Chow crawl suggestions for Chinatown, Allston, and Eastie?
- MC Slim JB Aug 6, 2009 06:21 PM
I have a young relative coming to visit who's adventurous about food. I have plenty of ideas of my own about a weeknight evening Chow crawl, where we visit a neighborhood -- I'm thinking Chinatown, Allston, and Eastie on successive nights -- and stop in for a single dish or two at three or four walkable places.
I would love Hounds to chime in with their own suggested single dishes in these neighborhoods, and if you're feeling ambitious, your own proposed crawl. Thanks!
CHinatown: (since it's evening, I would skip Winsor) start with 1 order (shared between 2 people) of salmon belly drizzled with hot sesame oil (O-Ya), then to Penang for 1 shared order of roti canai w/ curry sauce, then to HOng Kong Eatery for 1 shared order of crispy pig (specify center cut) w/ hoisin dipping sauce, then to Peach Farm for 1 shared order of ginger-scallion fresh soft shell crab (skip if frozen, or replace with salt and pepper live baby shrimp); if still hungry, finish at New Shanghai with an order of wontons in chili oil and a root beer float at the diner on the corner to wash it all down ...save soup dumplings and roast beef in scallion pancake for your Allston crawl at Jo JO Taipei
el buen gusto - pupusas
rincon limeno - crema de rocoto, arroz chaufa, mazamorra morada
el paisa - tres leches flan
taqueria jalisco - birria de res
taqueria el rancho grande - tacos de cabrito, tacos de la cabeza
angela's cafe - guacamole, gorditas con chorizo
el jardin - pan de queso, pan de bono
frio rico - peruvian style empanadas
meridian market - meridian special
penang - roti canai
xinh xinh - roasted quail, hot and sour soup (canh chua), duck leg soup (mi vit tiem)
taiwan cafe - any rice plate or lunch special
gourmet dumpling house - pork soup dumplings (xiao long bao)
new shanghai - double cooked pork belly
best little restaurant - fried squab, soy braised duck
vinh sun - roast suckling pig
color - korean fried chicken
korea garden - spicy pork bulgogi
buk kyung II - ja jang myun, ganpoongki
jo jo taipei - three cups chicken, eggplant with garlic sauce, taiwanese shaved ice
wisteria house - pork belly bun (gua bao)
pho viet - banh mi
misono grill - stone pot bibimbab with pork bulgogi
kantin - salt and pepper pork chop, roasted meats on rice
ken's ramen - clear ramen
s&i thai - pad ga pow moo krob, braised pork leg on rice (kao ka moo)
grain and salt - haleem, nihari
cafe brazil - feijoada, rabada
I'd add Shanghai Gate to the Allston list. Dish recommentations are a function of how adventurous. I love standards there like soup dumplings, Paradise Mountain Chicken, the Beef with Crullers is a fun variation on basic pepper beef, lions heads of course, and Yu Xiang Pork is a fun sort of Chinese taco idea. if she's adventurous to the one up brag to your friends level (I've had younger family members like that), I've also over the past month or so tried duck tongues (off the specials board - interesting and surprisingly tasty but there's some getting used to in how they look and feel to eat) and Stir-fried sponge gourd, tomato, beans, pickled Vegetable, gingko nuts, ham, bamboo shoots, shrimps, fish maw, which is a lovely light jewel-like summer weight veggie dish with the fish maws acting as lightly fish tasting sponges. Also like the fuzzy squash with ham as a pretty summer weight dish.
I don't have a lot to add to galangatron's Allston suggestions, except for a stop at YoMa for pretty much any of their salads, and a visit to Yi Soon bakery where I'm addicted to the cookies that are just narrow strips of puff pastry sprinkled with coarse sugar and almonds> I also often just pick something random from the shelves and usually find it to be good - last time was a bun filled with sweet black bean paste and mochi.
I was there just last night and looking at the description of the sanwinmakin, they sounded interesting but I was already stuffed form apps and beer at Deep Ellum followed by 2 salads and a mixed appetizer sampler at YoMa. (BTW, they've revised the menu at YoMa again, and dropped a few things I'm sorry to lose, specifically both the big lentil fritters and the deep-fried gourd appetizers. Didn't register other changes in detail.)
If you don't start too late in Allston (by 6:30-7ish), start at Padaria Brasil Bakery. Have a vitimina de abacate (avocado shake) with some added guarana powder (guarana em po, which is more common with other fruit shakes, but will add some energy)... if they have peanuts (amendoim) you could try one straight and one with amendoim and guarana. I tend to avoid Pao de queijo in the afternoon when its often stale, but you could ask about that, otherwise get something sweet to try later such as yuca cake (bolo de aipim). From there color is a short trip up the road, S&I is another good next stop, Jo Jo Taipei is a bit further. If you head onto the Super88 food court or start there, La Mamma's is one possible stop on the way and you can see what is happening at Cafe Belo's takeout (if they had the full restaurant I would suggest a stop for an adult refreshment).
With Cafe Brazil its a bit out of the way and feijoada is a weekend thing and a bit heavy for a crawl. galangatron is on the right track for their better dishes, most from the pratos caseiros. I would suggest sitting in their small bar or the front room for an (excessively chilled) beer and some aperitivos, the frango a passarinho, maybe a small plate of liver and onions, quibbe, torresmos or chicken hearts with fried mandioca. Their salada is pretty iceburg heavy but with palmito it might help cut the grease. Its also close to Deep Ellum for a adult refreshment or Fernet, but if the relative isn't 18....
Does the young relative need any food for the train/bus/car ride back? Definitely get some Lychee and snacks from stores in Chinatown. If they are a youngster bubble tea either at Super88 or Chinatown.
El Paisa has a smaller version of the bandeija paisa (around $8) which is more crawl oriented, see if they have their house made morcilla and order something with that, try the arepas with chicarron or something. Also if you have gone more heavily ethnic in the other neighborhoods, in Eastie you have Italian options, can stick to tacos or rotisserie chicken in latino, and hit up Royal Roast Beef... and there is Ecco.
Eggplant with basil and Simmered 3 Essence Chicken Legs at Gourmet Dumpling House followed by Bun Rieu at Xinh Xinh followed by Roast Duck at Wai Wai.
If still hungry, go for En Toon Mor Fai at Montien followed by ABC at Penang.
For Chinatown, the rice sticks with chicken and mild preserved snow cabbage at the Hong Kong Eatery are tough to beat, as are their scallion pancakes. The vegetable dumplings are a good bet at the Taiwan Cafe, and the fried calamari at New Jumbo seafood is excellent.
For Allston, I love nearly everything at Shanghai Gate, which may be my favorite Chinese restaurant in the Boston area. The beef dumplings there are tremendous, but really, there aren't many low spots on their menu. Grain and Salt is a decent place to go - they have a nice version of chicken tandoori there. I'm going to throw in the Common Ground as well, not because their food is incredible, but because it's a neat place to hang and listen to music over a beer or two. And if you don't mind walking up Harvard Street into Brookline, Dok Bua may be the best Thai restaurant I've been to inside Route 128. Love the tom yum koong soup there....
Eastie? If you want old-school, Jeveli's is a neat place. The food won't blow you away, but there are some standouts, including the escarole soup. El Paisa, which I know you know about, is a good spot, with some great fried chicken turnovers there. There's Santarpio's, of course, and Rino's, which is a very underrated Italian restaurant. And Angela's Cafe, which I don't need to say anything about here, as I'm thinking you know the place at least as well as I do (oooooh, that mole.....).
Wouldn't it be cool to tie a chow crawl in with a farmers' market visit to show the kid how fun it is to shop for food and how it is easy to buy local? For example, you could hit Central Sq market in the late morning on Monday and then check out Rangzen, Baraka, Miracle of Science, Mariposa. I also like Bytes for falafel. Central Kitchen is open for lunch and it's wonderful. You could chase down the Clover food truck, which is in the vicinity.
Davis Sq's farmers' market goes until 6pm on Wednesdays, so you could hit that up and check out When Pigs Fly/Kickass Cupcakes (just for fun!), Namaskar, Snappy Sushi (which we liked the one time we stopped in), Martsa (never been), Rosebud if you want a diner experience (although the food there is not so good).
Those are just some ideas. What a fun teaching assignment, Slim! Can't wait to read the report.
Compared to most of those mentioned above, none of the ones in Cambredge that you mentioned are real food destinations in my book. Decent chow for sure, but very little that is really truly awesome.
Best Farmer's market of all is Brookline Thursday and Newton (I forget which day, Tuesday maybe.)