Random food notes [Malden and Union Sq Somerville; MA]

Tying up some loose (food) ends. The day after we got back from Iceland, we were up early and still suffering from wanderlust and the royal we weren’t in the mood to go food shopping nor to cook so we looked for something new. Faces Brewing has been on our to-do list for some time. Folks of a certain age (ie, me), will recognize the name from the old nightclub on Route 2 in Cambridge (I don’t know a single soul who actual went there). Same family running the new spot in Malden. An unexpectedly “pretty” and Instagrammable interior (I can’t believe I managed to write that without keeling over). But airy and spacious-feeling. Few tables occupied at early lunchtime on a Sunday and a few small parties at the large bar. Great beers. Spring Onion and I weren’t really hungry so we shared some pretzels bites while B went with chili and eggs. The chili was a little too loose, which he told our server, who appreciated the feedback since there’s a new guy training in the kitchen. B asked for hot sauce which was a good call. The kitchen makes all of the sauces, so the house hot sauce is HOT and more importantly, delicious. The mustard with the pretzels was a bit too horseradish-y spicy but B and I still ate it and loved the torture of the nose-clearing properties. Afterwards, I ducked into Malden Center Wines while the guys waited for me. Oh man. I can’t even impress upon y’all enough how expansive and eclectic this place is with lots of wine but also fancy food things. What else would one expect from a Martignetti enterprise (which is also connected with Faces)? I felt overwhelmed with the guys waiting for me, so left with some Rancho Gordo beans, an interesting-looking ramen base, a couple of pints of Jeni’s ice cream, oh and a couple of bottles of wine.

Last week, my parents were in town so we paid Union Sq a visit. Reliable Market somehow doesn’t feel the same as in the past. There’s A LOT of wine and beer stacked up, presumably because they’re not moving their stock. But mom and I both got our staples and vowed to keep coming back. I’m sure they’re struggling in the face of HMart in Burlington. We followed up with lunch at Buk Kyung for ganjajang (jajangmyun [chewy long flour noodles] with the black bean sauce on the side; pork for dad, tofu for me) and dolsot bibimbap for mom. The food was as good as we remember it. No one else in the place while we were there.
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hmmm, I haven’t been to Reliable for a bit, but I think they actually do a decent business with their beer and sake sales. Things rotated a lot when I was going there more regularly awhile back, and I’d see people come in just to buy beers. I always thought the markup on this stuff was more or less what was keeping it afloat in the face of HMart.

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Reliable had a huge selection of refrigerated beer, but the ones I was interested in, were quite old. Not good for IPA’s probably…

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I guess things aren’t moving out of there as fast as I assumed!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold