Thursday, May 31, 2012

Masa Southwest Grill and Bar Woburn

Masa in Woburn has been a longtime favorite of mine and it's next to Whole Foods so you can go for a cheese tasting afterward and check out the customers. Little bit more upscale customers than Market basket.

Interior is very nice, high chair seating in the bar area with big windows all around. I like the high chairs, you can keep an eye on both the bartender and the hostess.

You get bread and three different spreads with your lunch. Bread is excellent, a little bit of a sourdough taste but very light. The spreads are Roasted pepper, Maple? and forgot the third one but it has chipotle pepper in it.

Not sure how it happened but I ordered the Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap, not really my thing but it's an adventure, right? Grilled Chicken, Tender Romaine, Roasted Green Chile Caesar Dressing, Flour Tortilla with Fries. The chile dusted Fries are outstanding, crispy with just a hint of spiciness. The Caesar wrap was soo good. The hostess stopped by and said that she was so jealous of my lunch and after tasting it I can see why. What a dish and all this for a whopping $7.95. Of course, you get linen napkins!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top Garden Tewksbury

Take out from Top Garden in Tewksbury on my way home from the shelter. It's sort of, kinda on my way home ;-)

Chicken in Curry Sauce is a comfort food for me, the curry sauce is very similar to what you would get in Sweden. It's a mild oriental curry that you would make with curry power out of a jar. If you think the rice looks funny, it's because it is leftover basmati rice from yesterday's Indian takeout. I would like the ingredients to have been cut a bit smaller, but it tasted good. A little bit light on the actual sauce is the only drawback. This is a small order ($5.25) from the regular menu and half the container is still in the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Indian Express Woburn

Indian Express in Woburn opened a little while ago and they are mainly just a takeout place with a couple of tables inside. The chef cooked previously at New Mother India in Waltham.

Interior is very spartan, they do have a couple of tables but today they were in the middle of the floor and no chairs.

Obviously the choice was takeout and the do have a lunch special ($7.95) on the wall with three dishes and you can choose any two and you get rice and naan with that. Must admit that the takeout container looked a mess. Today I choose Chicken Curry (on top) and Dal Tarka, just a yellow dal curry. Both dishes were very flavorful and ordered medium, they were cooked as ordered. Rice was really good. 

The naan was very light and pretty big as you can see. You can actually look over the counter and see your food being cooked to order.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Asian Gourmet Concord

Back to Asian Gourmet in Concord for some more Taiwanese specialties. You know you are in a good place when you are the only non-Asian person in there! And it was packed at lunchtime with people enjoying the weekend Dim-Sum.

Steamed Wonton in Hot Sauce was delicious and the chili oil was not that spicy at all. Crunchy beansprouts underneath and (I think) sugar on top and that was an interesting texture contrast as well as a flavor contrast with the chili oil.

Since they served the Sat-Sun only dishes today I decided to try the Vermicelli with Intestine in Soup (Not sure if it actually said In Soup on the menu). Didn't work out to well, I have had intestine before and that wasn't the issue but the viscosity and the smell of the liquid were not to my liking. Despite my protests, they took it off the bill so I left a tip that included the price of this item. I ordered it and so I pay for it. On the other hand, I was very pleased that they took it off, good service, a small price for getting a repeat customer.

Last dish was Sliced Beef Wrap in Scallion Pancake. Another excellent dish, light pancake, super tender beef with a sauce that reminded me of hoisin sauce but it wasn't that. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

MuLan Waltham

Back to MuLan we go since it's Friday. Just wanted something small for lunch so I figured an appetizer would do.

Didn't really work out as planned but the Salted Crispy Chicken appetizer is a MuLan suggested must try and I do agree. Despite its name, it's not salty but very tender deep fried chicken morsels and fried basil is soo good and as you can see, it's a lot of it. At lunch, you get soup regardless of what you order so I'm pretty stuffed but very happy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pho 'N Roll Tewksbury

Pho 'N Roll in Tewksbury hasn't been open that long and is located in the same little plaza as Top Garden but almost hidden next the BoA ATM.

What do you try in a Vietnamese restaurant? The Pho of course! The V17 was advertised as "A special combination of rare steak, well-done flank, brisket, tendon, and tripe" served with bean sprouts, mint and a green chili pepper as condiments.
The green chili pepper with the condiments was absent as was the tendon and tripe. The soup itself was good but could have been a bit richer and the amount of meat that was actually present was enough. The noodles were fine and plenty. When I brought up the absence of meats with the waitress she just said that we don't have tendon anymore and they probably just forgot the tripe and that was it. They certainly lost me as a customer after this. If you don't have something, cross it out on the menu, I expect to get what's listed.

The interior is a bit spartan to say the least and it was a hot day and no A/C. I saw reviews complaining about icy drafts in the winter when the door was opened and I can see that since there is no foyer.

12/27/13. Update. This place is closed and I'm not surprised.

Pho N Roll on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sichuan Palace Chelmsford

Went back to Sichuan Palace in Chelmsford for some more duck. $8.50 isn't a bad price for the duck at lunchtime and it includes rice and soup.

Asked for the Sichuan Duck spicy and it was better than last time even if the duck was "extra" crispy in places. You now get a crispy fried chicken wing with lunch (Was $1 extra before). Hot and Sour Soup hasn't improved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

La Posada Arlington Heights

La Posada in Arlington Heights is a very small Mexican Restaurant that is usually very good. Being located in Arlington Heights means that there is no way to get there from here ;-). Across the street is Penzey's, the spice shop. Just walking in there and smelling the spices makes my day. Up the street a bit is the Meat House and further up is a Trader Joe's. Down the street is Blue Ribbon BBQ so it's a neat neighborhood.

Salsa and Chips were promptly delivered. Salsa was OK. Chips were homemade but stale. Not happy about that.

La Posada Platter had Steak Taquito, Chicken Chalupa, Cheese Nachos, and small Roasted Poblano Quesadilla Topped with fresh Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Sour Cream. Can't stand Sour Cream and forgot to ask the to hold it, my fault. The Taquito was  soggy and the Chalupa was greasy and soggy. The Nachos was a congealed lump of crisped cheese and chips underneath the other food. The Quesadilla was excellent! The Guacamole was a grayish lump on top. I have eaten here before and the food has been good so I'll just chalk this up to a bad-hair-day for someone.

The place is really small but nice enough inside and the service is fine. It should be with just me in there at lunchtime.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rang Indian Bistro Stoneham

Back to Rang in Stoneham.

They have added some nice bench seating along the wall since I was here last. Looks nice!

Papad and chutney arrive promptly as usual.

Since I had a Groupon Now I decided to get an appetizer and chose the Samosa with Ground Lamb. It's supposed to be a golden brown fried Samosa and this was not. The pastry was undercooked, but the filling was OK. Not too impressed with the presentation either.

I was a bit undecided about my main so Hindi said that he could cook anything from the menu at lunch prices! so I choose Chicken Saag (it's on the takeout lunch menu but not on the dine-in menu, again how stupid and confusing is this?). This was good, lots of chicken, tons of fragrant basmati rice. Naan was undercooked so just OK for the food but A+ for service.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pho #1 Woburn

Pho #1 in Woburn is my go-to restaurant when I don't want to dig out my car during snowstorms since it's within easy walking distance for me. Very small place it changed owners a couple years back, food didn't change much. The menu can be found here and has all the standard Vietnamese dishes that you would expect. On the menu is also the Woburn Combo section and it's served both at lunch and dinner with different prices and at lunch it's a great deal.

Today's choice was the #50 Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio. Grilled sliced pork with crispy spring rolls on top of vermicelli, shredded lettuce, mint, bean sprout and roasted peanut. Served with homemade sauce "nuoc cham" on the side. A bit of Sriracha on the spring roll livens things up a bit. Nothing really exciting here, but everything is fresh and cheap.

Pho #1 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tre Monte' Woburn

When I got to Tre Monte' today they were putting a new awning up outside so I asked the waitress what was wrong with the old one and she said that it was all going to pieces "after 10 years". I have eaten here since they opened and I can't believe that 10 years have passed!

Fresh warn bread, dipping oil and cheese to start with. Bread's excellent.

Rigatoni Bolognese was today's choice. Sauce was excellent but the pasta was a little bit to al dente for me.
If you want to try this place for lunch you better hurry up since they may not be able to keep on doing this. It's not exactly crowded at lunchtime.. I saw a plate of chicken parm being delivered and it had two big pieces of chicken on it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Top Garden Tewksbury

Back to Top Garden for lunch takeout. Still the same menu with the new owners, wondering how long before they change it. A Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant just opened next door, doesn't make it any easier for them.

I wasn't going to post a picture of the soup but it was really good and a much-improved version. Finely chopped veggies and a really really nice soup.

This is not on the menu but ask and you shall receive! Kung Pao Chicken Chinese version gives you the Hot Dry Fried Chicken with Peanuts. This dish should be smokingly hot and spicy but was disappointing today.  The chicken was excellent, moist and crispy but salty and not very spicy at all. Eggroll was OK. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spicepepper Garden Acton

Went back to Spicepepper Garden in Acton today to try some different dishes. I saw that their Dan Dan Noodles got a bad review and I really like that dish so I was curious if things had improved.

Despite ordering just two apps, I still got a small bowl of Hot and Sour Soup and I thought that was nice of them. The soup was in fact as good as I remembered it, with finely minced veggies, very similar to what the good chef at Top Garden did. Wasn't him, this chef have been with them since they opened two years ago.

Dan Dan noodles was really good, I would have preferred a sturdier noodle but the flavor of the dish was really good, with a good amount of heat, not really sure from what since I just saw a small amount of chili oil. There was a good amount of Tianjin preserved vegetable mixed in with the pork and that really makes this dish. A bit surprised that the liquid at the bottom of the bowl was brown, normally it's just a pool of red chili oil. Could have been more pork in the dish.

This is Bacon Slices in Spicy Garlic Sauce and this was one GOOD dish. Beautiful tender pork belly slices with garlic and spices swimming in a chili vinaigrette. There are some cucumber slices hiding under that mound of pork. Really balanced spice mixture without the garlic being overpowering, but it certainly was present. 

Click to add a blog post for Spicepepper Garden on Zomato

Monday, May 14, 2012

Punjab Arlington

Punjab in Arlington is such a nice place and I was happy to see a brisk lunch business today. They are also putting the long "waiter" aprons on the servers and it looks good.

Chicken Vindaloo today, medium, but it still packs a bit of heat. This is an excellent rendition of this classic dish. Adding a bit of the hot chutney you get two different kinds of spicy.
In all the Indian cookbooks I have read, there is never any mention of adding a boiled potato, but in every place in every country, there is the potato lurking in the dish. Strange. I like potatoes so it's fine with me. Never been to India so it might just be me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

MuLan Waltham

Friday, so off to MuLan in Waltham we go.

House Special Pork Chop on Rice Platter comes with a (marinated?) hard boiled egg, and flash fried green beans, some green mixture and ground pork on top of the rice. Not really sure how you are supposed to eat this. Don't know what they do to the egg but is's delicious.

The thought of the Day.
India is the largest producer of bananas. Harvest 28.9 million tons a year.
Source Ripley's believe it or not

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spicepepper Garden Acton

Spicepepper Garden in Acton is just on the other side of the big rotary and I haven't been here since my MaPo Dofu adventures a while back and again it was a nice ride down 2A especially since the sun decided to show up after a dreary morning. You pass all these historical sites and also some working farms where you can see live hamburgers walk around.

Springroll appetizer was a bit greasy and the filling was mushy. Not having a good week for springrolls. Hot and Sour soup here is pretty good, but you don't get soup when you order soup, kind of makes sense.

Spicy Pork Rib Noodle Soup was an excellent rendition of this dish. This is the first time I have seen it as spicy and it was but really good. Noodles were chewy and kept their texture. Wonder if they are homemade? The green stuff on top is thinly sliced Bok Choy. Porky goodness all over with a very nice broth. I always tuck the napkin into my neck because there will be red stuff all over the place when noodles and chili oil is involved.

They were nice enough to seat me where I could keep an eye on the kitchen entrance and the waitress station. Sushi bar to the left.

Stopped by the Concord train station where Aigo Bistro used to be to check if it's still here, but it's gone. Monceb Medeb's Aigo Bistro is where Ana Sortun (of later fame and fortune) started. When I worked in Maynard this was a real favorite for lunch and such a treat. She was a great chef even when starting out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Chelmsford

Went back and tried the Biang Biang Mian (Hand pulled noodles) with chili oil and garlic and cayenne pepper again. I took off 1/2 of the tablespoon of raw garlic that was on top and it was still garlicky enough to keep the vampires away for a week. I also asked if he toned down the spiciness for us non Asian and he assured me that it's the same for everyone unless you ask for it spicier.

This time I didn't waste time looking for the start of the noodle since it's basically one noodle in an Escher-ish way but cut into the noodle and started slurping, actually started chewing. The chewiness of the noodle and the garlic and chili oil makes this such a nice and different meal. Despite its look it's not that spicy apart from the raw garlic part.

In red is the Chinese way of writing Biang Biang Mian, one of the most complicated characters according to Gene. He's such a nice guy and loves to talk about food.

Thought of the Day.
I love it when a place is filled with natives of the cuisine.
I hate it when I have no clue what they are talking about.

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Erawan of Siam Waltham

Erawan of Siam in Waltham is an old Thai favorite of mine from when I used to live closer to it and I visited for lunch today and the food is still excellent and the interior as nice as I remembered. When I arrived at noon there was only one other person in there and I was afraid that the place was going downhill but at 12:30 there was quite a few tables taken.

They have a very extensive lunch menu and also a lunch special combo menu and I opted for a green curry that comes with a spring roll and two little fried dumplings. The spring roll was crispy and filled with something mushy not sure what it was. The dumplings was excellent as was the curry. It was marked as two peppers on the menu and much to my surprise it lived up to it. Not a common occurrence. 

As I said the interior is very nice with lots of work put into it and the walls are also filled with authentic Thai art (I assume). Parking on Moody Street can be tricky but being there just before noon helped.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Punjab Arlington

Punjab in Arlington is such a nice place. Reasonable priced, good food, great service and an excellent location. And free on-street parking.

Nice view of Arlington center on a sunny day (No, it's not my Audi). Why didn't I take the window table? It's right under the AC vents..

Soups good, the chutney is HOT and the china and silverware are nice.

Chicken Tikka Masala is excellent, have a nice hint of smoke, probably from when the chicken was cooked in the Tandoori oven and also a bit of heat with traces of what appears to be Chipotle. Really good rendering of a traditional British dish. 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.

Punjab Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tudo Na Brasa Woburn

Back to Taste of Brasil for my Sunday Fish Fry! But wait what happened to the food?

I got a bit nervous, but they are just increasing the size of the buffet and are still serving the normal stuff around the corner. In a couple of weeks and things will be back to normal.

Sunday Fish Fry with a side of cracklings and chicken for $5.25 today. You pay by weight and so how can you beat this deal?