Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Origin Thai Bistro Tewksbury

Since I was in the area, it was convenient to stop at Origin Thai Bistro in Tewksbury for some lunch on a pretty nice Wednesday.

Lunch specials include a small salad with a nice dressing, not your normal orange stuff.

I went with the Fish Spicy Fish **** ($8.95). "Lightly battered cod and stir fried ground fresh chili and bell pepper with garlic sauce on a bed of fresh steamed vegetable". Four stars it wasn't, maybe two, and I had told the waitress that spicy was fine with me. Not sure what "fresh steamed vegetables" means, but I got cabbage, carrots and broccoli. The vegetables were cooked well, and still had some crunch, so that was good. The fish was cooked nicely and was still moist.

Not much you can do with a square room. They did a brisk takeout business at lunch time. I got charged $9.95, and that was corrected when I pointed it out.

I went back a couple of weeks later and found out that the prices have gone up. My fish dish is now $9.95. This time I ordered the Matsaman Curry with pork ($7.95). "Your Choice of protein simmered in coconut milk with red chili paste with an addition of Persian spices, tossed in with potatoes, carrots, onion & roasted whole peanut. This curry has a slightly tangy sour taste from tamarind juice". I thought it was a spelling error but it's spelled the same way online. I ordered it extra spicy and this time it was really spicy. Wicked busy today.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Porch Wakefield

I wasn't going to write another blog post about The Porch in Wakefield, but lot's of stuff are happening.

They had complaints about the big smoker so that one is now renting space on the other side of the town. The little Weber was going today,

New on the menu is Crab Cakes, both as a sandwich and as a platter. I went with the Platter ($19), with two sides and it comes with a really tasty Old Bay Tartar sauce. My first side was, of course, the Mac & Cheese that is outstandingly good and the second, a new side, Buttermilk Cucumber salad. I don't like buttermilk but took a chance and it paid off. The dressing was very light with just a trace of buttermilk. A very refreshing side that I really liked. The crab cakes were 100% crab with a very light binder and a complete absence of fillers. They might seem expensive, but they were BIG and really tasty. Crab cakes don't come much better than this.

New menu as of last week. Next time I'll try the Nashville Wings with a side of Mac & Cheese, that should be a delightful lunch for me.

They recently started selling grits and mayo. I haven't tried either, but if Jonathan is selling them, they should be good. The new line cook can be seen in the background. Everything, except the BBQ, is cooked to order and the prices are including tax.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Edamame Watertown

Last time I went to Edamame in Watertown, it was snowing/sleeting, so I guess it's an improvement when it was just raining today. I had reserved a table with GoPapaya to get a nice discount on my lunch.

I saw this on the lunch menu on my last visit and was curious about it. This is the Beef Negimaki Lunch Bento Box ($12.50). "Served with White Rice, Miso Soup, Salad, California roll and Shumai". First, it's not a Bento Box without the box. Secondly, it's only 1/2 California roll. The Japanese Shumai was OK and the salad was fresh. The Beef Negimaki was pretty terrible. A thin slice of beef wrapped around an abundance of green onions and the beef was seriously dry. The sauce was very sweet and gloppy.

A closer look at the miserable Negimaki. If you google Negimaki, this is what you get and I could eat that.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Sapporo Newton

Time to try some more Korean dishes at New Sapporo in Newton where GoPapaya gives me a 20% discount when reserving a table using their app.

I did get some Banchan after I asked for it. The bottom left was a warm dish, a first for me.

I ordered the Kimchi JiGae ($13.95) from the regular menu. "Hot and spicy kimchi stew with tofu and pork meat". It was hot alright. There was also some rice cake on the bottom to give it some texture. Otherwise all the ingredients, apart from the pork, lacked texture. Everything was very soft, and it was more of a soup than a stew. The broth had a bit of heat, but apart from that, it was really bland. I'll try one of their lunch Bento boxes next.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Machu Chicken Somerville

When I first went to Machu Chicken in Union Square they didn't have a website, but now they do, albeit without prices. If you are lucky, you can get free parking after Barbeque International just up the street, and that worked out well since I was doing dinner takeout from them. GoPapaya gives me a nice 20% discount there.

I went with the basic PERUVIAN STYLE CHARCOAL- ROASTED CHICKEN ($7). "Traditional chicken comes with house salad and your choice of fries or rice. ¼ Chicken dark". I went with the fries that was of the frozen variety but was fried nicely, and perfectly adequate. The chicken was moist and flavorful from the 12-hour marinade and smoky from the charcoal grill. This is really one of the best roasted chickens around. The salad was fresh. You get two dipping sauces, one spicy and one herbed. I asked the waitress what they were for. She said: You can use them on the chicken or on the salad or dip the french fries in them. Both was very good, but the chicken really doesn't need a dipping sauce so I ended up using one on the salad. I dipped the french fries in the other one. The chicken might not be the Green Circle chickens, but on the other hand, it wasn't $13 for a quarter either.

The inside looked exactly the same as when I was here two years ago. It's nice and bright up at the windows, and the place is impeccable clean. The waitress was very nice. I also ordered a quarter dark ($5) to go. I just got some microwavable rice that I would like to try.

25 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143
Phone number (617) 623-7972

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pho #1 Waltham

Pho #1 in Waltham has nothing in common with Pho #1 in Woburn. They have a very extensive menu with Thai, Vietnamese and Korean dishes. I stand corrected, they have the same owners.

They are located on the busy Moody Street, and I was just told about a parking lot on Chestnut Street that is very convenient.

The inside isn't very big but pleasant and bright and impeccable clean. They serve lunch seven days a week.

I was going to order the PHO #1 DOUBLE FRIED Garlic/Crazy Wings ($10.95), but when I saw the Lunch Meal Fried Chicken ($8.95), I went for that instead. I picked the Crazy Wings, and for my sides, I picked Potato Salad and Kimchi. The chicken was super crispy, and the Crazy Hot sauce was pleasantly spicy. The wings were on the dry side, and I think they served the smallest wings they could find in my lunch meal special. Another table ordered the regular item, and their wings certainly looked bigger. The Kimchi was excellent. The Potato Salad was just mashed potatoes with a few kernels of corn, and it was horrible. The service was pleasant and the food arrived quickly. I'll be back to try more dishes.

Address 374 Moody Street, MA 02453
Phone 781.891.6977

Pho 1 Waltham Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, May 19, 2017

Maple Street Bistro Danvers

Maple Street Bistro in Danvers is part of Essex Technical High School and staffed and run by the students. They are open Wednesday-Friday 11:00-12:15 and reservations are required. Call (978) 304 - 4700 Ext. 2120 after 9:00 AM to reserve a table. They take reservations for one. Seatings are at 11:00, 11:15, 11:30 and 11:45. 

Easy to get to and plenty of parking. You need to check in with security in the lobby with a valid license. You will get a visitor badge while they use your license to scan the sex offenders database.

The inside was pleasant and bright, and you can see the open kitchen in the back. I wasn't sure if I would have to share a table since it was just me, but I got a four top to myself.

They post the menu daily on their website. I got some cheese bread and also some rolls. The cheese bread was really good, light and fluffy, but the butter was stone cold.

Today's soup was Star Island Shrimp Bisque (Cup $2.00 Bowl $3.00). "Native Shrimp Sauteed With Fresh Shallots, Spring Onion, Cognac, Shrimp Broth, Finished With Dairy Cream. Served Piping Hot With a Flakey Butter Biscuit". Of course I got the soup at the same time as my main, so I asked the waitress how I was supposed to eat this without anything getting cold? She offered to remove the soup and bring it back when I was finished with my entree. Didn't make sense, since you eat the soup first. Anyway, the bisque was very tasty with some small shrimps hiding in there. It was more soup than a bisque. The biscuit was flaky and very light. The price certainly was right for my cup of bisque.

I then proceeded to eat my now lukewarm Crispy Shrimp And Haddock Basket ($6.50). "Gulf Shrimp, Atlantic Haddock Lightly Dusted with Our House Crumb, Crisp Fried and Served with Crispy French Fries, Fresh Coleslaw with Honey Crisp Apples Julienne, Fresh Lemon Wedges, and Tartar Sauce". I saw that they sometimes have crispy fries and at other times hand-cut fries, so I was curious if this was just semantics, but no, they are different. There was two gigantic shrimp in there that was perfectly cooked. Three big pieces of haddock that were cooked well enough, but could have done with 30 seconds less in the fryer. It was just marginally moist. The crispy fries was OK. A bit stingy on the tartar sauce but it was very tasty. The coleslaw was very good and really pleasant. No problem getting more tartar sauce. Whoever come up with the idea of serving the fish on top of the fries in a basket should be shot, hanged and then quartered. It doesn't work.

Mutch to my surprise, a dessert was included! Today it was Tiramisu that I took to go. It was really good.

They also had Maple Street Cafe Grilled Sirloin Tips ($6.50) that I took to go. "Italian Marinated Sirloin Tips, Char Grilled, Served Over a Bed of Creamy Parmesan Rice, Crispy Batter Fried Onion Rings, Stuffed Mushrooms Florentine, accompanied by Fresh Sauteed Vegetables". It was a very generous portion. The stuffed mushrooms didn't make it into the box. I was never asked how I wanted the meat cooked, so I was pleasantly surprised when the tips came out medium. The tips had nice grill marks and were very tender and even seasoned. The creamy rice was creamy and cooked perfectly and again well seasoned. The fresh veggies were also cooked well and tasty. The onion rings were fine, not really suited for takeout, but that's not their fault. Why didn't I get a dessert with my takeout? This was a very good meal that I really enjoyed and considering that it was prepped by students makes it even more impressive. I'll be back for sure.
I was surprised that there is no way to leave feedback.

Address 565 Maple St, Danvers, MA 01923
Phone number (978) 304-4700 Ext. 2120 for reservations

Maple Street Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Go Chi Malden

I had to go back to Go Chi in Malden after my first excellent lunch there recently.

They only had a few customers at lunch today.

Dongbei Style Spicy Clams from the lunch menu. This was a very tasty dish with tender clams, an excellent sauce, and not one grain of sand. It looks a bit fierce but was more flavorful than hot.


Sauteed Tender Pork with Green Peppers. I was a bit afraid that it would be the mild green peppers, but this was the good ones. Another very tasty dish, with crispy tender pork in another excellent sauce. The carrots were cooked but still had texture.

But wait, there is more! Chongqing Style Chicken. You can get three dishes for $21.95, so that's a nice deal. Crispy tender dark meat chicken on the bone made this dish another winner. All three dishes were excellent with different flavors and textures, so it was really hard to pick a winner. I'll order any of the dishes I have had here again.

They didn't hold back on the Sichuan Peppercorns either, and my mouth is still numb. Lot's more interesting dishes on the menu to try.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Brewers Coalition Newton

I really like Brewers Coalition in Newton, and I also get a discount by reserving my table using GoPapaya.

On every visit, I find something interesting and new.

I found out that they changed the menu last week and they had several new dishes on the menu. Who can resist Fried Calamari? From the Bar Eats section, I picked the CALAMARI (11.95). "Battered and fried golden brown with hot cherry peppers. Served with a pineapple chili dipping sauce". I was a bit afraid the dipping sauce would be too sweet, but it was perfect. A bit sweet, a bit hot and delicious. The big heap of calamari was cooked perfectly, and you also get tentacles. When I mentioned to the owner how happy I was to get the tentacles, he said something interesting: "If you don't get tentacles, they are using frozen calamari". They get busy at lunchtime, and that's nice to see, and people don't get here just for the $5 burgers. "Golden brown" doesn't sound right, just golden would be better, I think.

The walls are full of wisdom.

The city of Newton has put pianos outside all over town and this one I found opposite of the restaurant. How cool is this! I wonder what they do with them if it rains?

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! They also have a great discount program for takeouts. They also keep adding on new restaurants.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shanghai Village Arlington

I went back to Shanghai Village in Arlington today for some lunch with Gopapayas 20% discount. I was planning on trying their Sushi that's half price on Sundays, but since today was Mothers Day, there was no discount available.

I got lucky and found a spot in their private lot behind the restaurant.

From the Asian section of the menu, I selected Smoked Duck Taiwanese Style ($12.95). It took a while to arrive. The duck itself was very tender and tasty, but I'm not sure what they used to smoke the duck, the outside of the skin had a very harsh taste. The price was right, this was a nice and plump duck.

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! They also have a great discount program for takeouts. They also keep adding on new restaurants.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Noodle Market Arlington

I didn't exactly like my previous visit to Noodle Market in Arlington, but it was time to try the Thai side of the menu.

Fifty cent parking in the big lot isn't bad.

Lunch portion Grapow Chicken (8). "Thai style stir fried chicken with basil leaves, bell peppers and onion in a garlic chili sauce". There was some heat but missing was the sour, sweet, salty, bitter. Apart from the heat, it was bland. You can get a combo lunch for $2 extra but I didn't really understand what she said so I passed on that. She kept on say two for two dollars more, but the menu said: "Served with soup, salad and a choice of appetizer:".

Lunch portion Crispy Chicken Fried Rice (9). "Fried rice with egg, onions, scallions and carrot. Topped with a crispy fried chicken, served with a sweet chili sauce". The rice lacked seasoning, so it was very bland. There were only a few traces of the egg. The reheated chicken was very crispy and very dry. It was also cut before being reheated. The sauce was pleasant. I don't think I'll be back, but I found another place that now does lunch Fri-Sat that I'm looking forward to visiting. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Island Creek Oyster Bar Burlington

Island Creek Oyster Bar opened their second location in Burlington and have now started serving lunch.

They are located in the newly created The District area.

The refined and elegant bar area with an enormous bar and modern high-tops.

The dining room is no less elegant and well lighted from the big windows. The tables are well spaced, and even when they got busy, the noise level was fine.

Very pleasant place settings. The bread was nice but the Cajun and Honey whipped butter with salt on top was excellent. What a nice touch!

With a name like ICOB, you need to have some oysters, right? Island Creek, Blish Point, Oyster Pond and some Littlenecks. Everything was perfectly shucked and super fresh. The littlenecks were probably my favorite, very tasty.

SALMON TARTARE ($12) with cucumber, sesame, chive was outstandingly good. There was a hint of heat in the tartare, and that made it soo tasty. The potato and sweet potato chips were also very good, and I don't even like sweet potatoes. Best dish of the day.

LOBSTER BISQUE ($10) with Brown Butter and Lobster Knuckles. This was pleasant, but the knuckle was a bit chewy.

And now here is their famous LOBSTER ROLL ($32) with rosemary roll, kettle chips. Rosemary can be strong, but there was just a hint of it in the roll. Lots of lobster, including tail meat, that was very light dressed and mixed with some really fine minced red onion, celery and pickles.

And here is the namesake, the oyster bar.

Address 300 District Avenue, Burlington MA 01803
Phone number (781) 761-6500

Island Creek Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato