boston

Runners for Boston

I still can’t believe what happened last week in Boston. The attack on the marathon was so pointless, shocking and sad, and the subsequent lockdown of the city was terrifying. I can’t help but get upset any time I’m reminded of it. And I haven’t lived in Boston in years.

But I do know the city well, and one thing I’m 100% sure of is that Boston, and everyone who lives there, will get through this tough time. I know the marathon will be back next year, and thousands of people will be out in the streets to support the runners and the city, and show that they’re stronger than this year’s tragedy.

I’ve also been heartened to see all the support the worldwide running community has shown Boston, in the aftermath. And it’s not a wonder—anyone who has the drive and dedication to train for these races certainly feels camaraderie with others who do the same. (Back when I lived in Boston, and running, not dancing, was my singular focus, I’d trade grim smiles with other crazies who’d be running through the snowy paths along the Charles in the dead of winter!)

At yesterday’s Salt Lake City Marathon, runners, were given bracelets with Boston Marathon colors
Salt Lake City Hosts Marathon Under Stepped Up Security Measures
…and a several runners from the Boston Marathon, dubbed the “4:09 Group” crossed the Salt Lake City finish line at that time—when the first bomb went off in Boston—in honor of those who were killed, injured or unable to finish the race. Thousands of Salt Lake City runners signed a giant banner to show their support.
Salt Lake City Hosts Marathon Under Stepped Up Security Measures
At today’s London Marathon, runners observed a moment of silence before the race…
london marathon moment of silence
…and, in various places across the country, this weekend, runners ran for Boston.

I’ll be doing the same, in a few weeks. On Friday, the New Jersey Marathon posted this message on its Facebook page:

In solidarity with the Boston running community we are encouraging every one to wear blue and yellow on race day – shorts, hat, socks, etc. Whatever works for you! Let’s show our support with a sea of blue and yellow on the Jersey Shore.

If you’d like to make a monetary contribution, The One Fund has been set up to help the people most affected by these tragic events.В http://www.onefundboston.org/

I am so excited to do so. It’s just a small gesture, but one that sends a strong message.

one fund

Have you come across other ways runners are showing their support?

(Salt Lake City photos by George Fray/Getty via theВ San Jose Mercury News; London Marathon photo by Luke Macgregor/ReutersВ via the NY Times; bottom photo via the NJ Marathon Facebook page)

A Weekend in Boston: Old and New Favorites

Two weekends ago, I spent a whirlwind few days in Boston. Every trip up, I feel like I never have enough time there. Nevertheless,В I managed to catch up with a few friends and check out my dad’s booth at the New England Flower Show. I also went to a few places that were new to me, as well as some old favorites from when I lived there. The highlights:

Area 4

Area 4_coffeehouse

Area 4 pizzas
Kind of crazy to say, but I wish we had more places like this in NYC. For whatever reason, NYC has a lack of good cafes/restaurants/communal spaces to do work, in my opinion—and I say that as a blogger and former freelance writer! That’s why I was wishing I could somehow transport Area 4В from Cambridge to Manhattan. This bakery/coffeehouse/bar is located in tech-centric Kendall Square and looks the part. It’s bright, glassy and airy and has a sweet front area for laptoppers—I could see myself happily pecking away at my keyboard for hours there. It also has a back area for sit-down diners. We went for a late lunch and split a few of their delicious wood-fired pizzas. (I was especially excited about topping off our Carbonara pie with an extra egg—my fave pizza topping!)

Legal Sea Foods Harborside

Legal_Harborside_From_Water_Landing_Page_Hero

Legal_Harborside_Floor_1_Dining_Room1

Sure, it’s cliche to go to Legals. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! I’ve ended up at various Legals during the years I lived in Boston, and the ones after, and enjoyed every experience. In fact, I look forward to eating there, each trip! This time around, we had dinner at Legal Harborside, which is right on the South Boston waterfront (conveniently close to the flower show). The restaurant has a great view of the city skyline, which, I’m sure, is even nicer in summer, when you can eat outside. And my lobster was pretty awesome.

Boston Ballet

boston ballet school

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the ”All KyliГЎn” programВ I’d hoped to see. I did manage to take a class at the Boston Ballet School, though. Back when I lived in Boston, I attended a few classes there. At the time, I thought the studios were the prettiest I’d ever seen, but the classes intimidated me! Even the advanced beginning level was daunting. But on trips back, over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed taking the open classes. I still find the studios gorgeous—they’re sunny and spacious and it’s a luxury to be in the space. The instructor, Arthur Leeth, is good—I especially like his lengthy adagios. And now that I’m no longer scared of the classes, it’s fun to just go there and dance. (Which helps offset all the eating I do in Boston!)

Brookline Booksmith

brookline booksmith

brookline booksmith

I spent my first few post-college years in Brookline for one main reason: I wanted to be close to the big Trader Joe’s in Coolidge Corner. Since I could barely afford to eat, that was the only place where I could get a week’s worth of groceries for $25. (For ALL meals—with my entry level newspaper salary, my budget didn’t allow me to eat out or order in!) Luckily, the neighborhood also had a few good restaurants, bars and shops.

During this trip, I met up with my all-time favorite dance buddy, Jackie, who still lives in the ‘hood. We had a nice brunch at Hops N Scotch, one of many places that had opened up since I’d lived there. (The breakfast biscuit sandwich was exactly what I was craving!) Before and after, I went to the Brookline Booksmith, right around the corner. I’d forgotten how much I loved that place. And how great it is to have an awesome book store nearby. The Booksmith has it all going on. It draws fabulous authors for talks and signings; displays new and recommended books in a way that encourages browsing for hours; has a rainbow-ordered wall of Moleskines (!!!); offers amazingly curated tables of.gif"area 4 fb" href="http://www.facebook.com/areafourcambridge/" target="_blank">Area 4’s Facebook page, Legal Sea Foods, Boston Ballet School’s Facebook pageВ and the Brookline Booksmith’s Facebook page)

Off to Boston!

boston back bay

Even though it’s colder in Boston than it is in NYC, I’m excited to be heading there for the weekend. It’s nice to get away, this time of year, no matter where!

My father has a bonsai booth at the New England Flower Show, so Mal, Peter and I will be stopping by to see him, as well as catching up with friends. This is also the final few days ofВ Boston Ballet’s В “All KyliГЎn” program which, as its name states, features three works byВ JiЕ™Г­ KyliГЎn. I’d love to see it—especially since Ailey’s performance ofВ KyliГЎn’s “Petit Mort” В wowed me in December—but am not sure I’ll be able make the Saturday show. I am planning to take class at Boston Ballet, though—a good way to offset some of the eating I’m planning to do!

The image above is an illustration of the Back Bay, by artist Anna See. I love how she captured the historic buildings in one of Boston’s prettiest neighborhoods—where I was lucky enough to dorm, for a few years, as a BU student. Of course, once I had to rent my own apartment, the Back Bay was way out of my price range!

Happy Friday! How are you spending the weekend?

(Image via Anna See’s Etsy shop)

Off to Boston!

trnsprtnation boston

Tomorrow morning, I’m off to to Boston for a super-quick trip. I’ll be in the city for less than 24 hours, but that leaves me enough time to catch up with some of my old newspaper pals and see my favorite dance buddy’s winter performance. (Yay, Jackie!) Then, on Sunday, I’m headed down to Connecticut for a second Thanksgiving with my dad.

When I was living in Boston, the T was the bane of my existence. I was on the green line and hated how there was a station nearly every block—and the trolley had to stop at traffic lights, too. I used to joke that the C line was what drove me back to NYC. But I love TRNSPRTNATION’S typographic illustration of the T system. Each line is comprised of the names of every stop along it, in their respective places.

trnsprtnation boston

Of course, the New Yorker in me was happy to see they have a NYC version, too—as well as London, Chicago and a few other cities.

(Images via TRNSPRTNATION)

Restaurant Recipe Recreation: Stella’s Orecchiette with Cured Tomatoes and Sausage

When I was in Boston a few weekends ago, I ate a lot of great food. But one meal that particularly stuck in my mind was Stella’sВ orecchiette with chile flake, sausage and cured tomato. I was surprised at richness and the depth of flavor in such a seemingly simple dish. It was hearty with a fresh, robust tomato sauce. I was still thinking about it this weekend, so I recreated a version of it on Sunday.

I hadn’t cured tomatoes before, so I used this recipeВ as a guide.В I washed, scored, boiled, peeled and cut 2 pounds of grape and cherry tomatoes. (The recipe called for Romas and I would definitely use them next time. I just happened to have these little guys on hand and used them anyway because I’m a pro at making things more difficult for myself, even though it took much longer to peel all of them.)

Next, I seasoned the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, placed them on a baking sheet and sprinkled sliced garlic on top. They went into the oven at 200 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Later in the evening, I prepared a box of orrecchiette. While the pasta cooked, I browned spicy chicken sausage. (I opted for that over pork to make the dish a little healthier.) When the meat was almost cooked, I added the cured tomatoes.

Once the pasta was al dente, I mixed the orecchiette with the tomatoes, sausages and a generous handful of chopped basil. В I was so happy with how the dish came out. It was a little less rich than Stella’s (due to swapping pork for chicken) but just as tasty–and so pretty, too!

Orecchiette with Cured Tomatoes and Chicken Sausage (inspired by Stella‘s Orecchiette with Chile Flake, Sausage and Cured Tomatoes; cured tomatoes adapted from Cork’s Oil-Cured Tomatoes)

Ingredients:

2 lbs tomatoes (I used a mix of grape and cherry tomatoes, though it’s probably best to use Romas)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for cooking the sausage

Salt and pepper to taste

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1 lb orecchiette

1 lb spicy chicken sausage, casing removed

a handful of fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

1. Wash and score tomatoes on the side opposite stem. Place in boiling water for 20 seconds. Scoop out and immediately dunk in an ice bath. Remove skin and seeds. Cut into halves or quarters.

2. Toss tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet and sprinkle garlic on top. Bake at 200 degrees F for 45 minutes. Once cool, let tomatoes marinate in a container for at least two hours.

3. Cook orecchiette according to package directions. Once done, drain, reserving one cup pasta water.

4. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and break up into pieces. Once nearly cooked through, add cured tomatoes, pasta and pasta water, if needed. Toss in basil before serving.

A Weekend of Good Eats in Boston

Two weekends ago, Reen, Karen and I escaped to Boston for a girls’ weekend. In the years since we graduated college, we’d made separate whirlwind trips back to catch up with friends. But the last time the three of us had been there together was eight years ago–and we felt we were overdue for a return trip.

Originally, we planned to have a ridiculous nostalgia fest. We came up with a long list of places to hit up to relive our college days: Cactus ClubВ (um, it was going to be Cinco de Mayo, after all), Whiskey’s, People’s Republik, Mike’s Pastry,В Anna’s Taqueria. We even considered going to Allston bars like Common GroundВ before deciding that would be too sad and embarrassing, nostalgia weekend or not!

But once we got to Boston, we scrapped those plans. The city had changed so much in our time away. Instead of drinking like college kids and going to our old faithful places, we decided to experience Boston in a more “age-appropriate” way–especially now that we’re no longer dirt poor, like when we lived there, as Reen said. (Though in my case, I’d say I’ve barely moved up one step from “dirt poor.”)

We basically ate and drank our way through the weekend. Some highlights–and lots of food pics:

Dinner at Stella: One thing hasn’t changed about Boston: the lack of late-night dining options. By the time we checked into our hotel on Friday, it was 11 p.m., past the hour most restaurants stop serving. (Our concierge actually told us IHOP was our only option.) We wanted a relaxing, sit-down meal, so we headed to Stella, in the South End–and were so pleased with our choice. The restaurant is stylish with a chill vibe and the crowd mostly 30-somethings. Plus, Stella has a great (i.e. girly) cocktail menu and fantastic food. We loved the short rib flatbread pizza and orecchiette with sausage.

Brunch at theВ South End Buttery:В When I lived in Boston, there weren’t many brunch options. There seem to be quite a few now, and Reen made a great choice for Saturday. We had Bloody Marys and amazing eggs Benedict with shaved ham on homemade biscuits. The dish was so good that I wish I knew a place in NYC that made a variation on par with it.

Dinner and Drinks atВ Island Creek Oyster Bar:В I love the decor here. The mix of weathered wooden planks with ultra-modern lighting fixtures really makes the space feel like a fancy seafood shack transplanted into a city. The cocktails were great (I’m planning to make/drink my own version of the Bergamot Buck all summer) and the oysters and lobster roll were among the best I’ve had.

Mint julep–because it was also Derby day.

Margaritas at Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar: We met up with our Cambridge pal Doug for Cinco de Mayo drinks. Loved the margaritas–especially the Diablo and Naughty Pineapple–but not the long line we waited on to get into the place. We had a great time once we got inside, though!

SoWa Open Market:В Apparently, this farmers/design/vintage market has been around since 2003 but I didn’t recall hearing of it before. It was totally cool and reminded me of Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. We browsed the artisans’ wares and had great sandwiches and tacos from the BBQ Smith food truck before hitting the road back to NYC.

Did I miss anything? What other places should I check out on my next trip up? (Boston peeps, I’m hoping to return sometime this year!)