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R. and T. went to Lowe's and Bed Bath and Beyond in Hudson. They came back with suction cup based shower caddies, which look nice and are pretty good for what they are. I've also ordered more permanent (Nie Wieder Bohren) to install with adhesive. R. also got a curtain and a tension rod, so we can now actually use the shower. Despite having taken a shower earlier in the day, T. was so excited it was all set up and ready to use that he beat R. and I to taking the first shower.

R. got take out from Battle Road Brew Pub in Maynard. O.M.G. truly excellent BBQ. The beans and greens are particularly amazing. The slaw is not safe for me. The ribs, chicken and pulled pork are also excellent. And of course the beer is good, but I didn't have any. Fries were not going to be the sort the kids like and they are salty, but the spices are really nice.

I bought Duck Tour tickets for T. and his sitter to use tomorrow. They have all kinds of fun planned.

No horse today; rain. So basically A. and I never did leave the house.
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My sister and I walked out to CVS and picked up a few other odds and ends. This convinced me _not_ to walk to C Salt for dinner, because by that point, I had showered and put on nice clothes and didn't feel like getting all sweaty again.

C Salt continues to live up to my high expectations and recollections. Their bar is wonderful. We got the pork belly appetizer which was melt in your mouth deliciousness. And we always get the tuna tartar thing, and of course raw oysters. We had a ribeye for the entree. I _so_ wish this restaurant was closer to home, but of course we have nice restaurants in neighboring towns so I really should not complain.
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Quite a while back, I heard about a brazilian place in Hyannis and found out I could get a reservation on Open Table. So I did. And we went. It was awesome. I figured it would be, since MIL is a meat and leafy greens with a few veg sort of person, and my sister's family loves steak. My daughter hates food smells, but while she didn't eat much beyond oyster crackers, she also didn't complain very much, so that worked out well. The cold table was amazing, altho I didn't eat much meat because I find all those skewers more than a little overwhelming. The lamb was excellent, and I liked the chicken hearts, too.
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Today was a busy day, at least in the afternoon. We had a scheduled playdate, that went off really well. A.'s babysitter showed up and they went off to have mild adventures. T.'s babysitter canceled, due to illness earlier in the day that forced her to leave her regular job (the kind of illness that you really don't want someone to work while having because you just don't want what she's got). Fortunately, our evening plans did not involve a reservation for 2, so we took T. along to the Rail Trail Flatbread Company in Hudson, MA, which was supposed to have good food and great beer.

They were very accommodating of my allergies. It was busy, even tho we were there well before 6 p.m. And loud. I got the fish and chips, pan seared instead of fried (milk dredging). Tasty, altho I think I'll try something else next time. T. said his grilled cheese was good. R.'s pulled pork was awesome, with pumpkin slaw. Yum! R. got a Barmy and it was heavenly, however, a whisky drink won out for me: the Fall Back has mole bitters and a very orange-y triple sec. It was described by the server as tasting like a chocolate orange and, no lie, it really did. Amazing.

For dessert, we went across the street to the Microcreamery (which I am sorry to say I've been sort of mocking whenever I drive through Hudson. Never Again). The coffee was good. The vegan (made with coconut milk) vanilla was fantastic. T. finished his ice cream so I assume it was good -- he got mint chip.

Great value for the experience at both places. I look forward to returning. Especially for the Fall Back.
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We like El Huipil, and their ac is more than adequate. So we went there for dinner since we had two sitters. They have recently gotten a liquor license.

Watch out for those margaritas. At some point, Maynard's Board of Selectmen is gonna crack down on them, in much the same way they put Daniela's out of business here in Acton. In the meantime, think of their margaritas as effectively a triple or stronger.

Tasty food as always. I had the veggie burritos and they were yum. As a result of the margaritas, by the time I left my lips and toes were numb. But before the alcohol rendered my tastebuds completely indifferent to what I was consuming, I really enjoyed the guacamole.

ETA: I made some phone calls after El Huipil and its powerful margarita. The margarita made the phone calls sooooo much easier.
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We had a babysitter (actually, for part of the evening, two) last night and got to go out to dinner. We went to Craigie on Main in Cambridge. Because colleges are done for the regular academic year, it was easy to find parking. I had set up a reservation on OpenTable as soon as we knew we had a sitter, and the restaurant called two days running to confirm. They didn't just want a call back if we were canceling; they wanted a confirmation phone call, which is novel for me.

We were a little late for our 6 p.m. because summer traffic on a Friday with excellent weather. I got a Sinister Street, because I've been having good luck lately with whisky (in this case, Scotch) cocktails that involve Benedictine. R. had The Grand Tour (a tequila drink) and Mellow Yellow. You can see a picture of The Grand Tour at Craigie here: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2013/10/29/boston-restaurants-craft-cocktail-crossover/ Mellow Yellow appears on the restaurant's libations pdf: http://www.craigieonmain.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/Bar-Libations-2015-03-17.pdf

The chianti classico I had by-the-glass was okay. After dinner R. got a Valdespino Pedro Ximenez (I might have forgotten some words on this) and it was really excellent.

You may have heard or seen on America's Test Kitchen the Craigie on Main burgers. We didn't get those. Altho we may put some effort into getting there earlier some day and snagging one.

The other choices are a la carte courses, a three course prix fix and a 6 or 8 course tasting. On the theory that this place is artisan, seasonal and locavore, where the hell else am I going to get to do a tasting menu that is all that, we got the 6 course. And I just want to say how amazing they were about R.'s allium issues and my dairy and shellfish issues.

The bread was good. They brought it out with butter for R. and extra virgin for me. There was an amuse bouche (all good, but I wanted that third bite to last forever), sashimi with beet and I don't like beets but this was incredible, egg and veg WITH BREAD TO SOP IT UP, fish, squab (I've never had squab; R. has) and dessert. Between the squab and the dessert there was an iced grape moscato palate cleanser (I only heard that once so I probably described it slightly wrong, but it was utterly amazing). R.'s dessert was mousse and coffee ice cream. Mine was strawberries, peach sorbet and a pavlova (a pavlova is a meringue with corn starch. I would have left most of it, so R. finished it off).

R. had ridden over 70 miles on the bike earlier in the day, so he was fine. Because everything was very small, I didn't lose interest, but I felt really full for a while afterwards. I have no idea how anyone would make it through two more courses, but perhaps they mini-fy the courses even further?

It's always a tricky question when having a meal like this: that's kind of a lot of money for one dinner. The service was friendly and fantastic -- they didn't hover, they allowed time between courses, they were willing to chat but we never felt like they were staying too long. The silverware is another thing. 80 Thoreau just has a box on the table, which works out well and reduces total table visits; at Craigie, there was someone resetting the table for every single course. As incredible as the meal was, there is just something about having someone come by that many times to put fresh silverware in front of you that stands out. I suppose that means I'm a classless peasant.

So: if that's the kind of experience you are looking for, it is amazeballs. They don't even make you dress up (altho the AC is turned up enough that if you wear slacks or hose you won't die). I cannot imagine doing the tasting on a regular basis, but I could sure see going back a few times a year for different seasons. And you can always be sane and order a la carte. I hope they stay there forever and never change (I mean, the menu always changes, but you get the idea).
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My son likes 99 Restaurants, and we sometimes go to the one in West Concord. Across the street was the West Concord Market, which closed up shop a while back and we all speculated what it was about to become while it was renovated until we wised up, googled around some and learned it would become Woods Hill Table, the restaurant associated with the Woods Hill Farm in Bath, NH. So: fancy Concord restaurant with _their own sourced foods_. (Also, you can apparently rent "The Lodge" at Woods Hill Farm, if you want to have a really nice farm stay experience?)

Anyway. We were excited to go there. I tried to get a reservation, but I kept checking less than a week in advance of a Saturday I had a babysitter and you know how that goes with new restaurants. This time, I had about a week's notice on a Tuesday night babysitter, and still had to choose between a 5 p.m. reservation and an 8:30 reservation or later. I'm old; I went with 5 p.m. If you want to go have dinner there, drop in isn't likely to work. It'll be tempting to go back for a late supper of oysters, dessert and drinks next time.

We split a "Whisky Business" cocktail, which had a bunch of stuff in it including ginger ale, cucumber, simple syrup, No. 1 Pimm's Cup and a named whisky that I have now forgotten. It was very yummy and excellent for a warm day. (Restaurant a/c works great and they don't freeze you to death either.) We had the grilled oysters and chicharrones. We had the baguette, which came with maple syrup and pork fat spread and, inevitably, farm fresh butter (lots of seeds on the mini-baguettes, including caraway). We had the egg and asparagus, which had fiddleheads and really wonderful radishes (should have had the bread come out with the asparagus, to sop up the egg) ETA and how did I forget the super crispy bit of chicken skin and tiny bites of chicken thigh. We had a salad. For the main plate, we had a steak, fries (in tallow! OMG! The very best! And that means that not only is this place not halal or kosher, it's hindi-unfriendly, too. But they are sure supportive of allergies!) and greens (not sure about what greens those were, but they were tasty), and ordered the broccoli rabe for the veg with the main course. We had a nice Willamette Valley pinot noir (don't ask me which one, altho R. might know) to go with dinner. We had the apple crisp with almond ice cream (no milk products at all!) for dessert and a tawny port (again, I don't remember, altho it was really good). We shared everything, and we probably over-ordered slightly (now that I know dessert is possible, I'd probably have reduced one of the vegetable choices altho I'd be hard pressed to give one of the ones I had up).

The service was excellent (we think we've had that server at a different area restaurant -- maybe Red Raven?). I have rarely sat in a more comfortable chair (R. thought it was ever so slightly too tall, which is because he has more of his height in his torso and I have more in my leg). It was not loud (sometimes restaurants get really echo-y). The music was Lumineers, Bon Iver and similar on a pretty short loop, which made me laugh, because it was so over-the-top appropriate to what the restaurant was aiming for that it struck me as funny.

When we moved to Acton, we expected there to be a bunch of perfectly good restaurants in the area, and were happy to have a cafe/diner type place in walking distance with appropriately brusque service and predictable food. We did not expect to find ourselves awash in unbelievably excellent foodie choices a few short years later, when we were finally able to leave the kids with sitters and go out to eat. We figured we'd be going in to Boston-Somerville-Cambridge for that (and we have been to Dali's recently and it is even better than we remembered). To have Bondir's, 80 Thoreau, and now Woods Hill Table one town over (and our own beloved Red Raven here in town) is a sort of foodie good luck that boggles the mind.

Hey, all my Seattle foodie friends: add this to the list of reasons to come visit us.

The restaurant opened its doors at about a minute past 5 and there were already three couples waiting to be seated. Woods Hill Table has a small parking lot. The street meters are 1 hour parking, meters ending at 6 p.m. We killed time for about 10 minutes (we were early) by walking along what will become part of the Bruce Freeman Trail out to where there isn't currently a bridge. Lots of dragon flies out there.

(Also, T., if you are reading, I hope you are amused and find this review as snooty as the 80 Thoreau one!)
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At the moment, R. and T. are out for a walk around the block. I'll probably go after they come back.

Yesterday evening, R. and I had date night. We went to Dali's and got there a little before six and were seated immediately. They had Sazerac on the Vintage Cocktails menu! It's a good one, served in a lowball with no ice and a twist of lemon. Super yummy! R. got the red wine flight; they were all good but two were really nice. We learned a new wine term: "crianza", which means a rioja that has not been aged very long at all. Same word means a crying baby that is still nursing. Kinda funny, actually.

Dali's is small plates, tapas -- you can get entrees, but not many. They now have a non-dairy menu, so if you share my issues, ask for it. Very convenient! We got the bread with garbanzo bean spread, the mixed greens salad, the mussels, the ham, and the veggie empanada. It was all really good, but the veggie empanada was probably the best. They have a non-dairy chocolate cake, which was not too sweet and very chocolatey. R. got a sherry that is somewhat difficult to find to round things out. We got out of there for just under $100, and the great joy that comes from learning that a beloved restaurant that you haven't been to for a decade is even better than you remembered.

Dali's doesn't take reservations after 6 p.m. on any night you are likely to go, so you should know that The Kebab Factory across the street used to be absolutely wonderful, and still gets raves from Zagat -- we haven't been in a long time, but I feel optimistic. Other possibilities on that corner include Bergamot (farm to table and very fancy; you would have to be dressed appropriately) or the Kirkland, which is now a Tony Maws restaurant, IIRC. We'll eventually get to all of them, because parking on Beacon Street is a breeeeeezzzze.

Earlier, A. went to the horse. I got to have a nice phone conversation with my friend K., then T. and I went to Bertucci's and had lunch. Then we went to the horse where I had a lovely conversation with two friends. T. and I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts on the way back.

Once I got home, I made meaningful progress on a project I thought of last night. It is ludicrously hard to even figure out how to turn on an unfamiliar home entertainment setup, and if we are going to have babysitters, we should be able to point them at a piece of paper that will help them out when they are staring at the 4 remotes downstairs and 5 upstairs and trying to figure out what button to push first. I wrote two, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, and printed out copies to stick into page protectors stored where needed, but what I really want to do is send a copy and let people read it on their iphone. It's a google doc, so I'm trying to make sure that if the link gets loose, it doesn't cause me any trouble.

I'm able to put photographs in the docs, which is nice, but I can't figure out how to free-draw arrows, which is a bummer. I can do that in other stuff, but I don't feel like going to the bother.
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A new Walgreen's opened up in Maynard, and didn't last long. Now, it may become a brewery for Battle Road (our New Favorite Beer, maybe -- it's really good), with a restaurant. The zoning change requires a change to Maynard's by-laws, and Town Meeting isn't until May. So, not immediately.


We like 29 Sudbury (altho it had a slow start), so we are feeling optimistic.

We were wondering if perhaps the rumored West Concord Beef Company mentioned in that article might be going into the old West Concord Supermarket. It will not. That is going to be Woods Hill Table, a farm to table operation that owns its own farm up in New Hampshire. Looks scrumptious. Very exciting.


In the meantime, if you are in the area and drooling for upscale gastropub, try the excellent Red Raven (we luuuurrrrvvve it). If, on the other hand, exquisitely detailed descriptions of locally sourced, seasonal, artisanal etc., try Bondir in Concord. I would never have expected, in the former case, Scupperjack's to be replaced by something so fantastic or, in the latter case, the Walden Grille, likewise. Both have fantastic bars; Bondir specializes in classic cocktails you've never heard of (Seelbach, Giuseppe Goes to the Beach [ETA: my husband tells me this should be Giuseppe Goes to Trinidad], to mention two. He also reminds me how could Vieux Carre was.). Red Raven has the good cherries, so you can order their Manhattan variants fearlessly.
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There was one in walking distance when we moved in, however, it moved to a bigger location in a different strip mall. The family restaurant next door expanded into the space and its hours as well.

Here is some coverage of that restaurant in the old location:


I've posted about snapped phone poles near that strip mall before. This was earlier than the incident I mentioned (before we moved to town, for that matter).

Here is some coverage of the same restaurant in the new location:


I think probably the bit that really rankled was the brandished handgun, but I could be wrong.

I want to be fair here. I liked this restaurant in both locations. Good, big drinks. Food was a little salty, but other than that tasty. I do, however, feel like there has been a lot of forebearance and will look forward to Daniela's drop in replacement, Beyond Border Tex Mex.


Not clear when that one is going to open. I stumbled across all this when I was trying to find an opening date for Bueno Y Sano.

ETA: The day care saga continues:


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