Lost and Found

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It was the cutest little black printed chiffon top and I had purchased it just last month –  worn it only once – now it vanished without a trace. I’m not insane but I think when I’m asleep little elves go into my closet and take things, either this or my brother Rumi has turned into a cross dresser. Now everytime I pull out a pair of cut jeans I think of it. I think of its ruffled split neckline; I think of how it just below my waist and I think of how it made my eyes sparkle.

I asked Dominic if he had remembered seeing it and he gave me look like I had just asked him the square root of a trillion (well at least that has an answer).

“Just call the dry cleaners and see if they have it,” he said… But they didn’t. Casey was no more sympathetic when we met for coffee.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Perhaps, you need a blouse detective,” she joked. She’s always been a fan of Disney. We were at Thinking Cup Cafe it was late afternoon and I was sipping a cappuccino and nibbling on a maple pecan scone.  Casey was sitting opposite me nursing a honey cinnamon latte and munching on a cranberry multi-grain muffin. One word that should never come before any pastry is multi-grain.

“It doesn’t help that you have an organization system that fuses chaos with haphazard. It’s a wonder your can find your head in the morning,” she added.

She had a point…I hate that.

“Perhaps, what you need to get over an old love is, a new one.”

“Keep talking…”

“It’s the perfect excuse to go shopping.”

A new thought came into my head…charge it.

This is my last post, it’s time to move on to other writing projects. Thanks for sticking with me and do check out “Tasha’s Haunts – Boston’s Best”. It is a directory of all the restaurants, museums and events mentioned in the blog.I will keep you posted on what comes next.

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Dancing with the Stars

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It was a lazy day. The type of day where everyone you know is busy or  out of town. I spent my time catching up on those long forgotten errands that were dying to come out of Pandora’s box. In the evening I found myself having dinner with Rumi and his friend Prince (A.K.A Peter).

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We were at Moonshine  feasting on tamago (Shishito Peppers, Crispy Rice Cakes), smoked shrimp dip and calamari. It was divine. Prince smiled at me indulgently. He was wearing a blazer with a neon-bright camo pattern, over a plain T-shirt. I was momentarily distracted by the bright color scheme. Prince is the most over-the-top character you’ll ever meet and just as charismatic. The type of person I suspect that would be able to sell water ballet to an Eskimo – and that’s just the feat he accomplished.  For the last ten years I had successfully avoided reality TV, never suspecting that just under my nose Prince was a huge fan. It was his charm alone that talked us into seeing Julianne Hough and Derek Hough (famed brother and sister team from Dancing  With The Stars) perform their dance repertoire.

No more than a week later we were finding ourselves seated at the prestigious Wang theatre. I have always loved the energy before a performance. The air was charged. Today, I half expected the room to cackle, even Rumi looked excited. Prince had an air about him that was part restlessness and part euphoria… and he was right.  The performance was electric. I found myself cascading across the sky and  launched to the moon and back. When I finally returned to earth it was with a brand new appreciation for reality.

Next Post: Feb. 15

Once Upon A Time

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Once upon a time, I went to a ball and like Cinderella when I came home, my feet killed, my hair looked like a bird’s nest and my make-up looked like I had slept in it – but it was all worth it.

We were Armand’s guests at Mass General Hospital’s Storybook Ball held at the Park Plaza Castle (The Castle). The gala was is very upscale and getting ready for it was a whirlwind of dresses, shoes and accessories.  My short hair had been curled into a cute little updo and I was wearing a sequined cowl back gown in navy blue by Badgley Mischka with sapphire diamond drop earrings and a matching bracelet.

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhots.net

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhots.net

Melanie had nailed the look of Hollywood royalty  wearing a halter cowlneck satin gown by  Alexander McQueen in bright red. She wore her long blonde hair open and flowing down in wavy tresses. She owned the red carpet along dashing and dark featured Nikhail. Casey was flying solo tonight and came with myself and Dominic, but she was ever the princess in a delicate Dona Faille Column Gown in a pale coral. I had always been slightly uncomfortable at gala events but with my friends at my side and Dominick’s hand in mine,  I felt strangely incubated. Casey could identify almost anyone on sight and Mel had the dish on anyone who was anyone.

At the ball a strange thing happened, I was so nervous I couldn’t eat. Dominic took this opportunity to lead me on to the dance floor where we danced the night away. At dawn’s early light, the five of us found ourselves staggering home group our eyelids as heavy as cement, fighting off dawn’s early light.

Next Post: Jan. 15

When art meets food – It’s All Liquid

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I chopped it all off. After a while I had just grown tired of my long wavy tresses. I traded it in for something shorter and hipper – a shaggy little bob with lots of layers and edges. I wanted  to celebrate, I was going to suggest something on Newbury street when Dominick with a triumphant grin made a suggestion of his own – proving just how well he had come to know me.

Image courtesy of think4photop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of think4photop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Liquid Art House has been on my to-do list for some time. Why – you may want to ask –  does this restaurant stand out? For starters,  it is the only Boston restaurant that has it’s own curator. Liquid Art House is not only a restaurant but a canvas that showcases a diverse collection of rotating art. It might also be the perfect place to showcase my haircut.

Casey and Armand joined us for dinner. Casey, was wearing a charming little tulip dress in dusty pink (that was sleeveless with a scooped neck and flared skirt). As soon as she saw me, she put her hand over her mouth and her hand reached out to touch my, now short, locks.

“It’s all gone, but it looks fabulous,” she said.

Armand arrived shortly wearing a fitted, long sleeved aqua colored T-shirt over tight (Burberry Brit) jeans.

“Chic, very chic,” he said.  

We started our evening off with scrumptious deviled eggs, clam beignets, and handmade dumplings (with foraged mushrooms, porcini cream, tiny croutons, soft herbs). Our senses overwhelmed with the masterpiece in our plates and before our eyes – the art was not bad either.  

Next Post: Dec. 15

Film Night

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Sometimes you don’t know what’s missing from your life until you’ve found it. For me this epiphany came from Dominick –  movie buff that he is. I love music. In the words of Plato, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Hence the symphony and I are solemnly connected…yet I still had to see this softer side in my guy.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had been nagging Dominick to go to the symphony with me for months and finally he had relented saying he thought it might be pretty cool to try Film Night. Don’t get me wrong I have bought countless soundtracks – my lonely nights drawer is filled with them. I have never listened to a film score at Symphony Hall. Well, it’s not like me to turn down a night at the symphony especially if it’s an event created by Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams who has scored over seventy five films including the greats such as, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Jaws and Harry Potter. Where have you been all my life.

I met Dominick in the lobby of Symphony Hall  wearing a fitted Tattoo Jacquard knit sheath that ended four inches above my knee and sleek knee high boots. I spotted Dominick across a crowd of people. He was wearing burgundy turtleneck under a sixties style black corduroy blazer. The combination worked with his fair hair and complexion giving it warmth. He smiled and took my hand as we found our seats.

Listening to the score I got flashbacks of the movies they represented – but it was more than that. I surged far above the earth. I was transported to a different plane, one in which I could touch the stars and glimpse the heavens.

Next Post: Nov. 15

Music To My Ears

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Grams had never taken to spicy food. Her constitution just wouldn’t allow it. Consequently that guilty pleasure belonged solely to my brother Rumi and myself.  Rumi loved the heat of Mexican food (jalapenos, chili powder, cumin) while I loved the savoriness.  Freshly baked nachos with tangy salsa are a personal weakness of mine. When it came time to celebrate Rumi’s admission into the Berklee College of Music I couldn’t think of a better choice than Mexican.

Located in Inman Square, Ole is not your standard Mexican fare with seasoned and braised meat and fresh vegetables, all served in a festive  ambiance of  a vibrant reds, yellows and purples. Dominick and I were the first to arrive and being in a celebratory mood I wore an off the hot pink mini-dress with flouncy crochet trim that blended superbly with the decor. A few minutes later I spotted Casey at the entrance of the restaurant. She was wearing an over-sized cardigan over a tank top and jeans. Casey is one of those people that thinks they can handle spicy food but turns a red as a beat at the first sign of heat.  Shortly thereafter Rumi’s friend Prince wearing a lime green sweater and tight black jeans arrived and then last but not least, the man of the hour.

Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When we were all settled the waitress started us off with freshly baked nachos and salsa, temptation began to overtake me. Just like potato chips one is never enough. I looked over to Casey, her face was only mildly flushed and she had already taken a good chug of water. We were all happy to see that Rumi was doing something productive with his life and had taken a break from coasting. I like to think that having me around was indeed a positive influence.  Before the entrees arrived we started with a toast.

Just in time, the small plates arrived with grilled corn on the cob (with garlic-mayo, cotija cheese and chile-lime salt), and mussels (in a garlic-chile pasilla broth) served with buttered toasted telera bread. The aroma itself was heavenly. Rumi gave me a nudge and looked motioned towards Casey who was licking her lips and fanning herself, a shy blush was slowly emerging, that would before then end of the evening, resemble a sunburn. Meanwhile Rumi accepted his congratulations with restrained euphoria. All that partying Rumi had done over the last couple years in dingy clubs listening to indie bands could now be used as research. As we nibbled on appetizers Rumi told us all about the music program. I likened it to watching a baby bird finally realizing it could fly.

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Before we knew it our entrée were here. I had ordered the cauliflower baja taco (with beer battered cauliflower, crema fresca with charred scallions, roasted-chipotle salsa, corn tortilla). It was a medley of complementary flavors. I couldn’t help but glance towards Casey. She looked happy but blushing hotly as a result of whatever spicy concoction she had ordered.  I have never been one to hold back when it comes to dessert. At the end of dinner I sweetened the evening by adding a flan de caramel (custard in rich caramel sauce).  This would hit my sweet spot nicely. I looked over at Casey, having turned as red as a lobster she was recuperating nicely with a bowl of fried ice-cream.

Next Post: Oct. 15

The Art of Tea

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Tea invites a totally different conversation and frame of mind than any other beverage. Afternoon tea has the best aspects of every meal, a sense of formality and ceremony, delicate flavor, and it can be as proper or as decadent as you choose: pastries, cookies, finger sandwiches.

For this timeless tradition I had a most modern look. I was wearing a three quarter length dress with capped sleeves and an asymmetrical hemline, the skirt ending in a V-shape. The dress pattern was anything but traditional. From the moment I saw it, it reminded me of crayon design, pink gray and yellow lines all fused with black.

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I looked around. I had arrived early at the Courtyard Restaurant. Of all people, I hoped Casey would appreciate my selection. The Courtyard Restaurant is located in the Boston Public Library in a barrel-vaulted room lit by palladium windows. The effect is elegant, airy and serene and in my opinion, the perfect refuge for an academic. Speaking of the literary devil, I saw Casey in the doorway dressed perfectly scholarly in a black and white, plaid knee length skirt on top of a stark white ribbed sweater.  I got a text from Mel that she was just parking and so we took the liberty of ordering a selection of tea sandwiches, scones and sweets and petit fours. We ordered two types of teas, CTC Assam (a brisk full bodied “espresso style” tea) and the Bangkok Mel (a combination of green tea, lemon grass, vanilla, ginger and coconut).

As I took a bite of my sandwich, filled with wild mushroom butter and watercress, I saw Melanie enter the room. She was wearing a wool Godot dress with short sleeves and flared skirt in an intense vermeer red, her honey blond mane worn loose.  Seeing us she sat down at the table as the tea arrived. She took a chocolate Sinclair of the table and chewed slowly and sumptuously.

“I adore these pastries,” said Mel indulging in a Devonshire double cream scone.

That was my cue to dig in. I took a sip of tea and let the sweet rich tone wash over me. I took a bit out of a glazed lemon poppy seed cake…scrumptious. Then I closed my eyes and let the world stop. That’s what good food lets you do. When I opened them Mel (who was a fashion editor)  was describing a new line that was to appear in her magazine.

“Every year the models seem to be getting younger and thinner,” said Mel, who had a body anyone would die for.”

“They don’t know what they’re missing,” said Casey nibbling on a fruit tartlet with vanilla crème patisserie.

I had to agree. How long would I last if I couldn’t nibble on pastries every now and then? Fortunately, I would never have to find out.  I looked at my phone; sure enough there was a message from Rukhsana auntie.  I almost canceled this tea when I realized that auntie Rukhsana would be out sick. It just wouldn’t be the same without her, but now I was glad I hadn’t.  I would grab a box of assorted French Macaroons for her on my way out.

Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There was another text from Domnick, my pulse quickened, what are you doing…see you later? I grabbed a chocolate Sinclair took a luscious bite… thinking how divine it is to not have to do without chocolate.

Next Post: Sept. 15

A Sweet Meeting – At The Bristol

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It was Gram’s voice urging me to get out of my apartment even though I was dead tired.  All I wanted was to kick back with a slice of greasy pizza, when Melanie gave me a call.

“Come join us at Bristol,” she had said and then had added mischievously, “I’ll make it worth your while.”

I was intrigued and not just because Bristol had a reputation for celebrity sightings, because let’s face it, even though I may have been craving pizza, The Bristol (located in the Four Seasons Hotel) is still some of the best food in town.

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was game, but I had to find something to wear. The ambiance at The Bristol is a balance of casual and sophisticated and so I flipped through my closet and pulled out a sleek three quarter length satin skirt in black with an asymmetrical thigh high slit and paired it with a black sleeveless crop top, and I was off. When I arrived at Bristol Mel had already ordered a mélange of items from the raw bar: jumbo shrimp  in jalapeño cocktail sauce, a selection  of east coast oysters.  with cilantro vinaigrette, and  half a dozen grilled and chilled littleneck clams with smoked jalapeño and corn salsa.

This alone may have made it worth my while. I flashed my most charming smile at Melanie and her boyfriend Nikhail, when I noticed a third guest. He looked vaguely familiar, stout with wavy white hair and jovial eyes. I felt like I should know him. Mel introduced us.

“Tasha this is Oliver Middleton,” she said excitedly. When I gave her a quizzical look she added, “his pen name is Arthur Muddle,” and I nearly peed in my pants. My brother Rumi and I had both loved his children’s books.  We had devoured every book. I am not an affectionate person but I had no choice but to reach out and give him a big bear hug. There were times in our childhood when these books were the only things that could appease a feuding brother and sister. I told him this, while gobbling the Atlantic Salmon with white wine butter sauce and butter sauce and a side of truffle-parmesan fries. The twinkle in his eyes told me he heard this story countless times. As everyone else savored their dinner I spent the rest of mine chewing his ear off.

What I didn’t know about him could fill a black hole – including the fact that he knew Grams – she had never told me. I could picture my grandmother looking down from heaven snickering.  An evening as scrumptious as this had to end with dessert.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Boston cream pie (with blackberry ice cream, crème Anglaise) looked too good to pass-up and I’d ordered a slice to go, to share with Domnick, knowing that he wouldn’t be over until late. I would have to fight my nature, steel my resolve and only nibble on half, but later that night as I peeked at my dessert and licked crème Anglaise off my finger I realized, who am I kidding; I’d eat the whole thing.

Next Post: August 15

Natural History

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My feet ached…my brain ached and my mind was racing at a mile a minute. Casey had drafted me into helping entertain her twin niece and nephew, Hayden and Pierce.  This is more of a job for Rumi, I wanted to say but alas my brother was in New York for the weekend and  a friend in need is a friendwell, you get the point.

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The twins matched each other in looks and temperament with fine ash blonde hair (like Casey’s) that Hayden wore in pigtails and Pierce wore cropped short with bangs.  I love it when children come in sets. I smiled when I saw Casey with the two critters. As soon as they saw me, I was bombarded with questions. It reminded me of when someone’s pet bowls you over the first time they meet you. The two were a force.

“How about the Harvard Museum of Natural History,” Casey suggested.

“Brilliant idea.”

I’m always up for a museum and I was sure that they would love the Great Mammal Hall with its huge giraffe and caribou and deer that made you feel like you had fallen into a scene from,  Honey I Shrunk the Kids.  Another kiddie favorite might be the Africa Gallery where you  find displayed  of African wildlife collected over a century ago and rare animals from the island of Madagascar.

Hayden and Pierce loved both these exhibits and they even liked my favorite, The Glass Flowers created by the glass artisans, Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolf.  I could stare at these flowers for ages. Unfortunately, the twins could not stand anywhere for more than thirty seconds. As much as I loved museums running after two seven year old all day long had taken its toll. I wondered if Rumi and I were that rambunctious when we were kids. “More,” I could hear Grams say. I was done for the day.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I got home; I kicked off my shoes and fell into a cozy arm chair. I knew how I wanted to spend the rest of my evening. I wanted greasy pizza and a good chick flick. I wanted to sink into the bubbliest bath ever with Mocha Almond Fudge ice-cream. I was all ready, phone in hand, to call the pizza guy when I got an IM from Mel.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to crash in front of the tube.”

“How boring…”

“Not really, I have 500 channels.”

“Come join us at The Bristol,” she said. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Next Post: July 15

The World Is A Book

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Grease is good, especially if it’s dripping off of a burger or crisp, warm  fries. The ambiance was homespun, offbeat and organic, but they served some of the best burgers in Harvard Square. Casey and I were taking in an early dinner at Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers in Harvard Square. We sat on wooden tables and entertained ourselves by reading the kitschy posters all over the walls.  Bartley’s is one of those quaint places that provides clever names for all of their burgers. Who wouldn’t want to sink their teeth into the, The Viagra, The Kim Kardashian, The Barack Obama, or The Putin or The iPhone.  

Image courtesy of joephotostudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of joephotostudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was chomping on The Gay Marriage (Burger) with provolone cheese, peppers, jalapenos & black olives and ignoring Casey who was mooching off my onion rings and preparing myself for tonight’s event. Casey had invited me to an author reading at the Harvard Coop. When Casey did not have her nose in her thesis she was an avid reader and to prepare for the event I had also started reading voraciously. It reminded me of what it was like to be in school as I raced to the end of my book, this time a historical novel, so that I could be done in time for today’s reading.

“For God sake, you look like you’re cramming for an exam,” Casey said while munching on The Jimmy Fallon, a veggie burger with peppers, feta, tomato, red onion, garlic mayo & fries.

It’s not that I never read but for the last couple years my readings had been confined to books on Art and Art History and of course frilly romances.  I needed to read out of my comfort zone.

As we settled into our seats at the author event and Casey pulled out her wire rimmed eye glasses making her look both beautiful and smart. Long ago she had mastered the art of academic discussion and risen to the top of her class.

To her credit the author was warm, interesting and very sophisticated in the classic little black dress. She must be preparing for a night on the town I thought. I loved her book but I loved her dress even more, with capped sleeves and a scooped neck. It fitted snugly and ended with a skirt trimmed in black lace that flared at the hem.  I said as much while she was signed my book.

“Thanks, I love the color of your blouse,” she replied referring to my soft pink sleeveless silk tunic.  The inscription in my book said, For Natasha who has great taste in clothes.  It made my day.

I had, had a full meal today and had been able to chew the intellectual fat with the best of them. The only thing missing from this evening was dessert, I thought thinking of Dominic.

Next Post: June 15