Was fortunate to try a few spots I have been meaning to visit this weekend.
Friday night, ducked into a very crowded Matt Murphy's for a bite to eat. After a short wait at the bar, we sat down at one of the window tables. The service was good all night. The bartender/host managed the room quite well.
It was late, so we went straight for the entrees. One friend ordered the baked beans and sausage; another ordered the pork sandwich, and I ordered the duck. The sandwich was delicious; big pieces of pork with a savory bbq sauce. And the bread was not sliced too thick. The only issue was the fries - they weren't crispy enough. I've read other people saying the same thing; maybe it is the only weakness of this restaurant. I didn't try the baked beans, but she enjoyed them. The duck was good, but not great. The skin was crispy, but the meat was a little dry. But I still would have liked it a lot if there was a little more sauce with it. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I would have like a little more...does anyone know what the sauce is? I didn't save any for the leftovers, but I took the rest of the duck home and enjoyed it even more. Next time I will try the fish sandwich.
The next morning I headed to the New Deal Fish Market, right around 10:00, so I could get my choice of fresh fish. Thank you to whomever recommended this place. I ended up spending about an hour in there and left with four different kinds of fish. The father and son team were helpful in choosing the fish, and they taught me quite a bit about fish (e.g. how to tell the difference between farm and wild salmon based on their bodies). The only other customers that came in were buying fish for sashimi, so I felt confident I was in the right place for high quality fish. I ended up buying a black sea bass and having him prepare it for sashimi (which I then ate for lunch). Great recommendation. Then, I bought scallops and kingfish for ceviche...while my knife skills with raw fish are lacking, both were so fresh that I had trouble screwing them up. Originally I went to buy a whole red snapper for dinner (I encrusted the whole thing in salt...fun experiment in the kitchen), but I ended up being tempted by all of the fresh stuff. Overall, I will probably go back just to buy the fresh fish for sashimi lunches. The son, especially, is great about explaining exactly where the fish is from and recommending fish for whatever your need. Prices are better than Whole Foods; fish is much higher quality (or at least more consistent).
While I was on that side of the river, I decided to find Saini Sweet Shop and taste the samosas. After wandering around Somerville and getting lost a couple times with the A/C blasting (to keep the fish cold)...I arrived at Saini's. I had called ahead and he remembered me. I asked for some samosas...he disappeared for about 15 minutes as I twiddled my thumbs (I thought he forgot about me). Eventually, he came back with 6 oily, delicious samosas...which I think he warmed in the oven. Also, before I left, I tasted one of the desserts - I think he called it chum-chum. It was a milk and cheese ball soaked in a honey broth. The outside of the ball was better...the inside was more solid and hadn't absorbed as much of the sweetness. The samosas are worth talking about - I liked how the outside was very crispy and the inside had big chunks of potato and peas. The best part is obviously the sauce, which is a perfect combo with the savoriness of the onion and the sweetness of the sauce. It is a haul for me to get there, but I'll find time to go back.