Friday, July 31, 2015

Sichuan Gourmet House Newton Highlands

Sichuan Gourmet House in Newton Highlands moved recently to this bigger location on Walnut Street. It's kind of hard to find since the entrance is from the rear on Walnut Street but it's very close to Rte 9.

This is the entrance and you can see Walnut Street in the background.

You have the normal choice of soup with your lunch and I went for the H&S. It was just OK, a little bit on the thin side.

Lunch Special Numbing Spicy Chicken w /GP ($7.50) and it was marked as three peppers on the menu. I quickly figured out the GP stood for Green Peppers and this was the normal mildly spicy green peppers. Good sized portion and it was seriously hot. I couldn't figure out if the chicken were mushy or very tender, but I'm leaning towards mushy. The texture was a bit strange. I haven't tried the chicken wing yet.

I also ordered another favorite of mine from the app section, Sliced Pork in Garlic Spicy Sauce ($7.95). The pork was sliced paper thin, so it was very tender and they didn't hold back on either the garlic or the spices. This was seriously delicious.

Big square room with miss-matched furniture. I ended up with a folding chair at the table the waitress is standing at. It had a decent padded seat, so it wasn't all that bad.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Machu Chicken Somerville

I have recently read a lot about Machu Chicken in Somerville. No working website but a wildly inaccurate menu can be found HERE. A half Chicken, all dark meat? Where are they breed, Chernobyl? Write-ups have been, "1/2 Chicken with Fries for under $10", "1/2 Chicken with Fries for about $10", "1/2 Chicken with Fries for about $12". Of course, the reality is different.

What they do and do really really well, is the Peruvian Style Charcoal Roasted Chicken. Chicken are served with a small salad and a choice of French Fries, Rice or Golden or Boiled potatoes. You can order a whole chicken ($20), half a chicken ($12) or a quarter dark ($7.50) white ($8.50). I went with the Chicken Tacu Tacu ($8.00). 1/4 chicken (dark or white meat), served with our traditional Tacu Tacu (seasoned rice & beans). Of course, I ordered it with dark meat. The chicken was outstanding! Moist and flavorful from the 12-hour marinade and smoky from the charcoal grill. The rice and beans were also very good. The salad? Not too exciting but everything was fresh and it had a nice light dressing. You also get two dipping sauces, one spicy and one less spicy. The sauces were very nice and tasty, but the chicken was soo good on its own, that I left the sauces alone.

It's a small space with table service. It was really dark down at the counter area but nice at the window seats. They also have a bigger place, Machu Picchu, that is located just up the street. I must admit that getting to Union Square is an adventure in itself and unless you are familiar with the area, parking can be tricky.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bobby's Burger Palace Burlington

After trying Wahlburgers last week, I figured I finally had to try Bobby's Burger Palace in Burlington for lunch. As far as parking goes, Wahlburger wins hands down.

The only entrance is from outside the mall and they are located next to Besito and Legal Seafood. There is no reserved parking for take-out. 

Interior is funky with lots of communal tables and an open kitchen in the back. When it got busy later on, the staff was quick to clean the tables and the food arrived fairly quickly. You order up front and get a number and then the food is delivered to you. They get a bonus point for having a number of interesting sauces available at the table.

I figure I stick to the same thing as last week so here is the Classic Beef Burger ($7.95). American Cheese / Lettuce / Tomato / Red Onion. The burger was ordered medium rare (see below) and was tender but look at the size of the onion slices! Between the sesame crusted bun and the onion, it was hard to taste the burger itself. The cheese was nicely melted and the pickle was good.

Medium rare it was not, at the most I would go is medium well. For a place that only does burgers, how bad is this?

I also ordered a half/half of Fries and Beer-battered Onion Rings ($4.50) that comes with BBP Fry Sauce. First, the fries were excellent and the best part of the meal and the dipping sauce was nice. The onion rings, all two of them, was greasy and soggy and the onion itself was watery, not sure how they managed this. Overall, I was not impressed and it wasn't cheap. For less money, I could have had a full service sit down lunch at Besito's next door.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beijing Chinese Dining Lexington

There was no free parking today when I went to Beijing Chinese Dining in Lexington, so I had to shell out a quarter for an hour of parking.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly ($7.95) ordered extra spicy and this time it worked. Unfortunately, the pork belly was seriously dry but the fried rice was delicious as always, light and fluffy with eggs and peas.

The Hot & Sour soup seems to have stabilized at hot and sweet, instead of hot and sour. Not bad but different. I tried to give them some feedback, but the website has no contact form or email listed.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Abby Park Milton

If you are going to the Cape or are stuck in traffic on the way back, it might be a good idea to stop at Abby Park in Milton. They are located just a short drive south of Boston and easily accessible from Rte 93. There used to be a video store in this location with an adult section that is now part of the dining room.

The interior is bright with an open kitchen, a bar in the middle and more seating on the other side. Good quality furniture and linen table cloth. Nice artworks on the walls.

I was here for the Sunday Brunch with a Live Jazz band adding to the ambiance. I started with a cup of New England Clam Chowder ($6) that was very tasty but very short on content. The few clams were very tender and the chowder had a nice smoky flavor from the bacon.

This was followed by CRAB CAKE BENEDICT ($15) with poached eggs, English muffin, lump crab cake, hollandaise, home fries. The crab cake was fantastic and was 99% crab not sure what the binder was, but it didn't detract from the crab. It was also cooked perfectly with a nice sear on the outside and really moist on the inside without falling apart. The eggs were also poached to perfection and the homemade hollandaise was really good. Potatoes were also cooked really well with a nice crispy outside. The little salad had a nice dressing. What a good dish this was!

The funky shaped bar in the middle. They have been doing the Jazz Brunch during July so today was the last day. The service was very good with really nicely dressed waitstaff. They have some other specials going during the summer:
- Kids Eat Free: Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.
- $2 Taco Deal: Monday – Friday 3-6 p.m.
- Ladies First: Mondays 6 to 9 p.m., 3-course meal (house wine, cocktail or beer included) for $30
- Burger and a Beer for $10: Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.

The meal was complimentary of the Abby Park, but all opinions are my own.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Temazcal Lynnfield

I haven't been back to Temazcal in Lynnfield for a while, so it was time for a Saturday lunch visit. Between looking at Google Traffic and actually getting to Rte 128 reality had changed. Do you know how Google can show traffic in real time? They use the GPS data from people's phones to determine how fast the phone moves.

This is just called Mole Poblano ($18) on the menu. Roasted half chicken, sesame, Mexican chocolate, agave sweet potato mash. I usually stick to the bean spread for the chips but tried both the red and the green salsa and they really have improved and was seriously tasty now. The chicken was cooked nicely but where is the mole? There was none to be found but after the bartender had given me some on the side, it was a much better dish and in fact, the mole itself was delicious. I really don't like sweet potatoes but decided to give them another chance, but I still don't like them. Serving chicken on the bone on top of a mound of mashed potatoes in a bowl makes it impossible to cut the chicken. How come nobody is thinking about things like this? Yes, I sent them feedback both about the sauce and the serving.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Margaritas Medford

I was invited to a Media Event at Margaritas in Medford to celebrate National Tequila Day that is actually today. Margaritas currently have 26 location in NE and most of them have the same menu.

Chips and Salsa greeted us as we arrived. The chips were fresh and the salsa was very tasty with a nice consistency.

Guacamole was made fresh tableside. They normally don't do this, but the guacamole is made in small batches during the day.

The finished product. It could have done with some more salt and seasoning, but I liked the texture.

This is the Beehive Paloma. 2 oz of Hornitos Spiced Honey Tequila, ½ of a Lime and 4 oz of Jarritos Grapefruit Soda. Very interesting taste from the honey tequila.

Mexican Grilled Corn. Grilled corn, right on the cob, just like from the streets of Mexico. Topped with chipotle aioli and queso fresco. This was delicious, even if it was messy to eat. It had a nice char from the grill.

Coconut Shrimp Salad. Magic dusted shrimp tossed in coconut sauce over lettuce, salsa fresco, roasted corn salsa, cucumbers and queso fresco. Served with tequila lime dressing. Nice and fresh and the dressing was excellent. All the dishes were served in tasting size, normally the dishes are about three times as big.

It was time to have a look around and all the tiles and the chairs are handmade in Mexico, as is the artwork that is all over the place. This is just a small example. I haven't been to a Margaritas for quite a while and never paid much attention to the decorations, but this was impressive.

Carnitas Enchilada in Tomatillo Sauce served with refried bean and black beans. A classic taste that comes together in perfect harmony. Slow-roasted carnitas (pork) tucked inside a corn tortilla with a blend of cheeses, then topped with our housemade tomatillo sauce and baked to perfection. The pork was excellent, tender and flavorful as was the beans. I especially like the refried beans that had actual beans left in for texture. The tomatillo sauce was really well made.

Fish Tacos Del Mar. Baja-style tacos with beer-battered fish, onion, cilantro, orange slaw, mild three-pepper sauce and avocado on a white corn tortilla. Another good dish, not sure what the fish was but it was not tilapia.

Fried Ice Cream. Sweet and salty, smooth yet crunchy; vanilla ice cream with a crushed pretzel shell, covered in chocolate sauce, honey or both. What can I say? It's crunchy ice cream! There were margaritas consumed during the meal, as well as the house made Sangria. The hospitality was outstanding with the chef explaining each dish and we also got a lecture about the history of tequila, the growing and the distilling process.

This meal was complimentary of Margaritas, but all opinions are my own.

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Taipei Gourmet Lexington

I didn't really know where to go today, so I ended up at my old stand-by, Taipei Gourmet in Lexington.

I ordered Chicken with Hot Pepper ($7.99) and Beef with Hot Long Peppers arrived instead. How complicated is this? Anyway, this gave me more time to enjoy the H&S soup. When the chicken arrived, it wasn't extra spicy but the dish was OK with a nice hint of smoke from the charred chilies.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Noodles & Company Burlington

Noodles & Company in Burlington is good for a quick and cheap lunch, but I haven't been back since last year due to the crummy indoor seating.

A small Wisconsin Mac & Cheese ($4.59). A classic blend of cheddar and jack cheeses, cream and elbow macaroni and the pasta was cooked nicely al dente and who doesn't like cheese? I added a Thai Curry Soup ($1.25). Yellow coconut curry broth, spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, tomato, red onion and rice noodles. It's marked as spicy on the menu but wasn't really. The Curry did have a very nice balance and all the veggies were fresh and crispy.

If you can find seating up front, it's nice.

On the other hand, if you are relegated to the purgatory in the back, it's not so nice. They are opening in Woburn later this year and it should be interesting to see what the interior will look like.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wahlburgers Lynnfield

Wahlburgers is the latest eatery to open in the Market Street complex in Lynnfield and I decided to take the backroads up here today for lunch on this perfect day.

They are located in the farthest corner from the entrance and they have a nice little patio outside.

This is the Our Burger ($7.15) topped with Wahl sauce, onion, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato & government cheese. Decent size for a 1/3 lbs burger. The two rings of onions were so big that they ended up outside the burger. Who is stupid enough to send out something like that? The pickles were all located in one corner. I ordered the burger medium rare and at best it was medium. The burger also had a fair amount of gristly bits in it. Apart from that, it was tender and juicy. The bun was toasted and very soft.

I haven't heard anything good about the fries so I went with the Onion Rings ($3.35!). Crispy Fried Bermuda onion sliced thin, tossed with sea salt and parsley. They were delicious and the best part of the meal. It was also a substantial serving, so despite the price, it wasn't a bad deal at all. Did I say that they were delicious?

You can do takeout here for either to go, or you can sit in the back, or you can opt for table service.

They do serve alcohol and the bar did fill up a little bit later. Were there screaming kids? Yes, of course.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Pepper Framingham

I think I now found the scenic route to Red Pepper in Framingham. It involves taking Rte 20 to the other side of Weston and then pick up the completely unmarked Rte 129 into Framingham except for the last part.

I had heard good things about the Noodles with Stewed Beef in House Spicy Soup ($7.50). It was marked as two peppers on the menu and the waitress also warned me that it was spicy and neither was lying. This was a seriously, nose running, spicy. Unfortunately, this was the only good thing about this dish, the noodles were overcooked and the beef was dry and had lots of icky bits.

This is some of the icky bits that I removed. I know the beef is commonly served this way, but it's not for me.

The interior is strange with the low ceilings. Service is always pleasant, especially on a slow day like today. Total bill today was $8.03 and yes, I got 97 cents in change.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

Back to Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica for some more Sunday lunch fare. The place was filling up with Indians today for some reason.

I had high hopes for Spare Ribs with Fresh Bamboo Shoots ($11.95) and I wasn't disappointed. I had the ribs before in the noodle soup and they are little nuggets of porkiness. I also had a couple of apps with the fresh bamboo shoots and they are delicious. The resulting dish here were excellent and despite only having one pepper on the menu it was quite spicy and a good amount of sauce that soaked into the rice. This dish is a keeper.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

FuGaKyu Lynnfield

Grey and overcast but the traffic were OK on my trip to FuGaKyu in Lynnfield for a Saturday lunch.

I ordered the CURRY KATSU DON ($12). "Deep fried chicken cutlet with Japanese style curry rice" but with pork instead of the boring chicken. Today there was CARROTS in the curry! Not good, don't know when this started, but it's not good but the rest of the dish was good. The pork cutlet was enormous today and filled out the space under the curry.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tony G's BBQ Belmont

Tony G's BBQ in Belmont opened in the space formerly occupied by Gustazo Cuban Restaurant and Cafe until they relocated to Waltham. Bear in mind that they opened last week, so they will have time to improve.

There is free on-street parking.

I decided to splurge and got the BBQ Trio Combo ($17.50 plus a $1 surcharge for the brisket!) and it comes with two sides. I wanted Collard Greens, but they were out and they just opened! Not a good start. Instead, I went with Mashed Potatoes and Baked Beans. For meat, I selected Jerked Chicken (dark meat), Memphis Ribs and Beef Brisket. The minuscule amount of mashed potatoes I got was not only stone cold but also completely devoid of seasoning. They get a bonus point for removing the skins before mashing the potatoes. The baked beans were hot but also lacked seasoning and could have come out of a can. The jerked chicken was nice for a BBQ chicken but lacked any hint of heat or jerk seasoning. The brisket was dry and tough and there wasn't even a hint of a smoke ring. I also got a sliver of very pale cornbread. They had about three different BBQ sauces available.

The Ribs. Skinny skinny ribs with not very much meat on them. The rib closest to me was the meatiest, but the rib above didn't have much meat on it, this was the meaty side. What was there wasn't bad, nice and moist with a herbed rub, but whatever meat there was on the bone itself was dry.

It is a small place with some high tops and a wall counter seating area. My high top was very wobbly, so I moved to the next one only to find out that it was the same. Back to the first one and after applying paper towels underneath it was somewhat stable.
Again, read this review remembering that they just opened last week. Not sure where the smoker is, none in the kitchen and none out back.

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