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30 Day Ethnic Food Challenge

EATTV May 30, 2011 02:02 PM

i'm planning to eat Greater Boston's best ethnic foods everyday for 30 days. Here's my starting list. It's only IMHO so please challenge me.

Tampopo
Oriental de Cuba
Bon Chon
S&I To Go
Taqueria Mexico
Taiwan Cafe
Garlic n'Lemons
phien's kitchen (laotian)

habesha (ethiopian)
tawakal (somali)

el jardin (colombian)

d'leomar (dominican)

indian dhaba (indo-chinese)
jnj turo turo filipino cuisine (filipino)

house of tibet kitchen (tibetan)

kathmandu spice (nepali)

jamaica's flavor (jamaican)

anh hong (vietnamese)

ba le banh mi (banh mi)

cafe mami (japanese

Q pot
Boston Kabob
YoMa!
Oishii (Chestnut Hill)
Floating Rock
Terra Brasilis
Galleria Umberto
Vinnie's at Night
Tangerino
India Quality
Rincon Limon
Santarpios
Pikaichi
Rami's
Azama
Penang
Szechuan Gourmet (Framingham)
Dong Khanh
Mi Pueblito
Taberna de haro
O'Cantinho
Family Restaurant

My plan is to save money and lose weight. You see where I'm going with this. Omissions? Substitutions? Suggestions please.

-----
Taqueria Mexico
24 Charles St, Waltham, MA 02453

Terra Brasilis Restaurant
1506 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02169

Dong Khanh
81 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

Tampopo
1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

India Quality Restaurant
484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

S&I To Go
168A Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

Mi Pueblito Restaurant
333 Border St, Boston, MA 02128

Pikaichi
1 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

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  1. j
    Jenny Ondioline May 30, 2011 02:12 PM

    Ain't nobody gonna lose weight eating at places like Galleria Umberto and Taqueria Mexico -- Exhibit A: me! -- but I applaud your initiative.

    If you're going to Azama Grill, might as well also swing by both Garlic N Lemons and Boston Kabob Company, both a little over a block away and both more than worth a stop.

    -----
    Taqueria Mexico
    24 Charles St, Waltham, MA 02453

    Azama Grill
    54 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

    9 Replies
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline
      EATTV May 30, 2011 02:24 PM

      Excellent choices. I am however trying to diversify and find the best examples of our ethnic offerings hubwise. Last August I sampled 24 cuisines in 24 hours in a 2.4 mile radius just 24 minutes from my friends house in Long Island. He paid so I saved money but I can't say if I lost or gained. Blood work would've freaked my physician out I'm sure. I'm counting on suggestions and heated debate to shape my list for this monthlong food challenge.

      1. re: EATTV
        itaunas May 31, 2011 06:01 AM

        Are you doing a blog or jornal article which you expect others to repeat parts of this on demand: eg are looking only for full time restaurants, or is it simply the challenge of eating ethnic food straight for 30 days? If the latter you might add some festivals into your routine, although the chow can be variable, but there are things offered you can't regularly get in restaurants. Does this mean you already did the NYC to Boston crawl up 95?

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7869...

        1. re: itaunas
          EATTV May 31, 2011 07:08 AM

          Itaunas

          The NYC to Boston food trip is finally happening this week after many postponements due to work demands and several natural disasters which really kill the appetite.
          However, the sun is shinning today.

          I do plan to blog the thirty day challenge but it is a personal digestable journey of inspiration for me. I learn something new about cooking and dining every day. I'm whittling down my list and determining all the logistics first like specialties and not to be missed extras. I want to learn about the condiments, what's on the table, utensils, pairings, desserts. If Festivals fit in the 30 day window that would be awesome but my intention is to focus on ethnic foods that are available all the time. If any were street foods that would be huge.

          1. re: EATTV
            itaunas May 31, 2011 07:24 AM

            There are some Asian street foods which show up occasionally at festivals, primarily in Lowell, but others around the area (Cambridge riverfest). For Portuguese street food you can get Sardines grilled over charcoal at some South Coast Festivals, but not usually at the social club feasts, and no charcoal roasted chestnuts unfortunately (the skewers of meat are good "social food" if not street food). At Brazilian festivals there is a bunch: churrasquinho (skewers), acarajé, pamonha, pastelão (fried empanada type pastry where the dough is said to be chinese inspired), boiled corn and even the x-tudo or hot dog are generally street food (the x-tudo lanches are often made out of a fixed location, but with seating in the middle of the road). A pastel and caldo de cana is a classic "on the go" snack. About the only thing you won't easily find is 'tapioca.'

            As far as the losing weight, I think that depends more on how you set up the tour and self-restraint, as opposed to the actual foods but I'll try to come up with some lighter but still good options. 3 square meals isn't going to lose you some weight, something more along the lines of a lighter breakfast, followed by a full lunch, and restrained dinner/snacking (good time for your street foods)... then saving calorie and $$ splurges for Sunday (eg only once a week) might be a better approach.

            Surpised that nobody mentioned it, but O'Cantinho is long gone. Given your lunching around Blackstone Valley I won't suggest a lot of Portuguese, but have a plate or two in mind at JJ's in Somerville.

            Glad to hear you are making the road trip and looking to hear about it!

            1. re: itaunas
              EATTV May 31, 2011 03:33 PM

              Wow as ever. Great stuff and now I'm starving for things I've never eaten. This challenge isn't a real diet or a budget but I'm guessing that I will be so wrapped up in the stories that I'll sample tons, learn loads, and break even on the weight. As for the budget...this will be invaluable.

              1. re: EATTV
                b
                bear May 31, 2011 06:33 PM

                If you just break even on the weight, I'll be really jealous. Can't "weight" to read your reports.

              2. re: itaunas
                h
                hckybg Jun 11, 2011 12:57 PM

                The Portuguese American Civic League does have grilled sardines at their annual Holy Ghost festival on Springfield Street, Cambridge/Somerville. I am not sure when it will be this year but it is usually held in early July.

                1. re: hckybg
                  threedogs Jun 13, 2011 05:21 PM

                  I had to check to see if I posted a note regarding this!! I love grilled sardines - had them like a million yrs ago (in other words - in my younger days) when I visited Portugal. Insanely good!!

                  I did a search & apparently the feast will be on July 8th (7pm-12 midnight), 9th (11am-4pm and 7pm-12 midnight) & 10th (10am- 12 midnight) this year.

                  1. re: threedogs
                    h
                    hckybg Jun 14, 2011 02:03 PM

                    Thanks for checking! Friday and Saturday nights are usually the best times to go, they have pretty much wound down by Sunday and have a fish soup lunch (which I believe is still open to all, though I think most are regulars). But on the weekend nights the street is closed and people are out and the kids are playing. The grill is fired up and there are lots of good choices to eat, from those sardines to good basic french fries. Lots of nice people too, I've learned most of what I know about the Azores from the people I've sat near in past years.

      2. Allstonian May 30, 2011 02:20 PM

        YoMa!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Allstonian
          EATTV May 30, 2011 02:31 PM

          Ok. Hello Rangoon. What should be had at YoMa?

          1. re: EATTV
            galangatron May 30, 2011 02:58 PM

            any of the salads. especially the laphetthot (tea leaf salad), jinnthot (ginger salad), and thayettheethot (green mango salad)

            1. re: EATTV
              t
              Taralli May 31, 2011 04:21 AM

              Coconut rice.

              1. re: EATTV
                b
                bear May 31, 2011 04:44 AM

                Mee Shay.

                1. re: EATTV
                  q
                  qianning Jun 3, 2011 02:41 PM

                  tohu salad,
                  mohinga,
                  mee shay.

              2. n
                nasilemak May 30, 2011 02:43 PM

                You gotta have a hot pot spot on your list - Q

                1. galangatron May 30, 2011 02:46 PM

                  phien's kitchen (laotian)
                  habesha (ethiopian)
                  tawakal (somali)
                  el jardin (colombian)
                  d'leomar (dominican)
                  indian dhaba (indo-chinese)
                  jnj turo turo filipino cuisine (filipino)
                  house of tibet kitchen (tibetan)
                  kathmandu spice (nepali)
                  jamaica's flavor (jamaican)
                  anh hong (vietnamese)
                  ba le banh mi (banh mi)
                  cafe mami (japanese)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: galangatron
                    EATTV May 30, 2011 02:56 PM

                    Now we're talking. I know some of these but this opens things up. I wonder if I could manage 3 squares a day for 30 days? Maybe if it were street food. I would need a driver.

                    Also, Filipino has illusive for me. What to order? Specialty of that house?

                    And, what does Somali entail?

                    Phien's is definite. I my have to make a pre challenge strike there.

                    1. re: EATTV
                      t
                      teezeetoo May 30, 2011 03:42 PM

                      Cafe Baraka perhaps? Istanbulu? Lala Rokh? It might take a year we're blessed with such a lovely range of choices. Sunrise cafe for vietnamese? Half of Allston/Brighton, East Boston and Dorchester? Hmmm...this makes for great planning.

                      -----
                      Baraka Cafe
                      80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                      Lala Rokh
                      97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

                      1. re: EATTV
                        t
                        Taralli May 31, 2011 04:32 AM

                        Filipino=lots of pork preps, which we love, but they also have chix & fish: http://jnjturoturo.com/menu.html. Habesha=lots of beef preps, cooked or raw-w/Ethiopian spiced butter), stews of various other meats and veggies, etc.: http://ethiopianhabesharestaurant.com/. I would also add Rosticeria/Taqueria Jalisco in Eastie: http://www.grubhub.com/boston/taqueri...

                        1. re: EATTV
                          galangatron May 31, 2011 09:37 PM

                          it's a turo turo ("point point" in tagalog) restaurant. they have a few different dishes available each day at a steam table. you can also order from a short list of items that are cooked to order

                          dinuguan (pork blood stew), kare kare (oxtails and beef tripe in peanut sauce), sisig (minced pork, pig ears, and pig liver on a sizzling plate), sinigang (sour soup with chopped pork ribs and water spinach), lechong kawali (fried pork belly with liver paste), and patatim (braised pork leg) are all good dishes

                      2. trufflehound May 30, 2011 05:02 PM

                        South Indian- Udupi in Shrewsbury ot Dosa Temple in Ashland

                        -----
                        Udupi
                        378 Maple Ave, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

                        Dosa Temple
                        59 Pond St, Ashland, MA 01721

                        1. opinionatedchef May 30, 2011 09:55 PM

                          eat, do you have car? if i tell you the best southern indian food in the region- is in nashua n.h.-would you go?or is that too far?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            EATTV May 31, 2011 03:51 AM

                            Much closer than the subcontinent.

                          2. Nab May 31, 2011 06:03 AM

                            Gosh I love a good "a-thon", or any other form of binging.

                            Darbar (Pakistani)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Nab
                              Nab May 31, 2011 06:37 AM

                              From the other side of Africa:

                              The African Cuisine (Nigerian/Ghanian & Jamaican)
                              Teranga (Senegalese)

                              -----
                              Teranga
                              1746 Washington Street, Boston, MA

                              The African Cuisine
                              1248 Hyde Park Ave, Boston, MA 02136

                            2. yumyum May 31, 2011 06:48 AM

                              If you're really striving to lose weight on this challenge, I'd stick to the Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese selections on your list. (You're not going to drop the LBs at Vinny's at Night, sadly.)

                              But if you want to eat the best in town, your list is a good start. The only thing I see missing is dimsum at Winsor. Again, not diet food, but so so good....

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: yumyum
                                EATTV May 31, 2011 07:18 AM

                                Winsor has been "OK" for me. Can you tell me their best dish and a runner up. I will try them again although I really miss the tall Tsing Tao with all the dim sum.

                                I need to force myself out of SE Asia. I eat it and cook it all the time. Vinny's is a soulful homestyle place but yes the carbs are a killer but the charm is a factor with all he antipasti on the sideboard.

                                All these enthusiastic suggestions are helping me dial these 30 delicious days in. I will ramp up the gym and cycling during the challenge.

                                1. re: EATTV
                                  yumyum May 31, 2011 07:37 AM

                                  My faves at Winsor have been the pan fried taro cake with XO sauce (best in Boston) and the crystal shrimp dumplings with chives. I am so with you on missing the Tsing Tao with the meal. I really like a beer with my dim sum. For that, go to the other "cart" places, but sacrifice the quality of food, IMO.

                                  I only mentioned Vinny's because I was there last week, ordered the chicken parm with home made mafalde, and ate off that dish for three full days. We managed to say "basta!" to the antipasti table and that was a blessing, because we were stuffed just with the mains. So if your intention is to lose weight (or are you just joshing?) then I'd steer clear of these kinds of places. Shame really.

                                  However, one place I would highly highly second on your list is Rincon Limeno, where you can get a mountain of fresh ceviche that will be kind to your palate AND your waistline.

                                  Add the charcoal chicken at Machu Picchu in Union Square (the grill place only, not the full restaurant) for delicious relatively healthy grub.

                                  -----
                                  Rincon Limeno
                                  409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

                                  Machu Picchu
                                  307 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                                  1. re: yumyum
                                    barleywino May 31, 2011 07:44 AM

                                    I have seen people with cold takeout beer from the package store on Beach st enjoying themselves at other establishments

                                    1. re: barleywino
                                      yumyum May 31, 2011 07:49 AM

                                      No idea, but BLR is definitely open to your package, if you know what I mean. For some reason it's never occurred to me to ask at Winsor but that's just cuz I'm lazy and sheepish. ;-)

                                      1. re: barleywino
                                        Allstonian May 31, 2011 08:09 AM

                                        BYOB is illegal in Boston, so it behooves you not to report where you've seen the law being violated.

                                    2. re: EATTV
                                      galangatron May 31, 2011 09:44 PM

                                      my two favorite dishes at winsor are the braised chicken feet in black bean sauce and zha leung cheung fun (fried dough wrapped in rice noodle)

                                  2. Alcachofa May 31, 2011 07:54 AM

                                    Meat pies from Thwaites (English)

                                    No need for both Tangerino and Family Restaurant. If you can swing lunch or early dinner, do Sultan's Kitchen instead.

                                    -----
                                    Sultan's Kitchen
                                    116 State St, Boston, MA 02109

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Alcachofa
                                      t
                                      Taralli May 31, 2011 08:11 AM

                                      Al, not sure why you're equating T & F. T is Moroccan, & F is Turkish(as is SK).

                                      1. re: Taralli
                                        Alcachofa May 31, 2011 04:49 PM

                                        Oh, right! I knew that.

                                    2. w
                                      Wannabfoode May 31, 2011 11:42 AM

                                      The helmand--afghan

                                      senhor ramos--portugese

                                      mama blanca's pupusas

                                      mi pueblito --el salvadorian

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Wannabfoode
                                        opinionatedchef May 31, 2011 11:54 AM

                                        wanna, would you tell more about mama blanaca's and senhor ramos and mi pueblito; they are all unfamiliar to me. Also, have you tried pupusas at Montecristo on East Broadway, Somville; and Casa Portugar in Inman Sq? thanks much.

                                        -----
                                        Montecristo Restaurant
                                        146 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                          w
                                          Wannabfoode Jun 3, 2011 12:48 PM

                                          Mama Blancas has 2 locations, one about a 10 minute walk outside of maverick, kind of a dingy little dive and hot in the summer, and another more convenient location a few steps from the orient heights stop. They have a beer license at this one as well. Pupusas are plump and tasty and made to order, so expect a wait. They have cheese, zucchini and ruevelta, my favorite (pork)

                                          Senhor ramos does wonderful things with pork and clam. bourdain stopped in there as part of his boston episode so you can probably find clips of that on line. Actually I think its technically azorean not portugese.

                                          Mi Pueblito is el salvadorian on border street in eastie. Its a bit bigger than MB's. We like to go for sunday brunch, even tho it does tend to be packed. They do nice egg dishes, decent pupusas (mama blancas are better) really good torta sandwiches and more. Wash it all down with a michelada.

                                          We also like El Paisa in Orient Heights for Colombian food. Huge portions, nicer atmosphere. A few more stops... Cafe Latino in gov center for pernil, New Shanghai for sichuan, any of the spots in fields corner for pho...

                                          I have not been to the other two restaurants you mentioned.

                                          -----
                                          Mi Pueblito Restaurant
                                          333 Border St, Boston, MA 02128

                                          1. re: Wannabfoode
                                            galangatron Jun 11, 2011 10:35 PM

                                            there is also a mama blanca on norwood street in everett but i don't know if they're related to the two in east boston

                                        2. re: Wannabfoode
                                          jgg13 May 31, 2011 02:58 PM

                                          i saw a report on yelp (and asked about it here, but no one knew) that senhor ramos aka snack bar is under new ownership/chef after the bourdain ep and has gone downhill. Don't know first hand.

                                          1. re: jgg13
                                            itaunas May 31, 2011 03:05 PM

                                            There have definately been some changes there, but some overlap with the counter staff so I couldn't confirm there have been overall changes. Eventually I'll be there at the right time to order food, but to be honest it might be easiest to just ask (if son/mother/father are still there they would certainly say so).

                                        3. f
                                          FoodDabbler May 31, 2011 04:26 PM

                                          While I applaud your initiative, I am confused by your constraints. What foods are you excluding as "non-ethnic"?

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: FoodDabbler
                                            EATTV May 31, 2011 05:06 PM

                                            Inclusive and omnivorous here. I'm going for our greater examples of distinct foreign cuisines. Edible stamp collecting. Since some cuisines will be new to me I am hoping for classic and authentic examples to set a baseline. Neighborhood places have appeal. I love street food and festivals but I'll try to go to places that are open all year. Even more complicated will be arranging thirty lunch dates to help try more dishes and keep company.

                                            1. re: EATTV
                                              s
                                              suzysue2 May 31, 2011 06:57 PM

                                              Singh's Roti Shop on Columbia Road In Dorchester is definitely worth checking out, roti bread is made to order and the curries are delicious. The bottled hot sauce that they sell is worth picking up as well.

                                              -----
                                              Singh's Roti Shop
                                              692 Columbia Rd Ste 1, Dorchester, MA 02125

                                              1. re: suzysue2
                                                Matt H Jun 1, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                Might want to hit Singh's for items other than Roti, which is pretty generic and can be found anywhere (not saying its not delicious though). Doubles, Palourie, Pelau and if they are running a weekend special Shark and Bake....that would give you a more unique view of Trinidadian cuisine.

                                                Also when you hit Jamaica's Flavor, I would personally recommend the Cow Foot Entree and the Cow Cod soup as an appetizer. Not for everyone, but a break from the usual Jamaican food monotony.

                                            2. re: FoodDabbler
                                              enhF94 Jun 15, 2011 05:31 PM

                                              This. I suspect the OP means "non-white."

                                              1. re: enhF94
                                                EATTV Jun 16, 2011 06:50 AM

                                                enhF94-
                                                I was going to eat Canada for lunch today but...oh snap.

                                                Seriously, in 30 plates in 30 days worldwide (here in greater Boston) some of the "neo-national" cuisines will definitely be representing. I'm thinking right after fire came China which eventually found the silk road to Italy where the Medicis married France who loved and hated everyone else.

                                                Alright. Enough. Day 8 is upon us. Just twenty two cuisines to go. I am having tons of fun here. The average check is $30 with tip. (Not saving). I am 1 lb heavier than at the start. (not healthier I'm sure). I am learning something new everyday and most importantly as a foodite I am seeing myself better and trying not to know too much. Open mind/open mouth. So many things to compare. Let's eat!

                                                Now how bout some suggestions please?
                                                Haven (Scottish) is on the list.
                                                German? Wirth's is long lived but kinda feh.
                                                Poland: Cafe Polonia
                                                French: (should be easy right? Very tough if you've had the real deal)
                                                Russian:
                                                Spanish: (?)
                                                Italian: Naturally but can I include Sicily?
                                                Is Greece back in the near east?
                                                Scandinavian?

                                                -----
                                                Cafe Polonia
                                                611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                                                 
                                                1. re: EATTV
                                                  Allstonian Jun 17, 2011 04:14 PM

                                                  PLEASE don't insult German food by eating at Jacob Wirth's. Unfortunately there's no good choice anywhere nearby - my favorite in the area is...DAMN! *was* the Old Munich in Topsham ME (just north of Brunswick.) In googling to dredge up the name again I find that they've closed.

                                                  There's always the Student Prince in Springfield - only middling-good, but still worlds closer to actual German food than Jacob Wirth's.

                                                  -----
                                                  Jacob Wirth Restaurant
                                                  31 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116

                                            3. g
                                              gourmaniac Jun 1, 2011 08:08 AM

                                              Impressive list so far and not much to add. Yely's Coffee shop and Alex's Chimis for Dominican (Chicharonnes) and I'm surprised no one has mentioned Angela's for Mexican as opposed to Tacqueria Mexico. If you're really going international, don;t leave out Europe. Haven for Scottish, Saus for Belgian Waffles, Cafe St Petersburg for Russian, Cafe Polonia for Polish.

                                              -----
                                              Cafe Polonia
                                              611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                                              Alex's Chimis
                                              358 Centre St, Boston, MA 02130

                                              Cafe St Petersburg
                                              57 Union St, Newton Center, MA 02459

                                              1. r
                                                RoyRon Jun 1, 2011 08:27 AM

                                                I would add Tephida Khmer in Lowell for Cambodian and Sushi Island in Wakefield for great Japanese

                                                1. EATTV Jun 10, 2011 12:24 PM

                                                  Lots of Food for thought here. Many thanks. So now let's eat.

                                                  So I'm undertaking this 30 day ethnic food challenge aiming to eat well, save money and lose weight. Originally I called it the 30 Day Ethnic Food Cleanse but cooler heads prevailed. The idea is that traditional foods can be more natural, affordable and delectable if chosen with a bit of thought and some local knowledge. Let's agree that for this purpose "Ethnic Eats" refers to cuisine stamp collecting. In other words the classic or interpreted foods of other countries. 30 distinct cuisines are not hard to collect in the greater Boston area but sorting out the gems and discovering the secrets spots before they are "outed" is key.

                                                  First stop (weighing in at 174). "Hello Rangoon!" If you have an imminent mission to Burma you might want to dip your culinary toes in first at YoMa in Allston, MA.

                                                  Burma (now Myanmar) is situated east of India and west of Thailand and has ingested the best parts of Indian, Southeast Asian and Chinese cooking. Burmese born Chef Sai Kyaw's kitchen is redolent of lemon grass, lime, ginger, cilantro and chili peppers. The neat and sedate dining room has a vaulted ceiling with panoramic scenes of Burma. Tofu Jaw, a chickpea flour tofu is found in many of the dishes and the level of spicy hotness across the menu varies from cooling to somewhat hot. Those wise in the way of lunch advise to start with some of the unique salads.

                                                  LaPhetThot (Tea Leaf Salad) included pickled tea with sesame seeds, peanuts, crispy peas and garlic, tomato, cabbage, canola oil, chili, lime and fresh garlic was welcome contrast of flavors and textures. The pickled tea leaves themselves a bit like grape leaves, proved so toothsome one craves a western portion. On a successive visit the JinnThot (Ginger Salad), the ThaYetThot (green Mango Salad) and MeeShay (Noodle with Pork Stew, mustard green and fried garlic) are equally welcome new tastes.

                                                  MoHinGa with mashed catfish and somen wheat noodles in a steamy cloud of lemongrass and ginger keeps the whole meal company in Burmese soup fashion. A happy companion to AThoSone (Assorted Noodles). Three types of steamed noodles both rice and egg varieties intertwine and are joined by the Tofu Jaw, cabbage, cucumber, onion, potato, peanut, garlic, cilantro, scallion and tangy tamarind. This dish was a bit spicy hot for one diner but for many the helix of perfectly steamed noodles with vegetables showered with dry chili would be hot, but not too hot.

                                                  Paired with Burmese Iced Tea topped with half & half this meal was a fresh and tranquil oasis with attentive service and a quick kitchen. Open for lunch and dinner but closed on Wednesdays, YoMa is located at 5 North Beacon Street in Allston, MA 02134. (617) 783 1372. YoMaBoston.com

                                                  The 30 Day Boston Ethnic Food Challenge continues next in Thailand, just down the street.

                                                  -----
                                                  YoMa Burmese Restaurant
                                                  5 N Beacon St, Allston, MA 02134

                                                   
                                                   
                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: EATTV
                                                    g
                                                    gourmaniac Jun 10, 2011 12:31 PM

                                                    excellent. I look forward to your daily entries. Good luck and good eating.

                                                    1. re: EATTV
                                                      t
                                                      teezeetoo Jun 10, 2011 02:39 PM

                                                      grand, yummy, evocative review, and makes me want to go right out and visit YoMA again (I love it but haven't been back in a while). keep 'em coming.

                                                    2. EATTV Jun 11, 2011 07:56 AM

                                                      (Saensuks and Irin) S&I To Go is the place to go to get arguably the best quality and most authentic Thai flavors according to many food lovers who have been to Thailand and miss that cooking. On Day 2 of my 30 day ethnic food challenge, a man in a white T shirt can be found taking the sun on the sidewalk outside. He wears a Thai amulet that affords the bearer luck or protection. Inside S&I a portrait of a former King of Thailand and offerings to spirits are more signs of the kind of practical magic that also happens behind the curtain in a narrow kitchen. Sweet, sour, salty and spicy hot flavors harmonize and great ingredients meet practiced technique at S&I. Cheerful Khun Nay greets everyone and deftly manages the six small tables as well as all that To Go.

                                                      The menu is extensive and the walls are covered with pictures of the dishes. There is also a Thai language menu and some specials written in Thai that Nay will help you decipher if it's not too busy. S&I has iridescent green Fanta soda which is hard to find and a sweet acquired taste for some. Recommended dishes include the Duck larb salad, hot and fragrant with lemongrass, lime and chili under a light snow of toasty rice powder. Sticky rice is the standard side and can be rolled into balls to soak up the salad juices. SumTam Thai/Puu, green papaya salad with the juices of tiny crabs and a touch of volatile pla raa fish paste is hot and sour with crunchy texture and funky satisfying goodness. "Extra ingredient, minced pork noodle soup" (koai teaw muu sub song krueng) transports the lucky diner to Thai bowling night. A big steamy broth that betrays coriander, anise, cinnamon and fish sauce swimming with rice noodles and many parts of the pig, meat balls, fish cake and more. The ubiquitous caddy of chilis at hand, usually including fish sauce green chilis, vinegar prik kee noo chilis, chili paste and dry chilis serves to personalize every bowl. With noodle soups chopsticks are used but you'll notice the Thai clientele eat with a table spoon and load the spoon using the fork with most dishes. Close your eyes and listen to the tonal language and kitchen sounds coming from the happy kitchen out back. One can easily imagine being in Bangkok which isn't a stretch on this scorching day near 100.

                                                      Moo Krob is the wickedly delicious deep fried pork belly cubes that along with chilis and basil become Pad Ga Pow Moo Krob served over jasmine rice. If you only have one dish, make it this one. If you have two then the Duck Choo Chee curry is coconut creamy and red chili curry hot in perfect proportion. For a sweet finish there's warm and ripe mango with sticky rice under a drizzle of coconut cream and check at the counter for Thai sweets (kanom) and roti sai mai which is a kit of delicate crepes and Thai cotton candy rolled up to provide a sweet and savory delight.

                                                      S&I is primarily To Go and has no liquor license. If you are picking up, the liquor store just down the street has both Thai Beer and Mekhong Whisky (a kind of rum best w/soda) and either pair nicely with real Thai Cuisine.

                                                      Still 172 and under budget. Next stop? Korea.

                                                      -----
                                                      S&I To Go
                                                      168A Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: EATTV
                                                        q
                                                        qianning Jun 11, 2011 08:23 AM

                                                        Marvelous, this is goiing to be a great month for arm chair travel!

                                                        1. re: EATTV
                                                          t
                                                          teezeetoo Jun 11, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                          I love S & I!! I love Moo Krob!! I'm getting a marvelous :"secondary food:" fallout from your review.

                                                          1. re: EATTV
                                                            b
                                                            bear Jun 11, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                            Keep em coming, Eat. These posts are awesome.

                                                            1. re: EATTV
                                                              galangatron Jun 11, 2011 10:36 PM

                                                              mmm moo krob

                                                              1. re: EATTV
                                                                Nab Jun 12, 2011 07:16 AM

                                                                I'm up 2 pounds since you started. This may not be good for me, but keep em coming !

                                                                1. re: EATTV
                                                                  threedogs Jun 13, 2011 05:30 PM

                                                                  Fantastic!! I don't know how you are going to lose weight doing this (I know I'd have to walk to each one in order to lose) - but keep writing. I'm going to have a whole list of places to try after this!!

                                                                2. EATTV Jun 12, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                  On day three of a 30 day ethnic food challenge the destination is Korea but the venue is a departure. Sometimes brands from other lands, like fast food from Asia are an ethnic sensation and a guilty pleasure for me. Such is the case with BonChon in Allston just down the road (Brighton Ave) from Burma and Thailand (Days 1 & 2). The item is BonChon Korean Fried Chicken. It's been said the stuff is Korean crack and it can be addictive. The twice fried at two different temperatures legs, wings and strips are coated in a crispy shell then dipped in either garlic or hot sauce. The sides with this are a garlic slaw and sweet pickled radish (dan moo ji). The crispy slightly funky moo is the perfect counterpoint to the lip smacking sugary spicy crackly Korean style fried chicken. The New York area has at least 4 such chicken chains (Kyochon, UFC, Debasaki, Mad for Chicken) but BonChon is by far the best. This Boston location is also a real restaurant with an extensive Sushi menu and some Korean favorites.
                                                                  The casual atmosphere is like that of a Korean Pocha or Japanese Izakaya, a drinking establishment that serves food. Among the deuces and 4 tops long tables of friends share dishes family style and take apart platters of the fried chicken and heaps of french fries with chopsticks. Rice cake skewers and corn butter (just like it sounds) are fun starters. Soups and noodles and tradition offerings like marinated Beef Bulgogi and Okdol Bibimbap (everything over rice w/optional egg. Opt.) are also available although BonChon is not the place for extensive traditional Korean fare.

                                                                  One other dish here that should be noted is actually Japanese which is geographically and culinarily close to Korea. Its name means "everything you like" or "favorites": grilled. Korean Panjean is similar but Osaka soul food known as "Okonomayaki" is a grated yam and flour pancake piled with grilled seafood and meat like squid, shrimps, bacon, cabbage and more then topped with a fruity savory okonomi yaki sauce, ample kewpie mayo and gilded with bonito flakes that appear to dance in the heat of the sumptuous disc.

                                                                  At night BonChon is slamming, the kitchen is getting clobbered and in the midst of the revelry great waiters like Eddy manage the whole thing like a fine tuned balancing act. Pair all this great drinking food with a great selection of tap beers, sake and best yet: Soju, the world's largest selling alcoholic spirit you've never heard of. This reviewer is told it goes down deceptively like water yet kicks like a Korean mule. Chef Jin who made his bones in the Jae Chung restaurants really gets it and is planning Bull Korean Barbecue for Harvard Square which will be well worth visiting.

                                                                  Morning at the gym then off to Vietnam in Dot. Comedite bibamus, gaudeamus cras enim diet.
                                                                  up 2 lbs/ over budget..and loving it

                                                                  -----
                                                                  BonChon
                                                                  123 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: EATTV
                                                                    t
                                                                    teezeetoo Jun 12, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                    if you tell me you lost weight eating bon chon chicken I'll so want to believe you. however, I'd have to suspend my brain in order to accept that.

                                                                    1. re: EATTV
                                                                      j
                                                                      Jenny Ondioline Jun 12, 2011 10:59 AM

                                                                      One clarification: okonomi sauce is not mayonnaisey. It's dark, thick and fruity, much more like HP Sauce, the national drink of England. The mayonnaisey stuff is...mayonnaise. Specifically Kewpie brand.

                                                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                                        EATTV Jun 12, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                        My bad. You are of course correct. The whole thing takes on a kewpie sort of slushlike aspect. I made this once twenty times and wasn't clear in the post. Mayo in the brain no doubt. My weight is up today but I also had Italian last night.

                                                                    2. e
                                                                      eiareis Jun 12, 2011 02:54 PM

                                                                      Cape Verdean food...delicious. There are a couple of places in Boston. Try the traditional cachupa (corn dish) if you can.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: eiareis
                                                                        EATTV Jun 12, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                                        Any specific places. I'm planning to widen my belt here...equatorially. But first I thought I'd celebrate the light monsoon and go from Korea to Vietnam.

                                                                        Day 4 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge starts on Dot Avenue. There among the many neon emblazed jewelry stores and bahn mi shops a man in front of a large Vietnamese grocer sells large spikey melons that give off the scent of bubble gum. These great green grenades are Jack fruit and just down the way on Adams Street Ånh H¬ông Restaurant will spin that fruit into divine smoothies with warm sweet black tapioca pearl. Inside families with lots of well behaved kids are all engaged with food. Noodle soups and rice paper wraps, hot pots and salads are some of the many things this tidy spot with spot on service offers. The illustrated menu begins with the 7 course beef or fish combinations for 2 people. Hot tea on a rainy day was much appreciated but Ånh Hông also has a great bottled beer selection including “33”, a fine Vietnamese lager.

                                                                        In tiếng Việt language ,Rau sống refers to herbs literally as “fragrant vegetables”. Vietnamese cuisine is all about herbal accents and Bún Bi Chả Gio, shredded roast pork, fried egg rolls and vermicelli exemplifies it with lettuce, carrots, apple, bean sprouts as well as mint basil, and “fish mint” or Diếp Cá which has a unique tart notes. Some find Diếp Cá fishy in a bad way however it can be an outstanding note. Combined in rice paper wraps with strongly flavored meats the dusky mint is aromatic, and much like cilantro but with an astringent back end.

                                                                        Vietnam was a province of its northern neighbor China for 1000 years, and both French colonialists and Indian traders sowed culinary seeds here. The Bò 7 Món translates as “seven courses of beef”, typically served at Vietnamese Wedding, here plated for two people. A small solid fuel stove comes to the table and the fun begins. At Ånh Hông it is the Magnificent 7 and here’s what it includes:

                                                                        1. Gỏi bò: a salad made with pickled carrot, pickled daikon, and celery salad with thin strips of raw beef round in nước mắm (fish sauce)
                                                                        2. Bò Nhúng đùm: Beef fondue with vinegar sauce
                                                                        3. Nhúng Bò: Raw slices of beef to be cooked in ample butter
                                                                        4. Bò nướng mỡ chài: grilled ground beef rolled in pork belly fat
                                                                        5. Bò lá lốt: Ground beef rolled in a Hawaiian Lot leaf (wild betelnut) (very similar to a grape leaf)
                                                                        6. Bò nướng hành: Strips of beef rolled around a piece of scallion
                                                                        7. Cháo Bò: Special Beef Broken Rice Congee

                                                                        I'm thinking all this beef turns out to be very light with the sweet char and herbal cooling notes and the portions are ample but not gross. Dipping in the Nước chấm sweet and sour sauce with julienne carrot and daikon threads and hints of pineapple makes fast delicious work of the feast. On the table Sriracha hot sauce, chili garlic sauce and hoisin sauce in bottles further accent the bright flavors with hot spicy and deep sweet notes. Famous local stomachs attest to the Phở noodle soups found here and there is reason alone to return to delve deeper into owner Tommy Thai’s menu.

                                                                        Day 4. (174) Time to expand... out of Asia.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Anh Hong
                                                                        291 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: EATTV
                                                                          t
                                                                          T.Clark Jun 12, 2011 06:08 PM

                                                                          Great endeavor. Makes 7 pizzas look like child's play. If I weighed in at 174 I'd be looking to gain weight!

                                                                          1. re: EATTV
                                                                            digga Jun 13, 2011 04:47 PM

                                                                            I am sad that you are leaving Asia but am looking forward to other lands! Reading these posts about SEAsian restaurants reminds me that we don't try new places enough (we have traveled and eaten in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam). Reminds us that we are lame and that there are gems out there!

                                                                            PS Don't be apologetic about eating at Bon Chon...I am Korean and I can say, Koreans love chains and take comfort in predictability and same-ness.

                                                                            Happy eating to you!

                                                                            1. re: digga
                                                                              EATTV Jun 13, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                                              감사합니다. 하루 6 일본이다.

                                                                        2. EATTV Jun 13, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                          Day 5 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge finds the belt widening…equatorially. There’s a fine light curry on the tradewinds all the way from Trinidad and on Columbia Road not far from Upham’s Corner, Singh’s Roti Shop is a fine lunch counter, grocery and outpost of Port of Spain or San Fernando. At Singh’s roti Shop the most popular street food of Trinidad & Tobago is being made 7 days a week. "Doubles" is a loose wrap made with two flat fried "breads", called "bara" filled with curried chick peas, commonly called channa. (Singh’s sells roasted channa w/a little dry chili in a bottle which area great snack.) The channa is topped with a your choice of a variety of spicy chutneys (mango, cucumber, coconut, tamarind) then ignited with a habanero pepper sauce. Hot & Spicy lovers attest to its power so you might want buy a bottle of that as well and bring it home to anoint your own. While you’re at it the tamarind sauce which is a sweet sour chutney touches off the “Doubles” or any of the Roti choices. Besides the channa dhal there is goat, chicken on the bone and chicken off the bone, pork, beef, shrimp, oxtail, fish, duck and vegetarian. Both the Chicken and Shrimp were perfectly stewed and curried with a light touch to let the other large flavors have room. These come with two sides like collards, rice & beans, potato, and spinach. The tumeric colored yellow roti are fresh and deftly handled. The whole package is a West Indian to go with the wrapper meant to be the utensil and at least originally, used with the right hand.

                                                                          In addition to all this lightly curried Roti-serrie, Singh’s offers Polourie, little fried ping pong sized balls of split pea flour served with a thin fruit chutney. A fine version of Jamaican beef patties are flakey, savory/spicy and unnaturally orange hued. Simple sugary sweet fried sticks of dough with a touch of spice are another treat among many desserts. Sorrel, Peanut Punch and Sea Moss are beverage choices along with super sweet Champagne Coke and very unusual homemade Guava Wine reminiscent of hard cider.

                                                                          Flags and other red and black souvenirs of Trindad & Tobago adorn Singh’s and are for sale as well as CDs and DVDs from that land. Peleaw, Crab & Dumpling, King Fish and Fried Chicken are some of the daily specials that beckon but they get you at the go with the Trini special occaision paratha roti, called “Buss Up Shut”. The Buss Up Shut is said to be best at Weddings but Singh’s tasty version proves man does not live by plain roti alone.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Singh's Roti Shop
                                                                          692 Columbia Rd Ste 1, Dorchester, MA 02125

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: EATTV
                                                                            yumyum Jun 13, 2011 11:23 AM

                                                                            Love Singh's. The Buss up Shut is fantastic, as are the doubles.

                                                                            You're on a roll. Keep em coming! Can't wait for you to go South of the Border... A mountain of ceviche at Rincon Limeno will help with that waistline.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Rincon Limeno
                                                                            409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

                                                                            1. re: EATTV
                                                                              Matt H Jun 13, 2011 11:46 AM

                                                                              You did Singh's so right! The Doubles and Pholourie are amazing. Really enjoying following you this month.

                                                                            2. f
                                                                              FoodDabbler Jun 14, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                              This is a great project. I'm thoroughly enjoying your reports. Although I'm not a huge fan of "ethnic" as a descriptor (hot dogs and hamburger are ethnic food to me, not pork vindaloo) it occurred to me that you're embarked on a version of Supersize Me -- I look forward to seeing you in the movies starring in Ethnisize Me.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                                EATTV Jun 14, 2011 05:13 PM

                                                                                In this continuing quest to eat the foods of other sovereign nations submitted for your amusement:
                                                                                Tampopo (タンポポ) means dandelion in Japanese and for many evokes the 1985 Juzo Itami ramen western movie chuck full of food fun. Day 6 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge is returns to Asia and Japan specifically in search of a different delicious dandelion at the Porter Exchange. The warren of Japanese businesses there, recently minus its anchor grocery (Kotobukiya), is a concentrated mix of mini Ginza and shopping mall. Bakeries, sushi bars, sit down restaurants and Ramen are all close neighbors with Tampopo which specializes in agemono (fried foods) and serves some spot on artfully sizzled tempura, udon noodle and crunchy cutlet katsu don rice bowls.

                                                                                Hot green tea, salad w/ginger dressing and simple miso happen in a blink. The minuscule kitchen for one and waitstaff of one manage well even when busy at this cash only trip to Cambridge’s little Tokyo. Across the way the Japanaise Bakery which bakes super enriched Shoku Pan white bread is also selling “pray for Japan red bracelets”. A sobering reminder of Japan’s recent unfortunes, a certain upcoming diaspora and the Japanese community abroad who will continue so many cultural traditions including foodways.

                                                                                Octopus doughnuts or Takoyaki are crisped dough balls with octo bits inside akin to New England clam cake fritters. Drizzled with a savory sweet dark tako yaki sauce and rice vinegary mayonnaise the octo balls have been masterfully fried with tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion inside. Next the Spicy Tempura of acorn squash, sweet potato, broccoli, green bean, zucchini, eggplant and carrot are not too spicy and splashed in the provided citrusy ponzu shoyu. The ethereally light crisp on this is the work of a master who knows when the heat is just right. All this happens for 5 tables and 4 stools in one great wok of oil.

                                                                                Katsu-Don with its choice of crispy panko bread crumbs or kara-age deep fried in light corn starch spanked chicken cutlet sat atop rice with the spicy (not so much) mayo sauce. A quick scan around reveals Japanese clientele enjoying comforting food. The Saboro Tofu Bowl with beef, fried tofu cubes and heavenly tartly sauced asian eggplant also arrives on rice that has been handled brilliantly. Tampopo gets it right and why not? They know the way to Carnegie hall and it passes right by our tastebuds. Mango mochi ice cream bites are a sweet finish to this escape.

                                                                                Day 7. Back to the new world.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Tampopo
                                                                                1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                              2. EATTV Jun 15, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                                                Day 7 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge relocates to El Salvador. During the civil war there in the 1980s a great migration of Pupusa makers and eaters came to the US and Boston. Among that community, Mi Pueblito sprung up on Border Street in Eastie. Inside, Centroamérica soccer games play on big flat screens and a digital latin jukebox with very good speakers provides the soundtrack in the social, bright and tidy space. Heavy wooden tables easily come together to make more space. Service is friendly and attentive. The hungry come here for the pupusas, thick handmade tortillas filled with very good things. Some have likened it to a sort’ve way south of the border grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                                First, a palate cleanser of marañón (cashew apple) juice are sweet and bright. The refreshing fruit reminds the tongue of mango and a shade of grapefruit.

                                                                                Mi Pueblita has been around for 21 years and current owner Ferdy is from Guatamala and has relatives in San Salvador. Two kinds of pupusas happen here. The first of Nixtamal, corn that’s been thru an alkaline process. The other pupusa in town is made from rice/arroz and the owner Ferdy explains that it hails from Olocuilta in the east of El Salvador. I chose revueltas (pork, beans, cheese) & soft white quesillo (cheese) with loroco buds. Kinda like large unpickled capers with stems attached these loroco vine flower buds taste like tiny aromatic artichokes with nutty notes to me. These are frozen and I'm told not quite the same as the fresh unique loroco flavor found in Central American cucinas. Ferdy attests that the Loroco can be bought at Market Basket. Along with one maiz and one arroz comes curtido (lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chilies and vinegar) and a watery tomato salsa. The thick and perfectly cooked pupusas are hot and rich revealing their contents in melting cheesy corny porky satistfaction. Dipping in the thin salsa and crunchy spiked slaw the green note of the loroco buds shine thru each bite of the toasty gooey pupusa which is very hard to eat without smiling.

                                                                                Travelers know that the process of brewing and making soda makes them safe to drink and local beers are ofttimes fresh with unique qualities. Such is the case with Suprema visiting us here all the way from San Salvador at Mi Pueblito's well stocked bar. A crisp pale golden lager this cerveza is served in a super chilled mug coaxing an icy head. The thin cold brew with some floral hints is industrial. Not bitter, cold and wet since 1967, Suprema is perfect pairing for pupusas.

                                                                                Desserts (posteres) were unusual and delectable ways to close out the ticket. Nuegados con chilate are sweetened fried yucca and cinnamon-spiked, syrup-steeped plantains with a hot mug of corn atole and sugarcane syrup on the side. The sticky ichor sweetens both the fried delights and masa corn porridge.

                                                                                However long your trip to Mi Pueblito is you will feel you’ve escaped to another place and a different pace where hospitality is alive and well. Buen Provecho!

                                                                                Mi Pueblito 333 Border St, East Boston, 617-569-3787 Hours 8am-11pm 7 days a week

                                                                                http://mipueblitorestaurantboston.com/

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Mi Pueblito Restaurant
                                                                                333 Border St, Boston, MA 02128

                                                                                Azama Grill
                                                                                54 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: EATTV
                                                                                  g
                                                                                  gourmaniac Jun 16, 2011 07:22 AM

                                                                                  Loving this thread! RE earlier question Cafe Polonia is a definite yes. Spanish here is mostly tapas (Taberna de Haro, Estragon, Toro, Dali) and they are good but won't replace memories of Madrid or Barcelona anytime soon. I think Russian is surprisingly weak given the strong Russian community here, but this about Stoly or St Petersburg Cafe. French has lots of places but see Spanish comment. In your price range, Pierrot, Petit Robert Central, Gaslight Brasserie Jo, but not passionate about any of them. Other European: Jasmine Bistro has Hungarian and Baluchistani food (two ethnic birds with one stone). Happy eating. I'm living vicariously through this thread.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Toro
                                                                                  1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                                                                  Cafe Polonia
                                                                                  611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                                                                                  Jasmine Bistro
                                                                                  412 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135

                                                                                  St Petersburg Cafe
                                                                                  57 Union St, Newton Center, MA 02459

                                                                                  Brasserie Jo
                                                                                  120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                  1. re: EATTV
                                                                                    n
                                                                                    nickls Jun 16, 2011 08:11 AM

                                                                                    Wow, great reports! This thread is really inspiring and will be a great reference. I hope to hit at least a couple of these places that I haven't been to before soon. Keep up the good work.

                                                                                    1. re: EATTV
                                                                                      w
                                                                                      Wannabfoode Jun 16, 2011 09:38 AM

                                                                                      glad to hear you checked out and enjoyed mi pueblita. It doesn't get enough chow love, so its great to see a long review!!

                                                                                      1. re: EATTV
                                                                                        t
                                                                                        tysonmcneely Jun 16, 2011 12:36 PM

                                                                                        To be fair, it does say ethnic food challenge, not international food Challenge. I doubt anyone would care if you left out established cuisines such as Italian and French (I would prefer it, more room for others.) I'm still down with Cafe Polonia, etc.

                                                                                        Also, I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to French or Italian food as "ethnic." Just some Food for thought. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?! WHAT A CLEVER PUN!)

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Cafe Polonia
                                                                                        611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                                                                                        1. re: tysonmcneely
                                                                                          EATTV Jun 16, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                                                          LOL (lunch out loud). To get an accurate sample of our tremendous edible diversity I will endeavor to include the best variety, quality and authenticity possible. That said all rules are meant to be broken. Red wine w/fish anyone?

                                                                                          Just 22 days left in my 30 day challenge veers off to the top of Africa. (Weight and budget aside, the sensory overload is really amazing)

                                                                                          Imagine yourself in Cairo on day 8 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge. Azama Grill in Allston has just what you need to get there, at least for a meal. The owners are third generation restaurateurs with 5 other Azama Grill locations in the greater El Giza area. North African natives are familiar with this fare whether they hail from Morocco, Turkey or anyplace between. Azama Grill is a great intersection to get closer around the table with the cuisine of a culture that is going thru so much change on the world stage.

                                                                                          Start perhaps with a cup of cardamom flavored tea, some crisp pita and not just any old foul (pronounced fool) mudammas. This foul mudammas / فول مدمّس, is a hot concoction of fava beans, onions, parsley, garlic, lemon, olive oil and spices. Spices that the Chef admits are brought directly from Egypt as some are not available here and others "just do not taste the same". The savory slow cooked beans are the traditional early meal since the time of the Pharaohs. Scooped up with crispy pita wedges the foul (fool) is filling.

                                                                                          In Azama's strictly halal kitchen, towers of layered Shawarma meats rotate in vertical braziers wearing hats of fat, providing constant basting. The perfectly char-smacked outside will be shaved all day and into the nights to make pita sandwiches that are filling and deliciously satisfying. Meat and spinach sambousak pies are golden and flaky. The cold case in front is full of skewered meats as well as Kafta Kabob. Kafta is lean ground beef and spices charbroiled and wrapped with salad, pickles and tahini sauce. Azama's chick pea falafel are dark fryolated half domes flecked with sesame seeds that yield easily to even plastic cutlery revealing green centers and fragrant aroma. All of the grilled fare at Azama can be made spicy hot with "shatta" the very special dark red tomatoey peppery sauce found everywhere in Egypt, it reminds the tongue of harissa reverberating with paprika, cumin, garlic and chilies. Azama Grill plans to add more traditional Egyptian specialties to their menu, like macaroni based Koshary/كشرى,topped with shatta, in the fall when the students return.

                                                                                          Desserts at Azama should not be missed including baklawa, cashew fingers, basbousa (shredded phyllo) and not excluding Bassma which is kunafie dough and pistachios baked with clarified butter and kissed with lemon juice and honey. Open late, Azama serves families, students, workers and cab drivers til 2am.

                                                                                          Azama Grill, 54 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 02134 617-779-0003

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                                                                                          Azama Grill
                                                                                          54 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                      2. b
                                                                                        bizkat Jun 15, 2011 09:33 PM

                                                                                        I would skip Santarpios. It's not worthy of your list. I used to be a fan. The worst thing is they just don't care and will argue with you if you complain. Better pizza elsewhere but I still like the lamb kabobs served at the bar.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: bizkat
                                                                                          EATTV Jun 17, 2011 03:35 PM

                                                                                          Skip Santarpios? Kinda think that Durgin Park style dismissive abuse is very old world. It's been hit or miss for years. Gotta agree about the kabobs, sausage and cherry peppers. We'll see. But first:

                                                                                          “Bigos”, is the hunter’s stew from Poland traditionally served on December 26th but available everyday at Café Polonia in Andrew Square. Day 9 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge finds the second day of Christmas early.

                                                                                          A photo of Chef Tadeusz Barcikowski & Son with charismatic Polish politician Lech Walesa, is proudly prominent. Homemade pickles sporting red gingham jar covers line an antique cupboard. On the table in this neat as a pin café is fresh light rye bread, butter and then (wait for it)… lard mixed with bacon. The whipped lard is almost granular like soft cookie mix and the bacon is mild, porcine and neither fatty nor crunchy like chucks of brown sugar in the dough.

                                                                                          8 Beers from Poland are available to quaff at Café Polonia and a wine list as well. Among those brews including amber, dark and porter styles, Zywiec is a golden hoppy lager with a slight malty nose. The super creamy and foamy head died away as if by magic in minutes and the cold but not too cold beer was slightly bitter sour yet very drinkable. The friendly waiter coached, ”na zdrowie” which means “cheers” in Polish.

                                                                                          Turns out a great way to dive in is the Polskie Pryzysmaki, the Polish plate. The Hunter’s stew bigos recognized as the national dish, includes at least 2 meats, kielbasy, prunes or plums, white cabbage and sauerkraut with flavors of caraway juniper, marjoram, bay leaf and the liberal use of peppercorns. The smoky aromatic choucrouterie is a bed for grilled Kielbasa served with spicy Polish mustard and is flanked by a trio of pierogi. The pierogi dumplings boiled and fried are stuffed with potato & cheese, cabbage-mushroom, and meat. Topped with caramelized onions they are defiantly light and cooked perfectly. Back across the bigos is a generous stuffed cabbage/gołąbki stuffed with rice, pork and spices. Floated on a sheen of mild sweet tomato sauce it is both wholesome and so home style it will not be denied.

                                                                                          Imagine yourself in your Polish Babcia/Grandma’s kitchen table with a taste of the Kaszanka, zasmazana z cebula, pan-fried blood sausage. The fried variety meat and buckwheat was earthy, savory and satisfying with little mineral note. Here again a crown of sweet golden caramelized onions sets off the dish like a fuse.

                                                                                          Café Polonia has some nice desserts and another restaurant (larger menu) in Salem, but as if that were not enough just across Dot Ave is their Baltic European Deli where all sorts of Polish provisions including bread, pastry, meats, frozen soups and beer can be yours to go. I felt cream puffs, sweet butter, black bread, plum butter, and currant juice were necessary. Dziękuję - thank you (Jen KOO yeh).

                                                                                          Keep those cards and letters coming. 21 days left. How am I doing?

                                                                                          Cafe Polonia
                                                                                          611 Dorchester Avenue
                                                                                          Boston, MA 02127-3509
                                                                                          (617) 269-0110
                                                                                          Public transit: Andrew Station
                                                                                          Open Weekdays 10am-9pm; Weekends 8am-10pm

                                                                                          http://www.cafepolonia.com/

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                                                                                          Cafe Polonia
                                                                                          611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                          1. re: EATTV
                                                                                            yumyum Jun 17, 2011 05:08 PM

                                                                                            Great report! I love the "pork butter" they serve on the tables with their soft squidgy bread. Basically lard with bacon mixed in, right?

                                                                                            1. re: yumyum
                                                                                              EATTV Jun 17, 2011 05:48 PM

                                                                                              Exactly but it was like a confection.

                                                                                              1. re: EATTV
                                                                                                t
                                                                                                teezeetoo Jun 17, 2011 06:01 PM

                                                                                                don't know about your waistline, but your writing is a food lover's softcore porn! Yum

                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo
                                                                                                  EATTV Jun 17, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                                                                  European food speaks louder to me in the fall. There's a lot of napping involved in the challenge right now.

                                                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo
                                                                                                    EATTV Jun 18, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                                                    Currently losing the battle of the bulge and budget. Up about 4 lbs and avg check per person is round $20.

                                                                                          2. t
                                                                                            taterjane Jun 17, 2011 08:50 PM

                                                                                            I am greatly enjoying this thread but maybe I missed something - how are you able to hit so many restaurants in varying locations every day? Do you have the month off from work?

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: taterjane
                                                                                              EATTV Jun 18, 2011 06:13 AM

                                                                                              I am a freelancer and lunch happens anyway but I have squeezed some in late in the day. Feeling like a big green salad this morning. 20 days left in the challenge. Any suggestions?

                                                                                              1. re: EATTV
                                                                                                itaunas Jun 18, 2011 06:38 AM

                                                                                                Keep in mind the traffic for lunch today, that may decide the where. If you want to go "ethnic" for salad, there is Haymarket today but traffic/parking will be exciting. For a quiet lunch and nice salad Gran Gusto is one Italian option, plus they offer fairly small pasta portions with white anchovies and other things which are a bit unusual. If you need the Gol channel and a soccer game with that Caffe Toscana in Medford might be an option for a salad although I think its better for coffee and apertifs (you will run into some folks speaking italian... and portuguese). That said if you are there and your stomach starts rumbling, there is Kabab corner around the corner.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Gran Gusto
                                                                                                90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                                                Caffe Toscana
                                                                                                4110 Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford, MA 02155

                                                                                                Haymarket
                                                                                                Blackstone St, Boston, MA

                                                                                                1. re: itaunas
                                                                                                  EATTV Jun 18, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                                  On a summerish morning with the smell of fresh laundry in the air, Iet's salute the Stanley Cuppers but don't forget baseball. On this tenth day of the 30 day ethnic food challenge it is only natural to make for Cuba which like baseball has been very good to me. The special at El Oriental de Cuba in JP is Pernil Asada; roast pork plus congris (black beans n' rice) & yucca.

                                                                                                  The owner Señor Nobel Garcia is sitting near the door with Red Sox legend El Tiante. Romeo et Julietas (SD) are on their table along with Cuban coffee, hot, strong, and super sweet. Behind the counter the Barista is laboring at a big machine with four heads under the watchful eyes of Santo Cristobal, patron Saint of Havana and evidently of Cuban cuisine because for decades someone has been watching over this place. After a firebomb stopped the kitchen in July 2005 El Oriental was back better than ever after a year and a half without Boston’s foremost Cuban cooking.

                                                                                                  Everyone in the tropical hued and photograph covered place seems from the neighborhood. Spanish speakers and illustrated urbanites alike leave the legendary Sox hurler to his privavcy and line up to be seated. Every table is full and the kitchen is humming. Tropical batido shakes include papaya, mango, guava, guanabana, tamarind, parcha, coconut, horchata, and trigo (puffed wheat). Thick and fruity the batido just makes it up the straw and tastes like your mouth went on an island vacation without you.

                                                                                                  Sweet fried plantains, Maduros are sticky candy while little cigar ham croquettes are crispy fried delights with moist meaty centers and a vehicle for the hot sauces at each table. Chicken empanada turnovers are flaky and mild offering another opportunity for something picante. If you haven’t had too much sugar so far, Materva is a unique herba mate soda that tastes like a cross between cream soda and sparkling tea with an aftertaste kinda like red bull, guarana, or cotton candy pairing well with the savory big flavors.

                                                                                                  El Oriental is perhaps most famous for its Cubano, the Cuban Sandwich containing roast pork, swiss cheese, ham, special marinade sauce and toppings. “Con todo”, with everything is recommended including lettuce, onions, tomato, dill pickle sliced lengthwise, mayo and/or mustard. The melty crispy-out and tender- in roast pork, fully dressed on Cuban bread (made w/manteca), is then pressed under “la plancha”( the sandwich iron) and out hot, toasted and condensed comes arguably one of the world’s top ten sandwiches.

                                                                                                  The daily special, Pernil Asada, yucca and congris is completely satisfying. The pernil is bitter orange roasted, the yucca soft and doused in garlicy mojo both served with a heap of congris. Black beans and rice, Congris, also known as Moros y Christanos (Moors and Christians) is salt pork, garlic, and cumin fragrant and tasty.

                                                                                                  To finish this little cultural embargo breach, iced Café Cubano is dark roast, creamy and cold sporting plenty of demerara mixed in up front in the brewing. Rich flan is the custard with caramel, vanilla and lemon flavors in a dessert than stands up to all El Oriental’s substantial Cuban fare where the neighborhood atmosphere that resists big brand change or expansion is waiting for each dinner to return as if to family Sunday dinner…in La Habana or Dade.

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                                                                                                  El Oriental De Cuba
                                                                                                  416 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                2. re: EATTV
                                                                                                  Nab Jun 18, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                                  Back to back Polish & Cuban less than a third of the way in was admirably aggressive. South Indian veggie-meal will set you right.

                                                                                                  1. re: Nab
                                                                                                    EATTV Jun 19, 2011 01:15 PM

                                                                                                    It just so happens that Greece is on the way from Cuba to South India.

                                                                                                    My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2002 : ” What do you mean, you don't eat no meat? [The entire room stops, in shock. We hear plates break and there are gasps.] ...That's okay. I make lamb”.

                                                                                                    At day 11 of the 30-day ethnic food challenge in the interest of austerity and this reviewer’s constitution, a salad from Greece is in order. The cuisine includes the ancient probiotic wisdom of yogurt which is also right on time but first some not so ancient Greek history and a few starters.

                                                                                                    The Greek Corner is apparently a hidden hub gem because a short poll of diners has been driving by since 1989 and never noticed it. A tip from Boston’s most educated palate steers me across the Aegean to North Cambridge where those Bores Brothers, George and Themis have been turning out Greek specialties and fast bites for 22 years. Accolades and TV Show production stills festoon this family style taverna. I do not care that that guy and the local tv have been here already, that's gonna come up. Greek and American flags hang along side scenics and souvenirs while each paper place mat is a ready to be stained map of the mainland and islands that are all Greek to me.

                                                                                                    Retsina (Ρετσίνα) is the love it or hate it resin tinged white or rosé wine of Greece. Somehow the “pine sol” notes make it unique and the sip is transportive. Some 2000 years ago pine resin sealed the wine vessels to keep them from turning infusing a little something. A glass of the 2009 golden yellow Kourtaki of the Savitiano varietal stands up well next to the garlicky dips to follow. More delicate and crisp than fuzzy memory recalled it paired well with this Grecian yearning.

                                                                                                    Greek Corner’s Sampler is the traditional pikilía platter with classic mezés (or small plates). Stepping up today are dolmiathakia (grapevine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables), tzatziki (yogurt with cucumber and garlic puree, used as a dip), taramosalta (fish roe mixed with boiled potatoes and moistened breadcrumbs), olive oil and lemon juice, spanikopita (spinach pie), hommus, tabouleh (visiting from Lebanon), feta, eggplant salad and olives plus a pile of newly minted pita bread. The grape leaves are perfectly seasoned, the yogurt cooling, the hummus thick and garlic strong, the feta tangy and lightly crumbly with the brined purple, plump and salty hand-picked olives.

                                                                                                    The main event here was the Horiatiki salad featuring no lettuce but unusually good tomatoes with cucumbers, red onions, green peppers, imported feta cheese and kalamata olives, topped with Greek olive oil, lemon juice and top shelf oregano. In Greek Horiatiki means “for the village” and corresponds to what we know as the Greek Salad but in classic form. Here it is a light, cool, fresh and restoring delight that feeds a crowd. The best part of oregano manifests as a scent cloud just about the whole deal, its dried intensity throwing aromatic and bitter notes nearly numbing the tongue while the fresh green elements, briney olives and sheep/goat cheese with selected tomatoes make something simple a complex pleasure.
                                                                                                    Grilled meats and gyros are top quality at Greek Corner as well and some minor testing for journalistic purposes can attest this Greek kababery is a cut above the rest round here. Both chicken and lamb were charcoal broiled juicy and tender with deep marinating and crusty salty exteriors at play. Loukániko (λουκάνικο) homemade charcoal grilled pork sausage flavored with orange peel, fennel seed, and various other dried herbs and seeds is for some a perfumed acquired taste. The chorizo like split links were hot off the live fire then extinguished with drops of fresh lemon juice hence devoured. There was also a small heaping plate of calamari. The squid itself and the quality of the fry were excellent with a dusting and light crisp yet yielding and flavorful. The long narrow rings and star-like tentacles raced from the oil to the table were it sizzled, was drizzled and disappeared before its narrow window of goodness faded. One wishes that grilled octopus were on the menu if the kitchen handles the calamari this well.

                                                                                                    Even though just a digestivo or aperitif were in order coffee and dessert happened. Greek coffee boiled from powdered roasted beans along with sugar leaves clouds in your coffee. The demitasse with silty dregs is typically taken with a water chaser as advised by the wait staff who are friendly and efficient. Galaktoboureko, custard baked between layers of phyllo, and then soaked with lemon-scented honey syrup is the big finish and does not dissapoint. This is not your typical day-before-yesterday’s-fresh-baked-goods. This pastry walks in daily and was light sweet and rich at once. The name derives from the Greek "gala"(γάλα), meaning milk, and from the Turkish "börek", meaning filled, thus meaning "filled with milk." So in the end we all just full.

                                                                                                    GREEK CORNER RESTAURANT 2366 MASS. AVENUE, CAMBRIDGE, MA Tel: (617) 661-5655 FAX: (617) 661-9955
                                                                                                    Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

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                                                                                                    Greek Corner Restaurant
                                                                                                    2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    1. re: EATTV
                                                                                                      EATTV Jun 20, 2011 06:59 PM

                                                                                                      Day 12 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge is a game day. Parking right in front after just one go round is an omen that India Quality in Kenmore is the right choice.

                                                                                                      Good sign number two was to be waited on by owner Parmjit Singh himself, who is one of the few original Kenmore faces left from before its modern era. A time back when all hell could break lose as the bars let out and residents could recognize the familiar sound of pedestrians being hit by cars. Gentrification and the encroaching University has changed the neighborhood dramatically but luckily not the Quality.

                                                                                                      Like India’s northern capitol, Delhi, India Quality is a hub of all the subcontinental cuisines. From northern Frontier very meaty oriented dishes to fish and southern vegetarian cooking, many consider India Quality the best in Boston. The completely stainless steel kitchen is a forge where the irreplaceable high heat melds with great ingredients and the alchemy of spices. The fiery tandoor oven is a kiln that bakes and roasts, tended here by expert cooks.

                                                                                                      Each tablecloth in the long mirrored dining room is embroidered with “India Quality” in sparkle thread. The three wise chutneys; tamarind, mint and hot onion are on the table with roasted toasted papadum, the lacey lentil wafers of which nobody can eat just एक (one). The crispy sweet, sour, cool and hot mouthful crackles and beckons for “something to drink”. Until recently IQ’s beer list included the vaunted and hard to find 10,000 Monk. The Monk will be missed but Taj Mahal or Flying Horse Royal Lager in their 22 oz. bottle are golden lagers with sweet malty flavors that counter spicy curries well. Cool, thin, a bit skunky and refreshing.

                                                                                                      A complimentary marinated salad is happily shared. Dahi Papri is a form of the Chaat family of Indian food snacks that should be taking America by storm anytime now. Chaat from the Hindi cāṭnā (to lick) is a savory snack of dahi, or yogurt; chopped onions and coriander; sev (small dried yellow salty noodles or crackers), and spiced with amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, Kala Namak (rock salt), coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, and on this occasion lots of red pepper. The whole shooting match has a slight sulfurous scent and offers a texturally complex mouthful of cool, spicy and aromatic effects.

                                                                                                      The Mixed Platter of clay oven roasted chicken tikka, samosa veggie pastries, Saag tikki potato spinach pies, vegetable Pakora fritters and chicken Pakora (fried in a crisp shell) covers the appetizer waterfront, particularly if that port is Mumbai. All of the above are perfect vehicles for the aforementioned trio o’ chutneys.

                                                                                                      Next up a duo of dal. Two kinds of lentils, dark and light, are stewed in this rich and creamy dish, Dal Makhani from Mr. Singh’s home in the Punjab. Flat bread Chapatis accompany and are the edible conduit to scoop the buttery slo-cooked comfort. You know that all these flavors and aromas are the stuff of memories and childhood, served with pride.

                                                                                                      A complimentary sautéed cabbage side dish heralds glowing red chicken tikka masala which someone at the table has ordered radioactively hot. The spicy hot yet deep tomato creamy boneless chicken in this instance is scooped with warm fragrant garlic Nan bread just plucked from the tandoor oven. In Hindi Masālēdāra means spicy. Use this knowledge carefully. The whole shooting match is served with carrot and cumin seed flecked basmati rice to share.

                                                                                                      Winding down with Masala Chai spiced tea and Gulab jamun (sweet milk dough balls soaked in honey syrup) is my traditional end to the visit at India Quality. The better than doughnut dessert is all about a little wading pool of fragrant sugar syrup, hints of cardamom and a touch of rosewater. On this occasion the confection is spot on. One is left with the feeling that they’ve just left a friend’s house or a favorite Uncle’s kitchen…if that happened to be in Lahore.

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                                                                                                      India Quality Restaurant
                                                                                                      484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      1. re: EATTV
                                                                                                        EATTV Jun 21, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                                                                        On the 13th day of the 30 day ethnic food challenge it’s back to Southeast Asia and Cambodian cuisine in particular at Elephant Walk in Waltham. For twenty years Longteine de Monteiro and daughter Nadsa Perry have been offering a mostly Cambodian and mostly French menu. In the 70’s Longteine became a Chef by necessity when the Kmer Rouge turned Kampuchea red and as the daughter of diplomats she escaped and made her fortune utilizing her social skills including knowledge of French and Cambodian cuisine. Today with Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten free choices Elephant Walk is a lot of things. On this visit the Elephant Walk location (one of three) is the erstwhile Carambola in Waltham.

                                                                                                        While Elephant Walk is a bit elevated, interpreted and woven in the French way there are separate sections for traditional Cambodian dishes. To begin Nataing is ground pork simmered in coconut milk with sliced garlic, peanuts and chilies served with crispy rice, a sort of savory rice krispy treat to scoop the coconutty curry Bolognese. All the dishes strike many senses at once and the presentation of S’gnao Mouan, Cambodian chicken soup with chicken breast, lime juice, lemongrass garnished with Asian basil and scallion and perfect red plum tomatoes is eye catching and table conversation stopping.

                                                                                                        Refreshing and light Nyoum Peng Pah salad featuring grilled pork tenderloin, Asian basil, mint, onion, crushed peanuts is dressed with spicy chili-lime tuk trey. the shallot, garlic, lime and fish sauce of Cambodia. A shower of peanuts and minty highlights driving slivers of pork make this dish a winner.

                                                                                                        Mee Siem , fine rice noodles sautéed in a sauce of garlic, salted soy beans, pickled shallot, Chinese chive, bean sprouts and bell pepper was cooked with roasted chicken and topped with shredded ribbons of omelet. This colorful dish turns out both light and complex. For one dish too many try Loc Lac, stir fried beef tenderloin blackened in pepper, garlic and sugar, served with rice and a lime black pepper dipping sauce. Red wine paired well with this menu that borrows from its French colonial connection. Baguetttes are complimentary at Elephant Walk and de rigueur although these are not the stuff that great franco-baking is about.

                                                                                                        For something sweet try T'paeh, the traditional dessert of Cambodian sweet fermented black rice garnished with fresh coconut, coconut cream, and fresh pineapple crushed in dark rum, sugar & lemon juice. Boozy, sweet and sticky satisfaction.

                                                                                                        To be real, like the many B-list wanna be chef paint by numbers absentee kitchens, EW, at least in Waltham is carrying on with affable servers and capable cooks. once again, things by which other things are compared…and a budget buster unfortunately laboring under a deficit of soul.

                                                                                                        Elephant Walk
                                                                                                        663 Main Street
                                                                                                        Waltham, MA 02451
                                                                                                        781-899-2244

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                                                                                                        Elephant Walk
                                                                                                        663 Main Street, Waltham, MA 02451

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1. re: EATTV
                                                                                                          g
                                                                                                          gourmaniac Jun 22, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                                          Hey EAT. I continue to enjoy this thread but I'm betting people aren't responding due to its intimidating length. If you're looking for more feedback, perhaps try a daily entry. if you're trying for a board length record, that's another story. RE Elephant Walk, It's nice enough but a bit fancified for my taste. Floating Rock or one of the Lowell places (that I have yet to try) would top my list for Cambodian.

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                                                                                                          Floating Rock
                                                                                                          485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

                                                                                                          Elephant Walk
                                                                                                          2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                                                          1. re: gourmaniac
                                                                                                            EATTV Jun 22, 2011 01:14 PM

                                                                                                            Thanks gourmaniac,

                                                                                                            I wound up at Elephant Walk due to extenuating circumstances. I had intended to stop at Laura for lunch but they were serving the buffet and I had hoped to sample the grilled octopus and bacalau. I may need to add days to recoup some stuff. I'll take your advice and post daily cause it's no fun eating alone.

                                                                                                            And now...for something completely different:

                                                                                                            1. re: EATTV
                                                                                                              g
                                                                                                              gourmaniac Jun 22, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                                                              By the way, I love what you're doing. Bravo.

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