How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Or, August in Pictures

Yes, it is September.  And yes, I am posting about August.  You may have noticed, I haven't posted since July, and oh boy did I have a lot going on last month.

Instead of playing catch up however, I'm just going to do a quick rundown and then post a ton of photos.  Now that I am more settled I should be okay do to regular updates- August was just a doozy.

Here's what I can remember:

  • My parents came to visit me in Boston
  • I went and toured Chicago
  • Crossed two more restaurants off our list:  Highland Kitchen and Strega Waterfront
  • Drove up to Portland, ME and visited some breweries
  • Packed up my entire life 
  • Sold all my furniture
  • Quit my job
  • Flew to CA (cat in tow!)
  • Played my last Boston WAKA kickball game

And here are some pics!

Asta & Fenway & Children's, Oh my!

A few more items checked off my Boston list:  Two more Eater 38 restaurants (bringing the total to 11!), visiting a museum, and went to my last Red Sox game.

Last week Sara and I me up with her friend James for dinner. The original plan was all-you-can-eat Indian, but then changed to crossing off another Eater 38 restaurant, and ended up with one James had heard good things about:  Asta.

Asta is located right at the end of BackBay, almost near the Fenway area.  The menu has a 3-, 5-, or 8-course option and changes daily.  There are two bars in front of the kitchen at the sommelier's station, which is where we sat.

The three of us all decided on the 5 course menu for the night, but declined the wine pairing.  We started off with a complimentary taste of sparkling wine and an amuse-bouche of wax beans.  We devoured all 5 courses, as well as the popcorn and snacks that were included with the bill.  The experience was amazing.  I'm not going to breakdown each piece, I've included the menu and pictures in the gallery below.  

I was glad I did it, but I don't ever have to go again (unless someone else is buying). 

Last week Sara and I also went to what will probably be our last Red Sox game of the season.  My boss gets season tickets each year, and passes out the tickets when he is unable to make a game.  This time around he offered them to me, so Sara and I met at the new CityTarget in Fenway after work (just to explore, it just opened), stopped at TastyBurger for a cheeseburger and a beer, and headed to the park for the game.  It was a gorgeous night, and a great time.  Thanks Bill!

 Fenway Park!

Fenway Park!

And finally, this week Sara and I hit another Eater 38 restaurant:  Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe.  I got the traditional hand pulled noodles, which were delicious.  Sara got the noodles and a pork flatbread.  

 Hand Pulled Noodles!

After dinner we headed over to the Boston Children's Museum, where I had gotten tickets for their "Grownups Museum" night, when the open it up after hours for adults and have drinks and a DJ.  I hadn't been to the museum (you need to go with a child) so I thought it would be a good opportunity to see another Boston museum.  Previously the Science Museum had done an 'after hours' type night, but we were unable to go.

We played with bubbles, explored Healthyville and Arthur's town and pretended to be kids again. We took a bunch of pictures, you can find them on Sara's Facebook page.

It's been a busy couple of days, and won't slow down anytime soon!  This weekend Mom and Dad are visiting me in Boston, and next weekend is Chicago!  More posts and photos to come.

I'm Coming Home

Now that we've announced it at work I can finally tell everyone (those few that didn't know it already):  I'M MOVING BACK TO CALIFORNIA!

It has been in the works for a bit, but now will be happening in less than a month!  

My last full-time day at work is August 6th, and I am flying home August 18th.  My last few weeks are booking up pretty fast: we just picked a day for our going away party, I'm going to Chicago with my parents, I need to make time to pack, I want to spend some time exploring other New England destinations, etc.

I am pretty excited, but also super freaked out.  I have to look for a new job- which is a process I hate.  I'm hoping with my experience and references it won't be too long of a hunt, but I want to find something I enjoy.  I've learned more about myself while at BackBay, and so I want to pursue a slightly different path than I originally intended when I chose PR as my career.

I also need to find an apartment.  I am hoping to live in San Francisco, but we'll see if I can swing that (first I need to get a steady income!).  I'll be a kind of drifter, staying with my parents for the first few days and then with my best friend while I interview/apply for jobs.

I never intended Boston to be my forever home, but I really enjoyed my time here!!  Who knew kickball be such a big part of my life, or that I would enjoy the long, cold winters as much as I did.  I'm sure I will be back to visit!

New York, New York

A couple of weeks ago, I went to New York for work.  Now, that sounds pretty standard for a professional that lives in Boston, however, after almost 3 years of living and working here, I was never given the opportunity to go before (I've always been- and still am- the lowest ranking member of our team).  

I got to go this time, as I helped with the PR for the event.  I drafted the release, pitched the media to attend, put together a release and report for a study we did in partnership with the event company, and facilitated other items like ordering new banners and printed materials.  Because of my involvement, I was able to attend the conference in Brooklyn.

I traveled with my boss and 2 other coworkers down to New York (my first time on the Acela too).  We checked into our hotel, set up our booth for the event the next day, and went downstairs for drinks.  We had a couple of drinks, met up with our colleague based in the New York, who suggested we go to a restaurant called Pok Pok for dinner. 

Dinner was adventurous and delicious!  We ordered a bunch of dishes and shared them amongst the whole table (sorry, I didn't get any pictures).  

The next day was the conference, and it went from 8:30 to 5:30, and then there was an after-event boat cruise.  I had fun at the conference, I sat at our booth most of the day but also attended some panels that were of interest.  There was an entertainer there, a piano/saxophone player who sounded like Frank Sinatra and a woman (she didn't play any instruments, just sang a few songs).  

The boat party afterward was a lot of fun.  We took a short walk through Brooklyn to get to the dock, and then were off!  I took a few pictures, but my phone died shortly thereafter.  It was a fun way to decompress after the conference, and I got pretty close to the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. 

When the boat cruise ended at 8:30, a couple of us went to Shake Shack, where I had my first frozen custard (Shake Shack is in Boston, I've just never gotten their frozen custard).  It was like triple fudge and definitely satisfied my chocolate craving.

Once full on sugar, I hopped in a cab and met up with my friend Jeff for a drink.  Jeff moved from Boston to New York back in September, and I haven't had a chance to see him since, so it was nice to catch up. 

Friday was a jumble; I woke up and worked for about half an hour, emailed my colleague to stop by our New York office and pick up a computer, and jumped in a cab.  Once at the office though, I had to wait 40 minutes at a Starbucks nearby, as he wasn't in the office yet.  I did some more work, sipped on an iced chai, and waited.  When he got in, I snagged the computer, finished up some work in the office, and then grabbed a cab to get to Penn station to make my 12:00 train.  I got there with just enough time to buy a sandwich and stare at the board for 15 minutes until my track was announced.  

I shared a table with some strangers, struggled to eat my lunch and work at the same time, and felt a bit nauseous, but I made it home with no problems.  New York trip complete!

Mini Restaurant Week & Paint Nite

I know it has been ages since I've posted, to make up for it I have some new song recommendations, pictures of delicious food, and maybe a joke at the end ;)

First off, I have become obsessed with a song:  Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by XYLØ.   It's really pretty and I think I've been listening to it on repeat for the past week or so.

Now onto the food!  This weekend we went a bit crazy and marked two restaurants off our "Must Eat" List (which, I guess I should post here, and update it each time we try a new place).

First off, Friday night Sara, Teresa, Elise and I went to Bergamot to celebrate our last night as roommates!  It was a bittersweet event, as we've all been together for 2 years now.  For placing an ad on Craigslist, I think we really lucked out.  Elise is staying in the apartment, but is gone for the summer at camp, and Teresa is looking to move to Framingham (or somewhere around there).  We had originally wanted to go to Oleana, but we couldn't get reservations.  Bergamot was on our list, was nearby, and could fit us in, so we headed there shortly after work on Friday.

Bergamot has a prix fixe option where you can order one appetizer, one entree and one dessert for $44.  We all opted for this and it was the best decision of the night.  We also shared a bottle of white wine from Portugal (though I can't remember what winery it was from).  

Teresa, Elise and Sara all got the Beef Carpaccio appetizer while I got the roasted beets.  The carpaccio was way bigger than I thought it would be, taking up the whole plate.  The beets were probably the best appetizer I have had all year.  They were on top of goat cheese, sprinkled with pistachios and honey.  I could have ordered 4 more, easily.

For the main, Elise, and I ordered the pork loin entree.  It was nice and crispy, with peas and apricots.  I was hoping there would be more potatoes, but they were cut up into small cubes (like in canned Corned Beef Hash).  It was good, but I liked my appetizer better.  Sara and Teresa got the creamed morels, pasta with mushrooms and peas.  I tried a bite, it was amazing.   Everyone cleared their plates.

For dessert, the table again chose two of the 4 options:  Elise and Sara got the panna cotta, and Teresa and I had the dark chocolate mousse.  It was creamy, light, and soooo good.  

Dinner overall, was an A+.  I would go back, easily.  It was a little expensive, but not too much that I wouldn't go again before the summer was out.

On Saturday, Teresa, Sara, Sarah and I went to East End Grille in Somerville for Paint Nite.  We had originally purchased vouchers off Living Social in October, but it took until June to find one we liked and could make.  This was an afternoon session, most of the others are at night.  Our artist/leader was pretty crazy, he did like 5 tequila shots while we worked.  I think everyone's painting turned out great, each a bit different.  

After Paint Nite we decided to cross another restaurant off our list - Bronwyn!  Bronwyn is a german restaurant not far from our apartment.  We all got big beers and shared some pretzels.  This week is sausage week, so Josh (Teresa's boyfriend) and Sara got the special- "Black and White."  Teresa and Sarah got the Wurst Trio, and I got Spätzle.  All the food was phenomenal.  Better than the food I ate when I was in Munich a few years ago.  

Pics of everything will be added below, and I'm going to try to write more this summer.  We have a bunch of plans, so there should be some exciting updates!  I'm going to NY this week for a work trip, and will write a post on that as well :)

Q: What did the German kid say when he pushed his brother off a cliff?

A: "Look, mother, no Hans!"

A Night Out

The other night Sara and I went out to Rialto, a very expensive restaurant in Harvard Square.  We went out for "Dine Out Boston," which is a city event where restaurants offer pre fixe menus for a discounted price.   It happens for two weeks twice a year.  Last year Megan and I went to Mistral, and the year before Sara and I went to the Brazilian steakhouse in Copley.

Our dinner was delicious.  We sipped cocktails and munched on the bread & olive oil while we waited for our first course. For our starter we both ordered the mushroom soup.  It was so creamy and smooth, I wish there had been more than just the shallow bowl proffered.

For our entree we both ordered the gnocchi with short ribs.  I think it was the best short ribs dish I've ever had.  The meat was so tender, the gnocchi were perfect pillows.  There was a strange addition of some kind of marinated oranges- but they weirdness of those didn't take away from the dish.

To capitalize on the desserts offered, we each got something different and shared.  I got the maple and chevre cheesecake, Sara got a raspberry lemon souffle tart.  Both were amazing.  The cheesecake wasn't too sweet, with the addition of the goat cheese.  The lemon tart had some  raspberry filled raspberries on the top that I could have done with out.

Overall the meal was divine.  We rolled ourselves home afterward and sat on the couch, talking with our roommates and their boyfriends.  The house was full, which never seems to happen anymore.  It was a good night :)