Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thai E-sarn Cuisine Arlington

Rainy, blustery overcast Sunday calls for some hot food so I went to to Thai E-sarn Cuisine in Arlington for some lunch today. The good thing is that they serve lunch seven days a week.

The salad was the same, maybe a bit more chopped up and very fresh. I like the oversized water glass.

Beef Meatball Noodle Soup. The broth was nice as was the rice noodles, but the meatball was a bit rubbery and very dense, but it tasted good. The best part was the chili condiment! Not only just hot but it has a really nice complex flavor.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tuscan Kitchen Salem NH

I was in the area so I decided to revisit Tuscan Kitchen in Salem NH for today's lunch. I really like this place, excellent food and service and plenty of parking and the nearby Tuscan Market are a delight.

Warm crusty bread with the dipping oil was a delight as usual.

INSALATA DI TONNO Rare Seared Tuna, Fresh Arugula, Wood Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onion, Sicilian Olives, Roasted Fennel, Balsamic Glaze is what the menu said. I must admit that the amount of tuna was a bit stingy compared to the last time I had it. Still a nice salad.

Interior is very nice with the open kitchen and the pizza guy over there to the right.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blue Ginger Wellesley

There is still a long drive to Blue Ginger in Wellesley but at least it was a pleasant and sunny day and I snagged a free parking spot behind the restaurant.

Potato and Leek Soup braised fennel and Madras curry oil. Soup again? Well, what can I say, things happen. This was an excellent soup and the curry oil added a very subtle curry flavor. Very smooth soup with bits of fennel hiding in there.

The Braised Beef Bao with pickled mustard greens and sambal-black vinegar aioli comes out as a "some assembly required" kit. It's a bit hard to see the braised beef underneath all that cilantro but there was a good amount of it.

The theory is that you pick up your steamingly hot bao and pile on the beef and veggies and then eat it as a sandwich. I quickly realized that you would run out of bao before the rest is gone so I made myself an open faced sandwich and used the knife and fork to eat it, a bit unorthodox but it worked out quite well. Dine out Boston week(s) is almost over, but it's a good deal as long as it lasts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

On this cold and blustery but snow free Wednesday, I wanted something to warm me up and what's better than a soup at Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica? This place is just a short ride up Rte3 and I decided on a late lunch but even when I got there at 12:45 there was hardly any tables free. This is one busy place.

Pork Spare Ribs Noodle Soup is a favorite of mine. Chewy noodles, tender pork ribs and a spicy broth with still crunchy Bok Choy is a perfect combination and really delicious. It doesn't look too spicy, but it has a good bite to it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aquitaine Chestnut Hill

Second week of Restaurant week so I went back to Aquitaine Bistro in Chestnut Hill to try some different dishes. They have now wised up and it is now two courses for $15 and three for $20 and this is in line with what everyone else is doing.

Started was Soupe au Pistou Watercress with Citrus Creme Fraiche and Garlic-Thyme Croutons. The soup was very tasty and really nice, but it had cracked black peppercorns floating around so some spoonfuls had a surprise in them. Apart from that it was very nice.

Gray Sole Poelee with Maine Lobster Nage, Braised Celery & Courgette, Potatoes Boulangerie was also very nice and the fish was cooked perfectly as was the veggies. Not sure how a sliced boiled potato qualifyes as "Potatoes Boulangerie" but the whole thing was very tasty.

I decided to splurge and go with the $20 menu and ordered the Lavender Crème Brulee with Minted Orange Tuile. Again the dessert was the weakest link. The crust was soggy and the Brulee was thick and rubbery. Service was again very nice and this is a really nice place. I'll be back next week for Tuesdays Plat du Jour.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Felicia's Stoneham

Time for another visit to Felicia's of the North End in Stoneham. They now have a sign up saying that parking is available at the library next door and that should help the parking situation.

There is something comforting about this old school Italian restaurant and don't forget the exciting view of the main street in Stoneham.

Homemade Meatball sub and just to be troublesome I asked for 1/2 Fries and 1/2 Roasted Potatoes (choice is either) since I haven't tried either before. Forget the fries, wildly inconsistent cooked industrial fries, but the roasted potatoes were pretty good after adding a healthy dose of salt. The meatballs, on the other hand, was also pretty mediocre. The bread was delicious, light and crunchy.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sakura Organic Wakefield

Went back to Sakura Organic in Wakefield today for another lunch and to try something different from my last visit. The place was very quiet again at lunchtime. Finding parking here can be difficult at times.

Salad and Miso soup are included in the lunch and the Miso soup isn't bad but it's still Miso soup.

I decided to try the Yaki Udon from the lunch menu and it was competent enough, even if the chicken pieces were a bit dry. Big enough portion for me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

FuLoon Malden

Another year has passed until I made my way back to Fuloon in Malden. Well, I was also planning a visit to the 88 Supermarket in Malden that's nearby for some fresh ham hocks. They also have insanely cheap veggies and a fabulous chili oil that has a lot of crushed chilis inside.

Nothing has changed inside, impeccable clean ginormous fish tank and the forgettable lunch buffet can be seen behind it.

The Hot Diced Chicken Szechuan Style is from the normal menu listed under popular dishes. A crunchier, spicier version of Kung Pao chicken, this version is made with breaded chunks of juicy, fatty dark meat, deep fried until ultra-crisp, and tossed in a dry mixture of Sichuan peppercorns, roasted chiles, sugar, and an assortment of aromatics. The chicken might have been slightly overcooked, but this was still a fabulous dish. Spicy? Oh yes, VERY. There is no wimping out and using whole roasted chilis, here they are broken up and the seeds are everywhere.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blue Ginger Wellesley

There is a looong drive to Blue Ginger in Wellesley, but it was a nice day for a drive when I left. They do serve a $15 two course lunch during Restaurant Week and I had a really pleasant lunch here last year even if it was slow.

Started with the Korean Pork Potstickers with slaw and cilantro vinaigrette and it was excellent with crispy porky dumplings and a tangy slaw.

Fried Chicken Sandwich with green curry aioli and pickled vegetables was also delicious with perfectly fried chicken thighs. The chips were Taro chips and really nice.

Interior is very nice in a subdued way.

The open air kitchen is always interesting to watch and the lack of chaos is impressive.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Aquitaine Chestnut Hill

I had a really nice lunch at Aquitaine in Chestnut Hill last year during the Restaurant Week. The Restaurant Week is now called Dine out Boston with more flexible pricing so it was a chance to revisit the restaurant. Unfortunately, very few restaurants outside of Boston is doing lunch this year.

Bread is delivered in a Boulangeri bag and I thought that was cute.

The first course was Roasted Bone Marrow Croustade with Smoked Sea Salt, Pommery Mustard and Soft Herb Salade. This was really excellent with the herbs and the mustard cutting the richness of the bone marrow.

The second course was Berkshire Pork Cassoulet, Braised Shoulder, Smoked Belly and Garlic Sausage with White Burgundy Braised Bean Ragout. The belly was crispy and tender and the whole thing was just yummy! I prefer my cassoulet to be a little bit more liquid, but that's just a small nit.

Dessert was Pain Perdu au Chocolat with Salty Caramel and Chantilly Cream. This was my least favorite dish, but I was also a bit stuffed at this point.

When I left close to one there was only bar seating left. Nice place, excellent service and I'll be back at least one more during the two weeks of Boston Dine Out. Certainly worth $15..

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cafe Escadrille Burlington

I called every high end restaurant in the area inquiring if they had any St Patrick Day special and none did so I had resigned myself to the boiled dinner at the 99 for lunch. I then remembered Cafe Escadrille in Burlington where I had a very nice Splurge Lunch a while back and it turns out that they have St Patrick's specials the whole week.

In honor of the day the bread included a piece of Irish Soda bread and the packet of butter is real butter.

This is the boiled New England dinner special with red corned beef and assorted root veggies. There is a slice of boiled cabbage underneath the corned beef. They also had an Irish Boiled dinner but that one had sliced smoked shoulder and I'm sorry but a St Patricks lunch has to have red corned beef to qualify. Everything was cooked nicely and the mustard was hot so another good lunch and to top it off I got an Irish waiter.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

PHU KET Wakefield

Back to my normal Saturday lunch at PHU KET in Wakefield. Again I was the only customer at lunch apart from one takeout customer. I must admit that I'm not too pleased being the only customer in the place. Their location is a bit awkward being behind main street but the food is very good and the place is spotless.

The tofu soup that comes with the lunch box is very pleasant and I like the roasted garlic that's floating on top.

Spicy Chicken with Mushrooms was today's lunchbox choice and they managed to make it nice and spicy. A fresh salad and crispy spring rolls rounded out the box. Again a very pleasant lunch and the sun is actually showing up today.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Eri's Wings & Seafood Woburn

After I knew about the Fish and Chip special at Eri's Wings & Seafood in Woburn it was just a matter of time before my next visit.

I am always entering from the private parking area so I never saw the sign on the front door until today. I might have to splurge and try the lobster roll next week.

The $6.99 Fish and Chips special have two pieces of fish instead of the full priced one that has three but I couldn't finish that one so this is perfect for me. Perfectly cooked fish and a heap of coated fries made for a substantial lunch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Adega Woburn

Adega in Woburn is a small Portuguese restaurant that opened last week in a small strip mall on Main Street towards Winchester.

The interior is fairly bright with tables scattered at random. Some had salt and pepper shares and some did not. Only two other customers at lunchtime today.

You get crusty bread with a slightly spiced dipping oil and some olives to keep you occupied until your food arrives.

What's more Portuguese than Carne de Porco Altentejana (Pork with Clams)? It's a must try dish and this version was excellent with tender and tasty pork, clams and roasted potatoes in a very tasty sauce. Now the crusty bread come in handy to soak up the broth. Minor nit was that the potatoes still had the skin on, not a fan of this but I can live with it. Slightly mash the potatoes so they can absorb the gravy, yum!

Where are they? 229 Main Street with no sign on the outside yet. No beer or wine license yet but it's BYOB.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

Almost top down weather but regardless it was a nice drive to Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington for some nice lunch.

Lunch special Braised Pork Chop with Spinach is the new comfort food. Lucious braised pork riblets with some spinach is a deliciously porky dish. The addition of the not so spicy chili oil made it even better.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thai E-sarn Cuisine Arlington

Wanted some squid today for some bizarre reason so I went back to Thai E-sarn Cuisine in Arlington for some lunch Spicy Squid.

Small bowl of salad is included with the standard slightly sweet Thai dressing. Everything was very fresh.

It's supposed to be crispy squid, but that really doesn't work out too well when you pour the sauce over it, but it was very nice regardless and I asked for it extra spicy and it wasn't really SPICY but had a nice bit of heat to it. Wasn't too busy at lunch time but they now have a beer and wine license. Finally a nice sunny and warm day, after all the bitter cold.