Posts Tagged 'boston'

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restaurant in boston, and despite recent renovations and new management by lydia shire the place is just about as outdated as you’d expect.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.

That you Mom?

I’ll admit, when Fred told me to meet him at the Greater Boston Buddhist Cultural Center in Cambridge, I was skeptical. I don’t try to force my pighead-eating ways on vegetarians, as much as it saddens me to know that they’re missing out on the sweet pleasures of dining on the animal kingdom, and I tend not to cook much flesh at home these days, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you about any vegetarian restaurants I particularly like. But the little homespun canteen inside the Buddhist Center was a total surprise.

It’s the only place I’ve ever eaten food that tastes like my mom’s cooking. Not remotely like it — JUST like it. With a forkful of those turnip cakes in my mouth, or some of those mustard greens or pressed tofu, and my eyes closed, I can almost hear her asking whether I’ve practiced violin yet or why I didn’t get the highest score on the calculus test.

Which is to say: it’s really, really good. I could eat an entire childhood’s worth of meals here.

(It’s kind of ironic that I would find my mom’s cooking at this vegetarian restaurant. She never shies away from adding bacon to anything. And in fact, her turnip cakes almost always have bacon in them. But there must be some other magic Mom-ingredient that I’ve never found in the cupboard. And that’s probably why I never try to cook any of her food at home; it just never tastes the same.)

BTJs and bugs: or, Tosci lives on with a few surprises

For whatever reason, Toscanini’s brunch still flies under the radar in Beantown. I don’t know why, since everyone should be queuing up for the

BTJ: Bacon, tomato jam, and scallion oil sandwich. It’s a genius combination. In fact, I’m kicking myself for not making any tomato jam last summer, because I would otherwise be making myself one of these sammies right now.

And while Tosci’s made the local paper again with its ice cream-for-entomophages, I have to say I’m not going to be lining up for the waterbug ice cream.

Which actually tastes just like strawberry, since that’s the base. I’ll eat it, happily, but strawberry’s never really been a favorite flavor of mine either. The chapulines, however, I can do without completely. Chocolate covered or not, grasshoppers taste weirdly, funkily — I would almost say stomach-turningly — sour.

Refrigerator raid: Mark (Special Cookbook Edition)

Not bad for a postdoc.

Name: Mark
Age: 31
Location: Cambridge, MA
Occupation: Scientist
Grocery shops: once every three weeks
Cooks: once every two weeks
Eats out: every meal
Favorite condiment: ketchup, Inner Beauty hot sauce (other habanero sauces close behind)
Favorite beer: anything cask conditioned or Harpoon IPA
Favorite takeout: pad thai
Grossest thing in there: when the potatoes soupify inside and become a loose bag filled with nasty smelling liquid and then you pick them up and the bottom sticks and the skin tears and the nasty liquid pours out. I have smelled nothing worse in my whole life. Not in there now, but once upon a time…

There’s Bolognese sauce he made in there. Cheeses on the top shelf: “Some good gruyère, 2-year-old yummy Manchego from Cardullo’s in Harvard Square, and some other random things but all good steady mild/dry/salty/sharp stuff. I don’t really do blue cheese.”

Not pictured: A LOT of chocolate all around Mark’s apartment.

My favorite part of Mark’s apartment is his cookbook shelf:

Burnt Caramel lives to see another day

The happiest ending I could have come up with.

Tosci’s, saved.

Spring in Beantown: Sights and shellfish

Skyward in South End.

Barbara Lynch’s Plum Produce

Wellfleets, blue points, malpeques, quilcenes, duxburies and something else at B&G Oysters (the best oysters I’ve had in recent memory).

B&G lobster roll. Not quite as good as Pearl, but I wouldn’t kick it out of bed either.

Even better than the lobster roll: fried clams.
On the summer agenda: clam crawl through the northeast.


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.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram


Flickr Photos