Back Bay, Things to Do

The Time I Raced a Couch on Boylston Street

I laughed out loud when I first received word of the Great Boston Couch Race, an outdoor obstacle course completed via pedicabs/couches/rickshaws, for the awareness and benefit of House of Tsang sauces. “Who are the ad wizards that came up with this one?”

It turns out Tsang puts on quite a show and they deserve a thumbs up for a legitimately fun event. The race’s obstacles were so ridiculous that they circled back on the cool-o-meter, from a DVD hunt reminiscent of Supermarket Sweep to tossing vegetables at a teammate with the help of a wok. I felt like I was a contestant on Family Double Dare, if it were filmed on a frozen tundra. Multiple flatscreens displayed twitter feeds and a nearby tent cooked up stir-fry on demand. This is apart from the sauce itself, which I know as a staple for confused guys who want add flavor to meat, but for whom the advanced ways of five spice marinade remain a mystery.

The Pru on a winter’s Saturday morning is confusing for this city native. The crowd was dominated by high schoolers in formal wear: there was a jazz band competition in the Hynes. You know the crowd: that kid in the food court forgot his tie and the one sitting across from him just threw mini corns at the girls. Another kid slicked back his hair with mousse for the first time ever. It is overrun with tourists, too. But I can only wonder, who chose to come to Boston in February and spend more time inside at a mall? How bad does it have to be where you came from?

In the Couch Race, those high schoolers would be my downfall. I raced against two girls in town from Cape Cod, a pianist and a singer. We had a huge lead, entering the final stretch under 100 seconds. But  pedal mishaps necessitated pushing the bike-couch-rickshaw with our feet, a la Fred Flintstone, costing valuable time. As we approached the finish line behind the musicians, our soy sauce dreams a fading memory, I thought back to competitions of years past, and relived my “almost, not-quite” moments.

I won an Oreo stacking contest in the 1990s. My parents and I happened upon the demo table in Wegmans and encouraged me to compete. My hands, fresh from a piano lesson, piled up over 20 cookies. I knew it to be a triumph, even in the moment. Later that evening, a woman called and informed me I won that day’s round. Glory was upon me. I was ready for regionals, all-state, then the Oreo Olympics. Wegmans never called to schedule a follow-up match.

My middle school bowling team received the Foundation Trophy several years for the dubious distinction of supporting the rest of the league by finishing last. A noble effort rewarded with an embarrassingly stout trophy.

I won Jeopardy! and am pleased by the accolades garnered from the over-60 set, the increase in bar trivia invitations and a wonderfully awkward photo with Alex Trebek many think is Photoshopped. And yet I remain unfulfilled by a thread on a Disco Biscuits discussion board. The night of the show’s original airing, a mysterious, alleged middle school classmate live-blogged the ups and downs of the game. Winnings aside, the true daily double is, “who is this guy?” The answer remains elusive.

Back Bay, Brighton, Brookline, Downtown, Fenway, Neighborhoods, North End, Sports Department, Transportation and the T

Your Roadmap to Wednesday’s Fenway Parking Nightmare

No Stopping Boston Police Special Event Wednesday & Thursday 4PM to 2AM

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get my car towed/ticketed/flipped/broken-into-during-riots, since I always try to keep my car at top, and I even got insurance from the cheap auto policies online, so my car is always safe… so I checked out the City of Boston’s parking ban list… and I was lost as I read down the laundry list of roads.

I help myself out (and you) mapped out the bans… if it is in red…or close to the red… don’t even think about pulling over.


From the Department of Transportation:

Red Sox fans are strongly encouraged by the City of Boston to leave their personal vehicles at home and take the T whether they are heading to Fenway or another destination in Boston to watch the World Series games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  On-street parking will be restricted on several streets in the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood of the City.  Parking will also be restricted on streets in Brighton, as well as near Northeastern University, Faneuil Hall and North Station.

Additional Parking Enforcement staff will be working before, during and after the games to assist with public safety needs.  They will also be concentrating on ensuring that only vehicles with Fenway/Kenmore Resident Parking Permits are parked in curbside spaces designated for residents in that neighborhood.

For more information on the parking ban check out the City of Boston’s Press Release for the official road closings… I wouldn’t want you to get mad at me if you park on a street that I missed!

Back Bay, Things to Do

Sweat in the City: Lucy Light Forest

Lucy Light Forest

The Charles River Esplanade is a pretty spectacular place during Boston’s Fall months. The sun is setting earlier and earlier these days, so you’re guaranteed to get a beautiful view during your post-work bike ride, run, or stroll.

But the Esplanade is about to get a lot more bright thanks to the Lucy Light Forest, which officially opened to the public yesterday. Just west of the Hatch Shell, this Light Forest lights up a portion of the Esplanades path. I saw the setup process happening earlier this week and it looks amazing. The 10,000 lights and sounds react to your movement as you pass through the forest.

Lucy is hosting a bunch of fitness classes at the Light Forest next week led by some of the best instructors Boston has to offer. The schedule is pretty diverse:

  • October 7th: Yoga 6:00pm
  • October 8th: Pilates 6:00am, City Sports Run Club 6:00pm, Bootcamp 6:00pm
  • October 9th: Yoga 6am, Barre Blast 6:00pm
  • October 10th: Pilates 6:00pm
  • October 11th: Hip Hop Vinyasa Yoga 6:00pm
  • October 12th: Ultimate Bootcamp hosted by City Sports 9:00am, Pilates 4:00pm
  • October 13th: Yoga 4:00pm

You can see the full schedule on Lucy Light Forest’s website. All workout classes are BYOS (bring your own stuff) ie: yoga mat, water, towel, etc.

Back Bay, Things to Do, We Love Food

Porkapalooza at The Salty Pig

The Salty Pig

When I saw that the “secret ingredient” at The Salty Pig’s Porkapalooza event was “Pork Trotter” I immediately reached for my phone to ask trusty Google what the hell I was about to eat. One of my dining mates then informed me that it was what it sounded like – pigs’ feet. Makes sense. We were in for a fun ride!

Dartmouth Street’s The Salty Pig has been hosting their own version of an all pork food throw-down called Porkapalooza. For one flat price of $25, you get to sample two family-style dishes made by the two “competing” chefs (it’s all friendly competition over here) and vote on which one is your favorite. This week’s visiting chef was Karen Akunowicz from Myers & Chang fame vs. The Salty Pig’s executive chef Kevin O’donnell.

Once I got a drink, it was time for business. Each dish was separated by numbers, Chef #1 and Chef #2, so as not to spoil the surprise. After a round of small appetizer plates, it was time for the main attraction – the pork!

Chef #1’s dish was braised pork trotter with collard greens, pickled green tomato, and a soft boiled quail egg marinated in soy sauce.

The Salty Pig

Chef #2’s dish was stuffed trotter with lentils and a grape mostarda.

The Salty Pig

I loved the spice in chef #1’s dish. It wasn’t overpowering and grew stronger as you ate. The quail eggs were crazy good, and the pickled green tomatoes cut through the richness of the trotter cake and the spicy sauce.

Chef #2’s presentation was insane. That is a pig’s foot…right there…on my plate. The lentils were perfection and the grape mostarda gave a nice sweetness to the really rich trotter.

Choosing a winner was difficult – they were both so surprisingly (given the somewhat unsettling ingredient) good! After sampling both, all the diners got to vote for their favorites, while the two judges submitted their favorites. Tonight’s judges were Drew Starr, contributing Editor at Eater Boston and Tom O’Keefe, everyone’s favorite man on the street, Boston Tweet.

After tallying the votes, the winner was Chef Karen! Competition aside, it was a really fun way to spend a Monday night. Good company, amazing food, and wonderful atmosphere. I will definitely be checking out The Salty Pig for dinner very soon. If you want to go to Porkapalooza yourself, keep an eye out on Eventbrite’s website. This looks like it’s an event here to stay.


This post is sponsored by Eventbrite Boston. Eventbrite enables people all over the world to plan, promote, and sell out any event. They make it easy to set up online event registration and sell tickets online as well as discover awesome events in Boston. Post your event, send invitations, collect online payments, track ticket sales and more-all in one place.