Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Uncommon Grounds Watertown

It's such a pleasant day with blue skies and low humidity, so I decided a small road trip to Uncommon Grounds in Watertown was in order. I also really like the name.

I have driven by here numerous times and always thought that the place looked very inviting. As an added bonus, they have their own parking lot.

The inside was spotless and looked really good with the open kitchen, and counter seating.

The outside looked even better, and I managed to get a table here. This was perfect on a day like this.

It was really a choice between a scramble ($10ish) or the Crabcake Benedicts ($15.99), and my waiter recommended the scramble, and I thought that was an honest recommendation, so I went with the Meatlovers Scramble ($10.99). "Our kicked-up version with Chorizo, Jalapeno, Bacon, Black Forrest Ham, Sausage and Cheese". It was served with Red Bliss Home Fries and Toast. They had Scali bread, so I was happy, and it was toasted and buttered properly. The home fries were cooked perfectly, and they were even seasoned. The scramble itself was a delight, and it was really more of a meat scramble with eggs, and they didn't hold back on the jalapenos either. What a pleasing lunch this turned out to be and the service was very friendly.

Address 575 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472
Phone number (617) 924-9625

Uncommon Grounds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Then I walked to the nearby Sevan Bakery and picked up some baklavas for later. Last time I did this I thought that the pricing was funny, but it turns out that they are sold by weight ($15.99 lbs).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Temazcal Lynnfield

The best kept secret on Taco Tuesday is the half priced tacos at Temazcal Tequila Cantina in Lynnfield. It's not announced anywhere, neither on the menu or on a sign. The manager said that they will start putting a sign outside.

Not sure if there is a purpose for the flames outside, apart from looking pleasant.

I used to prefer the high tops next to the windows, but have switched to the glass enclosed dining room instead.

The heated thin chips are really excellent as are the two salsas but the star is the warm bean dip. There is not much left when the food arrives.

Today I picked the Asada Skirt Steak Tacos (7) for my lunch. "Grilled steak, pickled cabbage, jalapeno, avocado, corn tortilla". Normally $14 but on Taco Tuesday from opening to 6:00 PM all tacos are half priced. The steak even comes out cooked as ordered. Really delicious tacos and a good amount of meat as well. The rice is also good as is the black beans. I kept on eating chips and beans long after I should have stopped.

Address 500 Market St, Lynnfield, MA 01940
Phone number (781) 334-2500

Monday, July 24, 2017

Virsa De Punjab Bedford

For this week's Indian lunch, I decided to go back to Virsa De Punjab in Bedford since I haven't been back there for a while.

They opened just a year ago, and the food on the buffet has always been very well cooked and really well seasoned.

They have a good sized buffet ($11.95).

Freshly made garlic naan is delivered to the table. The Naan was very good, thin and almost crispy. I really like the thin version, it doesn't fill you up. The food was hot and the quality and seasoning is still top notch.The Tandoori Chicken was moist and had a hint of smoke from the tandoori oven. The Chicken Tikka was really flavorful despite being white meat. The Goat Curry was very tasty and had actual meat in it. So often it's just bones with very little meat. The chickpeas and the spinach were the winners, both were extremely well seasoned, and the spinach had a hint of heat. A chicken curry was also very good. I skipped a lot of the standard offerings and just picked what I hoped would be good stuff.

At about 12:30 they were almost full. Not really surprising, given the quality and seasoning of the food.

Address 347 Great Road, Bedford, MA 01730
Phone number (617) 275-1780

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Spicepepper Garden Acton

Spicepepper Garden in Acton is an old favorite of mine so on my way to Bonsai West, I stopped by for lunch today.

The building isn't much to look at, but they have a nice sign.

Fu-Qi Beef and Tendon Slices (7.95). Fuqi feipian 夫妻肺片 means literally "husband and wife lung pieces". The dish was never made with lung pieces, but offal was always involved. Here the tendons and beef are sliced paper thin with a seriously spicy chili oil. This is very hot but also very delicious. There is a big heap of cucumbers hiding underneath, it's all in the presentation.

The menu simply said Chicken in a Fiery Sauce (11.50), so I didn't know what to expect. What arrived was a very familiar dish, Sichuan Gourmet calls it Chicken with Napa Cabbage with Spicy Chili Sauce, and it was similar, down to the garlic and chili powder on top that you mix into the sauce. It had tons of tender chicken resting on Napa Cabbage and Leeks. Not only does it look hot, it's really hot, but also very tasty. I love this dish, so I was really happy when it landed on my table.

Address 36 Great Road, Acton, MA 01720
Phone number (978) 369-8808

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sakura Winchester

I haven't posted about Sakura in Winchester for a couple of years, so it's about time for another post.

They are located in a house with plenty of off street parking.

It's a small place with the Sushi counter in the back. I miss Jay, he was such a nice guy.

I started with the Tempura Crab, and as expected, it was the fake crab. I didn't expect the pieces to be this big. The tempura could have been crispier.

The Tempura Scallops was way bigger than on previous visits.

Pretty much my standard order with Spicy Tuna Maki with crisp in the back. I thought that there was much more rice than before and looking back at earlier pictures confirms that. The salmon was very good, the tuna was a bit dry, the maki was spicy. The waitress is very pleasant and the service is prompt. The AYCE is still $14.95 and not a bad deal since it also includes kitchen items.

Friday, July 21, 2017

TWK Winchester

This month The Serenitee Group loaded their Reward cards with a free sandwich from The Waterfield Kitchen in Winchester to celebrate TWK's new lunch menu. In addition to Sandwiches and Sushi, they now have added dishes like BBQ ribs, Brisket and Pulled Pork plates. The new lunch menu can be found HERE.

I might be easy to impress, but I think the sign on the back of the building is cool.

I really like the bar area with the nice window tables. They got really busy later on at lunch today.

For my free sandwich, I took a chance and picked the TURKEY CLUB ($16). "Smoked rotisserie turkey breast with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and bacon on toasted bread". It comes with French Fries or a Salad, and I picked the salad. I usually stay away from turkey, since there is really nothing more boring in the universe. Having said that, this turkey was fantastic. Smokey, tender and flavorful. The bacon was crisp and very tasty. The salad was fresh with a very light but tasty dressing, and I really liked the pickled onions. I'm really glad I gave this a chance. The best turkey ever!

I had to try the BBQ and picked the PORK RIBS ($20). It comes with fries and coleslaw. I was curious as to how they could do BBQ, and it turns out that they now have a smoker in the kitchen. The ribs were fantastic, tender and smokey with a really tasty BBQ sauce. They were also seriously meaty, no skimpy supermarket ribs here. The fries are always excellent and the slaw was nice, very lightly dressed and crunchy. I also got a warm towel, and that's what I call service. They are working on being able to serve outside in the courtyard, and how nice would that be!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Address 14 Thompson Street, Winchester, MA 01890
Phone number (781) 729-0204

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hoppy's Barbeque Peabody

Everytime BBQ on the North Shore is discussed, Hoppy's Barbeque in Peabody is always mentioned, and I was curious to see if you could get good BBQ on the North Shore. I had to go on a Thursday. Why?

They are easily accessible from Rte 128. Parking is up front or on the side street, both sides.

It's a small place, four tables and that's it. They filled up fast. You order at the counter, and the food is brought out to your table when it's ready. Only bottled water.

Hoppy himself in the spotless kitchen.

Thursdays special is the Pulled Pork Eggroll ($5.95). Only available on Thursdays and much talked about already. It was really good, crispy outside and tasty tender pulled pork on the inside with a few veggies added. They were big enough to almost make a meal alone.

To get to taste as much as possible, I went for the Little Squealer ($17.95). "Baby Back ribs (3), BBQ Chicken Thighs (2), 1/4 lbs Pulled Pork or 1/4 lbs Brisket with two sides". I went with the brisket and asked it to be cut from the fatty end, and I got that, so I was very happy. The brisket wasn't overly fatty, but nice and tender with a very tasty rub. The baby backs looked more like spare ribs but were very tender and tasty. I really liked the Chicken Thighs that was cooked well and had a tangy glaze, and of course they were on the bone. This was a lot of food for the price. But wait, there is more!

My first side was the potato salad and the second one was the Cajun Fries. I got a big heap of hand cut fries that were perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned. The fries and egg rolls would make a nice lunch on their own. Service was very friendly and so was Hoppy. So you can get a decent BBQ on the North Shore. Rumor has it that Smokin' Betty will start serving lunch on the weekends soon, so that will give me a chance to try them as well.

Address 38 Forest Street, Peabody MA 01960
Phone number (978) 278-5014

Hoppy's Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

House of Chang Cambridge

I first heard about House of Chang in Cambridge on Instagram when someone posted a picture of what looked like a blazing hot dish.

They are located in West Cambridge in a maze of small streets. There is free on street parking, and they also have parking instruction on their website that doesn't make any sense.

The smallish inside was neat and clean.

You would expect something called Volcano Chicken ($12.25) to be fiercely hot especially since it marked with two peppers on the menu. It was not, it was just mildly spicy, but it was very crispy. This was a bit of a letdown, and it really looks intensely spicy. They also have a real Chinese lunch menu that isn't shown on their website.

Address 282 Concord Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone number (617) 547-9888

House of Chang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, July 17, 2017

Royal India Bistro Lexington

It's Monday, so it's time for my weekly Indian lunch. This week I headed back to Royal India Bistro in Lexington since it's such a pleasant place.

Today I found more free parking just up the street from them.

When the waiter asked how hot I wanted my Goa Shrimp Curry ($8.50), I had no idea, so I asked that the chef to cook it how he likes it. "The famous shrimp curry of Goa, prepared with freshly ground coconut and an array of masterfully blended spices". The rest of the world, including Madhur Jaffrey, calls it Goan Shrimp Curry. The curry was very good with just a hint of heat and lots of flavor. There was enough shrimp in there to keep me happy.

Shortly after noon, they were packed, and I'm not surprised since they have really tasty food. The lady next to me had the Mixed Appetizer ($8.95), and I might go for that the next time.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Clam Shack Salem

The Clam Shack in Salem is located on the waterfront in Willows Park. There is free on street parking as you leave the park and there is also a number of parking lots.

It's a very nice location in the park just off the water. You order at the window and then pick up when your number is called.

Outside seating only, but there are plenty of picnic tables available. There is also more tables out in the park.

They have all the standard items available, but I decided on the Crab Roll ($10.50). The girl said it was fresh bluefin crab, and that's what it looked and tasted like. The bun was nicely toasted. The fries were nothing special, but the fry job was excellent, and there was a good amount of fries. They even asked how much mayo I would like in the crab!

There is plenty of arcade games available across the street.

Address 167 Fort Avenue, Salem, MA 01970
Phone number (978) 741-2526

Clam Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Quarry Hingham

The Quarry in Hingham is located just south of Boston, close to Rte 3 and Derby Street Shoppes. They are open for Lunch on Saturdays and Brunch on Sundays. Closed on Mondays. Executive Chef and Owner Greg Jordan was mentored by Chefs Barbara Lynch and Gordon Hamersley. In 2016, The Quarry was named Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston South Shore for General Excellence.

Their namesake is located behind the restaurant.

The outside is very charming and rustic. A really good looking property.

The building is a mix of old and new and this picture sums it up pretty well.

A very inviting patio overlooking the quarry is the perfect place to hang out and sample the small plates section.

There is a bar with seating to the left as you arrive. Behind the bar is a comfy lounge with a fireplace.

The very inviting dining room was sunny and bright from the big windows.

Warm bread arrives, and a very tasty dipping oil is made tableside.

The enormous clove of garlic is rubbed against the serrated plate and then mixed with herbs and olive oil.

Local Oysters from Kingston (2.50 each) was served with a Mignonette and some Horseradish Ketchup. I'm in the school of a couple drops of lemon is all that's needed. The oysters were fantastic, briny and tender. What a good start to a meal.

Native Lobster Sliders (24). "Old Bay Seasoned Lobster • Bibb Lettuce • Brioche Bun". How can you go wrong with a lobster on a very light bun?

I had a few things picked out, but my waitress recommended the Figs with Blue Cheese, Pancetta and a Balsamic reduction. They were fantastic with just enough blue cheese that went really well with the reduction.

How can you resist a Crispy Pork Belly Bun (4)? "Pork Belly • Hoisin Sauce • Cucumber • Cilantro". The pork belly was tender and crispy and the hoisin sauce was really savory.

The Roasted House Made Sausage (12) is made on the premises daily. "Whole Grain Mustard • Pickled Red Onion • Simple Greens". Today's flavor was Rosemary and Garlic. The sausage was very tasty and light with tart pickled onions and a really good mustard.

Of course they had to bring the dessert menu! I couldn't resist the Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée (9). "Creamy Custard • Torched Sugar Crust". Nothing better than a well made Crème Brûlée and this one was excellent. A perfectly made Espresso accompanied it.

I didn't try the Charcuterie & Cheese plate. "A Sampling of the Chef’s Favorite Cured Meats & Cheeses", but managed to take a picture, thanks to my excellent waitress. The service was wonderful in this really charming restaurant.

Disclosure: I was invited as a media guest, but all opinions are my own.

Address 415 Whiting Street in Hingham, MA 02043
Phone number (781) 340-7300

Quarry Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato