On Saturday morning, Pygment, MizA, and I went on a "hot chocolate" tour in the South End of Boston. We got to walk around a bit and I was reminded that I like that part of the city quite a lot but don't think I could ever live there. Saw an awesome cathedral, plus some familiar places I've not been in a while - the BCA Cyclorama, and up to the vicinity of the Park Plaza hotel, Arisia's old stomping grounds.
Oh and there was chocolate. The first place was ... meh, kind of sticky sweet Swiss Miss-y flavored. With a large marshmellow. After that we went to two very nice places. Tremont 647 was a primarily food place where all the staff were in pajamas because they have "pajama brunches" each weekend. We were served an alcoholic hot chocolate in the back part of the establishment, which is primarily a bar, by the SUPER-cute general manager. He told us about the restaurant, its events, how they treat their staff (well), their social programs.
Me (sotto voce): He's cute, engaging, nice, socially aware - what more could you want?
We are going to try to figure out how to take the kids to their pajama brunch (but not in 14 degree weather dear gods have you seen the forecast for the next few days?) and they have other events I'd like to try.
We then walked a few doors up to the Tremont St version of David's Teas, a local 'chain' (three locations) where another cute man showed us two kinds of chocolate teas and I bought stuff: samples of both teas and a single-cup infuser for my now-tiny desk space. The chocolate teas were good - one served hot and one cold. Pygment also picked up a fragrant non-caff tea for her office.
I think the sales guy was flirting with me during check-out but that might be wishful thinking on my part.
We then trekked up to Finale for the finale - a tasting trio of hot chocolates along with a bite of the base chocolate from which the drink was made. One was a standard dark chocolate - very good and rich. Another was a hazelnut, which I would normally have expected not to like but actually turned out to be quite good. My current theory is that I do not like hazelnut as an ingredient but I'm OK with it as a flavoring.
Pygment: What's the difference between an ingredient and a flavoring?
MizA: If you have to pick bits out of your teeth it's an ingredient.
The third was a white chocolate, which I really tend not to like, but this was mixed with a salted caramel and it totally worked. Right now sea salt in everything and salted caramel in lots of things is very hip but despite that I ended up liking it.
The tour took quite a while due to there being 17 people on it, and MizA very wisely brought along portable proteins (nuts, bits of cheese) to balance out all the sugar. Even so I was a little vibrate-y as she went off to the T and shopping afterward and we headed home.
Sadly, on arriving home there was not-good news.
We learned that a friend had died suddenly on Saturday and we changed our Sunday plans in order to make a courtesy call. We brought some food (because we're Jewish and that's What You Do) and Pygment found one or two minor useful chores she could do while we were there.
We saw some folk, who can identify themselves if they like, and as always it's great to see people but please can it be under better circumstances next time.
I was recently reminded that one reason for shiva is so that the bereaved can choose whether or not to be alone. There are people who will visit, but it's also perfectly reasonable not to, or for the bereaved to ask people not to visit. We try to do what's best for those who remain.
Although I was not particularly close to the person who died, this still makes three friends who've passed away in the past six-ish months. Never mind the Aries flashbacks (thank you subconscious you can cut it out now), I'm feeling remarkably mortal right now. My sleep hasn't been great and my tolerance for time-wasting people and things is even lower than it usually is.
I also would like to find ways to see more of my friends more often. Fortunately, I had a dinner scheduled for last night with a friend I don't see nearly often enough. There was Japanese food, and sake (Fuji sushi on 3rd St in Cambridge, if you're curious). The poor waitress was on her first night and I ran her in circles with my questions (seriously, how is "draft" the opposite of "dry"?) but she coped. The food was OK, the drink was too sweet (despite my ordering the "dry" one) and the company & conversation were excellent.
More from that in the next post.