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Local Eats

Home Cooking & Takeout in Roslindale, West Roxbury and Beyond

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Death by Veganism - New York Times

Death by Veganism - New York Times

"Indigenous cuisines offer clues about what humans, naturally omnivorous, need to survive, reproduce and grow: traditional vegetarian diets, as in India, invariably include dairy and eggs for complete protein, essential fats and vitamins. There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.

Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies. Nutritionists used to speak of proteins as “first class” (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and “second class” (from plants), but today this is considered denigrating to vegetarians."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

And Talking About Being Better Marketers Than Cooks

Bertucci’s seems to have changed their recipe*, (formula?) for the meatballs they market as Polpette. I’ve had them a few times before and they were pretty good. Got them again, (as takeout food), last night and suddenly they have a very smoky flavor. I had a scotch after eating so I didn’t notice but I had the leftovers today and they also have a distinctively smoky aftertaste. Not a pleasant one either. I ate them around four o’clock and I could still taste them at five. At six I got a couple of smoky burps, wonderful..... On top of that the tomato sauce seemed excessively acidic. Is that new? I can’t remember. Oh well, looks like there’s yet another thing I won’t order from Bertucci’s again.

Questions: How do meatballs get a smoky taste? They shouldn't really have one and it’s not like they’re cooked in their wood burning oven. Are they? And if so, why? Could they be using liquid smoke? That's too horrible to even contemplate.

*In my experience Bertucci’s can’t go three months without changing things and usually making them cheaper and less appetizing in the process. Why do I go there at all? Strictly convenience.

Disappointing Deal at The Real Deal in West Roxbury

The menu says “Asian Sesame Chicken Salad – Grilled chicken with romaine lettuce, sliced almonds, toasted sesame seeds, red onions, crispy wonton strips, and our oriental honey ginger dressing.“ It sounds very good but the reality falls way short.

I say, they took a boneless chicken breast that tasted like it came from a bird that ate a diet of the fish based feed that many chickens eat today. Then they grilled it until it was dry, sprinkled it with some sesame seeds and then, without bothering to slice it properly, laid it on top of a pile of huge, coarsely chopped, awkward to eat pieces of romaine lettuce. Prior to the arrival of the chicken the lettuce had been decorated with (fried?) wanton strips and sliced almonds that immediately fall off the lettuce and disappear to the bottom of the pile. On top of that was a too large pile of haphazardly cut, (small chunks, thick slices) red onion. Not so good, not a nice way to serve raw onion. The dressing was their ‘oriental honey ginger’. It was too sweet for my taste but most things are so I won’t complain. I will say that I couldn’t taste any ginger and I never understood the point of a dressing that’s so thick it falls out of its container in blobs.

Two Out of Three Aren’t Good

That was the third thing I had from The Real Deal. The first was good and that’s why I went back for more. It was a Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, grilled turkey with cooked onions, spicy brown mustard and melted American cheese. It was one of their Gangster Wraps and I got it because I had just come from the dentist and wanted something soft and easy to eat. It was warm and tasty and ooey gooey with lots of melted cheese but you could probably gain thirty pounds easy eating those things on a regular basis so getting another one wasn’t a good option. Next time I tried one of their paninis. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t all that good either, a little bland and dry, especially considering the promised marinara sauce. So, first item good, second one so-so, and third crudely made and disappointing. Doing the math that probably means no more Real Deal food for me.

All Mobbed Up

One other thing, naming things after gangster characters in movies and TV shows seems okay I guess, maybe it’s fun to get a Carmela Soprano Panini or a Moe Green wrap, (there is nothing named after Hyman Roth for whatever reason). But using real gangster names just doesn’t seem right. These are people who committed murders and rapes and sold heroin and ran prostitution rings and numbers games until they got squeezed out by the Lottery. Nothing fun about them and you have to wonder what the relatives and friends of their victims think when they see something like a Teflon Don or a Carlo Gambino on the menu.