Welcome to The Weekend: Boston September 30-October 2nd

The weekend is here and so is fall in full force.  Hopefully you spent the end of your week well caffeinated with National Coffee Day.  Now here are some options for the weekend.


Friday, September 30th

9/30 5-9 p.m. (Watertown) Arts & Drafts at the Arsenal Center

Arts and Drafts is an evening of live music, brews and the chance to be creative all on the beautiful grounds of the Arsenal on the Charles! Live music will be drummed up by Nemes, Gold Blood & Associates, and Dirty Bangs, brews will be served from Downeast Cider and Aeronaut Brewing  and food will be available from The Sausage Guy.  There will be tie dye and Hula Hooping lessons from Ballroom in Boston as well as games and prizes from Radio 92.9Tickets available here or call 617-923-0100 x8302 ($30 includes a commemorative t-shirt and one beverage token 21+)

 9/30 3:00 -3:40 p.m. (Boston) Toddler Yoga at Cou Cou in the South End

 Start the weekend off with a little toddler zen time for children 2-4 years old.  Check out Cou Cou’s entire calendar of events because they have several activities for toddlers, parents and babies all year long.

9/30 & 10/1 5:30 – 11:00 p.m./1-7p.m. (Boston) Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest

I love Harpoon Brewery.  It’s a fabulous space with great beer and pretzels that live up to their instagram shot. Harpoon Octoberfest will be celebrated with beer, bratwursts,  dancing, and more! This year marks 27 years of Octoberfest at Harpoon Brewery. ($25)

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Saturday/Sunday October 1-2

10/1 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Boston) Let’s Talk About Food Festival

Stop by Copely Square to watch some of the area’s favourite chefs in action.  Topics covered include:

  • Fun With Family Dinner: Cooking With the Kids

  • Recipes From Afar: How Immigrant Cooks Impact the American Kitchen

  • Farming our Seafood: Aquaculture Leaders in New England

  • Citizen Eaters: Your Influence on the Food We Buy, Eat, and Grow

  • Baking the Old-Fashioned Way: Family Recipes from the Brass Sisters

  • Buying Meat: What You Need to Know

10/1 10/2 10a.m.-4 p.m.(Boylston) American Craft Festival at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

The juried craft show features work by ceramicists, jewelers, woodworkers, metal workers, glass blowers, painters, printmakers, leather workers and fiber artists.

While you are there stroll the botanic gardens and visit Patrick Dougherty’s Stickworks. ($12 adults/ $9 seniors/$7 youth 6-18yrs)

10/1 3-7p.m. (Somerville) AgriCultural Festival

Farmers and Artists gather in Somerville at 10 Poplar Street the site of ArtFarm to celebrate urban agriculture and the arts.

10/1 12-3 p.m.(Cambridge) Customer Appreciation Day at Pemberton Farms

Stop by one of my favourite Cambridge shops for Customer Appreciation Day.  Pemberton Farms is a great place to shop for just about anything from prepared foods, to cheeses, beer, water, and plants for your garden as well. Pemberton Farms will have some of their tastiest products available to sample throughout the day as vendors share their products.(Free )

10/1 4 p.m. (Wellesley) Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of American Politics

The timing couldn’t be better and the question can’t be asked enough.  Head over to Wellesley Books to hear Mark Thompson, President and CEO of The New York Times Company speak about his book.  (Free)

10/1 (Boston) Gilded Fest: Music, Technology & Innovation

Pick up some tickets online and then head over to the Lawn on D for Gilded Fest.  Get a workout in, play some games, listen to some music and fill your day with an assortment of music, tech and innovation.  ($26.06-$36.35)

10/2 2-5 p.m. (Boston) Create Boston

Chefs and artists collaborate to create a unique experience. Tavern Road puts together an incredible night of artist showing their work, music, along with creative chefs and cocktail crafters.  ($50.02/$80.12)

Did you know?!

Art week Boston begins on Friday, September 30th.

Hub Week concludes this weekend.

Friday, September 30th is National Mulled Cider day.  Head to Wilson Farm to pick up a jug of cider.  Even better, head over to Carlson Orchards and get some from the source.  If they still have them, pick up  a case of their cider juice boxes for your child’s lunch boxes this month.  Then get some of Williams Sonoma’s mulling spices.  They are so good!

October 1st is National Pumpkin Spice Day.  Find out how to upgrade your boring PSL here.

Five Ways to Go Above and Beyond the Pumpkin Spice Latte: National Coffee Day Upgrade

Okay, so my headline is misleading. I admit it.  Only two of these are coffee drinks but I wanted to throw one in for the tea-lovers too.  Yes, you noticed the other two don’t even have pumpkin anything.  Let’s face it a good pumpkin jam (yes I said jam) latté is worth all the hype but really, how much pumpkin anything does one need in one’s life. So here they are: two ways to upgrade your PSL fix, one tea that hits the pumpkin spice spot, and a couple of coffee cocktails because coffee and a cocktail in one is all that and a bale of hay.

The Pumpkin Jam Latté, Sofra (Cambridge, MA)


If you open my pantry you will find a jar of Sofra’s pumpkin jam stashed away in there all year round. It is sweet, smooth, and perfectly spiced.  I love it on toast, on pancakes and when I stop in at Sofra Bakery & Café in Cambridge, I like it in my coffee.  The Sofra pumpkin jam latté must be experienced at least once every fall. NB It is pretty delicious so even former PSL naysayers may become addicted.


Affogato with Autumn Spice Ice Cream, Rancatore’s  (Lexington, MA)

Put on your flannel shirt, your chunky boots, and your favourite fall scarf and strut into Ranc’s ice cream shop for a true taste of New England fall in a cup.  Order the affogato with Autumn Spice ice cream and you will get a generous scoop of the Autumn Spice ice cream topped with a rich Barissmo espresso and then let the two together, hot coffee and creamy cool ice cream, work their magic.

Pumpkin Chai with Pumpkin Agave David’s Tea (Multiple locations – Harvard Square Opening Friday, Sept. 30th)

Upgrade your chai tea by getting a Pumpkin Chai tea at David’s Tea.  You can have it steeped as a latté or as a tea.  Then to boost the quintessential “fall” factor, have it slightly sweetened with a little pumpkin agave.  If you can’t make it to a store, then turn your kitchen into a tea house and order everything you need online.

Affogato with House Made Coffee Whiskey, Kirkland Tap & Trotter (Cambridge, MA)

Affogato at Rancatore’s on a busy weekday afternoon is a great pick me up.  At the end of a long week though,what you really want is a spiked affogato after a tasty Kirkland Tap & Trotter meal.  KT&T has a delicious brunch and Sunday-Thursday 5:30-6:30 kids eat free (and the kids’ food here is amazing). While kids enjoy their dessert you can enjoy an affogato which is served with a shot of KT&T’s coffee whiskey.

The Revolver, Sycamore (Newton)

Another cocktail to consider this national coffee day is Sycamore’s revolver which is made with cold brew coffee, espresso liqueuer and mole bitters. Now that sounds killer!



Here on Huron: Cambridge’s Sweet Spot

If you have ever lived off of Huron Ave. there is a good  chance that it left a strong impression. Many move to this neighborhood and can never leave thanks to a certain gravitational force. Others are here for a few years only and then return to their homelands with a little piece of Cambridge welded to their hearts.  Then there are those who were born and raised here like thier parents and grandparents before them.  

This mish-mash of a community is part of what makes it so special.  The little ‘village’ center is also what makes the neighborhood so fabulous. We have everything at our fingertips here. Come snow, sleet, hazy, hot, or humid, everything one could possibly want is a short walk away.


This weekend at Here on Huron neighbors and visitors alike are invited to come together.  Just take a look at the history there is:

  • Cambridge Trust – 42 years
  • Half Crown Design – 6 years
  • The Village Kitchen – 15 years
  • Magic Beans – 7 years
  • Bryn Mawr Book Store – 45 years
  • Easy Chairs – 36 years
  • Huville Makerspace – 5 years
  • Matthew Feldman Gallery – 16 years
  • Estetika Spa – 3 years
  • Crate Escape Too – 14 years
  • Salon at Huron Village – 8 years
  • GrayMist Studio & Shop – 10 years
  • C. Brendan Noonan & Company – 3 years
  • Fresh Pond Market – 94 years
  • Mobilia Gallery – 38 years
  • Marimekko – 10 years
  • Susi’s Gallery – 27 years
  • Full Moon – 19 years
  • J. Miles – 25 years
  • Formaggio Kitchen – 38 years

This weekend stop by and participate in some fun activities and partake i. aome great deals.

Friday 9/23 & Saturday 9/24:

Grey Mist

All day:

Sales & Discounts at the shop!

– Gift Items 20%Off

– Basket Carvings 10%Off

– Basket Materials 5%Off 

Huron Village Scavenger Hunt! 

We will be weaving a peace basket that will start in Cambridge and travel to Japan!

11am: Furoshiki Demonstration

2pm: Tea Ceremony

4pm: Origami Kabuto (Samurai Hat) Making
In addition, this weekend a neighborhood standby Paddy’s 34 will be hosting an annual 5K and friends and neighbors come out in droves to run, walk and cheer.

Uncommonly Good: How to Joyfully Shop for Gifts (Sponsored)

Brands shift and change over years and new ones replace the others, but there are a few that have staying power.  Remember when Pottery Barn literally just sold chunky pottery?  There are some catalogs that I have been shopping with for as long as I can remember.  One of those shops, which I now order from online instead of from the pages of a catalog is UncommonGoods. 

Finding the perfect gift is something that is important to me.  I want recipient of my gift to feel appreciated and to receive a present they actually want and will use.  Now that everybody seemingly has access to everything at their fingertips, buying the perfect gift can be trickier.  You can search for hours through Etsy but that can be a dangerous black hole.  UncommonGoods reached out to me recently, to see if I would do a sponsored post and because I have loved this shop from the days before there even was an Etsy (or at least I didn’t know about it then) I was happy to.  I love that UncommonGoods seeks out handmade goods from both local artists and small manufacturers.  They sell many products made with recycled and organic materials.  They also do not sell anything made with leather, feathers or fur. 

Whether it is for a birthday present, an anniversary, or just because you want to treat yourself to something new for the home, your purse, or your children’s room, UncommonGoods has all the best things to choose from.

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My husband is constantly cleaning our iPhones and we totally appreciate his fear of germs because those phones do get pretty gross. You just can’t see the germs.  This year already the kids have started school with a coughing, sneezing virus.  This little pod on Dan’s bedside table will totally make his day and night.  I just have to figure out if I want to give it to him now (Happy Friday!) or wait until Chanukah and Christmas to give it to him.

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I also love looking for unique presents for the children to bring to birthday parties for their friends or for me to give my own children.  I love this rain gauge.  It isn’t really a child’s toy but I know the kids would get a kick out of tracking rain levels especially now that we have a little raised bed growing some fall broccoli and a shortage of rain.

If your child has got the travel bug or wants to learn more about the world, this is a fun addition to their room. They can scratch off where they have been or if world travel isn’t in the budget for now, they can scratch off countries as they learn more about each culture, or maybe try foods from different regions.  The possibilities are endless.

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For wedding gifts and anniversaries, UncommonGoods has so many beautiful, unique personalized housewares and artwork.  I love the birch bark bowls, tree stump rings and glasses with initials and a heart engraved on them, but sometimes personalized doesn’t need have your names etched in.  I have always loved these lumen oil projector lamps.  The trees remind me of the times that my husband and I have enjoyed in Vermont as a couple when we used to go skiing and hiking there and now the trees up in Tremblant National Park where we go for the summer as a family.  It is personal without being personalized.

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What gifts are you shopping for lately?  I know many friends who are going to weddings and baby showers.  Happy uncommon shopping!

Make the Trade: Trade Boston

Trade your regular old date night for something different this year.  Step outside your date night comfort zone and you won’t regret taking it.  I know as parents we’re tired and sometimes lucky enough to make it out the door on date night.  You’ve got this and once you get there you won’t regret the extra effort, which when you think about it wasn’t so much of an effort anyway.

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A grown up night out in the city makes you see stars…even if they’re just the lights over the bar. Trade, Boston
The first time I walked into Trade a few years ago, I fell in love despite the fact that I had just extracted a fairly cranky and tired child from the Children’s Museum and then walked him over unwillingly to the farmer’s market where I had a meeting set up and told him we were going to a ‘grown up’ restaurant for lunch.  We definitely stood out from the usual lunch crowd who were at least a decade older than my son and younger than me and were dressed in business suits.  But that first visit sealed the deal. I loved the space and the food was so good I can still remember exactly how certain dishes tasted and day dream about them.  I was recently invited to a dinner at Trade to experience a #TradeParentsNightOut.

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Trade is a perfect night out from ceiling to floor, napkin to plate, kitchen to table, bar to lips.  Every detail counts especially those you don’t notice.  It takes skill and experience to create a restaurant that is so seamless and a meal out that is flawless, the team behind Trade have that gift.
What I like even more than lunch at Trade, is spending a grown up night out.  The location is perfect because you’re by the water and a stroll across the bridge and around Fort Point is a great way to work up an appetite or to spend hand in hand with your loved one after dinner.  There is a parking garage right next to Trade, you can try to snag a spot on the street in the Financial district or for just a couple more dollars than the garage you can go all out and use the Valet parking.

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Drink your beets. To some this tasted earthy, but to me it actually tasted sweet and light.  This was one of my two favourite cocktails of the evening.  Beets By Trade is a beautiful and refreshing tall glass of local Bully Boy vodka, beet and cucumber simple syrup, lime, and pineapple.
Trade has a beautiful bar and an ideal menu if you just want to enjoy a few cocktails or a glass of wine and enjoy an assortment of small dishes.  They are small plates but in terms of flavour and detail that goes into each dish you will not feel like you needed anything more.  The other option is to settle into a table together or with friends and spend an entire night lost in a world of laughter, stories, the occasional parenting anecdote, as you drink and dine the evening away and stroll out into the street at the wee hours of the night (which for parents may be 10:30 p.m. – Don’t mock us! We’re up at 4 a.m. partying with the tots.) You will be trading your usual night at home lost in the tedium of cleaning and cooking and stepping on legos for a luxurious night of delicious food prepared by a chef who really understands his ingredients and a chef-owner who is a master of her trade.  The boost of energy and joie de vivre you get from a great night out is something that benefits everyone in the family.

 

Find out what all the #TRADEParentsNightOut experiences were like:

Capability Mom: Trade Up Your Night at Trade Boston

Appetite for Instruction: Parents’ Night Out at Trade

A Little Bit About A Lot of Things: Parents Night Out at Trade

Umommy: Parents Night Out at Trade Because You Deserve It

coming soon:

Parental Ideas

Napkin Hoarder

Red Shutters

Kim World

 

 

Weekend Guide: All the Fluff that’s Fit to Print Sept. 23-25

Weekends this time of year can fill up with lessons and errands, but every weekend needs a little something fun and unexpected thrown in.  From The Sound of Music to Jazz to Bach and on to brunch and fall festivals there is so much to choose from.

9/23 8 p.m. (Cambridge). The MIT Lecture Series hosts all kinds of movie nights throughout the year.  This Friday, at 8 p.m. In room 26-10, join students and community members for a Sound of Music sing-a-long. ($4)

9/23 6:30 – 9:30 (Boston) Latin Night at the Boston Center for the Arts.  Head to the Calderwood Pavillion for a spicy night of music and dancing.  ($15/$20 at the door) 

9/23, 9/25, 9/30, 10/2 (Boston) The Boston Lyric Opera along with the San Francisco Opera are co-producing Carmen set in the 1970’s post-Franco Spanish North Africa.  The performance will be at the Boston Opera House.  ($47-$112)

9/24 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Boston) Head over to the Lawn on D for Kids Really Rock Festival. A lineup of all the local kids’ hottest bands will be performing, make art, play with mud and just have a fun family day out on the town.  (free and/or donate a can of food for the Greater  Boston Food Bank)

9/24 3-7 p.m. (Somerville) What the Fluff?  Somerville celebrates one of their claims to fame: marshmallow Fluff.  There will be music and dancing, and cooking contests as well as a whole lot of Fluff.  There will be all kinds of shenanigans including fluff musical chairs, fluff jousting and blind man’s fluff.  In addition, you can enjoy some non-Fluff foods as well as crafts and various other community booths.

9/24 12:00-6:00 p.m. (Boston) What the world needs now is a lot of jazz and a lot of peace.  This year’s theme for the Beantown Jazz Festival is Jazz: A Peace Supreme.  Spend the day at the largest block party in town and take in some tunes, some good vibes and a small taste of what this town has to offer on the music front.  There will be performances, KidsJam, a chance to explore some instruments at the instrument “petting zoo” and interactive readings. (free)

9/24 is Museum Day (National).  Smithsonian magazine hosts Museum Day Live!  Just find out which of your local museums are free on Saturday, download a ticket and get out and explore. Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum, Jackson Homestead and Museum, Harvard Museum of Naturaly History, The Mary Baker Eddy Library, and the Old South Meeting House are all options, just to name a few. Choose wisely as your ticket is valid for one museum only. (free)

9/24 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. (Waltham) Fall is officially here, head to Gore Place for the Fall Festival and soak it all in.  Pumpkin drops, Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, beer and a Beer Can Museum, music and childrens’ activities as well as some pretty cool grounds to explore.  Tickets available here. ($11.34/adult/children under 12 free.  Free onsite parking)

9/24 & 9/25 If you want to head out of town the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard (the town not the university) has their craft fair this weekend or head up to Penttengill Farm for their Vintage Bazaar.

9/25 3 p.m. -or 9/23 at 7:30- (Boston) Get some Bach in your system with Bach Magnificat from the Handel and Haydn  (and sometimes Bach) Society.  Step into to Symphony Hall to soak up this joyful masterpiece. ($545-$98 – $37.50 + fees via Bostix)

9/25 (Winchester) Go raspberry picking at Wright Locke Farm.  The raspberries are so sweet this time of year.  Just check the website or call before heading over to confirm that they are picking on Sunday.  If you’re really adventurous in the kitchen or you want to be, then consider signing up for their Intro to Pressure Canning class on Sunday from 4-7 (raspberries priced/pound)

9/25 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Springfield) The Big E is a New England tradition and a sight to be seen.  Some must experience it every year and for others’ it is a once in a lifetime outing.  It is Americana, state pride, living museum, crafts, and agricultural events all in one.  ($15/adult $10/children free/children 5 and under plus $$ for rides and food of course)

Saturday brunch feels kind of fabulous and a little rebellious.  Townsman is serving up their Trunk Brunch this Saturday.  If you haven’t been to Townsman yet you’re definitely missing out on amazing food, fab vibe and a great space to spend a chunk of your weekend. What is a Trunk Brunch?  It is trunk show meets brunch and has a party.  There will be music, jewelry, ceramics and other fab wares for sale, and as always a #caketable because not everyone does brunch…but everyone does cake. Brunch is from 11-2 on Saturday.

For brunch on Sunday, classic but not average, one of my favourite brunches around is at Puritan & Co in Cambridge, but if I want to go to Boston, I’ll probably head over to brunch at Island Creek Oyster Bar.

New to the scene for brunch there is Article 24 over in Brighton from 10-3 both Saturday and Sunday.  Down in Quincy, The Townshend is now serving up brunch too and I’ve got my eyes on those carrot cake fritters after I have some bruléed grapefruit (just like my bubbe used to make me except she used cinnamon- I like the idea of thyme).

Did You Know?!

Sunday 9/25 is National Lobster Day  I hear Luke’s Lobster is offering up a Lobster Day special.  If you can get in, a lobster roll at Neptune Oyster and B&G Oysters are both amazing.  For a unique experience, head to Cambridge for lobster rolls at Alive & Kicking Lobsters.  Summer Shack is another great spot and of course Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 too.  If you’re done with lobster rolls and want some lobster comfort food then you have to check out Bear in Boots, but 1st call ahead to see if they have some of their amazing lobster mac and cheese on the menu this weekend.

The Divisiveness of Chicken Salad: Willow Tree Farm

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Chicken salad is a bit like communication: In theory, it seems so simple but when you get right down taking a thought, sharing it with someone and having them hear, listen and understand it as you meant it to be expressed is incredibly complex.

As a mayo-averse person, I tend to shy away from chicken salad as a whole because so often mayonnaise is a predominant flavour.  The truth is though, there is nothing quite like the perfect chicken (or tuna) salad especially if mayonnaise gives you the heebeegeebees but you’ve found one with just the right balance.

Some like a chunky cubed version, others like the shredded kind, and then there is the smooth deli version that brings a touch of nostalgia. In New England, we like to add cranberries, others add the crunch of apple or celery à la Waldorf. The preferred style and texture of chicken salad is so individual and contentious that I have been known to look at the bottom of containers and text photos back and forth before selecting the ideal box of a certain chicken salad when out shopping.

I was recently sent some samples of Willow Tree Farm chicken salad for review and although I was nervous given that chicken salad is not one of my favourite foods.  On the other hand, I was also excited because they have a version without mayonnaise.

I sampled the Avocado Chicken Salad and the Sriracha Chicken Salad.  What surprised me is that even though my even more mayo averse husband and I liked both versions I think I’m going to stock the Sriracha Chicken Salad on a regular basis because we both liked it so much and that was the version with mayonnaise.  It works for us though, because the Willow Tree Farm chicken salads are a smooth version of of chicken salad (old school deli style) and there is a good quantity of sriracha so it masks any eggy mayonnaise flavour.


The Avocado Chicken Salad is made with Avèyo, avocado, white vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and lime juice, which acts as the mayonnaise.  It also has cranberries which add a little sweetness.  I like it a bit more acidic so I drizzle a little extra fresh lime over it.  One of my favourite quick and easy dinners is nachos, but nachos don’t really make a meal.  So to round it out I added a spoonful of the Will Tree Farm Avocado Chicken Salad and that definitely makes a meal.

The Sriracha Chicken Salad will be my go to quick sandwich filling.  This time of year our kitchen counter is covered in bowls of tomatoes from Lindentree CSA.  We have leftover hot dog buns, because the number of buns never matches the number of hot dogs.  For a quick lunch, I slice up some tomatoes, put a scoop of the sriracha chicken salad over the tomatoes and lunch is made.  Dan just likes to eat spoonfuls of the chicken salad right out of the fridge when he gets home from work because he is the kind of guy who needs a substantial snack before dinner.

Now, I just have to find out where they sell Willow Tree Farm near me and maybe I’ll need to take a road trip out to Attleboro to visit the source.

Avocado Chicken Salad Nachos

  • tortilla chips
  • Willow Tree Farm Avocado Chicken Salad
  • sharp cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
  • pickled jalapeños (I used the sweet and spicy Backyard Food Company jalapeños)
  • sour cream
  • fresh lime, optional
  • hot sauce
  1. Fill a plate (size based on how many people you are feeding) with tortilla chips.
  2. Top with grated cheese and pop the plate into the microwave for 30 seconds, but watch it carefully and take it out as soon as the cheese is melted.
  3. Drizzle with hot sauce and add a few pickled jalapeños to taste.
  4. Add a scoop or two of Willow Tree Farm Avocado Chicken Salad and a spoonful of sour cream.

 

Prep School: Garlic Oil

This year, I am trying to be a bit more efficient both out of necessity and for sanity’s sake.  If I am not organized, I find myself making lunches in the early morning, then moments after the kids are off to school I am prepping my own lunch and breakfast. Then, only an hour or so later I am prepping snacks and dinner. 

My kids don’t have a typical boxed snack most days because:

  • (a) they are ravenous after school
  • (b) cookies, crackers and chips are fine in a pinch but not so good for anyone on a regular basis 
  • (c) they ask for miso soup and fried Brussels sprouts for snack and I’m ok with that.

Our weekly meals include boxed lunches that I prefer to prep fresh in the morning (and I have the luxury to do so) and many dinners in thermoses to go.

So one new thing I’ve started doing is planning out meals a bit better so food doesn’t go to waste and I know what to prep when.

Last week, I was making pizza and while prepping snacks and dinner I decided to make the garlic oil I drizzle over the pizza.  Dan would not stop eating it and I had a lightbulb moment. 

So, this week I prepped a full jar of my garlic oil and used it to season vegetables, in salad dressing, for croutons and of course Dan, who doesn’t eat butter could dip his bread into it to his heart’s content.

It was so easy and this time of year all the farmers’ market garlic is cured and ready to go – so stock up! Good garlic is priceless.

  1. Crush 4-8 cloves of garlic intoan old  mustard  jar or mason jar.
  2. Add 1/2 tap of Kosher salt and mash it into the garlic.
  3. Fill the jar with a good quality olive oil.
  4. Stir to combine and taste for salt. Add more if needed.
  5. Leave the jar of garlic oil on the counter and use it all week long or until gone.
  6. repeat as needed

Falling for Italy in the North End: Artú

A glass of white at Artú in Boston's North End.
A glass of the Falanghina, Feudi di San Gregorio, Campania was just right with the grilled sea scallop antipasti.

When we 1st moved to Boston there was still a highway on the horizon between Boston and its North End.  Dan and I enjoyed an occasional romantic date night or late night coffee when we dared try to get ourselves from Cambridge to Boston and back (remember this was the time before GPS and iPhones and we had a giant spiral bound square book of maps stashed under the driver’s seat). After having kids, the North End felt overwhelming and became a “land beyond” that we sort of forgot about except for that one day we went to East Boston and took the water taxi to the North End.  Now that the kids are older, the highway has gone subterranean and we have all sorts of devices that not only help us get from point a to point b but also tell us where we can park, the North End is one of my new favourite spots.  In the summer it is nice to be so close to the water and in the fall strolling the streets of the North End is like a mini vacation with the scent of roasting coffee, freshly baking bread, and sweet garlic wafting in the crisp fall air at the turn of every corner.

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Dinner begins at Artú

My most recent visit to the North End was with Blog and Tweet Boston for a hosted dinner at Artú.  I parked easily at a lot on Commercial St. and then it was a quick stroll over to Hanover Street, the North End’s “main street” and then I turned off onto Prince Street to catch a view of the moon in the still blue sky behind an Italian church on the edge of a little coblestone piazza, North Square Park. Instantly, I felt like I was somewhere else and I hadn’t even stepped into Artú yet to the smells of dinner cooking.

Just like the North End, Artú has lots of hidden spaces it seems.  The bar was alive with what I assume are regulars who live and work nearby.  There were dining areas down stairs around the corner from the bar and then we were upstairs in a private loft-like space.  This would be a great location for a special birthday party for little gourmandes, a baby shower, graduation, dinner with friends or colleagues.  People are always asking me about restaurants with a good space for gatherings of all sorts.   I’d definitely recommend Artú because the space felt intimate but not cut off in a separate generic room.  Also, everyone loves Italian but not everyone loves an oyster bar (which always works well for me but I’m not devious in that way).  I was impressed at how well each course was executed and Artú is a family run business and you can feel it.

To see what else we enjoyed for dinner (and for tips on what to order next time you go to Artú, just click on the image for more details.

 

 

Return of the Weekend Guide: September 16-18th

Our long-lost friend, the Weekend Guide, is back!

We live in a region that is full of options and opportunities and making a curated list of things to do each weekend is one of my favourite things to do for my readers.  What I get in return is a feeling of satisfaction and joy when I see all your photos on Facebook or Instagram at the various events around town. Keep them  coming! 

Friday

CORRECTION – I originally had the MFA Overnight Launch party starting on Friday.  It is actually Saturday to Sunday.

9/16 8:00 p.m. (Lexington) If an all night party reminds you of those Woodstock nights then maybe you’ll want to check out Grammy winners Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary when they perform this Friday at Cary Hall in Lexington.  ($59 – $79)

9/16 6:00-8:30 p.m. (Boston)- It is Family Dinner Night at the Boston Public Market.  Head into The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market with your family, whoever that includes, but especially good for children 6 yrs + and their guardians.  The evening includes a quick tour of the market to see what is in season, then the family will gather to cook three farmer’s market fresh courses and mix a signature mocktail.  After all that prep, everyone will sit down to enjoy the meal at the end of class.  Vegetarian and vegan options are available at each dinner.

Boston Public Market is part of Trustees of the Reservation (a great family membership to have).  Use code: DINNERNITE for 50% off any Family Dinner Night this fall.  Parking is available at Parcel 7 Parking Garage $3/3 hours with proof of purchase. ($24 adult/$12 child for members or $30 adult/$15 child for non-members).


Saturday/Sunday

9/17 – 9/18 6 p.m. – 9 a.m. (Boston) The MFA knows that it is way too early for all night study sessions, but this time of year there is still plenty of time to party all night.

On Friday, the Museum of Fine Arts will be launching mfaNOW Overnight Parties.  You read that correctly and it is for night owls and early birds of all ages.  Starting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and going through 9 a.m. on Saturday this celebration of contemporary art and artists is a cornucopia of activities.  There will be food trucks (Bonetown Burgers, Indulge India, North East of the Border and Sheherazad), Taste Café will be open all night, Moonlight Bar in the Calderwood Courtyard will serve draft beer and wine until 2 a.m., and Bravo will be open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with cocktails, wine and beer.

In addition to contemporary art exhibits, there will be lawn games, a Frances Stark: UH-OH lecture, Harvard metaLAB‘s interactive exhibit Trust (the presence of secrets), MIT’s Hacking Arts, live painting/graffiti, a late night run with Heartbreak Hill Running Company, music, and the insomniac olympics at 3 a.m. For the early risers, there is yoga hosted by Equinox at 7 a.m., messy mornings for families from 7-10 a.m. and story hour from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday. (Free)

9/15 – 9/18 (Brighton/Boston) WGBH is having their Food and Wine Festival this weekend.  I always pictured this as a gala event that you get evening or weekend tickets to, but I was wrong.  The gala is sold out, you can still get all access passes, but you can also get tickets to individual tastings and events.  Discounted tickets are available on Goldstar.com (here is my referral link for that- I love using Goldstar for discounts).  I have my eye on the Brunch Bar and the Celebrity Food Fight.  ($35 on Goldstar – $370.24 all access pass)

9/17 (Cambridge) An outdoor celebration for families that we look forward to every year is Danehy Day in Danehy Park. There are amusement rides, arts and crafts, street performers, bake sales, and of course the park to play in.  It is a Cambridge fall community reunion of sorts.  It is also a great place to get to know about different performers (birthday party ideas), chat with parents about favourite sports and classes for their kids, and just a time to let loose and have fun with about 4,000 other community members.   (free)

9/17 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Brookline)  National Drive Electric Week is this week and on Saturday, if you head over to Larz Anderson Auto Museum you can take a look at some of the latest and greatest gas-less cars.  Speak with electric vehicle owners and if you drive electric feel free to join the fun and have your own car on display.  This Electric Vehicle event is an informal version of other themed lawn events hosted by the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.  It will be held on the museum grounds where both attendees and owners will gather to show and explore vehicles.  The event is open to any 2-4 wheel conversion, custom build or modern factory built plug in electic vehicle and other sustaineable forms of transportation. You can expect to see Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF, Volkswagen e-Golf, EV conversion, BMW i3 REx, BMW i8, Tesla Model X, Zero motorcycle, Audi A3 e-tron, Chevrolet Volt, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, Volvo XC90 Plug-In among many others.  I for one had no idea there were so many electric options and I’m dreaming of a few of these models some day. (free)

9/18 (Ipswich) Despite the beach weather, the orchards are ripe with beautiful early fall apples.  On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m head out to Ipswich to visit one of the Trustees of the Reservation properties. Appleton Farm’s Family Farm Day will be the perfect escape from the city with the family.  There will be good old fashioned games of tug-o-war, crafts, face-painting and the ever popular Ben Rudnick and Friends providing music to dance to.  There will be burgers, seafood from Joe’s on a Roll and Sal’s pizza to purchase if the orchard air and pony rides have you working up an appetite.  ($24/car for members/ $30 for non-members)

9/18 11:00 am- 5:00 pm (Boston) Boston Local Food Festival on the Greenway will give you a taste of everything that local farmers are harvesting, food crafters are creating, and food trucks are dishing out. In addition, local chefs will also demo some of their craft and share a few tips and tricks of the trade.

Did you know ?

The 3rd Friday in September is Park(ing) Day.  Check out these mini parks in parking spots in Cambridge and elsewhere here.

September 17th is National Apple Dumpling Day. I have no idea where to get an apple dumpling around here.Do you?  I can highly recommend the “chausson au pommes” -apple turnover from Praliné though. Sticky, but just slightly, shimmery glazed croissant-like pastry filled with a perfect apple compote.

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Here is the Wahlburgers’ triple cheeseburger. You can always count on chef Paul Wahlburg to go the extra mile. He can’t help himself! Paying homage to the Triple Decker apartment the nine Wahlberg children lived in as children in Dorchester, Chef Paul Wahlberg has crafted a burger with three 3oz. juicy burger patties (proprietary blend of beef by Pat La Frieda) each topped with perfectly melted government cheese stacked on top of lettuce, tomato, onion, Paul’s signature Wahl sauce and housemade pickles on a potato bun.

September 15th is National Double Cheeseburger Day.  Did you know there was even such a thing?  In Boston you can grab a double cheeseburger at Wahlburgers, Charlie’s Kitchen, Sullivan’s on Castle Island, one of Wild Willy’s Burgers ordered “double wide” or Grassfed‘s Double Stacked Cheeseburger.

If a double cheeseburger is just too ridiculous for you, sit tight and celebrate National Cheeseburger day on Sunday, September 18th.  My ‘go to’ burger joints are Shake Shack splurge and get the Shack Stack, Craigie on Main get a seat at the bar early to snag one,  Wahlburgers and one day I’ll hunt one down one at Alden & Harlow.

Save the date:

September 19th 6:00 -9:00 p.m. (B0ston) Cooked, Crudo or Canned: Adventures of Seafood class at the Boston Center for Adult Ed. with Chef Kyle McClelland of Saltie Girl.  To reserve a spot or for more information, please visit www.bcae.org or call 617-267-4430, as space is limited. 

September 22nd (Newport, RI)  Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival

Wednesdays (Brighton): Morning Pick-up Hockey at the new Warrior Ice Arena

September 24th 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Boston) Kids Really Rock Festival at Lawn on D

 

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