Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coons for Sale

Local Spice's hometown is Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While back home in the Deep Fried South over the holidays I passed (in an area I would frequent quite often way back when) a man parked in a vacant lot, selling from his truck racoons (shortened to coons), among other items (those are onions in the bags, not racoons). Here's an interesting article I found online. My brother tells me many sell the coons live, otherwise they are sold cleaned for cooking, but with at least 1 paw remaining--this is to insure the buyer they are buying a racoon and not a cat. Across the street was another man selling deep fried turkey wings--and my father makes a habit of stopping there and buying those from him. As for the racoons, I honestly think I would try it if it was on a menu or if someone was cooking it at their house, but I don't think I would try to cook it myself.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

MBTA passes are not acceptable forms of identification

Hooray I'm back on after a long hiatus! I saw this today at a CVS Pharmacy, and it inspired me to start blogging, again.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Local Spice is alive

Yes, I'm alive, and I haven't posted in months, I know, tsk tsk tsk. I've been thankfully swamped at work, as these are busy times. I have lots of projects I'm trying to move into construction, then there's my party life--well maybe not, but when I get home, I typically fall asleep.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stolen pumpkin

Being a festive fella, I had a pumpkin on display on the front steps...until someone stole it. So my festive fall cabbages aren't worth stealing, too? Of course this means I get to buy a new one, which I'll carve up and illuminate for the Halloween treaters.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I haven't turned on my heat, yet.

It's that time of the year to stare the thermostat down with a mean grimace as one refuses to turn on the heat. See, in my mind, once it's on, then I know it's on until May. This means the vintage steam heat system in my drafty apartment will then make my entire body itch for the next 6 months, inducing what we'll call body lotion/humidifier season. I'm not a native up here, and I wonder if even those native, hardy New Englanders have a secret to the misery, or do we all suffer the same? (Maybe this is why they all have grandparents now living in Florida.)

And it does not help that my oil tank is near empty, so turning the heat on means that expense despite a blow to my own ego. And to make matters worse I'm driving up my electric bill using a small box heater to break the cold until I call up the folks at my oil supplier (who are all very nice and prompt, btw).

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Here is the Local Spice Top 5 things about Dorchester! I love this neighborhood! From the commute, the location, and yes, the atmosphere, the people, etc. It's a real neighborhood, and I feel very comfortable here, and I'm glad to share a brief list of 5 things I find interesting about my home.

My #1 best thing to say about Dorchester is that it's quite possibly the biggest melting pot of neighborhoods out of all areas in Boston. Despite what some may say or think, I consider Dorchester to be the real Boston, as it's where real Bostonians live, and it's quite the more authentic neighborhood than others. Not to throw dirt on anyone else, but I think Dorchester rocks because it's not like other 'hoods in Boston. From the Polish Triangle to Lower Mills, and all areas between, it's a mish-mash of different people all in this (neighborhood) together.

Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line

Clap Pear at Edward Everett Square

Click the link, there's a story behind it, plus it's a big huge pear in the middle of town. Thanks to partner-in-crime Tinkering with Urban Mechanics for the awesome pic.

McKenna's Cafe

It's the best breakfast/brunch place around. The staff rock the place, the coffee is always on, and the food is tasty. Prepare to wait in line on the weekend.

Malibu Beach

Don't let the name fool you, this is not exactly Dorchester meets Bay Watch, but it's still a great place. I love walking to the beach from my apartment, even if I get to listen to the symphony that is I-93 at the same time.

Check out these fellow Dorchester bloggers:

The Dottie Hottie
The Dot Matrix
Dot Boston
The Dorchester Think Tank
Lower Dot
Social Butterfly Experiment
Greening of Dorchester

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So, I live in a less desireable nabe, uh?

One commenter on one local Boston real estate blog exhibits the typical class-oriented attitude found here in Boston. Despite living in a "less desireable nabe," I will likely not move to the South End or Back Bay because I frankly have to no use to live near a Fire & Ice, the Nike Store, Urban Outfitters, Cheesecake Factory, or people like him. My neighborhood is great: pretty simple, established, relatively quiet, convenient for work and play, very neighborly, plus I can afford it. I'm not saying I won't ever move, either within Boston or away from here, but I like to think any 'hood I land in won't have any these guys.

Urban Mechanics

Check out Tinkering with Urban Mechanics, a new Boston-based blog any Hubber and fan from away may find interesting for local updates, news, and pictures.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pot roast, please!

I just want to vent and state that I have found finding either a beef or pork roast for sale (not on sale, but for sale, at any price) increasingly difficult. A few weeks ago I was at a local Shaw's Supermarket, and there was nothing to cook besides chicken and steak. Even today, I went to Whole Foods and the choices were pathetic. So today I found one at Savenor's in Beacon Hill (went there on a whim, the weather was nice), and promptly took it home where it was seasoned, stuffed with garlic and crushed red pepper, braised, smothered with onions, and left to cook on very low heat until fabulously tender.

And the Patriots beat Buffalo!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ogunquit is so frickin' cute

As referenced in a previous post, this past weekend I went to Ogunquit for the 1st time. It was a quick day trip, only being a about an hour away. The town was quite cute, adorable, very "Maine in Summer" I'll say. Of course I ended the day with a few cocktails at the Front Porch, too, wherein I realized how many showtunes I don't know. It's always a good idea to go to Maine.

I discovered for myself the boutique-lady store Spoiled Rotten, is something to see just to see. I was impressed by their fall season-inspired merchandising. And yes, I already have the mums on my front porch here in the Dirty Dot.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Awful New York License Plate Spotted in Ogunquit

That's right y'all, I'm judging. Sweet damn Jesus, I hate personalized license plates, and this one illustrates why no one, even some bullshit New Yorker from Manhattan who, and I'm judging again, is probably a Yankees fan, has "Aquaman" identifying his Nissan Maxima. Once again, Sweet Damn Jesus, why?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Absolut Boston Taste Test

Today I bought a bottle of Absolut Boston vodka, having only recently learned of its release. Having loved Absolut New Orleans (and I still have several bottles stockpiled in my liquor cabinet), I went off to my packie where the shelves were stocked.

My first taste I took neat, then with an ice cube, and it went relatively well, still slightly hitting me like cough syrup, all the while trying to recognize the flavors (black tea and elderflower). I can't say that in my mind I knew what the combination of black tea and elderflower should taste like, so perhaps that part of my problem. The bottle suggests mixing this vodka with grapefruit juice and ginger ale for a specific cocktail. Not having the former, I used a splash of orange juice, then followed by the ginger ale. The result is quite a nice cocktail, one I recommend.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Incorrect MBTA T-Shirts being sold to tourists

Last week while schlepping around Boston with the family, playing tourist, I spotted this incorrect MBTA System Map t-shirt at Faneuil Hall. I am sorry but I cannot report the price. Take a close look and you will see the Red Line incorrectly shows the JFK/UMass stop as only along the Ashmont branch, not as the last stop before the line splits.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday morning, Monday schmorning!

I've been off for the past week, supposedly on "vacation," but actually held up here in Boston playing tour guide and tourist with my family. I love my family, all of them, and I haven't been home much over the last year, hence I took time off from work to see them as they were in town. So now I never need to play tourist ever, ever again here--time to find a new city? Here's a list of what I did/saw:

  • The Freedom Trail (all of it, all sites, plus 1 guided tour downtown)
  • Red Sox game plus a tour of the park
  • Sam Adams Brewery tour--actually kinda cool times
  • The South Shore, Plymouth, made a day out of that.
  • Lots of antiquing with my mother
  • I've been in every tourist gift shop in this city (people buy those baked bean pots?)
  • Shopping at Filene's Basement, etc
  • Eating at Legal Seafoods, Summer Shack, plus other pubs
  • Cheers

My family took home more glassware than I would have imagined. Lots of souvenirs from Sam Adams and Cheers, plus my mom's antique finds. I did enjoy stuffing my face with lobster for a week, plus butter sauce, but now it's back to the gym and leaner lunches. It was a good week, and now back to the office.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inside the Green Monster

This past week I hosted my entire family as they visited Boston. I'll post more on everything we did over a week's time. The 1st post show our rock star tour of Fenway Park. I've been in Boston three years now, and in that time I've somehow managed to score an unbelievable contact who was gracious enough to allow me a sneak peek into the fabled Green Monster. The inside was quite cramped, but still, it rocked, with signatures from past employees, athletes, etc, on the walls, and it was great to see how the scoreboard works: the tiles, the small opening the scorekeepers watch the game through--all fun.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Window Sill tomatoes

I learned growing up that placing green tomatoes on a window sill will induce reddening. So far it's work for me here in my north-facing kitchen window. The story is that I have twice discovered my tomato plants knocked over, the last time a few days ago this meant a few green tomatoes fell off their bushes. Oh, and check out the two red tomatoes I picked yesterday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I saw Tall Ships

I saw the Tall Ships this past weekend. So, they were tall, and surrounded by lots of people, many of whom were standing in amazingly-long lines to board each one. I passed on the lines, just viewed from dry land. They were fun to see, interesting to read what was posted. I got the sense they were not exactly historic, but rather modern ships made in the tradition of tall sailing ships--not sure why, but they're pretty I say. This was part of a big to-do put on by Sail Boston, so if anything it was a beautiful day, a great event, and something fun/different to see in the harbor.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Urban Garden Update

Back in April I dared to plant, in containers, several of the following plants: 4 tomato plants, 6 pepper plants, 1 strawberry plant, 1 mint, 1 peppermint, and what has become a constant failure: basil. Basil hates me.

Despite the fact that Boston has been channeling Seattle (without the coffee or angst), my dainty plants have survived and have produced produce. I am pleased to present snappy pics from my own urban garden, beginning with my this season's 1st Local Spice Urban Garden tomato:

I suppose this stair is officially a 2nd means of egress, but it makes for a great place for my tomato plants to get sunlight. I don't have a south-facing location, so I've had to learn to play with angles and work the east/west light. So far my efforts have paid off, so far.

This is a red beefsteak plant. I thought it was going to die at first, and then I though it was dead, but no, it was really alive, and then it grew to over 5 feet tall, so far.

Mint! Yay! Mojitos! Anyone recommendations for what to do with the peppermint plant?

Peppers, specifically sweet green peppers, gypsy peppers, and red bell peppers. They're all taking their sweet time, but I have had some success so far. I had to pull them back onto my porch as they became popular with pesky slugs, etc..

Friday, July 10, 2009

4th of July spent in Montreal

Boston, I love you, I do, but you bore the hell out of me. I can only take so many consecutive months of the stoic New England Puritan act before my liver and sanity say "son, get the hell out of town!"

So now that the weather has turned for the better and summertime is here, I packed my extended-weekend bag and headed north to the fair Ville de Montreal to enjoy the good times always had there. Apart from the food and booze-induced good times, the city is celebrating it's 30th Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, which turns out to be a largely free to event. So it was great to walk around the city and listen to some great music, too. Here are some snappy pics and captions:

The Farine Five Roses sign welcoming this weary traveler to the city. Let's say Montreal has the Farine sign, and Boston has the CITGO sign.

I rented a bicycle for a few hours using the city's new bike share service Bixi. This system rocks! There are bike racks throughout the city, pretty simple even for an idiot to use. Despite the obvious ease and enjoyment of this system, here's a note for the tourist like myself: the service puts a temporary change on either your credit or debit card of (at least for me) $214.00. I assume to make sure one will return the bike. This did not stop my bank from temporarily deducting this cash from my account, and charging me a fee because I didn't have that in my checking account at the time. Ugh. Here is someone else's pic (I stole it) of a Bixi bike rack and bikes:

That said, it was great to ride through the city, across the river the biosphere, around the parks, and I took this snappy pics of Habitat 67:

In true local spice foodie fashion, I got my poutine-eating on in true Montreal style:

A trip to Montreal is not complete without seeing the sights on Rue Sainte-Catherine. I went to a drag show at Mado, where the emcees where dressed appropriately for the USA's 4th of July (accompanied with commentary on the USA, :-0). So the show was great, def. something to see/experience when in town. See below:

So that's the touristy synopsis of my Montreal weekend. I"ll spare you the other gritty details. NOTE: If you're ever in Montreal, go ahead and do these things, but be sure to check out the museums, the library (great music collection, btw), and stroll around town. My favorite neighborhood is The Plateau, it's what every neighborhood in America wishes it could be.