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Sep 15, 2008 05:58 AM

Recent Weekend Forays

Thought I'd better start this thread before our group of hounds forgets:
BOB LOBSTER, Newbury Ma: on a beautiful, breezy day, we made it through the fast moving, line & joined other diners at picnic tables out back overlooking salt marshes. Cassis, Fredid and I ordered: lobster roll, fried full belly clams and ffbc & fried oysters combo (served w/coleslaw & fries). Roll was overflowing w/lobster meat w/light mayo & Cassis pronounced it delicious. Our orders of fried items were overflowing w/lightly battered clams & oysters – so good. Exuberant kids brought orders out piping hot & one returned w/a bottle of cider vinegar on my request. Tartar sauce was a little on the sweet side - Miracle Whip? We capped things off w/a stop at GRAM’S in Newburyport for ice cream – long line, huge servings of creamy goodness.

CHILLI GARDEN, Medford MA: frogs legs, rabbit, duck & lamb, oh my. Stewed frog legs w/homemade pickles, stewed rabbit on bone w/chef spec’l sauce, stewed duck on bone ?w/green bean starch and lamb w/leeks in spec’l sauce. The spicy chili sauce rabbit & duck were served in seemed to obliterate the flavor of the meats. Frog legs were served in a clear, mild sauce w/veggies. I think some of us were hoping for a rendition sautéed in garlic, ginger & soy, to better taste them. The lamb w/leeks was the highlight – full favored and tender w/lots of braised leeks. I will let other lunchmates fill in details. Braved the deluge to dash over to Modern, around the corner, for cannolis, cappuccino, etc. Would go back for more lamb & to try other items.

SHANGHAI GATE, Allston Ma: Chilled, cubed cucumber in soy, steamed pork buns w/vinegar & ginger, preordered braised pork shoulder divided up at tableside by waitperson, eel in brown sauce, a very spicy chix dish, a warm, comforting bok choy, tofu & ?wheat puff dish in a mild broth. My favorite was the pork – tender falling off the bone meat w/lots of sinful skin & fat. Don’t have menu w/me, so will let others fill in more details. Some trooped off to Mirin and Super 88 – I went home for a nap zzzzz.

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  1. Bob Lobster is perfectly positioned between Newburyport and Plum Island for a post prandial stroll, of course we chose the town because we wanted ice cream. Bob's was busy but not swamped like some of the other seafood shacks , and my lobster was sweet, succulent, tender and there was more lobster overflowing the lightly toasted bun than in the bun itself.

    The coffee hazlenut ice cream at Gram's was not what I expected: large chunks of toasted hazlenut in a creamy coffee flavored base, while I was expecting hazlenut flavor in the ice cream base itself. But all in all, a fine experience and a beautiful day to be out.

    At Chilli Garden the rabbit was a little disappointing, the sauce obliterated the delicate taste of the rabbit--I prefer that particular meat sauteed Italian style with garlic and rosemary--and the duck was very similar. The lamb with leeks retained more distinct lamb flavor, and the frogs' legs were in a light sauce that complimented the delicate flavor of the tiny drumsticks.

    The dishes at Shanghai Gate were more distinctive, whether because of the cuisine itself, a more inspired chef, or perhaps better ordering on our part. The advance ordered braised pork shoulder was memorable, similar to those slow braised French provincial dishes using up cheaper cuts of meat, I just wish we had ordered some rice with which to soak up the rich sauce.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cassis

      I really liked that cappuccino hazelnut ice cream at Gram's. The best scoop I've had all year. I really dug the large amount of whole hazelnuts.

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        It was thanks to your earlier post that I ordered the cappuccino hazlenut flavor! and I enjoyed it (insane amount of hazlenuts) but I had just enjoyed some Giovanna's hazlenut gelato, and was expecting more nut flavor--unfairly, because ice cream and gelato are different products. You might like Giovanna's--I've seen it in pints at a few places, but get mine at the Tuesday Lexington Farmer's Market (hmmm, that's today...)

        1. re: cassis

          Thanks for the tip on Giovanna. You're totally right that the base flavor is coffee at Gram's. Tho' I haven't had the Giovanna, the hazelnut at Gelateria in the North End is probably similar - VERY hazelnutty, though no actual nuts in the gelato. I have to admit I am a bigger fan of the crunch.