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April 2014 Openings and Closings

Not April, but late March and un-noted.

Rincón Mexicano at 99 Broadway in Somerville, is an excellent quality authentic Mexican place - the guys who run it are from Mexico City. I have a long post about it under "Best Burritos".

Apr 05, 2014
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Best Burritos in (East) Somerville?

I'm taking a class at MudFlat - often spending most of the day there, and recently went to Rincón Mexicano (99 Broadway) for the first time. I had noticed this pseudo hole-in-the-wall place while walking by, but had previously gone to the larger Tapatio across the street. It's only been open for about three weeks, but the owners (a group) are obviously very serious about providing top quality, and highly professional; they're clearly in it for the long haul. They would need to be - to think that what East Broadway needs is another Mexican/Latino eatery.

When I went in, I was amazed to see that all of the kitchen staff (3 guys, plus a woman waitress/cashier) were wearing chef's white jackets. The kitchen was clearly newly installed, and the equipment truly looks to be restaurant quality. They do offer full meals, and seem to be building a good take-out business in the short time they've been open. It's a tiny place, with only three tables and a small raised counter with stools, but very bright feeling, and ultra clean.

On follow-up visits, Lorenzo - one of the owners and chief chef, has been more casually dressed, but the guys cooking are still in white. He says the whole crew is from Mexico City. If they are successful, a larger establishment is not out of the question.

The first time I ordered Carne Asada, and it was delicious. The jalapenos only hit about half an hour later, and produced the sensation of an overall warm glow. I will usually only eat half of a burrito initially, and bring the rest home for dinner - or even breakfast. The beef was in large pieces and quite moist. There is no assembly line here - you tell them what you want, and the work is done in the kitchen. It looked to me that most of the ingredients were sautéed on the stove and then loaded into the tortilla, which was rolled and briefly browned. I well realize that in promoting this place ("just a satisfied customer"), if others agree with me they may need to evaluate their process.

I've also had the pollo (not on the printed menu, but available), and the Al Pastor and Carnitas. I'd say the carne asada is still my favorite, but I experienced something unusual with the two pork entries. They actually tasted a bit better when I reheated the second half; the pineapple was more apparent. There is also a vegetable variety that I haven't tried. Burritos at Rincón Mexicano only come in one (large) size, and are all $6.

The only negative - and it's conditional, is that the burritos aren't rolled very tight, and do tend to unravel while eating. It might be best to slowly peel the aluminum foil down, only exposing what you're ready to bite. This is conditional because the tortilla is whole wheat (at least in color - I didn't actually ask), and I think better quality than any other I've ever had; it doesn't have that "doughy" consistency that most do. Also, the ends aren't folded completely over as at most places (hence the tendency to unroll), and this means no bites where you're getting mostly tortilla and little filling.

I'm aware that readers will already have their own long-established preferences, and I have searched to see what the current favorites are. I have excluded what are primarily sit-down restaurants, and this includes Cantina la Mexicana - where a large burrito is a whopping $9 at lunch. I'm also only commenting on those in this immediate area - I've walked by, but have yet to visit Taqueria Montecristo.

Taco Loco - heaviest burrito I've ever had, and decent - but not great. The pieces of beef were smaller than at Rincón Mexicano, and not as tender.

Tapatio is well established and does a lot of business. Their burritos are just slightly less huge than Taco Loco's. I like the chicken, but don't trust the steak. The two times I've gotten it, there were pieces of meat with gristle - or similar.

While doing my search I noticed that Chipotle Mexican Grill in Davis Square was rated as the #9 Mexican food in Somerville. One uninformed fellow even wrote: "By far the best Mexican food anywhere in the Greater Boston area. Tasty, fast burritos made with quality ingredients."

Huh ??? This guy must also think that McD is the best American food in the Boston area. I tried Chipotle once and all the ingredients were these tiny little chopped up pieces of things that were awful - I wouldn't be caught near one. Meat is a bit like ice: the smaller the size, the larger the relative surface area, and the faster it melts / dries out.

All burritos are filling, but those at Rincón Mexicano are the most tasty and satisfying that I've ever had.

Apr 05, 2014
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Abigail's - food?

Thanks all - I've seen indications that the food and service quality declined with the new menu. Again, this would be a group dinner, so I'm hoping someone has had dinner off the current menu. We would be there on a weeknight, and I find that service complaints are often for a weekend night - and then often for parties without reservations. You're right though - they only do take them for six or more . . . and tack on an 18% gratuitity for the privalege.

Aug 10, 2012
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Abigail's - food?

I've seen very mixed reviews of this Kendall Square location, with most of the positives for the cocktails, while the food (and sometimes the service) more often rated poorly.

Is it worth going to for dinner? If yes - what are good choices from the current menu?

Aug 09, 2012
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Looking for recs in Randolph-Morristown area

Thanks for the responses. I had also done some poking around, - when I wasn't so tired. Thai Nam Phet sounds good - of the five Thai restaurants in Morristown, all of them seemed to have enough negative reviews that I wasn't enthusiastic abouit them. although Origin is #7 of all Morristown restaurants on Tripadvsisor, so it may be the best of the lot.

Marjan looks interesting, but a bunch of folks think Pamir has declined since their move to downtown.

If it is to be Indian, I notice Saffron is Zagat's #1 Indian in NJ, so we would go there.

Any thoughts on Hibiscus, which is the Tripadvsisor #1 in Morristown?

Is it truly BYOB? I thought I saw one place described as if you could order wine from them but everything else had to be "ordered" from somewhere else, which seemed to suggest some other establishment brought them to you, which I thought rather odd. Are there "uncorking" or "glass" fees, or does this vary by place?

Of course, I'm just doing research, and have no idea what my hosts are up for.

Dec 26, 2011
velotrain in New Jersey

Looking for recs in Randolph-Morristown area

I'm staying with some folks there in early January, and would like to take them out one night. Don't want anything too crowded (weeknight), noisy, trendy or expensive. Good-quality Indian or Thai might work, and I'm sure these are in or close to Morristown. Certainly open to other possibilities. Food quality/value trump all other criteria.

Dec 24, 2011
velotrain in New Jersey

Best dinner choices in Malone and Saranac Lake?

I'm leading a Lake Champlain - Adirondack bike tour in mid-August, spending a night in each of these towns. The three top choices in Malone seem to be Gallaghers, Villa Fiore, and Sansone’s. Of these, Gallaghers looks a bit more contemporary, Sansone's is traditional Italian (open for 72 years - they must do something right), and the main thing I recall about Villa Fiore is having to walk through three sets of doors to get in, and it felt just a tad stuffy.

In Saranac Lake, the Blue Moon Café is highly regarded. On a scouting trip in May I ate at Nona Fina, which looks classy, but it serves very ordinary Italian food with awful bread, has no draft beer, and only Morelli bottled beer. YMMV

We're walking, so need somewhere in the town center, although I could unload the support van if there is something exceptional further away. I'm not planning to have us all eat together, but like to provide the best local options to my riders. We'll be there mid-week, so hopefully space won't be an issue.

Blue Moon Cafe
55 Main St, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Ariana - new Afghani place in Allston

Yesterday I was headed to Dawat for their buffet lunch and discovered they were no longer there, so went to Punjab Palace instead. Tonight I walked to Ariana to check it out.

As noted elsewhere, the interior is elegant but spartan. The service is quite good, although I was surprised that I had to request a menu in an almost empty room with only one other table occupied, although three other parties came in while I was there. I was seated by the window, but left around sunset and realized how dark it was already in the back of the room. The music was reminiscent of Ravi Shankar in his Beatle days, a vast improvement over the Bollywood noise at Punjab Palace. Someone just told me last night that restaurants have found they do better business if it's a loud environment

Going with the most popular dishes (on Yelp) so far, I had the Kaddo and Qabili. They were both quite good. The Qabili arrives as a large mound of Pallow rice with raisins and what they describe as a glazed julienne of carrots. Hiding underneath this were the most tender chunks of lamb shank I've ever had. Someone else described them as "fall off the bone" and I took it literally, but that wasn't the case. However, although they are very high quality I discovered that they did need a bit of trimming, which isn't clear in their initial hidden state.

I had a hard time adjusting to the raisins and carrots, wishing it came with say onions and green beans instead. Next time I might have Korma Challow, a sauteed leg of lamb which does come with these and a bunch of other stuff. I've never been fond of dishes with just meat, or meat and starch as it was in this case. I couldn't really count the julienned carrots as a vegetable, and am willing to eat raisins in trail mix but little else.

There is a short wine "list", with everything available by the glass and bottle, and I think the most expensive one is $21, but I can't speak for the quality, although perhaps the fact that they all come by the glass is a clue. There is no printed beer list, but it seems to be very limited and I am unwilling to pay $4.50 for an uninteresting bottle. My water glass was regularly attended to, one of my major criteria in judging service. I have some fruit I need to use up, so didn't get dessert. Overall, most pleasant and I will be back.

Punjab Palace
109 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

Aug 04, 2010
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Middlebury, St. Albans dinners?

I'm leading a bike tour around Lake Champlain next week and wondered if there were any good places in these towns that I'm not aware of. We're in Middlebury Monday night, so I know Storm Cafe is closed. I like Tully & Marie's; some riders like Mister Ups. I know of Fire and Ice, but didn't like it when I went years back and can't imagine it changing. Anything else in the downtown area? How is the Indian place?

I haven't had dinner in St. Albans for over a decade and Jeff's Maine Seafood was the only real option at the time. Looks like Chow! Bella is another strong candidate. Is that it? I know there's lots of options in Burlington, but again this is a bike tour.

Tully & Marie's
7 Bakery Ln, Middlebury, VT 05753

Jeff's Maine Seafood
65 N Main St, Saint Albans, VT 05478

Chow! Bella
24 N. Main St., Saint Albans, VT 05478

Mister Up's Restaurant
25 Bakery Ln, Middlebury, VT 05753

Anything new in Burlington, Vt. ?

Not too far? Mapquest shows 65 miles and almost an hour and a half driving. If you were in fact close to Hardwick (say, in Montpelier, which has good local destinations) OK, but why make this long trek when there are so many fine choices much closer?

Good hummus in Brookline

A menu/flyer for Khayyam at 404 Harvard St. (near Fuller) was left in the lobby of my building a month ot so back, and for the first time ever I didn't trash it right away. Apparently they had $6 lunch specials when they first opened in January, while most of them are $7 now, with the lamb higher.

I had the Chicken Barg today, and while the generous portion of chicken wasn't "juicy" as the menu described, the thick slice of lemon helped there. There was more than ample basmanti and a salad of chopped cuke, tomatoes and onion. I'm not a big hummus eater, but this was likely the best I've ever tasted, silky smooth and a large puddle at that; warm pita served with (before) the meal.

Drawbacks were the slow service (water and check) even though the place was empty (4 PM), and the radio - I'm not fond of listening to commercials while I eat, but they did turn it down when I requested it, although I really wanted to ask that it be turned off.

Mar 08, 2010
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Saturday breakfast in Hinesburg or Vergennes?

That looks perfect - thanks!

Saturday breakfast in Hinesburg or Vergennes?

BM - the only "Papa Franks" I can find mention of on the web is an Ialian place in Winooski. Is this a stealth place in Hinesburg or possibly called something else?

Perhaps Papa Nick's?

Saturday breakfast in Hinesburg or Vergennes?

I think we do want a full breakfast, or at least that option, and figured that Vergennes probably had someplace good. We'll be in Middlebury and I know those places, but it will be closer to lunch time by then. Thanks for the mention of Papa Franks, although I hope that's the owner and not the menu!

Saturday breakfast in Hinesburg or Vergennes?

Partly, but mostly that we'd like to get out of the Burlington area before having breakfast. We're actually staying across the street from Libby's but, unlike some, I'm not a fan of theirs.

Saturday breakfast in Hinesburg or Vergennes?

I know there's places in Burlington, but the good ones open at 8 AM on weekends and we want to get on the road early. We're heading south, so wondered if there are any recs for these towns or in that area. Doesn't have to be fancy and hopefully not too slow.

How is Pasha now?

Reviews for this place (Arlington) seem very mixed, especially with service issues when they first opened, but also on the general quality of the food. I just saw that it can be unpleasant in winter as there is a waft of cold air entering every time the door opens. Just wondering if anyone has been there lately and what your take is?

Jan 11, 2010
velotrain in Greater Boston Area

Bday/anniversary weekend in Waterbury, VT

Morganna - I've always liked Park Row for breakfast - they have great omelets, but I find their homemade-bread toast a bit heavy (I can barely get through one piece). If you're saying Juniper's Fare is a better breakfast, where is it as I'll be up there in 3 weeks?

Ocha Thai is good and I thought better food and more reasonably priced than their place in Montpelier.

Alchemist may have good brew, but often gets much too crowded and loud for my taste (no doubt due to the good brew).

Boston To Burlington, VT

Tip-Top Cafe in White River Junction is a good lunch stop northbound, but would be closed on the way back - there was some discussion maybe a week ago. Just follow the signs for WRJ when you exit 89 and then stay straight for the village when 4/5 turn left across the bridge - it'll be a block up on the left with a parking area adjacent. Be careful when you get back on 89N - easy to get on 91S instead. Plenty of past discussions on Burlington - many like Single Pebble while others are not so impressed. I like Restaurant Phoebe in Montpelier - maybe an early dinner on the way back?

St. Albans, VT - Breakfast

This is for St. Albans - not Burlington. If I wanted Burlington, I would have posted for it.

St. Albans, VT - Breakfast

I'm going to be there and don't want the hotel continental breakfast. There used to be a great place that I think was called Red Roof, but I can't find any mention of it. Don't know if the motel chain got after them for the name or what happened to them. Looking for a diner/family-type place that serves traditional (full) breakfast.

Westport, NY (Lake Champlain)

Any options for breakfast besides the hotel and inns? Recs for dinner - looks like 3/4 options.

Recommendations along route from Saint Johnsbury to Derby Center, Vermont.

Glad you liked it - just saw your review of East Side on your NEK thread and pointed out that you should have gone to Lago instead - apparently you did another night!

Vermont's North East kingdom

Lago Trattoria is a MUCH better choice in Newport - no view, but excellent food (not SYSCO).

Suggestions for Lunch and Dinner in Arlington/Bennington/Manchester Vermont Area

Since you don't want to spend a fortune, Pangaea is not the place. Instead, try Allegro in downtown Bennington (same owner). Alldays and Onions in Bennington is good all the time. I've passed through Arlington but not eaten there. My impression of Manchester is that it's a Vermont theme park for well-to-do New Yorkers et al.

Not quite N.E. - Plattsburgh, N.Y. breakfast

I realize there's a NYC board, but thought folks in the greater Burlington area might have more info on this, or perhaps Plattsburgh residents might scan this board.

I've led many bicycle tours through Plattsburgh and we've always stayed at the Super 8 on Rt. 9 at Moffitt Road because I didn't want to subject the riders to the traffic nightmare of the I-87/NY 3 interchange and Gus's (adequate) is across the street for breakfast. However, it looks like the quality (of the motel) has seriously declined and I'm considering more contemporary lodging in town or along the strip.

What I'm wondering is - what, if anything, is available for breakfast along the western end of 3, west of the interstate, as we may be at the Hampton Inn or Microtel to avoid the worst of the strip east of the interstate? These folks need serious fuel, not a hotel continental breakfast. Sometimes we went to the Cumberland Cafe, but that's been gone for years. Other lodging / breakfast ideas welcome - downtown/SUNY areas perhaps? For dinner, we plan to hit Iris's one night and Anthony's Bistro the other, as we've had good experiences with both in the past.


Agree on Sweetwaters but find the Burlington Three Tomatoes (at least inside)unpleasant and much too noisy due to the hard surfaces - the one in Rutland is much more pleasant and relaxed. I used to go to the Brewery for the fine smoked porter (not for the food or atmosphere), but they stopped making it and instead put the smoke in the stout where it's totally wasted - what a dumb move.

I know board opinions are split on Leunig's, but they have an early (and late) bird special that I thought was a great deal (app. + main for $15) and even offer a $2 glass of wine with it - too bad you can't get a $2 pint!

Red's Eats in Wiscasset, Maine - Overrated?

Is that the place you can smell the grease from a mile away (at least approaching it by bike)

Recommendations along route from Saint Johnsbury to Derby Center, Vermont.

Lago Trattotia in Newport:

Probably not dog friendly though - few top restaurants are,

Addison County recs?

A recent memory - I led a bike tour thru Brandon 2 weeks ago and eight of us had a very nice dinner there. Good food and non-tiny portions.