I love livin’ in the city (free stuff)

Boston is not one of the cheaper cities in which to live but there are plenty of fun & high end things to do for free. That sort of compensates for the high taxes, gas prices, grocery bills, etc., right?

Here’s a list of my favorite free things to do in the city:

Free Music:
River Music Hall
Just fan 92.5 The River on Facebook or sign up for our 9-2-5 Network on our website.  We’re always inviting you to come hear your favorite artists to play
http://theriverboston.com/
https://www.facebook.com/925theriver

 
Free Movies
The Kendall
Landmark Cinemas often do free screenings of movies or cable tv shows.  You’ll get notifications if you’re on their mailing list. From time to time, they give out free indie music samplers as well – a lot of the artists are ones you hear on The River.
http://filmclub.landmarktheatres.com/

Free Books
Your local library
It’s free – no strings attached! Books, movies, music…what is not to love?

Free “Culture”  
Museum of Fine Arts
Pay What You Can, Wednesdays after 4p. Also, buying a movie ticket ($9-$11) will allow you to wander through the museum before & after.  For a sophisticated evening, have a glass of wine in the little cafe outside the theatre…
http://www.mfa.org/visit

Institute of Contemporary Arts
Free on Thursdays after 5p.
http://www.icaboston.org/visit/hours-and-admission/

Free Wine
These places all do free wine tastings…and not Boone’s Farm level either!
Central Bottle Thursdays –  http://www.centralbottle.com/wine/thursday-wine-bar/
Brix Boston Thursdays – http://www.brixwineshop.com/tastings/financial-district/
Brix Boston Fridays & Saturdays – http://www.brixwineshop.com/tastings/southend/

Free Food
Savenors
Julia Child’s favorite market is always hosting fun samplings.  Follow them on Twitter to stay up to date.
https://twitter.com/Savenors

Godiva
Join their rewards club & you get free chocolate at least once a month.  Oh, and that noise – that’s the sound of my bum getting bigger.
https://www.godiva.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Godiva-Site/default/Account-Rewards

Bee’s Knees
This is a market from the owners of M3.  They sample pretty much everything they sell in their store…cookies, chocolate, charcuterie, cheese, wine…so so good.
http://www.beeskneessupply.com/

Free Clothes
Boden, a very hip British company, does unbelievable promotions, i.e. buy 3 things get the 4th free, etc..  A lot of their clothes are made in Europe and they’re very high quality – I’ve had things for years that look brand new.
http://www.bodenusa.com/

If you have any free things that you love, please share them in my comments or on Facebook.  Share the love!

Summer Sips

At this point, you probably know that I am enrolled in the Wine Studies program at BU.  I find wine to be a very mindful activity.  It’s one of the few things where you’re almost completely dependent upon your sense of smell to discern geography, chemistry, biology, and history.  I recommend wine classes to anybody who needs a good destressor – not for the drinking but more because it really gets you out of your head and thinking in a way that you probably never do – through your nose.  It’s mind blowing.

Since I’ve been asked for help & recommendations lately, here are some easy summer wine basics I’ve been sharing:

Tips:
1. Don’t be deterred by a low price point – Many great Portuguese, Spanish, & German wines are at a great price point, not because they’re awful but because they’re not popular

2. Bottle color – The darker the bottle, the longer you can wait to drink it.  The clearer the bottle, the sooner you should drink it (rosés in particular).

3. A lot of mass market wines (Yellow Tail, etc.) made in the US or sent to the US market are loaded with extra sugar & sulfites.  These will get you buzzed faster but they will also give you an almost instantaneous headache.

4. Traditional rosés tend to be golden/light pink.  If you find a darker rosés, they had additional red wine added to them…which is not a bad thing in my book!

General Recommendations
1. Any vinho verdes  – They’re cheap, slightly effervescent, & tend to be light on alcohol, which is good for super hot days.  They’re excellent with seafood.

2. Any Basque wine – see above.  All the ones I’ve tried – regardless of color – tend to be on the lemony side.

3. Any French or Spanish Rosés – Very fruity (raspberry & strawberry) and tend go well with grilled meat, especially the darker wines.  I tend not to believe celebrity hype but Miraval, the Brangelina rosé is really good. 

4. Prosecco, Cava, & other non-Champagne sparklings – Often the growing conditions for this type of wine are better the further south you go.  Since they’re not from Champagne, the price point is often better.  They’re great bang for your buck fizzies.  Trader Joes has some great ones  – their $7 Prosecco tastes like green apples.  I am pretty sure their $5 house brand Blanc de Blanc is Perdrier from Burgundy.  Roederer Estate from California makes an excellent hostess gift.  These really do go with everything.

5. Gerwurztraminer – Any of them…I really like them with blueberries

6. Reds in the summer – I don’t have a lot of experience with these but I can say Spanish Grenaches & Northern Italian/Swiss reds can be really light.  They’re worth checking out.

Specific Recommendations
1. Veuve Cliquot Demi-Sec – This, hands down, is my favorite any time.  It’s a total splurge but not a ridiculous one.

2.  Charles Smith – He’s a former band manager who has reinvented himself as a vintner.  In general, music people tend to be food & wine people.  I get the impression he only makes what he likes to drink.  The only thing I didn’t dig was The Pinot Project but everything else is excellent.

3. Wine X/Beringer White Zinfandel – This gets knocked BIG TIME.  I don’t go out of my way to have it but it’s really not bad.  Last year, my wine class did a round table rosé tasting with wines from around the world at various price points.  This wine was in a black bag & everybody had to guess what it was.  Everybody thought “wine x”, the mystery rosé, was the best & most expensive one on the table – balanced, fruity, goes with everything.   When it was unveiled, everybody laughed.  We all agreed that there are reasons why this continues to be a best seller.  

Best Website for Wine Pairings & Wine Info
http://winefolly.com/ – great website, super simple facts, excellent graphics. 

Hope these help a little.  If you have any recommendations or tips, please share in the comments – so much wine, so little time, you know?

Blog roll please……

I love blogs.  They’re sort of like a modern day “Life” magazine inasmuch as you get a sneak peek at how other people live their lives.  Of course, ones that are relatable or aspirational are the ones that keep me coming back for more.

On that note, allow me to introduce the blogs in my blog roll:

Once Upon a Thai
Some of you may know Dreamy B.O.B., one of our street teamers. You would have seen him at Riverfeast or any number of our events around town.  It was imparted to me that Bob was hired specifically because of his “dreamy, good looks”.  Whether that was vicious rumor or fact, he was henceforth known as Dreamy B.O.B. around the station.  Now, Dreamy Bob and his equally attractive lady, Dreamy Emily, are living in Thailand.  I’ve not been to Thailand but the way they are describing it makes me want to go.  Big Time.

Big Daddy Thinks
Big Daddy is one of my besties.  She’s a tall, blonde from Idaho who goes with the flow and generally gets stuff done.  She’s irreverent, super smart, and just a great person to know.  Given those fine attributes, she makes a wonderful friend and THE perfect travel buddy.  She doesn’t know this yet but if everything falls into place, I might be racking up some time “Down Under”.  She needs to save her pennies for an airline ticket because she’s coming with…and we’re going to eat our way through Tasmania. 

Also, she operated the clapper board for the awesome local film Don’t Let The Riverbeast Get You.  And, even more –  her name is BIG DADDY!!!  Sooooo, check out her blog.  She recently uploaded some great photos of Cuba.

If you have any blogs that you love, definitely share them with me.

Happy Reading!

Irish Words of Wisdom on St Patrick’s Day

My mum’s family is from Ireland so St Patrick’s Day is kind of “our” holiday.  It was never a big drinking thing, more just a day to get together with everyone and have corned beef & cabbage…and maybe go to church.  Of course, you had to wear green & those little potted shamrocks dotted your kitchen windowsill.

My grandmother, a.k.a. my most favoritest person in the ENTIRE WORLD, was straight from Athlone.  She was super cool, very well read, and always had loads to say.  I am not sure if she ever kissed the Blarney Stone for her lovely gift of gab though…”kissing that buggy rock” is really for tourists.

When I was in my 20s, I was over my Grandmother’s house and we were watching some U2 video on Much Music.  At this point, I will say that the following item I am about to impart was strictly the opinion of my Irish born grandmother and not that of anybody else. I mean no ill will with her comments – it was purely sound dating advice that she felt she needed to pass on to me, being a lady of certain experiences:

“Never date an Irishman.  They’re all so cheap.  The only Irishmen you are allowed to date are U2.  We all know they have a lot of money so they can’t hide any of it from you.”.

I just sort of looked at her, narrowed my eyes, scrunched up my forehead, and said, “Ok. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.”.

Sometimes, I wonder if Michael Flatley would’ve fallen into the U2 category…

I will conclude with some solid Irish advice that everybody can use:

Is minic a bhris beal duine a shron

(Many a man’s mouth broke his nose)

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!!