CdL All 7

Have Your Drink and Eat It Too!

Boston is a great city for both dedicated foodies and the more casual diner alike: from dive bars to top shelf cocktails, food trucks to five-course meals, there is something for everyone in the Hub. With so many options, it can be hard to choose how you want to spend your hard-earned money. Alcohol prices are edging into double digits in much of the city and food prices leave even more to be desired; spring is finally here, but do you want to cool off with a decadent dessert or a refreshing cocktail? One local entrepreneur is hoping to make that choice a bit easier with a genius new hybrid.

Crème de Liqueur, a new venture by Emerson senior Elizabeth Nash, promises “the perfect combination of a dessert and an after-dinner drink.” Utilizing a top-secret innovative process, each serving of this homemade ice cream is infused with a full shot of alcohol. Looking for a palate cleanser after a spicy meal? Try a cup of lemon sorbet with vodka and candied lemon peel! Nursing a chocolate craving? A rich portion of vanilla bean ice cream with horchata, Caribbean rum, and dark chocolate shavings will heal you right up! Pistachio ice cream–a mainstay in every gelateria in Italy–with an amaretto hazelnut swirl is the perfect finale for a classic North End night.

Pistachio ice cream with real nuts is balanced with amaretto and hazelnut for a luscious treat.

Pistachio ice cream with real nuts is balanced with amaretto and hazelnut for a luscious treat.

Elizabeth Nash has been passionate about food her entire life, having worked as a barista, head cook, and food writer for several years; nowhere is her dedication more apparent than in the execution of Crème de Liqueur. Each flavor is made with the highest quality natural ingredients: real vanilla beans, fresh fruit, dark chocolate, and nuts combine to form perfectly balanced desserts. The spirits, often jarring on their own and difficult to keep frozen, are seamlessly integrated into the custards and tempered by the creaminess of the ice cream. All that remains is a delicious, lingering taste, without the harshness that the average shot of vodka or rum would leave behind.

Lemon sorbet with a full shot of vodka is a tangy way to end a great meal.

Lemon sorbet with a full shot of vodka is a tangy way to end a great meal.

If lemon, pistachio, and vanilla bean fail to keep your attention, the next round of flavors being developed by Crème de Liqueur are sure to be crowd-pleasers: chocolate fudge brandy, strawberry margarita, and, a future Christmas tradition, spiked eggnog ice cream are the next generation of after-dinner desserts that will be sure to brighten up every party, event, or random weeknight  for years to come.

Vanilla bean horchata ice cream gets a rich boost from Caribbean rum and dark chocolate shavings.

Vanilla bean horchata ice cream gets a rich boost from Caribbean rum and dark chocolate shavings.

Although Nash grew up in the Midwest, Crème de Liqueur is a local Boston business: she is currently working on securing a commercial kitchen and networking with local restaurants, and hopes to become a major player in Boston’s culinary landscape. If you want to try this ice cream out, consider donating to Crème de Liqueur’s crowd funding campaign, which will speed up the process and get you access to this sweet treat as soon as possible. Your donation can get you a hand-delivered pint of ice cream, Crème de Liqueur products, art, or a meal handmade by Elizabeth for up to 10 people, complete with your choice of ice cream for dessert (if her holiday menu is any indication, you’re going to love this)!

To invest in Crème de Liqueur and get yourself one step closer to the perfect dessert, visit the company’s RocketHub page here. Still not convinced? Check out more pictures of this delicious treat below!

 

February's New England Grows convention pointed to the importance of environmentalism for economic growth.

For Sustained Job Growth, It’s Time to Go Green

Green jobs are growing in Boston! And, experts believe, a sustained Green revolution in employment can ensure quick economic recovery. The reason is simple: the Green industry is as creative in adding jobs  as it is in spreading greeneries and being eco-beneficial.

As Jennifer B. McPhee,  Conference & Trade Show Director for New England Grows (NEG), explained at last month’s convention, “We see a resurgence of people interested in gardening, plant caring and landscape designing. And, they are going back to school to learn something meaningful. When you combine it with a cause, for instance, maintaining and preserving the green, I would say that people are rediscovering careers and there is a huge demand for people.”

The Green Industry, or what the economic sector calls “environmental horticulture,” has seen an upswing in recent years creating a huge employment potential. According to experts, this has resulted in a unique chemistry that energized the sluggish job market and paved the way for a speedy economic revival. According to a report, the Green industry’s “estimated impact for all states was $147.8 billion in output, 1,964,339 jobs, $95.1 billion in value added.”  Moreover, it’s $17 billion in value addition in the Northeast.

“It’s a great industry to be in and I always loved gardens and plants. So, I thought, it’d be good as my vocation,” said Zachary Navarro, a landscape professional with the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals (MALP). After spending 13 years in the industry and graduating from University of New Hampshire with English and Horticulture, he has a clear roadmap to a successful career path. “There are plenty of jobs and endless possibilities in the industry. You can join as a professional and work your way up to sales or project management,” he said.

The upsurge of the Green career is also a result of a widespread rise in green consciousness, education, and a series of collaborations in trade and commerce. McPhee described the overall perspective: “The whole movement today is around living green, being outdoors and even bringing indoors out.”

And this “movement” is bringing a lot of collaboration between the landscape and the building industry to make sure that we preserve and grow more trees. “We are not stopping within the four walls of the house,” McPhee pointed out.

 

And what does “not stopping within the four walls of the house” imply? It was evident from their most recent initiative, New England Grows, the Green industry’s leading organization, which celebrated its 22nd year in Boston recently with a large trade exhibition at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The show featured 600 plus exhibitors, more than 10,000 professionals, educators, artists, and special interest people who navigated around 35 brainstorming sessions at a central gathering spot on the trade show floor called “Common Ground.” Top-notch educators gave lectures focusing on continuing education for professionals who need recertification credits for their professional designations. A wide array of ornamental green plant samples, equipment, tractors, and mowers were on display at designer stalls across the sprawling trade show floor.

The “Common Ground,” the interactive learning hub, is expected to open up greater educational and business possibilities, with the four founding organizations—Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals, Massachusetts Arborists Association, New England Nursery Association, and Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association—coming together with their products and services.

The trade show displayed 15 apps that were claimed to have been created to become industry favorites and promote business. These apps cover a range of industry-related subjects like: identifying leaves, trees, insects, and diseases; business oriented topics; reference materials; and information about bees, saving the bees and beehives, and testing honey.

Experts are optimistic about the present employment outlook in Boston around Green industry.  “A lot of applications are being submitted for green jobs these days. It’s a multi-million dollar industry, everybody is getting environmentally-friendly, and the economy’s gotten better” said Greg Mosman, one of the Directors of  the New England Grows and also the City Arborist at the Parks Department for the City of Boston.

dine-out-boston-logo

Food Lover’s Dream: Dine Out Boston

Dine Out Boston, formerly known as Restaurant Week, has been reinvented and is back for its spring season. The food lover’s dream will run over the span of two weeks, stretching from March 16-21 and March 23- 28.

Over 200 restaurants are participating in this season’s Dine Out Boston, including Boston favorites like Gaslight Brasserie and Eastern Standard.  Each participating restaurant will have either prix fixe lunch or dinner menus, and several offer both options. Lunch prices range from $15-$25 and dinner from $28-$38, depending on the eatery. Drinks, tax, and gratuity are not included.

An OpenTable or phone reservation is recommended during these prime weeks. This is the perfect opportunity to try new restaurants or visit old favorites! For more information and a detailed list of participating restaurants, visit http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/.

[Lead photo via northendboston.com.]

CBT Architects - Charlesview Residences project site after -2013-12-05

Charlesview Apartments Demolition Brings Development and Community Together

What was supposed to be a simple project to replace the dilapidated 40-year-old Charlesview Apartments became a land swap and complicated convincing of tenants to move a half-mile away from their current homes.

The $141 million Charlesview Residences development project, which replaced the Charlesview Apartments in Allston Brighton, was made possible through negotiations with Harvard University, which intended to extend its business school to the area where the development currently stands.

“It was more than a land swap. It was a land swap plus money,” said Christopher Hill, designer principal of CBT Architects, the organization that designed the development.

In order to satisfy the needs of the Charlesview Apartments community and the Brighton Mills community where the development stands, funding from Harvard was necessary.

The development had to be split into two different projects to accommodate the old and new tenants who lived in the Charlesview Apartments, which wasn’t an easy task according to Hill.

“The difficulty was getting that community to want to move,” he said, referring to the community as “entrenched” and “isolated” by choice.

To get the older tenants to want to be a part of the community, Hill said CBT Architects and The Community Builders, Inc. gave them a tour of other projects they worked on and incorporated their suggestions into the final design of the development.

The final result was a mixture of townhouses and double-loaded bar buildings that slightly resembled Section 8 housing, with a public community center, public parks, and a public road that runs through the development. The former was developed for young families and the latter was developed for seniors who were resistant to moving from the beginning.

The project also met the needs of the Brighton Mills community, which feared that the project would bring typical Section 8 housing into their neighborhood.

“It was a restorative project in terms of how it was nestled and knit into context,” Hill said.

The project broke ground in 2011 and was completed last summer. The development runs along Western Avenue and Telford Street where an abandoned Star Market and parking lot once stood.

Harvard demolished the Charlesview Apartments to extend its business school into the Allston Brighton area.

The development currently houses the 200 plus low- and moderate- income tenants that once lived in the Charlesview Apartments and was financed by MassHousing and other state agencies. Their rent remains unchanged thanks to the Housing Assistance Payments program through HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).

The development is just phase one of a two part project that will include 100 units of owner-occupied housing  to be built this spring.

Saving Mr Banks

Film Review: Saving Mr. Banks

The story about how Mary Poppins the book became Mary Poppins the movie received barely a nod from the Golden Globes or the Academy. A common gripe was that Disney Pictures had produced a film that featured Walt Disney himself as a major character, prompting accusations of Mickey propaganda with all of Disney’s rough edges buffed and shined anew. It’s a fair point, to be sure, but it would be a shame if audiences overlooked Saving Mr. Banks. Here is a good film that, at its finest moments, was more emotionally wrenching than some nominated heavyweights, Gravity and Philomena among them. As the advertisements have kept telling us, there’s more to the story than you thought you knew.

Our first image of the middle-aged Poppins author, Mrs. P.L. Travers, is of a severe woman sitting at her desk, lips pursed, as ramrod straight as the lines on her angular plaid dress. She will soon decide to fly to L.A., where Walt Disney, the man himself, will try to charm her into signing off the rights to her beloved book, which she is adamant she won’t do despite being broke and needing the money. Along the way, she is never at a loss for words to cut people down and she never goes by anything other than Mrs. Travers. The good-hearted people she meets—from the kindly chauffer to the well-meaning editor to the cake-delivering secretary—can’t understand why Pamela, er, Mrs. Travers, is so wretched and uptight. Even Disney and his merry team of writers struggle to crack this nut.

SMB

Sometimes Saving Mr. Banks is that movie: the cheery, sentimental one where Disney and his crew show a cold woman how to feel again and live arm in arm with a cartoon mouse. But, more often than not, it is richer and more emotionally wrought, a movie about heartbreak and the stories we tell ourselves to cope. Balancing out the cheer is the narrative of a young Pamela “Ginty” Travers watching her lovely and infectiously joyful father slip into an alcoholic abyss, unemployment, and finally a sick bed. If this doesn’t sound like a fun movie at times, it’s because it isn’t.

Part of the joy of the film is seeing Mary Poppins’ creator rail so vehemently against the now-classic Mary Poppins scenes and songs. Disney and Travers are constantly butting heads, and caught in the middle are a band of writers who are left to hash out the script with her line by line. She cringes at the suggestion of dancing penguins, abhors the idea of casting Dick Van Dyke and we’re likely to see her explode at the mention of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Writers can commiserate with both sides.

When Travers isn’t scoffing and criticizing, however, she’s reminiscing back to her childhood in Australia, memories often triggered by a song or a storyboard. Her father is played by a scene-stealing Colin Farrell, which is saying something given that Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, and Paul Giamatti round out the cast. Always quick with a story or a fun game to be played, he is clearly the children’s favorite. The fact that he is so joyously, effortlessly captivating makes it that much harder to watch when he starts to hit the bottle.

I suspect that many people, especially those who have watched a loved one succumb to alcoholism or other diseases, will experience some form of catharsis at the sight of Travers becoming aware of her own father’s illness and demons. For a Disney film, this portrait is surprisingly unflinching, to the point where I was actually convinced that the audience would be subjected to witnessing an onscreen suicide. Were the film repurposed to focus only on this sobering narrative thread, it may have garnered more critical acclaim. Alas, though, we get our sugar with our medicine, and perhaps that’s for the best.

Back in L..A., it becomes clear that Travers views a stern Mary Poppins as the remedy to all of the seeming pitfalls of her father’s whimsy, which is Disney’s stock and trade. The plot centers on resolving these differences, and the drive of the movie becomes a sort of chipper examination of the art of adaptation. In fact Mr. Banks is like the light, child-friendly form of the manic masterpiece Adaptation, by Charlie Kaufman. Some have taken the ending to be too saccharine, with A.O. Scott interpreting the film’s logic to suggest imagination being used as a form of repression. I think that’s looking at the picture too simply—indulging in a little whimsy becomes an act of acceptance for Travers, but it’s too painful of a process to ever be considered denial.

Even by the end, the question may still haunt you: Why did Disney make this film? Are you being manipulated into falling in love with Disney? Is this crass commercialism? Oh, it feels like it at times, but if you’ve been paying attention, you’re likely to forget your nagging suspicions, even if only for a few scenes. In a pivotal scene, Walt Disney tells Travers of his own abusive childhood. “I don’t tell you this to make you sad,” he says when he’s through. No, this movie wasn’t made just to make you sad, but neither was it to keep you happy. To its credit, I believe it finds value in both pursuits beyond the bottom line.

Students and supporters pose in front of the "Not Going Back to School" Bus, which represents the estimated 2,015 children losing access to Head Start in Massachusetts.

Head Start Funding to Be Reinstated in Boston, Nationally

Sequestration cuts that led to less funding for the Head Start program in Boston and nationwide have been reinstated.

A trillion dollar spending deal approved by Congress on Monday, Jan. 13 has allotted more funding to early education programs, which will benefit Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), an antipoverty agency that operates Boston’s Head Start program.

Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness for low-income children five years-old and younger. Less funding caused ABCD to close down 10 Head Start classrooms in schools and community centers last year, laying off 100 staffers and recruiting 200 less students to pre-kindergarten classes.

Congress’s spending budget will provide more funding for Early Head Start which specifically serves children under the age of four. But these changes won’t happen overnight.

Nathan Proctor, state director of the nonprofit organization Massachusetts Fair Share, said he doesn’t expect Head Start classrooms to reopen until the fall, calling this school year “a lost year” for the 200 children who couldn’t participate in the program.

Massachusetts Fair Share delivered more than 5,000 signatures to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office in August for her to “bolster” support for early education funding in Congress.

Proctor and his organization will be at the State House on Beacon Street on Tuesday, Feb. 4 to meet with legislatures to discuss increasing funding for early education programs at the state and city level.

John J. Drew, president and CEO of ABCD said he and his agency are grateful to Congress for funding the government until Sept. 30 through the spending deal, but is uncertain when the money for Head Start will be reimbursed.

“Now that the money’s back in the budget, I’m fairly and positively convinced that we will be able to put these kids back into Head Start,” he said.

Drew said there is a possibility that he and his agency can restore the number of classrooms, students, and staffers lost from the sequestration before the next school year begins, if not they will have to wait for funds to kick in this September.

“[The funding] is there, the question is when will we get it,” he said.

ABCD will begin recruiting students and staffers for Head Start once it receives its funding from the federal government.

sam adams

Spring Into Sam Adams’ Cold Snap Beer

For anyone looking to escape their normal drink routine, I suggest trying Samuel Adams’ brand new white ale, Cold Snap. According to a Sam Adams press release, Cold Snap was “brewed for spring’s transition away from the hearty brews of winter to the bright, lighter-bodied beers of summer.” With a blend of ten fruits, spices, and flowers (a spring necessity), I would recommend this beer for anyone looking for a sweet and spicy beer to ride out the last remaining cold months.

Now, not being a beer connoisseur, I had to look up what a white ale was because the only defining property I knew for sure was that it was lighter in color. After a little bit of research, I learned that white ales/beers are originally from Belgium and are usually flavored with spices and oranges (think Blue Moon and Shock Top Belgian White). Cold Snap follows in this tradition but makes itself unique with the addition of plums and anise. Because white beers contain a high amount of wheat, they often appear cloudy thanks to all the yeast floating around in the brew. If you want to sound smart at cocktail parties, you can also refer to white ale as “Witbiers,” (then everyone will think you’re fluent in German and probably a master home-brewer).

I’m not sure the same complement can be said for all drinks, but this is a very pretty beer. It pours out a glowing sunset gold, and whilst trying not to make inappropriate jokes, I have to admit that its thick foamy head is impressive. In a way, a glass of Cold Snap looks like it came directly out of a commercial. And you can smell the fruitiness of it while it’s staring you down from the tabletop.

Of, course, chances are you won’t be just looking at or smelling the beer for long. The best part about Cold Snap is the multiple layers of tastes in every sip. For me, there were two distinct flavors. The first hit is crisp and light and full of carbonation. You can taste the bright orange juice and the tangy orange peel. It’s pretty sweet tasting. In fact, I could drink this in place of dessert. The second wave of flavor was much more subtle and spicy. This is when you taste the addition of plums that mellow out the sip and make Cold Snap more interesting than a typical orange-flavored beer. I was a tad worried when I read that Cold Snap was brewed with spices and then had even more spices mixed in, but instead of being overwhelmed the final notes were delicate and smooth. Although the spiciness is faint. there is the definite aftertaste of coriander and hibiscus.

All in all, this is a well-crafted beer. It is now available nationwide January through mid-March in 6-packs and 12-packs. Although you might not find it appropriate in the middle of a Nor’easter, hang onto a few bottles of Cold Snap for when you can see the spring light at the end of the winter tunnel. Cheers!

[Lead image via Sam Adams Facebook.]

Former Red Sox pitcher shows how to throw his famous knuckleball at the 2nd annual RBI Opening Day in Roxbury on 4/18/14. Credit: Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

Tim Wakefield Throws Ceremonial First Pitch at RBI Opening Day in Roxbury

Tim Wakefield throws out the first pitch at 2nd Annual RBI Opening Day in Roxbury on 4/18/14

Tim Wakefield throws out the first pitch at 2nd Annual RBI Opening Day in Roxbury on 4/18/14. Credit: Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher and Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation Tim Wakefield threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Second Annual RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Opening Day ceremony on Friday April 18th. The ceremony took place at Jim Rice Field on Washington Street in Roxbury.

Former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield at the 2nd Annual RBI Opening Day in Roxbury on 4/18/14. Credit: Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

Former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield at the 2nd Annual RBI Opening Day in Roxbury on 4/18/14. Credit: Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

RBI engages inner city teenagers in baseball and softball while teaching healthy choices and life skills.  The Red Sox Foundation operates the leagues and provides funding for uniforms, equipment, umpires, and travel to regional tournaments. Last year, more than 2,000 boys and girls participated in the Red Sox Foundation’s RBI and Rookie League programs.  RBI welcomes teens 13-18 years old, and Rookie League introduces youth age 5-12 to the game.

Photo credit: Steve Senne/AP

Roxbury’s Shabazz Napier Leads UConn to Final Four

UConn men’s basketball is only two wins away from a National Championship and one of the biggest reasons for their success is senior point guard Shabazz Napier. This season Napier averaged 18.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He led the Huskies in all three of those categories.

And in the NCAA tournament he’s been even better, averaging 23.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. More importantly, he’s been a strong leader on the floor as his team have outlasted powerful opponents like Villanova and Michigan State.

Napier grew up in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. He played at Charlestown High School for two years before transferring to prep school at Lawrence Academy. Napier also played for the Metro Boston AAU team.

Napier not only is a star on the court, he’s also appeared on the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll.

UConn faces Florida Saturday night at 6:09 on TBS. The winner will face either Kentucky or Wisconsin for the National Championship on Monday.

Photo credit: Steven Senne/AP

Photo courtesy of Elevate Communications

Will Middlebrooks and Good Sports Team Up to Donate Equipment to Dorchester Community Center

Boston Red Sox infielder Will Middlebrooks teamed up with Boston-based nonprofit organization Good Sports to donate $2,000 worth of athletic equipment to the Bird Street Community Center in Dorchester on Thursday January 9. Good Sports’ donation of more than $2,000 worth of basketball, baseball, volleyball, and fitness equipment will allow the Bird Street Community Center to continue to support 200 at-risk youth, who otherwise would not have access to sports and fitness programs.

Middlebrooks helped kids who were in attendance test their new equipment, took pictures, signed autographs, and ran a skills demonstration.

Since 2003, Good Sports has provided more than $10 million worth of equipment to 1,150 youth programs, impacting more than 800,000 kids.

Photos courtesy of Elevate Communications.

marty

Smooth Transition: Marty Walsh Ready to Take Office

Before he can celebrate his inauguration in early January, Martin Walsh is currently putting together his team. His main goal is to ensure a smooth transition between him and Thomas Menino, who has served in the City’s highest position since 1993. Although Martin wants to start anew, he must be willing to open his team to other people, including those who are currently working at City Hall.

Many have mentioned that it would be relevant to include John Connolly in Walsh’s close team, as he gathered 48% of the votes during the mayoral election and still maintains a strong following in the city. Marty Walsh has said he is open to the possibility, but hasn’t confirmed anything yet.

One thing is certain, he isn’t planning on getting rid of everybody at City Hall.

Marty Walsh doesn’t want to miss a beat. His top priority is education and, in particular, naming a superintendent for the Boston Public School system. He wants to do this fast, in order not to lose any school time. John McDonough is the current Interim Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, and will continue to oversee the department until a permanent superintendent, who will have executive and administrative power over Boston’s 135 public schools, is appointed.

Throughout his campaign, Martin Walsh was in favor of postponing the superintendent selection until after the mayoral election. Now that the results are in, it is time to select a new superintendent. As the success of schools is vital to Boston’s continued economic development, Martin Walsh is seeking someone who will be able to improve schools and school facilities in Boston, as well as maintain the rehabilitation process started by previous educational reformers.

In Martin’s vision the superintendent should be in charge of ensuring that every Boston Public School is a high quality school, that every student has the same chance of success as any other, and that parents have options among several high quality schools close to their neighborhood.

Martin wants to increase the number of seats available in early childhood programs, which will allow students to prepare for post-secondary learning in middle school. Deepen literacy skills for all students and strengthen the efforts to raise achievement of students with disabilities and english language learners.

[Lead photo via WBUR]

Voices of the Urban Community!