Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mark and Lynn check out Todd English's Ozone at Logan Airport...

Lynn and I had gone to meet our daughter Kristina and her magnificent children Jackson and Sloane at Logan's Airport.  Located just before Terminal E in Logan's Airport; Ozone was a kind of oasis for us as we were hungry and tired and more troubling, bored having gotten to the airport almost an hour too early.  We ducked into Ozone, an eatery from the stable of celeb-chef Todd English (it apparently replaced the "Cheers" themed restaraunt around 2004).

Let us say the experience was better than the food;  my arugala salad was filling and fresh tasting (I had a nice glass of red wine but can't remember more than that-we were anxious to see our family).  Lynn's calamari plate was enormous but somewhat undistinguished.

The place itself was memorable; the lighting  a kind of homage to sixties Euro-comic films like Danger Diabolik, Barbarella and Modesty Blaise. The homage seemed fairly obvious as there were striking comic panels on the walls of the restaraunt (Herge? Jean Claude Forest?) seemingly European in Origin?  Our petite, brunnette female bartender had a memorable accent and a charming way about her which helped sustain us while we waited for our loved ones to fly in to the next chapter of their lives...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cafe Sol Azteca in Newton delivers good Mexican comfort food and drink...

Part of the problem with having a food site is that we start to think about everything we eat and drink as how it might fit into a post (Lynn less so than me).  I try to turn this tendency off as much as possible as I want to experience the world through my senses and not through this site (Hemingway, a big influence on me would have understood).  In any event, on our recent trip to Boston we ate at a nice Mexican restaurant called Cafe Sol Azteca.  There are two of these eateries in and around Boston (we ate at the one in Newton) and they serve the Mexican equivalent of comfort food; very basic, very familiar, no pretense, no re-boot or re-invention, no "new" Mexican.  We are not great Mexican food eaters but we enjoy the hospitality of the place and the portions of the food are generous as are the drinks (I had a great Cuba Libre there).  Mainly, it was a great place to spend time with family and enjoy the simple pleasures of simple food.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Flour in Boston leaves a nice taste ....

After our rather unfortunate experience at the Full Moon Cafe we were glad to have had a great experience at Flour.  Flour is a bakery cafe with three locations in and around Boston (we went to the one on Washington Street).  We stopped there fairly late in the day last weekend and had a very late lunch.  To our surprise the place was abuzz but thanks to an efficient staff behind the counter the line moved along quite quickly.  The menu was huge for a place that was relatively compact and for a place that makes pretty much everything fresh.  Lynn had a hummus, cucumber salad with radish and red onion that was served in a stainless steel bowl which helped make the presentation attractive as well as helped the salad remain icy cold.  I had a salad with grilled roast chicken, brie, arugula and peppers which had a good combination of crisp and creaminess (they also had my favorite condiment the Vietnamese hot sauce Hoy Fung Sriracha sauce).  

The interior was also very attractive with a cool wall sized blackboard with the menu scratched upon it; the space has some communal seating which we were lucky enough to snag despite the crush of customers.  The two young women sitting with us were quite nice and were predictably charmed by our two attractive grandchildren.  The population in Boston seem more at home  about this kind of thing than people in New York so the effect is actually quite pleasant and relaxed.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mark and Lynn have a sour experience at the Full Moon Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hopefully we won't get in trouble for taking this picture...

Lynn and I spent the weekend in and around Boston as our daughter and son in law were moving into a new apartment near Boston.  We were lucky enough to have our grandchildren for 48 fun and eventful hours.  Lynn is always interested in checking out new places to eat and drink (obviously) and one of the places that popped up when she googled "family friendly restaurants"  or something like that was The Full Moon Cafe in nearby Cambridge.  On Sunday, a short window of time popped up and we had the chance to go there for a late breakfast.  

The menu was what was of real interest to Lynn as there were many vegetable and even vegan choices (trying to be a good influence on our grand children's culinary habits).  Despite this, there were also plenty of traditional breakfast/brunch/lunch choices like huevos rancheros, and a grilled chicken BLT.  I had the well prepared and hefty grilled salmon which was nice and kind of interesting to have as a breakfast dish.  Lynn had a concoction called "The Norway" which was scrambled eggs and smoked salmon which gave her a much needed shot of protein after a fun, but eventful weekend.  My grandson had blueberry pancakes which he seemed to enjoy a great deal and which we were glad to see him eat since the food at FM is so conscientiously prepared. 

Now for the bad;  When Lynn phoned ahead to see if there would be a wait the male on the other end of the line (possibly the manager/owner we guessed) was quite discouraging and said they were "slammed."  We decided to give it a shot and when we got there about 5 minutes later the place was only half full and we were quickly seated.  Despite this, it took at least 10 minutes for us to be waited on.   The final awkward moment of the meal nearly ruined our experience;  I had taken some pictures of Lynn feeding our granddaughter Sloane in the restaurant and about 15 minutes later on my way to the restroom the waitress mentioned some nonsense about the owner being uncomfortable with us taking pictures in the restaurant as there were kids there.  She stopped short of saying he didn't want us to take pictures, however. There were no signs indicating that picture taking was not allowed that I saw (and believe me I really looked).  This was about midway through our time there and as you might imagine it put a damper on the rest of our meal.  Lynn and I are proud of how conscious and sensitive we are of people's privacy and we usually end up simply taking pictures of food, wine glasses and cocktails at the various places we eat and drink.  We know the restaurant had kids there but so does every restaurant we eat in all and every time and we have never been scolded like that before.  Believe me, we have no interest in taking pictures of anybody else's unattractive obnoxious kids; only our clearly superior perfect grand kids.  Plus, if this is a concern why not put up a sign or something; and, finally, why did the owner not check with me about this?  Why did he send the waitress over?  

We ended up chalking it up to a certain Yankee fussiness and a whiff of over protective parenting run amok.  Of course we won't worry about it again as there are many great restaurants in the Boston area who would love us to take pictures in their restaurant...

M & L

Jackson and Sloane at the Hotel Indigo Boston-Newton Riverside...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Dumbo General store impresses Mark and Lynn by not trying to hard...

While in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn we grabbed a quick late morning bite at the DUMBO General Store a well lit and friendly place in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.  The food we had was very good and unpretentious (Lynn's Breakfast Sandwich was particularly well prepared).  I had a fairly nondescript but nice glass of white wine.  Our server was particularly sweet and well mannered.  As with many places in the area the interiors are something to write home about and the General Store had interesting lighting and communal tables made of worn, rugged and (I am guessing) reclaimed wood.  Not a place we would go out of our way to visit again, but a nice little oasis to recharge with solid food and a generous staff. 


PH: 718.855.5288



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mark and Lynn under the Brooklyn Bridge...

Lynn and I hit the DUMBO section of Brooklyn (Down under mahattan bridge overpass) mostly to satisfy some of our curiosity about this unique and diverse borough of NY.  Lynn went shopping and I went to the great boxing mecca Gleason's gym  (recently featured in my favorite show Bored to Death) and worked out alongside some of the professionals which was a great and unique learning experience for an enthusiast of the sport such as myself.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Turning Leaf sponsors 24 hour hotline for the holiday stressed...

Turning Leaf Wine is sponsoring a 24 hour automated tip line (1-877-TLWINE-3) to help educate and inform about food and wine pairings, recipe suggestions and other relevant food and wine menu to help make the holidays satisfying and festive. The hotline will run from now until the end of the year with live help from November 20-22 (2pm-8pm).  Among those manning the phones will be Turning Leaf winemaker Nicole Hitchcok; entertaining guru Robyn Moreno and wine expert Marueen Petrosky.   Have fun and learn something!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mark and Lynn face temptation at The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn...

Lynn and I were sort of waning at the end of a long day in Brooklyn when we ducked into The Chocolate Room on 5th Avenue in Park Slope.  We were immediately comforted as the creeping early evening darkness, tired feet and a chill in the air had dampened our resolve;  the place was warm, cozy, elegant and unpretentious.  A sweet young employee steered Lynn to two great small bite of chocolate ( white chocolate with raspberry mousse, dark chocolate with pumpkin mousse) that bolstered Lynn's spirits immeasurably.  The interior was so elegant we were tempted to stay and get our second wind, fortunately, our self awareness kicked in and we got out knowing if we stopped there our chances of leaving in the short run were not great...

M& L

The Chocolate Room
86 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Our phone number: (718) 783-2900
Our fax number: (718) 783-3939

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mark and Lynn think Brooklyn's Bark is as good as it's ...

Lynn and I were in Brooklyn for a comic book convention this past Sunday and we got the chance to check out a great, high end hot dog restaraunt in Brooklyn called Bark.  By high end we mean that the place has wonderful hot dogs with familiar toppings with unusual backstories; oak barrel aged sauerkraut, braised bacon from Wisconsin; meat from Hartmann's Old World Sausage; cheese from Grafton, Vermont and so on.

The interior uses reclaimed pine on the walls as well as on the communal dining tables;  diners are encouraged to recycle and compost as part of the experience (seperate bins near the exit make this easy).  Bark also uses green power from Con Ed; environmentally friendly cleaning products from Ecologic Solutions from Brooklyn and so on.  This kind of thing doesn't impress us so much (we are in Brooklyn after all).  The hot dogs, however were the best we have ever had; Lynn's in particular was heavenly (actually, a veggie dog) with toasted pumpkin seeds, butternut squash and kale vinagrette.  As with a lot of things in the area there are a couple of nods to adults;  mainly in the form of a nice beer and wine menu.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mark and Lynn around Park Slope Brooklyn on Marathon Day...

Lynn comparing notes with Burlesque Performer and Artist Paige Pumphrey at "King Con" in Brooklyn
Some of the thousands of NYC Marathon participants

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About Me

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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