Real Vid does Boston

Little Vid was taking some much needed R & R this week, but happily Real Vid met up with us in Boston for some of her own adventures.

Eating ice cream
Kicking off the weekend with ice cream at Toscanini’s

Enjoying dinner at Tu Y Yo
Excitement at Tu y Yo

Me and Vid
Happy to be hanging with Kenny

Happy brunch
Real Vid loves having Seema explain things to her

Waffle indulgence
Real Vid enjoys Chocolate-coconut waffles for breakfast

Early birthday cake
Vid’s birthday isn’t until August, but this was our only chance to celebrate together

Toscanini’s (Cambridge, MA)

Rating:

The last time Lauren and I visited Boston, Julie took us on a tour of Boston’s ice cream parlors. Over the span of two days, we tasted the flavors on offer at J.P. Licks, Christina’s, and Herrell’s, but we were unable to fit in a trip to Toscanini’s, Boston’s most famous ice cream shoppe.

This afternoon, Lauren, Vidya and I went on a mission to Central Square to see what all of the hype was about. It was a beautiful 75 degree day, and arrived in Central Square ready for a cool treat.

Toscanini’s ice cream factory, visible through street-side floor to ceiling windows, is adjacent to their cafe. It was fun to watch the large machinery, but we did not linger as there was an assortment of 30 flavors beckoning. The staff at Tosci’s are very friendly and are happy to let you try a number of flavors. So try we did, delighting in a variety of flavors that all shared a perfectly balanced, creamy texture.

Our plan was to get one scoop from the chocolate family, and one lighter flavor. Aztec Chocolate was a mix of chilies and dark chocolate, with a delicious start, but a surprisingly intense aftertaste that would likely have overwhelmed a companion scoop. Orange Chocolate was also yummy, but it was when we tried Black Bottom that we were sold. Black Bottom, based on a Southern pie, is a mix of dark chocolate rum ice cream and ginger snap cookies. We paired it with a scoop of B^3 (Brownie, Brown Sugar, Brown Butter). I liked B^3, but our consensus after we polished off the cup was that it would be better if they dropped the brownies and turned it into B^2 (or perhaps made the brownies less dense).

Overall, Tosci’s has their base ice cream formula down pat. It’s clear that they know their trade, and the result is the best ice cream I’ve had in the USA east of Mission-Dolores.

List of flavors
Creative flavors that change daily

Kenny and ice cream
The scoops don’t come cheap, but they are quite generous…

Lauren and Vid diving in
…and Lauren and Vid were both quite happy to help tackle the double scoop cup

Toscanini’s 
899 Main Street
Central Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-491-5877

Daily: 8:00AM-11:00PM

The Next Six Weeks

We have only 10 days left in Thailand. I know it will be extremely difficult to leave. On the one hand, I do feel a bit ready to move on from our small town. It is lovely, but after three months I certainly feel like I’ve seen what it has to offer. On the other hand, it will be very hard to leave my volunteer assignment. Not that I didn’t accomplish my goals – on the contrary, the staff and I have accomplished a lot more than we expected. I just know that I will miss them horribly and I want to continue helping them work for democracy in Burma. The separation will also be a poignant reminder that while I’ve been here helping them voluntarily, this cause is their life and they can’t just leave. In fact, they can’t really go anywhere.

Here is our plan for the next six weeks. As usual, it’s ridiculous and it involves a lot of flights:

  • Thailand: We have one more week volunteering in Mae Hong Son, then we head to New York (via Chiang Mai, Taipei, and San Francisco).
  • New York: We’ll be in New York for about a week for Kenny’s sister’s wedding. We have a bunch of errands to run — AJWS post-mortem at their office, get new India visas, get yellow fever shots for Uganda, etc. — but we’ll also get to spend time with family and friends while we’re there. My parents are also coming to the wedding. I’m excited to see my Dad again so soon, and I’ve promised to take my Mom on the Jewish tour of New York (Lower East Side, Brooklyn, etc.).
  • Boston: We will have four days in Boston to visit our dear friends Julie and Damian, and their newest addition, Sophie. A few friends from Seattle will be joining us.
  • London: On our way to India for Sean and Archana’s wedding, we arranged for a four-day "layover" in London. Kenny has never been to Stonehenge, so we will probably try to squeeze that in too. It will be a weird, very first-world tourist experience in the middle of this year of Global South adventures, but hopefully New York and Boston will help with the transition. I expect that we’ll spend more money during four days in London than we typically spend in four weeks here in Thailand.
  • Delhi: Delhi always seems to be our gateway to India. Gio is meeting us, and we’ll spend a couple of days showing him the sights (and we need to take him for a celebratory meal at Indian Accent). Then we plan to make a day trip to Agra, since we promised ourselves we’d see the Taj Mahal this time. It’s going to be HOT, but I suppose it can’t be much worse than April in Northern Thailand
  • Bangalore: The main event for us in India is Sean and Archana’s wedding in Bangalore, which promises to be an all-out traditional Tam-Bram affair. After the wedding, we’re all heading to a Jungle Retreat in the Nilgiris for a few days.
  • Kampala: On June 11, we’ll fly from Bangalore to Dubai to Addis Ababa to Entebbe, in order to start our next volunteer assignment, which is a technology for agriculture project, based in Kampala.