Today I am thankful for sunshine, large windows overlooking Newbury Street to gaze longingly out of whilst at work, and comfortable heels.
What are you thankful for?
Since moving to Slum Castle in September, David and I have enjoyed exploring all the glorious splendors that the Cambridge restaurant scene has to offer. Last night, we stopped in Catalyst for a bite to eat and a couple drinks with our friends Coco and Tobi. I was really pleased with the ambiance of a space, which seemed an effortless marriage between comfortable industrialism and environmental chic. The food was delicious and the drinks were well-balanced and thoughtfully crafted.
I started the evening with a drink from the cocktail list, which is something I rarely do, because the Toronto (rye whiskey, fernet, house bitters) caught my eye. Though I thoroughly enjoyed it, I found it a little too sweet for my savory taste, so I ordered my staple: a Manhattan. The drinks are a nice, manageable size (they refrain from filling the cocktail to the brim so you don’t slosh it all over your dry-clean only sweater on its trip to your mouth- thank goodness!) and I ordered my first Manhattan with Old Overholt and the second with Rowan’s Creek, after which I decided to drink my whiskey properly, i.e. straight. Now, my go-to whiskey is usually Jameson or Blanton’s, but the Jameson well had run dry and the bartender suggested I try something different- namely High West Silver Whiskey, an unaged whiskey that, as the name suggests, is silver rather than amber in color. The initial impact of the High West was more forward than your typical aged whiskey and the taste was brighter and more refreshing (though the color may have impacted my brain to perceive it as such). Overall I found it to be an interesting change for my palate and am looking forward to trying it again.
I’m also quite pleased to count High West Silver Whiskey among my whiskey acquaintances because I’ve always dreamed of having a white party but have been perplexed as to what to serve my dark spirited friends. Now I can still serve the whiskey drinkers whiskey (Silver Manhattans- yum yum!), while the tequila lovers and vodka sippers have their drinks, too! And for all you wine drinkers, you will have to drink Grappa or Champagne at my white party. Sorry, but rules are rules and last I heard, there is no such thing as white Pinot Noir.
Though the humidity makes me crazy, one thing I will always love about the land of the v. elderly is the wildlife. I mean, alligators scare the shit out of me and I’m generally unenthusiastic about enormous reptiles, but there is something magical about the Florida wildlife. From flamingos to pelicans, manatees to sharks, and panthers to possums, there seems to be an animal to marvel at around every corner and in every inlet. You can go months in Boston without seeing anything more exotic than a duck statue in the Public Garden, so stumbling upon Roseate Spoonbills playing in a pool of water is a real treat for me- and like Flamingos, I absolutely love their color! If only I could capture it in a paintbox and splash it around my apartment…
I’ve returned from the land of the v. elderly and am relieved to again be living in a world of iPhone literacy and agile limbs. Don’t get me wrong, I had a stupendous time lounging in the Florida humidity with my mother, but the idea of spending one more night in an RV park was a little too overwhelming for my city sensibilities. Not that I dislike M & D’s RV- which is a strange combination of a Barbie Dream House and a Transformer, complete with wood cabinetry and pull-out sinks- but let’s just say that coming home to a proper shower was one of the best parts of the trip. Here are the other highlights:
On Monday night I took my mother to one of Boston’s best kept secrets, Marliave, where we had a wonderful evening at the bar sipping delicious wine (I love that they serve The Sum by the glass), eating comfort food, and introducing my friends, Coco and Tobi, to my mother.
Over the past five years, whenever felt in need of a home-style meal that reminded me of my mother’s cooking, I would stop in for the Sunday Gravy (I cannot recommend this dish enough) and a glass of red wine at Marliave. In college, my best buddy (and roommate), Brent, would meet me at Marliave for afternoon cocktails and $1.00 oysters (which they serve daily between 4:00 and 6:00 PM as well as 9:00 and 10:00 PM) before we walked down the street to our night classes at Emerson College. Marliave is the place I took my parents after my college graduation because I knew it was the one restaurant off the Boston Common that wouldn’t be crowded with newly minted alumnai still wearing their graduation caps and asking for a beer menu. Marliave is a secret place, a special place, and I love it a lot.
Before I met him, David spent a lot of time at Marliave, too. He lived around the corner when he first moved to Boston and spent many long and lonely hours at the bar, as foreign single men seem to do. I often wonder if we ever sat at that marble bar together, completely unaware that one day we would meet and change each other’s lives forever. But now I’m getting all sappy and romantic, which is my cue to go…
p.s. Tomorrow I am flying to Florida to spend a long and sunny weekend with my mother (we can’t get enough of each other these days). She and I are going to kayak with manatees, eat fresh fruit, and soak up as much sun as possible. Additionally- and Irina, I’m writing this just for you!- I will be devouring the Hunger Games trilogy in all my glorious spare moments. I’ve been staunchly against reading the trilogy because I’m convinced it will be terribly written, like many literary phenomena. However, I’ve been assured by many of my intelligent friends that it’s actually worth reading, which I will decide for myself soon enough, thank you very much. WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY HERE IN THE POSTSCRIPT IS THAT I WON’T BE POSTING AGAIN UNTIL MONDAY. Okay, that is all.
p.p.s. I lied, that’s not all. I just wanted to take a moment to note how cute the tiny, rogue brussels sprout is in the last photo. It just rolled away all on its lonesome and I took pity on it and took its picture. SO CUTE.
My mother and I have been incredibly productive these past two days. We traversed all of Boston (well, most of it) on foot (look how worn my Cole Haans are!) to find jewelry and shoes for my Nuptial Cocktail Soiree which, as of this past Saturday, is only three weeks away… eek! When we haven’t been shopping, we’ve been having a spectacular time doing things mothers and daughters do together, like drinking wine, eating, and judging outfits that celebrities choose to wear to walk red carpets.
Popping off now to further entertain the Lady… KISSES!
Before moving to Slum Castle, I lived directly across the street from Franklin Southie. Having a bar across the street- especially such a fantastic bar- is a wonderful thing, but it can also lead to a lot of hefty bar tabs, french fry dinners, and very late nights (they close at 2:00 AM). After joining forces, David and I became a fixture at the Franklin, and we came to meet a lot of our dearest friends sitting on those bar stools. In fact, we were there so often that our group of friends dubbed it the Hotel Bar; come 10:00 PM on any given night, a large group of us would crawl over for a ‘nightcap’, which was really an excuse to get out of our tiny condos and hang out with friends (new and old alike- we were constantly meeting new people at the Franklin). It was just like living in a hotel- a hotel with a bar where the residents held court but also maintained a stream of visitors just looking for a drink and conversation to get them through the night before catching the first flight out of town in the morning.
Though we’ve moved away and only visit a couple times a month, David and I are still close with the staff and are always given a warm welcome when we visit. We stopped in the other night for a quiet drink and light dinner and lo and behold many of our neighborhood friends were there! It wasn’t until that moment, when a group of neighbors who I used to see daily came over to chat, that I realized how starved I am for that community engagement now that I live in Somerville. Though I’ve found my new home base this side of the Charles, it’s not frequented by the people who live directly around me (though, I don’t know if I’d want to hang out with the people who live directly around me…) and I miss knowing my community as intimately as I used to.
When I move to London, location is going to be huge for where we settle. I again need that feeling of community that I had in Broadway Village and I want to live close to a great restaurant with a solid bar that I can easily walk to. The Franklin spoiled us with their close proximity and delicious fare. I highly recommend you visit if you’re looking to for a nice dinner at the bar and good conversation. I’m sure you’ll meet a character or two!
You guys, this is a really big deal. My mother is flying in from Minneapolis tomorrow to spend the weekend with me and the English Gentleman in Slum Castle! I know you’re totally rolling you’re eyes right now and you’re like, big deal, you’re mom is coming to visit…. But this is a big deal! I don’t see my family very often, so it’s exciting to have them visit. And this visit is extra exciting because my mother will help me with all the nitty-gritty details of my nuptial planning that I will never even think of. She is a hostess sextraordinaire (I only learn from the best…) and I am so excited to have her here to snuggle, shop, and plan with!
My family will hate me for posting this picture (sorry, guys) but it’s one of my favorites from this past Christmas. My mother is showing my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew pictures from her trip to Australia and I love how invested they are in her stories and photos. So cute!
Must pop off to clean the apartment- I don’t want Mother Dearest showing up and thinking Slum Castle is less of a royal haven than it is a filthy brothel…
Oh, and if you haven’t done so today, reach out and say hello to your mother. She’ll like hearing from you!