Saturday, May 20, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 5.20.17

What a week it has been. I was so very ready for the weekend to be here...and thankfully it is living up to my hopes. Barre, cooking (including roasted rhubarb, my fave!), Mindy Project, plans to hang out with the meantime I am

Reading: The Singles Game. It was a fun, easy read-but still had me emotionally invested in the characters. Definitely recommend it!

Listening: Racist Sandwich. A hilarious, irreverent, important podcast that explores politics through food. Start listening now!

Watching: The Mindy Project. Since Mom got Hulu Plus in order to watch The Handmaid's Tale, I've also been rewatching all of the Mindy Project. Total comfort TV.

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Eating Elsewhere: Greensboro (Part 1)

I'm pretty sure I've said it before, but I tend to plan a big part of my trips around delicious food-and North Carolina was no different! Now, being vegetarian, I can't enjoy the BBQ or seafood, but that doesn't mean I have to miss out on all the Southern cuisine! Every time I go I have to be sure to have some cheese grits and a biscuit...and preferably as many seasonal veggies as possible, especially since they are a little ahead in their growing season! And guys, I really ate so much that I had to split this into multiple posts, otherwise it would have been unreasonably long. I'm a little ridiculous.
I was very happy I decided to take an ungodly early flight (5:30am) so we could get right down to the business of eating everything in sight. After getting a pedicure (desperately needed for this Northern gal!) we stopped by Duck Donuts, a donut shop in which you get to design your own! They fry the donut fresh to order and top it with whatever you request...I went for lemon icing, raspberry drizzle, and coconut, while Mom had chocolate icing with peanuts and coconut. I usually strongly prefer raised donuts, but these have totally won me over.
That evening, we stopped by the Bearded Goat for a little pre-dinner cocktail. While I love the classic copper Moscow Mule mug, I definitely enjoyed it being served in the cutest Deep Eddy tin!
For dinner we went to a restaurant I always enjoy-Crafted: Art of the Taco. I ventured outside my usual to try the taco salad and pimento mac&cheese, which was 100% the right choice. I could eat this salad forever.
On Saturday, after exploring Old Salem, Mom and I went into Winston-Salem for some treats. We attempted to go to Small Batch Beer Co, but it was just too crowded-and maybe I'm getting old, but also definitely too loud, ha! So we headed straight over to Foothills, where we enjoyed an excellent Carolina strawberry blonde ale. We definitely could have found some delicious food there, but Mom already had a plan in mind for that...
We attempted Small Batch again, but to no avail-next time! We then drove over to Cin Cin Burger Bar, a speakeasy-style restaurant and bar. We were told it would be quite a wait for a table, but we knew how to pass the time!
Luckily, as we were sipping on our cocktails, some people seated at the bar were called for their table so we just parked ourselves right there. Mom was insistent on the Gorgonzola fries-and she was right! I considered trying to add some "real food" but wasn't hungry enough for that and crazy boozy we know what won. The intense stomachaches were totally worth it.

Now I'm craving all these foods...whoops. Happy Friday, y'all!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A trip back in time to Old Salem

Visiting my family in NC for my birthday was possibly the best choice I could have made. Things have been a little rough at work lately-through no fault of my coworkers or kids-and it came at the perfect time. Of course, taking an extra-long weekend meant playing a lot of catch-up once I got back and unfortunately that meant the blog got back-burnered. But I'm back-and hopefully will get back on top of it! 
Usually I visit my family for a holiday, which is wonderful but means that everything is focused and scheduled around that. Because we had nothing we had to do, Mom and I decided to take a 3/4 day trip to Old Salem. I've always enjoyed history but don't always want to spend the entire day in it-however, in Old Salem I was actually ready to keep going when everything closed down at 4:30! I highly recommend it, as well as ensuring you are hungry when you go. The Tavern has surprisingly good food, and we were sadly too full to even taste any of the baked goods!
For those of you who don't know, Old Salem is a historical Moravian village, including gorgeous gardens, historical buildings, the original black Moravian church, and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts
The original organ in the Single Brothers' Home
Part of the way through the day, we became extremely confused by the sudden appearance of teens in formalwear. Perhaps because of growing up in the Midwest I have never understood the craziness that often accompanies these events, but prom is taken so. seriously. in the South. The bridge that you have to cross to get from the shops and and exhibit buildings to the Visitor Center and parking was packed with couples and groups posing. We even overheard someone saying that they didn't think they'd be able to get onto the bridge because of the number of people there. Mom and I felt terrible for all the kids in their long dresses, heels, and rented tuxes and shoes for hours before the dance even starts-and the poor younger siblings dragged along for the professional photographs!
The bridge before the storm...
Mom and I also got some sweet hats...we both have tiny heads so it can be challenging to find ones that fit. We may have gotten a little excited :)

I already miss the sunshine and family...hopefully they come visit Boston soon! Hint hint...


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

I am so very lucky to have the relationship I do with my mom-we have always been extremely close, never having gone through the stereotypical teenage rebellion. My mom has always been there for me, regardless of what she was dealing with at the time, and has balanced being a parent and a friend. I wish she didn't live so far away, but at least every time I visit-or she comes here-we have a blast! (and maybe eat twice as much as we really should)
I went for my birthday this year, a couple weeks ago, and haven't managed to get my act together to get a post up-so at least y'all won't be getting repeat pictures this post!

I'm also so lucky to have such a lovely grandma and aunt-and so many other mothers and mother-figures in my life!

Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 5.13.17

I can't even express how much I love having a library card! You can expect a lot more new books on here now...

Reading: I finished The Hopefuls in about 2 days while in Greensboro. It was so, so good...reading about such momentous events through the eyes of someone on both the inside and outside was really engaging. Plus, they reference Adams Morgan quite a bit, and since that's where my friends Hannah and Matt live, it was cool to be able to picture it!

Listening: I re-embraced my love of bluegrass while down South and spent a lot of time on the Steel Wheels. If you ever have the chance to see them, I highly recommend it-they give a great performance!

Watching: The Handmaid's Tale, of course! I've long been a fan of the book (I think that I first read it in high school...) and am usually skeptical of adaptations, but this one is definitely good so far!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 4.29.17

I know I'm a couple weeks that I've moved, I've got to get into a new rhythm! I no longer have nearly as much time to kill on the commute, nor do I have enforced coffee shop time, ha. I'm trying to figure it out, though!

Reading: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It's super weird, but really engaging-I am very very into dystopian novels and always have been, though sometimes these days they are a little too real. In fact, I really want to be reading it right now...

Listening: I finally listened to the soundtrack to Dear Evan Hansen. Beautiful and favorite! Of course, I now desperately want to see the show...maybe on my next trip to NYC I can somehow score tickets?

Watching: I haven't been watching much more cable for me! However, I can say I'm very excited to watch the Handmaid's Tale miniseries and to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy! :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

No more commuter rail!

I live in Boston now! I moved about a week and a half ago, with the help of my dad and friends Michelle and Elly. Dad drove the U-Haul up from Providence while I drove my car, and the ladies met us at my new apartment in Somerville to help with the unloading and carrying of alllll my stuff.
Treats for the movers from Providence Bagel!
I now have a roommate (found on Craigslist, but seems super normal!) in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. I feel so very lucky to have this setup-the toilet paper wars I have heard tell of sound just terrible, ha. I still have a little at my dad's, but am mostly moved in and unpacked. I've hit the wall, though-I did major unpacking Easter weekend, but now can't bring myself to figure out what to do with the rest of my things. Uuuuggghhh. Downsize? Probably, but I am really bad at that. I'll have to find a way soon-I don't want to force my roommate to live with a mess, no matter how small!
The view from my balcony
So far, so good on the location front. I like Somerville a lot and had originally wanted to live in this area anyway, so I felt very lucky when I found this place. It's got a lot of good food, though I've been trying to stick to my good meal planning, and an excellent brewery just down the street! Watch out, Winter Hill Brewing-I might be moving in! ;)
Naturally Michelle and I needed a (delicious) beer after moving
I am just so happy to have cut my commute essentially in half, and to be able to really build a full life here in Boston-and just in time for summer! Send any and all recommendations my way, please!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Eat Local: Celestial Cafe

I came across an Instagram post featuring Celestial Cafe and saved it for a day when I might have more time...most nights I get home just in time to have a cup of tea (or glass of wine) before bed. Dad and I made the "trip" to go to dinner there and it was absolutely worth it! I love their focus on supporting local farms and therefore incorporating seasonal ingredients.

Dad started with the citrus pesto calamari, while I had the dish which inspired the trip, the sweet potato wonton. Oh my were they delicious!
The seasonal menu was so appealing that even Dad opted for a vegetarian main, the RI mushroom, kale, and onion risotto. I had a dish with similar ingredients, the gnocchi veggie aglio e olio, but an entirely different presentation. Both were delicious and satisfying-I so appreciate it when restaurants serve a reasonable portion! I do enjoy my leftovers, but many things just do not keep as well and I hate to waste food, especially when it's this delicious.

As always, I am very much looking forward to going back! There are a number of dishes I just can't wait to, we were too full for dessert and that is not ok! :)


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 4.8.17

Three weeks in a row whaaat? To be fair, there's a good chance this won't be happening next week...I'm finally moving to Boston! Dreading the move part, excited about the living in Somerville part...more to come for sure!

Reading: I'm cheating and posting about what I'm excited to start reading: The Mother of All Things by Rebecca Solnit. I loved Men Explain Things to Me, so when I came across this follow up I had to purchase it immediately.

Listening: I gave in and started listening to Pod Save America. I get rather overwhelmed with the news and absolutely hate watching it, though I will watch shows like Last Week Tonight and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. This podcast is produced by four former Obama aides who do a great job of breaking down what is actually happening.

Watching: I finally saw Get Out! I have been meaning to forever-despite absolutely never watching horror movies. It's really more of a social commentary playing on horror movie tropes-and there are already numerous reviews and reflections on it better than I could write. Suffice to say, you should see it, read articles like this one about it, and listen to the interviews with Jordan Peele. Absolute brilliance.

Now I have got to get outside and enjoy this beautiful finally feels like spring!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reading in D.C.

One of my favorite things to do when visiting any city is to hit up the local bookstore(s). D.C. certainly has no shortage-I managed to visit three and definitely have many more I need to make it to!
Unsurprisingly, many of these bookstores have a political bent. The store that is connected the restaurant/cafe Busboys and Poets makes that very clear with the name Politics and Prose. I couldn't resist getting two books for myself in addition to a gift for my dad. Mine naturally revolve around feminism-Rebecca Solnit's follow up to Men Explain Things to Me, the Mother of All Questions, and a discussion on the rise of the single woman, Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies. It's always reassuring to read work by and about women with similar attitudes to mine regarding marriage and children. 
Hannah is lucky enough to have an adorable used bookstore, Idle Time Books, around the corner from her apartment-and they're hiring! If I lived there, I would have applied in a heartbeat. Their cookbook and food writing section is fantastic, though I did manage to limit myself to purchasing only one book. 
On my last morning in D.C. I went to breakfast at the Potter's House, another combination coffee shop and bookstore. They are very social justice oriented, with a pay-what-you-can soup of the day and an atmosphere welcoming to those who might not have anywhere else to wait out a rainstorm. I missed out on the vegan bacon and sausage, as Monday is their produce delivery day and they make it all in-house, but the granola with Greek yogurt and latte were an excellent lighter breakfast. I could have happily purchased every book in the store, but had to hold myself back due to limited space in my "personal item" and knowing I was already very weighed down! I know I'll be returning when I visit Hannah next.

Any bookstore recommendations for my next visit?


Monday, April 3, 2017

Eating Elsewhere: Washington D.C.

As always, a significant part of my trip revolved around eating and drinking delicious things with my friends.
On Friday night, Hanna, Matt, and I went to Bar Charley (which in my mind I kept calling Charley's-you can take the girl out of Ann Arbor, but you can't take the Ann Arbor out of the girl!) for fancy drinks and small plates. The cheese board and brussels sprouts were amazing-but unless you're obsessed with olives, don't order them too! They do in fact come with the cheese board-a fact we were not clear on when ordering, ha.

Hannah and I went to breakfast on Saturday at The Diner...delicious food, not so delicious service. This can certainly be attributed in part to some extremely pushy customers-we debated enacting the karma ourselves but decided the universe could take care of it. I've definitely been missing Southern food and the biscuit it came with hit the spot.
After seeing the cherry blossoms-and every tourist in D.C.-we were in serious need of refreshment. The boozy milkshakes at Ted's Bulletin were simply perfection. I want to try every flavor! And the soft pretzels with pub cheese were an excellent accompaniment.
Sunday's brunch at the Fainting Goat definitely blew Saturday's out of the water for both food and service, though maybe that's the unlimited Bloody Marys talking. Hannah described it as an Emma-type place, meaning artful presentation, attractive decor, and a nice selection of brunch cocktails. It might not have been the most appealing to Max, her boyfriend, but he was very accommodating. I loved the goat cheese skillet dip and avocado toast (basic bitch alert!), and definitely appreciated the bartender allowing us to retain our seats at the bar-and continuing to supply our Bloody Mary and mimosa refills-past the two hour limit.
We did have to get some coffee after that-and a peanut butter chocolate cookie for brunch dessert-at the Wydown.

D.C. is also home to some great chains-Cava please come to Boston ASAP! I loved getting to go to Le Pain Quotidien again (and with great company in Jen, a friend from a cappella in Ann Arbor). In conclusion-I need to return immediately!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 4.1.17

You'd think with all the traveling I've been doing I would have a lot more to contribute to this-but somehow no. I think my addiction to catching up on Mad Men and Grey's Anatomy has put a serious damper on it...oops!

Reading: more cookbooks, as always! My lovely friend Georgina gave me a copy of A Lebanese Feast after I admired it at her house during a small dinner party. It is all vegetarian (and a lot of vegan) Lebanese recipes. Not only do the recipes look delicious, but the stories behind them are lovely as well. Stay tuned to see what I make from it!
Listening: the soundtrack to Newsies. I couldn't tell you why I've suddenly been in the mood for it, but I'd forgotten how great it is! I think as I've been running more outside I've been in search of (largely) upbeat musicals-they hold my attention while the beat keeps me amped up.

Watching: Like I said, I've been making my way through Mad Men-Netflix allows it to be downloaded, so it's a frequent commute companion. I had started it long ago when it was first on the air and stopped for some reason, so began from season one. What I wouldn't give to have been the stylist on that show...

Happy weekend! And to all my fellow Northeast residents: stay warm out there! Spring will be here any moment, I swear...


Friday, March 31, 2017

Cherry blossom bliss

I had the loveliest long weekend in D.C. reconnecting with friends, enjoying lots of good food and drinks (of course!), and sightseeing outside the usual museums and monuments. I'll do separate posts on food and bookstores, so here I will summarize everything else! I picked March not only because it had been simply too long since I saw Hannah (since we moved to our respective cities!), but also because it was her birthday month! We like to celebrate as much as possible :)
On Saturday, Hannah and I-along with every tourist and most residents-went to the Tidal Basin to view the blossoms. I somehow lucked out with my random trip timing to coincide with the perfect weekend for cherry blossom viewing and the start of the festival. We took about a million photos trying to get that postcard view, and I think we succeeded!
We also made a point to actually take a cute photo together as we almost never do-and that turned out to be the only one all weekend. Whoops!
Saturday evening we had a reunion of sorts with another friend from our childhood who has moved to D.C. and his family! We were all going to the Red Baraat concert and went to Saad's fancy apartment courtyard for a cookout beforehand.
Red Baraat were amazing and so much fun to dance to! Unfortunately my allergies caught up with me and I had to leave a little early, but it was well worth it.

Post-Sunday brunch we took a walk through the city, including the City Center designed by a group from NYC-hated by many D.C. residents, but I'll own up to really enjoying it. Maybe it's my NYC roots showing through, but the design and stores really appealed to me-and the pink lanterns for cherry blossom season were perfection!

That evening we all went to see the new Beauty and the Beast and LOVED it. Part nostalgia factor I'm sure, but it really was beautifully done. We managed to restrain ourselves in the theater, but Matt and I definitely irritated the other Metro riders by singing the whole way home.
On Monday, I pretty much just walked around the city apart from lunch with Jen, but honestly that's one of my favorite things to do-especially when it's warm and sunny enough to get a sunburn! I'm not usually into risking skin cancer, but after (during?) this winter I couldn't be upset. I may have also made a pit stop for sorbet...before sitting outside and reading with a beer. Pretty much killing that whole relaxation thing!
Returning to the real world wasn't easy, but it's helped by thinking about my next vacation...I'm pretty sure I should always have one booked! I'm already looking forward to my next trip to D.C. and Hannah and Matt coming to Boston!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 3.25.17

Can I really continue to call these weekly if I keep missing Saturdays? If you object, please let me know...but Entertainment Bi-weekly just doesn't have the same ring to it!

Reading: Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. A beautifully written and engaging story of two friends in Naples in the 1950s. She evokes the emotion and complexity of female friendship and growing up while painting a vivid backdrop. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Listening: It is try-pod month so I figured I'd pull one of the podcasts to which I subscribe: Dear Sugar Radio. Fantastic advice, very entertaining and heartwarming commentary, and extremely relateable sitatuons. Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond are the best.

Watching: I finally watched 13th. It was so so good but obviously heartbreaking. Don't ask me why I though it was a good idea to watch it on the plane following a trauma conference, but I did. I highly recommend it (as did everyone months ago when it was first released) as well as reading The New Jim Crow. Gotta keep educating yourself!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Update: Empowering your neighbors

For those of you following the sign saga here is a quick update.

Mom spoke at the HOA board meeting on Monday about the inconsistent enforcement of the "no signs" rule. The result is that they say they will be enforcing it across the community.

However, it seems that the vice-president has not yet taken down his sign. Clearly this is not a priority for them, unlike signs calling for us to treat our neighbors well.

As frustrating as this is, I'm so proud to be related to people willing to stand up for what is right, for equality, and be willing to be uncomfortable-and make others uncomfortable-in that quest.

Go Mom and Alvan! You can do it!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Backstreet's back!

For the month of March, PVDonuts created a totally '90s inspired menu. They change up flavors on a monthly basis, rotating in specials for holidays as well. When I saw that all the forbidden treats of my childhood were going to be available in much more delicious form, I knew I had to create an opportunity to taste them all. When Dad saw that they had a St. Patrick's Day special called "Luck of the Irish", a brioche style filled with Guinness chocolate mousse, topped with a stout chocolate glaze, and finished with a pipette of Bailey's, he immediately requested I get two-one for sampling and one all for him.

I had some friends over to help in the demolishing of said donuts, but only managed to get pics of the food! We were having too much fun laughing and singing along to the '90s music (ok, maybe the last part was just me). Accompanied by a quick frittata (gotta balance with some protein), chocolate milk-to which I may have added some homemade kahlua, and plenty of coffee, it was the perfect Saturday morning!

We couldn't come to a consensus on the best flavor, but everyone had their favorites. Of course Dad preferred the Luck of the Irish, while Rici and Svenja loved the Hershey's chocolate milk. Georgina picked the Dunkaroos...and I couldn't decide! My top selections included Wildberry Poptart (a filled brioche) and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch monkey bread...but I wouldn't turn down any of them!
Anyone up for another donut trip?!