This Is Framingham

This Is Framingham
Life in the ‘ham

Zaftigs

April 1st, 2011


Zaftig’s (of Brookline) opened a branch in Natick.  It’s just on the line of Framingham and replaces a former Framingham deli that moved there so I felt it was worth posting about, so I did 🙂

I actually went there twice in the past week (a rarity these days of going out at all, never mind the same place). Once with my friend Rachel and once with my aunt and uncle so I’ll have pictures form both days.
First I’ll say they did a nice job with the remodeling.  It’s pretty much the same layout but have added more food cases and a sit-down counter.
When you get seated, a server brings over bagel chips and a cheese spread:

The chips are light and crispy and they spread is lightly seasoned.  It’s easy to snack on these until they’re gone.
When I went with Rachel we got a sample plate and some potato knishes.  The sampler had a meat knish, slice of kugel, potato latke and cheese blintz.

I was a huge fan of Joan and Ed’s meat knishes and while everyone does knishes a little different, I always find myself comparing them to J&E’s (and my own).  The knish was pretty good, I thought the dough was great and the filling was pretty good but a teeny bit dry (compared to…) but flavorful and enjoyable.

Everything else on the plate was good, not amazing but not disappointing either.
Although Rachel really didn’t like the potato knish because she felt is was too creamy with just bits of potato instead of it being more of a thicker mashed potato filling that she was expecting:
Last night my aunt and uncle split a Ruben with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut

They both thought it was great and complimented the potato salad too.
Ethan got a grilled cheese with challah bread and bacon that he said was as good as it looked (and it looked amazing)

I would have taken a bite but I had enough going on with my smoked fish plate:

I decided to get challah toast instead of a bagel and chose a combo plate that offers your choice of three fish from their list of 8.  I got nova, belly lox and a scoop of whitefish salad.  Everything was so good. I love whitefish salad and they did a great job with it, not too salty and not too much mayo.
I forgot to mention we also got some matzo ball soup, which again was great and the matzo ball is nice and soft like a matzo cloud!

I think Zaftig’s is a welcome addition to metrowest. It’s not cheap, and I know the place has got mixed reviews because of that being worth the food but I think it’s easy to go anywhere else and pay as much for lesser quality food.
We liked it and while I won’t be there all the time, I’d consider it a treat to go back and would love to try breakfast items like chocolate brioche french toast.  Everything on the breakfast end looked delicious.  Also the service might be hit or miss. Rachel and I had a rude waitress who didn’t seem to care about her tables but last night we had a polite and courteous waiter.  Both times it was not very busy and as someone who has waited tables since I was 19, there is just no excuse for being rude. Regardless of the possible service issue (maybe that girl won’t last long), I’m looking forward to someday going back.
Also for all information including menu with prices please check our their website: http://www.zaftigs.com/

Green Chili

March 21st, 2011


As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t normally go for Indian food but someone wrote to me and asked me to check out Green Chili in Pinefield Plaza (1 Nicholas Rd.) and said it’s really great food. I figured it was worth trying so my friend Lisa and I went there for lunch today.

The first thing Lisa pointed out was how clean it was inside and it really was.   The walls are decorated with photos of India and facts about Indian history and culture:

The owner, Tony, was very friendly and made suggestions based on what we were looking for.  I’m not into very spicy food but I know Indian food isn’t all super spicy but needed some guidance.  Lisa and I both thought the Chicken Tikka sounded good.  She got the pizza version and I got the crepe version:
Pizza:

Crepe:

I was a little overwhelmed when I first saw it but the dough is so light and crispy and serves as a nice “vehicle” for the filling.  Tony said traditionally you eat it with your hands so I tore off pieces of the dough and scooped up the chicken inside.
The crepe came with a type of vegetable soup and coconut sauce.  I also got some almond milk that Tony makes to order and it’s so amazingly good.  While you wait he blends, the almonds and water, strains it adds a little bit of almond essence and extract and  a sprinkle of sugar, but he can leave out the sugar if you want.
The chicken was in a sauce of blended spices and paprika and I thought it was great.  It was just spicy enough to have great flavor but not to make my eyes water or anything.  The almond milk was a perfect compliment to it too.


We talked with Tony for a little bit about his background. He’s been cooking since he was a teenager and specializes in South Indian cuisine.  We also talked about Framingham and how it’s tough for a lot of restaurants but he’s particularly dreading the return of Water St. construction and was telling us about other construction projects that are pretty much quarantining the plaza.  I feel for the guy.  He’s super nice and the food was really good, and I don’t even usually like Indian food.

So I’d like to thank the reader who convinced me to check it out.  If you like Indian food (or even if you don’t) and are looking for somewhere new to try, check it out.  They also have a website where you can see the whole menu: http://www.greenchiliframingham.com/

Lloyd’s is back (and other restaurant news)

March 13th, 2011


A few days ago I was going by the old Lloyd’s diner that had been taken over and oddly named “Tropical Cafe”.  I saw that it has been in fact changed back to -and what I feel like it should be – a diner!  I’m sure a lot of people will be happy to see that it’s even under old management too.  I always felt like the whole Tropical Cafe theme just didn’t fit the diner well.

Yesterday we had to drive down Rt 9, which I always can’t stand but that’s where DCU is and we were being productive getting errands done.  Anyway, as we drove by the former site of Brozetti’s I noticed there was a new sign up:


Something called Top Shelf that will be moving in.  They have the beginnings of a website with some information here: http://www.topshelfdining.com/

Then we passed the old Pacific Buffet:

and saw this:

Far East Buffet, not much to say about that, I think we can all envision what this will be like but I’ll still probably check it out to see if there are any pleasant surprises.  I’m glad to see at least something is opening up in this location since it’s been vacant for so long.  It’s always interesting when something goes out of business and something similar moves in.  Like how Sewfisticated Fabrics moved into the old Fabric Place, Zaftig’s replaced Joan and Ed’s and Summit Ski Snowboard moved into the old Ski Market space but I guess some places are meant to serve a certain purpose.  It’s also nice to see business investing in a Framingham location so I wish everyone luck!

Papa-Razzi Pizza

March 3rd, 2011

I’ve been to the local Papa-Razzi (155 Worcester Rd.) a few times but never for pizza, so tonight a couple of friends and I went to check out the pizza pie situation.
We decided to get three, the Margherita (crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, oregano and fresh basil),

Quattro Formaggi (oak-fired white pizza with mozzarella, mascarpone, romano and goat cheese)

and Puttanesca (olives, capers, marinated tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mozzarella)

We also got some sangria that I forgot to take a picture of but it was good, although a little strong (making this a short post because now I’m tired and have to go to bed.
I’ll say the pizza is a pleasant, thin crust style with plenty of cheese, maybe not enough sauce on the one with red sauce but good.  There is a lightness to them where you don’t feel like you have really ate a whole pizza – there were three of us and we finished all three pizzas.  I was a little disappointed with the Puttanesca.  I had a more “romantic” vision of it was going to look like, more specifically, evenly distributed toppings.  the capers and olives were mostly on one half. Same with the herb on the 4 cheese, but they were still pretty decent.
The we decided that the while wasn’t bad, we probably wouldn’t go back there either.  I will say that their pasta is much more impressive (my favorite is the Porcini Tortelloni- so good!)
You can check out the rest of their menu by clicking here.

Happy Swallow changing to Railroad Six Sports Grill

February 3rd, 2011


I have only been to the Happy Swallow once, which you can read about here.  I haven’t been back but not because I didn’t like it but I just haven’t got to it, time flies by and before you know it, it’s being sold to a new set of owners.
I just read this article in the MWDN that describes the plans the new owners have for the place which will focus on food more than the Swallow did.  I’ll try to check out the new place which will be called Railroad Six Sports Grill.  Good luck to them and I look forward to checking it out.  Read the article here: http://www.thisisframingham.com/the-happy-swallow

Five Guys

December 8th, 2010


Last week we went to Five Guys, located at the “food mall”,  at 301 Cochituate Rd.
Inside was bright and busy with plenty of staff in the open kitchen grilling, assembling, frying and calling out orders.

They have a pretty smooth system,  you can even order online and have your food waiting for you when you get there.
The menu focuses on burgers and fries but they do also offer hot dogs, which they butterfly to cook (I’m guessing to cook faster).  All toppings are free and there are a lot to pick from.
I got a “little burger” which is plenty, with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions.

Ethan got a little cheese burger with bacon.

I don’t know how much bigger a “regular” size burger is but these littles are plenty.
Fries come in two sizes: regular and large.  We got a regular to share and it was more than enough.  They generously overfill the serving cup, which leaves another two servings (or more?) in the bag.

The burgers were good but as I mentioned in a previous post, the really shine with their fries.
The only thing I’m not cray about is the store set up.  Although it’s bright and clean, it’s loud and the seating can make you feel trapped if it’s busy.

We lucked out and went on a slow night but the tables are so close together, if you sit by the window and people are in all the chairs around you, good luck getting out.
I think they’ll do well in this location and I know some people think it’s too close to the rt. 9/27 location in Natick but this area so packed with shoppers on it’s own and maybe they figured it’s that much more convenient for people coming from towns like Ashland or Holliston.   You can check out their site for more info www.fiveguys.com

La Caretta

December 2nd, 2010


La Caretta is finally open. It seems like it’s been years of slowly watching the transformation from Bickford’s to what it is now.
Inside got a lot of remodeling but still somehow still feels Bickfordy.
The host was nice and our server was friendly and promptly brought over fresh chips and salsa.

I really wanted some sangria so I ordered one and a pretty glass with fruit and berries arrived and the drink it self was really good.

I had a hard time deciding what to get off the menu but I chose a grilled vegetable quesadilla- not exciting I know but it was everything I was in the mood for- flour tortilla, vegetables, guacamole and cheese.

What I really liked about this was that the tortilla was perfectly grilled, it was crispy from the grill but still very soft.  Inside the cheese was perfectly gooey inside and filled with big chunks of vegetables.
My friend Jim got something form the combination section of the menu- #4.
Tacos with an enchilada and something else (I think).  Their website doesn’t have anything on it so I can’t refer to an online menu but Jim says the #4 combo is great.
Prices are decent.  Honestly, I forgot how much the meal was but I remember it being reasonable.
La Caretta is at 270 Cochituate Road.  Like I said, no website, but if you have any questions about anything like hours or prices or anything like that, their phone number is listed as (508) 424-2535.
Also, I’d like to add that they had something like 5 kinds of hot chocolate listed on the menu so I would go back to try a Mexican hot chocolate or one of the other varieties they have.

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