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Quick Updates Praise for Baza, Red Lentil

StriperGuy Dec 22, 2010 06:03 AM

Did some take out from GL last week. Must say, as a bit of a doubter when they first opened these guys consistently turn out some of the best vegetarian food I've ever eaten. And they were 80% full on a Tuesday night in Watertown... Yah, the food's good. I saw 4 GUYS who did not have strange piercings, ironic t-shirts, or odd hats sitting down to dinner, at a vegetarian restaurant. These guys would have fit in better at Donohue's. Did I mention the food is good? The Seitan filled crepe and the cauliflower mongolian (?) app are probably my two favorite dishes.

And if you've never been to Baza (it is a bit out of the way in Newton) it really is one of the top establishments in Boston to buy food including:

- Remarkable selection of reasonably priced jams that are amazing
- Best selctions of salami (mostly Eastern European) in Boston, period.
- Smoked fish
- Prepared foods, I got some chicken livers stewed with onions, also possibly the most interesting prepared foods to go section in greater Boston.
- Baked goods, I got an amazing cabbage turnover filled with savory goodness and some really top rate ruggalah.

I rate Baza up there with Russo's, Kam Man, H Mart, Penzey's, Arax, various Market Baskets, Formaggio, as just one of the all around excellent places to purchase food in greater Boston. Thanks I think to Prav for getting me to go in the first place. Definitely the best of the Russian markets here in Boston by a LONG shot.

30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

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  1. Nab RE: StriperGuy Dec 22, 2010 06:20 AM

    Stripes, how does it stack up against Red Lentil ?

    Red Lentil
    600 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nab
      StriperGuy RE: Nab Dec 22, 2010 06:29 AM

      I'm colorblind so red/green all the same to me.

      Whoops, meant Red Lentil.

      Red Lentil
      600 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

      1. re: Nab
        Bob Dobalina RE: Nab Dec 22, 2010 11:44 AM

        That cauliflower dish is outstanding. I have also had a grilled piece of tofu that was truly outstanding.

        I also feel like their Sunday brunch is a great alternative to the Deluxe Town Diner across the street. Why wait in line outside when you can have a perfectly delicious, albeit meatless breakfast right away?

        Deluxe Town Diner
        627 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

      2. Prav RE: StriperGuy Dec 22, 2010 06:22 AM

        Baza is great! We walk over there all the time from the office. So glad you finally made it over there Stripey.

        Other highlights of Baza:

        *Great selection of different ajvars (the Balkan roasted red pepper spread) in varying levels of spiciness and sweetness.

        *I've never seen so many varieties of kefir.

        *Tons of different varities of pelmeini (dumplings) too. I got some bear ones the other day - most badass lunch ever. "What'd you bring for lunch, Prav?" "Oh, just some bear."

        *Duck legs stewed with apples, in the hot food bar. When they're done right, they're sooo tender and good! And cheap!

        *All sorts of little Russian frozen treats, e.g., chocolate covered bars of cheesecake. Noms.

        And randomly, they have a guy who will make you sushi rolls too.

        30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

        12 Replies
        1. re: Prav
          StriperGuy RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 06:31 AM

          "We walk over there all the time from the office."

          Thanks for rubbing it in buddy. The only food walking distance from our Fresh Pond digs is a Burger King.

          Nevermind that getting to Baza from anywhere on my usual circuit is a 30 minute boondoggle when it ISN"T trafficky... sure rub it in.

          30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

          1. re: StriperGuy
            little.tiger RE: StriperGuy Dec 22, 2010 12:57 PM

            If that's the Burger King I'm thinking of, you can walk to Golden Garden from there. Beyond that, yeah, there's no chow within walking distance.

            Golden Garden
            63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

          2. re: Prav
            nsenada RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 06:53 AM

            Chocolate covered cheesecake bars - sign me up. Are they labeled in English?

            1. re: nsenada
              Prav RE: nsenada Dec 22, 2010 08:54 AM

              Some are, some aren't. They're wrapped in pretty eye-numbing graphics and colors that you'd probably be able to tell. Quite delicious though.

            2. re: Prav
              Luther RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 09:54 AM

              Russian ajvar = adjika

              Unrelatedly, does anyone know where to buy actual kefir? The 1000 varieties of "kefir" they sell at Bazaar are all just liquidy yogurt (i.e. made with yogurt bacteria, not a bacteria/yeast coculture).

              1. re: Luther
                Prav RE: Luther Dec 22, 2010 10:56 AM

                Re: Kefir

                Really? Did not know that. Now I'm curious, as I love the stuff (the liquidy yogurt stuff I thought was kefir).

                How does it taste compared to what I'm familiar with?

                1. re: Prav
                  Luther RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 01:29 PM

                  With yeast comes alcohol and bubbles... which you don't get with yogurt

                  1. re: Luther
                    galleygirl RE: Luther Jan 19, 2011 02:41 PM

                    Thy have little bottles of carbonated yoghurt at Arax....Might this be it?

                    1. re: galleygirl
                      Luther RE: galleygirl Jan 20, 2011 03:04 AM

                      Sounds promising... I'll check it out next time I'm there

                2. re: Luther
                  little.tiger RE: Luther Dec 22, 2010 01:02 PM

                  I've seen kefir at both TJs and WFs, but maybe that's not what you're looking for. Can you mooch some kefir grains off someone you know who makes it at home?

                3. re: Prav
                  Nab RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 09:57 AM

                  Oh geez, I'd be there for lunchington everyday.

                  Have you mowed your way through all the frozen varieties of pelmeni yet ? I'm working my way through the ones at Bazaar and still haven't found The One. Lots of good ones, but none that have set the pelmenometer right off. Pelmenometer. Say it. It's fun.

                  1. re: Nab
                    Prav RE: Nab Dec 22, 2010 11:02 AM

                    I've honestly not been able to tell drastic differences between the fillings. They're all just kind of...meaty. I have a box of lean turkey pelmeni in the freezer right now. Sometimes I'll fry up the leftovers and eat it with a tomato-y momo achar, 'cause that's how we do with my Kathmandu crew. TRUE!

                    Also, there are the crescent shaped ones (like gyoza sorta), and then the tortellini-style ones (ends folded back toward each other). I prefer the latter. My experience with the crescents is that the meat filling ends up being too thick, and turns out to be a mealy paste of meat...gross. The folded-back ones definitely have a better pasta:meat ratio in my opinion. And the amount of meat is perfect such that it comes out plump and with enough firmness that it doesn't feel like meat paste.

                    Damn, a Baza lunchington might be in order tomorrow. Those duck legs...when they're good, they're real good. OMNOMNOM.

                4. nsenada RE: StriperGuy Dec 22, 2010 06:52 AM

                  Was just at Baza last night at five minutes to closing - sadly they didn't have apricot and cheese "rullen" I think it's called. A really great breakfast treat. They did have sour cherry syrup, though, which I grabbed. I was awed by their selection of slab bacon and sausages.

                  30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: nsenada
                    StriperGuy RE: nsenada Dec 22, 2010 07:00 AM

                    I grabbed a 4 pound (yes 4#) jar of sour cherry jam there for $7 that was the best I've ever eaten. My Italian father in law, who knows from jam and makes his own agreed.

                    It is the Penguen brand, which unfortunately they only have in smaller jars now.

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      gourmaniac RE: StriperGuy Dec 22, 2010 08:44 AM

                      Thanks for the tip. I tried the Penguen brand apricot ja from Bazaar (Allston) and was very pleased with it.

                    2. re: nsenada
                      Prav RE: nsenada Dec 22, 2010 08:55 AM

                      Ha! We must been there around the same time.

                      1. re: Prav
                        teezeetoo RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 11:22 AM

                        they also have wonderful blintzes, an amazing variety of herrings, very good fresh bread, and a great selection of teas. it's just plain fun to shop there.

                        1. re: teezeetoo
                          Prav RE: teezeetoo Dec 22, 2010 11:45 AM

                          Yes! Those cherry blintzes are the bomb.

                          1. re: Prav
                            StriperGuy RE: Prav Dec 22, 2010 12:11 PM

                            I'm more of a cheese blintz man myself.

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