Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pho Paris Peabody

Pho Paris in Peabody still doesn't have a website, and I haven't really found a readable menu anywhere. I was here earlier in the year and had an excellent #41 Pho Special Combination (Pho Dac Biet). This was really one of the best I have had, so I was curious how they would do on other noodle soups.

I turned off Rte 1 one plaza early and thought they had closed before I got my bearings back.

The inside is neat and impeccably clean.

Every table has a condiment tray with everything you would need, including the small dishes in case you want your Sriracha on the side.

I started with an order of Fried Egg Rolls ($4.75). "Pork, Shrimp, taro and thin vermicelli in crispy wrapper. Served with sweet fish sauce". The rolls were a bit dense and dry. I think I prefer their Spring Rolls.

It's a noodle soup so you get all the accouterments, including the often listed, but rarely seen sliced jalapeno peppers.

Here is the 56 "Shank and Pork Soup Large Vermicelli With Pork Knuckle" ($9.95). The pork broth was excellent, rich and porky with a hint of heat. The noodles could have been cooked a little bit less, but they weren't mushy. There isn't much meat on the pork knuckles, but I knew that. This was a really tasty noodle soup that I enjoyed. They really have an extensive menu. 157 items on the menu.

Address 136 Newbury St, Peabody, MA 01960
Phone number (978) 535-8339

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Crying Thaiger Malden

Crying Thaiger in Malden opened very recently in a spot previously occupied by a Chinese restaurant. They do Thai food and Thai street food. They also have lunch specials. I think the name is clever.

A very impressive sign. There are free on-street parking and much to my surprise, free parking after the metered parking lot on the other side of the street. I wish I had known about this before since parking can be scarce on the street with a popular dim sum place next door.

The main dining room was nice and bright. The place looks way better now after the redecoration.

The other dining area.

The menu said that their feature dish would take 15-20 minutes to prepare, so I started with the Honey Ribs ($8.95). "Honey and spices glazed roasted spare ribs, cilantro, scallion, pickled garlic, honey". For 9 dollars I got four small skinny ribs that didn't look roasted at all. They where tender and sweet and sticky, so they got that part right.

Their signature dish is the Crying Tiger ($13.95). "Signature marinated, grilled beef brisket sprinkled with ground toasted rice. Served with Crying Thaiger's signature Jaew sauce (Dry chili toasted rice, lime juice, numpla, tamarind juice, shallot, cilantro) and seasoned vegetables". Prep time 15-20 minutes said the menu. There is no way you can get brisket tender in 20 minutes unless it's precooked and then it wouldn't take 20 minutes, so something is off here. This arrived in about 10 minutes and guess what? No brisket, instead I got two N.Y. Strip steaks partially sprinkled with the toasted rice. They were cooked medium well and had never seen a marinade. The veggies were OK but there was no trace of any seasoning. The big star was the Jaew sauce that was really delicious with a bit of heat and a really complex taste. I also got some jasmine rice ($1.95) that was nice and fluffy. The dish comes in about four variants, and I think the pork version should be even better. I also have to go back and try a lunch curry.

Address 114 Ferry St Malden, MA 02148
Phone 781-480-1243

Friday, November 17, 2017

Villa Mexicana Acton

Villa Mexicana in Acton took over the space vacated by Ixtapa, that will not be missed.

They are in Nagog Park, so there is plenty of parking. It's a bit of a hike to get here, but it's a beautiful day today, and they have a lunch Groupon.

Pleasant bar area.

Big cavernous dining area with completely unadorned tables. There are booths in the back.

You get complimentary chips and salsa. The chips were OK, could have been fresher. The salsa was way too sweet for me. Good quality napkin, terrible quality silverware.

I started with the Posole (8) from the dinner menu. No description since it's not on the online dinner menu yet. The Posole was excellent, rich and smoky with a good amount of heat and tasty carnitas. I was less excited by the big chunks of cabbage on top. How do you eat those with a spoon? I only got a few minutes to try this since my mains arrived before I got to finish this.

They have a lunch menu that is not online yet. This is the Burrito Bowl (10). "Poblano rice, Black beans, guacamole, cheddar cheese, with Pico de gallo, topped off with sour cream". Hold the sour cream. You then pick your meat that is an additional charge, and I went with the carnitas (+2). Pricing thing this way doesn't make me happy since it looks like a surcharge. They should have priced it as carnitas (12). The carnitas was excellent, moist and very tasty. The poblano rice was cold and completely lacked poblanos, and it was also mushy. The beans were cooked nicely. but was completely unseasoned.Salt and pepper helped a bit, but where is the citrus, where are the garlic and cummin? Not sure what to do with the cold cheddar cheese? The guacamole was fine, but should not have been served with the pico de gallo, now I got guacamole with pico de gallo when trying to eat the guac. They have only been open for a couple of months, so hopefully, things will improve. I'll be back in the spring for some more of that Posole.

Address 103 Nagog Park, Acton, MA 01720
Phone  978-429-8496

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Brothers Taverna Salem

Armed with a Groupon for 20% cash back and a Yelp check-in for the same discount, I headed up to Brothers Taverna in Salem.

Once there was a chain of five Brothers locations, but they are now all independently owned. Brothers Kuizina is still owned by the founder. They are located next door to my favorite parking garage. 25¢/hour.

The inside was nice and bright with pleasant blond furniture. It was actually brighter inside, despite what the picture shows. Open kitchen in the back.

This is the Country Breakfast (9). "Three eggs any style with sausage patties, biscuit & sausage gravy". I really like that they say "sausage patties" and not breakfast sausage since that is very confusing. My three eggs over easy were cooked perfectly. The biscuits were nicely toasted and light. The sausage patties were well seasoned and really tasty. The sausage gravy was also excellent, seasoned well and properly peppery. This is how home fries should look, crispy, well seasoned and there were onions in there as well.

I also ordered a small Shrimp Scampi Pizza (14). "Shrimp, garlic, basil, Romano cheese, diced tomatoes & mozzarella". This was a really nice and tasty pizza with an excellent crust. It was, however, a bit light on the shrimps. Service was very friendly. This was an excellent lunch that I really enjoyed.

Address 283 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970
Phone number (978) 741-4648

Brothers Taverna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, November 10, 2017

Margaritas Lexington

I signed up for Margaritas Circle of Friends rewards program since I had had some decent food here and today I went to their Lexington location to use my 25% discount.

It still irks me that I can't hang a left to get to them.

I'm not sure why the hostess seated me in the bar, where it was noisy, the music was loud, and the service was slow. Today the cold chips were stale, but the salsa is still good. Of course you get the tacky rolled up silverware with a minuscule napkin.

I had a really good and well prepared Chile Relleno at their Waltham location, so I was really looking forward to this. Chile Relleno ($11.99). "Available while they last on Friday and Saturday only. Roasted whole, fresh poblano pepper battered and stuffed with cheese, topped with mild red chile sauce and crema. With Mexican rice and beans". I added Shrimp (+$2). What's the point of battering and deep-frying the chile, if you then smother it in cheese? The cheese is supposed to go on the inside. Read the description. Between the thick layer of cheese and the sauce, the small poblano itself almost disappeared. The shrimp was good as was the refried beans.

Address 438 Bedford Rd, Lexington, MA 02420
Phone number (339) 970-2250

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Liberty Bell Melrose

The research into the Super Beef three-way continues today with a stop at Liberty Bell in Melrose.

They are conveniently located in the same plaza as Whole Foods, in case you want to spend your whole paycheck.

They closed for a while in October to renovate the place. Not sure what changed since this was my first visit to a Liberty Bell. You order at the counter, pay and then wait for your food.

Super Beef (7.50). "Served on a buttered toasted onion roll". I ordered it Three Way (+30¢) with Horseradish sauce. The receipt doesn't show the up charge, just that my total was 7.80. The online menu has this priced as 7.30 and the cheese as 50¢ so that adds up to 7.80, but the menu board in the restaurant had it priced at 7.50. Anyway, the buttered Onion Roll was toasted, the roast beef was plentiful and tender. The horseradish sauce was tasty, I just wish there was more of it. The cheese was not melted. This isn't exactly cheap, I can get a sit down meal with table service for about the same amount of money.

Address 866 Main St, Melrose, MA 02176
Phone number (781) 662-6900

Liberty Bell Roast Beef & Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Village Restaurant Essex

This is really the best time to go to the North Shore. Beautiful sunny fall days, no traffic and no tourists. After my previous visit to Village Restaurant in Essex, I have been waiting to try their Wednesday special.

If they have been in business since 1956, they must be doing something right.

I'm not sure what you call this extension, but it's nice and bright.

You get some bread and cornbread and some really cold butter.

The Wednesday special is the Seafood Pie (14.99). "Lobster, Crab & Shrimp baked with seasoned crumbs". You have a choice of carbs, and I went with the French Fries. The fresh vegetable morphed from asparagus into a vegetable medley, so I just went with the cole slaw. The french fries were of the previously frozen variety but was cooked really nicely. The slaw was fine but was swimming in liquid. The pie had a thick crust of crumbs. The seafood was mostly small shrimp that was not deveined. The lobster part was three small claws, and I think the crab was the real thing.

Address 55 Main Street, Essex, MA 01929
Phone number (978) 768-6400