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November 14, 2014     Post-Gazette
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November 14, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 14, 2014 Page 9 with Nicole V llu=i ARAX MARKET ... It's All About Family Nestled in the heart of Watertown's Middle East- ern community, Arax Mar- ket has been a neighbor- hood institution since 1974, when the Bassmajian fam- ily first opened its doors. Elizabeth Bassmajian, the family matriarch, who still works seven days a week in the kitchen, fondly named Arax after a street in Leba- non where all the markets were located. By doing this, she ensured that families arriving from overseas would be fa- miliar with the name and easily find their market. Along with her husband Hagop, two sons Hrach & Shant and daugh- ter Betty, she brought old world recipes to their new home. On any given day, you will find all five family members working side by side, each handling a different aspect of the business. Elizabeth, perched on her chair in the kitchen, prepares all the delectable dishes you will find in the pre- pared foods area including: kibbeh, various types of hummus, mujadara, lahmajun, potato salads, vegetables, falafel, muhammara, garlic sauce, grape leaves, kofta, tabbouleh, etc. These perfectly packaged homemade items like your mother or grandmother would make are excellent choices for young professionals and families, not only because of the convenience, but also the food quality is unsurpassable. Hagop, who cooks alongside his wife. is known for his home- made jam ... yes, I said jam: apricot, raspberry, one more delicious than the next. Their eldest son Hrach, who begins his day at 4:30 am, delivers the freshest produce each morning to the market and his keen sense for quality is evident in their selection, Welcome to the new On Site! After a ten year hiatus, I am proud to announce my return to the Post-Gazette. My On Site, was featured here for four years and incorporated fashion, travel, Italian culture, Boston's party circuit, etc. This column will fulfill your desires for all things social.., with an added twist. So grab that double tall cappuccino or favorite cocktail, sit back and experience what Socially Scene has to offer. Please note that we also appreciate any feedback or requests from our readers. I can be reached by email at The Restaurant Rover From spaghetti to sushi ... We deliver the dish on local restaurants & food establishments ..... -- So amazing it should be banned in all fifty states $$$$$ = Remortgage the house .... = Heaven on Earth $$$$ = Cash in some stocks *** = Good. May result in slight head turning $$$ = Won't break the bank ** = Fair ... but needs some revival $$ = That's it] * = You're better off heating up that frozen meal $ = And I cashed in all that change POSTO Posto, translates to "place," and is definitely THE place to dine for wood fired Italian Neapolitan-style pizzas, homemade pastas and appe- tizers. The combination of casual chic meets rustic style atmosphere is inviting with warm accents, over- sized candles, a comfortable bar and of course their wood- burning oven. Nestled on Elm Street in Davis Square, Somerville, Posto is a great date night spot or meeting place for friends. Chef/Owner Joseph Cassinelli, who opened this gem in 2009, which is top-notch. Everything from vibrant red heirloom hails from Boston's ~amed tomatoes to fresh figs to seasona exotic fruits and vegetables, Mistral, Teatro and L'Ahdana there is always something restaurants; however, his talents here at Posto surpass all expectations. On Saturday night, we ar- rived at Posto around 6:30 pm with no reservation (dar- ing I know) and hoped to fred a few seats around the bar. To our surprise and delight, the manager offered us a table in the bustling dining room, which is a great people watching location. Since this was our fifth or sixth time to Posto, we had a good idea about our dining choices for the evening, but their seasonal selection is constantly evolving and worth trying. As I peruse the menu sipping a Vespa, which is one of their signa- ture cocktails made with cucumber vodka, lime and prosecco, taking in the won- derful scents of delectable dishes as they pass by I can't help but want everything on the menu. We begin with bruschetta, new. Shant, who is the youngest sibling, can be found at the register con- versing with clients and assisting them, most of whom he knows by first name. Over the past few years, Arax has become the number one purveyor of hookah related products including all the latest enticing tobacco flavors, hoses, tips, portable cases, vapes, eliquids, etc. in our area due to his hard work and knowledge of these products. Betty, who is the resident baker and catering manager, is known for creating mouthwatering treats that are worth every calorie. Middle Eastern nirvana for sure! Where do I begin? The baklava is Heaven on Earth, especiaUy if you are lucky enough to be there when she makes her famous melt in your mouth nuteUa baklava or chocolate macaroons with the perfect combination of chewy center and crisp shell. Each pastry case is gleaming with homemade sweets, one better than the next. A quick walk through this market is not possible, as your eyes dart from shelf to shelf: assorted teas, nuts, hard to find spices, fine china, imported otis, cured meats, breads, yo- gurts and the best selection of Kinder products on this side of the Atlantic. Did someone say cheese? The cheese selec- tion is endless ... Bulgarian feta, French feta, Haloumi, Ar- menian string cheese, goat and many imported types. Their homemade pickled vegetable selection along with their ol- ive bar is filled with endless options. As I watch all the activity on a Saturday morning, it be- comes clear to me why Arax has remained such a pillar in this community for the past 40 years: family. The Bassmajian children, now all adults, grew up in the market working together as a family after school and through their lives. Their clients became extended family members and are greeted in such a way to this day. Yes, this is a Middle Eastern market; however, the mix of shoppers look more like a United Nations assembly including Harvard profes- sors, neighbors, new residents, families, singles, couples and even tourists. Elizabeth can be found mingling with cus- tomers in the aisles, telling stories about her family, shar- ing recipes and holding people's children. Arax Market is open seven days a week and offers compli- mentary parking behind the building. I can't say enough about Arax ... without them my refrigerator would be empty for surel Arax Market is located at 585 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472 and can be reached by calling (617) 924-3399. topped with roasted grape to- matoes, goat cheese, purple onion, basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The bread is toasted to perfection and combined with roasted toma- toes bursting with flavor. We realize that one order may not be enough. Next arrives a dish of wood oven roasted head on shrimp in a garlic chili butter sauce served atop grilled ciabatta (perfect for scooping up all that deli- cious sauce) followed by crispy calamari in a light bat- ter with a pine nut romesco and fresh lemon. The burrata appetizer, served alongside poached d'anjou pears with candied walnuts, is a perfect balance of creamy and sweet. Our favorite two salads are the arugula with endive, gorgonzola picante, drizzled with honey thyme vinai- grette and their Greek with thaely chopped tomatoes, cu- cumbers, red onions, olives and sheep's milk feta. What would any Italian ristorante be without ... pastal At Posto, the pasta is homemade (think of your Nonna in the kitchen on Sunday's rolling out the dough and cutting each in- dividual piece) and cooked to perfection. The gnocchi, served in a braised beef short rib red wine sauce is filled with robust flavors, while the spaghetti with parmesan crema, house cured pancetta and egg yolk is a little more subtle. Both are guaranteed to satisfy your comfort food craving. Their grilled rib eye served with rosemary gold potatoes is tender and flavorful. And now ... the pizza! Posto's classic margherita, cooked to perfection is topped with San Marzano tomatoes, homemade fiore di latte moz- zarella and fresh basil. Their pizza embodies the true meaning of Neapolitan- style from start to finish and is the closest I have found to traditional dining in Naples. Their fiorentina white pizza combines vari- ous types of mushrooms in- cluding crimini, white trumpet and shiitake topped with spinach and fontina cheese, creating an earthy yet delicate taste. Posto's use of simple high- quality ingredients, locally- grown products and attention to detail have earned its place among some of the best restaurants. Their prices are reasonable, especially for the quality. The only drawback: food arrives quickly, so ff you are a slow eater, order a couple dishes at a time. Posto is open Monday- Thursday 5:30 pm-10:00 pm, Friday-Saturday 5:00 pm- 11:00 pm and Sunday 4:30 pm-10:00 pm. Reservations can be made by calling (617) 625-0600 or on their website at www.postoboston.cortu The G.i le Friday, November 14, 2014 Join Steve DIFillipo, Chef/ Owner of Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse, for a signing, cooking and tasting demo event celebrating his book It's All About the Guest: Exceeding Expectations in Business and in Life, the DaviEs Way! This one night event will take place at Eurostoves from 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm. Please call (978) 232-0007 or visit www.eruo for further details. Friday, November 14, 2014 Comedian Dave Attell has two shows at the Wilbur The- To vm'u/chin0 gceH:ainmen+. atre: 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm. Call (800) 745-3000. Saturday, Now~mb~ 15, 2014 Andrew Dice Clay has two shows at the Wilbur Theatre: 9:45 pm & 11:45 pm. Call (800)745-3000. Sunday, November 16, 2014 Pajama Brunch at Tremont 647 ... Check out Swan Lake at the Opera House or Annie the Mus/ca/at the Wang The- atre ... Prepare for the cold weather at the Ski & Snow Expo taking place at the World Trade Center. Monday, November 17, 2014 Support the men in green as the Celtics vs. the Suns at TD Garden. Game time is 7:30 pm. Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Cheer on our Boston Bruins as they take on the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. The puck drops at 7:00 pm. Wednesday, November 19, 2014 The Improv Asylum pre- sents its Vanity Project at 7:00 pm ... Boston Accents fea- tures legends that have put Boston comedy on the map including Kelly MacFarland, tonight at Laugh Boston. The laughter begins at 8:00 pm.