Saturday, October 31, 2015

Margaritas Waltham

Margaritas in Waltham is located at the start of Moody Street and they have reserved parking in the back.

This is a big place.

Complimentary (cold) chips and salsa arrives quickly. The chips were paper thin and fresh and the salsa was spicy and surprisingly tart but in a good way.

I decided to splurge a bit and ordered the Juan’s Wings ($10.99) as a starter. "Buffalo-style with blue cheese dressing". The wings were excellent, tender and juicy and the buffalo dressing wasn't too spicy. The blue cheese dressing was also mild but tasted of blue cheese.

This was followed by the Chile Relleno ($11.99). "Available while they last on Friday and Saturday only. Roasted whole, fresh poblano pepper battered and stuffed with cheese, topped with mild red chile sauce and crema. With Mexican rice and beans". I added Shrimp (+$2) and that was worth the money, big and perfectly cooked shrimp. I finally got a properly cooked and cleaned Chile Relleno and it was really good. The beans were also nice, thick and chunky. The rice was marginally undercooked. The food here isn't bad at all considering that this is a chain with 28+ locations.

The interior is nice with dining areas everywhere and a really big bar area, Authentic Mexican artifacts are everywhere. Chairs and tables are handmade in Mexico.

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant & Watering Hole Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 30, 2015

Nonna's Waltham

Nonna's Italian Bar & Grill in Waltham is another newcomer to Moody Street and took over the space that had been occupied for forever by Erawan of Siam. I got really excited after looking at their lunch menu since they had a favorite of mine listed.

They are located at the upper end of Moody's.

The dish that got me excited was the Linguini with Clam Sauce ($11). Linguini and fresh clams with your choice of a red or white sauce. I went with the white sauce, not sure what was supposed to go into the sauce, but it was very bland. The fresh clams were excellent and cooked really well. The pasta was cooked nicely but needed salt, but I guess that is to be expected in these health-conscious times. Am I the only one that salts my food? The chopped clams on top of the pasta were terrible, gritty and severely overcooked. Apart from the fresh clams, I was not impressed. The service was OK, extra placemats were not removed until towards the end of the meal when the waitress started to remove them while I was still eating. You do get linen napkins.

You can see the traces of Erawan in the leftover woodwork.

Nice bar seating with hightops in the background. The place is big and apart from one customer having a sandwich at the bar, the place was empty.

Nonna's Italian Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Taqueria Mexico Waltham

Taqueria Mexico in Waltham has been here forever and are located on a one-way street just at the start of Moody Street. Not only is it hard to find, but parking is also very sparse and isn't helped by the construction project across the street. I never knew, but they have dedicated parking behind the restaurant.

There is a small patio outside, nice during the summer.

Stale and greasy chips arrived with two salsas. The chunky one was good and with a fair amount of heat and the smooth one was also good and spicy. That one can be used as a hot sauce.

This is the Presidente ($13.50) and comes with one Red Chile Relleno, one Green Chicken Enchilada and one Pastor Taco. The Pastor Taco was good with a pork and chili filling and was served in a double tortilla. The beans and rice were really good, both was nicely cooked and very tasty. The Green Chicken Enchilada was tasty with a tart green sauce. The Chile Relleno was inedible due to having all the seeds left in. It was also undercooked. The "salad" was a few undressed shredded lettuce leaves with a slice of tomato. Overall it was a very meh meal. The prices are OK for dinner but relatively expensive for lunch. Why doesn't more Mexican restaurants have a lunch menu?

The interior is nice and bright and the waitresses were enjoying their lunch as well. Isn't the staff meal supposed to be before the customers arrive? This really irritates me, I think it shows a lack of respect for the customers. I usually leave Taqueria El Amigo with a smile and this place with a "Why did I go back?".

A serious amount of rental apartments is going up across the street and at the corner of Main and Moody.

Taqueria Mexico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Moody's Delicatessen Waltham

Moody's Delicatessen & Provisions in Waltham has been opened for a while and have from the start generated quite a buzz. Located with everything else on Moody Street they are towards the upper end of that street. The brick sidewalks are almost finished and they look really good.

Easy to find and you take your chances with the on-street parking.

I was a bit late for my lunch today and they were packed, people eating everywhere. The place smelled delicious with all the charcuterie around.

I have been told that if you only order one thing here, it should be the Katz ($12.50). "Pastrami with Mama Lil’s pickle mustard, swiss cheese on rye". This is what your money gets you, only a sandwich and even if the sandwich was delicious, I think it's on the expensive side. There was a ton of warm and delicious pastrami, but it was also seriously greasy. I don't mind, I like fat but be aware.

This is the famous The Backroom that Chef Joshua Smith opened to much acclaim despite small portions and big prices. It also adds much-needed seating for the delicatessen up front.

Moody's Delicatessen & Provisions Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

WuBurger Woburn

WuBurger in Woburn took over the space where Mr. Charlie resided for a short time. It's owned by Deepak Diwan and Kal Gullapalli who also owns Lisa's Pizzeria up the street. That explains the flyer I saw at Lisa's last time I was there. The owners are already planning an expansion to Inman Square in Cambridge.

There is free parking outside and at lunch today there was ample parking available.

The interior is funky and reminiscent of a 50's diner. There is a big ugly soda fountain in the middle. The place was clean and the heat was on, but it wasn't too busy.

You order up front and the pick up the food in the window when your name is called.

The WuBurger ($5) is a 3.1 oz patty that comes with American, Lettuce, Tomato and WuSauce. No option on how the burger is cooked but mine was not overcooked and come out with a hint of pink in the middle. Two option of buns, Martin's Potato or Sesame roll, and I went for the Sesame. It was nice and fresh as was the tomato and lettuce. The WuSauce is basically mayo and onions. The Fries ($3) was nice but could have had a bit more color on them. The burger was small but for another $2, I could have had a double and that's probably the way to go. There is a big selection of complimentary toppings available and they also have regular toppings ($0.50) and premium toppings ($1). The premium includes toppings like bacon and fried egg. I was actually planning on having the onion rings as my side, but they have been dropped from the menu.

Their mission statement and I think it's nice that they use locally sourced items when available including Richardson Ice cream. This was not a media event but paid for by me.

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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Punjab Arlington

Not much have changed at Punjab in Arlington since I first wrote about this place almost three years ago. I used to have lunch here every Monday but with all the new Indian places opening it's less frequent now but usually still at least once a month. The price of the lunch specials went up a dollar a while ago but are still very reasonable. For $8.95 (chicken dishes), you get soup, typically lentil soup but on occasion, they have other soups, an entree, linen napkins and impeccable service. It's also service with a smile, a lot of Indian restaurants seems to take pride in hiring grumps.

They are located in central Arlington with free on-street parking and there is also a (metered) big parking lot behind the restaurant.

They have a small patio seating in front of the windows and it's such a pleasant place to have lunch especially on a sunny day like today. They do serve the lunch specials seven days a week unless there is any hint of a holiday.

Today it was the standard lentil soup that is very good and really tasty. The condiment containers are spotless, something I never noticed until I had a meal down the street where they were less than spotless.

One of my favorites here, Chicken Saagwala ($8.95) ordered medium with perfectly cooked basmati rice. Their concept of medium spicy I would call marginally on the hot side, but this is fine with me. This dish is soo good and is now even better after I found out I could order it with dark meat only. Occasionally the white meat was a bit dry. The onion chutney is also seriously tasty and hot. One thing that has changed is the Chicken Vindaloo that used to be excellent but is now more of chicken in tomato sauce.

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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grassfields Waltham

I stumbled upon Grassfields Food and Spirits in Waltham and after looking at their lunch menu I decided to pay them a visit on this frigid Saturday. They are located on Lexington Street that is off Trapelo Road, so they were easy to find. They also have another location in Andover. Might be different ownership since there are two separate websites with no reference to each other.

They are located in a strip mall with plenty of parking but with a very confusing traffic pattern. I wonder why the name on the building itself has an apostrophe, it's not used anywhere else not even on the awning.

You get an enormous loaf with what substitutes for butter these days.

From the lunch menu, I ordered BAKED STUFFED SHRIMP & N.Y. Sirloin ($12.99) with a loaded baked potato (+$1 for the loaded part). The loaded gave me cheese and bacon bits but I really like my baked potato and this one was good. Unfortunately, the promised butter was again the whipped butter substitute. The shrimp was OK, nothing to write home about. The 8oz. N.Y sirloin was either previously frozen or not the right cut. The texture of the beef did not correspond to an N.Y. Strip. It was cooked as ordered and had a nice char from the grill. Reading through this, my brain read N.Y. Sirloin on the menu but translated this to the more commonly named N.Y Strip. The texture is right for a sirloin. Overall it wasn't too bad for that price and I might be back for their lunch Fish and Chips.

Interior was just about as expected and the service was prompt and very friendly. When I asked the hostess if I could have a booth next to the window, she said that there was no waitress assigned to that section while the waitress was standing at the next table. When she realized, I was quickly seated. They got really busy a little bit later and with the very reasonable priced lunch menu, I'm not really surprised.

Grassfield's Food & Spirit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 23, 2015

MuLan Waltham

I'm so happy that MuLan in Waltham has reopened so I can continue my lunches here. But what to have for lunch? They have 33 lunch specials and in addition, they have 16 Lunch Special Combinations that includes the seriously spicy Chicken in Chili Sauce. It's also a seriously misnamed dish.

You do get linen tablecloth during the week as well but to pay for that they have raised the prices again. Lunch items are up another dollar. This is one of my favorites, Fish Fillet with Spicy Bean Sauce (now $9.95), another incorrectly named dish. It a good amount of fish, you can stuff yourself silly and still have enough leftovers for dinner. The sauce had a hint of sweetness today and I don't remember that from previous visits, but maybe the chefs are new. Still an excellent dish. The H&S soup is very good but was just lukewarm today and the rice was mushy.

Another view of the expanded restaurant, the manager is blocking the view to the function room. It didn't remain this empty for long, just after noon they were packed and people were waiting for tables.

I also ordered the cold appetizer, Smoked Duck Taiwanese Style (used to be $11.95 now $13.95) to go. This is a delicious and tender duck and reheated it makes an excellent dinner, or two.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pho & Spice Waltham

Pho & Spice in Waltham has been a longtime favorite of mine when it comes to Pho, not too impressed with other dishes on the menu, but I have only tried a few.

Located on the famous Moody Street, it's a small place and easily overlooked.

Yes, it's a really small place and this is it, apart from the tables at the window, but the place is clean and bright.

There is all sort of condiments available. I really like the chili oil, very fragrant and a bit spicy.

This is the Dac Biet (Medium) that comes with everything, brisket, tripe, tendons and rare eye of round. Lime, bean sprouts and mint come separately. I was a bit disappointed today, the soup wasn't as fragrant as I remember it and the brisket was mostly absent as was the tripe, and the beef was tough. There was a good amount of tendon, so that was good. I was quick to snag the chili oil from the table next to me. Service was very good, but they had three servers working.

Pho & Spice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Garcia Brogan's Waltham

Garcia Brogan's Cantina. Pub & Restaurant in Waltham also has another location in Lowell, but this was my first visit to either, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean Irish and Mexican food together? "From our fun and inspired Mexican and Irish menu to our all-encompassing whiskey and tequila selections, we have what you are looking for!"

They have a very unassuming storefront and doesn't really stand out. Waltham is also currently installing brick sidewalks just outside the entrance.

In keeping with the Irish part, you get chips and salsa. The chips were a bit stale and the salsa was just OK.

Nothing on the website indicates that they have a limited lunch menu, so that surprised me a bit since I had my heart set on the Shepherds Pie, but that was not to be. I ordered the GUACAMOLE ($2 Small). "Made fresh, In-house with jalapenos, onions, cilantro, lime juice and tomatoes, topped with queso fresco and roasted corn". I don't think the corn was roasted, but this was a big portion of excellent guacamole for a merely $2 and the jalapenos made it more enjoyable. Things are looking up!

Not sure what I expected when I ordered the ROASTED JALAPENO CAESAR WRAP ($7) served with house-made chips. "Romaine, queso fresco, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, jalapeno Caesar dressing". I didn't expect this enormous wrap, yes it was seriously big, and of course, I didn't realize that the chips would be the British version of chips. Now the chips were some of the best I have ever had, light and fluffy on the inside and nice and crisp on the outside. The wrap was also excellent with a lot of grilled and tender chicken, it was more chicken than salad, and the Caesar dressing had a bit of a kick from the jalapenos. This was a steal for $7.

It looks more like a sports bar than a restaurant. Enormous bar.

This is the other side of the cavernous room, all high tops. They got a fair amount of lunch business that the bartender handled well, service was really pleasant and prompt.

Garcia Brogan's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato