135. weekend to-do's

  1. linen love. i can't wait to stock up on some summer basics now that everlane has released their new linen line. i lived in their linen tanks and tees last summer and i'm so happy to see that they've added sweaters and dresses. not only is linen super comfortable, but it's one of the most sustainable textiles to produce, requiring only 8% of the energy needed to produce polyester!
  2. tasting tix. rosie's place and the urban grape are teaming up for a special wine tasting on may 24th. the event will feature a selection of wines crafted by talented female winemakers and all proceeds will benefit rosie's place's programs for poor and homeless women. tickets are on sale now!

  1. celebrate the makers! somerville open studios is happening this weekend. so many incredible local artists and makers are showing their creations. some of my must see artists are sarah wentworth and her incredible photography, rebecca scott's handmade jewelry, and mary lewey's playful collage work. don't miss this event!!
  2. more market time! the south end open market also starts this weekend. i can't wait to get my fill of delicious food and more artists' creations on sunday. what i am most excited about is that this officially marks spring in my mind. now let's hope the spring weather cooperates.
  3. keeping it classical. a good friend of mine is playing this sunday with the rivers symphony at jordan hall. i can't wait to hear them play cello concerto no. 1, opus 33 and of course, bizet's carmen suite no. 1.


134. weekend to-do's

  1. celebrate in the city. i have some work travel this weekend that happens to coincide with my wedding anniversary. we're looking forward to having a mini-new york adventure to celebrate.
  2. winter is coming. but only on tv! all anniversary celebrations will come to a hard stop at 10pm when the season premier of game of thrones comes on. priorities...
  1. this little fig. i've been craving the greek yogurt and house made granola from three little figs recently. in light of the nice weather, i'll be sipping on some iced coffee at one of their adorable tables outside this saturday.
  2. show time. my band parks will be playing a show at great scott this saturday night. we're opening for night moves- a band i've been listening to a lot lately. also on the bill is local artist abadabad. should be a great time with tons of fun music.


133. april reading

excited to learn something new this month? we're focusing on non-fiction for april and reading about some amazing women.

lab girl by hope jahren
this is jahren's debut memoir. as a geobiologist, she has spent her life studying plants, soils, seeds and flowers. through moving prose, she invites the reader to share in her passion for plant life all the while providing moving anecdotes from her life as a woman in science.

journalist sara marcus was on the front lines of the riot girrrl scene in the early 90's. she uses her experience to provide a unique perspective on the stories of influential bands like bikini kill, bratmobile and sleater-kinney as well as their continued effects on culture and politics.

following up 2013's bestselling the body book, diaz and bark consulted experts in science, medicine and nutrition to provide this informative resource on the aging female body. this book eschews the superficial and provides practical information on what women should expect from the aging process and how we can stay strong and healthy.


132. weekend to-do's

  1. dessert duty. we're meeting friends for dinner tonight and in-charge with bringing something sweet. on busy days when i don't have time to bake, mariposa in central square is my go-to for freshly baked treats.
  2. muppet madness. the brattle theater is featuring the work of jim henson's creature shop all weekend. muppets will be well-represented as well as other henson favorites like the dark crystal, the witches and labrynth.
  3. spring shoes. it finally feels like time to put away the boots and heavy winter shoes. i just got my new pair of nisolo's equador huarache sandals and can't wait wear them out in the sunshine.

  1. brunch love. going to check out what the tip tap room has to offer in the brunch department this weekend. their signature egg dish with shiitake mushrooms, brie and mushrooms is calling my name!
  2. wine love. now that i know the spring drink list for spoke, i will be testing them out. two of liana and my closest friends will be here this weekend and i can't wait to introduce them to this special restaurant.
  3. plan love. i am preparing for a trip to san francisco in may and would like to get some ideas in order. the thrillist has a great bucket list of to-do's so i'm going to start there for some research. suggestions from you guys are more than welcome too!!


131. spring cocktails and wine at spoke

our idea of a perfect spring evening is sitting on a patio with something fresh and festive to drink. one of our favorite places to do this is at spoke in davis square. we are so excited to welcome spoke's liz mann to introduce us to some of her favorite selections from their spring cocktail and wine lists. she's even sharing a few of her recipes!

the cocktails

when it's time to change the cocktail list at spoke, the bar team collaborates to curate a thoughtful and dynamic selection for the season. we have three categories on our cocktail page: classics, modern, and proprietary. we also have a dessert cocktail section. classics are where we can geek out over old, sometimes pre-prohibition creations from the annals of cocktail history. for inspiration in this section i sort through my vintage cocktail book collection. i am a bibliophile and amateur antiquarian book collector. combining my love for books and love for cocktails, i have combed through dusty book shelves and the abyss of ebay to snatch up some incredible finds, such as stanley clisby arthur's famous new orleans drinks & how to mix 'em (1937) to esquire's handbook for hosts (1949).

this holds true when i try to name a drink. i love literature-inspired drinks. last season i was working on a drink called 'the little sister' after a raymond chandler novel. honestly, i was more interested in the name than i was impressed with the drink itself. we tweaked it a bit and came up with something delicious, but what to name it? how about the 'lizzie bennet', my friend suggested, inspired by my love for jane austen. perfect. the drink became the 'dear miss bennet'.

the modern section is generally reserved for our spins on classic drinks and homages to boston's renowned bartenders. in this section we chose to place my 'the inimitable jeeves' cocktail. this drink was inspired by a bramble, and is perfect for drinking in warmer weather. the bramble was created in london in the '80s as a refreshing gin-based drink calling for both fresh blackberries and blackberry liqueur. a bramble tends to be rather sweet, so we decided to add a little acidity to lighten it up. replacing the blackberry liqueur and muddled fruit, i made a blackberry basil shrub. this uses equal measurements of fruit, sugar and apple cider vinegar to create a long-lasting ingredient which bridges the strong herbaceous flavor of the old tom gin with the bitter floral notes of meletti amaro. topping off the drink with soda gives it a refreshing bubble and the perfect amount of dilution.

'the inimitable jeeves" is the name of a p.g. wodehouse novel. (because i am obsessed with literary-themed cocktails), and a good englishman likes his gin, and a good butler knows how to make a drink. i cannot wait to drink this outside on the patio - once we have shoveled off the snow, that is. could you see to that please, jeeves?

the inimitable jeeves
1 1/2 oz ransom old tom gin
1/2 meletti amaro
3/4 blackberry basil shrub
3/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice

mix ingredients and shake, pour over ice in a collins glass. top with soda.

for the proprietary section, i went with mezcal. i love working with mezcal. its flavors are strong, pungent, and even off-putting to many drinkers, which is why it is a challenging ingredient. but when it works, it really works. i really, really wanted to find a drink worthy of one of my favorite novels. the 'macondo' is named after the mythical town in gabriel garcia marquez's novel 100 years of solitude.

the mocondo
1oz vida mezcal
1oz old monk rum
1/2 oz campari
1/2 oz put e mes

stirred over ice, flamed lemon oil in the glass, then poured on top

the drink is dark red, smoky, spicy, bitter and dark, inspired by the tragic lives of the characters who live and die in marquez's labyrinthine story. i had the greatest thrill the other night when a guest saw the cocktail on the list, got the reference, and ordered it because he loved the novel!

the wines

leaning about the wines we choose, and natural wines in general is such an interesting and rewarding part of being here. we are a very small space, only 40 seats, and storage is limited as well. our wine list must be precise. a good rule of thumb - you have to love a wine for it to make it on the list. that is our primary focus; we give the guests what we love. what we love is natural wine made by thoughtful and hard-working winemakers. and if we are excited about the wines, the guests will be excited about trying them too!

one of my favorites, and a beautiful expression of terroir and natural winemaking is frank cornelissen's rose 'susucaru'.

cornelissen chose to grow his vineyards on the slopes of mount etna in sicily. he loves the way the volcanic soil can express itself through the indigenous varietals he cultivates - such as nerello mascalese, catarratto and coda di volpe. the wine is dark for a rose; almost more like a light red wine. the nerello mascalese really shines through, giving the wine a bold structure. on the bouquet there is crushed rose petal, fresh snapped peas and ripe peaches. the wine doesn't disappoint on the palate either. it is full of lively fruits and vines that linger and challenge you to think about what you're tasting. there is no yeast, chemicals or sulfites added to the wine. cornelissen's philosophy is to do as little as possible to the wines in order to let them naturally express the terroir, the varietals and the natural conditions. flavors are not adjusted or hidden, nothing added. what you see through the clear bottle is what you get.

be sure to visit liz at spoke this spring to try one (or all) of these incredibly special drinks. cheers!


130. weekend to-do's

  1. spice up my workout routine. a friend of mine swears by pole fitness and the intense core and upper body workout that you get with it. she's convinced me to take a class with her at boston pole fitness after work today. i really have no idea what to expect, but i am always game for fun ways to stay in shape.
  2. get to the gardner. i'm way overdue to visit one of my favorite spots in boston, the isabella stewart gardner museum. lucky for me, now is the ideal time to stop by because they just installed the annual hanging nasturtiums display celebrating the arrival of spring.
  3. yaaas queens. i'm loving the new podcast 2 dope queens. it's a hilarious hybrid of storytelling and stand-up with phoebe robinson of "broad city" and jessica williams of "the daily show".

  1. explore the world of cars. my parents are visiting me this weekend and i'm taking them on a tour of places we've never been. first up on our tour is the larz anderson museum of automobiles. as a kid, my dad took us to so many car + airplane shows and i know this will be a fun nostalgic trip for all of us.
  2. get to the club. yvonne's in downtown crossing has been deemed a "modern supper club" with creative flavor combinations that i can't wait to try. their dining room even features a dark + moody library with a fireplace! can't wait to dig into some seared halloumi cheese and the kentucky prosciutto. hopefully my parents will love this as much i think they will. 
  3. treat yo-self. one of my favorite somerville spots for a tasty treat is union square donuts. since i've never taken my parents, we'll be hitting up this delicious bakery for some decadent morning treats.


129. april playlist

warm temperatures and sunny skies are right around the corner - we think this calls for a dance party. for our april.16 playlist, we've put together some of our favorite dance tracks to get you moving and thinking spring!


128. weekend to-do's

  1. embrace the rainy day movie date. looks like we're in for some gloomy weather this weekend - always a great excuse to escape to a theater. ciro guerra's embrace of the serpent has been creating some really promising buzz. inspired by real-life events, this beautifully shot black and white film tells the story of an amazonian shaman and a scientist who, over the course of 40 years, builds a friendship with him.
  2. vibe-ology. ever since hearing gallant's epic single, "weight in gold" last year, i've been waiting patiently for the album to be released. my patience has paid off. ology is a gorgeous r&b album showcasing his stylistic range and soulful falsetto. you can get a first listen on npr's site. it's the perfect sunday night soundtrack.
  3. spring dreaming. sunny days might not be here to stay quite yet, but they are just around the corner. to get in the spirit, i've been filling my apartment with different colored hyacinths. their fresh, beautiful fragrance makes the last of these chilly weekends at little easier to wait out.

  1. beer + ice cream = a great friday night. nightshift brewery and our friends at the galley ice cream are pairing up once again for an event tonight at the brewery's tasting room. they're celebrating the galley's 1st birthday with a sundae bar and some delicious cold brewed brews.
  2. local music weekend. two promising boston bands are releasing albums today. surf vietnam and their new concept record are definitely worth a listen. secondly, hot molasses is celebrating their album release tonight at the lily pad in inman square. can't wait to check them both out.
  3. get my glow on. i'll be trying out some restorative yoga classes this weekend after a shoulder injury. yogaglo is one of my favorite ways to practice at home with tons of great classes available online by teachers like kathryn budig and elena brauer. namaste friends.