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Thursday, July 9, 2015

The New Neighborhood

The new work, not home, neighborhood that is.

Jen began her brandy-y new job on Monday and, so far, she's loving it. Particularly love inspiring is the commute—20 minutes each way as opposed to 60-90. Yes, that is something to be wild about—indeedy!

Her gig’s in Hingham, an affluent town with an upscale mall. It’s one of those outdoor malls that are referred to, weirdly, as “lifestyle centers.” Best I can tell, with one exception, this “lifestyle center” is all about shopping. And eating. Hells, those are two things that I’m mad about but, c’mon, give me some lifestyle diversity!

This collussus of retail wonder has a rectangular lay out with all the parking in the center, between the long shop blocks. The architecture is sort old New England-esque so it almost, ALMOST felt like I was walking around the shopping district of some cute, coastal town. The big chain stores were a mega giveaway that I was in a mall though.

I found a lot of the usual, slightly uppish sellers—Ann Taylor, Apple, Kate Spade, Gap, Loft, Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew BUT there’s also a Barnes and Noble and a yoga studio! That’s right, after you buy those $92 yoga pants at Lululemon you can head over to Dancing Crow Yoga and try them out. And then you can go read a book, eh?

I guess that’s the yoga joint's the token, non-shopping, lifestyle outlet.

For dining pleasure there’s, amongst many, Chipotle, Panera, Legal C Bar and Rustic Kitchen. Does a place classify as a chain restaurant if it has just three other locations? Rustic Kitchen is also on Stuart Street in Boston, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania AND Mexico City (wow). The only other eatery here with fewer outlets is White’s Bakery Cafe. They’ve got just one other locale (in nearby Brockton).

But back to Jen. We met at Rustic Kitchen after her third day on the new job. I think I’m in love with the place. We just had a couple of apps. First came a salad sort of a thing made with roasted tomatoes, arugula, walnut pesto and crispy eggplant. So far, so diet friendly but it was topped with a brill egg of locally made Mozzarella Burrata. I don’t wanna know how many calories that added!

Then a tray of wee Blackened Fish Tacos (like sliders!) arrived. Bast knows what the fish was—haddock? cod?—but these “tacos,” with pico de gallo, avocado and cilantro crema, were fabulous.

I, naturally, overdid on the adult bev end of things by ordering a pear “martini.” Yes, this was some sort of vodka cocktail served in a martini glass. The shape of the glass does NOT mean that you can call it a martini! Words have meaning, don'cha know.

Enough of that though—the drink was astoundingly good. I had to drive home or else I’d have thrown good sense and smart eating/drinking to the wind and ordered a second.

On top of the brill food and drink, we were totes mad about the bar’s atmosphere (no, we didn’t venture into the dining room). It was dark, but not TOO, had odd, entrancing and organic lighting fixtures (I want these at home!), a lot of brick and wood  and comfy barstools with backs.

Yeah, we may become regulars there.

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