Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nagoya Medford

Nagoya in Medford opened recently, and Groupon promised a 20% credit when visiting, and I know where there is free parking in Medford, so off I went on this 80℉ day.

They have a fairly small frontage. They served Sushi, Ramen and Chinese. I'm skipping the ramen since there have been concerns about the authenticity of both the broth and the ramen noodles. Later, I'm going to Ebisuya up the street to pick up some Sun Ramen kits. Looking forward to the TanTan one.

Sushi station to the right as you enter. No seating.

There is a long walk to get to the dining room.

Again I find myself in an oddly shaped dining room. The lightning is leaning towards a bluish hue.

With lunch, you have a choice of Miso Soup or a house salad. The house salad was fresh with the standard orange dressing on top. The default is knife and fork, and I had to ask for chopsticks.

I guess there was more to the dressing than what was on top. About 1/2 inch of stuff on the bottom for the salad to swim in.

I decided to go with the lunch Chirashi Lunch (13.95). The rice was a bit warmer than expected, but that's way better than cold rice. The rice was also properly seasoned and was really tasty. What looks like Tobiko is probably Masago, but it still tastes good and adds a nice texture to the rice. The Tamago was a little bit grainy. I got fake crab, one thin slice of mackerel, one thin slice of a white fish. The octopus slice was really good and tender. The pretty salmon in a cucumber was two thin slices of fish. The tuna was top notch and really good. The pickled ginger was pressed up against the lemon, so I got lemony tasting ginger.

Address 38 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA 02155
Phone number (781) 391-7777

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Scratch Kitchen Salem

As the name implies, Scratch Kitchen in Salem is making everything from scratch.

I have been curious about this place for a while. They are located in the same parking structure where I like to park on my visits to Salem. The tourists are already starting to go gather.

As you enter, you have to the kitchen to the left, a token bar seating in the middle, specials on the boards. There is an actual Ballantine smoker hiding in the kitchen.

The oddly shaped dining room was bright and spotless. They do have waitress service and run your CC at the table, another plus.

I started with the SK Smoked Wings (10.00). "House cured and smoked wings, flash fried and tossed in a Sauce of your choosing: Sweet-Sour Chili Glaze, House Hot Sauce, SK BBQ. Served with Blue dressing, pickled carrots". The 6 small wings were very lightly sauced with the SK BBQ sauce. They had a nice light smoke flavor, and the outside was crisp from the flash fry. The inside was tender. I really like the pickled carrots, something different.

I was going to have the brisket sandwich, but when I saw the Happy Belly ($13) on the specials board, I quickly changed my mind. "Beer Brined Pork Belly, pickled cabbage slaw, cucumber kimchi, sweet heatpepper relish, herbed mayo, served on a toasted baguette". When I asked the waitress what happened to the baguette, she said that this is a baguette. After I told her what a baguette is, we agreed that this was a house made sub roll. It was three generous slices of crispy pork belly, that was juicy and tender. I normally skip the bread, but today I ate the whole thing, it was sooo good. This was a really enjoyable sandwich.

Address 245 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970
Phone number (978) 741-2442

Scratch Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Santarpio's Pizza Peabody

I have only done takeout from Santarpio's Pizza in Peabody once, and when leaving, a lady in a Jeep drove right into my fender as she was leaving Wendy's. I have no recollection of that pizza.

From the south, you can get here without entering Rte 1. Look what I caught on the billboard.

There is a big square bar in the middle.

Around the bar, there are these oddly shaped dining rooms all over.

Fast food it isn't and they weren't even busy. This is the pizza with Italian Cheese, Ground Beef and Onions ($13.00). The pizza crust was nice and thin at the bottom. The cheese was very mild and the ground beef was unseasoned. The tomato sauce could also have done with some more seasoning.

Address 71 Newbury St, Peabody, MA 01960
Phone number (978) 535-1811

Santarpio's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pokéworks Somerville

On Tuesday Pokéworks in Somerville will launch their two limited-time fruit bowls and I was invited today for a preview and tasting.

They are centrally located in Davis Square, and there is free parking to be had if you know where to look.

The inside is nice and bright with communal tables. You start at this end of the counter and work your way down to the cash register. I have been here before and really like their food.

I like the window seats, and I was able to snag a seat today.

The first of the limited time bows was the Pineapple Bora. "Bora, pineapple, cilantro, fresh ginger, red chili, lotus chips, over salad". I had never had Bora before, but it's part of the mullet family. I really liked the fish with the pineapple. The red chili was green bird's eye chili, those are HOT. I like spicy so this was OK with me. The lotus chips were crispy and the whole thing was very tasty. It rests on a mound of rice, same as their other bowls.

Does this look good or what? Watermelon Shiso. "Atlantic salmon, watermelon, crab salad, masago, green onion, sweet onion, edamame, cucumber, sesame seeds, fresh shiso, ponzu fresh sauce". What looks like Tobiko is really Masago. Masago is the roe of the Capelin, an Atlantic and Arctic fish that is sustainable. I really like salmon, so this was my favorite, and I was really surprised how well the watermelon went with salmon. Both the crab salad and the masago added another layer of flavors. Both bowls were really good and will be a nice addition to the existing poké offerings. I still haven't tried their Poké Burrito, but I'm working on it.

The new fruit bowls will NOT be served like this, this was only for me today. On Tuesday and onwards, it's the usual bowls.

Address 261 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
Phone number (617) 996-1198

Disclosure: The food was by courtesy of Pokéworks, but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thai Chilli Maynard

I read a lot of reviews that raved about the food at Thai Chilli in Maynard, so I had really high hopes for my lunch today.

Downtown Maynard is basically three streets forming a triangle around a parking lot, and they still have metered on-street parking. The central parking lot closest to the main street is metered, but the one next to it is free.

The inside is small but nice and bright. My chair was fine, but a neighboring table swapped out theirs.

They do a lunch box that comes with a House Ginger Soup. There is supposed to be chicken in the soup and there were all of two nuggets. The soup was overly sweet and the noodles were overcooked.

For my Lunch Box, I picked the Thai Chilli with Pork ($9.75) and also Thai Rolls. "Our signature dish with asparagus, peppers, zucchinis, broccolis and carrots in homemade special sauce". Hold the broccoli. There was a sizable salad with a nice peanut dressing. Not a lot of dressing and of course, it was all on top. The Thai Chilli was marked as one star on the menu, and I asked for it extra spicy, and we settled on two stars. What did I get? A sweet sauce that completely lacked heat. The description said "homemade special sauce", but I didn't expect anything that was just sweet. Some of the blame is on me for ordering something that I was not familiar with. The waitress brought out some ground peppers, and that helped. The vegetables were raw, and the pork was really dry. The promised asparagus was one thin stalk cut in four pieces. The Thai rolls were excellent, light and filled with chicken, carrots, cabbage and some sort of noodle.

A closer look at the homemade special sauce. I took the Thai rolls to go and didn't get any dipping sauce. I could have asked but was curious to see what would happen.

Address 40 Main St, Maynard, MA 01754
Phone number (978) 897-2984

Thai Chilli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

15 Walnut Hamilton

This month The Serenitee Group loaded their Reward cards with a free appetizer at 15 Walnut in Hamilton to celebrate their re-opening after having been closed for a couple of weeks to refresh the interior.

An awning has been added and the sign split in two and a there is a new entrance. Yes, this the kind of day we are having, the remains of Irma is hitting us. Plenty of parking.

Nice hightops in the bar. The bar goes all the way around. All the interior has been repainted

The front dining area with the open kitchen in the back.

From the Starters section, I picked KOREAN CHILI WINGS ($10). "Sesame chili sauce, ginger aioli, scallions". Not as crispy as a Korean chicken wing, but cooked extremely well, and even the drumette was tender and moist. So often this part is overcooked and dry, but not here. They could have been spicier but was perfectly acceptable as far as the heat goes. I got the scallion aioli, and when I asked my nice waitress what it was, she promptly brought out the ginger aioli, that was excellent. The scallion aioli was too mild for the wings. I also got a moist towel and lemon so I could wipe my fingers after I finished. A very nice touch.

I was going to have a burger, but then I spied the BRISKET SANDWICH ($13). "Smoked brisket, swiss, molasses BBQ, slaw, rye bread". I had no problem getting it on a brioche instead of the rye bread. The hand cut fries alone are worth the trip. I asked for some fattier brisket and got that so I was very happy. The brisket was tender and very tasty and the BBQ sauce was dark, tasty and rich. The slaw was crunchy and added more texture to the sandwich. This was a really excellent and enjoyable sandwich. Service was very good, and it was service with a smile. My leftovers were nicely packed in containers made from recyclable paper.

Address 15 Walnut Road, Hamilton, MA 01982
Phone number (978) 468-2434

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

MuLan Waltham

I haven't blogged about MuLan in Waltham for quite some time since I mostly have the same favorite dished at lunch, but I found a dish that I have overlooked and had to try it.

Yes, this was the kind of day we had today. There is still free on-street parking in Waltham.

They weren't that busy at lunch today. The interior is very nice, and you get linen tablecloths.

The dish I had missed was the Diced Chicken with Hot Sauce (8.95). But where is the H&S soup? Turns out that there is no more complimentary soup at lunch. You still get peanuts and pickled cabbage. This was an excellent dish, and it was seriously spicy and very tasty. Not as spicy as the Chicken in Chili sauce, that doesn't have any chili sauce at all. Much to my surprise, the jalapenos weren't overly hot but was nice and crispy. You still get a very substantial portion.

A closeup of all the good stuff.

Address 835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451
Phone number (781) 642-8888

Monday, September 18, 2017

Moonstones Chelmsford

The Indian restaurant I picked for today was not open when I arrived. When trying to decide what to do, two employees showed up and then left. Luckily Moonstones in Chelmsford was nearby, so I guess it's Indian tomorrow.

They are located next to a chain hotel, kind of in the middle of nowhere. If I stayed in the hotel, I would be really happy to find this restaurant next door. Plenty of parking.

They have a nice little outdoor seating area.

A raw bar with seating is located before the dining room. Well, one of the dining rooms, there seemed to be dining rooms everywhere.

This is the main dining room with a big bar and nice high tops next to the windows. Guess what I picked?

From the nice lunch menu, I picked Chicken Parm Sandwich (13.5). "breaded chicken, tomato sauce, mozzarella, sea salt fries". There was a number of different fries on the menu, but everyone got the same as I got. The fries were really good, crispy and fried perfectly. It was a big amount of fries, and I made sure that I finished them. I can always reheat the sandwich, but reheating fries are hard. The chicken was nicely breaded and crispy, apart from where the tomato sauce coved it. The chicken was tender, and the tomato sauce was very tasty. There were two big pieces of chicken, so I'll get at least one more dinner out of this. Service was very pleasant, and the hostess/manager stopped by and asked how the food was. They got pretty busy at lunch today.

Address 185 Chelmsford St (Rt 110), MA 01824
Phone number (978) 256-7777

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Earl's Kitchen + Bar Somerville

Earl's Kitchen + Bar in Somerville opened in the Assembly Row complex a while back and with the lunch menu looking just OK, I have held off my visit but decided to go on this gorgeous Sunday since they have a brunch menu.

The parking garage next door only had reserved spots, but that's during Mon-Fri, so I was OK.

This is the bar area with tables next to the open windows.

This is a big place with an open kitchen and the staff dressed in black. There was a good amount of little black dresses going around.

From the brunch menu, I selected Steak + Eggs (16). "Two fried eggs, avocado, bacon jam, on warm griddled baguette, crispy potatoes". The sunny side up eggs was undercooked and snotty. I guess this is better than overcooked. I didn't expect to get a lot of the hanger steak and I didn't. It barely made it as medium. It was also unseasoned. The crispy potatoes weren't, and they also lacked salt, but they were tasty and cooked perfectly. Duckfat? It was one thin slice of avocado divided between the two slices of bread. I expect to get something with a crisp crust when promised a baguette, but this was just two slices of bread. The bacon jam was very good. While my waitress was pleasant enough, I only got my water glass refilled when my plate was removed.

698 Assembly Row, Somerville, MA 02145
Phone number (617) 666-1790

Earl's Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato