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Monday, July 19th, 2010
7:27 PM

This past weekend, Davis Square closed its streets off to hold a massive festival called ArtBeat. They had a few stages for concerts, along with about a hundred different booths for artists, food, crafts and other local businesses. It was really neat to walk out of the T station and see nothing but people and crafts! Davis Square is usually REALLY busy with a lot of cars - I was surprised they were able to close off the entire square for the whole day!

I'm messing around with a bunch of photo-editing stuff, so don't mind the crazy colorful pics!

The theme this year was water, I didn't see a lot of water, but they did set up an entire pool in the middle of the square. They had huge bubbles inside where you could run around in. I'm bad at describing things - so here's a picture:

There are people inside those things, they just couldn't keep themselves up!

I didn't walk away empty handed, I got a little stuffed animal from ZooGuu. My little guy doesn't have a name yet, but for now I call him "My Little Dude-Guy". And he's adorable! You should check out the artist's website, there seems to be a bunch of free papercraft pdfs!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010
7:47 PM

About a month ago, only a few days after our steak overload, we indulged again at a local Alsatian restaurant, Sandrine's Bistro*. Sandrine's is a French restaurant with a large influence from the Alsace region - which happens to border Germany. I had always heard about this restaurant, as it's been a staple in Harvard Square for the past 10 years, but I had no real reason to go until I heard that they had a dish called Alsatian Choucroute Garnie au Riesling (I promise, I explain what the dish is later on). OK so that probably doesn't mean much to any of you, but Dave was reading The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten at the time. In the book, there is an entire chapter dedicated to this dish.

Dave says:

So, the second I saw that Sandrine's had this dish, I knew it was about time we tried out the restaurant.

Before we get to the food, let me just note that I absolutely love the front of this restaurant! The front door reminds me of the metro stations in Paris. OK, now to the food:


I ordered a more traditional dish, the Flammekueche. According to the menu, it is "a crispy flat bread topped with nutmeg scented fromage (cheese) blanc" with bacon and onions. The bread was very very light - perfect for an appetizer. It was almost pastry like - but held up better. Dave orderd the Foie Gras, as he had never had it before (and why not if its on the menu?). Foie gras is not my sort of fun, but Dave thoroughly enjoyed it! For those who don't know, Foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose.

Alsatian Choucroute Garnie de Riesling

Now you see why Dave wanted to go around France tasting this dish?? It is a meat lover's heaven!! The dish literally translates to the Trimmed Sauerkraut in Riesling of Alsace. According to wikipedia, it is a dish of sauerkraut prepared with sausages and other salted meats, often with potatoes. The particular dish we ate had bauernwurst (pork and beef), weisswurst (veal), wiener (beef), grilled smoked pork loin, ham hock, and a hickory smoked bacon wrapped potato all with sauerkraut prepared in Riesling! The sausages were lovely, nothing outstanding, but tasted great with the sauerkraut. The smoked pork loin was great (probably my favorite meat on the dish). The potato was a nice side to the overload on meat! We ate the ham hock last, as it was beneath everything - that was our least favorite meat. The sauerkraut was a bit odd, but that is because it was cooked in a Riesling, which is a sweet German white wine. It did not taste that sour, but still went well with the meats in the dish.

Dave's reaction:


I can't seem to find my pictures of dessert. We ordered the Creme Brulee (can you really go to a french restaurant and not order this?) and the daily selection of sorbet, which was very refreshing after a meaty, salty meal. The Creme Brulee was delicious as well!

Overall Thoughts

The staff at Sandrine's were amazing, and very nice and helpful. Although the price tag on the bill was not something we could handle once a week, it is definitely a restaurant we will be returning to when budget allows. Eating here felt like we went on a tiny vacation to a small bistro in the countryside of France, which I'm sure is exactly what they were going for! The majority of the other diners actually spoke French, so it even added more to the feel of the place. I loved the whole experience, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a little escape!

*Blogger's note : Since we had two meat heavy outings in one week, I vegged out (literally) between the two meals! It helped that it was also our first week with the CSA!

Friday, July 16th, 2010
9:18 AM

So although the past few weeks have been 90 degrees and above, we have had some crazy storms. Last Saturday was a pretty bad flash flood- and a lot of Somerville restaurants and businesses got flooded, including one of my favorite chocolate factories - Taza Chocolate. They had just recently renovated the factory (with their first run last just week) when this flood occurred. You can see some pictures of the damage here. The good part is, all of their stock was safe up on the second floor.

I have followed Taza Chocolate almost from the beginning, and have even been on 3 factory tours! I first discovered them at a chocolate and wine tasting I attended with my roommates and brother. I wish I could remember the wines they paired with the chocolates, but it was really neat to see how well some of their chocolates went with the wines. My favorite chocolate is the Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano - it has a rough texture to it, almost sandy, and just tastes amazing. They also used to have stuff they called "shaky chocolate" which was basically just chocolate shavings that you could put on anything from icecream to hot chocolate. I'm not sure if they still have that though. Although I loved Taza Chocolate even before I went all organic and crunchy, its good to know that they follow "Direct-Trade" business model.

They released a blog post asking their fans to go out and support them by buying their products, so that's what I'm asking of you. Support them if possible, either by buying their chocolate or any of their other products. They ship anywhere in the US and are available in a lot of specialty food stores.

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