Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

Torrential downpours when I left for Taipei Gourmet in Lexington but after my lunch, the sun come out. This is New England, what can I say?

Seriously big bow of Da-Lu Mien ($8.59) (Noodles soup with seafood and pork). It could have done with a bit more seasoning today, but it's still a very good dish.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mario's Lexington

Time for a return visit to Mario's Italian Restaurant in Lexington for another try at their famous baked ziti. Last time I tried they had run out.

I had better luck this time so here is the famous Baked Ziti ($7.99 at lunch) "Layers of pasta, seasoned ground beef and tomato sauce, topped with a creamy cheese Bechamel sauce all cooked to a golden brown" with meat sauce on the side. I also got a couple of loaves of nice and soft Italian bread. The baked Ziti is layered and the meat layer was tasty, the ziti was underseasoned and the bechamel, since it was reheated, had split and were just crumbles. It was also not really "golden brown" either. Unless this was a really off day, I have a hard time seeing how this could be famous even on a good day. The meat sauce on the side, on the other hand, was relly good.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

FuLoon Beverly

Beautiful day for a drive so I headed back to FuLoon in Beverly who really isn't that far away. I also found out that they have reserved parking behind the restaurant. They additionally now have their full liquor license. No website for either restaurant at the moment.

This is a must try at FuLoon, Mandarin Cabbage with Spicy and Sour ($9.95). This was a seriously big bowl and it was a little spicy and a lot of sour and it was served warm. It was an interesting dish and nice enough with the crunchy cabbage and the sauce, but I'm not sure it's for me. I'll eat the leftovers tonight and decide.

Sliced Pork with Green Hot Pepper and Black Bean Sauce ($12.95). Not much of a sauce was present but it was still a good and tasty dish, The peppers had some heat and the chili in the dish helped and the pork had a nice texture and was not mushy and the black beans added a nice saltiness. Overall a pretty nice dish. Maybe I go up on a weekday the next time and try something from the lunch menu, they have egg fried rice, and it would be interesting to see how that turns out.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nobo Chelmsford

Today I went back to the very elegant Nobo in Chelmsford for some more lunch fare.

The have NoBowl specials for lunch ($10.95) and it's a pick your own items.

And here is the result, Salmon (ordered rare) with Teriyaki glaze, Yakisoba noodles and Shumai for an app. There was also a nice and crunchy warm salad included (top right). The salmon was, at best, medium well in the middle but was moist and tender and the glaze, albeit sweet, was nice. The shumai was OK, but the noodles were really tasty. Overall, a very nice lunch.

This is the bar area, didn't get a good picture the last time. There was a sizable crowd in the dining area for lunch today.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fishbones Chelmsford

Back to Fishbones in Chelmsford for some more delicious lunch fare. I'm back at the kitchen counter, probably the best seat in the house.

Today's lunch special was SHRIMP PO’ BOY ($12.99). Deep fried shrimp on a brioche roll, with a sriracha aioli, lettuce, french fries and cole slaw. A big heap of perfectly fried shrimp and delicious coated fries. I also got the biggest pickle I have ever seen. I missed out on the aioli since it was only in the bottom off the roll and I passed on the roll, the shrimp and the fries was enough for me. Not sure if this qualifies as a Po' Boy since there was no French bread present.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mr. Chan's Burlington

Back to the reliable Mr. Chan's in Burlington for some lunch comfort food.

Beef Chow Foon ($10.95). Beef and soft wide noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts, scallions and onions. Nothing really exciting but as usual the food was cooked well and there was plenty of beef that was not mushy and it was even a bit pink in the middle. Seriously big portion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gin U Dee Stoneham

Gin U Dee in Stoneham opened about three months ago in a tiny space on Main Street in Stoneham. One of the owners is the son of the owners of the well-known local chain of Rod Dee Thai Cuisine restaurants.

I had a craving for Thai food today and was going to Phuket in Wakefield to see if they have improved their lunches but decided to try this place instead and I'm glad that I did. There is on-street (free) parking and there is also a communal parking lot a bit further up (down?) the street.

This is it! The stools at the window were slightly too low, but the counter seating was perfect and I could also peek into the very clean kitchen.

Decided to start with an app, Tod Mon (Fried Fish Cake) ($7) with Sweet Peanut & Cucumber sauce. "Spicy Thai fish cake served with sweet & sour sauce peanut carrot & cucumber". I had never had this and it was delicious. The fish cakes were slightly spongy in texture but tasted great with a hint of heat. The dipping sauce was more stuff than sauce.

I'm a sucker for calamari so when I saw the Spicy Crispy Squid ($8.65 small) I was sold. "With carrot, hot pepper and bell pepper". Yes, this is the small version that is served with rice. It was an enormous mound of perfectly cooked and really CRISPY squid. The spicy part was drizzled over the top and it was nice and spicy. This was soo good I kept picking up pieces and chowing them down. It was a steal at that price. There were some other customers in there that ordered the Pan Fried Rice Noodle with Duck ($8.65) and they said it was excellent with lots of tender duck as well as it being a very generous portion. This is a keeper and will be back for more excellent Thai food. If you take Maple Street coming off Rte 93, you bypass the whole Rte 28 mess.

Gin U Dee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 20, 2015

FuLoon Beverly

FuLoon in Malden has spawned a sister restaurant in Beverly with the same name that opened about a month ago. They are located in downtown Beverly and if you go on a Sunday for lunch, parking can be tricky with two churches across the street.

They only have a temporary banner outside and they are also still working on their liquor license.

The owner, Matthew, told me that they did very few changes inside. It looked good with quality furniture and booths.

Beautiful front desk. Somebody spent a lot of money here. They have free Wifi available.

All the favorite dishes from Malden are still on the menu with a few newcomers added, like "Fish Piece with Special Black Bean Sauce, Jumbo Shrimp with Vegetable Light Sauce and Scallops with a Special Sauce". This is the Cold Garlic Cucumber ($6.95) appetizer. This was good and despite the name, not too garlicky, but I think it was a bit overpriced.

A classic from Malden, Steamed Beef, Szechuan Style ($14.95). An enormous cauldron appears (Sorry, I'm finishing off the last of the Tiffany Aching books) looking very fierce with chilies floating around. It was marked as very spicy on the menu and the waiter also warned me but what come out was just spicy but very very tasty and delicious. When I was done, there is at least one more dinner in there.

They have very nice china and this also shows off the food a little bit better. Yes, there is chili oil involved, no surprise there. The beef was nice and tender without being mushy and from the texture, I think it was lean brisket. The food is still very good, but it's a bit far to travel and they also have a very small lunch menu with only eight offerings with nothing interesting, apart from the Mapo Tofu with beef ($7.95). Update: After having the leftover beef for dinner, I have to change my opinion. This was seriously spicy! 

Fuloon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Yard House Lynnfield

Another perfect day for some back road cruising, so I headed up to the Yard House in Lynnfield. I have been here quite a lot for lunch but have stuck to the lunch specials or the street tacos, so maybe it was time to try something else.

How about a burger? I know, twice in one week and I rarely eat burgers, but I ordered the PEPPER JACK BURGER ($11.85) with roasted poblano pepper, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and fries. As usual, I ordered the burger medium rare and it came out well done so back it went. On the second try, they got it absolutely right and the burger was delicious and also properly seasoned and with a nice char. It had a whole poblano on top that was almost cleaned of all the seeds. If a kitchen can't take the time to properly clean the poblano, what else are they not doing? Regardless, this was one tasty burger with good quality beef. I must say, that the fries was outstandingly good and would have been the best part of the lunch if the burger wasn't also soo good. When it came time to pay, it turned out that the manager, who came out and apologized, had comped the burger. I liked them before and even more so after this.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Beijing Chinese Dining Lexington

I was going to have the Double Cooked Pork at Beijing Chinese Dining in Lexington today, but then I spotted a new dish on the lunch menu.

Fish Filets with Garlic Sauce ($8.95) was a good amount of slightly overcooked fish with wood eared mushrooms, bamboo shoots and pea pods and most of the peapods were properly cleaned. It was marked as spicy on the menu and it wasn't, but it was seriously garlicky. The fish was lightly coated and this was a really pleasant dish and the fried rice was also, as usual, light and very tasty. The H&S soup was nice and hot and not overly sweet, I think this was the best rendition of the soup so far. Did I mention that today was another absolutely gorgeous day?

Pamplemousse Reading

I was invited to a private event at Pamplemousse in Reading. They bill themselves as "A European inspired Gourmet Grocery" and are located close to the train station in Reading. Despite living in the next town over, I had no idea that they existed but I'm glad they were brought to my attention.

There is ample free on street parking and the store is bright and inviting.

They, of course, make all the food in-house and are serving sandwiches daily from 11 am - 06 pm in their Reading location. Here are some of the spreads that are available, I really liked the Hummus and the Bacon Blue. The Dirty Gun Martini, far right, wasn't bad either.

Of course, there was Cheeses and in abundance. All that I tried was the right consistency for eating, but I especially liked the orange runny one in the middle. Sorry, didn't write down the name.

Charcuterie was also present and all was delicious. The duck pate was a favorite of mine, not made in-house, but their chicken liver mouse is. There are some pickled artichoke hearts hiding in there as well. Both the mustard and the chutney is prepared on the premises.

All their sandwiches were available and The Cuban was outstanding, "No need for a 90-mile swim or raft ride to experience the greatest sandwich north of the Bahamas! Filled with our housemade beer pulled pork, smoked ham, Gruyere cheese, local Maitland pickles, and mustard pressed on a Cuban roll". The pulled pork is slow cooked in beer and then shredded and was absolutely delicious. I also tried the Smoking Goat. "The bacon (from Benton's smokehouse in Tennesee) is on top of local Capri goat cheese, with housemade tomato jam, and fresh arugula pressed on a baguette". This might have been on the sweeter side for me but was still very tasty.

An extensive beer selection is available, including local craft beers. You also have the option of making up your own six pack from the cold beers in the cooler.

The wine selection is even bigger and they have a wine tasting in both locations on Saturdays at 2-4.

Plenty of cheese are available. Also, check out their catering offerings HERE
Everybody in the store was extremely friendly and helpful and I also met a lady who makes salt out of Gloucester. Who knew? You learn something every day.

Pamplemousse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lanna Thai Diner Woburn

It's a gorgeous day so I decided to walk down to Lanna Thai Diner in Woburn for my lunch. I have tried them a number of times over the years but never been excited or happy about any meal, but this time I was going to order a classic.

They are located in a Worcester Diner and that's pretty cool. They now have a minimum both for lunch and dinner and that's not cool.

I started with Thai Tom Yum Koong Soup ($3.95). "Hot and sour with chili, lemongrass, mushrooms, lime juice and shrimp". The soup was very good and contained three good sized shrimp and also a couple of enormous mushrooms. Unfortunately, my entree arrived five seconds after the soup, so I only had time to finish part of the soup. This doesn't give a good impression about their customer care and service.

My main dish was Spicy Basil / Pad Gra Pow ($7.95). "Fresh chili pepper and basil leaf stir fried with mushrooms, string beans, bell pepper and onions". I expect a Gra Pow to look like THIS, but this is just about what happens every time I go here, I never get what I was expecting. Half the string beans were nice and fresh and the rest was a shriveled, overcooked mess. The chicken was dry, really dry and the dish was supposed to be medium spicy but barely made it to mild. There were only a few basil leafs present. Again I wasn't very happy with my visit but at least I gave them another chance.

Despite being very cramped, the interior is nice and clean.

Lots of counter seating and they were almost full at lunchtime today. I rather go across the street to Pho #1 for Thai food.

Lanna Thai Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

99 Restaurant Lynnfield

I don't really frequent the 99 anymore but since it is National Cheeseburger Day today and the 99 is offering their burgers for $5 I decided to go back and went to the 99 Restaurant in Lynnfield. Last year I had a very pleasant burger at the 99 in Woburn. It turns out that NCD is actually on September 18..

They are conveniently located just off Rte 95 and have plenty of parking.

I was never offered any popcorn, so that was the first strike. I ordered the Sweet Heat Burger ($10.19). "This juicy burger is topped with cheddar cheese, sweet jalapeño relish, crispy jalapeños, lettuce, tomato and a chipotle drizzle". The bun was tasty and nicely toasted and the fries were, as usual, excellent and everything looked good. This was a good sized burger with a nice char and when the manager stopped by and asked how everything was, I cut into the burger and it was seriously well done. I had ordered it medium rare. The manager took it back to the kitchen for a refire and also took the burger off the bill. They get kudos for how this was handled.

This is the second try and again it was well done and I didn't wait for another (probably) well-done burger so I ate this one. It was loosely packed, completely devoid of seasoning, but was still somewhat juicy. The best part was the crispy jalapeños who didn't stay crispy for very long, sitting in the sweet relish with chipotle drizzle on top. When I was almost done, the manager showed up and I showed him the burger and suggested he should talk to the kitchen. He apologized profusely and gave me a chit for a free entree. Again they get kudos for great customer service.

One 99 looks much like every other 99 and they seemed to do a brisk lunch business.
Question: When food is heavily discounted, do you base the tip on the bill amount or the original price?

Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

I was going to have a Noodle Soup or any of the Flounder Fish Filet dishes from the lunch menu at Taipei Gourmet in Lexington today.

It was a beautiful day and perfect for a drive, but I must have left all common sense at home since I ordered the General Tso's Chicken ($7.99) from the lunch menu. This seemed popular with the Lexington natives, so I thought why not? It did look good with a nice crispy outside, but it went downhill from there. I ordered it extra spicy and hold the broccoli and neither worked, so it was the typical overly sweet and gloppy sauce. Normally this dish is done with chunks of dark meat coated in a bit of batter. This was small pieces of chicken, mixed up with enormous amounts of batter and then deep fried but unfortunately, the batter inside wasn't cooked enough so it was just a gooey mess. The soup was good as usual and the spring roll was fine, but I will never again order something that isn't Taiwanese.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Turner's Seafood Salem

I was invited to a Blogger event at Turner's Seafood at Lyceum Hall at their newest location in Salem. Their original restaurant is in Melrose. They also have a market in Gloucester, next to their seafood plant. Turner's Seafood started out as a wholesaler and then morphed into the restaurant business where they strive to provide an authentic New England Seafood Experience and their heritage goes back four generations.

They are located in historical Salem. There is plenty of parking nearby and their street abuts rte114.

The famous oyster bar is manned by Ryan Kripp, the two-time winner of the Boston Seafood Festival's Oyster Chucking Contest. The interior is comfy and welcoming. They also have a very nice function room upstairs with a small bar.

We started in the bar with a Pamplemousse made with Beauport Vodka, made locally in Gloucester, St. Germane, Grapefruit Juice and Lemon. It was really nice and refreshing.

Then it was off to the Oyster bar and some freshly shucked oysters. To the left was some delicious Kumamoto oysters and to the right was the Wellfleet. Both was delicious with the Kumamoto having a slight edge for me. They try to keep the selection down to three so that they can serve the best. The third choice today was the Pemaquid oysters. It was a pleasure watching Ryan chucking and he later gave a demonstration on how to chuck, in slow motion.

Some lightly broiled Pemaquid oysters with fennel butter was also delicious.

Classic New England mini Jonah Crabcakes with Tarragon Remoulade was excellent. No blue crab here, they are using Jonah crab.

Their shrimp are sustainable and wild-caught from Mexico and after they are deveined they are slowly poached in their shells and then shelled before being served. They were really good and with a good bite to them.

The day's surprise was the Buffalo (dry) Scallops with Blue Cheese dressing. I thought that the Buffalo coating would overpower the scallops, but it didn't. This turned out to be one of the best dishes for me. Loved it.

The Tuna Sashimi Bao with an ultralight steamed bun was a hit with everybody.

For my main, I picked the Tuna Sashimi with black and white sesame crust, soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger and Asian noodle salad. The tuna, cut from the loin, was of outstanding quality and super fresh. This was perfect dish after the multitude of apps that was offered.

A classic Creme Brulee looked perfect and was well balanced.

The Strawberry Shortcake was a big portion.
This was an outstand meal in an excellent restaurant run by people who really care about their food and customers.
You can keep up to date with them on Facebook: Turner's Seafood, Twitter: @TurnersSeafood. Instagram: @TurnersSeafood and they also have free Wifi. 

This meal was complimentary of Turner's Seafood, but all opinions are my own.

Turner's Seafood at Lyceum Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato