NYA Joe's Profile

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Thanksgiving Sandwich/Wrap in Cambridge Area?

I vote NO to All Star's Gobbler...very, very dry meat, the big no-no for a sandwich. I just had it today. Other sandwiches were good, but this one was a non-starter. Plus the cranberry relish, as someone else said, was way tart/sour and not sweet at all. Bread was OK...stuffing was stingy. Nothing special here, folks.

Aug 14, 2013
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

New Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 2nd Quarter 2011 [old]

Agree with Yay for honey mustard pretzel bits...better than Snyders
Also yay for salsas...in particular the corn one and the tomatillo one
Yay for orange chicken

Apr 30, 2011
NYA Joe in Chains

New Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 2nd Quarter 2011 [old]

From a non-TJ-junkie:
Yays
Triple layer hummus - the first hummus I actually liked
Beef hash - nothing like homemade hash, but always ready to go, perfect for guests
Macadamia nut mix...the one with pineapples - my current favorite nut mix
Beef jerky - I might have had better, but not among big brands or even through mail order
Croissants - frozen, plain or chocolate; wow, so that's what they taste like fresh baked!

Nay
Peanut Butter - Valencia? Rated best by some magazine...tastes "gourmet" in a bland way
Nacho dip - very beany, not that flavorful, pass

Apr 30, 2011
NYA Joe in Chains

The Chocolate Tarte, a bakery in Somerville

Iggy's has great pecan rolls (though I can imagine better)...better than Flour's overrated, overly sweet ones. I like Iggy's cinnamon raisin swirl...a superb example of that pastry.

Sep 10, 2010
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Gender Bending in Restaurant Restrooms

Women, for the love of hygiene, DON'T do it! Urinals are not the only "manly" thing in men's room...urine splattered everywhere including all over the toilet seat is very common. Lots of guys really don't give a ****. I would treat a men's room toilet seat like the electric chair...try not to wind up there. I want to know if it's OK for me to use the Women's room...so much cleaner!

Mar 04, 2010
NYA Joe in Features

Best Baked Beans in Beantown?

I'm always hosting people from around the country and from overseas. When I do "Best of (Quintessentially) Boston" food, I have no place to go for baked beans. Any recommendations?
FYI, I saw the Food Network plug for Durgin Park, but I've never tried theirs.

Aug 29, 2009
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Ok, I'll give you 4 dollars, where are you going to spend it for lunch. And here's the catch- no pizza.

Go to Anna's Taqueria, get an Al Pastor quesadilla, enjoy. If you don't like pork, their steak quesadilla is also superb. The problem is that they're so tasty I'm licking my chops after eating one and wondering if I can eat another. As a couple of people mentioned, there are several Chinese food trucks at MIT that will stuff you for $4, but it's been a while since I've been there, so no specific recs.

Aug 29, 2009
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

What's BETTER UNCLE PETES OR BLUE RIBBON

I have a soft spot for Uncle Pete's (when they were in E. Boston), where I had some really memorable pork ribs, plus some southern hospitality in the form of Pete himself dropping by the table and shooting the bull about his personal bbq philosophy, etc. However, all the reports from my friends since their move to Revere have been negative. Blue Ribbon is a place I WANT to like. The owners are great guys. They are nearby. They seem to be popular on CH. But maybe my friends and I are the only ones who have been disappointed most every time we went. I wouldn't say it's terrible, but perhaps I'm ashamed it's supposed to be the best in Boston. I go there once every 3-4 months for a quick fix, but only because it's nearby. My current favorites are Lester's (best brisket in Boston...though a bit fatty, at least they're not choking-dry), and SoulFire (solid entrees...great sides). Redbones is only passable for large catering jobs, where you have to lower your expectations anyway. The Pit Stop was good the one time I went...but not the beef ribs, just the pork. If all the bbq joints were lined up outside my house, I would probably go to M&M the most, because of the bang-for-buck. They don't do anything stand-out, but they have lots of interesting items and their prices are noticeably lower (being sold out of a truck helps!). Firefly was not bad...I thought for large groups, they had a great "picnic" package deal. The ribs were very mediocre...same goes for Famous Dave's. I have a(nother) soft spot for Village Smokehouse. They get rocked on most reviews, but I think I like their sauce, their sausage and their fries the best. Texas Smokehouse's ribs are supposed to be award-winning. I think they're a poor imitation of real smoked ribs, but they have their fans...and besides, the restaurant has plenty of other tasty non-bbq items. East Coast grill has acceptable bbq, but when I go there, I want to eat non-bbq food. Tennessee's was very mediocre...a common pattern for all the chain bbq joints. Next on my try list is Smoken Joe's. My one wish is for the Food Network to stop doing bbq specials from the South...they're torturing me to no end.

Jul 22, 2008
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Thank you very much for the clarification. I made up a map of all the places listed in this topic...and I'm sad to say that many of them are bunched up so I'll have to pick from one or two among the clumps. I'll try to report about my experience afterwards, for those interested.

Mar 21, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Wow, I've been on google for a while...I cannot find any address that matches the description above: York, Highland Park, Avenue 54, 53, La Estella or Pinque.

Mar 21, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Real L.A. tacos...from a truck? I'm drooling. Oh man...let me look at the map...

Mar 20, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Oh man...I love Thai food. And thanks for the Mexican recommendations...a taco stand outside a car wash is exactly what I want to try. I wouldn't have the guts to try any random one. But a Hound-recommended one is a must-try.

OK, time to make a map of all the places and see how many I can actually hit, lacking the powers of Superman nor riding Santa's sleigh.

Mar 20, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Thanks for the Chinese Chicken Salad recommendation...that is exactly the sort of thing I want to try. The only edible version I can get in Boston is at the Cheesecake Factory. But I remember the one I had 12 years ago at Souplantation and it was pretty good at half the price, along with the rest of the salad buffet. I am hoping the one at Calif. Chicken Cafe is even better...

Mar 20, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

Restaurant week sucks! [moved from Boston board]

I just had two awesome RW experiences in a row. I'm an amateur and take full advantage of the freedom that comes with that title. I went to Fleming's and Ruth's Chris, both times for steak, and both times ordered the NY Strip. Those were two of the best steaks I've ever had. Disclaimer: I don't go to these places under normal circumstances, nor the Oak Room or Grill 23, etc. I'm a Bugaboo or Outback guy, because I can't afford a real steakhouse...except during RW. What do these places get from me? I'm reminded how a good steak tastes, and I'll patronize these restaurants for those very, very special events in my life, when cost is no object. By the way, I've also had completely disappointing RW experiences. I've yet to find anything worth even RW prices in Harvard Square. And many RW places are not even a good deal, so why go during a crowded, hectic time when establishments are trying to cut every corner? By the way, I'm going for 3-for-3 with The Palm!

Mar 18, 2008
NYA Joe in Not About Food

So-so RW meal at Upstairs on the Square

Had a similar experience there last year...honestly, still looking for worthy RW dining in Harvard Square.

Mar 18, 2008
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Wow, JeetJet, thank you very much! I'm drooling already...can't wait to get on that plane Monday morning!

Mar 18, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Emme, thank you...I didn't specify route because it depends on the recommendations I get from this board! 8b

Thank you very much for those names!

Mar 18, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Hello Emme, thank you for suggesting Pann's and Aunt Kizzy's. If you know of any specific taco or burrito taqueria, I'd appreciate it.

I'm interested in anything that's different, in a good way. I know L.A. will have superior Mexican, Korean, and anything with fresh veggies or fruit (I love Souplantation - nothing like it in NE; and my friends know a box of Bluejay mandarin oranges from L.A. is my idea of friendship!). But I'm just as sure that L.A. has put its own flair into burgers (Hound "rogermexico" has stoked my fire about the Kobe burger!), pizza, hot dogs, BBQ, desserts, etc. For example, I would have gone to L.A. for Pink Berry, if they hadn't opened up in NY. So, I'm easy to please. I've been going through the chain restaurants up to now, but with the help of the Hounds, I know I can graduate to local eateries and one-of-a-kind dishes. Thanks for asking!

Mar 15, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Thank you all for your terrific suggestions! I can't wait to get to L.A...not just for the weather! If you ever plan to drop by New England, drop me a line!

Mar 15, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

NE hound on a mad dash through L.A. needs help

Hello Fellow Hounds in L.A.,
I'm going to L.A. the week after Easter Sunday, and I really need some advice. I'm looking for
"roadfood" or "dives, drive-ins, and diners" kinds of places on any route between LAX -->
Fullerton --> Irvine --> Pasadena --> LAX. Alas, I don't have time for a fancy meal or off-the-beaten-path restaurant. I just like to eat things I can't get in New England/NY. I've
been to L.A. perhaps 7-8 times and was married there (to a local gal). My favs so far, to
give you an idea: In&Out burger, El Pollo Loco, and Marie Callendar's strawberry pie (the best
pie I've ever had). This time, my only must-try is Jay Bee's BBQ. You get the idea that I don't
really know L.A.! Anyone willing to share your culinary wisdom? Thank you.

Mar 14, 2008
NYA Joe in Los Angeles Area

M&M Ribs in Roxbury

I'm a huge fan...I've been trying to go through their entire menu. But they keep doing these daily specials that derail me from making headway. I still haven't done any of their wings. The latest was a grilled pork sandwich for $5 that filled me up nicely and tasted very good. Before that was a special on a BBQ steak tip sandwich also for about 5 bucks. Not bad...very peppery which is good, and slathered with their excellent BBQ sauce. But steak tips are somewhat limited for me. Their pulled or chopped anything is awesome...you have to try their chopped brisket...the only non-dry brisket it town.

Oct 30, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

is there a sushi buffet place in boston?

Do you literally mean in Boston, or Metro Boston, or Metro/Suburban Boston? Minado is the best, IMHO, as prav mentioned, but it's way out in Framingham. Closer to Boston proper is the Tue night all-you-can-eat at Mr. Sushi (Arlington is the one I went to...but there is at least one other location). It's not technically a buffet with long serving stations, but you order what you want and they bring it to you. It's $25 if I remember correctly and the quality is not bad. There are many chinese buffets that have some sushi, but those are generally to be avoided. Although I went to one in Maine that blew my mind because it was so cheap - full Chinese buffet plus sushi/sashimi for $10, and not that bad quality.

Oct 29, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

bay village: rachel's kitchen closing

Wow, my procrastination is being rewarded...I've been trying to make it all the way to Rachel's for a long time. Now, it's moving into my town. Sorry to rub it in...your loss is our gain. Hope the new owners of the Bay Village space are just as good!

Oct 29, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Mid-afternoon bite in Harvard Square?

At the risk of CH wrath, I personally like the chains: John Harvard's Brew House (it's got Harvard in the name), Au Bon Pain (people-watching Harvard Sq institution), Bertucci's (free lunch salad), and Le's (formerly Pho Pasteur - best food among the bunch).

Oct 29, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Fried Chicken?

Just a minor correction: M&M is on Hampden and Norfolk. I am a huge fan of M&M and I couldn't find it for the longest time because I tried every combination of "Hampton" and never got close to "Hampden" (bizarre!).

Oct 22, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Thin Crust Pizza - NY Style on the N Shore

Definitely throw out any hope of getting real NY pizza here...even many places in NY don't have it. I was embarrassed that my Los Angeles-born wife even pointed out that the pizza I said was NY-style in Boston was not NY-style at all. She reminded me that the dough needs to be more dough-y and chewy and not bready or biscuity. There is no hope of finding Ray's or Original Ray's or Famous Original Ray's in Boston. Once you get over the depression, you'll find that Boston pizza is not bad on its own terms! Lots of the recommendations below are fine. Unfortunately, I have to agree that Santarpios is decent but overrated, and that the Papa Gino's in Davis Square single-handedly ruined my view of Boston pizza for several years when I first arrived.

Oct 04, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Nachos, anyone?

I went on a nacho-fest one week before and emerged nacho'ed out. The Taqueria La Mexicana was perhaps the best deal. For the money, I got a huge round tin of thick cut tortillas under melted cheese and carnitas, and stuffed with the densest toppings on earth. It made a huge mountain of shades of brown and gray, snowcapped by sour cream and scallions IIRC. It was incredibly filling and quite tasty.

The Rudy's black bean nachos were underwhelming. There wasn't enough good stuff, especially under the top layer, to keep it from being dry and uninteresting by the end.

The Forest Cafe was not that memorable...literally I can't remember it, except that it was not that great nor that bad. The same goes for Jose's.

The place I really want to try is Beerworks...I've heard the cheese is well-distributed.

But I think nachos are best as an appetizer in which you hand-wrestle everyone else to get all the good parts. The competition and smaller portions make it taste better. I am waxing philosophical about whether it's worth driving any distance for the nachos per se. Rather, I might go out with the kids for some steak, go to Bugaboo, and make sure to get their BBQ chicken nachos.

Oct 04, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

M&M Ribs - Report/Review

Well, I've been back to M&M again and again, trying different items from their menu. Their Jamaican jerk chicken was very good. I have only eaten jerk once before, at the old Rhythm & Spice. This jerk seemed totally authentic to someone who doesn't have a Jamaican cell in his body. You know what I'm talking about...there's something about homemade chicken dishes that unites cuisines all over the world: it's not pretty, the sauce is messy, the price is cheap, and when they say it's spicy, they're *serious*. These are all signs that they aren't aiming for the masses, but for the memory of momma. For about $4, you get a little tin of authentic-looking rice (dirty brown colored, messy and generous) covered with some tender chicken pieces with a semi-dry/pasty jerk rub over the top, and drippy jerk juices moistening everything. Keep the water nearby to put out the fire. I'm used to spicy Korean and Mexican food, and this jerk keeps up with them in terms of real fire. It's not the spiciest I've eaten, but it is the cheapest way to burn your tongue for lunch. It's not that big, but it was cheap and the portion was enough to give me food coma and incapacitate me for the afternoon.

I also tried the $5 brisket sandwich. M&M must stand for Mmmm & Mmmm, because this stuff just might be the best brisket I've had in Boston. I don't mean to get your hopes up too high. It's more of a chopped/pulled brisket and still can't compare to the stuff I had from Texas. But, keeping my yankee head bowed low in barbecue humility, I have to say that at least it ain't dry! I always try the brisket at every bbq joint I go to, because I'm trying to experience the magic of real brisket one more time, and because I'm a masochist. All the big names consistently disappoint with sliced pieces of half-cured jerky (OK, half joking...but they're all dry). This sandwich came in a Big Mac-like styrofoam, made with a good non-supermarket roll, and came in some kind of light juice/sauce which I was not familiar with. Was it the au jus of the brisket? Was it a very light vinegar bbq sauce? Both? Anyway, it was great. The bottom of the roll was soaked and made it hard to eat, adding to the authenticity of the experience. If you take it to go, I would ask for the roll on the side.

Oct 04, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Wagamama's preview opening

Went to the Harvard Sq. one with a big group and was able to taste many dishes. This is definitely not authentic, and I'm glad they don't pretend to be (instead of wearing kimonos they look like Soviet Guardian Angels or something). All the food tastes...hmm...unique, because it's Japanese/Asian filtered through Euro-western taste buds. My group was mostly Asian, and we all liked our dishes, from several types of ramen to the fried rice to the yakisoba. Everything tasted a little "off" to the purists, but not "unpleasant." The service was a bit clumsy (trouble getting the right dishes to people despite writing down the menu item number on the disposable placemat, billing problems, etc.). But in the end the food is the point, and the food here was not good enough to warrant a repeat outing (although it might be fine if you happen to be in the area). The general impression split between, "makes me long for authentic ramen", to "not bad, but annoyingly overpriced for what you get." Unfortunately, I don't know any real ramen shops in Boston. I think the main competition will be from the myriad Asian noodle places all over the city, from Chinese mein to Vietnamese pho to Thai and Taiwanese noodles, etc.

Oct 04, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area

Speed's on Saturdays!

Makes my mouth water...now's my chance to bring the whole family and get them hooked on Speeds! Besides, I need help eating that massive torpedo-in-a-roll. Thanks for this tip...no Chow, no know.

Sep 21, 2007
NYA Joe in Greater Boston Area