A Farewell to T.T.’s

24 Jul

IMG_2636I’m not ever as stumped at how to start an entry as I am on this one. Maybe it’s because this subject matter truly has a soul to it? I mean, yeah sure, we all love food. Good food pretty much writes its own blog posts. When it’s time to get serious, and do some memory browsing and back-gazing, that’s when stuff gets real.

T.T. the Bear’s Place in Cambridge closes its doors for good this Saturday night. I don’t think I have never referred to it using it’s full name, but there it is. I’ve walked through those wooden double-doors as much as any entryway I may have ever crossed over in my lifetime. I’ve definitely referred to it as my version of Cheers. (The tv show version. Not the actual bar, obviously.)


I’ve sat at that bar on a slow Monday night scratching lottery tickets as the venue goes acoustic for “The Other Side of the Bear” events. Those were pretty great nights that were made better when I found myself surprised at the talent behind the low-volume vocals catching my attention. Mondays when the stage is closed down and the lights were turned off in the main room. Shari could usually be found working those nights. I remember attempting to concoct new cocktails in plastic cups with $7 bottles of liqueur all too often. This, of course, all occurring after the great Livejournal debacle of 2002.

You see, there was a time when I didn’t know many of the faces at T.T.’s. On this particular night – November 5, 2002 to be precise – it wasn’t my first at T.T.’s, but it is the initial memory I have of my deep friendship with Shari, one of the bar/club’s veteran bartenders. That memory is brought to us by Livejournal, the letter “B”, and raspberry flavored vodka mixed with – if I recall correctly – chambord and Coca-cola.

Hanging out there with my now husband, we were watching Imperial Teen perform on stage. Shari’s name was still unknown but her company was welcomed openly. On this night in particular for whatever reason, I was struck by T.T.’s amazingness. And so, in early 2000s fashion, I commented about the night and Shari in my Livejournal blog (The Friendster equivalent of Tumblr). I of course mentioned the fact that I loved having her be my bartender, as well as commenting on her, umm…see for yourself:

I also saw Imperial Teen at TTs tonite and that was kick ass as well. they rocked, and it was neat seeing them in such an intimate venue. as usual, our bartender chick was sweet and kind and cute (even with her ghetto booty!) rock.

Yeah. I went there. That quote is responsible for a friendship of thirteen years that I can not imagine my life without.


T.T.’s was always a welcoming place – regardless of the bands playing the stage each night, you knew good folks would be there, and that if you didn’t know them, you soon would. I never felt awkward for even a minute being the gay dude in a rock club, and I love them for it.


The club made me and Joey feel so secure and comfortable and safe that we asked Bonney, T.T.’s owner of 43 years, if we could host a same-sex marriage music benefit The answer was, as is most often the case with Bonney, “Yes!”.

Joey and I put on several fundraisers there under our now defunct LegalLove.org. The first show featured Ad Frank, Mary Lou Lord and Annie Clark, to name a few. Ad and Mary Lou so happened to have both played their last sets at T.T.’s this week. Annie Clark might have been asked to play during the final week, but I’m assuming she was too busy being St. Vincent to even be considered.

The response from the Boston music scene was incredible. This at a time when gay marriage wasn’t even legal in Massachusetts with fierce opposition trying to shut it down. So many people – too many to list here but – aided with their talent and tones to support the idea of equal marriage rights for all under the law.

T.T.’s wasn’t just a rock club, it was a community of individuals who stood for good things, played pretty incredible (and occasionally crappy) music and enjoyed life while it was theirs to enjoy.

Someone who enjoyed the hell out of life was Jeanne, T.T.’s much loved and celebrated bartender. There was something about Jeanne’s smile, that when you got it, – when you truly received it – you realized you were special. Then you realized everyone got that smile from Jeanne. Although she is no longer with us physically – because cancer is a motherfucker – stepping into T.T.’s you can still feel her greet you as you pass through the doors and glance towards the bar.

Not only have I gained many lasting friendships at T.T.’s, I’ve discovered great music and had an untalliable number of life-affirming experiences here. Picking one is pretty impossible. A few that come to mind however:

Seeing Rilo Kiley open for Meghan Toohey’s The So and So’s and then seeing Tegan and Sara play in all their acoustic glory in the same week.

When Kay Hanley would introduce Letters to Cleo by saying “We’re Letters to Cleo and we’re from Boston, Massachusetts.” in front of the T.T.’s stage backdrop. Every show.


Hanging with Jenny Lewis, sharing a drink and getting schoolgirlish about Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill.

Mingling with your favorite local talents at the annual holiday party (to which I recall bringing some damn good deviled eggs to one year).

When Lady Lamb had her first gig there and blew everyone’s skullcaps off.


When I was working the door and charged Juliana Hatfield admission only to feel like a horrid human once I realized who I had just charged admission to.

Or one of my top 5 moments! The time Joey and I took our pug Riley to visit Shari on a lazy weeknight (as one does), had a seat at the bar and then were joined by Hanson (Yes, that Hanson) coming to sit at the bar next to us. The Hanson brothers petting our dog and sharing a drink. A typical night at T.T.’s.

There are lots and lots of memories. I have laughed here. Cried here. Rocked here. Kissed here. Danced here. Fought here. Hugged here. Played Scrabble here. Eaten Hi-Fi here.

T.T.’s will be gone, but the community that has been created by the four-plus decades of being in business will continue. Thanks for everything Bonney – you’ve done this life very right. 

Hibernation is over.

14 Mar


Clearly I have been hibernating all winter. It’s been long, cold and snowy. I’ve only left the house to go to work, or to shovel. Or to cut branches of forsythia in the yard to force them to bloom so that I could hold onto the hope that spring is indeed on the way.

If you’ve got forsythia in or around your yard and you want to bring some spring indoors:

1. Cut forsythia branches (12-42 inches in length depending on your arrangement).

2. Put in warm water.

3. Wait 10-14 days and you’ll have bright blooms!

Grilled Peach, Corn & Prosecco Mussels

20 Oct


Having recently returned from a farewell-to-summer week on Cape Cod, I couldn’t have been more in the mood to cook up a mussel dish. Inspiration wasn’t far; meandering around the neighborhood reminiscing about the beach, cocktails and oysters, it was next to impossible to ignore the near-ripe peaches hanging over the sidewalks. Who knew there were so many peach trees in the city?


That’s when the idea struck me: combine local peaches with fresh mussels in a dish that celebrates all things summer, by welcoming in autumn’s bounty.


While sorting through the vast variety of peaches available at my local market, I was drawn to the oddly shaped and aptly named Donut Peach. It looks as it sounds – like the healthy version of a cider donut. Just next to the peaches were fresh picked ears of Massachusetts-grown corn, a delight I can never pass up. I added them to my bag, and the meal began to come together.

Find my recipe and the rest of the post here!

Finished! My Reupholstered Victorian Chair

17 Sep

FInished Chair

So it may have taken a year, but this chair is finally complete! I put so many hours into this piece and enjoyed every single minute of it (except for maybe the multiple tacks I hammered into my fingers).

Here’s a shot while I was adding the double welt around the edges…

double weltI made each button on this chair by hand and secured each individually. I folded and unfolded so many times to get the seams and crevices aligned perfectly. I fluffed and set the horsehair and hoghair inside the seat and the back to get it all arranged just right. I tied each spring in the chair eight ways and tacked the twine into place.

The devil is in the details, but the details are what make this chair stand out!


The chair has definitely transformed from its previous (and original!) fabric…

Chair Before

While I did enjoy the original design, the fabric was worn and dingy, especially on the seat. I tried to mimic the original design in my version. The instructor of the class was very impressed with the original details (which made me feel like a horrible person for tearing it all off!) but was also pleased with the amount of effort and thought I put into the redesign.

Classes were always exciting and there were plenty of points I wouldn’t have even thought about, so having a teacher who has decades of experience in reupholstering the right way was a blessing. There are two ways to do things: the easy way and the correct way. While it takes a little more patience and time, I like to opt for the correct way in situations like this, especially if I am using energy and time to learn a skill.


There was a lot of “measure twice cut once” running through my head. To further complicate things, I had to be sure to cut the fabric so that velvet all ran in the same direction…otherwise it would have affected the colors matching perfectly…something I probably would not have come up with on my own.

I ended up giving this chair to my mother for her birthday, as it was nice to be able to gift something I made with my hands (other than food for a change!) and to give her something that held something special as opposed to something store-bought. It also fits in nicely with her circa 1881 home.

I’m looking forward to my next reupholstering adventure soon!

Cocktail Hour featuring Raspberry Lime Rickey

7 Aug


Remember when I had my first job at a neighborhood apothecary and would have raspberry lime rickies on my break everyday from the ice cream shop across the street? I do. Remember how that was 1996 and not 1952?













Here’s an adult version of this enjoyable drink I created. Utilizing Chambord, a favorite liquor of mine – as well as some other spirits – I took this innocent summer refresher and gave it a bit of an edge. Just picture it wearing a leather jacket next to a hot rod – or just picture me drinking it with my hair dyed blue from Manic Panic and wearing thrift store clothes, minus the straight-edgeness that was my 16 year old self.


Follow the link to check out my article and recipe. And let me know what some of your favorite mid-summer nights drinks are in the comments below!!

Lemon Ricotta Gnudi

28 Jul



This pasta was a joy to make, and really freaking simple. Two of my favorite qualities in a dish. Plus, now that fresh vegetables are so much more readily accessible here in the Northeast (yay summer!), it’s easy to get creative with your pairings.

If you’re curious, gnudi are sort of like gnocchi, and I’m not positive of the true difference (which I feel my Italian ancestors would be deeply disappointed by). My understanding is that gnocchi are traditionally potato-based while gnudi are traditionally ricotta-based. Maybe? Maybe.

These guys are made-up mainly of ricotta, flour, bread crumb and egg. They are delicious, fluffy little pillows of flavor once complete. Just take a look at all these gnudi pics! (Sorry, I couldn’t not put that in this post.)



This recipe uses fava beans in the supporting role. This legume isn’t one that I use often – or ever – but I’m glad I introduced my kitchen to it for this recipe. If you don’t like the fava bean option, it’s cool. We can still be friends. Peas, edamame, lima beans – whatever you fancy – will work just as well.


The gnudi dough mixture also contains some lemon zest and basil. They blend in nicely, and compliment the flavors well. You can also, as always, add in some of your favorite herbs from your herb garden. (Check out my Radio Flyer Herb Garden for some ideas!)


Once the gnudi dough has been shaped and floured, they will need to be chilled for a bit. At least an hour – or if you’re unlike me and plan things ahead, up to 24 hours before you’re ready to indulge.


Once you drop these into boiling water, let them sit there until they float to the top. When that occurs, let them cook for about two minutes more. Scoop the cooked gnudi out and combine them with the butter/fava bean mixture (in the recipe below…). Eat up, and enjoy!

To make, click to the right to expand ingredients and recipe.  Continue reading

50 Shades of Grey (Goose) Dirty Martini.

25 Jul


In celebration of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, People.com chose a few cocktail recipes they thought would fit nicely with the release, with one of my own being featured. I created this recipe for an Eat Boutique post that I did, and am sharing it here again. 

Given the circumstances, I think I will be referring to this one as the Fifty Shades of Grey (Goose) dirty martini from here on in.




Extra Dirty Martini
Makes 1

2½ shots vodka
½ shot dry vermouth
5 tsp. olive brine

In a cocktail shaker, mix ingredients together over a generous amount of ice. Shake and pour mixture into a chilled martini glass, garnish with a few olives.




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