combination of two of winnie’s favorite things

had to come out of posting retirement to post this which is pretty much the perfect combination of two of winnie’s favorite things, food and needlecraft: Phil Ferguson’s Crocheted Food Hats.

semi-recent restaurants around central square

it’s been a while since i cross-posted anything, but just in case there are any readers who are interested in what’s been going on in central square, i just posted a rundown of semi-recent restaurants around central square on 9 dots. there have been a lot of new places opening lately, and i’m hoping the trend continues.

brunch in cambridge

on the offhand chance that anyone’s interested, i thought i’d put up a link to a post i wrote about brunch in central square. feel free to send me suggestions of places i’ve egregiously overlooked.

boston arts blog

winnie reminded me that i never post to this blog anymore, so i thought i’d finally get around to posting the link to the blog i’ve been maintaining on the side for a while now that’s focused on boston arts: Nine Dots Boston. i happened to post some restaurant reviews recently, including comments on Sorellina, Great Bay, and Cuchi Cuchi and an updated run-down of Korean restaurants in Boston. oh, and if matt’s reading this and is interested (or anyone else for that matter) here’s my post about The Pains of Being Pure at Heart show from a couple months back. so i didn’t abandon you for no reason, honest, and yes i’m still as overly critical about everything as ever. 😉

locke-ober: this is improvement?

i just realized i haven’t posted anything in a year. sheesh. lest you think i haven’t been eating anything in all that time (far from the truth) i thought i’d just mention a pretty much completely disappointing recent trip to locke-ober, a venerable boston institution. according to wikipedia it’s the second-oldest restaurant in boston, and despite recent renovations and new management by lydia shire the place is just about as outdated as you’d expect. the place was originally created as a gentleman’s restaurant, not even allowing women until the early 1970’s or so, and we heard tales of the shenanigans that went on in the private rooms in the upper floors. nowadays the place is still so subpar that one shudders to think of how it was before lydia shire’s involvement. the service was poor, the entrees were all steaks and the like, everything was oversalted and/or overly greasy, and the desserts were mediocre (w/ a particularly deplorable version of a baked alaska). the place does offer the occasional surprise, such as the indian pudding, but hardly enough to remotely tempt you to go. and as for lydia shire, she’s batting 0 for 2 for me, and although i’d always thought of her as being a boston icon i have yet to taste anything of hers that wasn’t mediocre at best and completely unappetizing at worst. maybe someone can stand up for her and enlighten me, but currently i have no desire to give her another chance for quite a long time.

cookin’ up trouble …

let it be known that someone with minimal cooking skills is embarking on a quest … namely, by taking vegetarian chinese cooking lessons at the aforementioned (by winnie) buddhist cultural center in cambridge MA. 8 weeks of 2 hours every sat early evening starting this week. crazy, i know, but as it’s hands-down my favorite restaurant ever i’ve been looking forward to it for a long while (since i believe they only do the classes once a year). any readers in boston care to join me? contact me for details. and maybe i’ll even be motivated to show off my new-found knowledge in future posts … that is assuming i haven’t destroyed the kitchen beyond repair.


just a quick post about a new music concert i went to on friday. kalistos is a relatively new new music ensemble in boston (that incidentally just achieved non-profit status). this string orchestra’s concert on friday at longy was uniquely programmed: one short solo work for bansri (indian flute) followed by four works by four different boston composers featuring soloists on koto (japanese plucked stringed instrument), violin, piano, and viola.

as one might expect of a contemporary concert the majority of the music was rather shorter on ideas and longer on textures, but hands down the real find was joanna kurkowicz, the solo violinist who i can’t believe i haven’t come across before. it is no exaggeration to say that it has been a very, very long time since i have heard as thrilling or magnetic a performer as kurkowicz, so much so that i practically rushed home to look her up online. her website has some great sound clips, although as with many other performers the recordings fail to do justice to her live virtuosity and presence. her performance of indian composer korde’s “cranes dancing” made sense of the sprawling, episodic, and (thanks in no small part to her) ultimately engaging work, and she led the orchestra in a deeply musical interpretation. her performance, although informed by a more romantically slavic style, had a glenn gouldian level of clarity of line and expression. and i don’t think i’ve ever heard such sheerly beautiful harmonics and glissandi (haha). anyway, you can be sure that i’ll be attending her next performance in boston, which i believe is the chameleon arts ensemble’s may concert at the goethe-institut. ok, enough gushing.


i thought some of you of the asian persuasion might find this interesting. american born chinese by gene yang is a graphic novel that was released in 2006 that has three storylines relating to growing up asian in america, one about a boy who “just wants to fit in”, another about the monkey king who apparently is a figure in chinese mythology, and the third a mock-sitcom that exploits every possible asian stereotype. i’m usu. not that into asian-american literature, but i def. enjoyed this, more than some more famous graphic novels (e.g. persepolis). the artwork is distinctive, and i can recommend this book w/out reservation. and it turns out this girl from my hometown who was a friend of a friend did the design. check it out, yo.

lights, camera, food porn

yes, i’m still behind on everything. this is just a quick post to say: 1) i went to salts (in cambridge) a couple of months ago and was quite disappointed. very ordinary and, perhaps surprisingly, undersalted. i know winnie used to speak very highly of salts, but i believe the management has changed since her time in boston. i remember carl was likewise quite disappointed in his trip there. 2) one of the guys from my fraternity has this cool website called where people post nice, pictorial how-to’s on loads of topics, including recipes (and a whole slew of ipod projects). haven’t really looked at the recipes much, but i thought people might be interested in this guide to better lighting for your food porn photography.

fashion as art

in a move that can quite fairly be described as “selling out”, the MFA is presenting a fashion exhibit through march 18th featuring pieces from the paris collections of 10 top designers from 2006. andy and i went to see it this past weekend, and overall i found it to be a bit disappointing. in theory i have nothing against fashion as art, but my main complaint was a matter of expectation: the pieces just weren’t anywhere near as daring as many that i’ve seen. i appreciated the clean, cool beauty of a lot of the works, such as viktor & rolf’s and lagerfeld’s collections, but i’m much more interested in more modern takes, such as hussein chalayan’s work which included chair armrests on shoulders, or even galliano’s playful collection inspired by, among other things, the french revolution. all in all it makes for a pleasant afternoon, although don’t expect anything earth-shattering. here’s a link to the mfa’s page on the exhibit and the nytimes article (not review) about it.

one other quickie: momofuku ando, the man who the world is forever indebted to for having invented ramen, died recently. the nytimes ran an oddly touching piece on him.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram


Flickr Photos