Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Addis Red Sea

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Monday night, I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, Addis Red Sea. ARS is an Ethiopian restaurant located in the South End. I love the South End. But what I love more is eating with my hands and laughing with my friends. From the moment you walk down those steps underneath the glow of red, green, and yellow, you are transported into a totally different world in the midst of Boston. 

 Ethiopian food is utterly delicious. I got my favorite item on the menu, Yemeser Wot (a lentil dish cooked in a spicy berbere sauce). When I first started going to ARS, I would order their vegetarian platter which lets you taste four of their veggie dishes for about 15 dollars. After getting that a couple of times (and realizing that it is kind of too much for one person) I started just ordering my favorite of the 4. Though if you are new to Ethiopian food, I would totally recommend getting one of the combination plates.

Also, if you are going to Addis Red Sea beg them for their baklava. It is absolutely divine. Like nothing I've ever tasted. The way the honey glaze mingles with the filo dough. . . Mmmm. So good.

I think one of my favorite parts of taking new people to ARS is having them enjoy the ambiance. You get to eat at a low sitting Mesob (handwoven table), your food is brought out on a platter, and you eat with your hands. 

 Ethiopian bread is also a huge focus of the meal. It's called injera and it is part bread, part utensil. You use the injera to pick up your food (most of the food is heavily sauced and so you need to scoop it up) and soap it up. The injera is a spongy flatbread that your food is dumped on. Each dish is brought out in a tiny bowl and then turned upside down on the bread/plate. This makes sharing hilarious and fun. It also makes being the only vegetarian very interesting, but no worries the sauces are typically thick enough to not run around and the bread keeps it in place.

The wine at ARS is also pretty good and they serve a honey wine that is somewhat interesting. I've also been told that their beer selection isn't too shabby, but haven't really tried any.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

The foodie diaries: Brittany’s Unofficial Guide to Restaurants in the Boston Area

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We are going to Magnolia on Tuesday.  This makes me happy and has also prompted me to add a new category to this blog.  I have a ridiculous obsession with food in Boston. . . well umm. . . pretty much food anywhere.  I will start to document the places I go and my take on what is good and where I want to go in the future.  Be warned I'm a vegetarian and so most things will involve meat-less entrees.


Friday, May 18, 2007


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My days are measured in points. Or more appropriately, I guess I should say that my food is measured in points. But then again, when I think of how much I think about what I'm eating, how much I'm eating, and when and where I'm eating; I might as well say that my day is measured in points.

Sometimes after a failed difficult day with Weight Watchers, I think that when I try to log onto the website I will receive a "We're sorry but you've exceeded points for the year, better luck next time" message or "Hello Fatty, how was that cake?" message. But, oh well, the program does work, well it will work if you follow it correctly.

But even when I have a rough day with it, it's o.k. and I know that tomorrow I will get up and go to the gym and attempt to gather up what self confidence I have left. Because although I may look like a fool (half dying as I bumble through my hour workout) I know that the moment I finish the whole thing, I will feel. . .well. . .badass.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fast Forwarding and Rewinding

When I was fifteen I lived in France for a year. I was excited and ready to go if even a little too young and impetuous. It was the best year of my life (so far) and in a nutshell utterly wonderful. Fast forward five years, 40 pounds, and more than one case of champagne and you will find me here, on my bed, writing my blog.

I'm going back to France and I'm absolutely terrified, but at the same time overjoyed. It's the culmination of my college career. The only reason I ever decided to come to Boston/Northeastern (Northeastern possesses an amazing BSIB program that allows one to stay abroad for a potential 2 years; something at 18, I highly valued). It's not that I'm afraid of leaving Boston. . .well . . . maybe I am. Boston is the place I've made home for the past three years and have spent minimal time away from since my arrival freshman year. It's where I can easily access the treasures of the city by train or bus. It's the place that has beautiful springs and gorgeous falls and I am going to miss it.

But then I think of France and the gorgeous way of life that is there. The slowness and familiarity of French life dresses me comfortably. I want to be there and more than that I want to want to be there like I wanted to be there five years ago. I know I have to go back and truly want to go back. Because there isn't a moment in the day when my inner monologue doesn't skip merrily between French and English or I don't see something that reminds me of my French friends. I need to go back because there are so many things that define me that are in France, and I need to find out if it's where I want to live and be for awhile. I love France. I love the streets, the cafe culture, and the way I evolve into a strangely confident person whilst gravely spouting vous, tu, et nous without a moment's hesitation. When I am there I am so much more sure of myself, my freedom, my entire being. I think that is why I cling so much to my year in France; it let me become what I always wanted to be and for a moment I wasn't absolutely terrified of who I was or what I was becoming. For a year , I was just me and that was o.k. no extra adjectives needed.

I've gone into this ridiculous indecisive post because I've been planning where I am going to live and fast forwarding in such a way is choking me with the reality of my departure. This time next year I will be working in a French company speaking French with the Joneses. I'm also planning flights with no return in mind (one way ticket, my friends) and it's frightening. I've never been one to gasp at reality, but at 20 things like this are much more real and the consequences seem greater. I'm sadly realizing I've lost some of my 15-year-old self in these past few years. Five years ago, I wouldn't have been scared. Five years ago, I wasn't scared of anything.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Jolly Good Porter

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Work was good today. I worked on a blog post that took me an absurd amount of time, but it did require some research and some creativity; also, posts like the one I did today often distract me because they have a myriad of options. The day got even better because I knew that Steph was coming in to check out the new HP for our website. I merrily tapped along on my laptop at as I waited for a good afternoon of shopping in Porter's Square.

Steph arrived and I got very excited because it meant that shopping was soon and work being done was even sooner! We hopped in the car after buying Diet Coke PLUS (with vitamins!) at Brooks and were on our way. We didn't get lost. We swiftly found parking and we're out on the street in no time. Porter's Square is lovely. I am in love with it. I'm in love with the shop full of Mexican treasures. I'm in love with the five billion Indian stores on Mass ave. I'm in love with it all and we only made it down one side of Mass ave.

After a bit, we got hungry famished and if Steph gets hungry one does not cannot forget it. She will remind you each second! So we began to look for a place to eat in earnest. After seeing a plethora of Indian/Thai/Chinese options, we began to rethink the idea of eating in Porter. We also began rethinking the 2 hour time limit of our parking spot. Slightly defeated yet cheery we moved onward to the good ol' VW. Suddenly I was overcome with the fact that I wanted, no, needed, to eat pasta. So I suggested the only reasonable place to go if one is in Somerville Dave's Fresh Pasta. Sounds slightly brilliant right? Well if you answered, "yes" to that rhetorical question you would be more than wrong. Because Dave's Fresh Pasta does not in fact sell pasta for eating. Well, that isn't correct either because it does sell pasta just not the kind one can consume right away; which translates roughly into, "cook it at home, bitch." We settled. We settled for the most delicious sandwiches one could ever eat. I really mean it. Mine was of the gods. Stephanie suggested that the perfection lay in the perfectly toasted and delicately tasting baguettes (for the record, I had originally wanted asiago cheese bread, but being the fantastic and FRESH place that they were; they were simply out). We devoured our happy marriages of tasty and fresh and were on our way home.

Nothing is more perfect than driving over the Mass ave. bridge on a sunny day. Nothing.

(also, we only got lost once, but just once)


Sunday, May 6, 2007

a good slumber party

I love my friends. Why do I enjoy them so much? Well, first off they put up with me and my disaster of a life; second, they like doing things like slumber parties. For the record, we are not 13 year old school girls, but even in our early 20's we do love a good slumber party. Last night was our second slumber party and the date coincided with Cinco de Mayo. My friends (never missing a chance to add a theme or title to our extravaganzas) immediately decided that this party would be a Mexican fiesta: a celebration of tequila, pinatas, and random debauchery. Brunch would follow the next morning and is typically my favorite part of the entire process.

The night started off with a trip to Wal-mart in Steph's VW. We went to buy a pinata worthy of our party. There was an ample selection of paper mache goods and it boiled down to a unicorn, a Mexican star, and Dora. Each had its own unique benefit. The Mexican star fulfilled the theme requirements, the unicorn= totally badass, and Dora, well nothing could make me more happy than beating the shit out of Dora.

We picked the Unicorn and named him but kept forgetting which name we chose.

The night was as expected, debaucherous, full of pinata, and tequila.

Brunch was delicious, Mexican, and as usual we were a difficult group to accommodate.


Thursday, May 3, 2007

In the Dark

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I'm sitting at my kitchen table with 11 candles (nine of them tea lights) lit and typing this entry in Mac mail. Why you might ask am I sitting here with the light out?

  • Is it to enjoy the seemingly romantic and ambient light cast by the candles? No. 
  • Is it to relax and envelope myself in the delicate perfumes of cucumber and cantaloupe? No. 
  • Is it to reduce energy emissions? No. 

My electricity went out around 8:30 p.m. and I am none too happy. I am afraid of the dark. I've always been afraid of the dark. I used to make my younger sister sleep with me because I felt that somehow having my little sister in my bed with me would make even the scariest bogeyman go away. Always being a cautious child, I made her sleep on the side nearest the door JUST IN CASE!

The electricity going out brought an unexpected meeting with one of my neighbors. I encountered a schoolteacher, who I previously thought of as the door- that- hangs- seasonal- mittens. She is duly afraid of the dark and we nervously chatted; pranced around like schoolgirls while showing each other our respective apartments by the glow of a flashlight. Her apartment has the MOST adorable black and white checkered tiles and even has a built in bookshelf, granted her apartment is smaller, but 50's chic is absolutely fantastico. I loved it. It's kind of how I imagine my post grad apartment. A little cramped (but cozy), a little dingy (but homey), and definitely involving an adorable little kitchen; it's the kind of place I could see myself pouring out craft projects out of craft zine or knitting!

(update: I left at 8:30 and came back at 10:45)

I left my house at 8:30, the tea lights were looking low and I was starting to get hungry. I had been planning on cooking a meal of rice and broccoli something light and healthy to balance out the veggie burger and donuts from the office. . . sigh. I walked around the corner hoping to find the bright lights and sweet sounds of mariachi music of my favorite burrio place El Pelon, but alas, the stools were upside down and the floors were being wiped. To further mock my rumbling stomache I could smell the sweet odor of bubbling black beans and the delightful grease of good fried plantains. I trudged on halfheartedly. I made it to TOMB where I giggle with Steph, Matt, Garytt, and Noah over my dark dilemma and then headed over to Quiznos.

Quiznos is slow. It's also hot and gross from their magic toasty machine. After them taking 8,000 years to make my sandwich I walked over to TOMB, hung out, and finally left when they closed. I went with Noah and Matt to the grocery store and looked for a flashlight (hoping against all hope that I would come home and not need to use it), but I couldn't even find out. Not a single torch could be found.

As I walked back to my apartment some of the streets showed signs of life and signs of light. My street was still dark. I walked slowly, talking with my sister and as I neared my door POP all the lights flicked on. It was magic. I have never felt more like I was in a book or a movie or even a fairy-tale. It was beauteous. It was almost as if someone had flicked on the light as easily as I flick on my bedroom light. Everything illuminated at once. Magic. Perfect. Wondrous.

The lights even looked a little brighter.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Tuesday and a bad beginning of May.

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You would expect a Tuesday morning not to be so tragic - Monday, yes is a totally proper day for tragedy- but Tuesday, Tuesday is the day you are supposed to have your shit together, it's the second day of the week and so by default totally less tragic. But not a Brittany - first day of the month - Tuesday. Tuesday was the 1st day of May and coincidentally the 1st day of the May T pass.

On Monday night, I decided that I couldn't - just couldn't- go get my T pass at the end of the day, and so I decided that I would get up a bit early, walk across the park, run to Espresso Royale (Mmmmm bagel), and skip up the stairs to the Cashier's office. After getting up somewhat early, shuffling my feet across the park, practically inhaling my delicious creation of carb and dairy, and dragging my body up the flight of stairs, I arrived at the Cashier's office to wait in line.

 The office opens at 8:30 on the dot ( I have to be at work at 9am).  I am obligated to add on the dot because they never NEVER open up even a tiny bit early for the pleading and mildly convincing faces of co-op students. After waiting about 10 minutes in line (10 very precious minutes) I arrive at the front of the queue and find out to my dismay that I hadn't even paid for this pass AND that Northeastern doesn't provide T passes in the summer. I do what any other somewhat educated girl would do, I panic. I panic all the way down Huntington Avenue and barrel down (still panicking mind you!) the stairs of the Symphony T stop. I throw myself on the "no cash" guichet and try to do the TAP TAP TAP and GO! of the Charlie Card (UPDATE: it's 8:55).

 Finally I get it all to work and I am further distracted by a man asking me for 10 cents to pay for his card/ T fare. I dig in my abyss of a purse and desperately try to find the right coin. As my hand digs out another penny, I hear the din that can only mean SHIT, A TRAIN IS APPROACHING! I apologetically/distractedly say that I don't have the change and bumble over to the train. In my defense I was getting on the E line. The E line is death. The E line is probably the slowest and most unreliable part of the MBTA and so I had to just had to get on that train or suffer the consequences of potentially being an hour late!

I finally start to feel a little less panicky granted it's 9:00 and I am definitely still in the Back Bay and definitely not sipping my daily dose of caffeine at my desk in Davis. But at this point there is nothing I can do, I mean I'm stuck underground so pretty much absolutely nothing I can do without revealing my secret identity and showing everyone my magic skillz. The train rumbles on PRUDENTIAL. . . COPLEY. . .ARLINGTON. . .BOYLSTON. . .THIS TRAIN IS DISABLED PLEASE GET OFF THE TRAIN. . whatttt! I scramble off the train, run up the stairs and hurry over to Park Street (where I can finally catch the red line) and get on my safe, secure, little bundle of joy headed towards Alewife.

Final time of arrival at the wonderful working pod: 9:30 am

I hate the T.