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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Try to find fresh basil in Boston during March, I dare you!  It’s no easy venture, and serves as quite the inconvenience as I regularly make Italian inspired dishes.  Farmers Markets are just coming into season, super markets neglect the finer foods for extended sell-by dates, and Sherman Market is just too far across the river.  So, what are you to do when your meal depends on that fresh flavor, and all you’re offered is Stop & Shops’ withering excuse of an ingredient? It might sound a bit crazy, but I recommend you check your local garage!

There is only one thing more refreshing than the taste of newly picked basil, and that’s the entrepreneurship that delivered it.  Marshall’s Fenway Farm Stand not only provides the freshest produce (obviously including basil), but serves as a great example of the opportunities provided by a recession.  With the help of Fenway Real Estate Developer Samuels & Associates, Bob Marshall was able to expand from his original Gloucester farm stand, and share his produce with Greater Boston.  Now located blocks from Yawkey Way in a repurposed garage, previously occupied by tire techs and industrial lifts, you will find a vibrant selection of farm fresh goods.  Milk sold in old-fashioned glass bottles, vegetables of every sort, marinated steaks, and pickled treats will have you forgetting your metropolitan home for a moment, and relishing in the flavors of the countryside.

Caleb Hutchings

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A few months have passed since my hilarious bicycle accident in which I broke my collar bone.  Recovery has been slow, but I’m ready to jump back on the saddle.  By no measure would I suggest fragmenting any bones in my body would be of timely convenience, but with registration opening for Bike Not Bombs’ 2010 Bike-A-Thon, I have no complaints.

Those of us who know it, hold this JP nonprofit in high regard.  Bikes Not Bombs strives to promote peace, sustainability, and social justice through the recycling and reconditioning of used bicycles. BNB also trains and employs local teen youth within their workshops (under professional supervision) as a channel of personal/community enrichment.  The majority of donated bicycles are shipped abroad to business development initiatives and youth training programs throughout Central America and Africa.  This June 6th, BNB’s influence will be felt a bit more close to home.  The 2010 Bike-A-Thon will begin in front of the Stony Brook T stop in JP, and will be segmented into 15, 25, or 62 mile rides. Be sure to register for your spot to join hundreds of other cyclist for an awesome cause!

Caleb Hutchings

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In France I would be described as a flâneur,”One who walks the city to experience it.” There isn’t much of an equivalent in English, so I refer to myself simply as an “urban adventurer.” Of these wandering adventures, my favorite would easily be those which result in food. My culinary expeditions have taken me all across the city to farmers markets in the North End, diverse grocery stores in the heart of Chinatown, and (believe it or not) former auto garages in Fenway.  Yet, my curiosity for bizarre cuisine peaked this past week during a short walk through Allston.

Tucked behind a RiteAid and a boarded/abandoned building (at least from Brighton Ave. where I found it) is Bazaar International Gourmet. Not only does the odd location eliminate the cart wielding chaos of the Trader Joe’s crowd, but after a few minutes of browsing fresh produce and imported goods, it will make you feel as though you’ve found hidden treasure. I consider the prized jewels of discovery to be the extensive variety of fresh cheeses, a deli that would make a vegan cry and a carnivore drool, and unique products ranging from mango juice to smoked goldfish. Add the fresh selection of vegetables, shelves full of imported beer, and aroma of freshly baked/cooked delights, and you have my new favorite culinary destination.

– Caleb Hutchings

P.S. Bazaar also has a location in Brookline, which is next on my list to visit.

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When Pigs Fly

I rarely consider highlighting stores or restaurants which franchise beyond Boston’s limits for Saintly Advice. Although some of my favorite stores fall into this category (Trader Joe’s being one), I make few exceptions. In this case, my weakness for bread has me forfeiting my principles and praising a favorite establishment. You know it’s the reason you go to Bertucci’s, the only saving grace of Olive Garden, and I’m so obsessed with bread I actually have a loaf of lemon poppyseed in the oven as I write this post. But i digress…let’s get down to brass tacks:

When Pigs Fly bakes the most creative loaves of deliciousness Brookline has to offer. The flavors packed into each slice are only limited to the extent of their imagination. The combinations in Cherry Peach Hog Heaven, Mango Pineapple Raisin with Toasted Sesame and Ginger, and Orange Toasted Walnut and Cranberry are more than an excuse to pick up a $6 loaf. Evolve from your rudimentary Wonder bread or Pepperidge Farm, and be sure to stop into When Pigs Fly for some real sliced wonders.

– Caleb Hutchings

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I love tradition. Now, before this post goes off echoing the screenplay of Fiddler on the Roof, I should probably clarify. I love when the best characteristics of a culture or time are preserved for future generations to experience. It’s the way your grandmother can bake the best creations you ever tasted, it’s the quality Harley maintains by still building bikes by hand, and it’s the celebrations that strengthen the fabric of every culture. One of my favorite activities is visiting local shops that model this definition of tradition by adhering to their time tested methods of service. Going on 77 years, I can think of no better example than Polcari’s Coffee.

Polcari’s Coffee has provided the Northend community with coffee, spices, pasta, nuts, and almost any ingredient you could imagine for the past 3/4 of a century. Located on Salem Street, my favorite street in all of Boston, you can avoid the constant battle for the sidewalk on Hanover, and the Mike’s Pastry mess that grinds your travel down the pace of molasses (which I believe Polcari’s also sells).

One step into Polcari’s and you’ll see why it is my favorite store. The walls are lined with jars full of exotic spices and coffees, while wooden bins on top of window sills hold masses of nuts and candy. Yet, the old general store style isn’t the only thing which has been preserved over time. You’ll swear the prices also froze 77 years ago, as most spices are only 50 cents an ounce. So, who man’s this store impervious to time and inflation? I can nearly guarantee you’ll be greeted by Bobby, as he’s been behind the counter for the past 22 years. Bobby is one of those guys who loves his job, and thus makes the experience even more enjoyable! Polcari’s might not include a matchmaker or a musician who perches dangerously on top of neighboring homes, but it has created a tradition of service in the Northend that all of Boston can appreciate.

– Caleb Hutchings

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Full Disclosure: I am a former intern of MMC, but I dare you to find a more extensive list of delicious frugality!

Besides a hilarious and lovable staff, an adorable boutique, and a 5 year history of impeccable Public Relations, MMC possesses another attractive asset: the m.blog. Full of amusing observations, opinions on popular culture, and fashion speculations, the m.blog is sure to provide an entertaining read. However, the blog’s coverage of local culinary offerings is what has earned its spot on my Google Reader.

MMC’s Boston Recession Dining Deals post provides a long list of promotions offered by restaurants all across Metro Boston. Let’s be honest, if 50 cent tapas from Masa aren’t the silver lining on our present recession, I don’t know what is. (Well, besides $1 tacos from La Verdad.) Prixe-fixe dinners, discounted appetizers, and  free pizza on trivia nights are also included to ensure you stretch you dollar to its max! I would continue down the list, but Alyssa’s post on the best blueberry pancakes in town has me running out the door. I can already taste the maple syrup!

– Caleb Hutchings

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Boston Tweetup

Apart from the historical symbolism, higher education, innovation, and kick ass clam chowder, Boston boasts a very valuable network of Tweeple. Executives from marketing agencies, industry experts, restaurants, niche groups, networking associations, etc. constantly tweet information, events, and promotions specific for those within the city. If you aren’t on Twitter already, here is an ultimate guide to facilitate your debut (via @JoselinMane). Below is a list of local Twitter handles for individuals and organizations which will keep you on top of the latest information within the city:

@BostonTweet: BostonTweet offers constant information about events, promotions, news, and anything else he stumbles upon between trips to Anna’s Taqueria and the Publick House. A must for all locals!

@BostonTweetup: Provides updates and information about all local Tweetups. A calendar for all Tweetups is also provided on their website.

@JoselinMane: A BWP Connector, serial networker, and the face of BostonTweetup, Joselin is great to follow for realtime updates of Tweetups and related information!

@IFFBoston: For movie news and info on the Independent Film Festival, this is a must follow!

@YouIntern: Will keep you informed of the latest internship opportunities and individual reviews on past internships.

@TeaPartyBoston: As one of our recently posts explains, TeaPartyBoston will keep you posted on events, shops, and promotions that are missed by other publications.

@DartBoston: Hosts amazing events for young entrepreneurs titled “Pokin Holes.” In these forums panelists and the audience weigh in on a proposed business plans from young professionals.

@EatBoston: A great source of culinary news, restaurant deals, and local food festivals.

@Morgan1st: Another BWP Connector and best friend to all Boston wine lovers, Morgan First will not let a wine event pass without sending you an invitation!

@Onein3Boston: One of the best networking organization for young professionals, and its information rich site provides valuable resources for financial security and community involvement.

@GrouponBoston: As we’ve covered in a earlier post, Groupon Boston offers the best promotions in the city, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck.

@ECRadio: Needs no introduction. Live the Dream.

Feel free to add to the list…

– Caleb Hutchings   @CalebHutchings

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