Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Roman Style Pizza at Scissors and Pie


Erm. Sorry.

At an earlier time in our lives, my fiancée and I spent some months apart for the very charming reason that she was studying for a semester abroad in Rome, Italy.

I made a lot of long distance international phone calls. When we talked, we talked on opposite halves of the day due to the time difference – I was usually on the PM side of things and she was early AM. To this day, I still wonder what the concierge thought of me calling at one or two in the morning local time, asking to speak with her. Oh, and we did not text. No, no. We used that archaic technology known as AOL Instant Messenger and letters (real mail!). In case you forgot (or never knew), AOL stands for America On-Line. Those were the days of the bitter end of dial up internet. And film. I’d share some of my fiancée’s pictures with you, but, you know… they actually had to be developed.

During her time in the city, however, she often raved about her incredible and inexpensive lunches. 

The way I heard it, Rome was a magical place where wine was cheaper than water, where the statues of the ancients would loiter everyday near modern café-goers, and where pizza was always fresh and purchased by weight. For reference, I was eating chicken patties.

Two of these are true of Boston, too. The Commonwealth Mall and the Common surround Bostonians with their ancestors, but did you know that there is Roman-style pizza – fresh and sold by weight – to be found in Beantown, as well?

Recently written up in the Globe, Scissors and Pie is one of Back Bay’s newest eateries [225 Newbury Street]. Stumbling upon it one day on a walk, we decided to stop in. Even before the first bite, I knew I would like it. The toppings were clearly fresh, the crust had the right (and visible) balance of crisp and poof, and the smell was just perfect. The true test, of course, was to come. What would my fiancée – so experienced in the art of Roman-style pizza – think of our slices? 

In short, she loved it.

Scissors and Pie is not a restaurant, it is a portal across the Atlantic. It is Star Trek teleportation and Harry Potter wizardry made real. Its doorway doesn’t take you to “another pizza joint,” it takes you to Rome. To me, that is priceless. Finally, we are able to share at least this small piece of that ancient city. For that reason, thank you Scissors and Pie.


Til next time!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SoWa Market

If you haven’t eaten from a Boston food truck yet (where have you been), and you are still curious (you’ll be glad you are), there are more than enough to try at the SoWa market [Harrison Street, South End]. Featuring nearly twenty trucks, the court does not want for variety. There are crepes, ice cream, burgers, Vietnamese sandwiches, sushi, tacos, etc. If you like it, you can buy it from a truck, and that alone is worth the experience.


Held every weekend, the SoWa open air market features some of Boston’s finest crafters, arts community, foodies, and vegetable farmers. A homegrown mix of vintage goods, fresh pickle spears, and pets on parade, it is a hybrid craft fair, flea market, and FOOD Network competition elevated to the nth.

My notables from this weekend included:

The best $6 sandwich you will find in Boston – not just at the market, but in the city – is from Bon Me. There is no substitute for a delicious toasted sub roll filled with Chinese pork and a spicy pickled veggie slaw. In the three times now that I’ve been to the market, I always say I’ll try something new, and then I realize I can’t bear the thought of not eating from Bon Me. Oh, and don’t forget to wash it all down with their fresh basil limeade.

Fiber and Water sells burlap wall art and pillow covers. Featured in Fenway’s West Elm [160 Brookline Ave] just a few months ago, they do Boston proud with a large line of city-themed prints.

Any place that caters to four-legged friends is a winner, of course. There was an incredible selection of leashes, collars, and other dog accessories. Naturally, many were Boston-themed, as well, so if you have been looking for that Red Sox leash and just haven’t found it, this is the place.

I wouldn’t know about Union Square Donuts, because they sold out two hours before close. But let’s be honest, is there any way you can go wrong with a place that sells Sea Salted Bourbon and Maple Bacon donuts? Maybe you’re like me, and you have already concluded that this is worth visiting the home shop [16 Bow Street, Somerville].

A few years ago I visited New Orleans, and I delightedly stated my opinion that the best iced coffee the world (that I have traveled to) has to offer can be found at Royal Blend in the French Quarter. Well, guess what? That New Orleans cold-brewing style and secret “elixir” has been brought to Boston, courtesy of moJo.

These selections are a mere sampling of what is available at the SoWa market. Head over there yourself to find out what your notables are. Between the food, coffee, art, and vintage goods, you are bound to find something.

Til next time!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Panda City, USA

We’ve all seen the ads. They cover the billboards on the way into the city. They are plastered up at bus and T stops. Commercials are peppered throughout our morning news shows and favorite evening programs. The Museum of Science has single-handedly transformed Boston into Panda City, USA.

Hosted at the Mugar Omni Theater, the film documents the introduction of pandas into their natural habitat, covering everything from their conception, birth (which will be difficult to forget, by the way), nursing, and… two words… panda kindergarten. There is nothing else in this world quite like panda kindergarten. Only the Puppy Bowl can approach it in terms of raw cuteness.

The real stars of the show, however, are the people who work with the pandas, and you would never guess what fills up their days. Would you reply to this ad listing? Full time animal worker needed. Looking for someone unafraid of smelling like a bear, dressing like a bear, and taking cubs from mama bears. Also, bear kindergarten. Okay, the first three points sound stressful and/or dangerous, but think about that last point. It’s basically Kung Fu Panda, but baby pandas.

Dream. Job.

That’s what this movie is all about.

As an alternative to a feature film, consider finding your way to the Mugar Omni Theater at the Museum of Science. If the runtime for Pandas: The Journey Home is concerning (less than an hour), consider this: if you would pay just under $20 for a two hour 3D IMAX movie at AMC, why not pay half that for half the runtime? Point being, if you look at it proportionately, your hard-earned money is being stretched the same distance. Also, as always, it starts with this:

Til next time!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Tale of Two Bakeries

It was the best of pastries, it was the best of pastries.

When it comes to dessert shops, Boston is a city of cannoli, cupcakes, and fro-yo. While delicious, additional variety is always appreciated. If, like me, you have been craving a sweet outside of those three types, here are two (among many) wonderful and unique recommendations. 

Yesterday for breakfast I hoofed it over to Patisserie, a French bakery in Back Bay [257 Newbury St.], and oh man, the place is a wonderland of bread and pastries. Before your eyes can adjust from the outdoors to the incandescent lighting of the basement storefront, you’ll already be immersed in the scent of fresh baked bread. It’s like you’re Hansel/Gretel and you just walked into a store built of the goods it sells. I found myself wanting to buy it all – a pastry for now, a baguette for lunch, and desert for the evening.

Thunderstruck by the selection, I paced the display cases (probably babbling) for far too long before I left with a cup of coffee and an almond croissant. Can I just say something? The almond croissant was amazing. For under $5 you can treat yourself to one with a coffee, and I highly recommend it – I don’t think you will regret it, and I know that I will be back. Patisserie is a must visit.

Speaking of must visits, have you been to Japonaise, the French-Japanese bakery in Brookline [1020 Beacon St.] and Cambridge [1815 Mass Ave]? On record, this place is incredible and the pastries will astound you. If you have never had an anpan, it should now be a priority.

What is an anpan, you may ask. Simply put, it’s delicious. The pastry itself is a sweet dough filled with red bean paste. In appearance, you’d be forgiven for describing it as a kind of jelly doughnut, but there has never been a jelly doughnut that tasted this good. I think your taste buds will find that the two are incomparable. In fact, grabbing an anpan at the Brookline location has become a ritual to coincide with a weekend walk to Coolidge Corner. It, along with a small cup of coffee, can be yours for just about $5, and it will make your afternoon.

So there you have it: two amazing bakeries, each one highlighting a delectable pastry done right. 

Happy snacking!

Til next time!