Rod Dee II, 94 Peterborough St., Fenway
This place is to "secret screenings" at the AMC Fenway what Emma's Pizza is to "secret screenings" at the Kendall. I walked to it from Kenmore Sq., and the only thing keeping me trudging through the snow was the pot of Tom Yum Noodle Soup with shredded pork awaiting me at the end of the rainbow (twas St. Paddy's Day). The portion is huge (easily feeds 2), with a thick, deep flavor and piles of noodles; the pork was lackluster but really more for texture than taste. This is great comfort food, the heat spreading through you until you break out in that perfect film of sweat from the intensity. Mmm. Soup seemed the way to gocurry-favoring patrons seemed less than impressed with their food, and eyed my bucket o' soup longingly.
Zoe's, 287 Beacon St., Somerville
Finally made it here, but sadly had to stay away from the Sichuan stuff and the pork belly et al. because my companion was vegetarian and didn't do spicy. (That and the fact that Petsie Pie's next door closed literally minutes before we arrived just means I'll be back soon.) Still, we did well: stir-fried green beans and Crispy Sea Scallops in Black Pepper Sauceboth absolutely perfect, with stupidly simple preparation and deliciously homey taste. Beans were classic Chinese green bean stir-fry (hint of black bean?) that was great on rice. Scallops were basically "dry-fried" then drowned in a sauce of canned mushrooms and cornstarch, like something out of a 50s suburban housewife cookbookyet we couldn't stop raving. I've never eaten anything where the dominant flavor is black pepperI think of it as a flavor enhancer, not a spice on its ownbut it was remarkable how full-bodied the dish was. For better or for worse, I think the word on Zoe's is outtakeout orders were coming in non-stop, and there were groups (Asian and Cantabridgyuppie) lining up out the door on an otherwise deserted and snowy Thursday.
Falafel King, Downtown Crossing (strip mall food court downstairs from Emily's/SW1 nightclub)
Name says it all: stick to the falafel, as the chicken shwarma tastes like charcoal. (You'll get a free falafel anyway from the chatty Iraqi owner, who puts even the burrito guys at Anna's Taqueria to shame with his meal-assembling speed.) Since I love cilantro and anything big, I usually prefer "Arab" falafel over "Israeli" (don't hold me to that when I'm gorging at Rami's, though), so this placewith its giant green baseball-sized felfelawas perfect.
Bubble Tea Marathon
I did a 3-day taro bubble tea taste test, and turns out the bubble tea guy opposite the Falafel King stand (?!) actually makes a decent cuppa (can you call bubble tea that?); his was the most smoothie-like/icy/slushy of the 3 I tried, and that's the consistency I like the best. A lacklastur boba quality though, put him in just under the milkier/waterier Anna's Dessert House (sp?) in Chinatown, just down Harrison from the Harrison/Beach intersection. My favorite remains the Chinatown Eatery food court (even Let's Go guides endorse them, according to the sticker on their wall). Anna's does get bonus points for being the only place with sealed plastic tops, which allow for greater boba-suction and lots of vigorous shaking to distribute the balls more evenly (can't do that with the standard Solo/straw hole tops). Though it is rather vulgar when you use your straw to defile the cute cuddly animals that are printed on the sealed tops. Also want to put in a good word for the bubble tea at Dado Tea, on Mass Ave. between Harvard and Central (you get a pint glass of tea!); they also have great uncommon Asian desserts like shaved ice with condensed milk and fruit.