Sunday, April 6, 2014

Candy from Switzerland

I was lucky enough to be spoiled by a Swiss girl with Swiss chocolate for Easter!

Sporting a chocolate and hazelnut shell and little eggs, this wonderful milk chocolate is the perfect thing for an after-dinner treat.

Sara and I ate about four of these bars in Switzerland, and they were a favorite of the bars I brought smooth and silky!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Back Bay Fire

On March 26, 2014, a 9-alarm fire broke out in a brownstone on Beacon Street across the river in Boston.  Two firefighters were killed, and the authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire. 

The photos below were taken by Sara around 7 pm that night.  At 10 pm, you could still see orange flames from the Penthouse.  The fire started around 3 pm.  Unbelievably sad.

The home fire station was the Engine 33 Firehouse, on Boylston Street right next to Hynes Convention Center and a short walk from Copley Square.  It's the one I pass whenever I walk to the Boston Public Library, or on a quick visit across the river to pick up groceries at Trader Joe's.  It's like the marathon, or the 35W bridge collapse, or the shooting of the MIT police officer, these tragedies are haunting places that I know, places that are in their own very small way, are very much mine. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Boston Eats: Afternoon Tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel

I feel like I've posted about eight times about the lovely afternoon tea experience at the Boston Harbor Hotel, but it's such a wonderful way to spend a few hours.  Gorgeous light streaming through the windows, delicious pastries, and no one rushing you through the door.  Even better, they offer afternoon tea every day of the week...just make a reservation and you're set!

Gorgeous blue skies!

So excited for tea!

Boston cream pie cream puff, chocolate-dipped strawberry, salted caramel tart, and raspberry mascarpone tart.

The ham and cheese on the far left was a surprise hit, and the lobster and salmon were creamy and savory.

Those scones!  That cream!  The cookies!  Okay, I'm officially ready to go back for more tea. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Boston Eats: Bergamot

My lovely guest took me out to Bergamot for their seven course chef's tasting, and what a treat!  On a very food-centric corner in Somerville, Bergamot is a small restaurant with an open kitchen at the back.  (they're next to Kirkland Tap and Trotter, the Wine and Cheese Cask, and Dali)

Sadly, like most fancy restaurants, they love the whole dark and moody atmosphere, which means that pictures don't turn out at all, and that it's hard to see your food.  I'm not asking for fluorescent lighting, but sheesh.  Cut a girl a break. 

But - the meal, from the bread and lime-chive butter to the spring garlic soup to the perfectly cooked salmon to the fennel ice cream, was a memorable and delicious experience.  Highly recommended. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Boston Eats: Brunch at Commonwealth

Kendall Square has really transitioned into a food destination in the past five years...from Area Four to Catalyst to Voltage to Tatte, there are plenty of new places to check out. 

Commonwealth is a new one for me, it's right off of Cambridge street next to Za.  We snagged a seat next to the windows in the front, and it ended up being such a nice light-filled experience (much of the rest of the restaurant is sadly much darker)

Want to guess what I ordered?  A gym membership was included. 

Must start with oysters. 

Pulled pork and buttermilk pancakes, then the biscuits and fried chicken and sausage gravy and eggs and bacon.  I only finished half of it. 

Yup, I bet you're jealous.

They've got an excellent urban farm thing going on. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boston Eats: Scholar's Bar

Before the ballet, we had hoped to grab burgers, fried pickles and beer at JM Curley's, but they were all filled up, so we had to find another spot. 

But luckily, Scholar's Bar was just a short walk away.  While it was definitely busy with the Friday night crowd, we were able to get a table, and thank the stars they had fried pickles.  I'm certainly not normally a fried food person, but it's hard not to make an exception for fried pickles.  For a burger and fries, a flatbread pizza, two orders of glazed carrots, beet salad, tuna tartare, fried pickles, two orders of bacon bourbon brussels sprouts, apple pie a la mode and a cocktail each, it was the perfect amount for five girls - no leftovers, and it cost an even $30 with tip.  Perfect. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Boston Ballet: Cinderella

The newest show by the Boston Ballet was Cinderella, and goodness, it was lovely! 

A retelling scored by Sergei Prokofiev, this version has the step-sisters as silly comedic relief (played by men),  Napoleon and Wellington make an appearance at the ball, and Cinderella's father is still alive.  Disney, it is not. 

Happy to be up in the nosebleeds with our $20 rush tickets!

Hmm, I think my love of chandeliers is showing....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Boston Eats: Late Night Ramen at Uni

A lovely lady had her belated wedding reception downtown this past weekend, and wow, so much fun!

Ladies of the lab (and Jeff?)

Of course, late nights downtown (obviously) mean late night ramen at Uni!  Be warned, they've transitioned to a midnight start time, the patrons paying top dollar at Clio were getting a bit tired of drunk riffraff.  But, if you're stuck waiting, I can heartily recommend sitting at the bar, they know their stuff.  And if you're polite and well-behaved, they'll give you a booth in the upper restaurant and have you first on the list for a steaming bowl of noodles.  

Shisito peppers and bonito flakes (erhmygodsogood).  9/10 are just a pleasant tingle, but that 1/10 will make your mouth burn, it's like pepper roulette. 

Pork bun!

While we were there, the clock turned over to midnight, and Jim joined the land of 28-year olds.  I don't know of many better ways to start a year than with ramen. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Media Lab

BE had part of their interview weekend at the new addition of the Media Lab at MIT---they're the media darlings of campus, always doing something seemingly impossible, from helping a victim of the Boston Marathon bombings dance again to making trillion-frame-per-second video to making cell phones capable of doing eye tests in third world countries

I would argue that incredible things are happening all over campus, even if the results aren't quite as immediate as having an amputee dance across a stage. 

But, however jealous I am of their publicity team, their building is awe-inspiring.  Airy, welcoming, full of collaboration, it's the perfect place to be if you're interested in technology design for human interaction. 

The Silk Pavilion...combining 3D printing and silk worms.  Yeah, I bet you wish you thought of it, too. 

The view from the sixth floor is gorgeous.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dim Sum Study Break

One of my favorite study breaks is a trip off campus to Chinatown for some Cantonese deliciousness...the best part is, the more people you have, the better it is!  Hei La Moon is my personal favorite, but there are lots of other options around Chinatown.  They're unfortunately not vegetarian- or allergen-friendly, there's shellfish in pretty much everything.

Starting at the bottom right, we have wrapped meat and rice, then going clockwise there's tripe, phoenix talons (chicken feet), short ribs, hot tea, fried pork buns, more wrapped meat, and then in the middle is (my favorite) scallion and chive shrimp fried dumplings.

All smiles, so much deliciousness to be had!

The arch!

They ran out (!!!) of sweet pineapple buns at Hei La Moon, so of course we had to go buy some at the store across the street.  For 80 cents.  So worth it.