Monday, December 11, 2017

Cala's Manchester

This month The Serenitee Group loaded their Reward cards with $10 to be used at any of their 10 restaurants. I headed out to Cala's in Manchester, that is, Machester-by-the-Sea.

There is free on-street parking.

The inside is bright and intimate and very friendly.

The dining room.

I started with THAI MUSSELS (14). "Sauteed in yellow curry, lemongrass and coconut milk". The broth was very good and fragrant, and the mussels were cooked well. The light and fresh bread were only toasted on one side, but after dunking it on the broth, this made sense.

Then I picked the FISH TACOS (16). "Lightly blackened haddock on flour tortillas with guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce and spicy mayonnaise, served with black beans and rice". The fish was nice and flaky and seasoned really well, and the spicy mayo was spicy. The black beans were really good and fragrant with cumin, and with a good acidity. This was a really tasty dish.

They have the CRISPY CHICKEN WINGS (served with blue cheese dressing. Choose Spicy buffalo sauce, Teriyaki, BBQ sauce or Honey Habanero) as a 50¢ special on Sundays and Mondays, and much to my surprise, they were available as takeout, so I promptly ordered 16 of them with the spicy Buffalo sauce. I got a sample of the Honey Habanero that was very nice, but I decided to stick with the Buffalo version. After I got them, I asked if they come with celery and carrots? Wait a sec, said the waitress and celery and carrots promptly arrived. It turns out that they are not included in the special, but since I asked I got them. This made me a very happy customer, and it cost them maybe 50¢? The service was very pleasant.

Address 7 Beach Street, Manchester, MA 01944
Phone number (978) 525-3304

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Cala's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fiorella's Newton

I haven't been back to Fiorella's in Newton for quite a while, but I got an email announcing that the Secret Envelope is now available until the end of December in both their locations. It contains a surprise and can not be opened.

I'm also excited to see that they now have opened in Concord as well, and I can't wait to get over there. They took over the space that Bondir resided in.

The breadsticks (pizzasticks?) with the warm marinara sauce was as good as ever. Notice that you don't get a spoon here with your pasta.

I realized that I haven't had their much heralded meatballs, so I ordered them for lunch today. Linguini & Meatballs (11). "Our delicious homemade meatballs in our signature marinara sauce, served over linguini". I don't remember the ciabatta being that crusty on top. The meatballs were indeed very nice, moist and seasoned well. The pasta was cooked well.

Address 187 North St, Newton, MA 02460
Phone number (617) 969-9990

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

BonChon Salem

The first time I went to a BonChon for lunch I had the wings and the fries, and that's what I have had every time I visit and why not? Both the wings and drums are excellent, and the fries are outstandingly good. The spicy is occasionally spicy, and the garlic could use more garlic, but who cares with chicken this good. Now it was time to try something new.

They are located in downtown Salem with metered on-street parking.

The inside is nice and rustic, and you get chopsticks by default. The one in Lowell gives you rolled up silverware.

I was intrigued by the Takoyaki. "Fried octopus dumplings drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise, Katsu sauce and sprinkled with bonito flakes". It's alive! The heat from the dumplings make the bonito flakes move, and this was really cool. The bonito flakes were also smoky, and that was a new one for me. The dumpling was really tasty, but light on the octopus and some bits could have been more tender. Despite that, they were delicious.

Next was the classic Bibimbap. "White rice, assorted seasonal vegetables, topped with egg*, served in a sizzling stone bowl with Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang) on the side. Choice of topping: TOFU, SPICY CHICKEN, BULGOGI (+$1) OR SEAFOOD (+$1)". I went with the Spicy Chicken. There is a certain way to eat this. First, you add the Gochujang, and then you mix everything together, except the bottom layer of rice. You now have something that's trice HOT. The food is hot, the stone pot is even hotter, and the Gochujang adds heat as well. Now let this sit for a while so that the bottom crusts up. This is called socarrat in Spain and noo roong ji in Korean. Now mix everything up again so that the crusty bits from the bottom mixes with the soft rice and veggies and you have a bowl from heaven. This was really delicious, and it was a big bowl.

Address 299 Essex St. Salem, MA 01970
Phone number (978) 594-8256

Bonchon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Bacci's Stoneham

I have driven by Bacci's of Stoneham countless times and never even given them a thought. However, they got a few mentions here and there, so I thought I check them out today since I had to go to Stoneham anyway. My old standby for Italian was Felicia's up the street, but they just closed.

There is on-street parking and also parking behind the restaurant.

The front room sports a big bar and booth and table seating.

They have daily lunch specials and a lunch menu. I promptly got a basket of garlic bread, and they didn't hold back on the garlic or the oil. I could have had this for lunch and be happy. The waitress didn't think this was funny.

I decided to go with the Linguini with Clams (9). Sauce (Marinara, Fra Diavolo, or Scampi) and I picked Scampi. I was not sure what to expect for $9, so it was a real surprise when I got fresh clams that were perfectly cooked. The scampi sauce was very good, and the linguine was also cooked well. This was an excellent lunch, and I'll be back to try more dishes. The service was OK, could have been friendlier. I got a spoon with the pasta and to quote an NYT article"Spoons are for children, amateurs and people with bad table manners in general".

There is another fairly large dining room in the back.

Address 316 Main St (rt 28), Stoneham, MA 02180
Phone number (781) 438-9200

Bacci's of Stoneham Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Early Harvest Diner Wakefield

I had heard rumors that the homemade hash was really good at Early Harvest Diner in Wakefield, so on this gray and cold Sunday, I headed out there.

They are hidden in a small strip mall.

A big square room that was nice and bright. There is also counter seating after all this is a diner.

I was going for the Irish Benny, but then I spied the Jay’s Favorite (10.50). "3 eggs any style served over corned beef hash (made w/peppers & onions) topped with cheddar cheese crumbled bacon & choice of toast". My over easy eggs was a bit unevenly cooked with one being a bit snotty. The potatoes were cooked well and looked seasoned but weren't. They also needed salt and pepper. The toast was toasted well and nicely buttered. The homemade corned beef hash was really good but again it lacked seasoning. The crumbled bacon was a nice touch. See how much nicer it looks when the silverware is placed on top of the napkin? The service was very pleasant and friendly.

Address 25 Broadway Street, Wakefield, MA 01880
Phone number (781) 246-1975

Early Harvest Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, December 1, 2017

Turner's Melrose

I really enjoyed my visit to Turner's Salem at Lyceum Hall in Salem a while ago and have been planning a visit to Turner's Seafood Grill & Market in Melrose and today was the day.

There is on-street parking, 30 min on one side, and two hours on the other. Go figure. I'm finding more and more parking lots hidden away, but close to Main street.

The inside is very nice and classy. This is the first dining room that you encounter.

Big bar and the oysters etc are chucked right in front of you.

I got a nice high top if front of the windows. You get fresh warm rolls with butter that's actually spreadable. Nice napkins with good quality silverware.

I started with Turners Seafood Stuffed Clams (6). "With Scallops, Clams, Bacon, Breadcrumbs, Lobster cream". They were excellent and really tasty.

2 minutes later my main dish arrived. Who doesn't understand that the appetizer has to be finished before the food is brought out? I finished my clams, and the started on the now lukewarm FRIED POINT JUDITH CALAMARI (12). I picked the Slaw as my first side, but couldn't decide between the fries or the onion rings and when I asked the waitress, she said I could have half and half. Excellent! The clear winner was the thinly sliced onion rings, they were fried perfectly and had a really nice thin batter. Nothing wrong with the fries, but they paled next to the rings. The calamari was outstandingly good, super fresh and cooked perfectly with a very light batter. Of course, you get both tentacles and rings. Considering that the calamari plate at the nearby Liberty Bell is $12, why go there? Fried Calamari doesn't come better than this. The slaw was also very fresh but was a bit too buttermilky for me. The tartar sauce was super tasty. This was a super nice lunch, and a new standard for Fried Calamari has been set.

The manager stopped by and asked how everything was, and when I complained about the premature arrival of my food, he offered a free dessert and I picked something chocolaty with cream that I completely forgot the name of and their dessert menu is not available online. The service was very pleasant.

Address 506 Main St, Melrose, MA 02176
Phone number (781) 662-0700

Turner's Seafood Grill & Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rox Diner Newtonville

I think serving breakfast all day is a splendid idea, and today I headed out to Rox Diner in Newtonville for some. They also have another location in West Roxbury.

There is a big parking lot behind them and also street parking. Much to my delight, I found free parking nearby.

It's not a big place, and it doesn't really feel like a diner, but the inside is very pleasant. There is also counter seating in the back. This place gets insanely busy on the weekends.

This is the Chorizo Hash & Eggs (11.79). "HOMEMADE HASH TOPPED WITH TWO POACHED EGGS*. SERVED WITH CRISPY RED BLISS HOME FRIES AND LOCALLY BAKED TOAST". There was a number of choices for the toast, and I just went with the white, not expecting much. Instead, I got perfectly toasted and buttered bread that was just delicious. One poached egg was undercooked and snotty, and the other one was overcooked. How do they do that? It's the same pot, right? The unsalted but seasoned home fries were really good and cooked nicely. Crispy? Not really. The chorizo hash was really good and very tasty. Not exactly cheap, but the bread and the hash saved the day.

Address 335 Walnut St, Newton, MA 02460
Phone number (617) 916-1795

Rox Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato