Current Cravings

Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been loading up on lately…in moderation, of course…

OystersOYSTAHS! Much to my delight, this month has been all about oysters. From Legal on The Mystic, to B&G Oysters in Boston’s South End, all the way to Welfleet Oysterfest, I’ve been slurpin’ up salty bivalves just about every weekend with new friends and old. Raw oysters, fried oysters, free oysters and Sam Adams Oyster Stout – yes, oyster beer. As a girl who used to lick the sea-salt from her hot pink “tubey-tube” (a long, long time ago), my salt-tooth couldn’t be more satisfied this month.

Honey Bee Tea from my friends at DAVIDsTEA: the most caffeinated blend they’ve got on all 4 shelves lined wall-to-wall with colorful canisters of oolong, roobios, white, black, green, pu’erh, herbal and mate, this blend gives me the energy I need to keep buzzing like a bee. Between booking face-painters for Trick-or-Treat at The Street, and planning private styling events with bloggers and Red Sox wives, I’m loving every second of every day with that iconic teal cup in hand.

CrepesCrepes: Who doesn’t love crepes? Crepes in Boston with your best friend from Philly who you haven’t seen in months? Even better. No explanation necessary here. I live less than a mile from The Paris Creperie, a tiny eatery that whips up nothing but sweet and savory crepes morning, noon and night. It’s as simple as that.

Dip Day. Yes, it was just as awesome as it sounds. On Thursday afternoon before the Patriots played the Jets, WS Development celebrated the big game in the best way possible; with buffalo chicken dip, taco dip, artichoke dip, pizza dip, bean dip,  guacamole, more buffalo chicken dip and more guacamole. For dessert? Pumpkin spice dip, Nutella dip, Greek yogurt and fresh berries dip…you get the idea. Crock pots and endless trays of dip lined an entire wall of break room tables, each accompanied by a recipe card and a bag or two of Tostito’s. “Lunch” lasted 2 hours that day and there was very little talk about Football. As my dad would say, it was a pretty good day at “the rock pile”.

Mom’s Granola: I’m pretGranolaty good with words, but I don’t know if  there are any words suitable for accurately describing this stuff. There’s a jar of it my cabinet, a container in my desk and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was currently a bag of it (ok, maybe 2) in my purse. Whether sprinkled on my breakfast or adding crunch to my desert, I can’t get enough.


What’s on the menu for next month? Thanksgiving sandwiches, a taste of Philly (read: Wawa and Cheesesteaks), hopefully a trip to Grillo’s Pickles in Cambridge, red cups at Starbucks (ok, maybe I’m pushing it…), a new layout, blogger brainstorms, more posts, and more experiments in the kitchen.

PS Notice anything different? Endless thanks & love to Erin DuPont of Rose Door Designs for my very own, very beautiful, customized image! More creative changes to come…

Thank You, w/ Love

My boss recently asked why I never blogged about our lunch at b.good (obviously, I tweeted about it though). So while I find myself here yet again, enjoying a kale and quinoa bowl at a high-top table for 1, I’m feeling particularly grateful that he introduced me to this small slice of east coast heaven. On the wall above me, small signs tell the story of b.good, a fast food spot that you can feel good about, with locally grown ingredients and “food made by people, not factories”. Like Dick, who grows seasonal veggies on his farm in Lunenburg, MA and Gus who makes ice cream in Cambridge used in shakes and smoothies. Displayed on the wall, in a note from the two best friends who started it all, three pieces of advice are boldly written, “take it easy, live life and most of all be good”. Words that apply to much more than what and where you happen to be eating lunch. So thanks, Bill. This place rocks.

I’m feeling particularly grateful for a lot of things lately. For friends who want to visit and family that will drive 2 hours just for dinner, for extended summer sunshine and orange sunsets over Jamaica Pond. For leaves that change color and for live music in Copley Square. For Loft sales and pumpkin spice coffee, tequila and moms homemade tomato sauce (not together!). For Instagram and MBTA and Good Old War’s “live from the City of Brotherly Love” album. For SJU’s Boston alumni chapter and for quiet moments in Harvard Yard. For an incredibly positive 1st job experience and for a new start in Boston.

I’m also really thankful for you, whoever you are, for reading this post and (hopefully) others. When I started this thing it was an assignment for a class. Homework. Another item on my to-do list. It was a chore to post 2-3 times a week. It was difficult to sit down and just write a post (especially after eating 4 of my last 6 meals in Campion). My ideas for posts come at the most random of times. On the T or at work, while watching House of Cards or while enjoying a kale and quinoa bowl at b.good. And when the idea comes and I begin writing the 1st few sentences in my head, I can’t stop. The post is crafted quickly, as my mind finds the right words, my thumbs find the right letters to mold my ideas into sentences on the screen of my iPad or phone. I click publish, my words became posts and the posts make up the stories within this blog.

Writing has always brought me great joy (I have countless “top-secret” diaries dating back to 1998 to prove it) and while my spelling is often blundered and my stories sometimes lengthy, this little blog of mine allows me to write, think, eat, smile, laugh, cry, explore, experiment and share. I hope you find some joy in reading my stories and I thank you for your kind words, requests for more posts and proof reading assistance (I’m lookin’ at you, Pete & Andj). Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and for making this one of the greatest homework assignments I’ve ever been given.

With love,
Anne

Commuter’s Cuisine

Overnight Oats at The Bus Stop

Brookline is quickly starting to feel like home. There’s a cafe down the street that I’m becoming a “regular” at (mainly for two reasons: one, because when I miss the bus and need to kill 17 minutes until the next one, Rita’s Cafe is a perfect place for coffee and two, because when I start my laundry on a lazy Sunday afternoon and later realize that I need 4 more quarters to complete my load, the people at Rita’s are kind enough to trade 4 quarters for the 1 silver dollar I was able to dig up from the bottom of that one purse I haven’t used in months). I digress…

I’ve found a nice little running loop, around a gorgeous pond less than .5 miles from my front porch, alive with couples walking their dogs, girlfriends getting fit, solo onlookers, boats, babies, fisherman, and young, good-looking runners running laps around my survival-shuffle. There’s a market at the end of my block that sells Greek yogurt and red wine in the very same aisle and a Gap just 1.5 miles down the street (yes I know, this does sound like heaven). There’s a bus that scoops me up right next to Rita’s Cafe and drops me off right in front of my office doors at The Street. The commute takes about 20 minutes, door to door. I had a plan to continue riding the T until the weather got unbearable but the Brookline Hills T stop is .6 miles from my front door and the Chestnut Hill stop is .6 miles from The Street, resulting in more walking, an increased commute time, and ultimately, an earlier wake-up-call.  Regardless, I’m a commuter. By bus and by train and sometimes by Uber, I get myself from Point A to Point B with my earbuds in place, Charlie Card in hand and hand-sanitizer easily accessible.

The last few mornings in New England have been the kind that make waking-up particularly bittersweet. When the difference in temperature between the world outside your covers and the world beneath them both jolts you awake and forces you to snuggle deeper into the warmth of heavy comforters and thick blankets that have been stored away for the last 4 months. The mornings where, even though the sun is shining and you’re excited to get to work, and you have a rockin’ outfit already picked out, leaving your bed is simply painful.

For this reason, my morning routine has recently felt strikingly similar to a  mad dash, a race against the clock, all in an effort to beat the #60 bus to the end of Walnut Street. If the bus driver is ahead of schedule by just a minute or two or if I arrive just 10 seconds too late, I’ve missed my ride, which results in an embarrassing text to my boss and an impromptu and unpleasant walk to the T (meaning, I haven’t packed my Toms and I’ll be rockin’ blisters from my ‘work shoes’ in no time).

Nonetheless, however I get to work, as I’m sure you might have guessed, I gotta eat. So when there’s no time for a shower, breakfast, a cup of coffee and the Today Show (an ideal routine that seems to become more unattainable with each passing morning), I’ll have to settle for a little Commuter’s Cuisine, i.e breakfast on the way to the bus stop, at the bus stop and/or on the bus. Ideally, something healthy that I can make one night in advance and grab from the fridge on my way out the door.

After a lengthy (and expensive!) trip to the grocery store in search of Flax Seed, Chopped Dates, Espresso Powder and more, I spent a few evenings in my new kitchen whipping up 3 on-the-go breakfasts that I’ve since tasted and tested while riding public transit…

*If you’re skimming this post, just skip to #3…

  1. Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites (are you surprised?):  Pumpkin Spice this, Pumpkin Spice that, I couldn’t help but test out at least one pumpkin treat to spice up my morning commute. These  no-bake “energy bites” were ok but not great. They’re made with flax seeds, old-fashion oats, pumpkin seeds, chopped dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, honey, coconut and pumpkin puree. Roll up into balls, refrigerate, and enjoy. Next time, I would eliminate the pumpkin seeds and use less nutmeg and while it was nice that they were no-bake, they certainly were not no-mess. They made about 14 bites, which I packaged in 2’s in tucked away in the fridge for the morning.
  2. Banana Mocha Smoothie: Again, good but not great. Combine oats and almond milk and refrigerate overnight. In the AM (if time permits, so this one’s a little risky), add 1 banana, coco powder, espresso powder, yogurt and ice in a blender. Pour in a mason draw w/ a lid and throw it in your bag so your hands are free to lock the door behind
    Overnight Oats at The Bus Stop
    Overnight Oats at The Bus Stop

    you and dig up your buried Charlie Card. Pretty simple.

  3. Overnight Oats: This is by far, hands down the best one yet (and that’s likely because the recipe came right from my mom’s own kitchen, rather than Pinterest). Overnight, combine milk, yogurt, cinnamon, brown sugar and quick oats in any type of container with a lid. In the morning, stir, grab a spoon (already forgot that once) and go! Tastes just like a cinnamon bun and you won’t feel guilty about it.

I’ll continue to search Pinterest and scour the web in order to increase and improve my Commuter Cuisine options, but in the mean time, do you have any suggestions for a (relatively healthy and very easy) grab-and-go breakfast?? Let me know in the comments below!

New City, Same Brotherly Love

Already planning my next trip...

Living in Boston has always been a dream of mine. In case that wasn’t already obvious from my (I admit) excessive and moderately obnoxious Instagram posts, Facebook updates and tweets highlighting every Boston adventure from mundane (today’s coffee mug) to miserable (The Ikea Experience) to marvelous (Best of Boston Mag event). I can’t quite put into words what it feels like to be here, in Boston, finding my own way, getting lost in new places, living that dream. Wicked awesome, maybe? (ha).

There’s a notebook that lives next to my bed, forever open to one page, “Boston To-Do List”, accompanied by a pen that I seem to pick up at least three times a day. It’s not exactly a Bucket List, as my time in this city certainly isn’t limited but rather, an endless list of restaurants and bakeries and destinations and festivals and boutiques that I hear about in passing at The Street, or overheard on a crowded T, seen on Instagram or scrolled passed on Twitter, suggestions from co-workers and friends and magazines. Many of which will likely coincide with a new story and a new blog post, much like this one. And while I’ve barley made a dent in this particular to-do list, I’m proud to say that I have conquered many of the basics of moving to Boston; the little things, the things that seemed terrifying just a few months ago. First and foremost, navigating MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) and the 5 colors and 6 branches of one of Boston’s largest traditions, the T. Inbound, outbound, green line or red line, B, C, or D branch? Charlie Cards and requesting stops and uncomfortably yet efficiently packing-in to one small T to resemble a can of sardines, I think I’ve finally got it figured out, the Green Line anyway. Next up, finding my way around the city, with its impossibly curvy roads (unlike the solid grid of Philadelphia) and ancient street signs and cobble stone pathways. I successfully found an apartment via Craig’s List, after an exasperating but determined search, that luckily came with two great roommates (real people, not “super-friendly” cats) and I avoided and therefore survived “Move-in Weekend” (although moving out and in took a solid three weeks and I’m still not completely settled in). And so, I’m living my dream, one day at a time, in Boston.

And while all of these things are incredible, what I’m especially happy about and thankful for is that this whole Boston thing is my brother’s dream too. Because without him, much of this wouldn’t be possible. And by that I mean pretty much all of it.

It was his couch I crashed on in March when I came to Boston for my very first “interview” at WS Development. It was he who informed me that no, I can’t afford to live in Beacon Hill and no, I do not want an apartment in Allston. It was Pete who taught me how to use the T, how to read a map of the T and how to choose an apartment based solely on the location of the T. He taught me how to navigate the Financial District and Craig’s List, told me what to look for in an apartment (always look at the floors and no pets) and showed me the best way to get to Fenway Park, despite popular belief. He knows everything about building (and hopefully dismantling) Ikea furniture and has been pretty helpful in pointing out some must-try local eats.

Bucket of Biscuits
Nice angle, right?

And so, I wanna give an extra large high five to my brother, Pete. For answering my questions and explaining away my confusion and lending his car keys and showing me around this brand new city, but especially for building my monstrosity of a bed this morning (afternoon? all day?) and waiting to grab a biscuit from the bucket during our post-production feast at Sweet Cheeks BBQ (more pictures in the photo gallery but they won’t even do this meal justice) as I snapped pictures from every angle. Pete and I are always looking for our next meal (if you didn’t already get that, it runs in the family). It made complete sense to plan the construction of my bedroom while considering the where and when of our next meal. And so, it was only right that I show my appreciation to Pete with a bucket of biscuits, and two trays full of macaroni and cheese (arguably the best I’ve ever had), potato salad and smoked chicken and brisket (and a blog post, of course). We started with bagels and ended with BBQ and somewhere in the middle of all that, I finally got my very own, post-college, real-world, big-girl bedroom in Boston, complete with a plant and art work, and shelves and three tiny Buddahs above my bed.

You know what they say, team work makes the dream work. I’m just happy I’ve got Pete along for the ride, on my team (whether he likes it or not), making this dream work. And for understanding that after a long morning filled with power tools and hardware and one more trip to Ikea, ya gotta eat.

*note: my other brother Andrew also rocks

Just Say Please

A brief note, perhaps a rant, on etiquette, specifically in regards to those serving our coffees, crafting our burritos, driving our busses, carefully bagging our groceries…all the people who turn our day from bad to great with a caffeinated beverage, a friendly smile, a simple hello. The people we encounter daily, and often never see again. The people who stand in front of us, behind counters and cash registers and who are people. Just like me and just like you. With lives to live and stories to share and good days and bad days and boyfriends and children and school work and second jobs and hobbies and interests and passions.

Be nice to those people (and all people). Be kind to them. Don’t order your coffee, ask for your coffee. Say thank you. Smile. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Slow down. Smile. Look up from your phone. Hang up your phone. In 3 minutes, you can make a friend, learn something, restart your day, or theirs. Don’t underestimate the power of 3 minutes. Or the power of 1 person. And if all of this is too difficult for you, at the very least, just say please. Please.

That’s all.

Thanks for reading.