Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sichuan Garden II Woburn

Sichuan Garden II Woburn is located in the historical Baldwin House, originally built in 1661 and is the oldest building in Woburn. It's still a house so there in numerous dining areas inside as well as bigger function rooms upstairs.

The Hot & Sour soup is actually very good and I also like that you now get a carafe of ice water on the table.

The Mapo Tofu (called Chef’s Ma Paul Tofu with Minced Pork) is one of the few good items on the lunch menu. The chicken wings are also delightful with the crispy exterior and juicy interior. I ordered it extra "mala" (hot and numbing) and it actually arrived that way. The orange tint you can see is the fallout from the chilies.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pho #1 Woburn

The weather is so miserable and cold that I actually drove down to my local favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Pho #1 in Woburn. I think the food has gotten better and it seems a lot of people concur since you now have the get here early to get a table. I have to try the Pho again soon since the broth was never better than mediocre.

The Woburn Specials comes with spring roll, dumpling, dipping sauces and a bowl of chicken and noodle soup. They forgot the noodles today but apart from that everything was delicious.

Duck Basil with nice crisp veggies and some really nice pieces of crispy duck in a spicy sauce. Really nice dish, previously the duck pieces was from some unknown parts of the duck, but the last couple of times it has been a really high-quality duck, nicely rendered down pieces of breast. And all this for a whopping $8.95!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

MuLan Waltham

Drove down to MuLan in Waltham for a Sunday lunch and I had a bowl of noodles in mind.

I usually have the Pork Chop Noodle soup here, but today I decided on something else and picked the Noodle Soup with Pork and Preserved Mustard. Veggies all over the place including finely diced bamboo shoots and pork. This wasn't bad, but a bit too mild for my liking and to rub it in, my neighbor had the Pork Chop Noodle Soup! Not too busy today.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

PHU KET Wakefield

Saturday lunch at PHU KET in Wakefield again but the food is nice and so is the place itself even if the weather wasn't today. Low 40's at the end of April?

They added some frosted panels to the bottom of the windows for a bit more privacy. Look at how hot that soup is!

Spicy Chicken with mushrooms lunchbox. The Grilled Pork Chop has been 86'ed from the lunchbox menu so this was my second choice. Got two dumplings instead of the nice crispy spring rolls. I ordered it extra spicy and it had a little bit of heat, nothing notable, just runny nose spicy. A good amount of nicely cooked chicken and some really nice mushrooms served on a bed of spinach with some crispy shallots on top.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bonefish Grill Burlington

Went back to Bonefish Grill in Burlington to try their lunch fish and chips. The place was again very busy at lunchtime bit it has a really nice vibe.

The picture doesn't really do the dish justice, it was way more substantial than what it looks here. There were four good sized pieces of fish in a tempura style batter resting on a heap of the parmesan crusted french fries and it was served with homemade tartar sauce. The fish was nice and flaky, but the "light" tempura style batter was a bit heavy. The tartar sauce was excellent and this was a really nice and substantial lunch for less than $10. Couldn't finish all the fries. This was served in a kind of bowl and that made it kind of difficult to eat. Since I took their survey after the last time I got a free order of the Bang Bang Shrimp and I took that to go.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

As Good as it Gets Cafe Wilmington

Went back to As Good as it Gets Cafe in Wilmington for lunch on a very rainy Wednesday.

Their Panini's comes with two eggs and this was one with corned beef hash and American Cheese, choice of baked beans or home fries. Already tried the home fries so baked beans it was. Not bad for $5.95 even if the beans was the typical sickly sweet Boston baked beans. After seriously salting them and adding hot sauce they were a bit more palatable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tenoch Medford

Trying to find a place for lunch today and being stumped by 1. Closed for lunch on Tuesdays (Adega) and 2. no parking (Swanton street Diner) I ended up at Tenoch in Medford. Hard to find parking here unless you are early and I wasn't.

Plato Mexicano with rice and beans and Adobo (pork in sauce, forgot the name and the website haven't been updated). The Adobo was stone cold, the rice was unevenly cooked, it had some really crispy grains mixed in but the beans was fine. Despite being cold, the Adobo was really tasty. They are still doing a tremendous amount of business at lunch.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

MuLan Waltham

I wanted some lamb for lunch today so I headed down to MuLan in Waltham to see what they had to offer.

Hunan Lamb sounded good but was a bit of a disappointment. The lamb was VERY chewy and most of the leeks was from the tough end of the leek and the heat come from a few jalapeno pieces that were tossed into the mix.

Fortunately, I also ordered the Vegetable Fried Rice and this was delicious, nicely seasoned and I think the veggies outnumbered the rice. I would have been happy with the rice only.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Chelmsford

Well, Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe in Chelmsford is closing. The town is going to build affordable housing here so Gene will be moving and Woburn! might be the target. Nothing is final, but the old Liberty Bell location on main street is being discussed. That would be a big step up since it a way bigger place than what he has now but parking in Woburn is tricky.

I had to go back and have another #4, hand pulled noodles, probably his most famous dish. Again I discarded half of the raw garlic and mixed the rest up with the noodles. I don't think I have to be afraid of vampires for a week. Excellent dish but I remember the noodles being thicker and chewier and looking back at an earlier post I think they have gone thinner. They still are delicious.

They were busy on a Saturday at noon and both Gene and his wife was working. He's such a nice guy and always comes out for a chat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MuLan Waltham

After having breakfast for lunch yesterday, it was time for some real lunch and I headed down to MuLan in Waltham where all the parking meters are gone, I'm sure not for long. I haven't been here in awhile and most of the staff was new.

Water and soup appear quickly to join the pickled cabbage and the peanuts on the table. The soup was just OK and it was just lukewarm.

Seems I now have the same dish here all the time, Chicken in Chili sauce combo plate. Still doesn't have any sauce but what it has in abundance is HEAT! I must be getting old or something, but today this was fiercely hot. The pickled veggie salad helped as did the edamame beans. The chicken wing was as usual crisp and juicy. It was busy today, not really a wait but almost, they do some serious business at lunch.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

As Good as it Gets Cafe Wilmington

As Good as it Gets Cafe in Wilmington is located at the intersection of Rte 38 and 129 in a strip mall. It's not very visible and I had no idea it was here until it got recommended for a breakfast place on the web. They serve breakfast all day (6AM to 3PM) plus a variety of sandwiches. The menu was quite extensive and everything seemed priced very reasonable.

Two eggs over easy, bacon and home fries and some nicely toasted Italian bread. The food arrived quickly and the eggs were cooked perfectly and the home fries were nicely seasoned but unfortunately they still had a very thick skin left on and that's a no-no for me.

They also have counter service for the takeout orders.

The dining area has waitressed service and they were nice and quick so no complaints there. Lots of regulars from what I could see during my brief visit.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

Time to try something different for lunch at Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington and I had a plan.

Crispy Boneless Chicken Leg from the appetizer menu. It was crispy alright, to the point of almost being burned, but the dark meat inside was mostly juicy and very tender.

House Fried Rice was a big plate of rice cooked with cabbage, pork, shrimp, peas and carrots. It needed some salt, but it was delicious and will go well with my leftovers for dinner tonight and probably another meal after that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bonefish Grill Burlington

Bonefish Grill in Burlington is another restaurant located in the Wayside Commons shopping mall. It's part of a chain with multiple locations in the US, but it really didn't feel like it.

Nice interior and despite being an open room the noise level wasn't bad even when fully occupied and this was one busy place. There is an almost equal sized bar on the other side of the wall.

The lunch menu looked really good with a number of reasonably priced items, but I settled on Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos and they included three warm tortillas, Bang Bang Shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream (hold the sour cream!) for $9.90 and as for my side I selected Parmesan crusted fries. The Bang Bang Shrimp was described as "crispy shrimp, tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce" and the sauce was actually spicy! I must say that I was impressed by the amount of shrimp (and the size of) that was in the dish. Service was good and I'm impressed by this place and will certainly be back, they had a Fish and Chips dish on the menu that sounded really good. There was a much better vibe from this place compared to last week's visit to the Wayside.

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cafe Luigi Bedford

Back to Cafe Luigi in Bedford to explore more lunch specials. They do a tremendous amount of business at lunch so get here early. Plenty of (tight) parking.

Lunch Special Fried Cod Sandwich ($8.99) was two humongous pieces of very crispy fried cod perched on two thick slices of tomatoes. The lettuce wasn't too exciting and the tartar sauce was just OK, the other choice was pesto, not sure how that would go with fried fish. The fish was very crispy on the outside but moist on the inside and the coating was nicely seasoned. I see a leftover fish and chips dinner in my future.

It was served with an Italian Slaw that was really good, It had sultanas in it and I was afraid that would make it too sweet, but between the crunchy veggies and the slightly peppery dressing it come out just fine. You also get soft Italian bread and that and some cheese from the cheese shaker on the table make a fine nibble while waiting for the food. Service is always good here and the kitchen does a really good job of getting food out even when they are fully booked. Everyone goes home with leftovers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shangri-La Belmont

I decided to give Shangri-La in Belmont another try for lunch today despite my less than a stellar last visit. Parking here is also a pain, at least at lunchtime.

I do like the small bowl of Hot & Sour soup, it's different but tasty.

I decided to go with the lunch Twice cooked Pork and the chicken wing. The single piece of wing was crispy, juicy and very tasty. The pork was the overly tenderized meat that is so common and it was only pork and cabbage with something green, not sure what it was. On the other hand, the cabbage was cooked nicely and the sauce had some heat to it but overall it did not impress. They will get another chance with one of their noodle soups.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

Haven't been back for a while to Taipei Gourmet in Lexington and I wanted some crispy duck for lunch on this sunny Sunday.

And Crispy Duck Rice plate I got.Today the bok choy was cooked nicely. The duck was crispy (lots of bones) and needed a small shave but for $7.46? I'm not complaining.

Who was the only non-Asian person in there? Yup, me. The place was packed, but she said that weekends are usually even busier. Good for them.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

PHU KET Wakefield

Where is spring? Went to PHU KET in Wakefield for a Saturday lunch and again I had the whole place to myself.

Seafood Basil Lunchbox with Shrimp, Scallops, Squid, Mussels, Mushrooms, Red Peppers and Onions is a spicy chili basil sauce. Everything was fresh and cooked perfectly and it had a bit of heat. Again a very pleasant lunch on a kind of dreary day.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Seasons 52 Burlington

Seasons 52 in Burlington is located in the Wayside Commons shopping center just off Rte 128 and I decided it was time to for a lunch visit.

I was offered seating in the bar and got a booth to myself. Interior is very nice and the prices reflect that. They had three bartenders working during lunch and the place was fairly busy.

Rocky Mountain Buffalo Burger with truffle sauce and blue cheese ordered medium rare and that's how it arrived. This was a small burger, I'm not a big eater but this one was small even for me. Condiments were served on the side and they were nice enough but the lettuce could have been fresher. The burger was very juicy and tender but completely unseasoned, but the blue cheese was nice, not too strong. The bun was some sort of brownish bread, probably healthy and I wasn't too thrilled with it. The truffle sauce was bland and the truffle seemed mostly absent. It was an OK lunch, not too exciting but the place is very nice and the service was good.

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mr. Chan's Bistro Burlington

Mr. Chan's Bistro in Burlington seems to be my go-to restaurant when I can't make up my mind where to go for lunch. Nothing exciting but I can always find something decent and there is plenty of parking. Now all the dishes are presented in one menu, no more "Special menu".

Preserved Vegetable & 3 Delight w/ Egg Noodle Soup. The three delight turned out to a few nuggets of beef, red roasted pork and chicken. The broth was actually very good as was the thick noodles and the chicken was tender. Could have been more preserved veggies but overall a very nice lunch and I got stuffed.

Hidden in a strip mall next to the DCU Credit Union (excellent bank, btw) it doesn't look like much but the inside is very nice and even if you can't see in you can see out and the tinted windows do let the light in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Aquitaine Chestnut Hill

A beautiful day for a drive so I'm heading back to Aquitaine in Chestnut Hill for their Tuesday Plat du Jour.

And the Plat du Jour is one of my favorite dishes of all time: Crispy Duck Confit served with Warm Farro Salade, Pickled Cranberry, & Citrus Gastrique. This was almost as good as it looked, the duck was very tender but lacked the crispy skin and the texture was "reheated". I do realize that it has to be reheated, but it could have been done better. The Farro salad was surprisingly good, very flavorful as was the sauce. Sorry, the gastrique.

Interior is nice with a nice long bar and there is also table seating on that side.