Posts tagged boston

March Favorites

Hello friends,

I can’t wait for it to be spring. Says me currently looking out the window seeing snow. Oh dear. Anyways, it was time I shared some of my favorite things of the past month with you. What have you been loving lately? Let me know in the comments below.

#1 All things Cashews

I never really thought about cashews before last month that’s why I think I’m making up for all that time sans cashews in my life now.  If you haven’t tried cashew milk, roasted cashews or cashew yoghurt before, give it a try and you’ll love the smooth and satisfying taste. I much prefer to put cashew milk in my coffee since almond milk has quite a distinct taste, which I am not a fan of in coffee or tea. What is your favorite plant-based milk?

#2 Queer Eye

This show just makes me SO happy, it’s the most positive and uplifting thing I’ve watched lately. Also, can we just take a moment and talk about Antoni? I mean…

If you’ve seen it, what were your favorite makeovers? Mine must have been episodes  2, 4 (cried my eyes out on this one) and 8.

#3 Yoga Everyday

I love this woman, it’s no secret people, she’s FABULOUS.

I’ve also particularly loved her TRUE Yoga series , which I think is the best out of all the January series she’s done so far, so give it a try if you haven’t already. Still can’t believe I’ve met her.

#4 Give me all them brushes

I’ve treated myself to a skin brush and a dry brush last month and I bloody love both of them.

I got the dry brush from our local health store for $5 and let me tell you, that was the best investment in a looong time. Start at your feet and brush upward towards the heart before taking a shower. Similarly, when you start on your arms, begin at the hands and work upward. Use firm, small strokes upwards, or work in a circular motion. It’s said to have detoxifying properties, which I can’t say much about. What really is true though is that it activates your circulation and your skin appears to be smoother.

This skin brush by Vanity Planet has been a real treat that turns every night time routine in a mini at home spa moment. My skin seems to be a bit smoother and it just is a nice ritual using the brush on your skin. Love it!

#5 Reading

A good side effect of regular snow storms is finding yourself cuddled up on your sofa, which is my favorite place of the whole apartment anyways and READING. I’ve raided the Boston Public Library and have ordered so many books it’s potentially embarrassing. Amongst my current favorites are When Breath Becomes Air, Option B by Sheryl Sandberg, What to Eat and lots of recipe books (more on that to follow soon).

Have a lovely week everyone!

My Favorite Green Spots in Boston

Friends,

while the calendar might tell us we’re in spring, a look out the window will tell you otherwise. Snow, rain, snow-rain. BUT. Let’s not give up hope! Sharing my favorite green spots in the city or close by so you’re ready to go and explore once the sun decides to show up. Let me know what your favorite places are in the comments below.

#1 Mount Auburn Cemetery

This might be my favorite. And I honestly never thought a cemetery would be amongst my favorite but this is such a unique and beautiful place. It’s a 25 minutes walk away from Harvard Square but also accessible by public transportation. It’s also the first rural cemetery in the United States. If you’re into history and plants this is the place for you.

Bonus: You get a great view of the city on top of Washington Tower. Another bonus that’s pretty relevant: Finish off your exploration with a treat at the ever so great Sofra Bakery or a coffee at nearby Intelligentsia Coffee. Writing this down makes me want to be there right now. Minus the snow. Plus springlike temperatures and sun. Not asking much.

#2 Your Home?

If you’re not into leaving your house and prefer to create your personal space at home into a green oasis, check out Niche or the Brattle Square Florist. They’re both amazing flower shops. Who can say no to a cute little succulent or a big plant? I certainly can’t. They really have a great selection, check them out!

#3 Minuteman Bikeway

If you own a bike and haven’t heard of the Minute Men Trail yet, I highly suggest you give it a try. It’s a beautiful bikeway that passes through the historic area where the American Revolution began in April 1775. Today, the Minuteman Bikeway is one of the most popular and successful rail-trails in the US.

No worries if you’re not a biker, it’s a path open to walkers, kids and joggers too. An easy way to get there is to get off at Alewife and follow the directions. What I love about the Minuteman Trail is that there’s no traffic to worry about and that there’s shade provided by the trees, which especially comes in handy during hot and humid summer days.

#4 Fresh Pond

Located near Alewife if you’re thinking of using public transportation to get there, Fresh Pond is a great spot for joggers and dog walkers.

#5 Public Garden

This one will not come as a surprise since it’s one of the most well-known parks in the city. It’s a great choice for picnics or quiet reading sessions. Plus they’re so many beautiful flowers to look at!

#6 The Arnold Arboretum

The Harvard Arnold Arboretum is huge. And there’s something to see and explore all year round. Easily accessible and located on the orange line this is one for when you’re looking for a nice walk, you can bring your dogs!

What are your favorite green spots in Boston? I’d love to know!

Have a lovely day,

Sandra

Making Friends Abroad

Hi everyone,

how are you today?

I have been thinking about friendship and making friends abroad more specifically a lot lately and wanted to share my thoughts with you. Friendships are so special as they’re so different from any other type of relationship in our lives, right?

I had posted a piece about making new friends roughly a year ago (see here) and I am very happy to report: I’ve been successful.

Go me!

 

Is it easy to make new friends?

That’s a question I get asked a lot back home. Here’s what I’d usually answer.

Living abroad for two years is an immense privilege so I take it for what it is: A gift. Most people I’ve talked to that find themselves in a similar position would support this statement. It also doesn’t hurt living in an inspiring and international place like Cambridge where so many talented and bright people come together from all over the world. It’s a great starting point to making new friends I’d say.

And it was for me too. I am so grateful for having found new friends and having been able to build a new circle of trust within a few months only. A majority of people you’ll meet here aren’t originally from Boston nor are they from Massachusetts. Many are from China, India, South Korea, Japan, Europe, Mexico, South America, and the list goes on. And being away from home will force you to being open to making new connections.

Because be honest, you probably don’t go out actively seeking new friends in your hometown, don’t you? I can only speak of my personal and Swiss experience but I feel like I used to be especially lazy in that department. Looking back, I probably could have been more friendly with outsiders I met, I could have invited them over for a coffee or showed them around the city. But I didn’t. And if this American experience has taught me one thing then it’s this: To be more open-minded towards (and more friendly with) people who’ve moved to a new place.

Do you think you you’re open towards newcomers in your town?

The Native-Speaker-Friendship-Phenomenon

I will forever be grateful for meeting so many awesome people. It sounds cliché but interacting with an eclectic bunch of people will really widen your horizon and you’ll learn so many things. Even though we couldn’t have more different backgrounds and home countries, there is one thing that unites us: The experience of leaving home and starting a new life in a new country. We’re on this crazy ride together and share our experience of living in the US as Non-Americans. And that is something incredibly valuable already. Knowing that others go through similar struggles and find similar things about American daily life funny (or weird or both) will undoubtedly bring you closer.

What I also found is that your relation with your native language will change over time. I strongly believe that the saying ‘Distance makes the love grow fonder’ not only applies to people or things but also to language. I seize every opportunity to speak German therefore also greatly appreciate friendly people that speak it (I also call it the native-speaker-friendship-phenomenon).

The emotional attachment to your native language

The emotional attachment to a language is something fascinating. I realize how precious my native language is especially when talking to Swiss friends here in Boston. There is such freedom and beauty in being able to expressing your thoughts and feelings in an unfiltered way and one that feels so obvious and natural to you that you don’t even have to think twice.

As there are not that many Swiss people readily available in Boston, I have to extend my circle of German speakers to German and Austrian friends. And you know what? They are great too.

To my Boston friends reading this, I really appreciate each and every one of you, you make this American journey what it is and I’ll be forever grateful.

To my Swiss friends reading this, you’re great too (obviously) but think if you can be extra-nice to someone that’s moved to Switzerland or your town recently (unless said person is an idiot, then you don’t have to be extra-nice, I trust your call on this).

Cheers,

Sandra

The Iced Coffee Mystery

Americans, you never seize to surprise me. 

After having lived here for about one year I’ve just discovered something new the other week. And I am not making this up, even the Boston Globe reported about it a couple weeks back (see article here).

Btw, if any Americans are reading this, please explain this phenomenon to me. I’d LOVE to understand. Really.

What am I talking about? Let me set this post in context for you first. We are currently experiencing winter, I’m not talking about your average mild winter. I’m talking New England style type of winter, the wind chills are powerful (nicely said), the cold is bitter and the storms are never-ending. It’s February after all. They say a few more blizzards are coming our way.

Baseline: It’s cold. Real cold.

So, what is it that people (everyone except me) drink around here in the morning (or at any given time of day really) and that you will see everywhere, sitting on office desks, in classrooms, on construction sites, EVERYWHERE?

Iced coffee. With LOTS of ice cubes.

Yap. I am not exaggerating here. It is freezing cold but still a big part of the population deems it to be a good choice of drink. Why?

I tried to understand.

Is it the taste? Is it the fact that you can immediately start drinking it and don’t have to wait until it’s cooled off? Is it that your body doesn’t even care about the cold anymore (because you’ve evolved into a real Northeasterner with immunity to cold) ? I’d LOVE TO KNOW.

Dunkin’ Donuts (of course) also did a little study about this phenomenon back in 2011, check out their insights here.

Are there any interesting food or drink habits you see around where you live? Let me know.

Have a lovely day, wherever you are.

And whatever drinks you choose to go for, you DO YOU.

Photo Credit: SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF

Autumn Favorites

Friends,

how is it already December? HOW? I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the past couple of weeks and since it’s getting really cold and wintery around here share my Autumn favorites with you.

#1 Halloween Madness

I had told you that I was living in Halloween Central (read post here), remember? But boy oh boy, I didn’t expect the actual Halloween evening itself to be as big, as fun and as lovely as it turned out to be. Beacon Hill (the neighborhood I live in) has a a bit a reputation of being a rich people’s place (I mean I live a few feet away from John Kerry’s humble aboad, which definitely doesn’t seem too humble).

Also it doesn’t mean we’re living in a fancy city house (the contrary actually, it’s a super old building with radiators making so much noise in every room that it almost seems like they want to communicate with each other (which weirdly also makes me think about the flickering lights in Stranger Things?!!! Are our radiators trying to tell me something? We’ll explore this in my second Autumn favorite later own).

But back to Halloween. I seriously LOVED it. I would never have expected to like it as much as I did. The Boston Police Department closed down a few streets in the neighborhood, which made for a nice opportunity to stroll on the streets and take all the house decorations in as well as indulge in some serious people watching (aka staring. But not in a creepy way) as some reallly went all out. Dogs wearing lion manes, babies dressed up as cute vegetables and fruits and countless little superheroes, princesses and Wonder Womans (that seemed to be a thing this year?) walking around having a great time made it an unforgettable experience. Also, two dinosaurs wearing the same costume finding each other and having a little dance-off was definitely a highlight. You don’t get to see that every day, right?

#2 The Crown

I mean Season 2 is EVEN BETTER I think than Season 1. It’s just bloody brilliant. Watch it!

#3 Stranger Things

Yes, this is not an original input but WOW, how good is season 2 (except for that one weird episode they threw in there, didn’t like that one. You’ll know, which one I mean if you’ve seen it I’m sure). I feel you get to know the characters so much better.

Also, can we talk about Steve for a little bit? I mean his evolution from being a meh character in season 1 to becoming a crucial and positive part of the team in season 2 is just great. And. His hair. How does this even work?!

#4 The Confession Tapes

Another maybe less fun to watch but still so insightful true-crime documentary is the Confession Tapes. You’ll want to watch all the episodes at once as you won’t believe how people get themselves in scary situations where they will say pretty much anything investigators want them to. Seeing the material will make you shudder.

#5 Leggins Addiction

I have to report that the American leggins addiction has gotten a hold on me.

Yap. I am the person that will wear sports leggings now on a weekend day just to go out and run some errands. Will I keep up this habit when I’ll go back to Switzerland over Christmas? I don’t know.

If you happen to run into me on the streets of Zurich wearing my lululemon pants, you’ll know what’s up. Oh and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all those bad BAD incentives to make you buy more leggins you don’t really need. Don’t get me started on those.

#6 Thanksgiving Gratitude

I can safely say after about a year in the US and having seen all the American holidays that my favorite holidays by far are Halloween and Thanksgiving. We had a Friendsgiving dinner (thanks Megan!) the weekend before and a more intimate Thanksgiving dinner on the the day of with a good friend and it was just so nice. I love the idea of gratitude and that you get to spend time with family and friends. And the food isn’t too shabby, either.

#7 Korean Sheet Masks

Thanks to my friends Jiwon and Narrae for introducing me to Korean face sheet masks (like the real deal), I see why people everywhere get excited about them, they are AMAZING! If you can get hold of  them, try it for yourself.

Have a lovely day!

Boston Autumn: A Photo Album

Hi,

welcome to today’s photo post that is going to be a mix of things I’ve seen and done over the last couple weeks. Enjoy and have a great day!

Time For The Arts

Cambridge and Harvard aka our old neighborhood (still missing it)

Beacon Hill aka our new neighborhood (still getting used to it)

The Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event

A Surprise Weekend in New York

Friends,

if there’s anything I’d like you to take away from today’s post (and yes, of course it’s to ALSO go and see ‘Book of Mormon’ if you get a chance to) is to surprise someone dear to you every now and then. I got surprised with a weekend trip to New York by the husband for my birthday and it was glorious.

What follows is a little report on our New Yorker adventures, sprinkled with a few tips for new great food places and other spots we’ve discovered this time around (I’ve written a couple of posts about New York over the last months, go check them out here about my NYC Food Guide or here for another food-related post about a trip to New York we took).

Friday, November 10th

All the planning fans amongst you might understand my confusion in regards as to what to pack for a trip to an unknown destination. Philipp would only tell me to pack something for a sports activity, a more dressy outfit and not much more than that. Great. Still, I was very excited. We got up early in the morning, still had a chance to get a few pastries from Tatte for the journey and off we went on the T. We will get on a train somewhere I thought. I kept checking the timetables in the hall and tried to find out more about our destination, which Philipp onlz found slightly annoying. Right about 8.30 am I found out. We were going to…New York!

We arrived at our airbnb early in the afternoon and went on to discover the neighborhood right after. We had a late lunch at the beautiful and hidden away Gotan. It’s a great spot because it has a great menu on offer but still feels more like a café where you can hang out and read a book for hours. As it was freezing cold outside that was basically what we chose to do. All while munching away on a glorious grilled cheese and a chia bowl with lots of coffee.

On our way home we stopped at Le Dépanneur, which is just a beautiful store and deli. I mean. I was looking at jams (yes, jams) for what felt like an eternity. If you’re in the area and a ceramics or perfume lover, definitely stop by Mociun and Le Labo.

Saturday, November 11th

Dogs and Proposals at Central Park

The first surprise activity was a 8am sightseeing run through Central Park. It was freakin’ freezing but a great experience to start our day in this beautiful park alongside what felt a million dogs and their owners. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many dogs (also SO many different dogs) in one day. We went on to see the park’s landmarks, ran by numerous engagement and baby shootings and almost missed a proposal it seems as there were still fresh roses laid out like a heart on the famous Bow Bridge. Overall a great start to the day, even though getting up was hard. We go a hot coffee and a wonderful pumpkin muffin at Rex nearby Central Park as our guide had recommended it afterwards to warm ourselves up again. And he was right, it’s is a great neighborhood spot. Go! We went back home and then went for a proper brunch at Café Mogador. Highly recommend as well if you’re finding yourself near Bedford Avenue. On our way back to Manhattan we ran into the Veteran’s parade.

Best Musical Ever

Definitely the biggest highlight of our trip was seeing Book of Mormon. What a fantastic musical! And hear me out, even if you’re not into musicals I think this’d be the musical you’d LOVE. It was just a memorable experience you’ll love.

Joe’s Pizza and Barcade Fun

If you also ever find yourself on Bedford Avenue (aka Hipster Central) but just want to go for a simple meal, Joe’s Pizza, a New Yorker institution is your best bet. Another great place is the Barcade, it’s basically a playground with beer supply for adults. Great fun!

Sunday, November 12th

We had brunch at Eggshop, which was ok but not more than that I’d say. We then went for a long walk along Bedford Avenue up to Greepoint, which is such a nice neighborhood. We stopped at Peter Pan to get some doughnuts. If you’re ever near Greenpoint definitely visit Peter Pan, it’s a no frills, very down to earth place. And the doughnuts are seriously amazing. And only cost $1 (!!). We devoured them at the Transmitter Park a few steps away while enjoying the great view of the city. New York, you’re truly an amazing and unique city. See you soon!

The Anti-Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon rolls are fine. Great even. But sometimes you just gotta try something new, right?

So be cool and go against the cinnamon rolls flow and bring sticky lemon rolls with lemon cream cheese glaze to your next brunch date, people will love it (I think, unless they lied, which I hope they didn’t. No, I thought they were really good, too).

I followed Kitchn’s recipe (great food blog btw) and it turned out great. Only thing I will say is you have to plan ahead to have enough time as the steps where you’re supposed to let the dough rise are quite time-consuming. So top tip, prepare the dough the evening before you want to serve them and  baked the next morning they will be warm when you put them on the breakfast table. The smell of freshly baked goods, not much can beat that, right?

What you’ll need

For the dough:
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope or 1/4 ounce) active yeast
3/4 cup milk (for my European friends this would equal to about 180g)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour (115g)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup white sugar (50g, I want to add to this point that you might want to add a tiiiiiiny little bit more of sugar as they were – I would’t say healthy – but more on the not so sugary side).
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (630g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the sticky lemon filling:
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 lemon, zested
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
lemon juice, from 2 lemons

For the lemon cream cheese glaze: 1 lemon, zested and juiced, 4 ounces cream cheese, softened, 1 cup powdered sugar

The dough

Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Stir the softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the flour into the milk and yeast mixture. Stir in the salt and nutmeg. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough and keep on stirring until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy. Lightly grease the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

The sticky lemon filling

While the dough is rising, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with the tips of your fingers until well combined. Add the butter and beat together until it is thick, whipped, and creamy. Add the ginger and nutmeg, then the lemon juice. It should be a thin yet still creamy mixture of butter and sugar. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour, or until you are ready to assemble the rolls. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (ca. 33 x 48 cm) with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface, pat the risen dough into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10 x 15 inches (aka 25 x 38 cm).

Spread the dough evenly with the sticky lemon filling. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Stretch and pull the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon filling inside. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls and place each in the prepared baking dish. Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for 1 hour or until puffy and doubled.

→ You can refrigerate the rolls at this point like I did. Cover the pan tightly with a towel, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour before proceeding with baking.

Yes, I know, It takes time. But it’s so worth it.

Bake the rolls

Heat the oven to 350°F (arrrrrrggghh, those measurements are SO confusing. For my European crowd this means 177°C) and bake the rolls for about 35-45 minutes or until they’re nice and browned.

The glazing extravaganza

While the rolls are baking, you prepare the glaze. Whip the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy. When the rolls are done, DROWN them with the cream cheese glaze, and sprinkle the reserved lemon zest over top to garnish. Let them cool for a bit but do serve them while still warm. Delicious!

Let me know if you’ve tried it, have a lovely day!

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Phenomenon

Hello friends,

the holiday season is officially here, holiday parties and gatherings are upon us. What to wear?

What I’ve found out to be really interesting when reading through work holiday party invitations or just by talking to other people around me is that dress codes suggesting wearing something with a holiday flair are quite common. But what does holiday flair exactly mean?

I asked a few Americans (who I figured should know) about what it meant. I heard everything from it being a color scheme containing red, green or silver and gold shades. Or that it meant to simply wear ugly Christmas sweaters.

I might be totally mistaken but I feel like Christmas sweaters aren’t as huge of a thing in continental Europe like they are here in the US (besides Mark Darcy rocking them in the Bridget Jones’ films of course. This man can wear everything and still look sophisticated). But I wanted to know more, where do those ugly Christmas sweaters come from, what’s their story?

Where do Christmas sweaters come from?

Christmas-themed sweaters were first produced on a grand scale in the 1950s, when the Christmas holiday was becoming increasingly commercialized. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Christmas sweater gained mainstream adoration. This trend has steadily moved upward and as of 2010, ugly Christmas sweaters are once again highly fashionable.

Image via FPG / Getty Images

But why do they have to be ugly?

That’s a difficult one. Doing some research on it online won’t really bring forward a clear response but two arguments seem to keep resurfacing: Nostalgia and an obsession people have with fashion. 

Firstly, ugly Christmas sweaters seem to have that vintage Christmas appeal that reminds us of the days when Christmas meant going to bed early so Santa could bring those presents. Secondly, the ridiculous designs quite likely break every known law of fashion–and that’s the point. To liberate yourself from all fashion conventions is a good thing, so why not? Wear your ugly Christmas sweaters with pride;-) Also, if you want to wear a nice and NOT an ugly sweater it is absolutely fine. YOU DO YOU. 

If you feel like you need a Christmas sweater know, find a bit o inspiration down below to get you started (the ones shown below are all still available on amazon if you fell in love with one specifically):

Do you like to wear Christmas sweaters for the holiday season? If so, what is your favorite one? Let us know in the comments below. Have a great holiday season!

Why I Love Volunteering

Quickly after arriving here one of the first things I did was sign up with Boston Cares (see here for more info). They are the largest volunteer agency in New England and they find non-profit organizations in the Boston area that can use the help of volunteers. They put all the opportunities together on their platform where you can sign up for them. Ever since I have been volunteering every week, on average 3-4 times.

I’ve prepared and served meals at the Boston Living Center, the Women’s Lunch Place, I’ve assembled food donations at the American Red Cross, I’ve helped out in food pantries, where food is handed out twice a week to folks in the neighborhood of the East End House in Cambridge,  I’ve planted bulbs on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Those are just a few examples of volunteering jobs I have been doing and this month I’ll be doing a couple of new ones (select books for prisoners, work at different food pantries and serve at a veteran’s center).

Why I love volunteering

Volunteering is something I have always wanted to do. Back in Switzerland, I had inquired a few times with the Red Cross and Caritas on how I could get involved, yet I never followed through with it. That was mainly due to my work schedule that didn’t allow for leaving early during the week or taking time off to do it. Coming here was the best opportunity to really get the volunteering thing going. And I couldn’t be happier. There are a number of reasons why:

#1 Getting involved

I become involved with the community, the city and its people, which gives me a sense of belonging and being connected with the place I now live in.

#2 Gaining new experiences

I have learned so much during those last months. Seeing how a kitchen that produces food for larger groups of people really works was a new experience for me. Learning how to properly cut up vegetables, too (I mean, I know how to handle a knife now. Thanks to Raffael at the Boston Living Center).

I’ve learned a lot about plants and how a city park is maintained when working on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. I’ve learned how to properly plant bulbs (never done that before, now I know) and not to freak out too much every time I see a big ol’ worm when digging up the holes for the bulbs.

#3 Creating connections 

I also get to know a ton of new people every time I volunteer. Be it on the volunteer side or on the side of people we serve. I’ve experienced heart-warming encounters with people that I will never forget.

Once, I got to meet an elderly woman from Haiti with a beautifully friendly face. In the short interaction I had with her when serving her food, I noticed her French accent and talked to her in French. Her face instantly lit up and she had a lot of questions. Why do you speak French? Ah, Switzerland, I have relatives there. I am so happy to talk French to someone. No one does speak it around here. She asked if I had children, a husband. And even though she never had seen Philipp before she told me to tell him she said hello. It seemed very important to her that I’d do that. She also told me to come back next week on the same day so we could chat again. This very simple interaction made my day. I was happy to talk to her. She was happy to talk to me. 

There really have been countless other experiences like a man that I got to know at the Living Center that is  just such a talented piano player. One day I asked him while he came to get the food in the line if he would play again today (there’s a piano in the canteen). He nodded yes, smiling happily. I noticed how proud he was and it made me even more happy.

#4 Learning about people and about myself 

I’ve learned about the homelessness system in Boston, about how families struggle in the area, about what is important in your diet when you are affected by HIV/Aids.

Those are issues I never was confronted with in Switzerland. I am aware that there are also people in need in Switzerland, still it hits me even more here. I see people every week that are struggling to get through the week.

And this is when I realize how privileged I am. I don’t have to think about what I buy in the supermarket, how long it is going to last me. I don’t have an illness that I have to cope with. I have a home. I have a family and friends that care for me.

I happen to be lucky.

The interaction with the people I meet every week reminds me of how grateful I have to be and how I want to help them even more. Even if it’s just a very little help I can offer.

#5 Giving back and helping others 

This one is closely related to the last point: We are pretty lucky, right? That is why I feel obliged to give back. I want to help if I can. As simple as that.

I hope this wasn’t too long of a post, I hope it might inspire you to look into ways how you could contribute to your community in a positive way! Have a good day!

Boston’s Best Restaurants

Friends,

I love food and I love discovering new places. And once you found one you like, you should share it. That’s the right thing to do, isn’t it? If you’re not into restaurants, you’ll find my posts on my favorite Boston bakeries here and on my favorite Boston cafés here in case you missed them). So here comes my little list of spots that I love. And of course this is only a very small selection of personal favorites and never ever reflects all of the amazing places there are in Boston. Obviously.

I still want to go to so MANY restaurants (Oleana, Giulia, Eat by Chloe, … talking about you here). Also, if you have any other favorite places do let us know in the comments below.

#1 Alden & Harlow

alden and harlow

Oh, the many many MANY times I went to Alden & Harlow. It was a LOT of times. When we still lived in Cambridge this spot on Brattle Street was a constant when friends and family would come over to stay with us. Birthday and Easter celebrations were had there and it’s a place that just won’t disappoint. It’s definitely also a place that will spark discussions about the food and will make you discover new flavors and combinations that are just great. Can you tell I like this place?

What they serve: Modern American cuisine, farm-to-table, great food meant to be shared.

#2 Coppa

This is one of my latest discoveries in the ever so beautiful South End. And to be honest I was a bit skeptical at first, as I am with lots of Italian restaurants here. But eating at Coppa definitely made me change my mind. This is a great spot, founded by local gastronomical heroes Ken Oringer & Jamie Bissonnette with a neighborhoody feel to it. Take a group of friends for a nice meal, you can share all the plates. The pasta is amazing as are the other dishes on the menu. Bonus: The music is great fun!

What they serve: Amazing Italian food, meant to be shared. WOW!

#3 Myers+Chang

We’ve covered Italian and Modern American cuisine up until now, time to open up the stage for some Asian food. I am by no means an expert on the matter but I know that the food at Myers+Chang (another gastronomical power couple) is just delicious. The interiors are pretty cool, too and staff is really friendly!

What’s really cute is that they offer Cheap Date Nights every Monday + Tuesday from 5pm to 10pm. Each menu ($45 each) is designed to be a full dinner for two, but larger groups are also encouraged to order one or more date to share. Let us know how it was!

What they serve: An indie diner setting offering a mix of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese specialties.

#4 Little Donkey

Little Donkey near Central Square is just all over the place. What I mean by saying that? The latest collaboration of Oringer & Bissonnette (see section about Coppa above) will take you on a trip around the world with a menu full of global small plates that are meant to be shared. Great place, great cocktails. A little dark in terms of lighting. But heyo that won’t stop us, right?

What they serve: International sharing plates. Go for the Charred Avocado, best thing E-V-E-R.

#5 Mamaleh’s Delicatessen

The moment you enter this space your mood will brighten up. I don’t know what they do or how they do it. But. It. Works. It’s a big and generous space near Kendall Square where you’ll find all the bagels, Rachels, Reubens, potato knishes, pastrami sandwiches your Jewish foodie heart desires. A great place for any meal of the day all week through from Monday to Sunday.

What they serve: Jewish delicatessen.

#6 Dig Inn

So this is NOT your regular salad place. It is much more. It is muuuuch better. There are three locations in Boston (Back Bay, Prudential Center and Downtown Crossing). If you ever find yourself in the area and want to go for a healthy yet filling option, this is the place! Bonus: They buy their produce and meats from local farms, they change up their menu depending on the seasons and also offer lots of veggie options. Also, their interiors are just #goals.

What they serve: Hearty salads!

#7 Juliet

Voted one of America’s best new restaurants in 2016 by bon appetit Magazine, this beautiful space in Somerville near Union Square is just a great little spot for any time of day. Whether you’re looking for a small breakfast, a brunch at the weekend, a lunch or even a very unique dining experience, it’s the place to go.

What they serve: Great food! (very original I know).

#8 Loyal Nine

I’ll be honest here. I’ve been to Loyal Nine’s Café several times and went for brunch and it always was amazing. However, out of the two times I went there for dinner, while one visit was great (great cocktails and beers selection), the second visit turned out to be a little disappointing. But hey, go there for great breakfast and café food and the best brunch, it won’t disappoint. The concept is interesting and it’s probably food you’ve never eaten that way before. Intrigued? Plus: It’s a beautiful space with beautiful tableware (seriously!) and super friendly staff.

What they serve: Seasonal coastal New England fare, influenced by the early settlers, meant to be shared.