Currently viewing the tag: "styleboston"

The Outsider/ Blush Leather

Susan Hassett, CEO and creator of a new brand of casual footwear called “Cocktail Sneakers” is surrounded by women. Hassett says that she did not intend to work exclusively with women in this new Boston-based venture, but as it turns out that is exactly how the company is getting off the ground.

“I did not set out to involve only women but the timing is incidental. …It wasn’t pre-planned,” she says. “It started out with creating a beautiful, more feminine sneaker for women who want a look that is effortlessly chic-whether she is a stay at home mom or business woman.”

Hassett was very clear at the beginning on what she wanted to create and why. Three and a half years ago she identified a void in the women’s shoe market for an attractive sneaker, one where women could have a shoe that actually transitions all day from casual to elegant without a hiccup in their wardrobe.

Once the idea for the shoe was in place, she built a team that would help her launch the new brand. Through a series of serendipitous introductions she found her designer, Mar Espanol of Shoe Girls Studio in Brooklyn, who introduced her to a woman-run, woman-owned factory, the marketing team Grier Park with Daniella Vollinger and Bianca Brown, and the creative/branding duo Dames, founded by Jemme Aldridge and Emilie Hawtin, who all happen to be very accomplished women.

The introductory selection of cocktail sneakers comes in white, black, navy, blush, and red and range in price from $195 to $225. They can be purchased online at CocktailSneakers.com and at a select number of boutiques on the East and West Coast.

“I feel like I am re-defining sneaker culture for women. Every woman should have a few great pairs of fashion sneakers–this is what we all want to wear. It will never take the place of a beautiful stiletto but the fact that you can put on an outfit now and go to a cocktail party or out to dinner, take off those heels without people looking at you and saying you’re wearing sneakers? No more. ”

So to all fashionistas, when you find yourself on your feet you can get there from here, even if your path is walking through Quincy Marketplace cobblestones, and still look like a perfect ten. 

 

 

 

 

 

Denzel Washington stars as Robert McCall in Columbia Pictures’ EQUALIZER 2.

By Anna Paula Goncalves

 

Denzel Washington does it again! In his first career sequel, Washington is back as the retired agent Robert McCall in “The Equalizer 2.” 

In addition to Washington, director Antoine Fuqua returned to helm EQ2 as did actors Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman. The film also features Pedro Pascal and Ashton Sanders. Talks of an “Equalizer” sequel started months before the 2014 release of the original. The film follows McCall (Washington) as he sets out “on a path of revenge after one of his friends is killed.”

“The Equalizer 2” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Filming for EQ2 began in September 2017, with crews spotted in Union Park in Boston’s South End, the North Shore, including Lynn, Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, and Randolph and Marshfield.  In 2017, Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen shared a post its Facebook page about EQ2 — with a photo of  Washington in the South End eatery.

Getting a chance to catch a sneak peek just a few days before the sequel arrives in theaters this Friday, I’ll say this much [without any spoilers, of course]:

Expect a thrilling, at the edge of your seat ride watching Washington reprise his role as the people’s hero. The character that we loved to love the first time around comes back just as vengeful and just as righteous – contradictory character traits that Denzel can genuinely and successful bridge with ease.

But if Washington isn’t enough of a reason for you to add him to your Friday night plans, I’d suggest you go for the eye candy; for the one that looks beautiful from every angle, day or night…

Yes, I’m referring to Boston! You may or may not geek out a little when recognizing some of our streets and neighborhoods on the big screen, but I am certain that you’ll appreciate it.

Actor Taylor John Smith at SDIFF Film Insider Series

Left Coast. La was honored to attend the San Diego International Film Festival’s VIP Film Insider Series featuring HBO’s new “Sharp Objects” starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Taylor John Smith. The event was held at the  ArcLight Cinemas in San Diego, CA. 

Based on the book of the same name by The New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl,” “Dark Places”), “Sharp Objects” is an eight-episode series that tells the story of reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) who “returns to her small hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely,” according to HBO. In addition to Adams, Clarkson and Smith, the series features Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven. It is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from scripts by Marti Noxon and Flynn.

Heading into the theater no one knew what to expect, but by the end of the VIP preview the 200 person crowd was on the same page. This show is definitely a must see! “Sharp Objects” Premiers Sunday, July 8 at 9 p.m.
 
 

Tonya Mantooth, Taylor John Smith, Adam Loew

Kristian Forster, Careesa Campbell, Managing Director of Maserati & Ferrari San Diego, Vicky Carlson

PHOTO BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

LINCOLN, R.I. — Even after 50 years of touring, Tower of Power certainly comes to play.

Playing many songs from their new album Soul Side of Town including crowd participation in “Stop It” with new lead singer Marcus Scott. Original members Emilio Castillo, Francis Rocco Prestia, Stephen “Doc” Kupka and David Garabaldi played with as much energy and perfection as I remember back in the ’70s. With the crowd on their feet for many of the songs including “It’s not the Crime,” “Your Still a Young Man” and “School Boy Crush” Tower of Power had the crowd singing along with the band most of the way. Long time fans got what they were looking for in Towers megahit “What is Hip” at the end of the show.

Coming out for two encore songs Tower did not disappoint a person in the full house at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI. 

Before Tower of Power took the stage, the audience was treated some good old-time funk and soul music from the Average White Band, which performed many of their hits including their signature  “Cut the Cake.” As a opening they certainly got the crowd up and dancing and ready for Tower of Power. 

REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

   

    

 

We asked photographer Steven Tackeff to select some of his favorite images from the summer radio station concerts that are always a tough ticket in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Steve picked some of his favorites from Kiss 108’s annual concert, including Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and Lenny Kravitz.

 

IMAGES BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

Mary Higgins Clark

Most people might have slowed down by now. But Mary Higgins Clark is decidedly not most people. With more than 50 best-selling books to her credit (100 million copies of her thrillers are in print in the United States alone) and a new novel, I’VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU, just released, the “Queen of Suspense” is still on the move. In fact, this Bronx-born denizen of Saddle River, N.J., produces two books a year.

Clark, who celebrated her 90th birthday on Christmas Eve, always makes time for her many (many) fans and will put her pen down long enough to be recognized by her fellow writers. For her “distinguished service to the literary community,” the Authors Guild Foundation on May 16, 2018 will honor Clark, along Fulcrum Publishing’s Charlotte and Robert C. Baron, and Vida: Women in Literary Arts.

Beyond her prodigious and well-received work, Clark has been an indefatigable supporter of the FRAXA Research Foundation, a Massachusetts-based non-profit leading the way into research of Fragile X, the most common inherited form of autism.

Clark indulged our own (resident Clark fan) Carol Beggy in a few questions about her work, her fans, and her philanthropy.

CB: Mary, if I can be so bold as to call a literary hero by her first name, how do you do it? Specifically, you’ve continued to write books that resonate with readers when other authors would have taken their winnings and retired to the beach or the mountains.

MHC: Yes, call me Mary. It’s very flattering that readers have enjoyed my books over the last 43 years. I am at heart a storyteller. That’s what I do. I’m not much of a cook, although my five children did not starve to death. I can’t sew a stitch. Nothing I planted in the garden grew properly. So, what would I do all day if I didn’t write? I hope I never find out!

CB: Are your fans really as loyal as they seem? I overheard two people waiting at the airport, one was reading one of your books, and the conversation involved them first trying to not ruin any plot lines and then debating various stories you told. Do they engage you about your stories? How do you keep it all straight?

MHC: I have been blessed with many readers who say, and they mean it, “I’ve read every one of your books.” We’ve had a relationship that’s lasted over 40 years. I love it when readers tell me my book kept them up until 2:00 in the morning. It’s also great when they tell me which of my books is their favorite. It’s gratifying that their answers are many different titles.

CB: Even within the industry, you have a large following of fans. I have been at Book Expo, the annual publishing industry trade show, and when you are doing a signing the editors, librarians, other authors in attendance “fight” for a spot in your line. (You and James Patterson get that same treatment.) Does it ever surprise you or make you pause that you’ve achieved a kind of rock star status?

MHC: I can honestly say I am living my dream. I know so many people who are wonderful writers who can’t make a living doing it, who get very modest contracts if they can get published at all. I must share a story from the old days. The first book I wrote was a historical novel on George Washington. Its title was ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS. This was 1968. I would go around to the few bookstores that carried it and volunteer to autograph the copies. In those days the stores could not return a signed book for credit, so every signed book meant a sale. I made a pact with God. If I ever become famous, I’ll never refuse a request to sign a book. I’ll always remember that a signed book meant a sale.

CB: I have a Little Free Library (one of those take a book, leave a book, swapping stations) in front of my house. Your books, any time or format, are among the fastest moving. I put one in the Library’s shelf and it is gone. I even saw an older man take one telling me that he loves to read your books, but people give him a hard time. Has it ever surprised you to learn that someone was a fan?

MHC: My publisher tells me that about three quarters of the people who buy my books are women. But I’ve been delighted to hear from so many men who became readers when their wife, girlfriend or mother insisted that they give my books a try.

CB: As new audiences find you, do you ever want to go back and re-tell a story or re-do a book?

MHC: Not really. Whenever I finish a book, I say, okay, I’ve told the best story I can possibly tell. The only time I have regret, and maybe that’s too strong a word, is when a lot of readers tell me they figured out early on who the killer was, and they were right. I remember in one of my early books I introduced a character who was expert at imitating other people’s voices. That skill makes people very uncomfortable, and they immediately suspected him. I try to keep readers guessing, but when the killer is revealed, I want the reader to agree that there were clues along the way that built a case for this person to be the killer. Nobody likes an ending that comes out of left field.

CB: I understand your son Dave plays an important role in your writing. Can you tell me about that?

MHC: Dave started working with me about five years ago. In the beginning he was doing research and handling my email correspondence with my editor. I developed arthritis in my hands and typing became difficult. I started dictating to Dave. He would bring back what I wrote with some suggestions on how things might be said differently. They were good. It quickly evolved into talking plots and characters with him and the results have been very good. Dave came up with idea for my current book, I’VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU.

CB: Now to the non-writing work that you and your family have dedicated yourselves to: advancing research toward improved treatments and a cure for Fragile X, which affects your grandson. What’s the most important thing people who have not been directly affected by this genetic condition should know about it?

MHC: It’s not always obvious that a child has Fragile X, so if you see a child who is having a hard time – anxious, afraid. having a meltdown – it’s quite possible that they are doing the very best they can. But despite challenges, most people with Fragile X are very friendly and love humor.

CB: Fragile X has been a cause close to your heart. Tell us why it’s so important to you?

MHC: There are so many worthy causes and diseases to be cured, but the impact is greatest when it hits close to home. When my grandson was born, his parents quickly became aware of a relatively new organization called FRAXA Research Foundation. Almost 30 years ago, shortly after my grandson was diagnosed, Katie Clapp and Mike Tranfaglia came to my house, shared the story of their son Andy and how they were devoting their lives to finding treatments and a cure. I was so moved that I pledged $1 million to FRAXA and I hosted a fundraising gala in New York City.

CB: You and now so many members of your family are big supporters of FRAXA Research Foundation. Could you tell us a little bit about FRAXA?

MHC: FRAXA is a national 501c3 nonprofit founded in 1994 in Newburyport, MA. FRAXA’s mission is to find effective treatments and a cure for Fragile X, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disabilities and autism. To date, FRAXA has invested over $27 million into cutting edge biomedical research, yielding discoveries that are changing the lives of families coping with fragile X.

CB: Of the many FRAXA fundraising parties/events you’ve attended, tell me about the one when your granddaughter Elizabeth gave a remarkable speech, “This is my brother”, about her brother David who has Fragile X.

MHC: I thought it was remarkable. Elizabeth has always been so wonderful in how she has gone out of way include her brother in every facet of her life. I’ll never forget her line, “I judge people by the way they treat my brother.”

CB: How can people help?

MHC: There are two ways people can help. Research is expensive. FRAXA is such a worthy cause. And the research they are doing is making a difference in the lives of those affected by Fragile X. There’s another way the relatives and friends can help a family with a child who has Fragile X. Many of them are so good about minding the kids so the parents can have a break. What they should also consider is the sacrifice that siblings of Fragile X kids make. If you can take care of the child with Fragile X while the family and the non-affected siblings have a chance to do an activity together, that is so helpful. We should remember that the siblings of kids with Fragile X are really special, too.

By Joane Nelson

LA JOLLA, Calif.—Those who were lucky enough to be at the ArcLight Cinema for the U.S. premiere of “I’m Not Here,” on April 25 will not soon forget the special night. If, alas, you were not at the San Diego International Film Festival VIP pre-screening on Wednesday night, then you missed out on a thought-provoking, exclusive screening with a theater packed with people excited to see J.K. Simmons do what he does best.

The film “I’m Not Here” is directed by Michelle Schumacher, whose star is her husband, Academy Award-winner Simmons. It was nothing short of amazing. In addition to Simmons, the features Mandy Moore and Sebastian Stan, who can be seen in “Avengers: Infinity Wars” and “I, Tonya.”

There’s really no way to describe this feature without any spoiler alerts but we have to try: Simmons plays a man at the end of his rope who’s dealt with problems that a lot of people can relate to. The film’s teasing logline is “A man struggles with the tragic memories of his past to make sense of his present, but soon realizes that time isn’t the enemy he thinks it is.”

In addition to the pre-screening, SDIFF also announced it had a new sponsor, the blue chip financial investment company, Morgan Stanley, which was represented by several staff including systems and policy expert VR Raman. Also in attendance were members of styleboston.tv and LeftCoast.LA.

Tonya Mantooth, CEO of SDIFF, led a lively post-screening Q & A panel with Simmons, Schumacher, and others who held nothing back as the night was full of thoughtful conversation, drinks, and laughs.

(Screening location: ArcLight La Jolla, 4425 La Jolla Village Drive, CA 92122.)

 

SDIFF: Michelle Schumacher in Director’s Chair from styleboston on Vimeo.

Speaking of movie director Michelle Schumacher, J.K. Simmons talked about the important qualities she brought to the production, including her sense of purpose, her detailed preparations and an ability to adapt to different situations. Michelle on her part told the SDIFF audience that the production was very dear to her heart. She thanked everyone who supported the project and described the movie as a low budget production which was made possible through the collaboration of friends and family.

 

SDIFF: Q & A with the Audience from styleboston on Vimeo.

Answering questions from the audience during the prescreening of the movie, Simmons talked about how he decided to shed more than 20 pounds to play the role of an emaciated 60-year-old alcoholic. According to him, he had a choice between getting emaciated or bloated for the movie role but he chose the former.

He and Michelle also talked about similarities/differences between the movie characters and real life.

 

SDIFF: J.K. Simmons ‘talks” about not using dialogue from styleboston on Vimeo.

In “I’m Not Here” J.K. Simmons played a remarkable character that did not speak a single word throughout the movie. He told the audience during the SDIFF prescreening that he had to completely immerse himself in the screenplay to prepare for the movie role. He said he was able to make a success out of it by relying on the guidance of the movie director

One thing that you can count on when talking about Wyclef Jean is that he is not going to walk a familiar path. From running for office in his native Haiti to leading humanitarian efforts after natural disasters, this Grammy Award-winning performer always seems to be on a road less traveled. For his current “Carnival” tour is making stops from cities as varied as Harrisburg, Pa., to Boston, where Jean will play the Wilbur Theatre on March 1. styleboston pulled our interview with Jean from our archives to share. You can view it here.

https://vimeo.com/257992275.

Project Bread - The Walk for Hunger - Boston, Massachusetts - May 1, 2016

Project Bread – The Walk for Hunger – Boston, Massachusetts – May 1, 2016/David Leifer photo

BOSTON—Despite a rainy May 1st, the 48th annual Walk for Hunger & 5K Run brought together more than 35,000 neighbors to raise money to fund hunger-relief programs throughout the state. In the morning, participants were greeted by some of Boston’s biggest on-air personalities from Project Bread’s partners, including iHeart Media radio stations, Kiss 108, JAM’N 94.5, and 101.7 The Bull. Kiss 108’s legendary morning show host Matt Siegel was joined by Frankie & Ashlee, Lisa Donovan and Billy Costa. WHDH-TV Boston’s 7News anchors Kim Khazei and Adam Williams joined Jeremy Reiner on location for the morning weather, and Sarah French cooked up healthy school lunch recipes with Project Bread’s Chef Educators in the Snack Station.

The Snack Station was a new feature to the Walk for Hunger’s Walk Village, presented by the Walk’s flagship sponsor Arnold Bread. After crossing the finish-line, completing a 10-mile scenic route through Boston and Cambridge, Walkers were entertained by performances from the Main Stage while re-fueling with an Arnold Bread sandwich and sampling other treats from Shake Shack, KIND, Polar, and more.

All money raised from participants of the Walk funds more than 300 critical hunger-relief programs, including: food pantries, soup kitchens, community gardens, summer meal programs, and more. To make a donation to support the Walk for Hunger please visit www.projectbread.org/walk.

 

_H6A6879Have you heard of Jennifer Aniston’s line of beauty products called Living Proof?  I just learned that this uber cool brand is headquartered right here in our own backyard. Scientists from MIT got together with beauty experts and developed this brand with one simple ambition: “To challenge conventional wisdom to solve your toughest beauty problems.”

_H4C8561 _H4C8354Now this may sound like something rather simple to do, however, this lab has taken hair care and hair products to a new level, measuring out what works and what doesn’t on specific hair types, colors and textures.  Living Proof has done for hair what Mario Testino has done for fashion photography. There are a core group of testees who come in periodically to test out new products, see what works, what doesn’t. We got to play a little, and discover the inner workings of this lab the other night at the opening and debut of their Style Lab.  My favorite part of the tour was seeing a row of mannequin heads, hair of all different colors and textures, all lined up, ready for testing—the first phase of product development, apparently. Though their office, which consists of 60% female employees, is located in tech den Kendall Square, their outreach spans all the way to the west coast where Jennifer serves as  brand ambassador.

_H6A7221I was so excited to get my hands on the Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector, an overnight hair mask that you simply apply and let the magic happen while you sleep. A genius idea for busy moms like myself! Another notable that I can’t wait to try: Blowout, and Restore Instant Protection—it protects your hair from UV rays for 24 hours and is perfect for those summer beach days. Stop by to have your hair tested and find out what product will suit you best. I assure you, every woman I saw that was working for the company had gorgeous locks. I asked Grace Ray if great hair was a pre-requisite for being hired. She said, “ Definitely not!” and chuckled a bit. I suggested they make a “before-after” facebook! I’ll be on the lookout for that.
photocredit: Michael Blanchard

Lynn and Sarah Dale Model with balloon Model with umbrella Models in rockers On Wednesday June 11th, I was honored to attend the second annual “Swing into Summer,” fashion show benefitting Crossroads for Kids, a non-profit that inspires youth to develop their innate potential by breaking the cycle of poverty and under-achievement by yielding systemic change in the communities where they live.

The event was designed by the ever chic Holly Safford of The Catered Affair and took place at the historic Winsor House Inn in Duxbury where models strut down the runway in stunning fashions by Sara Campbell Designs and accessories by JoJo Loves You.

While the fashion industry often has a reputation for being frivolous, I’ve always believed that fashion has the ability to design a better world. Often starting with the spark of a single idea, entrepreneurs and designers like Holly and Sara are changing how the world views fashion’s potential and ability to leave a lasting and powerful influence on society by hosting events that are filled with both style and heart. Truth be told, no matter what happens in retail or on the runways, there’s one thing that never goes out of style: giving back.

Tabletop

 

custom-airbrush-tanning-Want to lose weight without dieting and exercising? I will let you in on my little secret…perfectly bronzed skin. With Custom Airbrush Tanning, I was treated to a session with Jen Barry at Bliss Spa  W Boston Hotel. I had no expectations but was thrilled when I went home feeling 10 lbs lighter.  My husband recently came home from a business trip and said, “Wow, you look great! Very skinny. What have you been doing?” I smiled and said nothing.

How does it work?

  • Take a relaxing steam shower, (they don’t recommend exfoliating beforehand, because it will leave you with a streaky tan.)
  • Remove all face makeup.
  • Sit in the lounge and snack on my favorites- the signature brownie bites and cheese cubes with a hot tea.
  • Have a moment of peace without your phone, because it’s that blissful.
  • Within minutes Jen comes by to bring you to the tanning room. She has a sweet demeanor, very warm and bubbly and makes you feel instantly comfortable, (you will come to realize this is something very important as you are going to be standing there buck naked in a few minutes.)
  • Remove all jewelry and put your hair up in a bun. You can optionally strip down to nothing at all, or use the disposable undies they have available.( I opted for the latter because it’s kinda nice to see the “tanline” so you know how much of a tan you actually got!)

Tanning

A whirring sound then a smell of flowers, and the process begins…I held my arms out to the side and Jen began spraying the cool mist on my body from the gun that looks like a blow dryer. We had pre-selected medium, since I already had a nice base tan. I had booked my appointment on a Monday since I had a Wednesday event. Two days seems to be the optimal resting time. After being airbrushed and then dried with the same device, Jen gave me a disposable blue robe to put on and we walked back, barefoot, to the lounge where she had me wait another 10-15 minutes to further dry.

bliss_homepage_spa-slider_bikini-bodies_4Wear loose fitting black clothing! My dress was lighter colored and ended up getting some of the tanning product on it, (which washed out easily).  I went home feeling sexy but a bit sticky and followed instructions not to take a shower or wash my face until the next day. The shower water turned a bit brown, washing off the external tanning solution, but the skin remained a beautiful golden glow.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is the key to keeping this tan. Lotion on your skin after showering and later in the day as well will keep the tan going for up to 2 weeks. The cost of the service is $60, (not including gratuity), which isn’t too bad to look like you’ve spent the summer in St. Tropez…

They say the camera adds 10 lbs, but all I can say is that the airbrush tanning takes off 10lbs. Try it, you’ll like it.

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For his latest (soon-to-be) bestseller, “Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History,” Ben Mezrich turns his laser-like gaze to the high-stakes story of two Russian oligarchs. The rise and fall of Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich may seem more like a Robert Ludlum novel than a Ben Mezrich-crafted true-crime account, but Ben, who lives and writes in Boston, covers this new turf like a seasoned foreign correspondent. The author of a dozen books, including “The Accidental Billionaires” (which became the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network”), Ben sat down with our own Carol Beggy just a couple of days after the book’s release to talk about his “first grown up book,” what he learned while researching some of the world’s wealthiest (and most corjrupt) people, and what his next project is going to be. And, yes, he talks about his next Hollywood deal.

(Ed. Note: Ben’s wife, Tonya, is styleboston’s chief fashion correspondent.)

Video produced by V-Neck Media

For more info go to Amazon Books.

Matt NathansonThe talented Matt Nathanson is an American singer-songwriter, whose work is a blend of folk and a bit of rock. Originally from Lexington, MA but now a resident of San Franscisco, he has an amazing voice and plays acoustic (sometimes a 12-string) electric guitar, both solo and with a full band. You might recognize him with his platinum selling song, “Come On Get Higher.”

The 43 year-old singer-songwriter released his 8th album, Last of the Great Pretenders, on July 16th, 2013 and was his 3rd album with Vanguard Records. His first single, “Mission Bells” was released on March 11th on San Fran radio station KFOG. This album debuted at #16 on the Billboard Top 200.

His songs have been featured on TV shows such as: “NCIS”, “One Tree Hill”, “Private Practice”, “Women’s Murder Club”, “Big Shots”, “Scrubs”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Life Unexpected”, “The Bachelor” and more.

Matt is currently touring with his band, which features Aaron Tap (acoustic & electric guitar), Victor Indrizzo (drums), Chris Reynolds (drums, engineer and synthesizer), Jake Sinclair (bass, drums, guitar, mixing, producer, programming, background vocals), and Mike Viola (bass, guitar, keyboards, producer, background vocals).

He tours and opens for Train this summer so Boston fans, don’t miss him! at Xfinity Center on June 20, 2015.

Greek-Dolmades-recipe-Stuffed-Grape-Leaves1One of the bi-products of the wine-making biz that keeps us busy on weekends in our vineyard in El Penedés, the wine region of Catalunya, is the proliferation of fresh grape leaves on our vines. (Duh!) In May or June, grape growers undertake the labor-intensive process of “leafing” and “suckering” the vines, which means that you remove all of the stems that have no fruit, and you also snap off big leaves that are casting shadows on the baby grape clusters. The leafing also gives the fruit more air and minimizes the possibility of icky mold growth. (“Sin miedo!” our local helper tells us: Snap off the excess growth WITHOUT FEAR!)

Last year, during our first season with the white grapes that are now slowly fermenting into “cava” (Spanish champagne), we were pretty thoroughly focused on getting all of the steps right. This year, I had the wherewithal, with the help of daughter Stassa, to collect a few of the largest grape leaves and tuck them away in a plastic bag for later use, after we recovered from the very hot and sweaty leafing process!

My motive? DOLMADES! I had read up last year on the quickest and easiest way to stuff your own grape leaves, guided by Martha Stewart and a dozen other on-line cooking websites, many of them Greek-oriented. And then I promptly forgot it. So while the leaves were still mostly green and supple, I consulted the Internet once again, and I went for what seemed like a fool-proof and remarkably rapid method of preparing the grape leaves for stuffing: blanch them for a few seconds in boiling water.

It worked pretty well, and the results were tasty if a bit chewy. The stuffing process itself was less laborious than I’d anticipated, and it helps if you can make it into a fun assembly-line process in the kitchen.

Here’s how…

First you go in the vineyard…

vineyard

Filling: I used some leftover risotto

risotto

Steam:

steam

Blanche:

blanche

Stuff:

stuffing

Enjoy!

finished

They came out a little chewy but I’m working on it…

“Kali Orexi!”

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