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.

Salem Loves Fall: I Love Seafood

One of Turner’s Seafood’s private dining rooms on the second floor. This one is “dressed down” while the other room is all set for a gorgeous wedding party.

Salem is a hot spot come fall, but there’s much more to it than witches and witch hunts.  We love to go to Salem for the Peabody Essex Museum, where right now you can also check out something way more powerful and intriguing than witches (well at least as intriguing): The Strandebeest. There is also Salem Willows which is so much fun, with it’s grassy area, small beach and the piece de resistance, it’s boardwalk with lots of old school video games and rides. Salem also has some great spots to eat.  We’ve had fun as a family dining at the Flying Saucer Pizza Company with it’s all things space and aliens themed dining room.  I think they even had a Star Trek version of Monopoly we could play. There are the treats and sweets being made at Harbor Sweets and I’ve heard that there are some great bakeries in town too.

I was recently invited to a tasting at Turner’s Seafood and this time I was joined by my oyster loving daughter Isabelle.  Isabelle and I headed up to Salem for a girls’ afternoon one Sunday and joined a group of fellow food bloggers at the Oyster bar.  I can’t really head up toward the North Shore without craving a little seafood.  The seafood I usually get though is the steamer, clam shack variety, I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect at a sit down restaurant “up North”.  Us city folks can get a little spoiled and snobby and although I know the North Shore has some great surprises I haven’t had a chance to discover them yet.

Turner’s Seafood was a great surprise not only was the food excellent, but the space is fabulous.  I could spend any Friday night there for a cocktail and some oysters, a lazy Sunday morning for brunch or just about any night of the week for dinner with friends.

We sat at the oyster bar, which is a fun place to dine. I love sitting at a bar. It’s more interactive. Here you overlook the oysters ready to be shucked and you can see the seafood that is being steamed as well. Turner’s Seafood serves one type of oyster at a time, so if you want a variety this is not the best place. If you just want to throw back some really fresh expertly shucked oysters than grab a seat.
We sampled some buffalo scallops. I love a good buffalo sauce but I wasn’t sure how that would work on seafood. Whatever chef did worked.  These have a great texture and the scallop doesn’t get lost at all, but you get the spiciness and vinegar bite that buffalo sauce has.
Maryland style crab cakes were on the special menu. They also serve their regular menu version of crab cakes which are Nana Turner’s cod cakes with a homemade piccalilli and Boston baked beans.
Isabelle is a clam chowder aficionado, but she has never finished a bowl for various reasons (too rich, too bland, too many potatoes, too few clams). This was a first and gets the highest honors for a chowder.
Tuna steam bun sliders. I could go for one of those right now.

This is the steamer station. It sits right behind the oyster bar. I daydreamed about a kitchen with one of these in it. I love mussels and I think I’d make them once a week if I had a steamer station. Turner’s Seafood prepares mussels in three different ways. Dijonnaise, Belgian, and Provençal.
This is the lobster pie and a parmesan risotto cake with onion rings.
The mussels Dijonnaise were delicious.
The swordfish was perfectly cooked. This generous portion was enjoyed at Turner’s Seafood and for lunch the next day.
I love how the tuna was served.


Dinner in the “Middle” of the Ocean: A Mirbeau Inn Mirage at Plymouth Rock Oyster Flats

I grew up near Toronto and summers often meant a rustic cottage by a lake in the region known as Cottage Country. Dinners were always on the porch or by the dock and we often had pike or other fresh fish that we had caught that afternoon. A plate of food that comes from underfoot always tastes better (whether it’s feet that walked to the farmer’s market or the ones that dangled in the lake off the dock). It isn’t just the setting, it is the freshness of the food as well that makes each bite seem to have an extra dimension.

New England has traditions of their own.  Maine folks head out to their “camps”. Bostonians go to the Cape, the Islands and the North Shore. Ever since becoming a New Englander, I have a new summer dream.  I have seen photos of Martha Stewart‘s famous beach-side lobster bakes in Martha Stewart Living.  Similar scenes are described and photographed in Yankee Magazine, Gourmet, Edible Boston, Bon Appetit and Boston Magazine. My husband’s office even once had an “urban” lobster bake in a city park and I thought it was pretty fabulous. My dream, though was to one day stand around a fire on the sand and enjoy a classic lobster, corn, and steamers of a true New England lobster bake (magazine-worthy or not).

My fantasy became a reality a few weeks ago when I scooted out to Plymouth to experience the Mirbeau Inn and Spa‘s version or my dream al fresco dinner.  Little did I know that this particular version would exceed any vision I had of what a meal on the beach could be. From the setting and menu to the atmosphere and company this was beyond anything I could dream up. I was invited to experience Mirbeau’s Oyster dinner which they will offer again next year for both Mirbeau Inn and Spa guests and those who just want to join for the Oyster dinner experience.

The Mirbeau Inn and Spa’s Chef Stephen Coe and his crew created a perfect fantasy out on the water along with family run Plymouth Water Sports and Plymouth Rock Oyster Growers. The evening began with a boat ride out to what felt like the middle of the ocean just off of Long Beach in Plymouth. We arrived to a scene of chairs set out, a table and a few sunflower adorned high tops laid out ready for a party. Chef Coe was working over the fire and guests were being handed glasses of wine upon arrival to the sound of oyster shells clinking against one another as the Plymouth Bay Oysters were being shucked for our indulgence.

Here are a few photos of the fantastic experience.

Chef Stephen Coe checking on the baked oysters while the shrimp are resting. The pork belly is ready and a few sauces are being heated over the coals. These are just a few of the choices that were offered before the main meal.
Guests are invited to join in the shucking or to have a quick shucking lesson. Conner Doyle, oyster farmer for his family owned Plymouth Rock Oyster Grower, is pictured here shucking oysters for cocktail hour.
Chive sauce being placed over
Chive sauce being placed over grilled oysters. I am usually a naked and raw oyster purist, but this sauce was delicious and the grilled oysters on a cool day out on the water was a perfect treat.
You can see the passion for the food here.
You can see the passion for the food here. These little pasta pouches were prepared with figs and mascarpone.  A little savory, a little sweet, and just the right amount of richness.
Grilled Oysters
Grilled Oysters with a chive sauce.
For a different kind of salty and sweet than you get from the fresh raw oysters, these steamed buns with pork belly were part of the first course.  After a taste of fresh and grilled fare from the sea and the land, guests headed over to the oyster flats to explore where Plymouth Bay Oysters are raised.
Guests are brought over to the oyster flats to see where and how the Plymouth Bay Oysters are raised.
Guests are brought over to the oyster flats to see where and how the Plymouth Bay Oysters are raised. There is nothing quite like standing ankle deep in water with oysters below and a glass of cold wine in hand.
Connor Doyle and his family are the Plymouth Rock Oyster Growers. Here Connor shows the progression of oyster growth.
Connor Doyle and his family are the Plymouth Rock Oyster Growers. Here Connor shows the progression of oyster growth.


Guests are brought back from the oyster flats just in time for a little more music, and dinner prepared by Chef Coe and his crew.
Guests are brought back from the oyster flats just in time for a little more music, and dinner prepared by Chef Coe and his crew.
The farmers on shore have been harvesting their corn. There is nothing like freshly grown corn and it is perfect this time of year.
There is nothing like freshly grown corn and it is perfect this time of year. The trick is to cook it perfectly and chef managed to keep the corns freshness even while preparing all the other dishes.
A gorgeous salad with strawberries and goat cheese. There was also steak for those who crave a little red meat.
A colourful salad with strawberries, arugula, candied walnuts and feta cheese. There was also steak for those who crave a little red meat.
Gorgeous lobster perfectly cooked.  Is there anything more beautiful?
Gorgeous lobster perfectly cooked.  Is there anything more beautiful?
Paella was an unexpected but welcome dish. A little of everything and another fabulous dish that celebrates the ocean.
Plenty of space to wander, chat, listen to music or simply listen to the water lapping nearby.
Plenty of space to wander, chat, listen to music or simply listen to the water lapping nearby.
For dessert, tiny push pop cakes were served.
For dessert, tiny push pop cakes were served. But that’s not all…
Seashell white chocolate with sweet raspberry fluffy homemade marshmallows were set in the sand for some post-dinner s’mores. The classic milk chocolate was available as well. There were parting favors of macarons and a fun homemade breath freshening spray containing bergamot, basil and evaporated St. Germain. The spray was one of my favorite little novelties.


And like a dream, before we knew it, it was about to all be washed away.
And like a dream, before we knew it, it was about to all be washed away.

The entire party was packed up and put away on the boat.  The sun was setting and the tides were rising.  Guests reconvened on the boat.  Chef and crew had the entire dinner and “dining room” packed up on their boat. As the captain started up the engine, looking back there was not even a trace of the land we dined on. Soon we were headed back to Mirbeau Inn & Spa with our bellies full, cheeks smiling, eyes sparkling, and one pretty fabulous memory to hold on to.


Sugar, Butter, Theatre: Waitress at the ART

I have to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve been to the American Repertory Theatre (ART).  Actually it’s been since before kids and they are not exactly infants. In fact, it feels like they’ll be moving out soon. Out into the great big wide world where they might meet the totally wrong person and have affairs and… Oh I’m getting ahead of myself now.  After a traumatic experience at the ART, it was the 90’s and everyone was singing the praises of Valparaiso, so we splurged and got tickets and had to force ourselves to not leave the theatre thinking, “It must get better soon”.  Since then, we’ve had kids, they’re old enough now that it’s not too much trouble to stay up past 8 p.m. and we have a few fab babysitters.  When new tickets were released for the sold out Waitress I hopped on the web and bought a couple.  Given that this morning as I was packing the kids lunches the words “Sugar, Butter, sugar, butter…flour” were echoing through my kitchen in that slightly haunting, but sing-songy way, I’d have to say it was a good thing I didn’t let this one pass me by.

I haven’t been to too many musicals in my life, but I am obsessed with movie soundtracks. They tell a story more than a typical album (do albums exist anymore?). It’s not that I don’t like musicals it’s just that I can’t usually afford them and I’d rather go to the ballet, see a dance performance, or watch a play.

When I first heard about Waitress, I payed attention because it was in my neighborhood at the American Repertory Theatre and I’ve been paying attention to the ART lately because big things have been happening there. Things that make a lot more sense to me than Valparaiso. I’ve missed Pippin, and I missed Neverland and I was about to miss Waitress too. We have friends who are obsessed with Sarah Bareilles. Sarah McLaughlin was my young adult soundtrack and Sara Bareilles seems to be the equivalent to this generation. I liked the idea of Sara Bareilles and pie…there was going to be pie so it seemed like the perfect musical for me.

I knew nothing about the movie, the story, or the actors, I just got my tickets before they sold again, and made my way down to Harvard Square this afternoon. From the moment it began, I was sucked in. Sucked into the story, the music and the characters. Aside from the microphones that I wish the actors hadn’t had. I’m not convinced they were necessary for the space, and it made the lyrics a bit hard to hear.

The set was perfect, professional looking but not overdone. I loved that the musicians were on stage within the set and the cast was exceptional. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sara Bareilles as a composer for a musical. Would it all be too similar? Would the songs “detach” from the story? The answer is, “No” and “No.” The songs were perfect and varied; the music was touching and funny. It was beautiful, uplifting, humorous and heartbreaking.

There were of course lead roles and standout solos but the cast as a whole were each stars in their own roles. From the guy who only strolled in and always sat at the counter, Corey Mach (I think), to the customers in the diner, Charity Angél Dawson, David Jennings, Ragan Pharris, the singing, dancing and acting was perfectly on point.

The three female leads, were fantastic.  Jenna was played by Jessie Mueller who shared Jenna’s story as if it were her own.  Her voice reflected Sara Bareilles music perfectly and at moments it sounded like the singer/composer herself.  Keala Settle as Becky was incredible.  Her voice was powerful and her sass just right.  Jenna de Waal’s character, Dawn, had the most dramatic change from beginning to end while still being the same history nerd she started as.  While the story could have taken this character towards suspension of disbelief Jeanna de Waal kept it real.  The trio together was memorable in song as well as on stage.

As for the men, like so often in life, their little words and small gestures said a lot.  This is not always easy to pull off in an ensemble.  Every little swaggered step, hat tip, and nose wipe, was noted often punctuated with a laugh from the audience or a sigh.  Ogie, played by Jeremy Morse was hokey without going overboard. Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter stepped in and out of his role, as his role required, and had perfect timing whether it was for a laugh or serious moment. I really appreciated that the character Earl, played by Joe Tippett, was rough and aggressive without going too far.  Not only for the actor, but for the audience, this was a very telling type of aggression and abuse. It isn’t the violent tv show or movie kind of abuse, but it’s just as disturbing, if not more so, and just as prevalent, if not more so.  Joe Tippett, expressed this character perfectly.  The fine line of feeling sorry for a horrible man and hating, because you have to hate him too, all while singing isn’t something anyone could do. The two male characters that I loved for their roles and for their portrayal of them were Eric Anderson as Cal and Dakin Matthews as Joe.  Lulu was played by the Giana Ribeiro and she did a great job of being the cherry on top of this sweet, salty, slightly spicy pie.

Moral of the story:  With it’s tricky crust, soggy bottoms, burnt edges, crumbly crumbles, bubbling over insides and endless options for filling.  Life is so much more complicated than pie. That…

…and always check the Daily Specials.

Scenes from Le Dîner en Blanc Boston 2015

Le Dîner en Blanc is a spectacular phenomenon created by François Pasquier over 27 years ago in Paris with a handful of friends.  Now it takes place in cities across the globe with nearly 15,000 friends and friends to be all dressed in white to break bread side by side, light up the night, and dance until the stars begin to fade.

Here are just a few moments captures of Boston’s Dîner en Blanc.

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Back to School & Back in Time: American Girl Grace Thomas Train Ride

A peek at the French-Canadian style Catholic schools historically in the area. This is a model classroom that is part of the Museum of Work and Culture.
A peek at the French-Canadian style Catholic schools that were historically in the area. This is a model classroom that is part of the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, RI.

As children are making the transition from carefree summer days to the structured days of school, you don’t have to put away your suitcases and bathing suits quite yet.  School-free weekdays may be over, but it’s still summer outside and a weekend trip here or there is a great way to tiptoe towards fall. Easing back into reading assignments and history lessons can be relished if you add in a trip or two especially if they tie in together.  American Girl actually does a pretty good job writing up stories for children that include historic references and one of their newest dolls happens to come from Blackstone Valley.

Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

“We loved our visit to Versailles,” Mom said. “We did!” I added. “That’s where an angry mob stormed the palace at the start of the French Revolution.”  Grandpa leaned in. “that was a very different kind of revolution from what happened right here in Blackstone Valley,” he said.  “the American Industrial Revolution.”

I’d heard Grandpa give this talk before, so I knew what was coming. “The Slater Mill in Blackstone Valley was the first water-powered cotton-spinning factory in the whole United States,” Grandpa began, settling back into his chair.”

-Excerpt from Grace Stirs It Up by Mary Casanova for American Girl

Whether you visit Blackstone Valley on your own and bike along some of the rivers and canals to explore the area or you want to treat your child to a back to school train ride through the area for the American Girl Train ride through Blackstone Valley this is definitely a day trip worth considering.  The American Girl train ride includes a 60 minute train ride, photo ops, a gift bag, signature lemonade and cupcakes, Grace Thomas themed games and activities, and a guided tour through the area with costumed guides. Tickets can be purchased here.


Just over an hour from Boston, the Blackstone Valley area of Rhode Island is a nice mix of history and nature.  The architecture and layout of some of these small towns still reflects the original mill villages that were built around industry.  I recently visited the area on a “fam trip”, which is a trip set up for press and writers to become familiar with an area and its offerings, and enjoyed learning a bit more about the history of the area.

Original mill towns are now being revived as apartments, but you still get a sense of what the mill towns were like.
Original mill towns are now being revived as apartments, but you still get a sense of what the mill towns were like.

There are rivers all throughout the Blackstone Valley and kayakers enjoy a paddle down them while bikers enjoy cruising along the rivers and canals on nice, flat bike paths that are perfect for even the youngest cyclists.  There are plenty of places to park along the rivers and hop onto a path for a family adventure.  Unlike the rail trail paths in the city that tend to get over-crowded these paths were peaceful and only had a few families at a time cycling by. Along the path are picturesque rivers and dams.  Once upon a time, there used to be a dam every mile, and there aren’t quite as many any more but the majority remain.



Parts of the Blackstone Valley have been designated as a National Park so you will find knowledgeable rangers along your ride next to sites like this one.


Every trip needs a treat pit stop and Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery fits the bill.  Wright’s Dairy Farm is known for their cream puffs but they have plenty of other treats as well.  For a true taste of Rhode Island you can’t leave without at least a little pint or 1/2 pint of coffee milk.

DSC_9755 DSC_9752 DSC_9747 DSC_9739

You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to continue traveling throughout the school year.  Just think local, get out and explore a little bit.

Falmouth Gastropub Bear In Boots Gets it Right

I’ve had some great meals on Cape Cod and Nantucket, but most of them are made at home with goodies from the farmer’s market and the local fisherman.  Dining out on the Cape has historically been a bit of a let down.  I would head to Wellfleet or Nantucket leaving my high standards for dining out in Boston and Cambridge behind and putting my palate on “vacation mode” letting a mediocre dish slide and putting up with paying for dishes I’d rather have never eaten.  It’s not that the food is terrible, it’s just that I am my father’s daughter and I hate wasting money (and let’s face it calories) on something that isn’t just right.

Over the past few years, more and more year-round (or close to it) “city caliber” restaurants, bakeries and markets are setting up shop on the Cape.  Setting up a restaurant in the city is hard enough.  Chefs are struggling to find just the right people to work alongside them.  Finding people with training, the passion, the drive to work in one of the hardest and often least rewarding jobs outside the “big city” is even harder.

The pretzel and beer cheese was a huge hit.  I have to admit we've been craving it ever since.  Bear in Boots, Falmouth, MA.
The pretzel and beer cheese was a huge hit. I have to admit we’ve been craving it ever since. Bear in Boots, Falmouth, MA. Why yes, that is some homemade mustard there too. 

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I met some friends in Falmouth for the afternoon and were invited to check out Bear in Boots.  Bear in Boots is a new gastropub right in the center of town.  I was a little hesitant because how good could a little gastropub in Falmouth with a British pub-like name really be?  I’m happy to say I was knocked right off my high city dining horse by this warm, fuzzy, welcoming, and totally talented Bear.


Let’s start with the space.  The pub has a beautiful bar, and although it’s fairly small inside there are plenty of tables and even a fabulous chef’s table right by the open kitchen. It’s not dark and crowded like an old pub nor overly sleek or modern.  It feels comfortable and warm like being at a friend’s house (who happens to have a dining room that seats all your friends) and who happens to have a fabulous designer.


Okay now let’s get to the really good stuff.  From our meal, there really was nothing that Chef Gates Rickard didn’t execute well.  I have to admit that I’ve never had a homemade ketchup (sorry Tony Maws you’re still fabulous and we’ve been craving KT&T lately) that I like as much as this one.  I was even suspect of the pretzel (we did just have one of the best in town at home at Bronwyn’s so this was going to be tough competition) because it was the “wrong” shape.  The pretzel was less German bretzel and more American soft pretzel and the mustard and beer cheese just took it to the next level. There are so many ways the pretzel could be wrong or the dips.  I’ve been to some great restaurants where either the bread is off or the condiments are sub-par.  Then chef surprised us with some perfectly made raviolo al uovo with duck confit and kale from the garden.  Below is a slide show of the dishes we sampled.  Each one was really made perfectly.  There are some dishes we are craving more than others, and the chef’s garden dish was tasty but I thought perhaps a spring asparagus didn’t belong in a mid-summer dish, but that’s just nitpicking.

I couldn't believe that this came out of a pub kitchen.  I would be hard pressed to find such a perfect ravioli in a fine Italian restaurant in the city.  
I couldn’t believe that this came out of a pub kitchen.  I would be hard pressed to find such a perfect ravioli in a fine Italian restaurant in the city.

Ballet is for Everyone: Boston Ballet Open House


Ballet is one of the greatest misunderstood sports and that is no accident because it is also an art.  Whatever the reason your child first steps into a dance studio, the power of ballet for any child, of any age, whether they dream of becoming the ethereal ballerina they’ve seen on stage or they just like to move, goes way beyond the dancing.  The benefits of ballet are more than physical and if you visit a professional ballet school you will understand what I mean.


Focus and Concentration

When you are in class there are few distractions.  Of course children are children and they will giggle and play, but while in class the space is for dancing and the expectations of focus and concentration are set and understood by even the youngest students.  Because the mind and body is engaged fully, even the tiniest dancers are able to display amazing focus.

Boston Ballet Principal Misa Kurinaga.
Boston Ballet Principal Misa Kuranaga.

Drive and Determination

Whether the goal is to become a professional, to get your splits, to have more strength in your ankles, or to be able to turn a pirouette perfectly.  Dancers have no shortage of drive and determination.  It is contagious and spreads beyond the dance studio.  Dancers learn early how to put in the hard work to reach goals in every aspect of their lives.

Strength and Grace

Dancers are athletes. Their body is their equipment.  The strength is often hidden behind the grace, but have no doubt that it is there.  With more time at desks and sitting, especially as students get older, the time in the ballet studio is a great anti-dote to all the sitting, slumping and slouching.

Principals Ashley Ellis and John Lam.
Principals Ashley Ellis and John Lam with live cello.  Of course in class, it’s live piano not cello.

Musicality and Math

The interaction between the teachers, dancers and pianist in a ballet class are also an important part of ballet. Students learn terminology and time, meter and rhythm which of course play an essential part of dancing. Even though at the early ages, music isn’t a part of the dance education, it is something they are surrounded by and taught to listen to.  As dancers move up, they begin to learn more about the music and compositions that they are dancing too.

boston ballet stories

Value of Hard Work

A dancer works on the same relatively few moves from their first days in the studio until their last curtain call.  In a day and time when children are rewarded for just about everything and anything they do, ballet is a great way to put things in perspective and learn the true value of hard work.


Taking Care of Your Body as an Instrument

Ballet gets a bad reputation when it comes to body image, but in fact, body image issues exist in just about any sport and setting.  A professional ballet school will often have staff on hand to help with nutrition and with mental health when it comes to body image.  When your body is your instrument you have to take care of it.  This message is something that you will hear loud and clear as a student at Boston Ballet.

Boston Ballet Stories

Fantasy and Joy

Just like any sport there is a rush of adrenaline when you are dancing and all the pieces come together.  Just like any art, there is a level of fantasy that brings joy to the dancer and those lucky enough to observe the dancing.



Diligence is all around the dancers.  The younger kids love to watch the older students working hard to accomplish a step.  The older students love to watch the pre-professional students striving for new goals.  There is a community within the studio that prizes hard work, diligence and artistry.


Community and Collaboration

Even a principal dancer doesn’t dance alone.  The community of students, teachers, and musicians all make up the dance community within the school.  Working as a group is a great lesson for pre-schoolers and middle-schoolers alike.  The bond you create with your dance community is often one of the strongest you will have.  You share a common goal, a common love, and a common joy.

Boston Ballet welcomes everyone to come experience dance in the studios at their open houses. Boston Ballet’s studies are in Boston, Newton and Marblehead.

Save the Date!

Boston Studio Open House – Wednesday, Sep 95:00-6:30pm

Newton Studio Open House – Tuesday, Sep 85:00-6:30pm

North shore Studio Open House – Tuesday, Sep 85:00-6:30pm

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Broadway, Ballet & Al Fresco Spectating

The Opera House isn’t dormant, but Boston Ballet is on a break if by “break” one means special projects, guest performing, galas and ballerina bootcamps. While Boston Ballet Company is scattered around the world working on summer projects Broadway in Boston is filling the stage with their craft.  Some companies have summer homes.  New York City Ballet is performing in Saratoga.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra has settled in at Tanglewood. Other settings become summer homes for dancers from all over the country and the world.  Jacob’s Pillow has a summer full of performances. Outside the Box Boston has outdoor stages around Boston Common.  In Houston Texas there is the Miller Outdoor Theatre. In New York City there is the Hudson River Dance Festival. There is something about summer that goes beyond ice cold lemonade and the sweet juice of the freshest fruit dripping down your chin. Especially in  New England, summer loosens our strings a little. We gather outside to watch movies, listen to concerts, dance and watch live performance stogether. 

Coming up on July 25th is a dance festival and outdoor performance that is new to me, and I cannot wait to go check it out.  The Cape Dance Festival is held in Provincetown with the beach and ocean as the backdrop.  I think part of what makes outdoor performance spaces so special is that they are ephemeral in a unique way. Some of the best dances every created were neither choreographed nor captured, they were dances that emerged in our contact improv sessions at the Bates Dance Festival with Andrew Harwood. Some of the best songs are the ones you overhear being performed in the shower walking by a stranger’s house.  Some of the best art is the thing you happen upon when you’re trying to make something else or a simple sight that catches your eye. Some of the best recipes are lucky accidents. There is an element of “uncontrol” that plays a part in an outdoor performance. The lighting is only partially controlled but the natural light of the sun slowly setting is magical. The dancing itself feels different in a space without walls and the sky as the cieling.  The auduence’s light summer dresses replace the structured gowns of the Opera House and theatres.  The audience even feels different. 


Jeffrey Cirio soloist at American Ballet Theatre and Director, Choreographer and dancer of Cirio Collective. Photo by Jordan Jennings courtesy of Cape Dance Festival
Leading up to the Saturday performance at the Cape Dance Festival are master classes and special events such as MAKING BALLET: AN EVENING WITH THE CIRIO COLLECTIVE.  Jeffrey Cirio, who has been starring with Boston Ballet as principal dancer and will be going to NYC to join American Ballet Theatre as a soloist is not only an exceptional dancer but a talented choreographer with his own company The Cirio Collective.  

Another favorite of mine performing at the Cape Cod Dance Festival this year is Doug Varone.  I became familiar with is work many years ago at the Bates Dance Festival.  He is an incredible story teller in his work.  This year’s performers look like a wonderful varied group and I look forward to an evening of dance by the sea.  

The setting. Photo courtesy of Cape Dance Festival
Here is what you will be treated to this year for the 3rd annual Cape Dance Festival:
Cirio Collective • Jeffery Cirio, Lia Cirio, Whitney Jensen, Bradley Schlagheck, Isaac Akiba, Altan Dugaara, Paul Craig, Emily Mistretta

Doug Varone and Dancers • Featuring, Home, choreographed by Doug Varone

Catherine Cabeen – Hyphen • Catherine Cabeen, Germaul Barnes 

Nickerson Rossi Dance • Chad Ortiz, Brooklynn Reeves, Heidi Buehler 

American Ballet Theater Alumni • Anna Liceica and Vitali Krauchenka

The Pharmacy Project • Nora Petroliunas 

Adam Spencer • British Ballroom Champion, with TIDES dance company

Project Moves Dance Company • Featuring a new work by Rennie Gold

Dine Like a Parisian in Cambridge: It’s not the food it’s how you do it.

As a child I lived in France for two years, although I didn’t have cocktail hour then, I understood the habits of dining à la Française.  In France, at the time, we had two hours for lunch at school.  Most children went home to have their main meal of the day then with their family.  After school, children would have their goûter, which was often candy from the Tabac (the corner store that sold it’s namesake: tobacco, stationery and lots of candy), or a piece of baguette with a square of chocolate.  Later, dinner would be served and it was most often what we would consider a light snack.  

Especially in the summer, I find if I eat a good breakfast and sit down to a complete lunch, dinner isn’t really necessary.  That’s when you can really enjoy a cocktail and a small bite and call it dinner.  You enjoy the evening, chat with friends, have a few nibbles and go to bed feeling good  and not weighed down with a heavy meal in your belly, but rather a few fabulous flavours just dancing on your tongue. 

Catalyst in Cambridge, has the ideal way for you to take this wonderful habit for a test drive.  So first, make sure you eat a good breakfast.  There is no need to go crazy.  A coffee, tea, smoothie, and a small bite to eat will do.  Then, take a friend, a few colleagues, and go eat a good lunch.  Take your time with lunch, eat well, eat slowly experience it as the meal it should be. Working lunch, power lunch, lunch break are all unacceptible alternatives to a proper lunch. Then, later in the evening when you feel a bit peckish, grab a few friends 3 or 5 or 7 is a great number.  Head to the patio at Catalyst and you can enjoy punch with friends and a few bites from the perfect summer patio menu.  The punch is served in vintage punch bowls and transports you to a time when things seemed simpler and the pace was slower.  Chef Kovel’s food is the perfect food for a “small bites” dinner because the layering of his flavours is impeccable and the flavours are bold, textures are correct, and if you choose well you can pair it all nicely with the punch du jour.  The punch serves 4, 6 or 8 people.  It is available on the patio only and is offered with the chalkboard specials.  It really is the perfect way to dine this summer.

Of course, if you perfer to dine in the American way you can definitely come for lunch for your light bite or come for dinner and order off the regular menu as well. 

Catalyst is located at 300 Technology Square in Cambridge. 

A CSA Recipe:  Simple Kohlrabi Salad

I love kohlrabi and before we started our CSA many years ago, I had never eaten before.  Now, I look forward to seeing it sitting in the CSA baskets in the cool pick up area around the corner from the tree swing and hammock. This simple recipe is a great way to enjoy the slightly sweet, clean tasting vegetable that looks like a bulb.  The common vegetable it reminds me most of is broccoli.  For this recipe, I use a mandoline, but you can make it more of a slaw and use a grater as well.  

Simple Shaved Kohrabi Salad 

(serves 4)


  • one kohlrabi
  • 2 tsp of Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp of another vinegar such as white balsamic, Champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar. I used Tuscan Market’s tangerine white balsamic.
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh dill fronds (8-10 fronds)


  • Trim the long stems and leaves off of the kohlrabi.  
  • Wash the kohlrabi. Wash the dill and set it on a kitchen towel to dry.
  • For a more delecate shaved salad, peel the kohlrabi, but it isn’t essential.
  • Using a mandoline on a thin setting (I used the 1/8 ” setting on my Oxo Mandoline). If you do not have a mandoline just use a grater and you can have shredded strips of kohlrabi instead of larger rounds.
  • Mix the vinegars and mustard in a bowl or jar.  Add the oil, a pinch of Kosher or Maldon sea salt, and about 1/2 tsp of pepper. Whisk together with a fork until combined.  If you do this in a jar you can just give it a great shake to combine. 
  • Generously pour the dressing (you will have some leftover for salads later in the week) over the kohlrabi.  Mix around to cover all of the kohlrabi.  Break off pieces of the dill frond and toss it into the salad.  Sprinkle with a little kosher or Malden sea salt to finish.  
  • For best results let the salad sit in the fridge or counter for 30 minutes or so before indulging. j