Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

Almost done exploring the lunch menu at Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica. There is one more after today, but I'll skip that one since I think I already had a spicy variant of the Pork w. Vegetables & Chinese Mushrooms last week. No picture of the soup today!

I didn't have much hope for the "Chicken & Asparagus w. Cheng Du Special Sauce" but it was surprisingly good. The sauce was rich and tasty and the asparagus was cooked really well and the chicken was tender. I finished the whole thing, apart from 98% of the enormous mound of rice. Seriously busy today with four large parties with advanced reservations.
Conclusion? I think that the Spare Ribs Noodle Soup and the Sichuan Double Cooked Bacon are the best dishes on the lunch menu. Everything else ranges from good to very good. Least favorite was last weeks Pork w. Yu Xiang Sauce. What surprised me was that the Hot and Sour Wonton Soup was so delicious that it is now put into the rotation here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

Haven't had duck for a while so I'm heading out to Taipei Gourmet in Lexington to remedial that. Beautiful dry day today.

Traditional Taiwanese Rice plate with crispy duck. Rice was a bit dry and the Bok Choy was overcooked but the duck was fine and that's what matters.

Davio'S Lynnfield

Davio's in Lynnfield, in conjunction with Whole Foods and starting in August, will be offering a Monday Market Menu that will utilize ingredients grown and available at the new Rooftop Farm at Whole Foods Market at Market Street in Lynnfield.

Nice seating at what they call the Chef's table. I always find it fascinating to watch the chefs working.

The dinner started with some nice bread and spreads. I really liked the eggplant with spicy peppers.

Antipasto. Green Tomato-Cucumber Gazpacho with Maine Lobster. This was really good and very tasty. It was also a bit chunky and that gave it a nice texture.

Farinaceo. Bucatini, Baby Arugula, Purple Beans, Vermont Butter, Shaved Ricotta Salata. I had to ask what farinaceo meant and it means "From the Garden". I have never seen this on a menu in Italy and neither had the waiter who had spent time there. Another tasty dish with the bucatini made in-house, I got asparagus instead of the beans, but that was fine since I do like asparagus.

Piatti Del Giorno. Grilled Swordfish with Purple, Orange Carrots, Grilled Eggplant, Charmoula Sauce and Dill Crème Fraîche. Perfectly cooked fish with some nice grilled veggies and colorful carrots. I must admit that the Charmoula sauce was really tasty.

The we walked over to Whole Foods for a tour of the 17000 SQ feet roof top garden. The store itself is about 50000 SQ feet so the whole roof is not utilized. They expect to get about 10000 lbs of produce out of the garden. The garden is run by an external company who basically delivers the produce to Whole Foods.

Then it was back to Davio'S for Dolce. Blueberry Torte with Mascarpone Lemon Gelato. Crispy pastry filled with blueberries and a very nice ice cream.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Noodles & Company Burlington

Even thinking about it for a while, the name still doesn't make sense to me, but it was time for a second visit to Noodles & Company in Burlington. I wonder how they will do in the winter when there is no outside seating, the inside is fairly small with a limited number of seats.

A large Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with a $1 bowl of Chicken Soup. Note to self, next time order a small, this could feed a couple of people. It was OK nice and cheesy, but the noodles were way to al dente for me, bordered on undercooked. The Chicken Soup was very tasty especially the chicken.

Add on some Sriracha and everything is suddenly much better. I was looking for ketchup but didn't find any so this would have to do. Ketchup? That's how we roll in Sweden with Mac.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thai E-Sarn Cuisine Arlington

I'm continuing the exploration of the newly translated Thai menu at Thai E-Sarn Cuisine in Arlington. Nothing really exciting yet, but I have hope.

Larb Woon Sen with Chicken or Pork (ลำบวุ้นเส้น). Northeastern style Larb is a spicy and sour salad of minced cooked meat added woon sen(glass noodle), shallots or onions, lime juice, fish sauce, chili, ground roasted rice and fresh mint. I asked for this to be Thai Authentic and I think that's the secret code word since this was excellent. It had a perfect mix of the basics "sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy". I also liked the addition of the glass noodles, made it into a more substantial portion. This is the pork version. New waitress today so I didn't get the free lunch salad.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Del Frisco's Grille Burlington

Time for a second visit to Del Frisco's Grille in Burlington for some more Friday Splurge. I was happy with my first visit during their first week of being open.

Time to try the Lamb Burger that comes with Roasted Tomato, Arugula, Tzatziki Sauce, Frites. I asked for the Tzatziki Sauce on the side, I wasn't sure if I would like it, but it was a nice accouterment to the burger. The burger was cooked medium rare as ordered but wasn't very lamby and this time the fries lacked seasoning.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

Back to Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica to resume the quest of trying all the lunch menu items on the Sichuan part of the lunch menu. I know, Asian food three days in a row but the restaurants are so fundamentally different that it doesn't feel like the same cuisine.

The H&S Soup was good as usual and so was the pickled veggies.

I ordered Z02 Pork w. Yu Xiang Sauce but I think it looks more like Z01 Pork w. Vegetables & Chinese Mushrooms that had some chilies added. The sauce was on the sweeter side but had a good amount of heat from the chilies. Too sweet for me and it had every conceivable vegetable added. This was also too messy for me, I like my food a bit more orderly but I liked the onions and the crispy hot pepper slices and the bamboo shoots.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

On a hot and muggy but I'm heading out to Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington for some porky goodness.

The pork bone soup today had seaweed? added. Didn't improve it.

Twice Cooked Pork was as usual delicious with really tender pork belly and crunchy cabbage, green peppers and fermented black beans. Add some chili oil and it's perfect. The couple at the next table had the same dish and my other favorite, Braised Pork Chop With Spinach.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mandarin Reading

If you want a Chinese lunch buffet, Mandarin in Reading is probably your best bet now since Feng Shui in Chelmsford has gone seriously downhill.

They have been in this custom built building since 1998 and are just off Rte 128. Plenty of (tight) parking.

Their Wonton Soup is way better than their H&S soup. You do get linen napkins.

Appetizer plate. The shumai and the shrimp and chive dumplings was OK, not the freshest but both was tasty. Salt and Pepper shrimp with the shell on was actually crispy enough so that you could eat the shell. Chicken wings are always good here especially with the hot mustard and duck sauce mix poured over them. Mixed right this can curl your toes.

Finally, the good stuff arrived but this was all the nigiri available and I snagged it all. As you can see, just thin slices of fish BUT they had a dab of wasabi under the fish and that's rarely seen these days. The rest was just maki. They did keep on bringing out platters of sushi so I give them credit for that.

They had squid today and it was nice and tender. They also had shrimp dish with veggies that was really nice.

Good sized steam table and the items do change apart from your standard American-Chinese items.

Sushi offerings, a few nigiri, and the rest is heavily riced maki.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Woburn

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe has moved from its Chelmsford location to Woburn and is now local to me and I paid him my first visit today for a Saturday lunch. Parking didn't seem to be a problem and Gene said that nobody has complained about the parking situation.

Unmarked awning and just a sign on the window lets you know that here is good stuff.

Gene and wife, I figured I would catch both of the since it's Saturday.

The menu is the same sans the chicken fingers etc.

Plenty of seating but at 12:30 today the place was absolutely packed.

Lunch today was the delectable #9, Cumin Lamb with hand-pulled Noodles. Delicious as usual with tender lamb and slightly chewy noodles in a puddle of spicy goodness.

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fishbones Chelmsford

Perfect day for some outside lunch so I headed out to Fishbones in Chelmsford to partake in my standard lunch here.

The Sesame Yellow Fin Tuna Steak Sandwich is superb here. Grilled sushi grade yellow fin tuna steak, marinated in sesame oil, coated in sesame seeds and grilled to temperature. served on a potato roll with pickled ginger, wasabi, seaweed salad, lettuce, tomato, pickle, homemade coleslaw and french fries is how the menu describes it. The tuna was rare as ordered with just a few grill marks and it was like eating sashimi with a knife and fork. Perfectly cooked coated fries and a big heap of them, just a perfect lunch.

Outside seating on this perfect NE Summer day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

I was going to go to MuLan in Waltham for their Pork Chop Noodle Soup but then I remembered my quest of trying all the lunch items at Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica so that's where I ended up.

Hot and Sour Wonton Soup from the lunch menu. I had seen this on the lunch menu but kind of disregarded it and expecting it to be the normal H&S soup with wontons thrown in. It was not. A delicious broth that was really hot and sour filled with Wontons and Bok Choy. There was a ton of wontons, I was slurping them down and still had a bunch left for dinner. I was surprised at how good the broth was, not something I expected to like but the balance was perfect.

Did I mention that it was a rainy and overcast day?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pennypacker's Somerville

I was trying to go somewhere else, but there was absolutely no parking to be found so I ended up at Pennypacker's in Somerville instead where there was plenty of parking albeit metered.

It's Taco Tuesday so I had one of each. To the left is the Grilled Chicken Taco with salsa verde, cotija, radish and to the right is the Baked Red Bean Taco with salsa verde, cotija, radish. The chicken taco was excellent, moist and flavorful chicken. The bean taco was less exciting.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hong Cuc Lowell

I stopped by Hong Cuc in Lowell to pick up another Banh Mi on my way to the shelter today.

This is the BBQ Beef ($4.50) Banh Mi. Today they charged sales tax, last time they didn't. As you can see you get a good amount of beef with the normal Banh Mi trimmings. This one left me somewhat underwhelmed. I think I like the Combo Banh Mi better, more interesting fillings.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thai E-Sarn Cuisine Arlington

Went back try something else from the newly translated secret Thai menu at Thai E-Sarn Cuisine in Arlington.

Crispy Chicken Gra Pow (กะเพรำไก่กรอบ) serve over rice $8.95. The chicken was only somewhat crispy but was tender with a mild taste of spices. There was also green and red pepper with some slices of onion mixed in. Overall a bit meh. I must admit I expected something like THIS which is Gra Prow and I wasn't sure how they could make that with crispy chicken, obviously a different dish. Got the salad as well, nice.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Strip T's Watertown

Strip T's in Watertown is a bit far away but it was a nice drive today, blue skies and low humidity and even on the back roads it didn't take too long to get there.

It's a funky little place, was sandwich shop for a long time until it got transformed into a funky little restaurant. I have tried most of the famous dishes so now it was time to branch out.

Grilled Romaine with oxtail, poached egg and chili vinaigrette. The oxtail was delicious with a really beefy taste and also really tender. A little tail now and then is good for you..

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Noodles & Company Burlington

Noodles & Company in Burlington opened recently in the same plaza as Del Frisco's Grille. I must admit that I don't get the name. The Noodle Company, yes, Noodles & Stuff, yes but Noodles & Company, nope. Doesn't even sound right unless I'm missing something.

Plenty of parking and they also have a nice shaded outside seating area, perfect for a day like today.

Small Spaghetti and Meatballs ($7.09) with Parmesan Cheese and a Thai Curry Soup ($1.00) and since there is no tipping the soup is sort of free. The soup was really tasty and flavorful, not too spicy and the only complaint was that the basil leaves was really big. Kudos for the really big water glass.

The Spaghetti with Meatballs (5). The pasta was cooked al dente but needed salt, the meatballs had a nice sear and tasted great but they were dense. The tomato sauce was also really tasty. This was a really tasty and pleasant lunch. 

Interior was nice and they had three cashiers taking orders so things were moving. After ordering you get a numbered tag and they will bring the food out to you.

Noodles & Company on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

After my excellent lunch here at Sichuan Gourmet Billerica last week I'm determined to try all the dishes on the somewhat smallish lunch menu.

I had the Ma Po Tofu here a long time ago and wasn't too impressed but seeing the dish at a nearby table last week I had to give it another chance. Silken tofu in a spicy mala sauce ordered extra mala (extra numbing and spicy) it certainly lived up to that. This is the dish that convinced me that tofu is actually edible. I really like how it comes in its own bowl so that you can serve yourself since I really don't like all the good stuff just soaking into the rice. Again the place was absolutely packed at 11:45. The serving spoon actually ended up being the eating utensil today since this is not doable with chopsticks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

China Star Lowell

China Star in Lowell has no web presence at all, but an old menu can be found HERE. Prices have gone up slightly, half a roasted duck is now a dollar more.

This is the original location on Broadway, there isn't a lot of parking and for a quick takeout you can park on the street (I think).

Roast Pig Belly Rice Plate, still $7.75, was a serious amount of perfectly cooked pork belly with lots of crackling, a mountain of rice and some bok choy. The pork belly was seriously delicious!

Who can resist a crispy duck? Half a duck ordered to go for only $12.50! This is seriously dirt cheap. You can also get the pork belly only for $8.25/pound. I think I'll do that the next time I get a craving for pork belly. They also have a Duck with Vegetable & Egg Noodle soup for $7.75 that I have to try. Duck and Egg Noodles in the same dish, how can you go wrong?

The Chef in action cutting up pork and duck and in true Chinatown style you can see the meats hanging behind the glass wall. Yes, everything still has the head on. Really nice guy and he took me out back to show me the humongous owen where the next batch of ducks was slow roasting.

Plenty of seating, no table service, and they were doing a brisk takeout business and they are open late, 1 AM normally and 3 AM Fri and Sat! Everyone was really nice and helpful "you want that to go? Here let me pack it up". Only drawback was that there was no tap water available, the first time that ever happened to me.

China Star on Urbanspoon