Year 14

It’s frightening how fast 2017 has gone. It’s time for my 14th annual birthday list already.

I started off strong with the help of my friend Daisy last weekend. We went to Harvard Bookstore’s warehouse sale, which happens twice a year. The last thing I need is more books, but I told myself I would be “holiday shopping.”

Harvard Bookstore Warehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well…I did buy two books to give as holiday gifts. I also bought three books to donate to the Prison Book Program. And I bought two for myself…

I couldn’t resist the prices! Seven books cost $31. And two of them were hardcovers.

If you’re crowd-averse, you would want to skip this sale…it was mobbed and borderline annoying to browse the aisles. But because I’m a bibliophile, I will return.

That same evening, I tried wild boar at the Brighton Bodega. It’s a new restaurant in my area, and everything we tried was phenomenal. Brussels sprouts, mussels, kimchi burgers, and wild boar. Not surprisingly, wild boar tastes a lot like pork chops. It was complemented by smoky cheese grits.

Wild boar and grits at Brighton Bodega restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fact that ’80s new wave music was playing during our first hour there was a well-noted bonus.

Next on the blog: I hear a feminist icon speak…

 

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A Taste of Home

I’ve lived in the same general area of Boston for 16 years and have never owned a car. That partially explains why it took me so long to check out an ice cream (well, frozen custard) shop that is not accessible by subway. As a passenger in a car, I would ride by this ice cream shop possibly two or three times a year.

Every time, I would study the sign, Abbott’s, and wonder if it could be the same Abbott’s that I grew up with in Rochester, New York. The logo looked exactly the same. Nah…

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this was the year that I found out that yes, it is the same Abbott’s! I didn’t have to ask to be sure, because this sign was hanging in the window:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glare makes the sign difficult to read, but basically, some Rochesterians moved here and missed the frozen custard so much that they convinced the owners to let them open a franchise.

Not only was there frozen custard, there were Zweigle’s white hots for sale! And there were pennants of Rochester universities on the wall! What a treat to find a taste of home in the backyard of my second home.

 

A New England Delicacy

I finally tried the New England delicacy known as fluffernutter. I’m not sure why it took me 18 years to try it since marshmallow is in my top 5 foods list. But the past is the past. Marshmallow Fluff was created in Somerville, MA, hence the regionalism.

I haven’t bought white bread in years, so it was kind of a thrill to buy some Wonder Italian bread. I usually eat chunky peanut butter, but that didn’t seem like the right thing to use in this situation, so I bought creamy peanut butter. And then I bought THE FLUFF.

Fluffernutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wasn’t sure what the consistency would be like. Well, it’s like a gooey paste. I also wasn’t sure of the proportions…how much fluff to put on the bread. On my first attempt, I did not use enough Fluff.

Fluffernutter sandwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

The container is huge so I will have many more chances to perfect the proportions! The verdict is = delicious. A salty-sweet combination is always a winner, isn’t it? I’ve read that there are many variations of this delicacy; have you tried any?

 

Sunshine State

I went to Florida in March and it was GLORIOUS.

I attended a conference in “St. Pete” as the locals say, and then my boyfriend Allen met me and we spent a few days in his hometown of Tampa. I had never been to these lovely cities before, so I did many new things. Here are the two that made the birthday list:

  1. Eat a devil crab.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, Allen shared his fervent love of devil crabs, which can only be found in Florida. As he spoke, I would nod my head as I pictured us eating crab meat out of a shell…as one would with a mussel or oyster.

I searched for restaurants that served devil crabs and came across a place that ended up being a trolley alongside a highway. We decided to check it out because it was named Seabreeze, which was the name of a seafood restaurant that Allen and his family frequented during his childhood. It turned out that it was the same family of owners; the restaurant was torn down for an undisclosed reason and now the husband and wife sell live devil crabs and also serve cooked ones out of a trolley.

Imagine my surprise when I was handed my devil crabs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What? They looked like potatoes! But they were, in fact, balls of shredded crab meat in some kind of red sauce and breaded. That’s hot sauce in the plastic container. Once I got over the surprise factor, I enjoyed these tasty breaded balls of fish.

We had devil crabs again at Brocato’s. The breading was completely different but the inside tasted the same.

Cuban sandwich, black beans and rice, and devil crabs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Visited Big Cat Rescue sanctuary

When I’m planning a trip, I always check TripAdvisor for recommendations. Big Cat Rescue is #4 of 196 things to do in Tampa. I am a cat person and love all animals, so I added the sanctuary to our itinerary. Visitors go on a guided walking tour with a staff member. There are more than 80 cats at the sanctuary, so we walked around to see who was out and about. We were given ear buds and an audio device, so whenever we came across a cat, the staff member would play us that cat’s story.

We saw at least 20 cats. They were all beautiful and they all had heartbreaking stories. The cats come from all over the country. Usually they’ve been kept in horrible conditions and have become sick, etc. Many were in shoddy circuses or were kept as exotic pets.

The cats seemed very well taken care of at Big Cat Rescue. They even get to¬† go “on vacation” a few times per year in a large area that’s designated for vacationers. The organization is also involved in advocacy, which is wonderful. If you’re ever in Tampa, I highly recommend a visit here. I’ll leave you with a few of the dozens of photos I took of the cats…

 

 

Tea at the Library

Like any good Anglophile, I love afternoon tea. I’ve enjoyed trying it at different hotels in Boston: the Ritz-turned-Taj, the Four Seasons, the Park Plaza. I’ve also had tea at L’Espalier and Upstairs on the Square (R.I.P.). I had been wanting to try tea at the Boston Public Library, but up until a year or so ago, it was only offered during the week.

Therefore, I was psyched when I was invited to tea at the library last month to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my friend Linda. It was a lovely outing to celebrate a lovely occasion.

Tea menu at the Boston Public Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose Earl Grey tea (as I often do), which didn’t disappoint, and the sandwiches and petits fours were delightful as well.

Tea at the Boston Public Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The staff were cheerful and I loved the purple-ness of the room. The walls were purple, the chairs were purple, the glassware was purple. It was surprisingly…inviting. And different in a good way.

I think my favorite afternoon tea is still the Taj‘s (the live music puts it on top for me), but the tea at the library is a close second.

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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