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Jan 16, 2007 01:43 PM

Weekend Eats: Cafe Azteca, New Jumbo Seafood, New Bridge Cafe, Mannion's

Once again, I ate way too much over the weekend, so I;m relegated to Campbell Chunky Soups for the rest of the week.

Started out Friday at Cafe Azteca in Lawrence with a group of people. This is a real find, as other CH folks have previously mentioned. I had the sauteed chicken with mushrooms and cactus in a hot brown sauce, and a couple of sangrias. The entree was nothing short of spectacular, with the brown sauce adding some heat to the cactus strips that really brought out their flavor. I love the back room there (the one with the colorful Mexican-themed murals), and the service was great.

Much later on Friday night (after a stint at the Red Hat in the old Scollay Square), a few of us went to New Jumbo Seafood for a disgustingly huge meal for that time of night. We ordered calamari (perfect), Singapore rice stick (mostly shrimp, pork, and noodles--almost no veggies--but outstanding flavor from the curry sauce), chicken with cashews (also good), and a couple of late-night apps (crab rangoon and chicken fingers) just to make us even more bloated. New Jumbo seemed little different from the old Jumbo, which is a good thing, since I've always liked the food there. It definitely impressed us all on Friday night.

Saturday we went to the New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea. The steak tips were tremendous as usual, but I actually liked the turkey tips even better, as they were blackened perfectly and had absolutely no gristle on them. The place is a classic; if you haven't been and are a big meat eater, you definitely need to get there.

On Sunday morning, we headed over to Mannion's Restaurant in West Quincy for an Irish breakfast. I like Mannion's a lot, since it has the feel of a real Irish dining spot (treacle and soda bread for sale at the counter, good Irish music on the sound system, lots of Irish immigrants, both young and old, frequenting the place), but the dish I got this time was, well, a bit on the disgusting side. It is called "Mannion's Skillet", and it consists of 3 eggs, diced ham, and home fries all mixed together in a casserole dish and topped with, oh, about 1/2 pound of cheese sauce. My S.O. took one look at it and she said, "Good luck to ya." I took most of the cheese off, but still felt a bit weighted down for the rest of the day.

I'd say that Cafe Azteca was probably the highlight of the weekend, which is saying a lot, considering I also went to perhaps the best steak tip joint in the Boston area and one of the best Chinese restaurants in Chinatown.

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  1. Marc, sounds like a great (and filling) time. I also LOVE the calamari at Jumbo. Good to hear the turkey tips at New Bridge are as good as the steak tips.

    Weird question, considering all the great food you had, but did you eat anything at The Red Hat? I heard that since Gerry sold the place, the new owners are "updating" the menu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      No, we stuck to pitchers of beer there (no, really!). If you try their food at some point, let me know how it is!

      I rarely go upstairs into the dining room anymore, since the Hat is typically a place to meet up with my friends for some laughs, though I do get the burgers there every now and then.

    2. Yowzer, did you squeeze in some jogging or stair climbing in between alll these meals?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joanie

        Just the stairs up to New Jumbo Seafood's entrance (I counted 6 or 7 of them). I think there was a slight incline between New Bridge and their parking lot, too. ;-b

      2. Plus, raising chopsticks, knives, spoons and forks up to your mouth. Don't forget that.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bostonbob3

          I don't recall using chopsticks (or any kind of silverware for that matter). ;-b

          I might be heading to Cafe Azteca for lunch later this week. Their lunches are just as good, and I believe they are a couple of bucks cheaper in general. The place is definitely worth the trip from Boston, IMO.

          1. re: hiddenboston

            So this is your new fav Mexican joint, Marc?

            Better than Lindo?

            1. re: Bostonbob3

              I think I might like it a little better than both Mexico Lindo and El Sarape, though you can't go wrong with any of these places. BTW, the atmosphere at Cafe Azteca is a bit like that of Mexico Garibaldi in Providence, though bigger (3 rooms). Lots of pastel colors, murals on the walls, posters of Michoacan in Southern Mexico (where I assume the owners are from), etc.

              La Especial Norte in Leucadia, CA, is still probably my favorite Mexican restaurant anywhere, but it's tough to get there during the week!

        2. I'm definately trying this Cafe Azteca, keep reading about it on CH and I love good mexican. I usually get my fix up in Concord,NH at Hermano's (they are awesome too).

          1. My wife and I have been going to Azteca for 4 or 5 years now. My in-laws found the place right after they opened. Still our favorite. One of the few places in the area with acceptable tamales. I'm addicted to their Tamales De Puerco. We've also come to love Mexico Lindo in Melrose which is conveniently only a two minute walk from home. Weekends Alex mixes a mean Ultimate Margarita.