This was the third installment of whats become an annual birthday present of a trip to Boston for the (very chowish) birthday boy and a friend (we do a little culture, shopping, etc. but hey, its really about the chow).
Started off Thursday evening with dinner at Zoes. Sweet and sour (and slightly spicy) lotus root salad was a hit. Moved on to chicken with sheet jelly (the jelly gets stuck in braces in weird ways, discussed and demonstrated in detail). Stir-fried potato and mildly hot green pepper with vinegar was the best version Ive tried and scored points for novelty. Duck with funny (Sichuan) peppers was well received and the dry-fried beef in its platter of whole dried chilis was a huge hit, but the biggest success was the innocuously named family-style chickendiced stir-fried chicken flavored with star anise, cassia, and lots of Sichuan peppercorns, which permeated the ginger slices and delivered the biggest numbing jolt imaginable. We couldnt stop nibbling. Packed up the leftovers for a midnight snack, then a long stroll to Christinas for ice cream (the peach was superb). (Theyd have been happy enough if wed stopped there, but no, we have to go over the top )
Friday we split a beef empanada at La Mammas, just for a taste (will be back), and had lunch at Madina Market. The zalfarezi (tandori chicken in a lively tomato sauce with green chili) slightly edged out the chappali kebabs and haleem as a favorite, but nothing was left (garlic nan was great for grabbing every last bit). Mango lassis to go, for dessert. A cannoli in the North End (at the Sport) kept them alive until dinner at Tacos Lupita, which Id never managed to make it to. OK, I get it. The menu has a nice mix of the familiar and the more adventurous. The torta al pastor was as good as everybody says. They had a burrito and a huarache, sort of a soft tostada. More ice cream at Toscanninis.
We ended with lunch at Tamarind Bay, which offered 2 set plates, vegetarian and non. The non-veg plate had 2 pieces of tandoori chicken, and more chicken in a spicy, unusually flavored tomato sauce (I snagged only a little but I tasted curry leaf). The veg had a small tangle of light, perfectly fried onion pakora and a main of cauliflower and potato. Both had a side of creamy fresh corn, delicious minted rice with peas and carrots (yeah probably frozen, fine with me), and a little bowl of zippy dal. Noodle pudding for dessert. Kinda starchy for the vegetarian option, but all the dishes were distinctly and differently flavored. They loved it, and it put me on the bandwagon. I thought that for a please-everybody plate, they did an excellent job. Nothing was very spicy, but youd expect that. (Is it possible to order from the menu at lunch? I had the impression that its not, but didnt check.)
We stopped at Sainis for a sack of samosas for later, and took off. Next year .