Friday, May 31, 2013

Neighborhood's Cafe

pineapple soda + lemon bar

O-M-G, it’s hot outside! I suspect that the draw on power in the Bean will only increase in the next few days. There’s just something about a 90 degree heat wave that inspires a mass installation of air conditioners.

In all likelihood, though, the heat has already gotten to you. (I know it’s gotten to me.) If watching ice-cold clips of Batman and Robin hasn’t helped you – well, personally, I’m just shocked that the sheer number of freeze puns didn’t send even a single shiver down your back. But, assuming this did absolutely nothing to lower your body temperature, why not enjoy some delicious treats at Neighborhood’s?

The shop can be found on Peterborough Street in Fenway Kenmore, and is well worth a visit. Cool down with a delicious iced drink (coffees, lattes, etc.). My preferred order for those especially heated afternoons is a pineapple Italian soda and a lemon bar (pictured). Both are well-suited to the tropics. Should you prefer something warm, you literally can’t go wrong with anything, but you most especially can’t go wrong with a Spanish coffee or a London Fog.

And did I mention Neighborhood’s is a creperie? No, you say? Well, allow me to elaborate: they make crepes -- delicious crepes. The ricotta romanza (ricotta cheese and raspberries) is particularly amazing.

I suggest making it a point to stop by, hot or cold.

Til next time!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Date Night, South End Buttery

My girlfriend and I get dinner out almost every week – just not always at a new place. Many weeks are capped off by visiting some of our favorite restaurants, those places where we might be considered regulars, if only we went regularly enough. Though this makes me a bit hesitant to start a new post all about restaurants in the Bean, what’s to lose, really? So, damn the sails… or the cannons… or however that phrase goes. (Damn the torpedoes!)

the place on the corner

This past weekend we visited a local favorite, the South End Buttery. rates it a 3.5/5, and has it pegged at 81%. Both ratings are pretty high, and accurately so, for the (sometimes less-than-helpful) user-review sites.

The restaurant is the South End’s idyllic café, sitting on the corner of two residential streets, tucked in amongst brownstones, churches, and a handful of shops. Picture red brick, sidewalks, flowers, and the café on the corner. In short, it seems a world away from downtown Boston.

Inside, the restaurant is divided between coffee and cupcake stop and eat-in dining. This is not a split identity and does not feel like one, either. Remember, this is the place on the corner.

eat-in dining, pastries, and coffee

We’ve stopped here for the coffee and cupcakes before. If you’re visiting Boston (or just visiting the South End), it makes for an exceptional complement to exploring and admiring the neighborhood. And if you're hosting, it makes a great first stop for your visitors.

Back to our date -- I suppose I should begin by saying that the food was really good. I can’t pretend to be a connoisseur – any mention of an aromatic aioli or a subtle taste palette out of my mouth would just be the stringing together of random jargon. But I did like what I tasted (meatloaf for me, salmon for my girlfriend). As for drinks, the menu is not the largest in the area, but it is fitting and tasty.

Without publishing my bill, I’ll just say that dining in, at my income, could not become a regular experience. Check the menu to see for yourself, but I’d recommend keeping the South End Buttery high on your special occasion list. The food is great and the setting is perfect for those events that deserve your extra care and attention. Or, you could always stop by for a coffee.

Til next time!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mustachioed Monuments Threepeat

This is quickly becoming my favorite series of posts. 

For those unfamiliar with the hirsute goings-on of this (now) regular series, Mustachioed Monuments is all about finding the proper facial hair for Boston’s most iconic buildings (parts one and two available here and here). There are few rules – only one, in fact – the style must fit the building’s time period and/or spirit.

That is to say, there is a science to this. You can’t go putting any mustache on any building. Talk about a faux pas. This takes research and care.

The third installment takes us to what is arguably Boston’s most iconic location and one of the three anchors of the Fenway neighborhood (numbers two and three being the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum). It is, of course, Fenway Park. Spoiler Alert: the picture gave it away already.

So why the big, bushy 'stache with twirls at its ends? That’s because it belonged to Joseph Lannin, owner of the Red Sox from 1913 to 1916. Lannin is known most for bringing Babe Ruth into the Fenway fold and starting a Ladies Day.1

As most of us know from last year’s centennial celebration, Lannin’s ownership is only one year off from the construction of the stadium. Even better, from the photos on this site, he is the only Sox owner sporting a mustache, which quickly made him a much better pick than my early lead, Roosevelt Peter “Mustache Pete” Drexel, fictional ancestor to How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson.

See what I mean about this taking research and care?

Til next time!

1"Red Sox Ownership | Fenway Park 100." Boston Red Sox. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2013.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


(1) New York Deco by Richard Berenholtz and Carol Willis because I love the geometry of art deco and the skyline of the city     (2) Stuart South because he has a zany kind of style that is easy to dig     (3) The Boston Red Sox because this city has become my home and they are the extended family that lives here     (4) London because, while studying abroad, it became the first city I fell in love with     (5) Spider-Man because I’ve loved the character since I was seven, and I am convinced that my grandmother handpicked him as a role model before she gave me the subscription

(6) LEGOs because everybody loves LEGOs!     (7) Marvel Comics in the 1960s  by 
Pierre Comtois because I admire the vision and work ethic of both the comics’ creators and the people who document them     (8) Architecture by Jonathan Glancey because it doesn’t matter what page I open it to, I want to read it     (9) The Muppet Christmas Carol on VHS because… just because     (10) Samuel Taylor Coleridge because I love a good wordsmithing adventure!

(11) No Sense of Place by Joshua Meyrowitz because these things change how you see entertainment and the news     (12) This Is Series by Miroslav Sasek because it makes me smile!     (13) This sculpture because my dad brought it back from China when I was ten and I love its intricacy     (14) The Judgement of Paris by Ross King because it proves that artists are rock stars!     (15) The Assassins Creed series because it defines (and redefines) the idea of making history come alive

(16) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon because even after so many read-throughs, it is still too good to be of this earth     (17) Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne because it takes me around the world when my bank account keeps me firmly planted in the Bean     (18) Moneyball because I love Rocky and baseball and this is Rocky for baseball     (19) Will Eisner because he captures city life like no one else     (20) James Bond because, damn, he has style!

(21) The Legend of Zelda because it proves that myth transcends medium     (22) Esquire Magazine because of A.J. Jacobs     (23) Stephen King because he writes about people and truth as much as monsters and murk

Saturday, May 11, 2013

TIAFCB: There Is a Free Comic Book

The principles of economics teach us that there is no free lunch. But they should also teach us that there is such a thing as a free comic book.* In fact, there is a whole day for them: Free Comic Book Day. 

FCBD is a thrillingly easy event to hit up. Occurring once a year – every first Saturday of May – it is celebrated by brick-and-mortar comic shops who offer free books to any interested patrons or passersby. All of the major publishers participate (DC, Marvel, Image – think Walking Dead) and a host of others, too.


In Boston, the best places to collect your freebies would be Newbury Comics, New England Comics, and – at the very top – Comicopia in Kenmore Square. Free Comic Book Day may be over, but check out these shops when you get a chance. Even if they don’t have any remnants leftover, each has a healthy selection of discounted issues and paperback collections.

And, if you’re still interested, don’t forget the newly rescheduled Boston Comic Convention, coming to town on August 3-4 at the World Seaport Trade Center. Last year’s event at the Hynes was a great time, and this one is only going to be bigger.

Lastly, I caught Iron Man 3 last weekend on the big (BIG) screen at the Fenway Regal (totes awesome, by the way). In celebration, enjoy these circa-five-years-ago pictures from the first Iron Man's London premiere.


Til next time!

*(Please note that in actuality the principles of economics teach us that even free comics cost money to produce and to shelf – they just don’t cost the customer anything. So… they’re not free, after all.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tardiness, of the Most Green Kind

As many of us did, I found a way to celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day... like, a million weekends ago. Following the advice of this article, I kept it simple: a good, home-cooked meal and my closest company. It was a fun, low-key celebration that took us through two hearty meals.

Breakfast’s main course was an omelet, filled with green peppers, cheddar cheese, and green food dye. It was complemented by corn muffins and bacon, and – to make it traditionally Irish – a juice glass of stout and some slices of Irish cheddar. It was a filling meal, a ploughman’s breakfast if ever there was one.


Dinner was a delicious stew that, while not traditionally Irish, felt just right for the evening.

Of course, there is always the other side of the coin. Read this undercover account of Boston’s Black Rose for all sorts of Paddy’s Day ballyhoo.

In the spirit of things, enjoy these illustrations of Ireland, based on photos taken from an earlier visit. (And, by the way, that is why this post is so incredibly late).

Til next time!