Friday, August 14, 2009

Berkshires, ho!

I've lived in Boston for six years, and until recently, had never been to the Berkshires, just three hours away.

I made my first venture out there a few weeks ago in the company of Christine Liu, Hugo Liu (no relation), Jenna Scherer, Keyse Angelo, Carolyn McKibbin and a few other friends, old and new. Christine used her mysterious Citysearch superpowers to net us:

- a bus ride to the Berkshires via Local Motion

- a breakfast of muffins from the Channel Cafe, plus much-needed ABP coffee

- a tour of beautiful Moon in the Pond Farm (where we met a pretty adorable and VERY BIG black pig)

- a full picnic lunch at farm-to-table resto Route 7 Grill

- a tour and ice cream tasting at SoCo Creamery for dessert (we couldn't resist the Cookie Monster ice cream, made with real smushed-up fresh-baked cookies)

- a tour of Berkshire Mountain Distillers, which supplies places like NYC's Death & Company with quality homegrown spirits. (They let us play with their ingredients. It was fun.)

All this, for TEN BUCKS.

I will repeat: TEN BUCKS.

I bow to Christine's skillz.

Christine, aka Foodie Moses, leading her people to the distillery.

Now I'm headed out there once again to Lee to visit my girl Allison (a.k.a. LA food blogger Alli411) at her cabin. Am looking forward to seeing my ladyfriend -- and enjoying three hours of solo time on the way up, catching up on magazines (BoMag's new Best of Boston list just came out) and Anaïs Nin (I'm loving her journals so much), doing some journaling of my own, and looking out the window at the lush mountain scenery. And very likely eating more delicious farm-fresh food.

So many of my weekends have been taken up almost entirely by freelancing that it's almost mind-boggling to think of how little of my next 48 hours will be given over to working or even participating in planned activities. My prospective to-do list for the weekend looks something like this:

1) Put on flip-flops.
2) Pick blueberries.
3) Open the bottle of Rioja I'm bringing.
4) ?

I'm excited.

With thanks to Jenna Scherer and Darcy Hoffman for their images.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Twitter migration

A few months ago, I wrote about what it was like to maintain a Twitter feed for "work" purposes. To me, this meant focusing on generating useful information and commentary around one subject (in my case, food) and using the service to reach out to other folks in the field.

I like writing about food and talking to food people, so maintaining @go2foodnews ended up being one of the most interesting parts of my job at go2. It was also a useful way of contacting sources and, at least in a small way, a useful way of directing traffic toward our site.

However, it's now time for me to step out from behind the go2 Spork of Truth and strike out on my own.

There are a dozen other useful ways for businesses to use Twitter, and I'm sure at some point I'll share some thoughts on that in this space. However, I'm probably going to use my new feed, @ryanroseweaver, as an individual, just for fun -- which is of course the most maligned and damn-near-useless purpose of Twitter. So it goes. I promise not to tweet about my breakfast too much, though. Or use it to send gushy fangirltweets to @sarah_haskins and @st_vincent every day, even though it is tempting.

Citysearch: Eating the World

Now that I'm a free agent, I'm slated to do several more reviews for Citysearch, which, in addition to launching some rad new lookbooks, is also plumping up its editorial offerings on the main site. "Eating the World: A Gastro Globe Trot" is my first "roundup" for Citysearch in this new incarnation, officially speaking, but one of many that I've done for Ms. Christine Liu over the years, both recreationally and professionally (during our Weekly Dig days).

Don't ask me why, but Christine and I (and our assorted friends) just really like making lists of things, whether it's "most obnoxiously sexist journalism cliches" or "weirdest potential party themes." For example, Easter weekend this year was a doozy, as we helped to host a rabbit-themed party on Saturday -- to which our friend Matt showed up in a bunny suit at 1am -- and an egg-themed party on Sunday, which involved some truly creepy-looking tea eggs and some pretty inventive "flip"-style cocktails, courtesy of Pomodoro bartender Stephen Shellenberger.

Bottom line: we're really, really into themes. So when Christine mentioned she was looking for a roundup of "global cuisines" around Boston, I was over it like white on Turkish/Persian/Albanian/Vietnamese/Malaysian/South Indian/Brazilian/Tunisian/Ethiopian rice. You can view the results here.

(Note: the intro is all Christine, including her "smile high club" line. We're quite different, style-wise, but we make a good team. The photo of Tamarind Bay above is all her, too, from her own review of TB on Citysearch.)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Introducing: Tea Party Tastes

As I mentioned in a previous post, my dear friend Jessie and her friends Hil (a local writer who's done time at Rolling Stone) and Gab (a gifted musician and up-and-coming photog) have recently launched a rad Boston lifestyle blog -- one that aims to introduce a new locally-oriented, intelligent and dare I say feminine voice (or set of voices) to Boston's media scene.

Tea Party Boston is already making a splash in Boston: it has pretty pictures, and funny interviews, and it maintains a healthy balance between all-out fangirldom (in the case of cute band members and whisky cocktails) and wry hipster cynicism.

As they put it:
"Between Gab’s eye for capturing seemingly ordinary turned extraordinary moments on film, Jessie’s contagious enthusiasm for the trends defining the sights and sounds of our city and Hil’s determination to expose the underground musical talents on and off the stages of Suffolk County, TeaParty Boston is an outfit of locals with an insatiable need to celebrate the scene in Boston and beyond, however its followers define it."
The ladies of TPB are experts in the fields of music and photography, but they felt they needed a little help with their food offerings -- and somehow I was enlisted for the job. So we're calling this joint venture Tea Party Tastes. You can read Jessie's rundown of the section here.

Of course, the girls will be contributing content as well. For example, see Jessie's recent heads-up on the upcoming September Wine Riot, which is an event near and dear to our hearts -- as you can see from this photo:

Good wine, good friends, good music: TPB is all about it.

Considering our history with the Channel Cafe, Jessie and I thought it fitting to kick off this section with a review of the cafe's new dinner menu, supported in part by its "restaurant supported-agriculture" program. Along with some really close-up pictures of its delicious cookies.

My words, Jessie's images: the makings of a nom-rific partnership.

We've since added a roundup of Boston's best banh mi joints and a photo gallery of BOND's delicious design and even more delicious cocktails. And we have big plans for the next few months as well that may or may not include homemade Oreos. (Pssst -- I'm open to ideas!)

Island Creek Oyster piece in Tasting Table

I vaguely hinted at this new gig a while back, and now it's more than official. I have submitted a few articles for Tasting Table, an food industry insider newsletter with a cult following in NYC that recently launched an "Everywhere" edition. I highly recommend it for anyone who is even remotely interested in food. (Which I would hope would be everyone who, um, eats it.)

The first of my pieces for TT is one about Boston's beloved Island Creek oyster farm, which is now offering a killer deal via their brand-new online store: $100 for 100 oysters, shipped anywhere in the U.S. (Word to my landlocked people: it's time for you to have a party and order up some some bivalves and shucking gear!)

That piece is here: Fresh oysters, from the flats to your door

Kitty Amann from Toro (and LUPEC) sourced a great recipe from Jamie Bissonnette for this piece that ended up on the cutting room floor (but you can rest assured that it will pop up in another publication soon). The gorgeous photo above of an oyster farmer collecting his "harvest" also ended up being passed over -- but it deserves to be seen, don't you think?