Monday, April 30, 2012

La Carreta Nashua NH

La Carreta used to be a favorite of mine when I worked in Nashua and I try to stop by when I'm in the area. They do "Mexican" food really well without trying to pretend to be something they are not. Tex-Mex here are done well and with a very consistent quality and with a friendly and speedy staff, every visit is a pleasure.

Chips are homemade and plentiful and the salsa is OK. I like the little serving bottle they give you.

Today (and most of the times) I had the Lunch Special #4 Chile Relleno with a Beef Taco and Rice and Beans. The taco with ground beef is tasty and doesn't drip grease all over the place. The Chile Relleno is in my opinion the best one around, very thin and light batter then quickly deep fried and all the seeds have been removed. I really dislike it when the Chile isn't cleaned properly.

The thought of the Day.
None, it's Monday.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kashmir Salem NH

Kashmir does a nice little lunch buffet on weekends. This is fairly small place on S Broadway (Rte 28) in Salem NH and it's really easy to miss.

My first plate was Rice, Saag Paneer, Eggplant, Chickpeas, Tandoori Chicken and fried bread. Everything was really tasty and the Eggplant packed some serious heat, especially for a buffet. The chickpea preparation was different as well with a bit of tartness. Tandoori Chicken was tasty and moist. The fried bread was new to me and really excellent and was supposed to go with the chickpeas but went well with everything. I was going to post a picture of my second plate, but it looked exactly the same as the first one with the exception of the tandoori chicken, the second plate only had one drumstick ;-).

As you can see it's not the biggest buffet but everything I tried was really good. Skipped the Chicken Tikka masala and one other dish with veggies in gravy. There was naan available as well as a salad and the normal condiments. $9.95 and it's worth the money.

The thought of the Day.
Why do people pile up food on their plates when they are at a buffet? The foods is not going away..

Friday, April 27, 2012

MuLan Waltham

Friday so it's time for some exciting food!

One of my favorites here, lunch combo Chicken in Chili Sauce and again something got lost in translation since there is no sauce involved at all, but there are chilies, almost too much since this is an infernally hot dish. Roasted dried chilies, fresh green chilies and Sichuan Peppercorns. Luckily the Sichuan peppercorns aren't spicy but have a serious numbing effect so that you can take the rest of the heat. A much-needed cucumber salad and some Bok Choy and a Chicken Wing was also included.

Now we are back in normal business. 12:20PM and the place are absolutely packed and people are waiting to be seated.

The thought of the Day.
If you are a party of six or more and are going to a busy restaurant, it might be smart to call ahead and put in a reservation.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tre Monte' Woburn

Tre Monte' Woburn in downtown Woburn is a really nice family run place and it has been a favorite since they opened and when they expanded the bar and the kitchen it become even better. They put in a fryolator in the kitchen and then started serving Fried Calamari! I expected the lunch menu to be limited but most of the dinner menu is there plus about 10 sandwiches has been added. Most prices are in the $10 range or below. They only serve lunch Wednesday to Friday.

Starting off with some warm bread and flavored olive oil for dipping with some fresh grated cheese. Linen napkins and nice silverware is a given in a restaurant of this quality.

Fresh Clams with Linguine in a white wine and garlic broth was the most expensive item on the menu at $11.99 but worth every penny. Lunch at the expensive restaurants is generally a very good deal since you get the same quality food you would get at dinner but at a very reduced price. You might not get Anthony cooking in the kitchen but the sous-chefs are good enough.

The bar area is really nice and you also get a good view of Woburn center out the big window. Not that there is that much to see but...

The thought of the Day.
Again I watched someone trying to drive into a parking spot that required you to parallel park and people, IT DOESN'T WORK!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Top Garden Tewksbury

Top Garden in Tewksbury was GREAT, got sold to Kevin (Nice guy, really nice wife, good people) and the chef left with the previous owners. Kevin insisted that the old chef was still there but there was no denying that the food wasn't the same. They still had some dishes on the lunch menu that was OK and I have stopped by about once a week for takeout. Why takeout? Well if the place looks like this

and they don't turn on the heat in the winter, eating in isn't really an option. Called ahead for takeout today and when I got a strange voice on the phone I started to suspect that something was up. Ordered wonton soup, no, only hot and sour for takeout. Strange so I asked if there was new ownership and the guy confirmed that it was.

I must say the the Hot and Sour soup was really really good especially compared to Kevin's who wasn't really either hot or sour. They give you two complete chicken wings as an appetizer and as you can see, this is a meal in itself.

Main lunch was Bamboo Shots with Shredded Pork ordered spicy and that makes this fairly mundane dish into something special. I tried ordering as I did with Kevin "and add the peppers" that would add finely sliced Thai green chili's to the dish for yet another dimension but today it gave me red and green peppers since they had no idea what I wanted. Fair enough, and the dish was still really nice and I also really liked the fluffy rice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blue Ribbon BBQ Arlington

I have been going to Blue Ribbon BBQ since they opened in W. Newton, a few moons ago ;-). The location in Arlington is way more convenient. They also treat their employees well, closed on holidays etc. Jill, who is now the manager has been here since they opened. Quality might have gone slightly downhill since they centralized the smokers to the commissary.

Today's feast was 1/2 Slab of Ribs Platter. Ribs, mashed potatoes and baked beans. If you like the icky sweet Boston Baked beans these are not for you. If you like beans with a nice BBQ flavor, you will love these. I used to drive to W. Newton, get a slab of ribs and a quart of beans and then be in BBQ heaven for days. Gold BBQ sauce on the side as well as a few pickled cucumbers completes the meal. The ribs are outstandingvery nice smoky flavor, tender meat with a nice smoke ring and really nice crust.

It's a small place with limited seating but neat and clean.

You get a nice view of Mass Ave and they have outside seating. Way too cold for me today. Rather be inside smelling all that good food.
Must admit that while the brisket is very tasty and tender it's just a little bit too dry for me. Not dry enough to complain but could be fattier. Lester's have the edge here..

Blue Ribbon BBQ (Arlington) on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 23, 2012

Punjab Arlington

Punjab in Arlington Center started a couple of doors down the street and then moved to the current location. Excellent Indian food and they serve lunch 7 days a week for a very reasonable price.

Interior is a bit dark but very pleasant and nicely divided. If you get a table at the far end you can watch the chef work at the Tandoori oven.

I like to get a table at the "Patio" section near the windows where you a have a nice view of Arlington center. There is a small herd of animals in the window that somehow seems to be growing.

You get a cup of Dal soup to start with, nothing special but nice. Did I mention the linen napkins? Or the nice silverware?

Chicken Saagwala is one of my favorites, ordered medium spicy but borders on hot which is fine with me but can be a bit of a surprise to some. Basmati rice is nice with a very fragrant aroma. The onion chutney adds a bit of different heat to the dish. Service is very good and the place is impeccably clean. 

Punjab Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The thought of the Day
I hate it when a car stops to let you take a left turn when he's the only one there and nobody's behind him. Doesn't do anybody a favor apart from declaring that he's an idiot that has no clue what goes on around him.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tudo Na Brasa Woburn

Sunday Lunch at A Taste of Brasil as usual.

Today I changed and added on a Boneless Rosemary Chicken thigh from the BBQ section in addition to the fish and cracklings.  Moist chicken, really nice flavor, this is excellent. Paying by weight, just over $5, how can you beat that?

Across the street is Tre Monte's, the best Restaurant in Woburn, not that there is much competition at this level here. Nice family run Italian restaurant, really nice. Just noticed the sign in the window that they do lunch Wed-Fri, have to try that.

Friday, April 20, 2012

MuLan Waltham

It's Friday so MuLan it is!

I was early (11:30), there was only one other customer in there. I fact, this was another slow day for them. It had filled up a bit when I left but way less than it normally is.

Today I had two lunches, Spinach with Rice Noodles and Salt and Pepper Pork Chop and, of course, white rice. $6.95 each and the portions are really generous. The Asian concept of a pork chop is slightly different from the rest of the world. 

The thought of the Day.
If you don't try for the parking just outside the entrance, you will never get it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cafe Luigi Bedford

Cafe Luigi a favorite of mine (and a lot of other people too!) and I usually have the Linguine and Calamari for lunch but decided to try something else today.

Linguine and Meatballs! I was curious what $5.99 would get you and I must admit that I was surprised with the meatballs, they were really tasty and moist, the meat sauce was flavorful and it was a mound of linguine underneath. Fresh bread and freshly ground imported Romano cheese completed the meal.

This is another place you better get to before noon or closer to one, otherwise you will be waiting and the waiting area is really small. Really friendly waitresses of all ages and if you want to be called "Honey", this is the place to go. Service is quick and efficient and they don't rush you.

  Cafe Luigi on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Charlie's Diner Lawrence

Charlie's Diner on S Broadway in Lawrence. How did this happen? Well, getting a flat on Rte 93 without a spare is not a good idea but luckily it was close to 495 so I could get a flatbed to European Motorsports in Lawrence. Michael is a good guy and sold me four new tires for a very good price. Needed tires anyway so this kind of worked out.

Breakfast is good any time of the day, bacon was VERY crispy, Home fries soggy on the bottom but the eggs over easy was fine as was the toast. Quick and friendly service, nice people.

Though of the Day.
Maybe having a spare tire isn't a bad idea but not being able to get the lug nuts loose, make it a moot point anyway.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica is the original location in what's becoming an empire with three other locations in Mass. They are doing so well that they stopped serving from the lunch menu on Fridays. Service is excellent, frequent refills of your water glass and that is needed since if they say spicy they are not lying.

You get a small bowl with pickled veggies as soon as you sit down that is delicious.

Today's lunch choice was Spare Ribs Noodle Soup. Pork ribs and Bok Choy in a rich dark broth with a hint of heat infused in it. If you look closely you can see the redness on the sides of the bowl. Excellent and perfectly cooked noodles are underneath all that goodness.

Small place and not very busy today, usually it's best to get here before noon or closer to one to get seated.

The thought of the Day.
It's just off Rte 3A and getting here from Woburn is a pain since I really hate Rte 3A because it can't make up its mind if it's one lane or two lanes and neither can the drivers. The fact, it's only one lane unless otherwise marked and if you overtake traffic you will get a ticket for "Failure to keep right". I just take Rte 3 and then cut across and you end up 50 yards to the north.

Sichuan Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rang Indian Bistro Stoneham

Rang Indian Bistro Stoneham is a very nice Indian Restaurant in Stoneham center. Hindi is the original owner/manager and a very nice guy. The Chef has been there from the start as well.

You get some Papad to start with and a HOT Onion Chutney and it is as advertised! Look at that nice table!

Lunch today was Lamb Rogan Josh. Very tender pieces of Lamb and a nice curry ordered medium and it was slightly lower than that but still very tasty and you also get an abundance of fragrant Basmati rice. Naan is freshly made and excellent.

You can see Hindi behind the counter. The interior is very nice and if you get a window table you have a nice view outside. (Duh!)

They (now) have  a very nice Website that includes, of course, a menu. The problem is, that's not the menu you see when you get there! What's on the Website is the Take-Out Menu with takeout prices and this irritates me to no end since I think this is retarded.

The question are, how do you take a nice picture of Indian food since it's just a bowl of gravy?

The thought of the Day.
Note to Self: Take pictures either in the sun or out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tudo Na Brasa Woburn

Tudo Na Brasa (A Taste of Brazil) in Woburn is a nice family run Brazilian barbecue (churrasco) restaurant, one of three and the first one to open and the only one using charcoal and the only one with the original owners. This is a Churrasco restaurant so what do I get for my weekly Sunday lunch?

Fish! Lightly fried fish with a heap of excellent coated fries and a piece of Fried Chicken, some potato salad and a few pieces of pig cracklings taken from the bean salad. There is another gentleman there every Sunday that has a couple of the Rosemary infused Chicken Thighs and a heap of fries. Not a bad meal either.

Ambiance? We don't need no stinking ambiance! They took over the store next door a while ago and more than doubled the seating area and they also now have a liquor license. The BBQ? Everything pork and chicken are really good, salads etc. on the steam table is very good. If you get a first cut of meat it tends to be very salty and the meats aren't really top shelf quality. Overall this is a really nice place with good prices. The meal above? $5 including tax.

Tudo Na Brasa on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 13, 2012

MuLan Waltham

MuLan in Waltham is my Friday lunch spot even if I have to pay a quarter for on-street parking which I hate but for this restaurant I make an exception. It's really a Taiwanese restaurant but is also doing some excellent Sichuan dishes. 

At lunch, an excellent Hot and Sour soup are served as soon as you sit down, sometimes even before that, the staff really hustles here. Not sure why you get peanuts but it's a good chopstick exercise! Pickled spicy cabbage is also a nice addition.

Today I had one of my favorite dishes, Fish Fillet with Spicy Bean sauce, not sure where the Spicy Bean part fit since it's basically a Chili sauce. Looks a bit fearsome but it's not, you can still taste the fish. 3 or 4 tables around me ordered the same dish and as you can see the portions are ample, at least for me with a European stomach. 

Kind of a slow Friday for them, this is at 12:30 and there is no line of people waiting for tables, but the 2 round tables up at the right (outside the picture) was filled.

Mulan Taiwanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zocalo Arlington

Zocalo in Arlington is a nice little Mexican restaurant with excellent food.

Tables are pretty and the smooth salsa is nice, unfortunately, the chips are not homemade.

Today was a kind of crummy day so a bowl of the Pozole soup was nice. Pork, Hominy, Chile Ancho and Herbs.

The thought of the Day.
I admire people who work with the mentally challenged. I have a hard time working with the "Normal" people.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Chelmsford

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe in the middle of nowhere on Rte 110 is a really small place that recently opened. The cuisine is from the noodle-centric Shan Xi area of Western China.

Original menu and the #4, Handpulled Noodles is the star but when people come in and asked why he didn't serve Chinese Food the menu was expanded.

Did I say it was a small place? It's Gene himself standing behind the window. Really nice and friendly guy.

Today I tried the #5, House Noodle Soup.

Freshly made thin noodles with pork and veggies and a hint of vinegar. Really nice and the pork was outstanding, wish there was more.

If you click on the Location icon at the bottom of the page, you can see how it's really in the middle of nowhere.

The thought of the day.
Get out of the left lane. It's mine, Mine, Mine. Actually, I have noticed lately that even if I'm doing 85, so is a lot of people and that scares the heck out of me. Having had driving training on a track, it scares me even more.

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe on Urbanspoon