Sunday, January 29, 2017

Crossroads Cafe Acton

I had an excellent lunch at Crossroads Cafe in Acton on a previous visit, so I decided to stop for brunch on my way to a free seminar at Bonsai West that is located just up the road.

It was a gorgeous day, and they have plenty of parking available.

I picked the Homemade Corned Beef Hash ($10.95), with poached eggs and country fried potatoes. This was a serious amount of hash and look at those lovely grapes. The eggs were slightly overcooked, and the potatoes could do with some more browning, but the hash was excellent, well seasoned and tasty. I have no idea what Country Fried Potatoes are supposed to be? Anyone? These were just plain fried potatoes. Service has always been excellent, and the waitress even removed the cap on the ketchup bottle.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

White Coconut Burlington

White Coconut in Burlington opened two weeks ago in the space previously occupied by Lemon Tree.

They have off-street parking, but there is not an abundance of it.

The inside is completely unchanged, apart from that there is no sushi being offered from what was the sushi bar.

I decided to go with an old favorite, GA PROW *** (Available w/ chicken or beef) ($11). "Spicy minced chicken or beef in chili sauce with green & red peppers, green beans, red onions, and Thai basil leaves". I ordered it with chicken and it was a very generous portion. It was marked as three stars, and I told the waitress that I like it spicy, but it comes out as maybe a one star.The manager brought out some ground chili after I complained about the lack of heat. The veggies were cooked nicely but were cut way too big. The menu description forgot to mention that there were carrots and mushrooms included. It did taste OK.

Forced tip for four or more? Minimum dining charge? At least minimum dining charge didn't apply at lunch. I must say that their lunch prices are a bit on the high side. $11-$15 depending on the protein for Entrees and the same for Curries. $16-$20 at dinner. No soup or salad included. 

White Coconut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chopps Burlington

Chopps in Burlington is located inside the Burlington Marriott hotel.

Lunch are served in the bar area. It didn't get much busier than this today.

They have two burger options, but the DRY AGED BURGER (18) is the one to go for. "River Rock Farms, MA, BBQ, Aioli, Cheddar, Crispy Onions". The Housemade Tater Tots are now a $2 upcharge, but that was OK with me since I had a $20 off coupon. To say that the tomato slice was huge is kind of an understatement. The burger comes out perfectly cooked as ordered. This is a really beefy burger, with a pleasing char and a loosely packed juicy patty. The crispy onions are excellent, and the tasty bun was toasted to perfection. The Tater Tots are worth the upcharge.

I can see why they are not using the pleasant dining room during lunch, it was such a small crowd today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Shanghai Village Arlington

I was contacted by GoPapaya and asked if I would like to test their Android app before the release date. The ios app have been available for a while. It's quite neat, you open the app to find out what restaurants nearby offer a discount, book a table, arrive within 30 minutes and a discount (up to 50%) is applied to your bill. Excluding alcohol, after all, this is Mass. No CC is required in the app, you just pay for your meal as you normally would.

I haven't had lunch in Arlington Center since May 2016, so it was a real surprise to find out that Arlington now has metered on-street parking. Shanghai Village are an institution in Arlington, having been here serving Chinese/American food since forever. Today was my first visit. They have a few reserved parking spots in the back.

They did renovate the restaurant a while ago and also added a Sushi bar and a Japanese menu. They also have a Taiwanese section in the menu. On the website, this is called Asian Cuisine.

The rest of the restaurant was pleasant and impeccable clean. I managed to get a nice window table.

Nothing good can really be said about this picture apart from that the salad was fresh, and naturally had the dressing on top.

I decided to try the Chirashi ($17.95). "Assorted raw fish over sushi rice". The rice was seasoned and at the right temperate as was the fish. The fish was OK, kind of thin slices of tuna, but they looked pretty. The included shrimp wasn't dry but had a fair amount of shell left on. Of course I got the fake crab. Overall it was OK, and the service was pleasant, even if the Chirashi was on the expensive side, so my 20% discount helped.

Download the GoPapaya app on the Apple store or Google Play store and create an account using the invitation code "PET8456". After your first meal out on GoPapaya they'll send you a $10 Amazon gift card plus you save up to 50% off your meal!

Address 434 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474
Phone number (781) 646-6897

Shanghai Village Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Country Chef Wilmington

I stopped by Country Chef in Wilmington today for some breakfast/lunch. They are only open until 1 PM.

This seems to be my standby here. Spicy Meat-Lover Omelet ($8.95). "Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Linguiça, Jalapeño, Cheese." This is not a small plate but a full sized one. Nicely browned on the outside with melted cheese on the inside and jam-packed with meat. The Home Fries was cooked perfectly and was seasoned nicely. Another plus was the lightly toasted Scali bread.

Quiet day today, but it was also nearly closing time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Saffron Tewksbury

I visited Saffron Indian Grill in Tewksbury shortly after they opened in September of last year and was pretty pleased with the food. Since I was in the area today, I decided to see if anything had changed. For one thing, prices have gone up, and they now have beer and wine.

Again I went with the mixed Thali ($10.50). You have the choice of two meat dishes and two vegetarian dishes. I picked Chicken Saag and Channa Masala (Chickpeas). Included is also a lentil dish, Raita and Rice Pudding for dessert. The Naan was much better than what I had on my last visit, light and fluffy. The rice was light and fluffy and nicely seasoned. The Chicken Saag was fine with a very tender chicken. The star, however, was the Channa Masala that was very nicely seasoned with a little bit of heat and a ton of flavors. There was also a nice and light Onion Pakora hiding on the plate. The salad had not improved.

They removed the vestibule with its double door entrance, and I think that it was a wrong move. Even when they have a door activated heater, every time the door was opened a blast of cold air could be felt, and it's not even that cold today.

Address 1921 Main Street, Tewksbury, MA 01876
Phone number (978) 677-6775

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Del Frisco's Grille Burlington

Time to enjoy some more benefits, so I headed out to Del Frisco's Grille in Burlington on this gray and drizzly Sunday.

My view from the bar. They got surprisingly busy later on at brunch today. The bartender had the same birthday as me. What are the chances?

Cheesesteak Eggrolls (12.5, free for signing up). "Sweet & Spicy Chili Sauce, Honey Mustard". These guys were really delicious with a great filling and a crispy outside.

Lollipop Chicken Wings (13.5). "Buffalo Style, Avocado Ranch Dressing". The wings were cooked really well with a tangy Buffalo sauce.

Salted Caramel Pudding Jar Whipped Cream (8, free on Birthday). How can you go wrong with salted caramel? This was really tasty.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

I had heard rumors about new owners and new menu at Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington, so it was time to check them out again. It turned out to be just that, a rumor. Nothing has changed, but at least the heat was on this time.

I ordered the "Fish Filet w. Spicy Bean Sauce" ($8.95) from the lunch menu. It was practically the same dish that I had at my last lunch visit. The fish was cooked well, and the sauce was palatable and surprisingly spicy without me asking for it extra spicy. I finished the whole plate. The food arrived about two minutes after the H&S soup was delivered, but the soup was pretty forgettable, so no big deal.

This is how it looked when I arrived at noon, and this is how it looked when I left. Not even a takeout order. Perhaps the restaurant isn't interested in the lunch business since the lunch menu is not on the website.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Westford

It's a rainy and gray day, but it's not freezing nor is it snowing, so it's a pretty good day. It's also a good day for some soup, and I have been curious about the latest addition to Gene's growing empire.

Location #3 is in Westford with very easy access from Rte 495. It's in a strip mall, so there is parking available. They opened around Christmas so no permanent sign yet. Open 12-8, and closed on Mondays.

It's a small place with a small kitchen. Gene is here helping out during lunch. The menu is the same as the other locations and still cash only.

This is the #10 Hot Sour Dumpling Soup ($8.87), and this actually comes out to $9.50 after all taxes. The soup is delicious and is both hot and sour. The broth itself is really excellent with a very complex flavor. They really don't skimp on the amount of pork and chives dumplings that you get. The dumplings aren't the most thin-skinned dumplings that I have encountered, but the skin is very soft, and the filling is excellent.

The seating is very tight, and it's hard to move around. Gene still has the flimsiest napkins in existence and doesn't win any awards for the soup spoons either. Water wasn't available until Gene intervened. Aren't restaurants required to serve water?

Gene's Flatbread Cafe
175 Littleton Rd, Westford, MA.

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Temazcal Lynnfield

I had the Asada Tacos at Temazcal in Lynnfield shortly after they opened, and wasn't too happy with them, way too sweet. Since it's Taco Tuesday there today, it's not too expensive to try them again. BTW, Taco Tuesday is the best-kept secret ever.

It's a big place, and this doesn't include the raised dining room where I was sitting.

Asada Skirt Steak Tacos ($14). "Marinated grilled skirt steak, salsa roja, pickled serrano chile, avocado served with saffron rice and beans". What a difference! The skirt steak was tender and really tasty, not too sweet and the salsa roja actually had some heat included. The excellent bean dip disappears quickly with the help of the warm tortilla chips. The black beans and rice are also great. All of this for $7 on Taco Tuesday.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dumpling Daughter Weston

Today is MLK day, and a lot of places takes that as an excuse to not serve from their lunch menus. I suddenly remembered that I haven't been to Dumpling Daughter in Weston for a couple of years, so my lunch plans were set. Looking art their website, they now have quite a few daily specials.

It's not a big place, but they always seem to be packed, at least at lunchtime. You order at the counter, and the food is brought out when it's ready. The owner, Nadia Liu Spellman is manning the register. The food is leaving the kitchen at a brisk pace.

I was going to have their tasty Ramen, but when I saw the Braised Beef Beijing Noodle Soup ($12), I couldn't resist. "Beef shank, pickled mustard greens, homemade noodles, scallions, cilantro in beef broth". The beef shank was excellent, tender and really flavorful. Look at that dark and savory broth, it doesn't get much better than this. 

The self-serve water container contained so many slices of lemons that it almost becomes a lemonade.

Address 37 Center St, Weston, MA 02493
Phone number (781) 216-8989

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Osteria Nino Burlington

I have been very pleased with my visits to Osteria Nino on 3rd Avenue in Burlington, so I decided to check out their Brunch today.

The outside pizza oven was not in action today.

I decided to start with a cup of Soup of the Day that was a Tuscan Bean soup ($3.95). The soup was excellent with nicely cooked veggies and beans, and it was seasoned really well.

This was described on the menu as "steak & eggs (15.95) toast, home fries, sunny side up eggs". Not sure how the English Muffins took the place of the toast. No, it's not the same thing. Do you want your eggs benedict on toast? One egg was cooked well, the other one was a bit snotty on top. The home fries was way overcooked and mushy and showed no sign of browning. Unfortunately, the same could be said for the steak, didn't look browned at all. The steak was ordered rare and come out medium, at best. Despite that, it was tender and juicy and really tasty. Of course, liberal amounts of salt and pepper helped.

The counter seating overlooking the pizza station is very nice.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Taste of Siam Stoneham

I really like Taste of Siam in Stoneham, and they serve lunch on Saturdays. Again I was the only customer during lunch today.

I went with the lunch box ($8.95), and you get a Chicken and Noodle soup that today was loaded with both noodles and chicken and was tasty. I picked two Golden Triangles as my apps. Unfortunately, they were still cold in the middle.  I decided to order from the Healthy Corner, so I had to ask what made the dishes in that section healthy. First, the waitress said that it had vegetables, but so do the other dishes. Then she said, that they didn't have coconut milk and was stir fried. This makes more sense. I picked the Prik King with pork. "Sautéed with bell pepper, string beans, crushed peanut in prik king sauce". If there were any crushed peanuts included they completely eluded me. I ordered it three pepper spicy, and it was respectable spicy, enough to get a runny nose. The prik king sauce was delicious, and the whole dish was very enjoyable.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Maki Maki Woburn

My first visit to Maki Maki in Woburn was shortly after they opened in 2013, and it was pretty bad. My second visit a few months later showed a much-improved restaurant, but there were better choices around.

Fast forward to 2017 when I finally was brave enough for a third visit. The restaurant is set back a bit from the road, and there is plenty of parking.

The AYCE Sushi and kitchen items are $14.99. They have a very strict rule that the whole table has to order from the same menu. Apart from the AYCE menu, there is also an a la carte menu available. This is the spicy seaweed salad that wasn't very spicy.

The shrimp tempura was mostly tempura, but it was crunchy and light.

The gyoza was thin skinned with a rather tasty filling. It was straight out of the fryer, so it was HOT.

The Nigiri plate looked good. The second row is Albacore. I usually avoid the shrimp nigiri since the shrimp is usually dry. It was dry. The nigiri was actually very pleasant this time, with the rice properly seasoned and at the right temperature. The fish to rice ratio was also appropriate.

Sexy Girl Maki. "Spicy tuna topped with spicy crab". Eight pieces of tasty maki roll. The service was very pleasant, and food was delivered quickly even when they got busy,

Address 40 Cummings Park, Woburn, MA 01801
Phone number (781) 305-3829

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Yong Yong Malden

I had some delightful Dim Sum the last time I visited Yong Yong in Malden, but that was exactly one year ago, so it certainly was time for another visit.

Nothing really new on the table, except for the jellyfish (top left). I have had it before, in a different restaurant, but then it had more garlic added. Here it was a bit bland. I don't think this is eaten for its taste, it's more about the texture. The Shrimp and Taro cake, bottom left, was an enormous shrimp cake with crispy taro. This has always been a favorite of mine since I first tasted one, and this one didn't disappoint. The prices for most items is still $2.90. The jellyfish was $4.95. I got a very friendly waiter today, so I had a chance to ask what other people was eating. The table next to me had some enormous oysters. Not just big, think gravy boat big.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

California Pizza Kitchen Lynnfield

Back in the days, I tried the frozen pizzas from California Pizza Kitchen, because they looked good, and was cheap and often on sale. Regardless of how well I followed the instructions, they always come out tasting like cardboard with chicken that was dry, so I finally gave up on them.

They now have a location in the Market Street Complex in Lynnfield. I believe that this is the last new retail area that was built.

There are some high tops in the bar area and there is also seating on the patio.

The dining area was airy and bright.

I had signed up with their Pizza Dough rewards program and was rewarded with a free small plate. I picked the ASPARAGUS + ARUGULA SALAD ($5.99). "Tossed in housemade lemon vinaigrette with sun-dried tomatoes, toasted almonds and shaved Parmesan". The salad was OK, with a pleasant dressing, but there were only about ten small pieces of asparagus included.The paper thin slices of parmesan lacked in flavor, maybe because they were so thinly sliced. You also get bread with a very pleasant dipping sauce. Unfortunately, the bread was soo stale that it wasn't edible. When even the cut side is crusty, you know the bread wasn't freshly sliced.

They offer a Lunch Duo for $10.95. I had to try The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza. "Created here in 1985. Our legendary BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda, red onions and fresh cilantro transform this original to iconic". I paired this with the BAKED POTATO SOUP. "Purée of potato with Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon and scallions". The soup didn't really match the picture, but it was pleasant and tasty. The 7" personal pizza bore no resemblance to the frozen variety and was really good with an excellent light crust that was very tasty. The chicken was tender and moist, and all the toppings were fresh.

When I asked for my leftovers to go, an empty box was dropped off at my table, and to make it even more exciting, the box was too small. Maybe I have to try their frozen pizza again.
Update: The box was an 8" box, so it was the pizza that was too big. I'm not going to complain about that!

California Pizza Kitchen at MarketStreet Lynnfield Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato