Sunday, December 16, 2018

Urban Hearth Cambridge

I was really unsure if I was going to be able to find a seat at Urban Hearth in Cambridge for brunch. Their Prix Fixe 3 & 5-course dinner has received a lot of accolades.

They are located on Mass Ave before Porter Square. Metered on-street parking only. I found a spot just outside, and that was like a Miracle on Mass Ave.

Much to my surprise, there was plenty of seating available and I got a prime seat at the counter so I could bother the chef with questions. He seemed happy to answer them. There is a communal table to the left.

The inside is very inviting. Max seating is 24 inside and 9 outside.

I have never had a SHAKSHUKA (14) before. "Two eggs coddled in smoky tomato & pepper stew | feta | simple greens or roasted roots". I went with the simple greens, and they were super fresh with a very light dressing. This version of Shakshuka originated in Tunisia. This was an excellent dish with perfectly cooked eggs and a very intense sauce. The sauce was very tomatoey without the tomato overpowering the dish. It was also seasoned remarkably well, and I really enjoyed the meal. The bread is, of course, from Iggy's. Enough said. The chorizo for the breakfast tacos is made in-house. It always amazes me how small the kitchen area is.

Address: 2263 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140 Phone: (617) 682-7295

Friday, December 14, 2018

Bon Me Fresh Pond

I was in the area and decided to stop at Bon Me in Fresh Pond for lunch today.

Wonder what happened to the big sign? There is parking, but it's a very busy plaza.

The inside is bright with a few tables and also window seating. The chairs are not very comfortable, but they probably want you out of there as quickly as possible.

This is now called the namesake (7.5). "Our take on the vietnamese banh mi // toasted baguette stuffed with char siu BBQ pork, pickled carrots & daikon, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, pork pate, and spicy mayo". I also added sliced jalapenos (free). The bread was fresh, and you could taste both the pate and the mayo. Most of the pork was dry and doesn't really qualify for char siu since there was no glaze nor had it been BBQed. However, it was a very tasty sandwich.

Address 201 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138 Tel: (617)-945-2822

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mr. Mac's Tyngsboro

Technically Mr. Mac's are in Tyngsboro, but practically they are in South Nashua. You can see them from the road but not from the plaza itself.

They are facing DWH. There is plenty of parking. They are next door to Trader Joe's previous location.

The inside is nice and bright. I grabbed a high top next to the windows. The food is brought to your table when it's ready.

They had three monthly specials, and I was tempted by the Swedish Meatball one until I saw that it had sour cream in the sauce. There is no sour cream in the Swedish version. Instead, I went with the Bacon Cheddar Mac ($9.49). "A timeless combination of freshly shredded Cabot Sharp and Mild Cheddars cheese, with crispy bacon adding a smoky flavor and finished with a Mozzarella topping. Simple and scrumptious". The food came out reasonably fast and was piping hot. They have three sizes of skillets, and this was the small one. It was excellent with properly cooked macaroni and plenty of evenly distributed bacon. Who doesn't love Mac & Cheese? This was unheard of when I was growing up in Sweden. We just had macaroni with a bechamel sauce.

Address: 440 Middlesex Rd, Tyngsborough, MA 01879 Phone: (978) 939-6227

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Zaika Indian Bistro Woburn

I have been going to Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn for their lunch buffet since they opened in late '13. They have a sister restaurant in Bedford, Hola, that has a more extensive buffet.

They are located on Main Street and are close to the new municipal parking lot.

They have a smallish buffet (now $11), and everything is warm, and the food is quickly replenished. The place is small but impeccably clean and well maintained. The owner is super friendly and helpful. Most restaurants that do a buffet also lets you do takeout from it. Remember that the box not only has depth but also height ;-).

First trip to the buffet. The basmati rice is light and fluffy. The potato balls were OK, could have used some more seasoning. The veg pakora was a bit dry. The fish pakora had a very light batter and was cooked perfectly. The chicken today was the Kali Mirch Ke Tikey (Chicken, black pepper, herbs & spiced and cooked in the tandoori) and it was tasty and moist. The Chana Masala (chickpeas) was very tasty as was the Saag Paneer (spinach with cheese). The saag paneer had a bit of heat. You have a choice of garlic or plain Naan. The naan was very light and crispy. Linen napkins and good quality silverware.
They also have the traditional standbys like the British classic Chicken Tikka Masala. British? There are claims that a Pakistani chef, Ali Ahmed Aslam, proprietor of the Shish Mahal restaurant in Park Road in the city of Glasgow was the inventor of this dish.

Address: 442 Main St, Woburn, MA 01801 Phone: (781) 933-9090

Monday, December 10, 2018

Maggie's Farm Middleton

I have been to Maggie's Farm in Middleton a few times. My rewards card got loaded with $10, so it was time for another visit.

They have a smallish private parking lot that fills up quickly at lunchtime.

The inside is cool with a big bar. I managed to snag a high top in the bar.

On a previous visit, a table nearby had the Fat Seagull ($14), and it was a very generous serving. This was not. "Fried Haddock, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion Ring, Tartar Sauce". There was an option for lettuce wrap instead of the bun. There was no wrap. The onion ring was way overcooked and was mostly batter. The minuscule serving of fish was cooked well, and the tartar sauce was delicious. The hand-cut fries are excellent. I should have stuck with the burger.

Address: 119 S Main St, Middleton, MA 01949 Phone: (978) 539-8583

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Olde Magoun's Saloon Somerville

When Nift gives me a $20 off voucher to Olde Magoun's Saloon in Somerville, I go.

They are located in, surprise, Magoun Square. On-street metered parking only and it can be hard to find a spot.

It's a bar, and it was packed and loud as expected.

I started with a cup of Wicked Magoun’s Chili (5) from the brunch menu. "Loaded with steak, hamburger, kielbasa & sausage with melted jack cheese, topped with sour cream". Hold the sour cream. The chips were stale. The small cup of chili was a bit too sweet for me and also lacked the chili part. Unfortunately, the next dish arrived after I had just a couple of spoons of the chili.

This was followed by Country Biscuits & Gravy (13). "Thick peppery white gravy smothered over homemade sausage patty and homemade biscuits, 2 fried egg". No potatoes but each tower contained a whole biscuit. One egg was overcooked, and one was runny, but both were crispy. The sausage patties were very good and tasty. I wouldn't call the gravy thick, but it was peppery. They were super busy, so the service suffered a bit.

Address: 518 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02145 Phone: (617) 776-2600

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Anthony's Stoneham

Anthony's Italian Specialties in Stoneham is world famous in Stoneham for being home to the Large Italian. I'm not really a sandwich guy, but I have heard so many good things about this place, that I had to try it.

Anthony's are located on Main Street so it's either street parking or the municipal lot around the corner.

There are a few tables available and also counter seating next to the windows. I believe that the smiling guy is Anthony. Everybody was really friendly.

All the meats and cheeses are cut to order.

The Large Italian with Everything (9.95). I'm not sure what the Everything includes but there were a relish and tomatoes. This must have been 2 lbs of stuff, it was massive. It was tasty, but I think, for me, this was one of the: "Been there done that" deals. It was almost impossible to eat due to all the meat and cheese, and the "Everything" ended up on one side. I'll have the rest for dinner using a knife and fork. They do have a lobster salad special on Fridays, and I might try that.

This is how loaded it was. I added mayo to the bread and mustard to the meat. Still have 1/3 left.

Address: 408 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180 Phone: (781) 438-9840