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Post Your Three Favorite Things You ate in Boston in 2011

(Home cooking doesn't count).

Kaeng Hangleh from Thai North, succulent, slow braised very complex spicing pork belly. Might have made this list cause I just had it this week, but wow!

Portuguese Tart from Great Taste Bakery - Darned hooked on these.

Strip T's Eggplant Bahn Mi. So many dishes to love, but this one stands out for it's perfect creative twist on a classic, and heck, it's relatively healthy too.

In all fairness now that I have a family, been watching my budget a bit so no Menton or 8 course wine tastings at Troquet this year.

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  1. Spicy Bean Curd with Dan Dan Sauce @ Mary Chung. Can't get enough of that sauce! Great combo with the tofu.

    Pain Perdu @ Aquitaine Bis. I'm usually a chocolate dessert type, but I love this.

    The Cognac Burger @ Cognac Bistro. whoo!

    1 Reply
    1. re: CookieLee

      Plus one on the Tofu with Dan Dan Sauce at Mary Chung's. That is certainly one of my favorite dishes of the year

    2. I do not get out nearly as often as I would like but here are some standouts in my mind:

      Butternut Squash Risotto - Porter Cafe

      Chicken Saltimbocca - Carlos Cuccina

      Linguine with Littlenecks in a White Sauce - Massiminos

      .....and I am cheating but I need to add one more: the seared scallop appetizer served over celeriac mash with a balsamic fig reduction at Delfino's.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hto44

        hto44 - I had that risotto at Porter Cafe and it was totally subpar - very soupy and not like risotto at all - must have been there on a bad night :(

        1. re: sallyt

          That is disappointing! Was it recently because I know they have changed chefs within the past month and I wonder if that had something to do with it?

          1. re: hto44

            It was recently - it was on 12/13. That's interesting that they have changed chefs... A bummer!

      2. Limiting it to things I had for the first time this year:

        Sizzling eggplant with pork at Shanghai Gate (far and away the winner)
        Poutine at Saus (the first one I've had in Boston that tasted like a proper Canadian poutine)
        Hm...I'm reserving my third pick. Can't make up my mind.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          Lions head meatball at Shanghai Gate? (Your previous post about Shanghai Gate made me wish I had eaten one in 2011 but I plan to change that soon!)

          1. re: Berheenia

            Well, yeah, but I was trying to limit this to things I had for the first time in 2011, and I've been eating those bad boys since Shanghai Gate opened, so they don't count.

        2. Pasta at Coppa (no longer on the menu)
          Chocolate croissant at Canto 6
          Mushroom tagliatelle at Alta Strada

          Great thread!

          1. As cited in my annual Devil's Dining Awards, the Dish of the Year (tie):

            -- A simple soup of broth, crouton, poached egg, cheese, and white Alba truffles at Erbaluce

            -- Handmade burrata with shaved vegetable salad, pistachio vinaigrette, and aniseed tuile at Bondir

            -- Roasted apple salad with corned beef tongue, horseradish, and beet broth at Strip-T’s

            -- Crudo of striper collar at Coppa Enoteca.

            There was also this giant bucket of Bon Chon Chicken (both sauces) and mountain of Bud Light Lime and High Life ponies we polished off after a hot summer day spent helping a friend move: that was pretty special in its own way, too.


            1. Combo Banh Mi at Hong Cuc (Lowell)
              Spaetzle with ham, toasted hazelnuts, chanterelles, porcinis and comte at Foundry on Elm
              Truffle pizza at Gran Gusto


              1. Chicken with olives at Moroccan Hospitality

                BBQ ribs and brisket at Three Dogz

                Classical Rincon Limenio seafood plate, great fry!

                Seafood Bastilla, Moroccan Hospitality

                Everything I ate at Highland Kitchen

                1. Rawa Onion Dosa - Biryani Park
                  Khao Soi - Bangkok Blue
                  Lamb Tagine with Prune and Almond - Moroccan Hospitality

                  1. Penne Melanzane at City Girl Cafe
                    Mushroom Pizza at Posto
                    Beer battered brussels sprouts at Citizen Public

                    1. Tuna Tartare at Mistral
                      Carnitas Tacos at Taqueria Jalisco
                      Cheeseburger at Local 149

                      1. Goat biryani at biryani park.
                        Deviled eggs with shrimp and melon salsa at Russell House Tavern
                        ..... and I'm thinking on the third.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: yumyum

                          After thinking a little bit too much about this otherwise fun question, I've decided the cevapi from the St. Sava Serbian festival in September is my third favorite bite. Mark your calendars for September 2012 to get yourself some of these sublime snausages!

                          But because I'm indecisive, I'd also add some runners up:
                          - smoked prime rib from Magoun's after Howie got his new smoker
                          - flounder in spicy sauce at Jo Jo Taipei
                          - many MANY dishes from Erbaluce, too many to sift thru
                          - pork gyro from Esperia Grill
                          The list could go on and on. We're lucky lucky hounds!

                          1. re: yumyum

                            I gotta hit Erbaluce with you! Cause I've had hits and misses there...

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              So have I, to be honest. But thankfully many more hits than misses.

                              The pasta you eat at home is about 7000x better, for example. But some of his fishie dishes in 2011 made me SRSLY swoon.

                              Let's go!

                              1. re: yumyum

                                Yah Nonna recently made home made spinach lasagna to swoon for!

                            2. re: yumyum

                              I am assuming this pic is of the cevapi? If so, I must have one! That looks incredible. Do I really need to wait until fall for it?!?

                              1. re: scubahood10

                                That is indeed the cevapi, and you'll need to wait until the festival to get it there (along with roasted pig and other savory treats.) If anyone knows where to get cevapi in the meantime, I'd love to hear it.

                                1. re: yumyum

                                  Thanks for the update. And yes, can we please find a place that has it year round?

                                  1. re: scubahood10

                                    I forgot that Sabur in Teele has "Balkan sausage" on the menu; they serve it in pita with with yogurt sauce not ajvar but I assume would switch on request. I haven't eaten there in years and years but I *think* I liked the sausage when I had it.

                                  2. re: yumyum

                                    Globe wrote up a Balkan market in Everett a while ago; have yet to make it in. http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-31...

                                    1. re: Aromatherapy

                                      Great tip. I missed that article. Thanks AT.

                            3. Great thread!

                              Cornmeal Catfish at Hungry Mother
                              Fish Fillets and Chinese Cabbage with Spicy Chili Sauce at Golden Garden
                              Tea leaf salad at Yoma

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: babka eater

                                Beet ice cream at TW Food

                                Pig-Face Tacos at Craigie on Main

                                Foie Gras Poutine at Gargoyles

                                Aushak at The Helmand

                                Hot dog with spiced relish and mayo at Flo's

                                Oh dear...Do I have to stop at just 3?? Or 4??

                              2. Lobster Roe Pasta w/ Lobster, braised short Rib and Chanterelles; and the Biscuit- at Island Creek Oyster Bar

                                (Raw Tuna)Vitello Tonnato Sandwich at Neptune Oyster

                                Crispy Mantou Bread Croutons w/ Braised Pork and Sous Vide Eggs at East by Northeast

                                Tea Smoked Spareribs and Shiitake Omelet at Myers+ Chang
                                Mea culpa.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Tea smoked spare ribs @ M & C. Oh Yeah!!!!!!!!!! :)

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    that biscuit at ICOB is amazing. more like a dessert than a piece of bread to have with dinner, tho'...

                                  2. Foie gras at Journeyman

                                    Banh mi at Foundry on Elm

                                    Clam bake (lobster, steamers, clam chowder) at Captain Carlo's, Gloucester

                                    1. hamachi nigiri with banana peper mousse at O Ya
                                      Razor clam app at ICOB
                                      regular Shnurble with Sirachaba sauce at Fred's Franks (2 slices of chourico, 1 dog, all cooked in a Big Green Egg)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: justbeingpolite

                                        I looove those razor clams, lightly sauteed with evoo, garlic, lemon. Perfect. I recently learned that the chef briefly flash freezes the razor clams to tenderize them. Look for them to be on the ICOB menu only once or twice a month, around the time of full moons and new moons.

                                        Island Creek Oyster Bar
                                        500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                      2. didn't get out much this year due to financial issues as well as childcare...adopted child with multiple trauma and psychiatric issues...but I did go to Steve's Rendezvous Central Square several times on Monday Tapas night and everything I had there was fantastic. Especially all of the shellfish, the muhamarra (spelling it wrong), the merguez sausage and at the top, the bluefish cakes. Wish I had been able to try some of Ana's new mezze items at Oleana.

                                        1. And these are all items that I tried for the first time in 2011.

                                          1. In order of consumption..

                                            Chocolate Croissant from Bova Bakery
                                            Roasted Chicken from Eastern Standard
                                            French toast with carmelized apples ( minus the walnuts!) at Island Creek Oyster Bar Brunch

                                            1. Only two stand out for me, but I don't eat out very often. And it needs to stay around $10 dollars, so I am limited. I do cook a lot at home though. :)

                                              1. Bahn Mi sandwich, from the Bonme Truck.

                                              2. BBQ Beef with their version of pico de gallo at Tuda Na Brasa, Woburn. And I could eat there almost every day, if my budget allowed.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                The egg and eggplant sandwich from Clover Food Truck.

                                              2. Buddha Delight from Kathmandu Spice in Arlington

                                                Spicy miso ramen from Sapporo Ramen in Cambridge

                                                Olive oil chocolate cake with salted caramel from Area Four in Cambridge

                                                Sicilian pizza from Galleria Umberto in the North End

                                                Pastrami Sandwich from Inna's Kitchen in Newton

                                                You said five favorite things, right? ;-)

                                                1. Oooh, I'll play.
                                                  Pork gyro from Esperia Grill,
                                                  Haleem from Darbar,
                                                  B'stilla from Moroccan Hospitality
                                                  all for the first time this year.

                                                  1. Lobster Roe Noodles - ICOB
                                                    Spicy Pork Torta - Cutty's
                                                    Magaz Masala - Darbar

                                                    1. I see interesting trend, even though you're on a budget as are probably all of us, I don't see much mention of high end or trendy dining places for fav eats. Thankfully, the good stuff is affordable.

                                                      1. goat biryani at biryani park in malden
                                                        roast young pigeon at gaga seafood in chinatown
                                                        sai oua from a random thai booth at the water festival in lowell

                                                        3 Replies
                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                            the old pearl villa location on tyler street in chinatown

                                                          2. re: galangatron

                                                            For our mutual benefit, add it to the restaurant database.

                                                          3. It's a toughie to settle on three, but this is what comes to mind right now -

                                                            lamprais @ Biryani Park
                                                            black goat stew @ Westborough Korean Restaurant
                                                            crispy catfish green mango salad @ Pad Thai Cafe
                                                            caul-fat wrapped shad roe and fiddleheads @ Erbaluce (tied with one of the above)

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Nab

                                                              Pad Thai Cafe... go figure...

                                                              Shad Roe rules. The classic prep with bacon is mighty nice as well.

                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                Barlachong from Yoma which I would put on anything except maybe ice cream
                                                                Eggplant banh mi from StripTease - a wonderful rif on a wonderful classic
                                                                Eggplant and sizzling pork from Shanghai Gate - can't take it out (doesn't sustain itself on traveling) but in the restaurant it's darn near perfect.

                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                  heh. my favourite b-grade restaurant of 2011.

                                                              2. Pad Ga Pow pork at S&I Thai
                                                                beef kafta sandwich at Boston Kebab Company
                                                                Mixx yogurt assorted flavors

                                                                1. Fried Oyster Slider from ICOB
                                                                  Caramelo Taco from El Centro
                                                                  Alsatian Pizza from PICCO
                                                                  Lobster Roll from Belle Isle after an afternoon of fishing from Deer Island.

                                                                  I'm sure I'll want to edit this in about thirty seconds but those are the top three (er 4) right now

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      I got nothing but my brother pulled a 42 inch striper out of a large whole on the north facing (?) shore of the pennnisula on a fly rod.

                                                                    2. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                                                                      OMG, the Alsatian Pizza at PICCO is intense! So delicious...but I was literally only able to eat one slice because it's so rich! That said...I'd do it again... :)

                                                                    3. I think these are all this year:

                                                                      oxtail and poached egg salad at Strip T's
                                                                      Bolognese at Highland Kitchen
                                                                      and yumyum beat me to it, but the spicy Szechuan flounder at Formosa Taipei.

                                                                      Runners up would be the lamb gyro at Sofra and the buffalo Brussel sprouts at Highland Kitchen.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bear

                                                                        Yeah, geez...can I just do like a "pick any 3" from Highland Kitchen?

                                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                          Or from Sofra! Like the passion fruit bars...*drool*

                                                                      2. These are the three that have stuck in my mind.

                                                                        1) Morning bun with orange blossom glaze from Sofra (on the side w/a Turkish breakfast). I could just eat that glaze by the spoonful

                                                                        2) Pimento Cheese w/assorted pickles from Hungry Mother. Surprisingly this was the first time that I had pimento cheese and I am thankful for the introduction.

                                                                        3) Deep fried soft boiled egg taco w/mushrooms and cheese at Green Street. The crispy breading w/the creamy yolk and earthy mushrooms made this my favorite taco of the year.

                                                                        Honorable mentions: Cold seafood salad @ Rendezvous and Fried mussel app @ Oleana (which is funny because the worst dish of the year was had @ that same meal)

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: viperlush

                                                                          I remember having that Green Street taco now, too: it was a doozy!


                                                                        2. (1) Quintuple Chocolate Cheesecake at Asana at the Mandarin Oriental. I feel like I should go to confession after eating this dessert.
                                                                          (2) The Alaskan King Crab with spicy salt & pepper at East Ocean City.
                                                                          (3) The classic Boullaibaise at Bistro du Midi

                                                                          And my wife's favorite: Butterscotch Bread Pudding at Eastern Standard.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: RoyRon

                                                                            You might suggest to your wife that she try the chocolate bread pudding with butterscotch sauce at Foundry on Elm. I'm a bread pudding fan, too, and like the one at ESK, but the one at Foundry is even better. The (very good) chocolate was swirled into the bread pudding, which sat in a thick pool of butterscotch, all served warm and topped with homemade whipped cream.

                                                                            1. re: pollystyrene

                                                                              Many thanks for the suggestion. The Foundry has been on our list to try for quite awhile and now with this suggestion we will definitely go there.

                                                                          2. noodles in house spicy beef soup 麻辣牛肉面 @ red pepper in framingham

                                                                            Fish Filets & Napa Cabbage w.Spicy Chili Sauce @ sichuan gourmet, also framingham!!
                                                                            (go figure)

                                                                            pig trip platter @ B.T. smokehouse, sturbridge

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: hyde

                                                                              I had excluded BT as not in Boston environs, but otherwise, their killer beef brisket would have been on my list.

                                                                              1. re: gourmaniac

                                                                                fair enough.

                                                                                then i have to go with Pho viet's grilled pork bahn mi, i bet i ate 30 of these this year.

                                                                              2. Lobster bucatini at Rialto.
                                                                                Potato bacon and scallion pizza @ Otto.
                                                                                Oyster slider (and the biscuit) at Island Creek.

                                                                                1. * Hotpot at Little Q - mushrooms with Miso broth
                                                                                  * Every dish at Bondir - most notable - handmade burrata and shaved veg salad; roast chicken
                                                                                  * Wild mushroom ragout and polenta cakes at Highland Kitchen
                                                                                  * Razor clam app at Erbaluce

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Small Plates

                                                                                    Thanks for mentioning the mushroom ragout and polenta cakes - I always overlooked this regular entree on the HK menu, but your rec jarred me to trying it last night, and like everything else I've had there, it was real tasty - the polenta was so cheesy, made me think of "stuffed" french toast - mushrooms and kale were also very nice.

                                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                        Oh man, we MUST get over to HK to try this dish - it sounds right up my alley. Funny what happens once one moves to the 'burbs (Arlington).

                                                                                        BTW, WFNX played Mr. Bob Dobalina this am (which is the real reason I am posting). Of course, I thought of you! LOL!

                                                                                        1. re: digga

                                                                                          Ha, that's awesome...Del tha Funkee Homosapien...

                                                                                          Keeping it food related, this week at HK, they had a root veg risotto that just about blew my mind. Not actually arborio rice if one wanted to quibble, but the flavors were wow...

                                                                                    1. Tough, I am probably forgetting a couple but off the top of my head:

                                                                                      1.Escolar over peas and risotto at L'Espalier
                                                                                      2.Steamed Pork Bun Sandwich at Basho
                                                                                      3.White Chocolate Bread Pudding at Petit Robert Bistro

                                                                                      Honorable Mentions: Roasted Quail w/ mushrooms at Sorellina, Spicy Seafood Pad Thai at Similians Cambridge, Boston Uncommon Roll (sushi) at Sato 2 Stoneham.

                                                                                      1. I've eaten out a LOT this year. These are the three things I tried for the first time in 2011 that left me with that "OMG I didn't know something could taste this good" feeling...

                                                                                        Single piece of torched chu-toro nigiri with shaved truffles and chives at Oishii Boston
                                                                                        Hot and sour soup at Dumpling Cafe (so good with the enoki mushrooms and "bouncy" pork)
                                                                                        Half-rack of BBQ ribs from M&M Ribs (Big Moe's) food truck

                                                                                        Honorable mentions go to:

                                                                                        Steak tips at J.J. Foley's (almost beat out the ribs for a top 3 spot; still haven't been to New Bridge Cafe)
                                                                                        E.B.L.T. (Egg B.L.T. on croissant) at Russell House Tavern
                                                                                        Rocky nook oysters at ICOB (my favorite after Cape Neddick oysters)
                                                                                        Pollos a la brasa at El Chalan (dark meat and skin)
                                                                                        Twice-cooked pork at Gourmet Dumpling House
                                                                                        Sushi meal with a bunch of a la carte nigiri from Super Fusion in Allston
                                                                                        Tagliatelle bolognese at Sportello

                                                                                        1. Trout Spanakopita at Oleana. Surprising combination and just really well executed.

                                                                                          Speed Dog. Yes, I had somehow never made it over there until this year, can't beat eating a dog this tasty over your hood on a sunny day.

                                                                                          Sliced Fish Szechuan Style at Gourmet Dumpling House. OK, so I had had about twenty tasters of different whiskys and spirits before eating this, but this dish was still great when I took the leftovers out of my fridge. Just lucky the people right next to us were having this and let us try it, as this was before the buzz.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: nickls

                                                                                            Better late than never ...

                                                                                            Meridien Special, Meridien Food Market, East Boston. Holy heck, that's a sandwich!

                                                                                            Soft shell app special @ Highland Kitchen in May. To quote my post on this: "this was a perfectly battered (light coating), perfectly fried (greaseless, golden exterior), perfectly seasoned crab placed delicately atop a heaping pile of arugula, summer-ripe cherry tomato quarters, and topped with a creamy sauce that included a hint of garlic ... the crab was incredibly tender and succulent. It had been awhile since I had a soft-shell. That one was worth the wait." Heck yah!

                                                                                            Honk Kong Eatery's Wonton Noodle Soup with Roast Duck. Thanks ScubaSteve, your October 2010 food porn shot on CH moved me to visit in January. I was not disappointed!

                                                                                            All of the above come with apologies to Mare (squid ink pasta. Arrivederci old friend); Posto (Salumi 'za, mmmm); ICOB (lobster roe noodles, yummy!); everything at Fuloon; and last, but not least, pernil asado at Cafe Latino in Center Plaza. So damned good ... ok one more, the Greensway sammy at BBQSmith truck (smoked pork, Dijon, cheddar, gouda, onions, greens).

                                                                                            1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                                                              How could I forget the pernil at Cafe Latino? Goodbye deviled eggs from RHT (on my top 3 list) and hellloooooo pork! Absolutely. Hands down. ZOMG. Woah.

                                                                                              New to me and my arteries in 2011.

                                                                                          2. Lobster roll from Belle Isle.
                                                                                            Pizza from original Santarpio's.
                                                                                            Foot long from Simco's.

                                                                                            (I got to get out more...)

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. A scallop appetizer with roe @Erbaluce, and the rabbit main as well.
                                                                                              Lobster sandwich at that little lobster place in Cambridge, forgot the name.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                  It's in a small street near the Whole Foods market. I just can't remember the name right now.

                                                                                                  Fuzzy brain syndrom.

                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                    alive and kicking is located about a block from the river street whole foods in cambridge and does a good job on the lobster sandwich.

                                                                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                      Maybe that's it, then. Do they serve it between toast slices?

                                                                                                2. Three favorites in Boston 2011 would be:
                                                                                                  Beef carpaccio at Scampo
                                                                                                  My first soup dumplings at dumpling cafe
                                                                                                  Selection of meats, pate, mousse and cheeses at the Salty Pig

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Snowflake

                                                                                                    Yeah...the platters at The Salty Pig are incredible...

                                                                                                  2. I'm seconding that beef carpaccio at Scampo!
                                                                                                    Also, fish tacos at 51 Lincoln
                                                                                                    Lamb cumin at Golden Garden

                                                                                                    1. - Chili/chili cheese fries at Soulfire in Allston. Hands down the best chili Ive had in the area and the rest of the menu is killer too.

                                                                                                      - $1 burgers at The avenue in Allston. Special is every Monday, usually their burgers are around 3.50, an extra buck for fries/sweet potato tots and are the real deal. They have a killer beer selection too and the prices are much better than anywhere else in town.
                                                                                                      - The warrior burger at The Dudley Chateau in Wayland (hand made bleu cheese stuffed patty w/bleu cheese and bacon). This place is a little off the beaten path but worth the stop. I took a couple college friends with me on an 11,000 mile round trip around the country, and we made a point to try a burger nearly every day. This place reigned supreme from them all.

                                                                                                      Arepas at Orinoco in Brookline Village. Good, reasonably priced and a cocktail menu thats a little different.

                                                                                                      1. pigs head toast @ Strip T's
                                                                                                        chu toro sashimi @ Oishii Boston
                                                                                                        Crispy soft poached egg @ Russell House Tavern

                                                                                                        Couldn't pick one aspect, but the pig roast @ Citizen's Public House was a wonderful and memorable experience.

                                                                                                        1. Smoked Collard Greens soup at TW Food - So so good. This dish could make anyone eat their greens.

                                                                                                          Chickpea Fritter at Clover Cafe - I eat this once a week and it never gets old.

                                                                                                          Deep friend whole red snapper with chili and basil from Dok Bua

                                                                                                          Honorable Mentions:

                                                                                                          House smoked Mussels (sadly no longer offered) at Russel House Tavern

                                                                                                          A platter of oysters from Island Creek

                                                                                                          -Chengdu hot-dry chicken at New Shanghai (can be hit or miss though)

                                                                                                          1. Pimento sandwich from Clover
                                                                                                            Buffalo chicken livers from The Gallows
                                                                                                            Crispy Sweetbreads from Bergamot

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                              I was very disappointed to learn that the pimento sandwich is seasonal. After I learned to love pimento cheese at Hungry Mother I rushed over to Clover only to find out that it was no longer on the menu. Fingers crossed that it returns.

                                                                                                              1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                Pimiento cheese is super easy to make at home, though. I have a stock in the fridge right now, as a matter of fact.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                  Yup that is what I've been doing. But I've enjoyed everything else that I've gotten at Clover, was finally going to order something new (or me), and got there only to find that it was no longer on the menu.

                                                                                                            2. -Crispy poached egg at Russel House. There were two separate occasions where, after a bad day at the office, I parked myself at the bar and ordered two of these, one after another.

                                                                                                              -Short ribs with gnocci at Highland Kitchen

                                                                                                              -Burrata appetizer at Coppa

                                                                                                              1. Oysters with pomegranate molasses and mustard seed at Coppa
                                                                                                                Smoked eel with noodles at Gourmet Dumpling House
                                                                                                                BBQ seitan sandwich at Clover

                                                                                                                Favorite beverage: "Wilson" a stout brewed with pumpkin, ancho chile and cinnamon, served via cask at Cambridge Brewing Company

                                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Kinopio

                                                                                                                  kinopio, i have a deep love for the eel- Unagi- served broiled in Japanese restnts. This eel of yours- does it have a deep brown sweet Worcestershire type unagi sauce in w/ it and the noodles?thnx much.

                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                    It was more smokey than sweet. And the sauce was almost pitch black. I don't see it on their online menu, maybe it was a special.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Kinopio

                                                                                                                      well i don't know if i'll have any luck, but i'm going to try calling.thnx so much.

                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                        HI OC: I tried this dish last week and it's good but not great IMO. The eel is thin strips and not unagi. The sauce is a hot sweet sauce laden with peppers and onions. It is on the online as Taiwan style noodles with eel but i can't find it on their most recent printed menu. The now defunct Rainbow Cafe had an unagi and udon dish that was more like what you are describing.

                                                                                                                        1. re: gourmaniac

                                                                                                                          gmaniac, so considerate of you;thank you! that rainbow cafe must have been the place i had it long ago, after a CH (maybe you?) raved it alot, so i just had to try it...
                                                                                                                          i'm guessing you are an unagi fan? there is a really good unagi rice dish at Kantin
                                                                                                                          in the super88 food court- in a hot metal bowl. i think maybe jennondioline 1st alerted CHs to it. yummmm. Plse sir, may i have three more? :-}

                                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                            Thanks for the tip on kantin and I will try this. Yes, unagi is one of my favorite things and it was me who raved about the unagi on udon dish.

                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                              Oh, yum. I also love unagi. Thanks for the Kantin tip!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Kinopio

                                                                                                                      I had a pint or two of Wilson, but not on cask. That was good stuff, and I typically dislike pumpkin based beers.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jgg13


                                                                                                                        What was the favorite thing you drank in '11?

                                                                                                                        For me it was Firestone Walker Parabola in a bomber and Bear Republic Mach 10 on tap. And I have about 25 "runners up". 2011 was the best beer year I ever had!

                                                                                                                        1. re: scubahood10

                                                                                                                          I'm really terrible at these sorts of things because a) i have a crappy memory and b) my likes & dislikes tend to change frequently, particularly when involving beer/booze.

                                                                                                                          Probably not on flavor (it's not *that* much better than KBS) but if I count easy availability & cost I'd say the night that Green Street had pours of Founders CBS on tap for $5. I had quite a few that night :)

                                                                                                                          I think that this wasn't the best beer year for me in that thinking back on the more notable beers that I had for the first time (that I can remember offhand at least) that I wasn't as much a fan as the general public (e.g. Black Ops and 2011 Dark Lord, both of which I liked, but I didn't love). I cheated a bit as I have some in my beer cooler which I purchased in 2011 and probably would make the list, but haven't cracked yet - my pappy van winkle BCS is a prime suspect.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                            Mine was probably finding Cantillon Fou'Foune and classic Geuze in the most unlikely of places... A little wine and cheese shop in the burbs.Firestone Walker 14 anniversary was good on tap as well.

                                                                                                                            1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                              I did like that FW 14. IIRC I found it on tap at deep ellum & hobo and in bottles in a few places.

                                                                                                                              1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                                I didn't try the 14th Anniversary this year but a couple days ago I found the 15th Anniversary. Have you tried that and is it as good?

                                                                                                                              2. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                I still haven't tried the CBS or the KBS. If you ever see it on tap drop me a line! I don't get into the city to drink beers anymore and have found that between my local pub and stores I can get almost anything I want but I will make the trip for something a little more special. I actually wasn't really a fan (compared to the hype) of the regular breakfast stout so we will see.

                                                                                                                                I am also getting a little annoyed with some of these "rare" or hard to find beers that end up not being worth all the hoopla and can usually be topped by a more common, year round beer. I understand that some are the result of growing pains as small places explode or indgredient shortages but some just seem like power plays.

                                                                                                                                1. re: scubahood10

                                                                                                                                  The CBS was a special thing for the BA holiday pub crawl, I didn't know about it until I got there. They had previously had FBS on tap, I asked if that was still the case and he said "canadian breakfast stout" and I did a double take. I'd previously only had it at the Armsby Abbey founders brunch in 2010 (which probably won "best thing I ate" *and* "best thing I drank" awards for that year).

                                                                                                                                  I'm a big fan of FBS, but KBS is pretty different IMO. CBS is very close to KBS and not worth the extra hooplah to obtain it compared to KBS. Back before FBS also became a hot commodity that'd be my regular founders stout and I'd save my KBS for special times throughout the year.

                                                                                                                                  KBS pops up on tap now and then after it's released, I just watch on twitter and BA, although lately they tend to sell out before I can get there. It's not unlike how it used to be fairly easy to get a few 4-packs of KBS if you poked around for a few days and now it's all gone within hours.

                                                                                                                                  And yes, I agree on your last point - particularly where the true whales are concerned. The hype levels on a lot of beer have hit epic levels to the point that it's simply not worth the hassle even if they *are* good. We hit up Dark Lord Day '11 and while the event was amazing, I was a little underwhelmed by DL itself after all the hype about it.

                                                                                                                        2. It's hard to remember a whole year. Here's what came to mind, though. NOT in any order of preference:

                                                                                                                          1) Hot & Sour Wonton soup at Golden Garden. At first I was like... ewww. Then after a couple spoons I was like... yummm. And then I was like... give me more!
                                                                                                                          2) The mashed potatoes and greens on the side of the fried chicken plate at Highland Kitchen. Very simple items, to be sure. And the chicken (very good) is probably "harder" to get right than the sides. But, man, with the gravy? Holy cow, I wanted a bathtub full of those sides.
                                                                                                                          3) Some scotch and bourbon cocktail Will made me at Drink. I asked him I wouldn't mind a scotch drink, or a bourbon drink, whatever. He came back with this one, with both. Sorry, I can't remember the other ingredient(s), or its name. I was stunned.

                                                                                                                          Also honorable mention to: Chinatown, in general. It is hard to come up with one item, but it seems like whenever I try something new at New Shanghai, or Winsor, or Peach Farm, or Xinh Xinh or wherever, it's simply awesome.

                                                                                                                          348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                                                                                                          Golden Garden
                                                                                                                          63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                                                                                                          1. Beef Gan Guo at Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline -- Sliced beef with tofu pieces on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes and other vegetables (greens, lotus root). Heavy on the sichuan peppercorns and really tasty. I hope they keep it on the menu.

                                                                                                                            Rabe pizza from Dante in Brookline -- I'm a convert from Upper Crust. Great pizza.

                                                                                                                            Vegetarian 'chicken' banh mi from 163 Vietnamese Sandwich & Tea -- I don't know what this is made of, but it's addictive. They have other vegetarian options (in addition to the usual tofu)

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: nightsky

                                                                                                                              I've never seen gan guo beef (干锅牛肉) on the Framingham menu. If that's true it's good to see the Brookline kitchen distinguishing itself from the others. But that beef is pretty pricey. :-/

                                                                                                                              They also have something called Chinese mushrooms in hot sour sauce (酸辣木耳 or suan la wood ears) which I believe they may have brought us as a special shortly after they opened. If so, it's pretty awesome. The beef stew with bamboo, pork buns Chengdu style and Sichuan sausage all sound good.

                                                                                                                            2. Bon Mon 7 at Ahn Hong

                                                                                                                              Khao Soi at Thai North

                                                                                                                              Pla Dook Foo at Bangkok Blue

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: EATTV

                                                                                                                                Where is this "Thai North" everyone's talking about?

                                                                                                                                1. My list was of the best new things I ate in 2011:

                                                                                                                                  Chicken Schawarma at Falafel King

                                                                                                                                  Druken Noodle at Lime Leaf

                                                                                                                                  Schnurble at Fred's Franks

                                                                                                                                  With the addition of our second child (a much crazier baby than the first!!!) I didn't make it into the city or go high end too often in 2011. It was still a great year to delve into ethnic food which was pretty uncharted for me. I had a lot of inexpensive, tasty food that were in easily accessible location which was perfect. Can't wait to see what 2012 will bring!

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: scubahood10

                                                                                                                                    Spicy Miso Ramen at Sapporo in Porter Exchange
                                                                                                                                    Tie: Shrimp and Grits/Fried Chicken at Highland Kitchen
                                                                                                                                    Surprisingly enough: Avocado BLT at Black Horse Tavern in Winchester, fries were excellent too

                                                                                                                                    1. re: food_lubber

                                                                                                                                      I second the Highland Kitchen Shrimp & Grits

                                                                                                                                      1. re: meeps2002

                                                                                                                                        Since the first time that I tried that dish was on New Years Day, I'll have to keep those Shrimp Grits in mind when the question "What was the best thing that you ate in 2012?" pops up.

                                                                                                                                        I was not a fan of the mushrooms (my fondness for mushrooms is fading), but the greens kicked ass. Only problem w/our meal was it felt really rushed (in and out in about 30min). But we were the first seating on a holiday so...

                                                                                                                                  2. Crispy Fried Maine Clams @ Craigie on Main

                                                                                                                                    Razor Clam app @ ICOB

                                                                                                                                    Pig Ear Terrine @ Coppa

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: celestialmundane

                                                                                                                                      I have to add:
                                                                                                                                      Braised pork and veal meatballs with toasted orecchiette, maitakes and piave cheese @ Rendezvous

                                                                                                                                    2. I also did not get out much this year. The bank account has been appalling light :(
                                                                                                                                      But I did have a few memerable experences.
                                                                                                                                      1. Eurbulance - Salad made with a blanched sunflower head. Wasn't on the menu. Sent from Chef. I did not know you could eat that part of the sunflower. REVELATION!

                                                                                                                                      2. My sister got me chocolates from a shop in Southie can't remember the name now but, Dark Chocolate filled with lavender scented caramel (and maybe a hint of chili? ) topped with sea salt. TO DIE FOR YUMMM!!!

                                                                                                                                      3. Not new but EVERYTHING I have everytime I go to Meyers+ Chang! Always worth the visit!! :)

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Quinn823

                                                                                                                                        I wonder if the place in Southie is American Provisions? They have some pretty interesting and tasty stuff there.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: scubahood10

                                                                                                                                          Not sure I'll have to ask my SIS and get back to you on that. Also I'm definitely gonna check out American Provisions :)

                                                                                                                                      2. Braised Oxtail with celery hearts and clove @ Il Casale

                                                                                                                                        Fluke Ceviche@ Rendezvous (Monday night tapas)

                                                                                                                                        Chocolate Cream pie @ Veggie Galaxy Diner

                                                                                                                                        1. 1) Everything from Hungry Mother, but especially the oxtail marmalade.
                                                                                                                                          2) Lobster beingets at B&G.
                                                                                                                                          3) Steak tartar at Butcher Shop.

                                                                                                                                          Also love, love all of the dim sum from Winsor Dim Sum Cafe, yummy roast pork buns!!

                                                                                                                                          1. I've been reading this thread for a couple weeks and the best I can do is a veggie platter du jour at Qingdao. All my best bites weren't in Boston, and some old favorites shut down (Tacos Lupita, Gargoyles), got tiresome (Troquet) or disappointed (Clio). Maybe I can use this list for inspiration for 2012. Sigh. Grump.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: enhF94

                                                                                                                                              grump is a place of no fun. sorry. Since these are all single dishes here, maybe you'd have better luck trying some places that seem to get positive CH 'consensus'. Like Rendezvous or Island Creek. (Of course, I would add Oleana but there was one negative once i think!). And what about following Jason to Blue Inc?

                                                                                                                                              502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                              134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                              Island Creek Oyster Bar
                                                                                                                                              500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                                                                                                                            2. Tuna Flatbread @ Aragosta
                                                                                                                                              Chilled Canteloupe soup with Crab @ Bistro Du Midi (summer)
                                                                                                                                              Lobster Popover @ Towne

                                                                                                                                              1. 1. Baked Alaska at Oleana
                                                                                                                                                2. Fried Oysters at B & G
                                                                                                                                                3. Warm Lobster Roll at Neptune's

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: jinet12

                                                                                                                                                  This was a hard one; the problem with perennial favorites like Coppa, O Ya, Erbaluce, and Myers + Chang is my failure to branch out from the handful of dishes I've been obsessed with from the beginning.

                                                                                                                                                  Plus, the amnesia factor. And I can't narrow down to three.

                                                                                                                                                  Four favorite things I ate for the first time in 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Mustard-crusted bluefish with salsa verde and roasted radishes @ Area Four
                                                                                                                                                  • Scallop ceviche @ Tico
                                                                                                                                                  • Crispy duck salad @ Bergamot
                                                                                                                                                  • Chickpea-guanciale-avocado salad @ Butcher Shop

                                                                                                                                                  My apologies to any dish I overlooked. I'm positive there's something.

                                                                                                                                                2. Short Rib Gnocci - Grotto
                                                                                                                                                  Flour's Homemade poptarts
                                                                                                                                                  Cuchi Cuchi's banana bread dessert

                                                                                                                                                  1. Linguine and clams (white version) at the original Daily Catch.