Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why I haven't been around much...

A few quick and shameless self-promotional items that explain what I've been up to and why I haven't been eating cupcakes...

(Actually, that last part is totally a lie. I've been eating lots of cupcakes, but they're the cupcakes I've already declared to be the winners of the Cupcake Quest. More info: The Chocolate Tarte.)

1. The Day Job. 
Sandwiched between hour-long commutes, I'm spending my days over at the Stem Cell Research Program at Children's Hospital. It's a science writing/PR/photo/video/web/social media type of position that involve maintaining, updating, and organizing the newly designed website (linked in the previous sentence) as well as managing the social media.

Shameless Plug #1: It'd be awesome if you followed us on Twitter (@BostonStemCell) and "liked" us on Facebook!

I'm learning a lot about stem cells, which is very exciting. My BS is in Neuroscience, but it's been a few years since I've taken any biology classes, so it's nice to dive headfirst back into science...without actually having to do any lab work! I ended up getting my MS in Science Journalism because I love science, but the thought of researching one cell or one pathway for the next 10000 years scared me away from a future in research. As you probably know, stem cells are a hot topic right now, especially regarding the federal funding (or not) of human embryonic stem cell research, so I'm really enjoying keeping a close eye on the politics while learning the science.

2. The New Apartment.
Mediating cat fights, unpacking boxes, figuring out where to fit all my clothes and why I have so much in the first place...

3. A Whole Lot of Music.
If there's one thing I love more than food and science, it's music. It's always been my biggest hobby, and at one point I would have liked to make a career out of it, but I was (probably smartly) nudged onto a path that pays the rent a little bit more easily. Since moving back to Boston two years ago, music has made a big comeback for me, and I'm currently playing in two bands: The Bowties (folk/alt-country-ish) and The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library (indie-rock-ish...with some stylin' librarian fashion sense). Which brings me to my...

Shameless Plug #2: MJEML has two shows this weekend! TWO! Earlier this month we played a sold out debut show to 200+ people at Berklee's Cafe 939, where we opened up for Neutral Uke Hotel.
  • Come see us tomorrow night - Friday, October 1 - at Church (near Fenway), which, by the way, has amazing cocktails and food. Go for Death in the Afternoon - a potent absinthe/champagne mix. Details: Doors at 8pm. 21+. $10 cover. We're scheduled to go on at 10:40, preceded by What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? and Highly Personal Trash, and followed by The Cinnamon Fuzz.
  • If you're more of a morning person, we're playing two sets the following morning - Saturday, October 2 - at the Union Square (Somerville) Farmers Market between 10am and noon. Free! All ages! Fresh fruit and veggies and other local deliciousness!
Here's our promo video for the Church show, made in collaboration with the other bands...and if you show up, we promise not to play this monstrosity live:

And here are some videos from our debut show to give you an idea of what we sound like (that's me in the red skirt playing flute!):
Amylee ~ Sometimes I feel darker than a billion black hole bursts, but I just called to save the universe...

Holy Ghost ~ To everyone who tries to dance too close, you say, "Leave some room for the Holy Ghost"

Stranger ~ Sometimes I find it strange that I'm alive and even stranger, stranger that I'll die

4th Grade Book Report Blues ~ You talked about menstruation more than Judy Blume

Hope to see you at one of the shows!

More food stuff soon...I promise :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

YoMa: Burmese in Boston

Nearly a month ago, I said goodbye to Cleveland Circle, 99% content to never set foot in Allston/Brighton again. A birthday party at Common Ground necessitated my return this week, though, so I took the opportunity to check out one of Allston's many cheap amazing ethnic restaurants that I had been meaning to try for the past two years, YoMa. (Common Ground, by the way, is actually a decent bar. It's clean, it has a good selection of beers, and it has an adorable patio hidden out back.)

Apparently the only place to get Burmese food in Boston (although Yelp inexplicably categorizes Somerville's Peruvian restaurant Macchu Picchu as Burmese as well), YoMa sits on the same block as Allston's popular vegan spots, Grasshopper and Peace o' Pie.

Burmese food incorporates elements of the more familiar cuisines of Burma's (Myanmar's) neighbors, particularly China, Thailand, and India, although we encountered some unique dishes and flavors we'd never experienced before.

We started with LaPhetThot (Tea Leaf Salad): Burmese pickled tea with sesame seeds, peanut, crispy peas & garlic, tomato, cabbage, canola oil, chili, lime & fresh garlic. This dish was unlike anything I'd seen before. Each ingredient was piled separately on the plate, surrounding a center pile of wet pickled tea leaves. There were so many different flavors and textures - crispy, spicy, crunchy, salty, fresh. It was a perfect way to start the meal: light, refreshing, and a bit intriguing. Joel also got a tamarind juice, which was sweeter and less sour than the Caribbean versions we've had.

For the main course, I got PaePyarHin: pan-fried tofu and potato cooked with tomato puree, garlic, onion, spices, and tamarind juice. While it had the appearance of a curry dish, it was thinner and milder, with lots of subtle flavors. It was served with steamed rice, although there was an optional upgrade to tasty-sounding coconut rice which I meant to order but forgot. Next time!

Joel perused the special section of the menu that contained fun-sounding items like Joyful Eggplant, Happy Chicken, and the very appealing Super Pumpkin, which, in addition to pumpkin, contained chicken and pork cooked with lemongrass, onion, cilantro, and ginger. He ended up opting for a dish similar to Super Pumpkin that had shrimp instead of chicken and pork (ShwePaYonTheeHin - Pumpkin Shrimp). It looked a lot like my dish, but the pumpkin flavor was different and wonderful.

The ambiance of the small restaurant is pleasant: giant paintings of Burma that are a bit tacky but also pretty, large colorful letters spelling out "Welcome to YoMa!" on the wall, and a little gift shop in the corner near the register. Our waitress was very friendly, and the food came out quickly.

Now that I'm in Somerville, getting out to Allston is a huge pain...but YoMa definitely merits a return trip. 

Yoma (Burmese) on Urbanspoon

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