Back from Beantown

Dead End

I got back earlier this evening from my weekend trip in Boston.  I got to show my ITP classmates Elizabeth, Catherine, and Meredith my old haunts.  We took the Bolt Bus there and back.  They supposedly have WiFi access on the bus (helpful), but the WiFi didn’t work on any of our computers on the trip back (not helpful).  Also not so helpful was the lack of tray tables in the bus.  How is one supposed to eat on the bus?  Or use one’s laptop?  Literally on one’s lap I guess.

Our Boston adventure didn’t start out very auspiciously.  First of all, it was FREEZING cold.  Not surprising for Boston in November, but certainly colder than normal even.  Also, when we tried to get into a taxi at South Station, the car broke down and we had to take another cab.

Finally we got to the hotel and settled in.  We went to Legal Seafoods for dinner on Friday night.  I know, it’s sort of a cheesy chain, but I have to admit that their seafood is top notch.  Then we headed into Harvard Square for a drink at the Casablanca, one of my old hangouts.  When we tried to take the T back to Boston, there was smoke in the T station, so we had a cab.  Does Massachussetts hate us or what?

On Saturday, we walked around the Harvard-Yale game tailgate, and managed to get yelled out by a traffic cop for no reason – we were trying to cross the street when there was no car, but I guess we had to wait for his signal.  Whatever.  Power trip I guess.

We walked back to Harvard Square and into John Harvard’s for a drink and some food.  The waitress wouldn’t accept Catherine’s UK drivers license as valid ID, so she refused to serve her beer.  WTF!  We got up and left.  No love from Mass.  The dead end sign above expresses what I think about the whole situation.

We ended up walking up Mass Ave to warm up with some food and beer at Cambridge Common, another of my old college hangouts, and a rare place near Harvard that has nice waitstaff.  Great selection of 30 beers on tap.  We shared a basket of their famous sweet potato fries and I had a cup of roasted parsnip soup.  New Englanders may not be the most outwardly charming of people, but I concede that they sure know their root vegetables! 😉

More caloric intake happened at Burdick Chocolate, where we had some of their AMAZING hot chocolate – probably my favorite in the whole world.  Marie Belle’s hot chocolate in NYC comes close in the taste category, but in richness, Burdick wins without contest.  Then back to the hotel for some tv watching.  It was way too cold to do any more siteseeing.  We ended up having dinner in the pub-restaurant across the street from our hotel, the Holiday Inn, which was surprisingly nice, with easy access to the Red Line of the T and right next to a Whole Foods.  I don’t remember the name of the pub, but I had a very memorable cup of clam chowder (on par with Legal Seafood’s famous chowder) and a mediocre crab cake sandwich which came with sweet potato fries (my second helping of the day).

I didn’t take many pictures, but you can check them out anyway on Flickr.

Northern California Trip Over – Back in NYC Update: Perilla and ITP

Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco

End of summer update: I got back this morning from a week-long holiday in Northern California. Tons of pictures on Flickr. I will blog more about it later.

Above: The famous Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco. Below: LS plays with eels at the Monterey Aquarium.

LS & Eels

Sophia & Perilla

I hung out with Sophia today. We had dinner in the West Village at a place called Perilla, which is Top Chef Harold Dieterle’s restaurant. The ambience was casual and cosy, typical West Village. Our waiter was attentive and the menu looked good. I was a big fan of Harold’s when I watched Top Chef, so I had high hopes. But unfortunately, things got weird, but not in a good way. We were presented with exactly one slice of bread each. Mmm, gee thanks. Nobody asked if we wanted more. We shared an heirloom tomato salad and seared sea scallops for the appetizer course. The tomato salad was good, but a bit pedestrian. The pine nuts and the feta cheese in the salad overpowered the subtly of the tomatoes. The scallops themselves were executed to textbook perfection, but like the tomato salad, had some balance issues: their were bacon or pancetta bits that were a little overwhelming, and not advertised on the menu.

Entrees. This is where it gets bad. We had the Romesco Oil Poached Chatham Cod with black olive gnocchi, oyster mushrooms & summer zucchini sauce and the Grilled Pork T-Bone with lavender, lychee-black chick pea salad & green mustard sauce. Off the bat, the cod dish was way too salty, and had a weird “squeaky texture.” The “romesco” was a red sauce smeared on the cod with chunks of nuts in it, a departure from the smooth Catalan classic. I found the nuts too aggressive in texture compared to the tender cod. Much better after I scraped off most of the sauce. The summer zucchini sauce was more of a color element than a flavor contrast, so I can’t say it was all the memorable. The black olive gnocchi was too similar to the oyster mushrooms in color, but were surprising in taste and texture when I bit into them. The color and texture reminded me of Taiwanese pig’s blood black pudding, and not in a good way.

The pork t-bone was a big, thick peace of meat, but not at all juicy or particularly flavorful. It was covered by a giant mound of salad that obscured the meat on the plate, not all too flattering a presentation. I couldn’t really taste the lavender, and the lychees were just kind of random surprises that lacked a real context.

Dessert was redeeming. Sophia ordered the Vanilla Scented Doughnuts with peach compote filling & sour cream curd. Fried dough. Peaches. Cream. Yum. ‘Nuff said. I had the local blackberries Linzer Torte, which was very well executed as well. It did a nice job of clearing my palate of all excess salt from the entrees.

Sorry Perilla, I really wanted to like it. I really tried, but I left disappointed. Luckily, we were able to amuse ourselves with some great people watching, as we observed two very awkward dates at adjacent tables unfold before our eyes. Made up for the lackluster food. We noticed that the awkward date people were drinking a lot more than we were. Maybe they were on to something.

Interactive Telecommunications @ NYU Tisch

Orientation starts tomorrow morning for the masters program in Interactive Telecommunications that I am doing at NYU. Updates forthcoming.

Below: Lee-Sean and the giant sunflowers of Sonoma.

LS & Sunflowers in Sonoma

Memorial Day Weekend

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Above: With Tricia at her Going-Away Party at Union Hall in Brooklyn.

Below: The Notorious MSG filming in Chinatown.

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Below: Vintage Americana at Coney Island.

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More Coney Island pictures click here.

Tourist in New York

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Even though I have lived in NYC for almost 9 months now, I feel like there are still so many parts of the city that I haven’t seen yet. Today, Kris and I walked around the city and acted like tourists, looking up at the buildings and taking pictures of everything.

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See all the pictures on my Flickr account.