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A Night at Pigalle

My friend and I had been talking about a weekend in Montreal for ages, we were hoping it would happen this spring, it didn’t. So in lieu of a trip to a francophone land, we decided to have an exquisite French meal. During our tenure in Boston we had both heard amazing things about Pigalle, a small French restaurant nestled in Boston’s Theater district. The chef, James Beard nominee Marc Orfaly, is constantly lauded for his culinary creations.  I am happy to perpetuate the ‘word-of-mouth,’ for Pigalle, that “You must go there!”

The restaurant is small and intimate. The decor really suits the restaurant. Whomever did the decorating knew the integrity of the restaurant, it feels perfect.

The people at Pigalle are warm, they really took care of us. I felt like a guest as opposed to a patron, a feeling that makes the restaurant experience very memorable.

At the bar was Jack and the Friday night “pop-up oyster bar.” Pop-up Oyster Bars are a new summer trend that Pigalle hosts on Friday nights. You can sit at the bar and enjoy Jack’s oyster knowledge while he shucks some of the best bivalves.

The food is remarkable, really, I know because I have been constantly talking about it. Can I recommend an entire menu? I really wanted to peak in the kitchen and see how it was orchestrated. I consider myself a great cook, but I could not recreate any of our courses at home.

Pigalle is a gem, a setting to have memorable moments, food that you’ll dream about, and meet people that will charm you. If you’re looking for a quicker trip, they offer a generous theater and bar menu.  No matter the occasion, I recommend Pigalle.

A votre sante,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Take a Walk in the Cemetery, It’s Beautiful

Mount Auburn Cemetery is located on the outskirts of Cambridge, near the Watertown and Belmont boarders. It’s one of my favorite places to take a stroll, and no, I am not being morbid. The Mount Auburn Cemetery is a sprawling garden that pays tribute to all who are burried there. It has been lauded for it’s landscape architecture. It is a sanctuary just outside of the city, where people can enjoy nature. I like to sit at the banks of the ponds and enjoy the world around me. For a peaceful retreat head to Mount Auburn Cemetery.

To refuel after the walk and reflection, treat yourself to an earthquake cookie at Sofra Bakery and Cafe!

Cheers,

Laurie

Directions to Mt. Auburn Cemetery from Hotel Veritas (1.7 miles)
Directions to Sofra Bakery and Cafe from Hotel Veritas (1.9 miles)

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


In Cambridge for a day? Get an education!

There is a wealth of high quality education here in Cambridge, and travelers to our fair city have access to that education, if only for one day. The Cambridge Center for Adult Education offers a generous list of one-time Saturday or Sunday workshops that will introduce  students to a new topic, and provide a fun, rounded experience! Looking at the course list for late Spring, early Summer, there are plenty of ideas for travelers (and locals!).

Traveling to Boston and not quite sure how to work your new SLR camera? You can take a day long workshop and pick up techniques, then, you can spend the rest of your stay capturing the sites around town. Don’t have a SLR camera, but want one? The savvy staff at Hunt’s Photo and Video will help you choose the one that suites your needs!

Do you always stop at Julia Child‘s favorite butcher, Savenor’s Market, when in Cambridge? Well, if exploring the art of carving is an interest of yours, why not attend “Butchery 101” and learn through lecture  how master butchers make the cut.

Or, how about an introductory course on Glassblowing Flowers? Coupled with a visit to the Glass Flower Collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, you would have a beautiful weekend.

For an extremely unique New England experience, try A Taste of Blacksmithing! What a story?! You could say you visited the home of Boston’s (most historical) silversmith Paul Revere on Saturday and then took a blacksmithing lesson on Sunday!

The suggestions could go on (for a full list, see the Cambridge Center for Adult Education website).

Artist: Valerie Isaacs

But before I stop, I must provide one more idea: Painting Sundays on The Charles. The city closes Memorial Drive on Sundays, so the typically congested river-side scene becomes friendly and relaxing. If you don’t have your art supplies with you, no need to worry! Stop at Utrecht Art to arm yourself with watercolors!

We are happy to have such a spectacular center for adult education enriching our community. We hope you take advantage of a class, if time allows!

Cheers,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Taking the Train to the Beach

April Showers are supposed to bring May flowers, hopefully this year we are going straight to the flowers! We have unseasonably great beach days in Cambridge. Unfortunately, Cambridge doesn’t have many beaches. Boston has some great beaches, like the M Street Beach, that offer a quick trip to sandy shores, but they aren’t as idyllic as the beaches of the north and south shores.

Luckily, the MBTA‘s commuter rail provides regular service to the small town of Manchester-by-the-Sea (what a cute name!). The Newbury/Rockport line runs throughout the day to and from Boston’s North Station. Singing Beach  is 1/2 mile walk from the train stop. The fee to walk on the beach is $5. The beach is manned by a lifeguard, has a snack bar, a bathhouse, and parking is mainly  limited to residents (meaning it’s a quiet, well cared for beach). To and from the beach you pass Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream shop, which is a charming little shop with creamy, tasty ice cream flavors.

I really recommend a day at Singing Beach! It’s a piece of paradise in Boston! Even the commute is not bad, you can relax on the commuter rail as you commute away from the city.

Cheers,

Laurie

(P.S. pack sunscreen!)

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Wocka Wocka– The Muppets are Spending a Weekend in Harvard Square

Need one more reason to book a lovely spring weekend in Harvard Square? The Muppets are coming!!!! The Brattle Theatre is hosting a Muppet Madness Weekend!

Time to plan ahead! Seating is limited so book your tickets now for Muppet Madness Weekend. Part of the theater’s repertory series, Muppett Maddness spans four day April 20-23rd.  The classic “Muppet Movie” from 1978 encourages the audience to sing along out loud (for the April 20th performance!) The latest movie, “The Muppets,” will be featured two of the nights. “The Great Muppet Caper,” and “Muppets Take Manhattan,” are some of the other muppet adventures will be shown as well.

When the muppet films complete their run, the creepier Jim Henson flicks will hit the stage:  ’80s  cult classics “The Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal.” Who can resist the eerie spectacle of David Bowie portraying the Goblin King on the big screen?

The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square is an attraction in itself. It’s been an institution in Cambridge since the Civil War, long before the event of motion pictures. Nowadays it’s a single-screen cinema showcasing marvelous films of years past, documentaries of today, and award-winning foreign films. Needless to say, The Brattle Theater is a unique venue with unique films. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the Muppets and a Cambridge Brewing Company beer!

Cheers,

Laurie

P.S. Wouldn’t it be great if “The Muppets” star and “Hasty Pudding Man of the YearJason Segel came to Harvard Square

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Boston: Miles of Irish Smiles

Bostonians have a lot of Irish Pride. No matter someone’s ethnicity; it seems everyone has great pride for the small, neutral country across the pond. Why not? The Irish have brought us Guinness, Kerrygold Butter (if you’ve never tried it, you must do so– it’s dreamy), the movie ‘Once‘, St. Patrick’s Day, and freckles. Now, Riverdance conclude their 15-year world tour with shows April 13-15 at the Boston Opera House. In 1996 Riverdance swept Americans off their feet with the fancy footwork of Michael Flatley and company. Tickets to the upcoming Boston Performances will sell out, I recommend all interested purchase tickets NOW.

Inspired by the footwork of the Riverdancers? Why not try a course in ceili-dancing (commonly called Irish Step-Dance)? Every Monday the Burren Pub in Davis Square hosts ceili lessons in their back room. Beginners come at 7:30pm for an introduction, seasoned dancers come at 8pm, and get the dance party started. Can’t make it to Somerville on a Monday night? Check out the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann website for other classes and Irish Culture events!

So, like they say in Connemara: Nuair atá an cat amuigh bíonn na luch ag damhsa. Dance!

Slainte!

Laurie


ONCE opens on Broadway

I have seen the movie ‘Once‘ too many times, and I cannot wait to see it again. ‘Once’ is independent film that in 2007 spread like wild fire through word-of-mouth acclaim. The movie was made with a very low budget, $160,000! The movie was written and directed by Irishman John Carney. The movie stars Glen Hansard (‘guy’) and Markéta Irglová (‘girl’), chronicling their lives for about a week; from their first meet on Grafton Street (not to be confused with the gastropub around the corner from us), to the recording of an album. As the Broadway Website perfectly  proclaims “His music needed one thing – her.”

Last year, The American Repertory Theater’s fantastic venue Club Oberon hosted a pre-Broadway workshop of ‘Once’. The theater is intimate, allowing for a very raw, personal experiences between the actors and the theater goers. It was probably my favorite theater experience ever.

The show is now open on Broadway. I highly encourage people to let their curiosity guide them to the show!

Cheers,

Laurie


Spontaneous night out at ImprovBoston

I just finished reading Tina Fey‘s memoir Bossypants, in which she recounts her hysterical memories of working for Chicago’s improv house: Second City. Improv was certainly on my mind last week when a group of girlfriends and I wanted to spend some time together, but had the energy to do something low-key, like a movie. In Cambridge, with so much at our disposal, I knew there had to be something a tad more eventful than seeing ‘The Vow.’ I was so excited when I reminded myself ImprovBoston is located in Central Square and receives rave reviews! My friends all light-up (or so I inferred from the ‘!!!’ in their text messages) at the idea of spending their Friday night at an improv show!

The show was hilarious, spontaneous! It was just what I needed on a Friday night; it was much better than an ever-predictable movie at the cinema. The show I attended was an ImprovBoston ‘MainStage‘ performance– a lovely cast of characters!

We reserved in advance and I am glad we did as the popular venue is intimate and seating is limited. They serve beer and wine at the box office. They have shows every night but Monday, with multiple shows a night Wednesday to Sunday.

Check them out today, laugh well, and stop by Brick & Mortar for a small plate and great drink!

Cheers,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


“What’s it like to work in a small hotel?”

We constantly have guests comment on how interesting it must be to work in a small hotel. Well, back in the early ’70s John Cleese had the same question while he was filming Monty Python sketches he was staying in a hotel in Torquay, U.K. His inspiration led to the creation of the what the British Film Institute considered the number one Greatest British Television Programmes of all time.

Fawlty Towers,’ is set in Torquay, UK (‘The British Riviera’). Basil and Cybill Fawlty run a faulty hotel; where the proprietors, guests, staff, and building are always  setting off Basil Fawlty’s (Cleese) very short fuse. It’s in Mr. Fawlty’s reactions we find ourselves laughing out loud! There are only tweleve episodes of the series, ten of them I think are PERFECT. Fawlty Tower’s was co-wrote by John Cleese and his co-star/wife/ex-wife Connie Booth (they divorced in between writing episodes six and seven).

I have had some friends who watched Fawlty Towers during classes at hotel school– it was part of their curriculum! The show isn’t exactly a barometer for what it’s like to work in a hotel (although the first hotel I worked at, overseas, was pretty similar at moments). I recommend Fawlty Towers for anyone that wants to imagine what running a hotel is like– not for an acurate picture, but for a fun interpretation and a chance to laugh real hard.

Fawlty towers can be purchased off itunes for $1.99 an episode– very very worth it! Fawlty Towers is also on rotation on PBS with other greats like ‘The Black Adder,’ and ”Are you Being Served?’ Pick any episode and GO! (‘The Germans’ is my favorite!).

Cheers,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Back to Blueman

Earlier this month I saw the ‘Blue Man Group‘ for the second time in my life. My first Blue Man experience was ten years ago in Boston. Blue Man is a ridiculously fun, unique night out. I had a brief recollection of the show, but was really excited to see what innovations the blue men have made. I was pleasantly surprised! The show was completely revamped. The blue men themselves are so awkward, spontaneous, and in a way charming.

Ready for a seated adventure, stop by the the Blue Man Group’s residence Charles Playhouse.

Ponchos are  provided for those seated in the section AA.

Want to dine before your 8pm show? I love exploring Boston’s Chinatown.

Cheers,

Laurie

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas