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Looking for corn beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's day

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I don't eat the stuff (grandmother kinda ruined it for me), but husband really wants corned beef and cabbage this year. We both abhore the "scene" in Boston on St. Patrick's but wondered IFyou were to venture out for corned beef where would you go? North Shore destinations are also welcome. Thanks.

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  1. Here's the thread from last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771463

    I'd go to Olde Magoon's Saloon.

    1. This may not be what you want to hear, but your best bet is to just go to Whole Foods or the like, buy the smallest corned brisket they have, and just boil it down yourself. That's what we do every year, anyway: you couldn't pay me enough to go out on St. Patrick's.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        There's a very good reason that March 17 is also Evacuation Day in Boston.

        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          I got a tasty corned point-end from Johnny's for something like $1.30/lb a couple years ago. Last year I corned my own. I love DIY, but this wasn't worth the trouble, especially given that uncured brisket costs $4/lb.

          Anyway, I'd agree--this is a good meal to cook at home if you can simmer a pot on the stove for a few hours. With the 17th on a Saturday this year, you'll have all day available to boil your beef.

          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

            Agreed, 100%, on making your own. Not only will the atmosphere be better, you'll also have a much better-quality meal than what you'll get in a restaurant on that day. And perhaps you can even shake whatever damage grandma did? Personally, I find a properly cooked corn beef with a nice full-grain mustard to be an amazingly tasty meal...

          2. I'd pick up a corned beef from Trader Joe's and just make it at home. Paddy's Day = Amateur Hour.

            1. I had a magnificent version of corned beef and cabbage at The Gallows in the South End last year. The kind that made me say to myself, wow, I actually love this dish. It was tender, had the right red beefy color, juicy, fatty, with the right amount of salt... If I remember correctly, it came with a grain mustard sauce, some boiled carrots, potatoes, and cabbage, and the whole thing was just delicious.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Mike5966

                I thought the red corned beef was a result of the nitrates (saltpeter, aka bad stuff) that they used to preserve it, and keep it red in the cry-o-vac packaging? Can someone edjumakate me?

                1. re: okra

                  You are correct: corned beef without the chemicals is a decidedly unappealing grey color when cooked.

                  1. re: okra

                    I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that properly-prepared cured meats are "bad stuff." In the US, nitrates and nitrites regulated to under 200ppm, which is less than the concentration in many vegetables. While there may be added risk if the cured meats are cooked at high temperature, this is not the case with boiled corned beef.

                    I have no idea how mainstream the views in this article are, but they're supportable enough to be published in a peer-review journal: http://www.ajcn.org/content/90/1/1.full . The focus is mostly plant sources, but their take is that " it appears that the biologically plausible hypothesis of nitrite toxicity (eg, methemoglobinemia) has essentially transformed a plausible hypothesis into sacrosanct dogma, despite the lack of proof."

                    My take is that eating cured corned beef on St Patrick's Day annually will probably do less to hurt your health than the 3rd beer you drink that night. Eat a reuben, pepperoni, bologna, or most bacon, and you're eating meats cured the same way. Maybe you want to rethink your diet if you're eating cured meats on a nightly basis, but a once-annual meal is unlikely to put you in jeopardy.

                    1. re: emannths

                      I agree, it's probably not worth worrying about the health implications if you are eating it once a year. However, growing up we only ate the grey stuff. My father insisted that this was the proper corned beef to eat on St. Patrick's Day. It stuck with me and that's the kind I seek out every year. I associate the red stuff with deli meat. Maybe there is something to it since the grey only seems to appear in super markets around St. Pat's.

                2. Thank you for the suggestions. Olde Magoun looks promising. The cooking at home would normally be my choice but again my Nana cooked corn beef and cabbage frequently and I absolutely hate the stuff. Hate the smell of it and don't want it in my house! Yes, my Nana was a terrible cook.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kate used to be 50

                    How about making corned beef, and doing something else for cabbage, e.g. roasted brussels sprouts? No one says that you have to follow grandma's exact recipe or technique :-)

                  2. Go off hours, eat in dining room, not the bar

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: trufflehound

                      What are "off-hours" on a Saturday St Patrick's Day?

                    2. We love this occasion and go every year - however, we go at lunch to avoid the scrum of the green-beer drinking, $20-cover-paying crowd - and we go in Somerville or Cambridge. This year we are actually going on Friday lunch because we think Saturday will be nuts. The Plough and Stars on Mass Ave is a great option as is the Druid in Inman Square and The Burren in Davis Square. All three of these places have live music during the lunch. It is a fun and festive option to the St. Paddy's night hijinks.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Small Plates

                        How likely is one to actually get a seat for lunch at any of these places? I was thinking of taking a visiting friend to the Druid on St. Patty's, but it seems risky.

                        1. re: rebeccact

                          We get a seat every year. We go for lunch and get there no later than 11:45 p.m. If we are going back to work we are in and out as are many people. This year on a Saturday seems nuts, but I have been to the Druid many, many crowded lunches and evenings - a spot always opens up. And the atmosphere is fab - raucously chill - if that makes sense! :)

                          1. re: Small Plates

                            Thanks. Raucously chill- that is a wonderful way to describe the Druid. Maybe we'll go be pre-noon and see what it looks like. For an out of town friend who has never been to Boston, I feel like it would be a really awesome experience!

                      2. We just had corned beef and cabbage soup with turnips at the New England Soup Factory next to Brookline Hills T Stop on th D Line and it was so good- hearty and spicy with big hunks of corn beef.
                        Watched hordes of students wearing green getting on the T to go downtown.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Berheenia

                          It did have a bite and the owner told me there was mustard seed and toasted rye bread croutons in there. I love turnips and never see them on menus.

                        2. brothers deli in wakefield center has a "new england boiled dinner" on their menu very regularly(weekly? more?) really pretty good when your in the mood.