan 31, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Looking for Prime Bone-In Thick Cut Ribeye or Portehouse Steaks

Look up the Meat House. They have locations in Arlington, Beverly, Chelmsford and N. Andover. Call and they'll either have what you want or they'll get it.

I used to go their former location in Brookline. They had prime and aged cuts like this and will cut to order, though they might not have exactly what you want if you just walk in.

Jan 30, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

Commonly mispronounced foods

These pronunciations - dropping the final vowel, cutting off the last syllable - are typical of Americanized Italian and often Southern Italian. So yeah they aren't Tuscan Italian but I can't agree they're mispronounced. I think calzone has 3 syllables but most of the Italian speakers near me on the east coast say it with 2. Same with pronouncing cc as ch. These are more dialect differences than mispronunciations.

Jan 25, 2014
lergnom in Food Media & News

Best in Watertown?

Stellina's remains a favorite of ours.

Jan 25, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area

I am on a tea kick.

I like Yogi teas, which are expensive unless on sale. I really like the black chai.

But I have to put in a plug for Upton Tea. (Just google it.) Really great teas, tea pots and a great catalogue.

Jan 24, 2014
lergnom in General Topics

Neighborhood Weather Watch- North : Are there places you avoid or are drawn to based on their climate control?

I wish I could be helpful. I had a really good meal - a shockingly good meal - at the Stonehearth Pizza in Brighton but it's a space heated from above with concrete floors and big garage doors that open in the summer. The floor was freezing and I think my toes lost feeling as my head baked. I just can't do that until it's warmer outside.

Jan 08, 2014
lergnom in Greater Boston Area