All posts by leahklein

As far back as I can remember, I would wake up from my nap time to the smell and sounds of something cooking in the kitchen. I would stumble out of my bed and slowly make my way to the kitchen. My mom would be there chopping, stirring, mixing, or washing. I would rub my eyes take a deep breath and eventually be awake enough to either taste something she was chopping or ask to help out.

Isabelle Takes on Pantry’s Turkey Roulade

As I mentioned, I recently popped into Pantry in Brookline to see what it was all about.  For this review, they sent me home with their Turkey Roulade recipe for 2.  My 11 year old daughter, who loves to cook, took on the recipe and made us dinner last week.  The recipe is made for two but it was plenty to serve four.  We loved the green beans so much from the recipe that they’ll probably be replacing our usual Thanksgiving recipe.

Although Isabelle is perhaps more comfortable in the kitchen than many adults, she was able to complete the recipe in an hour.  Most recipes take 35 minutes or so, but this is no ordinary dinner.  Isabelle made it from start to finish alone until it was time to cut the roulade.  Then she asked for a little help.

It was delicious and enjoyed by all three of us!

The Thanksgiving Roulade is available at Pantry in Brookline just in time for those of you who still haven’t quite figured out what to do for Thanksgiving this year.


New Mother Hubbard: A Full Pantry in Brookline

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.         -Nursery Rhyme

Keeping a well stocked kitchen and pantry can be difficult.  Whether you are a single college student with no time or skill to cook, or a love of getting creative in the kitchen, cooking for 1, 2, or 3 depending on the roommate situation, is not always easy.  Figuring out how much to buy and make without wasting time or money, is part art part science.  Then throw in a a spontaneous night out or two and  you’re left with uncooked ingredients gone bad.  Pantry has a solution, for the grad student, the empty-nesters, and the tentative cook.

When you walk into Pantry, the recipes are all hanging above beautifully handmade “workstations” which have all the ingredients (sourced locally whenever possible). Each recipe has wine and beer pairings as well.

I recently took a drive over to Pantry in Brookline to see what it was all about.  Pantry sent me home with one of their more elaborate meals (most take 25-45 minutes to make start to finish) to test just in time for Thanksgiving.  My 11 year old daughter, who is very comfortable in the kitchen, took on dinner and pulled together a tasty Thanksgiving Roulade for two, which in our family served 4 for dinner. She has been asking me to bring her to Pantry ever since because she wants to pick out a recipe of her own to make us for dinner one day soon.

Take a look inside to get a hint of what it’s like to walk into Pantry and find none of the cupboards are bare, and not only that but everything is portioned, packaged and ready for you.

Nutcracker: A different kind of kick-off

There is no one stronger than a ballerina.  It’s true that the sugar plum fairy is delicate, but don’t be fooled even Clara puts up a good fight against Fritz for her nutcracker.  Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker is just about to kick off at the Opera House on Friday, November 29th  Friday, November 27th.  If you haven’t seen Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker yet you are in for a treat!

This has little to do with the Nutcracker, but I love Bailey’s and I love a great ad.  NB:  Don’t mess with a ballerina!

Fantasy Thanksgiving Menu: Boston Area Thanksgiving To Go

I love to cook, so our Thanksgiving is prepared by me and my entire family with a few exceptions. We always have a selection of Fastachi nuts, seeds, and mixes for guests to nibble on while the turkey is cooking. I also love the ooey gooey deliciousness of Petsi Pies pecan pie so I always have to add one to our dessert table next to my mom’s and husband’s pie.  Many people would rather leave the cooking to others and luckily there are a lot of people making some amazing food to go. All you have to do is choose your menu and get your orders in on time.

My fantasy menu:


Mushroom bisque from Ten Tables ($16/quart)

Roasted Squash and Leek Soup from Formaggio Kitchen ($6/ serving)

With a choice of:

Buttermilk Biscuits with Parsley and Sage or Double Corn Cornbread with Honey and Fresh Thyme from Flour Bakery ($2.95/biscuit $9/cornbread loaf)

A slather of Sofra’s house made crème fraîche butter with honeycomb will go perfectly with the biscuits.  ($9/pint)

For the cornbread and dinner rolls I’d serve Hi Rise’s own cultured butter. ($8.50/8oz)

Turkey & Vegetarian Main:

If you want to cook a little then pop in to Pantry, in Brookline. Pantry has everything measured and ready for you recipe, ingredients and all.  Their Turkey Roulade recipe serves two and all you have to do is pop in and pick up all the elements of the dish portioned out and all ready to go.  The Turkey Roulade and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing with Mushroom Gravy and Green Beans ($24) is for two people. Each “Recipe Kit” is pre-portioned, locally sourced when possible, and simple to prepare. 

Wilson Farm is happy to cook the entire turkey dinner for you.  Thanksgiving “to go” includes a 10 to 12 pound Plainville Farm turkey, 2.5 pounds of mashed potatoes, butternut squash, traditional bread stuffing and 2 pounds of green beans almondine. There’s also a 16 ounce jar of Wilson Farm cranberry sauce, two 13oz. turkey gravy and 12 soft dinner rolls. Then just in case your guests have room included is a nine-inch, pumpkin pie. (serves 6-8 hungry adults $129)

We have, despite my initial trepidation, become a family that fries their turkey. If you, like me, are afraid of a huge bubbling vat of vegetable oil, let Summer Shack fry your turkey for you ($95/8-10 people) and it comes with gravy. Roasted turkeys and sides are also available.

The vegetarian guests would get a generous slice of Butternut Squash Phyllo Pie with Gruyere from Sofra ($22 serves 4-6)

One gravy is good but more gravy is better.  Flour has an apple cider, thyme pan gravy that sounds delectable. 

Sides Galore:

To me, the turkey is all well and good but the feast is really all about the sides.  So continuing along with the fantasy menu there will be.

Scallion mashed potatoes from Formaggio (sm ($9) serves 1-2, med ($18) serves 4-6, lg ($32) serves 10-12)

Brussels Sprouts with crispy garlic, pepitas and sherry vinaigrette from Sofra ($18 serves 4-6)

Hi Rise’s glazed Brussels sprouts made with honey mustard and toopes with crispy morsels of bacon.

Sofra’s Bread & Butter stuffing with leeks, celery and nigella seeds ($16 serves 4-6)

Formaggio’s housemade sausage stuffing ($8/sm, $16/med, $30/lg)

Mac ‘n cheese from Ten Tables ($16/quart)

Since this is a fantasy menu I don’t have to choose, thank goodness, because I want both the meat steeped stuffing and the vegetarian one from Flour so there will be: classic herb stuffing with butternut squash, kale and apples as well as the duck-fat country bread stuffing with currants, winter greens, smoked bacon and shallots.

Flour’s roasted cauliflower with almonds capers and golden raisins ($12 serves 3-4)

Garlic braised dark leafy greens from Sofra ($14 serves 4-6)

Formaggio Kitchen’s haricots verts sautéed with almonds because there always has to be green beans. Because I love my greens I’ll also take some creamed spinach ($9/sm, $18/med, $32/lg)

We’ll take one can of cranberry sauce because there is always someone who wants that jelly, but then there will also be a few other options.


Maple onion jam from Sofra ($8/pint)

Quince and cranberry relish with Syrian spice ($9/pint)

Flour’s cranberry, ginger, and orange chutney ($7/pint)

Cranberry relish from Hi Rise with apples, golden raisins, ginger, walnuts and Ruby Port (my homemade cranberry sauce always has Port) $12/pint $23/quart. 


A selection of Formaggio’s cheeses local cheeses (this is an all American holiday after all) paired with a little of Hi Rise’s fig and almond conserve ($12/9oz jar). 

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie from Formaggio Kitchen ($27)

Sofra’s Candied Pumpkin Revani – Syrup-soaked semolina cake ($24)

1 double crust apple pie from Flour ($26)

a roasted pear and cranberry crostata also from Flour ($28)

Hi Rise’s cranberry crumble because I secretly love an oat crumble more than pie crust ($15/6 inch or $22/8 inch)

Pear, Almond and Golden Raisin Umm Ali from Sofra ($24)
A pecan pie, an apple crumb, a pumpkin and a sweet potato pie from Petsi Pies ($24 each)

South End Buttery’s chocolate salted caramel cupcakes ($18/ 1/2 dozen) because to some there is no dessert unless there is chocolate somewhere and for our little guests cupcakes are way better than pie.

Because there can always be pie for breakfast, I will add in a frangipane and pear tart from Praliné ($20/ 4 servings, $30/6, $38/8)

Now that is a feast!  

This is just a small selection of what you can get and I love that Flour has thought about breakfast too with treats like: pumpkin spice bread with candied pepitas, gluten-free chocolate chip and coconut muffin cake, a delicata squash, goat cheese and onion jam crostata, old fashioned gingebread with coffee glaze just to name a few. 

If you want to make any of this fantasy menu your reality- juat make sure yoi get your order in on time. Check online, call or stop in to meet the deadline.


Trot Trot to Hudson: Foliage and Tasty Food in Hudson, MA

A hidden treasure to visitors, this bridge goes over a beautiful stretch of the nearby river.
A hidden treasure to visitors, this bridge goes over a beautiful stretch of the nearby river.

I have no idea where most of New England actually is.  I hear names of towns that all sound vaguely familiar and each town seems to have a similarly named town to the North, East and West of Boston. As a family we’d head out to some small town for various festivals or occasions.  Town fairs, apple picking, pumpkin patches and the like. I would research places to stop mid-way on trips to New York or Maine when my daughter was a baby because she was what an Uber driver might call a nightmare passenger.  In any case, now the children are older and our days and weeks are busier but we still make time to do a little exploring.  I also take the time now, thanks to my network of social media food, vintage, and travel folks, to visit places I’ve seen them post on Instagram, blogs or good old fashion magazine and newspaper articles.

The leaves were just beginning to turn at a nearby park and playground just minutes from my destination.

Most recently, I headed out to much buzzed about (on my computer at least) Hudson, MA.  From what I gather from gps and my ride to and from Hudson is a big circle away from Cambridge.  I headed down via 90 and came home via route 2.  My best reference point is that Hudson is near apple picking country, not far from the famous Honey Pot Hill and the many other smaller orchards in the area.

You don’t have to go to Somerville for a hipster ice cream/coffee shop. It turns out that the suburbs are creating a new identity for themselves. This is one trend I can get behind and hopefully the locals will too. It is this type of independent community-centric business that every town deserves and so many have lost. We can have nice things if we support local business.  And, we can have dessert!

There is always room for dessert. The entrance at New City Microcreamery, which is open for coffee and pastries in the morning and ice cream all day.
There is always room for dessert. The entrance at New City Microcreamery, which is open for coffee and pastries in the morning and ice cream all day.

New City Microcreamery is a wonderful space to meet for coffee. If you work from cafés like I often do and you need a change of scene, then a day in Hudson might be just right.  I am still planning to go apple picking (I know it’s late!) and then head over to the Microcreamery to get ice cream with the family.

Breakfast at the New City Microcreamery

For breakfast, I decided to try their homemade English Muffins.  They were just right.  The apple tart was not bad, but not as fresh as I would have liked. I had two drinks (sometimes you need two).  The first is a cappuccino made with Grounded coffee out of NYC and then I also had the steamed apple cider.  This is the best steamed apple cider I have had because they squeeze 1/2 an orange into it which cuts the syrupy sweetness of the steamed cider #brilliant!

Just making some steamed cider with a freshly squeezed orange.

I recently returned to New City Microcreamery after a family stroll through Tower Hill Botanic Gardens and the whole family indulged in ice cream.  My daughter and I enjoyed the Java the Heath (coffee and Heath bar), my husband had the Vegan vanilla, my son had Vanilla, and my father-in-law had their Bourbon Vanilla which I also sampled and really liked.

New City Microcreamery in a nutshell.
New City Microcreamery in a nutshell.

The baked goods are pretty good and I particularly liked this mash cookie that is made from the mash that is used to make beer for the Rail Trail Flatbread Co. They have a slight earthiness and taste like a really good, not too sweet oatmeal raisin cookie.

Beer mash cookies.
Beer mash cookies.

The Rail Trail Flabread Co. has three main seating areas.  There is the bar area with sevearl tables and a wrap around bar as well as some bar seating by the window.  There is a back room with a larger dining area that is perfect for families and larger groups.  The prime seating though, is right up front by the powerful wood burning pizza oven.


Although the pizza is one of the star players (choose one with the funk – a garlic and parmesan concoction), the salads and sides are pretty fabulous too.

Brussels Sprouts are so good when cooked just right. Add some bacon and a creamy delicious dressing of sorts and they become an addiction.
Buffalo tater tots with blue cheese dressing.


I wouldn’t usually think to order a breakfast style pizza. I tend to go classic with a tomato sauce and cheese.  The Benedict however was a fabulous diversion.  It was creamy and tangy and rich with the egg on top.  The perfect slice to enjoy with a salad and have plenty leftover for a midnight snack.

The Benedict has a butter base, maple-glazed ham, pineapple, bourbon cherries, a chilled hollandaise, chives and is topped with a sunny side up egg.
mmmmm pizza
If you get a seat by the pizza ovens you can see all the action and enjoy the fire too.
Pizzas waiting to be cooked.

Save the Date: Picco Fundraiser for Syrian Refugees

We love Picco and now we love it even more.  On Monday, November 9th, Picco is hosting an evening of all their fabulous pizza, salad and ice cream in order to raise money to support Syrian Refugees in collaboration with CARE and International Rescue Committee.

Pisco love.  Margherita Pizza.
Pisco love. Margherita Pizza.

There will be 3 different seatings on Monday, November 9th.  With a minimum donation of $75 you get all the pizza, salad and ice cream you can eat as well as beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.  Local wine and beer companies will be on hand to pour and discuss their offerings.  In addition there will be a raffle featuring items donated by other members of the Boston community.  Whether you only eat a slice of pizza and have a scoop of ice cream or you indulge just remember it is all about the cause.

Seatings are:

  • 5:00 – 6:45 (arrival 5-5:30)
  • 6:45 – 8:30 (arrival 6:30 -7:00)
  • 8:30 – 10:00 (arrival 8:15-8:45)

Tickets can be purchased by calling the restaurant (617) 927-0066, by email with “Refugee Fundraiser” in the subject line) or in person at Picco 513 Tremont St.

Forget #PSL and Pumpkin Spice: 5 Must Try Pumpkin Dishes Around Boston

The thing about Pumpkin Spice and #PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latté) is that the pumpkin doesn’t really belong in the title.  Spices that are used in pumpkin pie are often found in apple pies and other New England dishes. The real workhorse though is the pumpkin this time of year. We gouge it to make our Halloween Jack ‘O Lanterns. We roast its seeds for tasty snacks and seasonal salads. We caramelize pumpkin seeds for dessert garnitures. The pumpkins are roasted, sliced, puréed, and transformed into bread puddings, pies, cakes, soups, salads, and more. So I’m asking you to put down your PSL and get out to try these fabulous pumpkin dishes.

A Classic

Henrietta's Table's classic rich, smooth pumpkin bisque.
Henrietta’s Table’s classic rich, smooth pumpkin bisque.

I love Harvard Square in the fall. The yard is full of students who have settled into their school routines. The leaves are changing and quintessential Mr. Autumn Man is everywhere you look. He may even be sitting next to you as you sip your PSL. Henrietta’s Table is one of my favourite places to dine in the Square because it feels like a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle.  There are stone sculptures of humble gourds and paintings of farm fresh vegetables, while a bronze-colored Henrietta pig welcomes guests at the front of the restaurant. Chef Peter Davis’ food is just simply delicious literally. It is simple but perfectly prepared. The pumpkin bisque is a great example of this. The seasonings change but the basics do not. The bisque is made with roasted pumpkin, just enough cream to smooth it out without making it too rich, and familiar New England fall seasonings from the outdoor herb garden. For a little something extra hints of curry or ginger are added giving the pumpkin bisque it’s own personality throughout the season. Ask your server what the flavors are each week and you can enjoy the bisque over and over again without ever tiring of it.

A Cocktail

A pumpkin shrub for a unique, tasty totally not pumpkin spiced cocktail.
A pumpkin shrub for a unique, tasty totally not pumpkin spiced cocktail.

Often pumpkin cocktails are creamy, rich and sickly sweet. This one, however, is everything a pumpkin cocktail should be.  The Pumpkin Harvest Cocktail at Henrietta’s Table is refreshing and tasty.  It is a nod to fall with flavours of ginger and maple syrup layered over a pumpkin shrub. The lightness and acidity comes from a brightly flavored pumpkin shrub.  he shrub is made by adding roasted pumpkin with some (yes I’m saying it) pumpkin spices, a little sugar, and some cider vinegar. The shrub sits overnight and is then strained and ready for use in a cocktail. The Pumpkin Harvest Cocktail is made with Vermont Gold Vodka, Pumpkin Shrub and Gingerale with Vermont Maple Syrup Sugared Rim and it pairs quite nicely with all the wonderful fall comfort foods.

Something Completely Different

Meat sauce and pumpkin. Something I would never have thought to order, but I'm so glad we did. Thanks to Debbie of A Little Bit of a Lot of Things for being in the know!
Meat sauce and pumpkin. Something I would never have thought to order, but I’m so glad we did. Thanks to Debbie of A Little Bit About a Lot of Things for being in the know!

Helmand is a mystical place that I have heard about since we first moved to the area. Mystical because it’s in an odd location and because I don’t know exactly what Afghani food is. Helmand is an Afghani restaurant that sits in a slightly odd location in the shadows of the giant Cambridgeside Galleria. I heard good things about Helmand from visitors and locals alike and yet in all my years in the area I never made my way down there to check it out until now. A fellow blogger and I went recently and had a taste of what Helmand had to offer. While we didn’t love every dish we ordered, I will definitely go back again if not just for this one pumpkin dish. This appetizer is pumpkin perfection. Kaddo is a pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin that is seasoned with sugar. The extra sweetness works perfectly even though I have to admit I was a little hesitant since I think pumpkin is usually sweet enough on its own. On top of this sweet melt in your mouth pumpkin is a large dollop of yogurt garlic sauce that is then topped with ground beef sauce that has the taste of very fresh and simple Bolognese. My mouth is watering just at the memory of this dish!

A Little Something Sweet

While squirrels are searching for and gathering nuts, I am popping into Sofra on a weekly basis to check their supply of pumpkin jam. They have it fresh in the refrigerated section, but I’m hoping they will also can a few jars, as they have in the past, so I can stock my pantry too. The pumpkin jam pops up in the menu in several different ways. There is the layered yoghurt and grano breakfast “trifle” that is now made with pumpkin jam or spoon sweets. There is the decadent and over the top, but perfectly so, pumpkin jam turnover.

The Pumpkin Jam Latté


It is the PSL that started this whole pumpkin craze, so I can’t leave out the real pumpkin not just pumpkin spice latte that they make at Sofra.  To outdo and outshine lattés everywhere, there is the Pumpkin Jam Latté that is made with actual pumpkin in the form of a sweet, lightly spiced pumpkin jam. In addition to treating myself to the occasional Pumpkin Jam Latté, I like to bring home a batch to spread on toast, add to yoghurt, or dollop on pancakes.
NB: Okay so I realize that none of these places are in Boston, in fact they are all on the other side of the river.  So, if you have a must try dish, dessert, beverage with actual pumpkin, please share it below in the comments.

Harissa Hummus Noodle Salad with Chicken and Chutney (Recipe * Sponsored)

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and the flavors of roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and tangy cranberry sauce are about to take over our lives for a few days. In preparation for Thanksgiving, I like to step off the continent and travel to flavours from around the world so that I am ready to delve into the meat and potatoes come Thanksgiving. Dreamfields Pasta has asked me to create a Middle Eastern style recipe.  So, I put together a basket full of specific ingredients and came up with this noodle salad.

In my Middle Eastern basket is a tin of Harissa, some chick peas, garlic, chutney, chicken, peanut butter, carrots and lemons.

This recipe is a play on a typically Asian cold noodle salad with a peanut sauce. Instead of a classic peanut sauce it has a chickpea “dressing” that coats the pasta. The peanut butter replaces tahini that you would find in a classic Middle Eastern Hummus. The Major Grey’s chutney provides a little sweetness, the lemons give the salad some brightness and the harissa provides the heat.



Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes

  •  1/2 box Dreamfields Spaghetti
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • medium lemon, zested and juiced, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1clove garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • tablespoons Major Grey’s chutney (see notes)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed, shredded (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons harissa
  • Lemon slices (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Place pasta in large bowl; set aside.
  2. Place chickpeas, water, half of lemon juice, the olive oil, peanut butter, garlic and salt, as desired in blender or food processor container. Process until blended completely. Slowly add additional water, up to one tablespoon, if thinner consistency is desired; set aside.
  3. Place chutney and remaining lemon juice in small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH, checking at 30 second intervals, just until chutney mixture begins to soften. Uncover and stir. Pour over shredded chicken; stir to combine.
  4. Add chickpea mixture to pasta; toss to coat well. Add chicken and carrots; toss to combine well. Add harissa to pasta; toss until harissa is well mixed into pasta. Sprinkle with the lemon zest. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: Grilled, pan-fried or roasted boneless skinless chicken breast can be substituted.

For a vegan/vegetarian option, replace the chicken with fried or grilled tofu.

Other chutney can be substituted. Adjust harissa to taste, depending on heat level of the chutney.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 390 calories; 23 g protein; 57 g carbohydrates; 9 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 40 mg cholesterol; 370 mg sodium; 9 g total dietary fiber.

 Enter to win a family pack of pasta and a $25 gift card from Dreamfields here.

A Third, A Musical Third and a Balletic First: Boston Ballet’s North American Premiere

In music, a third is a beautiful thing.  It is a simple little interval that hops from do (c) to mi (e). It comes in majors and minors and we hear them in old nursery rhymes and popular music.  In John Neumeier’s The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, the choreographer takes things that we take for granted when listening to music and highlights them through movement.

In this North American Premiere, Boston Ballet performs The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler intertwining music and movement even more closely than any other ballet I have seen.  When you get lost in music, it washes over you and takes you out of a time and space.  The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler does more than that.  With John Neumeier’s choreography you  are at once lost in the music and also completely present as the dancers’ movement highlights the symphony itself.  It is an emotional journey of sight and sound.


There are themes in movement as there are themes in the music that appear and reappear throughout the symphony.
There are themes in movement as there are themes in the music that appear and reappear throughout the symphony.


The dancing asks you to hear the themes in the music.  The dancers ask you to join them in absorbing the music by bearing witness to the power, the tenderness, the playfulness as well as the emotions that each of these moments evoke.

There are moments of tenderness throughout the piece that sing with the music and even without a story tug on your heart strings.
A head on a shoulder or a full embrace. It is something everyone can relate to and feel.

Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler is an orchestral performance as well as a ballet. It is as if you are listening to the symphony with a close friend or family member.  You are sitting with someone who loves music and wants to share the experience with you. They lean in and whispers to you “Do you hear that sadness coming from the strings?” “Doesn’t this sound like the moment just before sunrise?” “How playful is this part, doesn’t it just make you want to do a little jig?”

The movement is literal sometimes and other times the melody alludes to a mood or a moment.
The movement is literal sometimes and other times the melody alludes to a mood or a moment. The legs reverberate here as the vibrato from the instruments rises from the orchestra pit.

There are times when you can actually see the vibrato of the instruments in the dancer’s bodies. You see crescendos and all the dynamic notations that sit atop the musical staff.

Anaïs Chalendard, Paulo Arrais, and Lasha Khozashvili performing a spectacular lift.
Anaïs Chalendard, Paulo Arrais, and Lasha Khozashvili performing a spectacular lift.

John Neumeier’s choreography includes some unique and spectacular lifts and human pyramids but there are also classic ballet partnering moments. This careful weaving of contemporary and new with classical and familiar makes the audience experience rich and effortless. This truly is a performance to be experienced with the heart and the senses while you let the mind have a night off. Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler is divided into six movements with titles, but I chose to ignore the titles and in fact, I didn’t look at them or read about them before the performance.  As I mentioned before, John Neumeier, created Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler as a completely new form of work. The emphasis was on the expression without words. As soon as we read those words in the program, it becomes much harder for us to let go of them.

Erica Cornejo and Lasha Khozashvili in a spectacular turning lift.
A beautifully executed more traditional lift with Bradly Schlagheck and XXXXX
A beautifully executed more traditional lift with Eris Nezha and Dusty Button.

The only time that the performance really pushes the boundaries for the audience is when the music is taken away. The vacuum it creates as the music disappears can be a difficult one to fill. The dancers movement and breath are the only thing to fill the Opera house. Anaïs Chalendard, Paulo Arrais and Lasha Khozashvili fill the void but this movement without music forces the audience to gain a greater awareness of themselves in the space as well. This silent Night is the fourth piece within Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler and it offsets the final two magically.

Boston Ballet’s Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler will be performed at the Boston Opera House through November 1st only.  This is an extremely intense work for the company as well as the orchestra.  Catch a performance while you can. Participating in a live performance is priceless, but if you are on a budget you can find some tips here for discounted tickets.

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Union Square Love: Somerville


Union Square is a place I drove through every week when I used to tutor a child.  It was somewhere I passed through but never had time to stop.  As the tutoring days ended and my family life began, I started to explore the area a little more.  Honk brought me to Union Square and so did a little work I used to do with EHChocolatier.  Not only has the neighborhood changed a bit from my tutoring days, but so has my perspective.  Union Square is so close it feels almost like a part of Cambridge; it is a little Cambridge annex. Here’s why I love to go to Union Square.

Bronwyn’s for their pretzels and delicious German fare.  It’s actually a great family spot for dinner. The kids get to drink soda in the same style glass beer mugs we had as kids.  They have soda here and only here and it is Maine Root soda so it’s a special treat.  The bretzels remind me of the pretzels we had as kids from our Mennonite farmer’s market.  The cocktails are fabulous too but deciding between cocktails and a beer from the fabulous beer list is a little tough.

Bloc 11 is the place to go for coffee, breakfast or lunch.  There is so much to love at Bloc 11 from a look into the space to a first bite or sip.  Bloc 11 also has outdoor movie nights in the summer, open mic nights and just a great vibe. To keep up with all the action follow Bloc 11 on Facebook and you’ll be sure to not miss the next best thing.

Gracie’s is new in town.  Making fun and fabulous ice cream and broiled fluff cones in the space that used to house another favourite of mine Sherman Market.  Gracie’s has unique flavours two of the latest we bought (last night) bro-reo for Isabelle (that’s a black raspberry Oreo) and brownie batter with chocolate chips for Henry.  As any New Englander (and Brit for that matter) knows ice cream is a year-round delicacy.  All the more months to sample and make all kinds of crazy fun flavours.  I loved that they had cinnamon heart ice cream last year for Valentine’s day.

Machu Chicken is a place you might walk by a dozen times before noticing.  It is right across from the more formal restaurant Machu Picchu Ristarante Turistico where the Somerville Ave. curves towards Washington Street.  Machu Chicken is better than just about any rotisserie chicken you can pick up.  It is also the kind of place that is just as good dining in or taking out. The Peruvian charcoal roasted chicken is served with a house salad and a choice of French fries, rice or potatoes.  Be sure to get some sauces too.  A 1/2 chicken is $12, 1/4 chicken is $7.50 and if you want a full on feast get the full chicken for $20 and add in some friend plantains, canary beans, fried or boiled yucca or some fried sweet potatoes.

Beadkreative is a colorful escape from the outside world.  It’s a great place to peruse for locally handmade jewelry for budgets of all sizes.  What makes Beadkreative unique is the eye for color.  Owners have made the space welcoming and approachable.  There are beads of all sizes and shapes that appeal to makers of all ages. Within minutes my daughter was already planning a party for herself and her friends.

Cider donuts are a star once a year but Union Square Donuts are popular year round. In fact, I think Union Square Donuts are popular every day of the week and every time of day.  They are known for their unique flavors and have vegan options too. Flavors include: Maple Bacon, Boston Cream, FluffaNutta, Apple Crisp, Belgian Dark Chocolate, Sea Salted Bourbon Caramel and vegan apple spice glazed among others.

On my radar…

Casa B (must try). I have heard so many wonderful things about Casa b and I’m sure it’s just some big mistake that I haven’t made it in there yet.  I really have no excuses except that parenting, budget, time, so many great restaurants/so little time story. Since I haven’t been here’s a peek at a review from someone that has: A Little Bit About… Case b.

I’ve been crushing a little on this new little spot Loyal Supply Co.  It just came across my radar so I haven’t been yet, but I’m planning on popping in very soon.  I’ll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime here is what the Somerville Beat has to say about it.