Sunday, June 29, 2014

Favorites from Kyla's Visit!

Us busy ladies finally got to trading photos from our trip, and there were so many good ones!  Some favorites are below, what a fun time to relive. 

Christina's Ice Cream

Marathon photo (I was in lab)

The Infinite!

Drinks!

The Tiki Special at Drink in Fort Point.

Afternoon Tea! 

Marathon ephemera exhibit at the library

Love this, so many smiles.


Wine in a beaker, so fun!

For brunch, I will have all the things.

Lab work!


Fabulous cocktails at Backbar (I'm the far right, milk punch!)

Dinner at Kirkland Tap and Trotter


Did I mention we love brunch?  Cause we love brunch.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Graduation!

(not mine, not quite yet, ha)

A well-deserved celebration for hard-working graduate!



Our first grade teacher!

Brother, and my mom and her three brothers! 

My dad's side of the family.

My grandmother's cousin Collette, her husband, and son...who, by the way, threw my mom into the lake when they were younger.  I don't remember who told me the story when I was about five, but for years afterwards, whenever I'd see him, I'd cross my arms and scowl at "the mean guy who threw my mom in a lake."  I was apparently quite frustrated at the seeming lack of justice in that whole chain of events.   

The cousins!


Christmas photo 2014!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Minnesota, 46 hours style

My younger brother's high school graduation meant a surprise visit home to spend 46 hours celebrating! 


Puppy!

Trees in our front yard


Having Dairy Queen twice in two months?  Amazing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Boston Eats: Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Battery Wharf

One of the newest additions to the afternoon tea scene in Boston is the tea service at the Fairmont Battery Wharf up in the North End. 


While I do love their well-designed and pretty menu, they could have used a copy editor ("macaroon," "sandwhiches," and "smolked").



A glass of sparkling rose was the perfect way to start the meal! 

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Battery Wharf
Ambiance - There are two types of seating; lower to the ground lounge chairs and couches, and then higher stools.  If you have a preference, I would be sure to mention it when you make your reservation.  Same with sitting near a window, I did miss the view a bit in my seat.  Like tea at the Langham, this service is also in the lobby, though they do a much better job of separating it from the incoming hotel guests.  The music was also a little strange for afternoon tea, in an indie top 40 sort of way.  It was raining on the day we went, so we didn't have the pleasure of having tea outside on the wharf, but I think that would be a simply splendid way to spend an afternoon.  They also offer three different iced teas for the summer (though hot tea is still offered). 

Waitstaff - Attentive and pleasant; upon seeing our Italian macarons and being curious as to the difference between Italian and French macarons, we queried our waiter, who had no idea.  He went back and asked the chef, and returned to explain the difference (it all has to do with how you prepare the meringue, see here for an explanation).

Savory - The cucumber and creme fraiche was my favorite, although the long cut of the cucumber made it a bit tricky to eat neatly.  The bread edges were a bit on the stale side, but not unforgivably so.  The watermelon salad was a nice and different inclusion, but the shrimp was anything but afternoon tea dainty (it was tasty, though, to be fair). 
Sweet - The macarons were fabulous.  As good as or better than I've had in Paris. 

Scones, clotted cream, and jam - The scones were tasty but crumbly.  I almost pulled a frugal-great-aunt-Marge and stole the adorable miniature jar of Bonne Maman strawberry jam.  The clotted cream was easy to spread and rich. 

Tea quality -The breakfast blend was fine, nothing outstanding.  However, I would comment on the quick cooling that happens in the French press style method of serving.  The second cup was simply lukewarm.  Especially if two people order the same tea, a more attentive method would be to serve the tea hot as it is requested. 

Cost - $39 per person

Overall - If I was doing the freedom trail and looking for an afternoon stopover, this would be a definite contender!  Everything was tasty, but a tad more grace and refinement wouldn't go amiss in the actual presentation of the savory course.  If you like macarons, run, don't walk.  They're that good. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox!

Postmodern Jukebox: new songs, played in the style of decades gone by.  So much fun. 





See that red/orange/green set of triangular circles just below the exact center?  That's Scott Bradlee.  I promise.

Some much better photos from the event:

from here

from here

from here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Boston Eats: Union Square Donuts

Sunday morning was perfect for a walk out to Union Square Donuts...it's funny, as I was walking the 40 or so minutes it takes to get there, the idea of where would this get me if I was home came to mind.  No one really walks anywhere for transportation back in Minnesota, things are just too spread out!  1.8 miles just doesn't get you very far.  It gets you to McDonald's.  Or to Lake Phalen.  But really, the number of restaurants that are in my reach in my 1.8 miles in Boston compared to the ones at home?  There's no contest. 



So hipster.  And so delicious.





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Boston Eats: Afternoon Tea at The Langham

I had already been to the Langham for their famed dessert bar, so when Sara came back into town and we needed to find a place for tea, I suggested we try a new tea place!




My camera apparently thinks the chair was more important to focus on than me. 





Ambiance - This tea is held in the lobby of a hotel.  It's a fancy lobby, of a fancy hotel....but it's still a lobby.  It's just not what one is looking for in a quiet afternoon of chatting.

Waitstaff - Nothing noteworthy either way.
Savory - Large portions, and good.  Not outstanding, but not bad, either.

Sweet - I was really shocked by how...strange the sweet goods were.  There was a weird mousse-cream hybrid that was just off, and the others were simply okay.  I had expected to be blown away after my experience at the chocolate bar, and frankly, hoping that tea would be a perfect blend of desserts sans the DJ experience.  In fact, we went up to where the dessert bar had been, and there's a lovely sitting room that's light an airy, and a much better place to hold an afternoon tea.  But instead...strange pastries in the lobby. 

Scones, clotted cream, and jam - Really, really good clotted cream.  The scones and clotted cream were the highlight of the tea.  And the scones were hot and well-insulated to maintain their freshness.

Tea quality - The breakfast blend was good. 

Cost - $36 per person, served daily from 2-7 pm

Overall - To me, the lackluster desserts and the lobby ambiance make it lower on my priority list for teas.  That said, the fact that they offer afternoon tea service from 2-7 pm every day does make it the most widely-accessible tea in Boston.  I think it's a good option if you're constrained by time, but otherwise, I'd choose somewhere else. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Deadly Gentleman's Ball

I've always loved bluegrass, and it's great to have a chance to see artists live.  This particular concert featured The Deadly Gentlemen and Sarah Jarosz. 










Friday, June 13, 2014

First and last adventures in Boston

Sara's first day back in Boston was essentially my favorite day ever...thrifting in Allston with Thai and bubble tea.  We hit up Buffalo Exchange, and both did exceedingly well.  I finally found a white eyelet cotton dress, something I'd been trying to find for years.  And, I got talked into buying a much shorter lacy white dress, and I fell in love with a neon pink blazer.  Sara found an array of shirts, shorts, and dresses in her navy/coral/olive color palette, all for a much less expensive price than things in Europe. 


Then, I lucked out at Urban Renewals, finding a 1942 book of maps that will be perfect for framing.  And yes, if it was in any sort of shape to keep as is, I would, but the binding is just about destroyed.  It's ready for a new purpose. 

Look at our haul!


A perfect day to walk across the bridge.




Sara had about an hour between getting back from Vermont and heading to the airport, so she decided getting a bit of caffeine to get her through to the plane was necessary.  So, we headed off to her favorite place and enjoyed the lovely weather and the fresh-cut grass.




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Science and Music Weekend!

Day 1:  Poster session!


Day 1:  (not shown) - last MIT Symphony concert of the semester! 


Day 3:  The Hospital-Bound Quintet Strikes Back!  Also known as our spring concert at the McCormick garden party, complete with iced Arnold Palmers and cucumber sandwiches. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kate comes to visit!

My lovely former RA from IWU came to visit Boston for a master class, and stopped by MIT for a quick tour and Area Four pizza.



Enjoying the reading room at the top of the dome...reminds me of Ames!  (sniff..I miss that library!)

Kate and her fiancee.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Boston Eats: Cafe Luna

The last stop of Kyla and Jesse's eating extravaganza was Cafe Luna for brunch -- definitely a proper send-off. 

Caramelized banana, chocolate, walnut, and whipped cream waffles.


Happiness is brunch with friends!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

MIT Quidditch

Because....obviously.




If one has a Quidditch Team, one must also have a marching band. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Boston Eats: Kirkland Tap and Trotter

The next stop on our epic Union Square journey was Kirkland Tap and Trotter, Tony Maw's outpost on Washington Street and Beacon Street in Somerville (Beacon is the same street as Hampshire coming from Inman Square).  Eric and I went to an epic (EPIC) meal at Craigie last year, so trying the more casual eatery seemed like a good way to spend our Saturday night. 

We loved the gardens, chickens, and mural (it's hard to see, but it says "Looking for something exciting never gets old"). 


We sat next to their open kitchen, and I gotta say...this guy is all about making order from chaos.  Color me impressed.


I ended up having the special, grilled octopus.  The texture of succulent charred suckers took the win for strangest bit of the night, but it was quite the tasty meal.

Sunday, June 1, 2014