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perfect pairings

Ever heard of a Tom Plumbs Blues? Our friends at Church share their recipe for this gin cocktail, which is perfect for the summer. Watch here to see what pairs best with this stirred but never shaken craft cocktail.

Steve heads down to Duxbury to discover where those delicious island creek oysters come from…but after this trip Steve can shuck with the best of them at Island Creek Oyster Bar

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Like most Bostonians, I am D-O-N-E with winter. Just as the Red Sox are gearing up for the new season, I’m hitting the market for some spring wardrobe. I stopped by ROSTER in Faneuil Hall to pick up a ‘47Brand cap. Ironically, something happened as I was putting on a Boston Red Sox hat for the first time in my life. I felt as if I had finally become a citizen of Boston, Massachusetts. The experience seemed more official than receiving my driver’s license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am all in for Boston. I was so proud to be wearing apparel that represents Boston-based brands (Red Sox, Twins Enterprises, and ROSTER Stores) that I instagramed an image with hashtags #FranchiseTag #Boston soon after I left store.

The B cap is a distinctive sign of Boston culture, just as cowboy hats are for the western part of the country.

True or False? People are often profiled depending on what they wear-those who wear cowboy hats are thought to drive pick-up trucks, to listen to country music and to speak with a western accent. Someone in a B cap would be branded with the Boston accent, outstanding schools, world-class hospitals, winning sport teams, and record snow falls.

How would you like to be profiled in your Boston Red Sox hat?

A LADY IN RED

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Red Cleanup Hat.

A trendsetter who likes the new.

”47 FRANCHISE BOSTON RED SOX

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Garment washed Boston Red Sox clean up with a broken-in look and feel.

Someone who likes to kick it old school.

By the way, the Garment Washed cap is more my speed.

redsox2Check out the assortment of Red Sox hats and other apparels at ROSTER stores.

Go Sox!

 

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All eyes are on the energetic – and telegenic  — Andris Nelsons when he bounds across the stage of Boston Symphony Hall to take his place at the conductor’s podium, his sheer physicality a performance unto itself. At 35 years old, Nelsons is one of the youngest and most electrifying conductors on the international scene today and the youngest music director to lead the BSO in more than 100 years. He might also be the only one to have ever been a student of martial arts. Prior to his arrival in Boston, the Latvia native was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), where he earned critical acclaim. Born in Riga to a family of musicians, Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying to be conductor. He is married to the internationally renowned soprano Kristine Opolais, who joined him on stage for his first opening night leading the storied Boston Symphony Orchestra.

AS A YOUNG CONDUCTOR, WHAT DID THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MEAN TO YOU? WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS?

As a music student growing up in Latvia, I was aware of the leading position of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), one of the world’s greatest orchestras. I followed the careers of several BSO‘s legendary music directors, especially Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Erich Leinsdorf, and Seiji Ozawa, and more recently, James Levine. I remember listening to many BSO recordings and feeling overwhelmed by the extraordinary performances.  I never imagined that I would become this orchestra’s music director!

WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST SURPRISE ABOUT BOSTON AUDIENCES FOR YOU SO FAR?

The enthusiasm that the Boston audiences has shown to me, has touched me deeply. I have always heard that the Boston audiences were passionate music lovers—and it is very true!  They also are generous in expressing pride and love for the orchestra. The BSO has been a great inspiration and joy for many of our patrons. My hope is to do all I can to continue to inspire them to ever greater levels of satisfaction and reward.

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IS THE ORCHESTRA DIFFERENT TODAY THAN WHEN YOU FIRST GUEST-CONDUCTED IN 2011?

I don’t know that I can speak to how different the orchestra is today than it was in 2011.  When I conducted the orchestra for the first time in March 2011, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and power the orchestra displayed in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.  It is a very difficult piece of music, but we developed quickly a good connection and were able to make incredible music together. My joy nearly four years later comes from getting to know the orchestra better. I enjoy meeting and getting to know each individual musician, knowing them by name. This helps us work better together and make some great music.

WE’RE IN THE AGE OF “NEW” MEDIA. DID YOUR TRAINING AS A MUSICIAN AND A CONDUCTOR PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEW ROLE AS HOLOGRAM AT SYMPHONY HALL?

I have never participated in the creation of a hologram before, so it was fun to see how they created the 3D image. It’s both strange and exciting to stand next to your own talking and moving hologram – and I was happy to see that I have lost some weight since recording the image last July! I hope our wonderful patrons enjoyed this technology, and that the hologram and overall exhibit communicated some interesting and new information, especially to newcomers to the BSO.

IS THE ROLE OF CONDUCTOR OF A WORLD-CLASS ORCHESTRA OF THE 21’ST CENTURY DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS FOR YOUR HISTORIC COUNTERPARTS?

I would say that it is a faster moving world today, of course it is, and this pace applies to all aspects of modern life! However, in contrast, the fundamental role of the conductor has not changed so much at all on the podium. This profession is still based on personal communication and it rather stands the test of time in this sense. It’s such a magical and of historic profession.

BOSTON HAS A REPUTATION FOR BEING A FAIRLY TRADITIONAL CITY. CAN YOU GIVE US A PREVIEW OF ANY EXCITING, NEW WORK YOU’LL BE INTRODUCING?

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has always presented many new interesting compositions with major composers as Bartok, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Babbitt, Birtwistle, Carter, and Saariaho, and many others, and also significant premieres.  So there is no doubt that with the great repertoire that we all love so deeply—music of Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, etc.—we will also explore works by new composers and go back to some of the works of the 20th and 21st centuries that have made the recent history of classical music.  Sophia Gubaidulina’s Offertorium is a great example of bringing back a late 20th century work that is now considered a masterpiece of our field—and Baiba Skride’s recent performances captured the extraordinary sound of Ms. Gubaidulina’s composition. This season we’ve also programmed works by Boston composers Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, and Michael Gandolfi, as well as works by Australian composer Brett Dean and my Latvian compatriot Eriks Esenvalds. Our audiences have responded very enthusiastically to what we have performed so far. We will continue to explore new works and bring the very best of music to our wonderful patrons.

For further information about the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a complete spring schedule, visit Boston Symphony or click here for complete programs, ticket information, photos, press documents, and artist bios.

Now for part 2 of our series on Top Chef alums: Boston’s dining scene has always been a vibrant one. With such easy access to an abundance of farm-raised, season-changing ingredients, our region has always been much more than the “land of bean and cod.” Our corner of the country has always been quietly pushing culinary boundaries. (Thanksgiving? Totally America’s first dinner party.)

Tiffani Faison

Tiffani FaisonFaison placed runner-up on the very first season of “Top Chef,” and earlier this month she scored the number two spot again on the inaugural season of “Top Chef Duels,” a spin-off that pits popular alums in culinary face-offs. (She also competed in a special “Top Chef All Stars” season.) When she’s not in front of the camera, you’ll find her in the kitchen at Sweet Cheeks Q, her popular barbecue restaurant steps from Fenway Park. With its smartly sourced meats, house made sauces and creative, bourbon-drenched cocktails served in mason jars, there’s a slightly elevated touch to her down-home fare.

Pro Tip: Chilly out? Fear not. Sweet Cheeks’ popular beer garden has a retractable roof, so you can still drink outside (sort of) when the cool weather comes.

 

Mark Gaier & Clark Frasier

Mark Gaier & Clark FrasierThis culinary power couple competed together on “Top Chef Masters.” But they first made their mark at Arrows, an Ogunquit icon that introduced locals to “farm to table” dining long before the phrase became ubiquitous. They still operate a slightly more casual restaurant, M.C. Perkins Cove, up in that resort town. But earlier this year they opened their first Boston spot: M.C. Spiedo, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, a glitzy option for historic Italian cooking based on the traditions of – what else? – Renaissance-era cuisine.

Pro Tip: How down to detail are the recipes? Check out “Leonardo’s Salad,” is comprised of a list of ingredients found in Da Vinci’s notebooks.

 

Kristen Kish

Kristen KishKish was chef de cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s fine dining destination Menton when she won the 10th season of “Top Chef.” Since then, she’s moved on and parlayed her fame into a number of opportunities: from roving the country for special cooking engagement to scoring an endorsement deal with Rembrandt toothpaste. She hasn’t yet settled into a new permanent home, so keep an eye on her Twitter account (@KristenLKish) to see where she’s cooking next.

Pro Tip: In this case, tip your hat. Kish made “Top Chef” history by being the first contestant to win after being (temporarily eliminated). She made a comeback in the show’s “Last Chance Kitchen” and wound up only the second female winner to date.

 

Michael Schlow

He may not have won the inaugural season of “Top Chef Masters,” but the star chef behind Via Matta, Tico, and Alta Strada says he would “absolutely” return to reality TV again. “Although it’s really stressful and demanding, I’m competitive and seek vindication,” says Schlow. “I understand the challenges a little better and hope that given the opportunity I would fair a little better on the show.”

Pro Tip: Traveling? Good news. Schlow recently opened some new restuarants outside the Hub: Cavatina at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, and a Washington, DC brand of Tico.

 

Ana Sortun

ana-sortunAnother “Top Chef Masters” alum, Sortun is the major talent behind Oleana, a Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean restaurant that earns its recurring recognition as one of the area’s best restaurants. But late last year she also opened Sarma in Somerville, a hip destination for cocktails and small plates. And her Sofra Bakery continues to satisfy sweet teeth, specifically.

Pro Tip: Want to try your hand at the plates that this James Beard-winning chef puts together? Sortun is also the author of a cookbook, “Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Top chef Boston

 

Hey, food TV fans! Here’s where to find “Top Chef” alums around Boston.

Boston’s dining scene has always been a vibrant one. With such easy access to an abundance of farm-raised, season-changing ingredients, our region has always been much more than the “land of bean and cod.” Our corner of the country has always been quietly pushing culinary boundaries. (Thanksgiving? Totally America’s first dinner party.)

Continue reading »

The Out of Towner

Funny things start to happen once you’ve been on the dating sites for a while. You start to get the “out-of-town gentleman caller.” These are guys who say they will “conveniently be in town for business” on such and such a date and wonder if you’d like to get together. At first this sounded like the perfect scenario to me. They were here for a couple days, we’d have a dinner, maybe more, and they go away and never come back. Or, they are married.

The first gentleman caller was going to be in town around the time of the Boston Marathon (which I was running). I told him as such and that I might not be much fun and certainly wouldn’t be very mobile but he said no worries. Well, the date was to be on a Wednesday and as soon as I woke up on Tuesday after the MONDAY marathon I knew I was in no shape to do anything. I messaged him in kind. His response? “Figures.” My response: “dude, really? I just ran a bunch of miles and my legs are killing me.” His retort? “Predictable.” So the next time a man from out of town came along, I was wary. But I figured I’d give it another try.

The first question I asked Cinderella (my name for him, this will become clear in a minute) was “are you married?” His answer was no. I’m pretty sure I brought it up a few more times until I was convinced. He seemed normal enough after our chat so I agreed to a date – a month in advance. He was a planner this one. Maybe this is crazy? I felt I was being proactive, filling up the ol’ calendar, making shit happen in my dating world. We texted and messaged a few times, we even talked on the phone. He seemed like an honest to goodness normal person.

The day of the date arrived – the plan was dinner and a Red Sox game. I had gotten the tickets myself so I wouldn’t feel beholden to him: always be mindful of the money put out vs. what you’re supposed to put out ratio. He arrived to dinner before me and at first site I knew there would be no putting out that night. However, I was going to give this date 100 percent – I would listen, I would talk a bit about myself and see what worked. So I listened to him tell me about his TWO failed marriages and the myriad reasons for their failures. He brought up church and the Big J a lot, which for some reason made my use of the f-word increase exponentially. I didn’t do it on purpose, if you have faith, I support it, but I just couldn’t stop it. It was beyond me.

Next stop, Fenway. Before we go any further it’s important that I tell you I told him before the date began that I get up at 3 a.m. and I would be leaving so as to get home by 9. Period. These are my rules on school nights. Like it or lump it and he agreed. It was an incredible night to be at Fenway, it was the 10th anniversary of the World Series win. I was like a kid at well, a ballgame, and so we didn’t chat much during the festivities. The game started, we got beers, and I started staring at the clock waiting for the witching hour at which I’d turn into a pumpkin.

At 8:30 sharp I said I had to leave. I encouraged him to stay, to enjoy the game, to be sure to have a Fenway Frank. He walked me to the Yawkey Way exit, gave me a hug and asked me if I’d ever come to Maryland. Ugh. Yes, you read that right. I left him at Fenway.

A week after the date, I received a hand-written thank you card. It was awkward and strange and just a little weird. He also said he’d be sending me a gift. A month later I received a box from Amazon including… wait for it… Ray Donovan Season 1 on DVD. Such a romantic guy! Needless to say, I haven’t talked to him since.

Looking forward to sharing my stories and getting your advice…K

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