Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dillons—Plucked from the aether

Amongst the pantheon of pubs which exist in the greater Boston area (it is truly a vast amount), we decided to pluck one out of the aether at random. Dear faithful readers (hi mom and dad!), you will certainly have noticed by now our preference at excluding pubs from our review agenda. We generally assume that every pub in Boston is the same; in fact, we look down upon pub culture as rather uncultured. If you have never lived in Boston, then the novelty of the pub is worth visiting, but it really gets dull after repetitive visits. The menus don't change, the atmosphere and décor is the same from one to another and if you aren't a huge sports fan, then you are rather excluded.

All that being said and our snootiness aside, we were craving a good burger and fries, so we headed over to Dillons on Boylston Street. Dillon's is definitely catering for the early-to-mid thirties scene, thus it had a bit of class to it. It wasn't like putting lipstick on a pig, it was more like a new and classier hog. TVs twice the size of our living room. An eclectic menu that still included old favorites. Large comfortable lounging areas. A sleek ambiance. These were all the little twists that helped to define Dillons from its grungy neighbors down the block. We especially liked that Dillons made a conscience effort not to use beer advertisements and signs as its main modus of decoration. The beer list was the same as any other.

Perched on our tall chairs, one of the Palateers already knew what they wanted (CHEESE BURGER), and as soon as the other looked at the menu, their mind was made up (CHICKEN PANINI, emphasis intended). The waitress was nice, attentive and also eager to protect our table from an encroaching band of Ohioans.

The huge cheese burger hit the spot, comfort food in its best and brightest. The delectable ground round was done perfectly medium rare, served with delectable crunchy hot fries.

The chicken panini didn't live up to the description, but it was thoroughly eaten. None of the essential ingredients burst with flavor. It was ok, not memorable, thus our difficulty in giving specifics.

Amongst the plethora of pub choices, we would choose Dillon's over its counterparts any day.

955 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02115-3106
(617) 421-1818
Boston Restaurant Review

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cafe Orlin--Breakfast in the East Village

On one day of our brief New York City adventure, we decided to forgo the typical diner experience in favor of Cafe Orlin.
This was unique. Middle Eastern eggs: Labana cheese, Israeli salad and pita bread.
Just your plain old eggs, hash browns and toast. Simple and wonderfully effervescent.
This one was super delicious. The Tunisian Eggs ($9.50) , spicy peppers and onions, with two over easy eggs on top.

Cafe Orlin
41 St Marks Pl
New York, NY‎ -
(212) 777-1447
New York Restaurant Review

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bagelicious--Great Boston Bagel Hunt (NY addition)

Don't think for a second that the Palateers have forgotten the Amazing Great Boston Bagel Hunt. We have just expanded our horizons to Queens. You know, a suburb of Boston..... When bolt bus tickets are going for $1 one way, whats stopping one from going down south for brunch. That was our thinking at least.

New York City is renowned as the great Valhalla of Bageldom, and Queens, that loveable snuggable borough, is the very banquet seat where the bagel god feasts. We didn't have to walk far to find a good bagel place for breakfast; in fact, you step out your door in Forest Hills and you practically stub your toe on Bagelicious.

One Palateer ordered a pumpernickel bagel with lox spread cream cheese. This is not the type of bagel that Napoleon would have fed to his horse, Nicole. The best component of the bagel was the chunky lox pink cream cheese. Unlike other bagel spots, Bagelicious goes heavy on the lox.

The other Palateer ate an everything bagel with dill and caper cream cheese. The everything bagel was everything one could hope for and the cream cheese gave it all a nice kick.

Service was quick and in Russian. хорошо поесть!!!

6401 108th St, Flushing, NY
(718) 459-3596
New York Restaurant Review

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chilli Duck--Duckalicious

Sunken away on Boylston Street, right next to the fancy pants Apple store, is the delicious and tantalizing Chilli Duck. Thai cuisine is the specialty here. There must be something that draws Southeast Asian restaurant openers to this part of Boston because there are six other similar restaurants in the neighborhood (Island Hopper, Pho Basil, Pad Thai Cafe, Bangkok City Restaurant, Pan Thai Restaurant and Bangkok Blues). But none are as duckalicious as Chilli Duck.

The basement level restaurant had ducks as the theme. On the walls and on the chairs, over here and over there, ducks were everywhere. It was quaint. Surrounded in such an atmosphere, we felt we had to eat duck. A wise decision.

We ate the Chilli Duck (13.95), the restaurant's namesake. Crispy and sweet, this was a ducky done right. The skin was crunchy, topped with a healthy dollop of chilli sauce and peppers. We are reminiscing and mmm-ing at the thought of it. Only someone who was quacked would peck at his food in this environment.

Here Ducky Ducky Ducky
A close second was the mango curry chicken ($12.95). Smooth but spicy curry was intermingled with succulent chunks of mango. Both dishes came with very healthy portions of steamed vegetables.

Sounds so good, I think we must duck out to taste some more. Quack you later!

Chilli Duck Thai Cuisine
829 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116-2610
(617) 236-5208
Restaurant Review

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crazy Doughs—You'd be mad not to like it

You would be mad not enjoy Crazy Doughs. The strange thing about Crazy Dough's is why it hasn't won greater mass appeal. An impromptu survey of random strangers on the T, yielded a surprisingly small percentage of people who are aware of this gem. They won the Best Pizza award at the International Pizza expo in 2004 and 2007! Are the Palateers the only ones truly impressed by this feat? The Palateers had a fierce argument about the reasons why this pizza restaurant has not garnered success similar to Upper Crust. Maybe because of the multitude of small pizzerias or lack of marketing, we don't know.

What we do know is that they have some pretty darn good pizza and some really cheap beer. How cheap? Try $4 dollar pitchers of PBR (true its not the best, but you can't beat that bargain). Maybe the most memorable experience of eating at Crazy Doughs is staring at their voluminous, all ready cooked pizza selection. At any given time, they might have 20 different types of pizza ready to throw in the oven for your eating enjoyment. The hardest part is figuring out what to try. This is not a pizza shop that you settle just for cheese (though it is a good slice). What did the Palateers feast upon this time? Maybe the potato bacon cheddar, the Reuben, or Roasted Portobello and goat cheese....

4 Bucks, now that is crazy!
We got a large Tuscan Mediterranean (not to be confused with their Nutty Tuscan which won best pizza in 2004). The humungous fresh pie, with copious amounts of plum tomato, marinated artichoke heart, kalamata olive, feta, mozzarella, and fresh pesto, rivaled any pie we have had yet in Boston. We nearly ate the entire pie (all 314 square inches), but we didn't pull a Thelma and Louise and saved three pieces for breakfast.

On a secondary expedition the next day, we also tried the balsamic vinegar and mushroom (Wonderfully fancy pants) and the vegetable sicilian (Mama mia thats a thick a crust!). We ate both and felt happy.

Wonderfully Fancy Pants

Thick Slice Insanity
Do yourself a favor, grab a stranger, buy'em a slice and a pitcher of PBR and become friends.

Crazy Dough's Pizza Co
1124 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02215-3601
(617) 266-5656
Boston Restaurant Review

Monday, October 12, 2009

Four Burger--Want more burger

Skeptical and hesitant, we would pass Four Burger every so often and ruminate, “That new fast food joint will never survive.” A burger joint, really, hasn't this been done before, like a billion times served more. But don't fear, cause you won't find any big red shoe clowns here. This is a burger smack down, four times over. Prepared to get grilled!

Situated very visibly on Mass ave in Central square, with simple decor, four Burger has slimmed down the philosophy of burger restaurant into four neat categories: Beef, Black Bean, Turkey and Salmon. But that is where the simplicity ends. For once one determines, the true character of his appetite is when the complexity begins. We decided that our burger adventure will be in the flavor of Organic Vegan Black Bean ($7) and Turkey burger ($7). But first, what type of sauce do you want salsa and guacamole or mango BBQ sauce? Apple & cranberry or soy mayo? What type of cheese: Chedder, American, Gouda, Muenster, Gorgonzola? Don't even get us start about the bun, hun. Fortunately, the cashier could read in our eyes the right choices. When all was said and done, and our perfectly grilled burgers were delivered to our table by a smiling Burgerista in record time. We didn't bite off more than we could chew. Yes, every savory bite was better than the last. Usually turkey burgers are dry and unflavored, but theirs was an excellent carnivore substitute for the beef. The veggie burger was not your run of the mill Boca brand, but a artisanal delight.

What a Turkey...
Holy Guacamole!
What would a burger joint be without fries? Be warned though that the small is more than enough for two people. We had a lovely blend of regular and sweet potato fries (technically they were baked). We also had to splurge on a $5 chocolate milk shake. We recommend you do the same.

Despite the size of the feast, we didn't leave a single crumb or pickle behind.

Four Burgers
704 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 441-5444
Cambridge Restaurant Review

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Punjabi Dhaba--Pumpin' the Bollywood jams

The blaring bollywood music will either make you reminiscent of packed train cars, brightly colored saris and trash eating cows or it will give you a severe headache. Punjabi Dhaba makes sure the music is loud. From the shiny silver food trays to the packed sitting area to the chaotic line cooks shouting hindi, the vibe here is authenticity. Punjabi Dhaba is recreating the Indian experience in all of its masala tasting, fast paced yet unbearably slow, sick to your stomach but unstoppable appetite glory.

Fighting your way through the throngs of meandering customers is like pushing your way into an overflowing train car. You will be much better served just placing an order over the phone. If you successfully navigate your way to the front counter, you will be relieved not to match wits with a stubborn inept bureaucrat. Instead, you will be handed a ticket and told to wait for your order. Ahhh this is very familiar. You wait, wait, and wait, standing the entire time, fearful that if your number is called and you are not present, then they will simply throw away your dahl and rice. You watch as seemingly everyone who has come after you is served promptly. Love that efficient system....

Your number is finally called, and without a second thought, because the hunger is too great, you eat yourself into a bellyache. Nothing more familiar than Delhi belly.

One thing that can be said is that it is cheap! We had the vegetarian platter for two which contained dahl, rice, samosas, pakorahs, chickpeas, a vegetable mix, spinach and paneer, nan and papads. Whoazer, it was a lot! However, be mindful that for most other things, the price can get well over $10. If that is the case, then you might as well go to a place with a good Indian buffet, which typically runs $7.50 during lunch time.

With the bollywood music slowly grinding into our brains and our stomachs a bit too full, it was refreshing to waddle outside into the open clean air.

Punjabi Dhaba
225 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139-1306
(617) 547-8272
Open Daily 11am-11pm
Cambridge/Boston Restaurant Review

Monday, October 5, 2009

Green Street Grill: Waiting and waiting and waiting

The Green Street Grill in Central Square Cambridge is probably good; that is, if you aren’t hungry when you arrive. We came in famished. To the waitstaff, it should have been easy to realize that we were hungry. You know that point in the restaurant experience, after the hostess seats you and before the waitress introduces herself? Yea, we were all ready to order at that point and we did. We ordered scallops ($21) and swordfish tacos ($15), two dishes that may need a whopping ten minutes to prepare and cook. We can understand if the restaurant was packed (it was half full) or we were enjoying a martini or bottle of wine and wanted to pace ourselves (we weren’t); however, when two desperately hungry individuals come in, look at the menu for about three minutes and immediately order, you can be assured that they are there to eat.

It was 40 minutes when our food arrived, and this took two reminders to the waitstaff and many anxious looks towards the kitchen. We can't even tell you how it tasted because we devoured it as soon as it arrived. We can tell you that we wish the portions could have been larger - especially for the price.

The ambiance was pleasant enough, but watching other people who arrived after you eat dishes that come out in less than 15 minutes, is a bit distracting. Although we can't say we will never return, we won't make a huge effort.

Green Street Grill
280 Green St
Cambridge, MA 02139-3312
(617) 876-1655
Cambridge/Boston Restaurant Review

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Miracle of Science: The Physics of Feasting

Triangle Tables, a periodic table menu and pictures of Einstein, what kind of crazy establishment is this? It is no freak of nature; if anything, its a miracle...a Miracle of Science. This pointed triangle restaurant and bar sits at the apex of where MIT ends and Central Square begins. Beyond its anomalous geometrics, the universal forces of nature seem to collide with positive effects. Liquids, solids and aromatic gases simultaneously exist to create a net surplus of awesomeness.

The fermented malt and beer beverages were numerous, and the Palateers, after much imbibition, became mesmerized by the conversations of two molecular physicists sitting at the table across from us.

The pivotal solution for your hunger woes was the veggie burger. Upon tasting the first bite, a comfort food chain reaction shot through every molecule of our taste buds. The crisp patty, buried beneath a gooey melted piece of pepper jack cheese alighted the senses. One recommendation is to ask for extra spicy tomato relish. The burger will be like having an apple dropped onto your head. Instead of french fries, they provide a nice sized side of roasted potatoes, both a healthy and more delicious alternative.

Comfort Food Chain Reaction
Like matter converted to energy, you will experience a form of metamorphosis after this Miracle of Science.

Miracle of Science Bar & Grill
321 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139-4151
(617) 868-2866
Cambridge/Boston Restaurant Review