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cookboat55's Profile

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Chinese Bakery in Chinatown?

Looking for advice from folks who know more about Chinatown than I do! I'm planning to make steamed pork buns some time soon, but I don't want to actually make my own steamed buns. I hear they're available frozen at a lot of Asian supermarkets, but I was wondering if there was somewhere good I could buy them fresh.

Any advice on good Chinese or Japanese or Korean bakeries that might have fresh steamed buns? I work near Chinatown, but I am willing to travel. What about frozen buns - any store that you rely on for these?

Thanks in advance!

How long does the Per Se 9-course tasting take?

I'm sorry if this is redundant! I did a search and there are just so many posts on Per Se (and some very strong opinions as well), but I couldn't find an answer to this specific question. I have a 10 o'clock reservation on a Friday night. Will I still be sitting at my table at 3 o'clock in the morning? I've heard the tasting menu can take five hours.

What about the tasting menu at Jean-Georges? Eleven Madison? I know the relative merits of these three restaurants have been compared on these boards a thousand times - I just want to know how they compare in terms of meal duration!

Thanks in advance!

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Sep 24, 2010
cookboat55 in Manhattan

Source for citric acid?

Wow, this is a ton of helpful information! I need citric acid because I'm making a few recipes from the Alinea cookbook, and I forgot to order it on-line a week ago. Don't suppose any of you know where I can get agar agar or glucose, do you?

Thanks, everyone!

Source for citric acid?

Does anyone know where I can find citric acid in the Boston area? I thought Christina's Spices in Inman for some reason, but their phone has been temporarily disconnected. I guess a follow-up question is: what's going on at Christina's?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Burrata: Don't try the trader joe's version!

Fiore do Nonno is the best burrata I've ever had. They carry it at Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville (call ahead - it goes quick), and it's available at the Davis Square Farmers' Market. They also sell it at the Sienna Farms stand at the Copley Square market.

David Drew : new chef @ cambridge brewing company

Atwood's is now open for lunch on Fridays, I think, and they're not far from Kendall Square. I always love their weekend brunch, but I haven't had the chance to try lunch yet. I bet it's good, though!

Verjus source

I found it at South End Formaggio, next to the vinegars. Thanks, bowmore, for the tip! Unfortunately, I didn't love it as a sorbet, but my family did. Anyway, it's good to know where I can get it in the future.

Verjus source

Anyone know where I can buy a bottle of verjus around Boston today? I'm hoping to make verjus sorbet with poached peaches this weekend. Ever seen it around?

Thanks in advance, Hounds!

Nice dinner at a bar?

My boyfriend is blowing me off this Saturday night. I'm visiting Chicago from Boston, and we're having dinner at Alinea on Friday night. What I'm looking for now is a nice, pretty fancy restaurant sort of near my hotel where I can have dinner and drinks at the bar by myself. I'm staying on East Wacker Drive. Any advice?

May 06, 2008
cookboat55 in Chicago Area

Gran Gusto: Great, and Now Open Sundays

I've been hoping for this news flash! I often have dinner with my folks on Sunday evenings, and North Cambridge is a midpoint between our two towns. I've been dying to try Gran Gusto since it opened. Any other menu suggestions besides the margherita pizza, which I will definitely order?

What's your favorite neighborhood spot?

I went to Highland Kitchen for the first time last week. Really nice vibe, the bartending and service were both lovely, but I thought the food was pretty bad. The beet salad was ok, but the fish and chips was disgusting. All batter, no fish, and the fries were greasy, little, undercooked fingers. There was nothing special about the cole slaw, and the tartar sauce was missing. Did I just order wrong? I surprise myself with how often I do that.

Boston Hound coming to Chicago for a weekend

Thanks for the tip, guys. We're in! Dinner for 4 at the unfashionable hour of 5:30 on a Friday. I'm psyched. Does anybody know how often the menu changes (if ever)? Am I in for the tasting posted on Alinea's website? I have a shellfish allergy (sob!) and I know they'll make adjustments for me. Does anyone know what I might see instead of lobster?

I can't wait for this meal, and for the chance to try some real chow finds. And, of course, to catch the Red Sox taking on the Cubs!

Apr 22, 2008
cookboat55 in Chicago Area

Boston Hound coming to Chicago for a weekend

I'm another Boston hound planning a trip to Chicago in mid-May. I am dying to try Alinea, and have convinced the boyfriend to join me. What are the chances we can get a reservation for 4-7 people with just a couple weeks' notice? I left a message at the restaurant and am waiting to hear back, but if it's very, very unlikely I'll get a table, I'd like to start preparing for disappointment now. What are the comparable restaurants I could visit instead?

The rest of this thread is also very helpful. Thanks!

Apr 21, 2008
cookboat55 in Chicago Area

O Ya help

You're right, MC, about the necessity of credit cards and deposits and all that. I guess it just makes me feel like they don't trust me right away, whereas I see myself as a reliable and trustworthy reservation-maker and I would never not cancel if my plans changed. But they don't know me, so why should they trust me?

Anyway, I didn't intend for my post to sound like an argument against O Ya for requiring a deposit. I meant to be saying that, in spite of all the press and the hype and the credit card numbers, you can still go there for a spontaneous dinner. Maybe not with a large party, but they were happy to serve my party of one spur-of-the-moment style. In a pretentious restaurant, I might have felt uncomfortable eating alone. But O Ya has a certain relaxed and friendly informality that made me feel quite welcome.

O Ya help

The $50 deposit is new. I always think it's a little tacky when restaurants require a credit card number with a reservation, but I guess I understand why they do it.

Just an fyi about reservations in advance at O Ya: I know it's wicked hard to get a table now, but I walked in at 8:00 on Tuesday night and got a seat by myself at the bar. I was all by my lonesome, but the seat next to me was empty the whole time I was there.

First Banh Mi Sandwich

I know! I don't know what came over me, but I drove past Mei Sum just to scope the location, and my car just drove itself over to East Street. Worth it!

First Banh Mi Sandwich

Thanks for all these replies. Since it was too late for Chinatown banh mi by the time I finished up at the gym, I had a sinful little meal at O Ya instead. I wanted to see if anything had changed since the Bruni review. Now, I just need to find a long enough lunch hour to get to Mei Sum and Pho Viet someday soon...

First Banh Mi Sandwich

Anybody know if Mei Sum is open for dinner take-away? Never been, and I think tonight's the night.


Some places have weird rules about take-out. You can't get pasta to-go at Via Matta, but you can order anything else for take-out. I guess it does dampen the atmosphere at a fancy place to have people coming and going, picking up paper bags at the hostess station. I love ordering take-out at nice restaurants (love good food, can't get boyfriend out the door), but I'm always afraid of offending. I usually get a glass of wine at the bar and ask the bartender if they would mind placing a take-out order for me.


Might be off-topic, but I'm asking anyway. Do you guys think Orinoco would frown upon a take-out order?

Lonely Valentine's Take-out

What is Chili Duck? I've never heard of it. Also, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never been to Tamarind Bay, even though I love Indian food. What should I order there (I'm partial to paneer).

Lonely Valentine's Take-out

OK, so I'm not that lonely; the Boyfriend is just working tonight. I work in Boston (Back Bay) and live in North Cambridge, and I'm driving from one city to the other tonight. Where should I stop to pick up some tasty take-away? Open to any suggestions.

Best Scallion Pancake?

Which do people prefer - the regular scallion pancakes or the garlic chive pancakes from M&C?

Looking for Restaurant Near Lanes & Games in Cambridge

While you're at it - if you like bowling and Redbones, bowl at Sacco's in Davis Square and save everyone the drive.

The search for Puff Pastry...

I make my own puff pastry when I have time, but it does freeze very well and the DuFour is the only way to go. It's the only one I've found that's all butter. The Pepperidge Farm stuff puffs nicely but is made with shortening, and the flavor really, really suffers. DuFour at Whole Foods is expensive, but it's the closest thing to making it from scratch.

Best of Boston for Dinner

They stopped serving lunch 6 months ago. They reopened for lunch to catch the holiday crowds in December.

A good place for a pregnant lady?

I love Ten Tables too and recommend it often, but I have a hard time maneuvering around the tables in that tiny space, and I'm on the thin side. If I were pregnant with twins, the trip down those narrow stairs to the bathroom would terrify me.

My office is moving to the Back Bay - where will I have lunch now?

What are the good lunch spots in Back Bay? My office is moving to a new space near Arlington Street and Boylston. We're in Davis Square now and I usually take-out and eat at my desk. Sandwiches, soup, and sushi are the norm for me. What are my options? I usually spend between $5 and $10 on lunch. Is the Parrish Cafe any good? Thanks in advance for any advice!

Mozzarella di Bufala in Boston

Sure is. I saw FdN burrata at Pemberton first, but I haven't seen it there lately. But both Formaggio (Huron Ave.) and Dave's Fresh Pasta have it, which is perfect for me since I'm at both places all the time. I think it comes in towards the end of the week, but I'm not sure. She makes it in small batches, of course. I know she also supplies cheese to Oleana, but I don't know if Ana Sortun has put the burrata on the menu there. Enjoy!

Mozzarella di Bufala in Boston

Fiore di Nonno is great cheese! Try the fresh burratta with a glass of prosecco and some fruit on the next balmy evening we get. I did just that on my back porch a few weeks ago and it was heaven.