“The commute to a high school job had me driving by Mansfield’s century-old ADM Cocoa factory several times a week for a few years awhile back. What a heavenly smell, right? Wrong. I quickly came to believe that the production of chocolate is pretty foul smelling. Imagine my surprise, then, when I arrived at Somerville’s own Taza Chocolate factory recently, and the aroma was simply amazing. Not bitter and burnt like ADM or cloyingly sweet like at the Hershey theme park in Pennsylvania – no, this was something on another level: subtle floral notes, hints of spices, appetizing odors all around.”
Way back in May 2010, I was asked to take some promo shots of Mighty Groove, a Boston wedding and event band.
Recently, the trombonist from Mighty Groove, Randy, asked if I could take photos of his jazz group, The Olson Pingrey Quartet. Here are some posed and live shots from their CD release at The Lilypad in Cambridge, MA on October 23, 2011.
I had a bit of fun with some of the individual portraits and put them together into a collage:
“It can be tough dating a pizza snob. There’s that time I brought him to one of my old favorites from childhood – Town Spa in Stoughton – and he was less than impressed by my beloved bacon pizza, extra crispy. Or that time he made me wait in line for two hours – and then at the table for another two hours – to try Sally’s Apizza in New Haven. (I’ll admit that that one was out of this world, but I’d never wait that long for pizza again.)”
“One generally assumes that museums house collections of art, artifacts, or other objects that have some value, be it intellectual, aesthetic, or perhaps even controversial. The Museum of Bad Art, however, meets none of these standards. In spite of – or more likely because of – this, MOBA is a must-see attraction in Somerville, Dedham, or Brookline (or all three if you have high stamina for bad taste). Exactly as the name suggests, it features art – fantastically horrendous, unabashedly tacky, gloriously ugly art.”
“There are three main reasons to check out Cambridge Common, a restaurant and bar sitting between Porter Square and Harvard Square on Mass. Ave: a fantastic beer selection, addictive tater tots, and an intimate live music venue.”
I’ve noticed a fairly common unwillingness in this region to pay a high price for Southern cuisine. Grits, ham, sorghum, catfish: these words seem to trigger immediate outrage when paired with fine dining costs. Somewhere along the line, we’ve managed to box Southern food into a small container of cheapness and deep frying. Fortunately, there are several Boston-area spots that destroy this stereotype, offering up high quality Southern food to packed houses night after night; once people are willing to take the plunge, they’re hooked. Kendall Square’s gem, Hungry Mother, is one of these places.
CBS Boston posted a gallery of some of my photos from this year’s HONK! Festival.
View it here.
My complete set is below:
I feel like I should be led into Max Brenner by an eccentric man in a purple coat, swinging a cane and singing about imagination. There is no chocolate lake here, but there might as well be. It’s chocolate, chocolate everywhere, and all of it to drink and eat and slather on as body lotion. Max Brenner — “chocolate by the bald man” — is a rich, sweet heaven for chocoholics (and hell for dieters). Dine in, buy gifts, or just stare in awe. There’s something for every sweet tooth.
When I was in grad school, there was a nearby cheap pan-Asian noodle place where we’d often grab lunch between classes. It was fast, inexpensive, and… mediocre. One dish, though, became an addiction for me: something called Cambodian-style sweet lime soup. A sweet and sour broth with pineapple, tomato, shrimp, and fried bits of garlic on top, it was a perfect pick-me-up between long lectures, and I’d never seen it elsewhere. I don’t get out to that neighborhood much anymore, but I still think of that soup. Now, two years later, I’ve finally found it, and it’s closer to home and tastier than the one I remember. It’s at Floating Rock in Central Square, the new Cambridge location of an old Revere gem.
Where can you find strong cocktails, pool tables, rock ‘n’ roll, and gargoyles? Church. Yes, really. Not exactly the most religious of places, Church is a combination restaurant and music club in the Fenway area, tucked just far enough away to avoid being part of the cluster of loud, packed sports bars.
The gargoyles are part of the slightly medieval ambiance. Heavy red velvet curtains and candles help round out the theme. Large windows let in the sun during the day, and at night Church becomes moody and romantic.
It’s not so unusual to find coffee shops decorated with the works of local artists, but at Voltage Coffee & Art, it’s part of the name and part of the mission. Not even a year old, this Cambridge cafe/gallery has already made a name for itself in the bustling tech heart of Kendall Square.
The layout is a maze of white walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a mix of high tables and standard tables. Bright light and clean lines make it a perfect home for art exhibits – and not the timid landscapes and skylines you see in many coffee shops.
“Momogoose is absurdly fast, cheap, and filling. Don’t let the huge line scare you: within seconds of ordering, you’ll be walking away, food in hands. Momogoose, a pan-Asian food truck, is parked closest to the main street in the mega-row of food trucks near the Kendall Square T station in Cambridge, so it tends to draw the biggest crowd of all the trucks, but they certainly know how to handle the hordes. Food trucks like Momogoose are a fun adventure; items are constantly running out, so you have to be a bit flexible – and keep an eye on the daily specials, as those are often the most exciting choices. If a menu item is covered with tape, it’s out. Quick – pick something else.”
“Boston’s got plenty of music venues, and a fair number of pool halls, but what if you want to see a live show and play pool at the same time? You’re in luck! There are a few good spots where you can do just that.”
I’m risking my relationship by writing this review. The lines are too long already, protests my boyfriend, who has threatened to break up with me if I write about it. But it has appeared on one of those ubiquitous coupon sites lately, so I figure the lines have already increased anyway.
Wake up early and find your way to Union Square in Somerville. (Sorry, the T doesn’t go there yet, but this is worth the bus or the drive.) Owned and operated by the Borges family for more than 28 years, Neighborhood Restaurant truly is a neighborhood spot, full of regulars and a charmingly gruff staff, many of whom have been there since the very beginning. The waiting list is self-serve, and if you don’t arrive early, it will be long. Just put down your name and the size of your party and swing by the coffee and pastry table for a complimentary treat – but be sure to save room for the impending feast.
A fairly new food site called The Daily Meal contacted me a few weeks ago with a survey to complete regarding my favorite restaurants in Boston in a variety of categories. Some of these were pretty tricky! Which do you agree and disagree with? I had an especially hard time with the fine dining category; most of the fine dining I’ve done has been at blogger events (which are probably not reflective of a normal experience) or one-time special occasions, so it’s hard to make a judgment. I went with Mooo…. because I’ve been there a few times and was mostly impressed each time.
The usefulness of Facebook for a business can be confusing, but with Facebook Insights, you can better understand what’s working and what’s not.
You do have a Facebook page for your business, right? If not, you should stop reading and create one now. As I discussed in Wednesday’s post, it’s quick, easy, and increasingly essential. You can sufficiently update your page in minutes a day (or less), but if you have a few extra minutes, you can learn interesting things from the built-in analytics tool, Facebook Insights.
In June, I had the pleasure of participating in Murder Ballads ORG, a night of performances at Oberon curated by Mali Sastri of Jaggery. Mali and her band performed their new EP, “Private Violence,” in full, and I played flute for the second song, “Hostage Heart,” which was written by Mali and arranged and conducted by Mary Bichner of Box Five. Here’s video of the entire Jaggery set, shot by Alexia Prichard:
During the rest of the show, I took a lot of photos; you can view them on Facebook. Some favorites:
On Monday, I wrote about holding off on creating a Google+ page for your business – but you already have a Facebook page for your business, right? If not, you should create one right away. It’s quick and easy, and even if you don’t have much time to keep it updated, it’s better to have a somewhat bare page than to not have one at all. It provides a centralized location for your customer base (and potential customer base) to interact with you, and you can keep a close eye on complaints, suggestions, questions, and compliments. There’s no avoiding it – if you own a business, you need to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter at the very least. Of course, we also recommend a YouTube account 😉
“Can we, like, come here all the time and plot rebellions and stuff?” a college student asked his friend as they ducked inside the basement cafe looking for change for a dollar. Something about Cafe Pamplona does evoke a revolutionary feeling, although it’s unclear just what gives that impression at first glance.