Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

Didn't really know where to go for lunch so I sort of ended up at Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica and it was a slow day so I got seated at once even if I arrived at noon.

The hot and sour soup is really excellent here and the pickled veggies are a nice addition.

Sichuan Double Cooked Bacon is an old favorite of mine. Done the right way with pork belly and hot peppers. The dish packs a good amount of heat and lots of flavors. Service is very efficient.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

Went back to Taipei Gourmet in Lexington for lunch just because I like this place.

Shanghai Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup with Noodles added for an additional $1, a great deal. The Wontons was delicious and you could really taste the pork and the shrimp in there and it was a lot of them. Adding the noodles might have been overkill but didn't harm anything. The Wonton soup itself was very bland and was a real disappointment. First thing here that I haven't been happy with.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Raagini Indian Bistro Andover

Raagini Indian Bistro in Andover opened this year in a shopping plaza in Andover next to Stop & Shop just off 495. They serve a daily lunch buffet, $9.95 today, forgot to ask if the weekend price is different. This restaurant is part of the "Indian Bistro" empire in New England. Rang Indian Bistro in Stoneham is a sister restaurant and so 5+ other restaurants.

The interior is bright with really nice furniture but with the obligatory glass covered tablecloth.

The buffet offerings were pretty standard, the Tandoori chicken was moist and really flavorful, the chicken Vindaloo was pretty spicy despite the manager saying that everything on the buffet was mild. It did lack acidity so it was very unbalanced as far as flavors go. The Saag Paneer, on the other hand, was delicious with really good flavors and consistency. I also had a few potato pakoras that were very tasty. In addition, they had a salad selection and vegetarian curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Kofta and Naan. Dessert was rice pudding.

The food was served in really nice copper containers, but they seemed to fail to keep the food hot and I made sure to serve from the bottom. I must admit that I didn't like the cutlery, too short and chubby and the knife was very awkward to use.

Raagini Indian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 25, 2013

PHU KET Wakefield

Miserable day here today so some good food and nice ambiance is needed so I headed to PHU KET in Wakefield for some lunch. It was very quiet today.

Today's selection was Beef with Macadamia nuts served on a bed of spinach and much to my delight it was served on a bed of fresh baby spinach. Nice touch. Lacked heat despite asking for it extra spicy but a very nice and tasty lunch despite that.

Friday, May 24, 2013

MuLan Waltham

Fish on Friday's? Not sure but it can't hurt, right, and MuLan in Waltham has some really good dishes with fish on the lunch menu and some terrific good ones on the regular menu.

Almost before you can sit down, The Hot & Sour Soup arrives as does the water-glass. They know I don't want tea otherwise that would be there too. The staff here really hustles and are impressive to watch. They were really busy today, the round table next to me had three separate parties sharing it and nobody seemed to mind.

Fish with spicy bean sauce is just slightly mistranslated but are tender fish in a chili sauce. Excellent dish and the portions are really really big even at lunch time. If you have to eat fish on a Friday this is not a bad choice ;-). Cheap too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Masa Woburn

Decided to stop by Masa in Woburn today for some lunch in a nice environment, I like this place, great interior, and very friendly staff.

Bread basket and three spreads are included. There is also a piece of cornbread in the bread basket, but I like this thick crusty slice better.

Again I went for the Caesar wrap with grilled chicken and Fries. Seems the wrap is getting smaller every time so there was a lot of tortilla ;-). A good-sized heap of the chile dusted fries. Overall, not bad for $7.95

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Feng Shui Chelmsford

Sorry, no pictures today, I couldn't be bothered. The price for the lunch buffet has gone up and the quality has gone down. The nigiri now comes out on very small plates and in small quantities as well, but it did include salmon and tuna. The ultra thin slice of fish resides on a giant mound of unseasoned rice. The maki rolls were actually more pleasant. The spicy tuna roll was mashed tuna. The chicken wings on the buffet were on the dry side, the shumai was dry and rubbery and the "grilled clam" was tasty, but there was very little clam present. The pot stickers were OK. The only thing on the buffet I liked was the dry cooked string beans, marked as spicy which they were not but they were cooked well. Scallops and something in XO sauce was not very memorable. Their chili oil was really good, but that didn't help the overall experience. Service is the bar was excellent as usual.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

PHU KET Wakefield

Finally a nice day so I decided to go to PHU KET in Wakefield for a lunch al fresco. This made me realize why I don't like to sit outside, even on a nice day. The wind will always blow your hair in your face. The sun will promptly disappear behind a cloud. The food gets cold very quickly. Most tables outside is not level so your sauce/gravy will pool in a corner that always in the wrong direction. Your napkin will also make a quick getaway. Your photochromic glasses will go dark so it's really hard to read your book on the Nexus 7.

The patio is nice despite my grumblings above and at least my table was stable and it was sunny most of the time.

A couple of complimentary Crab Rangoons with applesauce made a surprise appearance today. A crispy wrapper with a nice filling, this was a nice treat. Not sure if the applesauce is the right condiment for the Rangoon.

Today's lunch was the Garlic & Clams with a couple good sized slices of tender pork. Everything was cooked nicely and with a really tasty flavor. What's better than pork and clams? Yes, there was garlic in the garlic and wine sauce! If you are really hungry, try asking for the $1 special when ordering from the lunch entree's.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Banh Mí Ba Le Restaurant Dorchester

The word on the street is that Banh Mí Ba Le Restaurant in Dorchester makes the best Banh Mí in the area and today I decided to pay them a visit even if it's a bit of a hike and they are takeout only and, of course, cash only.

I ordered one BBQ pork and one BBQ beef both extra spicy. This was the first one filled with BBQ pork, pickled daikon and carrots and cilantro stems. There is a thin layer of mayo on the top and bottom and the pork is also drizzled with their secret sauce. The bread is very fresh and the veggies are crunchy but the pork was a bit chevy. The taste was very balanced and with a nice crunch from the pickled veggies. It also was spicy, no idea from what since I didn't see any chilies in there.

This was the second one and it doesn't look like BBQ anything but contained sliced meats and the same fillings as the other one. There was a thick slice of ham in there that was delicious, in fact, the whole thing was delicious and I thought this one was better than the BBQ one. This one was spicy also and you can see some sliced chilies in there. They were $3.50 each plus tax and the total come to $7, you go figure!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

Due to my shortcut to Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington being paved I found another better one, how neat is that!

Lunch special Calamari with Sour Mustard Greens comes with soup, but I'm not even bothering with posting a picture since the soup is forgettable at best. This was an interesting dish and I really liked the mustard greens and there were also some string mushrooms in there and it was listed as spicy on the menu and it had a good amount of heat. Unfortunately, the calamari was overcooked and chewy, too bad on an otherwise really tasty dish. Service was pleasant as always.

Friday, May 10, 2013

PHU KET Wakefield

Saved a bundle by using my dental insurance for a cleaning so a small splurge was in order and since someone mentioned the Lobster Soup at PHU KET off I went. People were eating outside today, nice to see.

Spicy Lobster Soup might not look too exciting but what a nice soup! Rich broth with a good amount of lobster chunks and fragrant with coconut milk and lemongrass. There was jasmine rice in there as well and this was a lot of food for an app and well worth the price. I asked for it extra spicy and it did come out with a nice tang to it and was about the advertised one pepper.

Whale Tails served with a plum sauce was five good sized shrimps wrapped in egg roll skins, fried to a crisp with perfectly cooked shrimp inside. Not as good as the soup, who was outstanding, but very nice nevertheless.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blue Ribbon BBQ Arlington

I just realized that I had 4 Groupons to Blue Ribbon BBQ that will expire in a month so I guess I have to endure going here every week for a month ;-). Tough! I saw on their Facebook page that one of today's specials was Pork Belly Sliders and how can you resist that?

Asian Style Pork Belly Slider's with mashed potatoes and baked beans. This was really outstandingly delicious! Tender pork belly slowly cooked in the smoker with a really nice crust on the outside and nicely spiced. Served with an Asian Slaw and drizzled with hot sauce (Sriracha?). The presentation could be improved a lot. Putting three buns down and then heaping stuff on them makes it really hard to eat not to mentioning that the slaw and belly go everywhere when you try to bite into them. I rather see them individually wrapped so that the contents are contained.

The rest of the Groupon I spent on a Smoked Meatloaf Sandwich with, again, mashed potatoes and baked beans. You can never have too much mash and beans and I have plans for the leftovers. The trick here is to ask for the sandwich as a wrap, makes it so much easier to eat and the tortillas are delicious as well. This is another favorite item of mine that has been on the daily specials menu since they opened. Tasty smoked meatloaf, lettuce, tomato, onions and a chipotle mayo with some finely sliced cabbage throw in for a nice crunch. Delicious! Sorry, misremembered about the cabbage, it's in the spicy chicken salad rollup.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tenoch Foodtruck

Tenoch's food truck is in Burlington at 20 Blanchard rd on Mondays and Tuesdays and since it's finally above freezing (70+ today) I decided to pay them a visit.

They do mostly their sandwiches plus a tamale and tostadas. $7 including tax for the sandwiches and $2 for a soda. Cash only. The bright red truck was hard to miss. They were at the SoWa Market for the weekend and completely sold out.

Torta Tenoch has Telara bread, beans, pork (carnitas), ham, Oaxaca cheese, chipotle mayo, avocado, onions and was delicious as always. There was some sort of park across the street with picnic tables that quickly filled up at noon with office workers. This is a busy industrial section with a lot of offices. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chipotle Woburn

For some reason, I like Chipotle more than that other chain. Not sure why since the food is similar, but I like how they use local produce and try to do the right thing.

The interior isn't very exciting, but they do have a small patio outside, which is nice if it will ever warm up a bit.

Three hard shell tacos with carnitas and all the trimmings including corn. Not sure how corn ended up in a taco but it was OK. They managed to get a fair amount of carnitas in each shell and it was very tender and tasty. Not a bad lunch if you are in a hurry and a better choice than the Firehouse Subs that's just across the street.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Phuket Wakefield

I had a craving for squid today so it was time for another lunch visit to the delightful Phuket in Wakefield.

Lunch portion of Dancing Squid had some really well-cooked squid and vegetables in a nice sauce, marked as one pepper on the menu but I asked for it extra spicy and it come out with a nice amount of heat. I noticed on the bill that it was marked as three, but I would say that it was a two. Again a very delightful lunch with a very friendly service. This is a not listed on the paper menu as being available in lunch size, but it's on the real menu.