Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bits & Pieces

Possum wishes everyone a healthy, bird-and-rodent-filled New Year and hopes you've made some decent resolutions. He plans to sing louder in 2012, get back to work on his movie career, and take more time to eat the roses.

As for me, I have so many resolutions in mind that I can't decide which ones to take seriously. Later. But I will pledge that we'll have a new address by 12/31/2012. And no rodents at all.

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We have new cameras! This blog should have more and better photographs from now on. We both got the brand-new Canon PowerShot S100. In sought-after silver. I've been waiting for this camera to appear in silver for months. The black version was finally released early in the fall, but I'd never be able to a little black camera in the dark, ridiculous depths of my handbag. Two of the silver cameras finally arrived at Bromfield Camera downtown on Thursday, and they called me. I'd been dropping by to remind them every time I was downtown, after all. I'm on waiting lists for this camera all over town as well as online. I've never heard of a camera playing hard-to-get to this extent. As the salesmen took it out of the box to show it to me, they waved their arms and flourished it as if it were the Holy Grail. When my husband heard that they still had the second silver camera in the window, he traded in his S95 for it. Which means I'll have 24/7 tech support for mine, which is important because I'm usually too lazy to read instruction manuals. 

We like to buy cameras at local stores, especially Bromfield, which is family owned and operated. I may be an online bargain hunter, but I also believe in supporting local, independent stores, especially those with great customer service. At Bromfield, they give useful advice and let you take your time handling different cameras and making up your mind. If you have a problem or question, you're always welcome to show up at their counter. 

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We had the upstairs dining room at the Marliave almost entirely to ourselves at lunch today. It's one of Boston's oldest restaurants, but we'd never been there. While the decor and menu are strictly up to date, the building itself has that authentic, creaky, old Boston atmosphere. We'll be going back for dinner. The Marliave makes everything fresh, including juices, pastas, sauces, breads, desserts, and ice cream, and they also serve local meats and produce. They have an enticing cheese and charcuterie menu; next time, I'm ordering a cheese plate, which comes with fig jam, spiced walnuts, lavender honey, and a choice of cranberry-walnut bread, a baguette, or toasted brioche. 

This time, I tried the Marliave's version of croque monsieur, a ham-and-gruyère sandwich topped with béchamel and more cheese. It was big, soft, and rich, served with excellent rosemary-scented fries. My husband had a pastrami sandwich with baked beans. Then he ordered butterscotch pudding with whipped cream and candied ginger. I had a spoonful; it was thick and intense, exactly what pudding should be.

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You can't have too much cheese. 

Last night, we feasted on cheese fondue with bits of ham and mushrooms at the Wine Cellar on Mass. Ave. This small dining room is pretty, romantic, and fun — especially if you like to play with your food and with fire. We like to stay in on New Year's Eve, far away from crowds and those horns, so we made our reservation for the night before. After nearly overdosing on cheese, bread, and potatoes, we threw common sense to the winds and ordered dessert: milk chocolate fondue mixed with caramel and dusted with sliced almonds. It came with a plate of fruit, marshmallows, cookies, and cake for dipping. Nirvana on a cold winter night.  I hope you find a sweet way to celebrate your New Year, too.

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