Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mr. Chan's Burlington

I think I'm getting a cold so I needed something comforting and so I paid a visit to Mr. Chan's in Burlington for a favorite dish of mine.

Chicken in Curry Sauce over Rice I have had here before and it's quite good. Tender chicken, onions and peppers served in a mild yellow curry sauce and with plenty of rice. They were quite busy at lunchtime, most people ordering the American/Chinese dishes, but there was a couple of Asian people in there as well eating what looked like proper food.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Firehouse Subs Woburn

Firehouse Subs in Woburn just opened up near Target and I got a flyer with a buy one get one free sub so I decided to try it today for lunch. I normally don't eat subs for lunch or anytime else really so I don't have much to compare against. Their claim to fame is that the company was started by firemen, they steam their sandwiches and they give back to the community.

Inside was nice enough and the staff calling out a welcome to everyone that enters the door. If you choose table service you get a number that you put into the holder and the staff will deliver when ready. The soda machine can get you 120 different flavors..

To the left, we have the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket.

USDA Choice beef brisket smoked over hickory for 16+ hours, then smothered in melted cheddar and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. Brisket was tender enough but had no smoke flavor whatsoever.

And to the right we have the New York Steamer.

Corned beef brisket, pastrami, melted provolone, mustard, mayo, and Italian dressing. This, on the other hand, was really tasty and I liked it a lot. The menu said it's served fully involved, but it wasn't so I guess that you have to order it that way but how would you know? I think I'll stick with my policy of having real food for lunch. Also both my orders were for a medium sub and they were just about 7" long so a foot long they aren't. Also for $6+ each this is just below the price of a nice sit-down lunch in a restaurant. I would go back if I was in a hurry.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tenoch Medford

Wanted something light for lunch today and was also curious to see if there was anything new on the menu and it was. Fish Tacos!

Slice of crispy fish and some lettuce and cucumber for crunch and chipotle for heat. Delicious! I also ordered one tostada with chorizo (Mexican) and the tostada was loaded with refried beans, lettuce, crumbled cheese and crema on top. People kept coming in at noon and the place was bustling, nice to see that they are doing good.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pho #1 Woburn

Finally, the sun is out so despite it being only 58 degrees outside I decided to walk down to my local Vietnamese restaurant, Pho #1.

I decided on a Woburn Combo dish, and they all come with a bowl of seaweed soup (chicken, grass noodle, cilantro, scallion and Japanese seaweed in chicken broth) with a crispy spring roll and a steamed dumpling. The soup was lukewarm but pretty tasty despite this. Dumpling and spring roll were both nice. The dipping sauces seems to get smaller every time I visit.

Duck Basil. Comes with crispy roasted duck topped with string bean, mushroom, carrot, bamboo shoots, onion, red bell pepper and basil leaf in Thai spicy basil sauce. Nicely cooked veggies and tender duck made for a very tasty lunch and it even had a bit of heat in it, could have done with a bit more sauce and the rice was almost cold but it was an enjoyable lunch.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Louie's Pizza Woburn

Louie's Pizza in Woburn opened in 1952 on Main Street and is now run by the two sons, Derek and Randy. I had no idea that they were open for lunch until I read about them in today's Boston Globe. I knew only that they closed when the dough ran out and that usually happened before my dinner time.

3 tables and a few chairs in the pickup area and that's it. Owen is out in the back, they still have an old fashioned cash register.

Louie’s Special is a 16-inch pizza made with cheese, pepperoni, hamburger, sausage, salami, linguica, peppers, mushrooms and onions. I asked for garlic instead of mushrooms and that was no problem. I called in my takeout lunch order and the pizza was ready on time. They say on their website that the pizza will be cooked well done and they are not kidding. It was crisp! The pie was almost flat bread like and too hard for my taste, but the dough was very tasty as was all the toppings. The tomato sauce was a bit sweet but really good nevertheless. 
Update. After microwaving the leftovers, the crust was nice and soft.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

It's 42 degrees outside, gray and drizzling so I guess that spring thing was just a rumor after all but at least it's not snowing like it is in Michigan! A hot bowl of Noodle soup is made for days like this so off to Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington I go.

Pork and Pickled Turnips Noodles Soup (N6) ordered with Rice Cake as the noodle choice. I have never had rice cake before, rice cake sounds to me like something crunchy that you snack on, but it turned out to be slices of something soft and chewy and VERY slippery! This was kind of a nice surprise and not bad at all. The soup itself was a nice porky broth but, unfortunately, a bit heavy on the rice cake and light on the pork and turnips. Maybe I'm expecting too much for $6.25 ;-).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Phuket Wakefield

After watching the bizarre drama in Watertown play out on the TV last night I needed something to get me back in reality and a spicy curry should do the trick and since Phuket in Wakefield serves lunch 7 days a week that should do it.

Lunch Panang Curry with chicken ordered extra spicy. Nicely cooked veggies in a nice and spicy curry sauce was a very tasty dish. It did come out nicely spiced with a bite to it. It's marked on the menu as two peppers and after ordering it extra spicy it hit that mark. According to Wikipedia a Panang curry normally doesn't have any veggies in it so I'm not really sure how this dish relates. Still it was a very nice meal in a pleasant environment.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sushi Island Wakefield

Having had some mediocre Sushi for a while, I decided to remedial that by visiting Sushi Island in Wakefield. Despite being in the sleepy suburban town of Wakefield, Sushi Island is probably one of the best sushi restaurants in the area, including Boston. Junji is the owner and head chef and is a very friendly guy with excellent English and he's happy to speak to you.

Interior is bright and clean with a long sushi bar. Chef Junji can be seen closest to the camera and there was also a female chef working behind the counter. It's a bit darker back where the table seating is.

I decided to really treat myself by starting with an order of Ankimo (steamed monk fish liver) and it was delicious! Reminiscent of foie gras but milder but very rich and creamy.

Lunch specials include Miso Soup. I'm not very fond of Miso soup but must admit that this one wasn't bad, really nice and rich broth.

Lunch special #2 Sushi Deluxe Assortment ~ Chef’s choice of 7 pieces of Nigiri and 1 California Roll. From the right we have ?tuna. mackerel, salmon, yellowfin tuna, tuna and striped bass. The roll was crab and avocado and there was also a shrimp nigiri. The quality of the fish was really fresh and the rice was at the right temperature and also had a hint of sweetness and a bit of acidity from the vinegar. As it should have, a smidgen of wasabi was underneath the fish. The pickled ginger was really nice and sharp and did a good job of cleansing the palate between the bites of fish. I have never liked mackerel, bad experience growing up, but this one was delicious. Another really delicious lunch and well worth the price.

Sushi Island on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Khushboo Lexington

After my lunch yesterday at Taipei Gourmet in Lexington I took the scenic route home through Lexington and noticed that Khushboo (terrible website) is now serving an all you can eat lunch buffet so I decided to try it today. You can never have too much Indian food.

The interior is spotless and very nice and bright. I noticed that the carpet is getting worn down, but they have been here a long time. Notice the copper clad room that contains the Tandoori oven and you can watch the chef perform his magic in there. They also serve outside on the terrace, weather permitting. It's a fairly small buffet for $9.95 and there are the normal condiments available and salad as well.

Onion Pakora was nice and crisp. Chicken Korma had nice and tender chicken. The Tandoori Chicken, Chana Masala and the Cabbage and Peas (forgot the name) was all outstandingly good! So was the Dal, that ended up in a soup bowl since it was a little bit runny. Everything cooked perfectly and really really nicely spiced. For a buffet this was a really nice surprise, this was so tasty. Service was very attentive, water glass was refilled promptly and empty dishes was whisked away. I wish the staff wouldn't look so grumpy, I always say Thanks when my water was refilled but no response. I used to go here for Sunday lunch but gave up due to the grumpiness and the inability to order my lunch with the level of heat that I wanted. Their medium was very mild and their hot was really hot so I tried to explain that and asked for something spicier that medium but less that hot and the response was "We have Medium and Hot" so I gave up on them. Too bad. the food here has always been very good.

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Khushboo on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

When I left Taipei Gourmet in Lexington after my lunch today, the AC finally kicked in! Maybe there is hope for that spring thing after all.

There are some changes happening, apart from the new TV and the free WiFi access there is also a couple of walls going up, one separating the takeout area from the dining area, and one shielding the kitchen entrance. The owner was working today so I got a free hot & sour soup while waiting for my entree.

The Pork Chop Rice Plate was a substantial deep fried pork chop with the same trimmings as with the Chicken Leg Rice Plate. I really like the egg, delicious! Underneath the pork chop, there is some fried pork that seeps into the rice and makes it really tasty. The bone in pork chop was, unfortunately, a bit dry, but the coating was nice and crispy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rang Indian Bistro Stoneham

Decided to visit Rang Indian Bistro in Stoneham for a nice Indian lunch today on the dreaded tax day. I was informed when I arrived that I hadn't been there for a long time and they, were in fact, right, almost one year had passed since my last visit.

The interior is nice with bench seating and a shiny hardwood floor. Outside is the not very exciting Stoneham Square.

Papads and chutney arrive quickly and you get a good amount of papads and the chutney is HOT.

Decided to order a Dosa today and it comes with coconut chutney (not hot) and Sambar soup. The soup was a vegetable soup and it was a nice mixture of veggies,

The chicken and potato filled dosa was nice and crisp with a good chew on the dosa. The chicken filling was a nice diced tandoori chicken and spiced potatoes. Nice lunch and I also had a Groupon for $10 worth of food for $5 and the Dosa was $9.95 so that worked out nicely.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Sei Bar Wakefield

Sei Bar in Wakefield is part of a local chain of restaurants in Medford and Everett in addition to this one in Wakefield. I must admit that they have a pretty slick website. I decided to visit them for lunch today since their name popped up in a discussion about Phuket. You can't really compare the two, Phuket is a pure Thai restaurant while Sei Bar is a Sushi/Japanese restaurant that also serve some Thai food as well as generic Chinese food.

Interior is very nice and slick with bar seating in the first room and booth and table seating in the second room.

The lunch menu is fairly small and you get Miso soup included. I'm not really a fan of Miso soup and this did nothing to change that. It was a nice soup bowl.

Chicken with red curry comes in a bento box and a Thai roll is also included. No dipping sauce with the roll and after declining duck sauce, I got a chili sauce that was OK. The Thai roll was, unfortunately, soggy on the outside with a soggy cabbage and carrot filling. The chicken and red curry was served with a mound of overcooked broccoli, I really don't like broccoli but can't blame them for serving it. I can blame them for serving it way overcooked. The only other veggie was some onions and mushrooms. The rice was nice and the salad was OK with one tomato and one raw carrot. The red curry itself was fairly bland and one dimensional and I don't really think a bento box is the best vehicle to serve a curry in. How do you get the sauce and rice together?

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

Time for the weekly visit to Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington and today I was going to try another of their Noodle Soups.

The Noodle Soup selected was the N3, House Special Noodle Soup and I picked the Udon Noodle to go with it because I really like the thicker chewy bite of the udon. The vegetable soup had every conceivable veggie included as well as shrimp and pork. The shrimp was barely cooked and was delicious and finished cooking in the broth. I also especially liked the charred onion pieces.

They know I like things spicy so even without ordering the manager brought out a toasted chili/Sichuan peppercorn oil and a chili sauce much like a sambal oelek. Then they brought out a bowl of freshly sliced bird eye chilies that they mixed up with some soy sauce. The chili sauce was HOT and so was the bird eye chilies, but one slice of the birds eye chili in a spoon with the food was a really nice addition. I liked the chili oil the best, nice flavor without being deadly hot. The noodle soup was nice but nothing really special, it was a nice lunch and I finished everything.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mandarin Reading

Mandarin in Reading is probably the best Chinese lunch buffet place around where the buffet also includes Sushi. I do like Feng Shui in Chelmsford and I think the Sushi there is better, but their buffet is very static, the same dishes every time. At the Mandarin, there is always something different available apart from your standard American/Chinese dishes. The place is spotless, service is very good and the dishes get refilled very quickly and they are fairly busy so nothing sits out for very long. The sushi is OK, Nigiri is fairly sparse, today it was only salmon and some whitefish.

This is the Sushi selection after I snagged all the salmon nigiri. Kind of a slow day today so it didn't get refilled until close to 1:00PM. The pickled ginger was really good.

The hot and sour soup here is something to stay away from so I tried the Wonton Soup instead. Nice broth with some spinach leaves included, the wontons themselves was fairly thick skinned, but the actual filling was good.

I try to get here just before noon so I get a chance to get some nigiri. I snagged all the salmon pieces available and a few pieces of the white fish. In front, there is a roll with salmon and tuna on top, crab and avocado inside and a tempura shrimp. That was all the tuna I saw.

Appetizer time, chicken wing was nice, next was something labeled Chinese Steak but was, in fact, a nice crispy fish that was served with a dipping sauce. The Shumai was OK, greatly helped out by the really nice chili oil. The Crab Rangoon had a tasty filling and was nicely fried. The vegetable tempura could have been crispier, but this is a buffet with dishes sitting out.

The shrimp with leeks (top) was pretty much a soggy mess with the shell on shrimp that wasn't really edible, it was like trying to eat shrimp wrapped in cellophane. Shell on shrimp is OK, but it has to be crispy. Beef Ball Delight was actually delightful and tasty! Rainbow Beef not so much, chewy beef but the zucchini was nice. The best dish by far was the Shrimp Chow Foon, tender shrimp with crisp veggies in a light and tasty sauce.

Make sure to check out the nice Koi Pond at the entrance, the fish certainly knows where the food is coming from!

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Phuket Wakefield

Due to my inability to coordinate things I had to skip my normal Monday lunch at Punjab in Arlington and instead went to Phuket in Wakefield and I was happy that I did.

Grilled Pork Chop Lunchbox was a substantial piece of very tender bone-in pork chop nicely grilled, served with some barely cooked mushroom and a light gravy. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked for me since I only like them raw or just heated up as they were done here. Spring rolls were their normal crispy goodness and the salad was again really fresh.

Closeup of the loin chop with just a small rib at the top. The only drawback was that there was a fair amount of fat on the right-hand side of the chop. Nevertheless, very tasty and tender and as usual, delightful service. Forgot to mention the included tofu soup, it kind of grows on you! I noticed a nearby table having the spicy lobster soup and I have to try that, there were chunks of lobster in the soup.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

MuLan Waltham

I craved some spicy food and what better place than MuLan in Waltham, they really can't do anything wrong, big portions of excellent food, quick and friendly service in a nice room. I really hate to pay for parking but for this place I can stand it to spend a quarter on parking.

Peanuts, pickled cabbage, hot & sour soup and for me, water, arrives within seconds of sitting down. Not sure why you get peanuts but they are fun to chase down with the chopsticks.

I ordered the completely mistranslated Lunch Special Combo Chicken in Chili Sauce. Well, it has chicken and chilies in it so that part is right. The salad was peas, edamame, and carrots and the seasonal veggies were lightly steamed but cold zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower. I'm not sure really what was the salad or the seasonal veggies, but all of it was a nice offset to the fiercely hot chicken. The salad could have used some dressing. The dish didn't look as hot as on a previous visit but trust me, it was. Loaded with dry chilies, fresh green chilies and lots of Sichuan peppercorns, that has no relation whatsoever to peppercorns, but gives a numbing sensation so that you can stand the heat from the chilies. The chicken was crunchy and tender. At 12:30 there was a few people waiting for tables, but at least the line were inside the front door.