The Chocolate Truffle: Winchester

Juicy figs, bubbly champagne, sophisticated red wines, bold and earthy espresso… these are a few of the most enjoyable things in life. When they are rolled inside a decadent piece of chocolate that melts upon the slightest touch of warmth surrounded by a tasty, hardened shell, I couldn’t care less about eating actual figs or sipping on hot espresso. This is where it’s at.

The Chocolate Truffle is my guilty pleasure when I walk around Winchester center. After picking up some goods at CVS or a fresh cup of coffee at Starbucks, there’s nothing that ends the day better than a beautifully handcrafted morsel.

Started in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1990, Bacci Chocolate Design created this lovely boutique which can be found in two locations, Reading and Winchester. Owners Erin Calvo-Bacci and Carlo Bacci have done a wonderful job with all their products. Not only are they delicious, but they are also great ideas for gifts! Of course your friend will be happy if you buy a box of truffles for them, but what about chocolate dipped twinkies, chocolate bark, chocolate bars with bacon, chocolate pizza, chocolate buffalo wings, chocolate shoes- I had you at “bacon,” didn’t I? Many of these products are purchased locally as well, which is another reason why I love this little shop.

I believe each truffle is about $2, which is a bit on the pricey side- but I’d much rather pay an extra dollar for a memorable morsel than a dollar for something I feel indifferent about. Experiencing fig seeds popping inside of your mouth while you satisfy your sweet tooth is something everyone should be entitled to!

The Chocolate Truffle… is it really a guilty pleasure if I feel absolutely no shame?

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China Sky

What’s the difference between China Sky and the typical Chinese restaurant in Chinatown? Here’s one: open space. Here’s another: it is contemporary while being comfortable. Although you can’t see it in the pictures, there is plenty of street parking so you don’t have to deal with pesky meters, Boston traffic or the road rage associated with it. Also, the service here is very inviting and attentive- your menus aren’t just carelessly plopped in front of you.

But wait- there’s a catch! A street full of parking, no road rage, open spaced dining area… this may be too good to be true. And in this case, it kind of is. You pay for what you get. China Sky is an absolutely lovely place, but their food comes with a hefty price tag. Surprisingly the more expensive dishes are the dinner plates, as opposed to the sushi. Who knew!

Crab Rangoon (6 pcs) - $6.95

Spicy Salmon Roll - $5.45, Eel and Avocado Roll - $5.45

What’s a better appetizer than a fried appetizer? One of my fatty favorites is the crab rangoon; cream cheese, imitation crab, savory onions…perfect. The only way you can get this wrong is if the portions of filling are excruciatingly tiny or your cream cheese has already expired and spoiled. Unfortunately, portions were tiny and they were scantily filled. Oh, woe is my mouth and happy are my arteries.

But here’s the good news- their sushi? Bomb. I’ve seen a couple of reviews for China Sky that say “all the dishes here are fantastic- but we will not be ordering the sushi next time.” I am a bit dumbfounded with this reoccurring statement. The sushi here is the best bang for your buck! They are generously portioned and they also do little things I appreciate, like for the Spicy Salmon Roll. Inside the roll is a large piece of salmon and the rest is the chopped, spicy salmon mixture, so you are really eating two different textures together in one. Simple, unique, scrumptious. I haven’t met a roll I didn’t like!

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce - $12.95

General Tso's Chicken - $14.95

Crispy Sesame Shrimp - $17.95

The thing is… I feel absolutely terrible for saying that I did not fully enjoy my dinners here because I genuinely think China Sky is a wonderful staple to Winchester. I am just disappointed with how such popular Chinese dishes can be prepared so differently here. For example, the General Tso’s Chicken- a very, very popular dish everyone loves to order; sweet, tangy, crunchy, moist chicken- yum, right? Instead it was on the stale side and the chicken was dry and tough. For $10 at most Chinese restaurants, I was hoping $15 would get me at least the same quality or more. As for the shrimp, not bad at all. The shrimp itself was very fresh and the sauce accompanying it was perfectly light, there were no overpowering salty flavors to my surprise- but “crispy” in the Crispy Sesame Shrimp was missing. Once again, portions were on the small side and I will probably be ordering something else next time. Lastly, the Eggplant and Garlic Sauce dish. Of the three plates we had, this one was my favorite. With a colorful assortment of fresh and crispy vegetables, the meaty eggplant and my rice bowl became the perfect couple that night. Be prepared to finish it when you take your first bite.

Overall, maybe China Sky isn’t my favorite Chinese restaurant in the Boston area, but it is one of the better restaurants in Winchester. For the locals, it is a staple where you can hear old friends reunite over the buzz of cheerful conversations in the air. They are happy to see one another and dine in such a beautiful setting with friendly service. There’s something very “warm” about this place.

If you are in the area, this may not be a bad place to have lunch or dinner, but above all, this is definitely the best sushi in Winchester.

Looking forward to your delectable Spicy Salmon Roll, China Sky!
Total Meal: $70
Servings: 3 people

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