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Aug 17, 2009 06:45 AM

Chow crawl follow-up: thanks, Boston Hounds!

It was a fruitful and pioneering few days for my niece, who heads off to college near NYC with some new seeds of adventurousness. A few highlights:

Steamed pork bun (XLB) at Shanghai Gate. Our server did not hide her annoyance that we were only ordering one dish.

Man doo gook at Korea Garden. One of her favorites. Much delight at the banchan, especially the one of tiny dried silvery fish.

Pad ka pow moo krob at S&I Thai. Another favorite (and one of mine here, as featured in my Phoenix review from early last year). I did not point out that the crispy layer of the three-layer pork was pork rind, though I did mention it was the same cut of pork that is called chicharron in Latin American cuisines.

BBQ beef banh mi (spicy) at Pho Viet. Still great here. The Super 88 market itself is sadly shrunken, perhaps 10% stocked. A transfer of ownership cannot come soon enough.

Seafood & beef shabu-shabu with udon, plain beef broth, and kimchi broth at Shabu-Zen. An awful lot of fun for twenty bucks.

Clear salt ramen at Ken's Ramen. Sitting at the counter was a wise choice: it's really fun to watch Ken work. Later that evening, we watched my DVD of Tampopo.

Whole sea raven in ginger/scallion/soy sauce at Peach Farm.

An assortment of salumi (highlight: Calabrese-style soppressata) and Italian cheeses from Salumeria Italiana.

Gelati of lemon and coconut from Gelateria (good, but a bit of a swindle).

Amaretti (with and without pignoli) from the Modern. Weird to see eight or nine staffers behind the counter: they were clearly gearing up for Fisherman's Feast crowds.

Chocolate mousse and malted vanilla ice creams from Christina's.

Toddy-method iced coffee from 1369 Coffee House in Inman Square.

Vietnamese iced coffee from Xinh Xinh. This was such a huge hit that we next went to Eagle Kitchen Supply to buy Vietnamese steel coffee filters. We started our subsequent mornings with homemade Vietnamese iced coffees, though I suggested that daily Vietnamese iced coffees at college could account for her own personal Freshman 15.

A tour of Chinatown groceries to examine produce and other cooking basics, though the only supplies bought were a bag of bamboo chopsticks (her technique visibly improved throughout the week), Cafe du Monde, and cans of sweetened condensed milk.

Roasted bone marrow and pimientos de padron at Toro.

Chicken cemita, a variety of tacos (notably pollock, steak and chorizo), and agua frescas of watermelon and jamaica at Dorado.

Home cookout: grilled Neapolitan-style pizza margherita (works surprisingly well on a propane gas grill), elotes of local corn from our visit to the JP farmer's market (where we also found some amazing Vermont honey), and a caprese salad of tomatoes from my own garden and good mozzarella di buffala (also from Salumeria).

Frog's legs, crispy pork-belly crouton, olive oil poached chicken flatbread pizza, and tater tots at Garden at the Cellar.

Pre-Sox-game burgers at Audubon Circle; a Fenway Frank at Fenway. That new Kayem dog isn't Speed's, exactly, but it is miles better than the old one.

My only regret is that we didn't have time to tour Eastie: next trip for sure. Thanks one and all for the great suggestions!

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  1. Sounds like a great week of wonderful and varied chow! She certainly is adventurous, good for her.

    1. Wow in general.

      Sea Robin at PF, cool.

      6 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        How does that taste? I'd imagine not much meat, boney and puffed up. But I guess I'd be wrong, right?

        wanna adopt a nephew for your next crawl (though I'm probably older than you)?

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          Alright, I'm next in line to getting adopted as your niece (I'm probably older, too, but I don't care..)

          Sounds like she's both adventurous and lucky to have you as an uncle - your crawl sounds like it was incredible.

          1. re: threedogs

            A great kid, a joy to take around on this kind of adventure.

            I started working on her early, a trip to Upstairs at the Pudding when she was 11 or 12, where I convinced her to order quail. First sushi/sashimi experience last year at Douzo -- a good beginner's choice, I think, plenty of cooked dishes to start before the "accidental" you-just-ate-raw-fish moment. Next up: her younger brother, who is fairly timid about new foods, but so was I at his age, so there's always hope.


        2. re: StriperGuy

          Sea raven is kind of ugly, I'm guessing for camouflage against a stony sea bottom, but it's not extraordinarily bony. Its flesh is mild and delicious. Ours looked like the second photo on this page, mostly grayish: Its big toothy maw is the scariest thing about it.

          We were also tempted by the striped bass and a really beautiful black bass, but we wanted something a bit smaller, and the sea raven was just the right size; I've also had it at Peach Farm before and really enjoyed it.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            My daughter caught one fishing off Gloucester a couple of weeks ago. We dehooked it, admired it, and tossed it back. Guess maybe I should try cooking one up sometime.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I've caught and eaten them. They are delish, and not real boney.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Oh my yum. I am terribly, terribly jealous of this experience. I am in desperate need of more foodie friends.

              4 Replies
              1. re: globalgourmand

                Keep an eye toward the top of the board for Chowdowns (check out the posts on the Fuloon chowdown from this past weekend). I've never been, but they sound like a fun way to share lots of different dishes with like-minded hounds.

                1. re: bear

                  Globalgourmand was in fact at the Fuloon chowdown -- she sat at our table!

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    This is true! And you can probably guess, after having met me, that I have an insatiable appetite for food talk and dining experiences that offer tremendous variety. I'm still dying to do dim sum with any very experienced palates. Fuloon was a satisfying option, but, as I said, my gustatory and mental appetites are not easily quenched.

                    And then, to read this.... XLB, banchan, the dried fish, the banh mi, shabu in a kimchi broth, shio ramen, roast bone marrow... good god.... this is my language. I fester here in jealousy.

                    Barmy, did you think Fuloon was as hot as usual? I'm not sure if my tolerance has gone up or if they tuned it down for us, but I wasn't on fire.

                    1. re: globalgourmand

                      It's a two-part issue: none of the really fiery dishes were served at our tables, and even the most fiery dishes at Fuloon are more subtle than you find at places that specialize in amped-up heat.