At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we get ramped up for Opening Day. Celebrate Opening Day
with our tradition of watching, Who's on First ?
Drop by Exotic Flowers on Opening Day and get a free pack of baseball cards when you mention that you read it on this blog.
Have you ever wondered about those “kosher for Passover” shelves that crop up in your local grocery store when Spring arrives? Are you one of those people who like to eat the “matzah crackers” your jewish friends choke down this time of year while you’re obliviously munching on chocolate bunnies? Or are you simply curious about the “Seder” dinner that you’ve been invited to by one of your Jewish colleagues? Well, wonder no more, you amongst the hebraically-challenged! The sandwich guy is here to ‘splain all about the holiday of unleavened bread with his “Passover Primer”!
Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals on the Jewish calendar. These festivals are so named in light of the historical pilgrimages Jews made from all over the world to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate these special holidays. Passover commemorates the Exodus, the part of biblical Jewish history where the Israelites were freed from generations of enslavement at the hands of the Egyptians to travel for forty years in the desert (yes, even back then, men refused to stop and ask for directions despite the protestations of their wives) on their way to the Land of Milk and Honey, otherwise known as Israel.
The holiday lasts eight days, during which Jews observe a special diet absent foods made with leavening agents. These dietary sacrifices were inspired by the unleavened bread, (or matzah) the Jews prepared in their haste to leave Egypt once the Pharoah had finally been convinced to grant them their freedom. The aforementioned haste was a result of said Pharaoh’s multiple renegings on similar promises. The Jews were taking no chances that the Egyptian leader might change his mind again, and anyone familiar with the parting and closing of the Red Sea allowing the Jews to flee their Egyptian pursuers who were swallowed up by the swift unparting of those same waters understands their haste.
The first two nights of Passover Jews conduct Seders, ritual dinners that retell the story of Passsover by incorporating song, prayer, stories, and food. Seder literally means “order” referring to the many parts of the meal that must be observed in order to tell the story of Passover properly. The dinner is participatory by everyone in attendance, from youngest to oldest, ensuring that all involved participate in the retelling of our past enslavement and by doing so on an annual basis become less likely to forget where we came from.
Passover is a time for all Jews to be grateful for how far we’ve come and what we’ve gained during that journey. But you don’t have to be Jewish to engage in that exercise. Just send flowers! After all, what better way to show your gratitude and humility than by sharing nature’s beauty with those you care about!
Want to read about great sandwiches ? I am your sandwich guy.
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Growing up 100% Italian is quite rare in Boston. I would never trade my heritage for anything. But growing up in Boston also surrounds you with many Irish people and even more Irish customs. My mother, whose parents came from Italy, even cooks corned beef and cabbage every Saint Patrick's Day. This tradition has even carried over to my own family where my wife Suzie, who is part Irish, looks forward to my boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, turnip, potatoes, carrots and pearl onions.
During Saint Patrick's week at my house, you will hear us reading the chidlren's book Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk or watching the Janeane Garofalo movie The Matchmaker on TV. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we often speak about tradition and creating your own memories. Saint Patrick's Day is an ideal holiday to start your own tradition.
I have witnessed many clients at Exotic Flowers who celebrate St. Patrick's Day by buying green carnations in the Boston area. The green carnation reminds of the green shake from McDonalds. You only see them around Saint Patrick's Day. One client in Wellesley has been sending his wife 24 green carnations every year for more than twenty years, while a company on State Street in Boston has bought more than one hundred green carnations every year for the past ten years. They hand a green carnation to each one of their employees to celebrate the holiday.
So crack open a Guinness, hand your loved one a green carnation and listen to the Irish Rovers belt out my favorite Irish tune, 'The Unicorn,'.
Christmas time in New England is magical. Cinnamon, pine, vanilla and coffee permeate the air. Twinkling lights, frenzied children and frost lined sidewalks illuminate the streets of Boston. Greeting cards, decorated homes and Christmas carols spark our memories of Santa bringing toys to our homes. These emotions are infectious. These warm feelings make the holiday season the most romantic time of year. It comes as no surprise that more couples get engaged during Christmas than any other holiday. Hopefully you were on the 'nice list' this year. If so, maybe a little box from EB Horn is under your Christmas tree.
The first moments after your companion pops the question is a flood of emotion; happiness, joy, tears, laughter, love. All these emotions are mirrors of the Christmas season. After accepting your proposal, your heart thumps and the butterflies in your stomach swirl. This event happens once in a lifetime. Embrace your jitters and tears, because this is a story you will tell your grandchildren.
Many newly engaged couples will instantly wish to tell their family, friends or even the six o'clock news. This frenzy is a natural reaction. Some however may wish to keep their news secret. There is nothing wrong with witholding your great news until both partners have had time to enjoy this news intimately.
Eventhough you are officially engaged, there is no need to rush into planning your ideal Cape Cod wedding. Savor the moment and relish the holiday season. Christmas is about memories and traditions. What better way to start a tradition or memory than getting engaged on Christmas ? Planning a wedding in Boston, Newport , the Cape or anywhere can be stressful. Ease into your wedding planning so that you may savor one of the most romantic times of marriage, the pre-honeymoon phase.
Of course, once you are ready to plan your Boston wedding, the staff at Exotic Flowers is at your disposal.
Did you ever play the game padiddle/perdiddle ? The beauty of the night time car game is a way to compete with friends during long or short drives. The Christmas tree car game is very similar but you can play both day and night.
Start your own holiday tradition with the Christmas tree car game. I had never heard of the game or even played before this year. My son and wife introduced me to this fun and festive game.
During the holidays Christmas trees can be found from Boston to Belchertown. On my ten minute commute to work at Exotic Flowers in Roslindale, I pass by five places who sell Christmas trees; including Louie the Florist, Exotic Flowers, Walk Hill Florist, Allandale Farm and Flowerland.
The Christmas Tree Car Game can be played with two or more players. All one need to do is see a car on the road with a Christmas tree on its roof and call out 'tree,'. A running tally can be kept all month long. Right now I have four points, my son has nine and my wife has six. What a great way to start your own Christmas tradition.
You can even have a point system if you know your Christmas trees. You could offer bonus points for living Christmas trees or snow flocked trees. Like padiddle where a police car is huge bonus points, how about huge points for a double Christmas tree car or a game ender if you see the Griswold family Christmas tree.
" I had the blues because I had no shoes. Until upon the street,
I met a man who had no feet." - Denis Waitley
This quote reminds me every day of how thankful I am for what I have. The people in New York and New Jersey and the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, the civil war in Syria and the economic collapse of Greece all serve as daily reminders of how lucky we all are.
Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday. We celebrate our good fortune with food, flowers, friendly and family. Like most of you all, Thanksgiving Day in my family has many stops, from an early day at work (we are open for hostess gifts until 1pm) to dinner at my house and then to my mother's house for even more feasting.
Thanksgiving is a gateway to the holiday season. The holidays are filled with memories and traditions. It is never too late to start your own tradition. Flowers are a perfect companion to any memory or tradition.
Please know that we are at your disposal and send flowers worldwide.
with gratitude for your loyal patronage and friendship,
When we hear about Oktoberfest, we think about beer. What we neglect to mention is that Oktoberfest is a tradition. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, our slogan remains as 'start your own tradition,'. As Americans, our heritages have been watered down. Cultural traditions have often been forgotten. Traditions also create memories and good times shared amongst friends and relatives. Ask the folks at St. Pauli Girl Beer, you do not have to be German to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is not only a celebration of copious tankards of beer, but also an abundance of foods like bratwurst, sauerkraut, dumplings, schnitzel and various mustards.
As Americans we are fortunate to indulge in delicacies from various cultures. Who cares if your ancestors were not German ? Oktoberfest is a chance to celebrate and start your own traditions. What celebration is not complete without fresh flowers to adorn the table and your New England home ?
The golden hues of mustard, the bronzed bratwurst and pickled cabbage can all be enhanced with amazing floral and plants. The colors of the fall season are a perfect complement for the menu. Bronze mums, burgundy calla lilies, free spirit roses and yellow orchids all lend to the illumination of your home for the party.
Even the White House when entertaining German heads of state made a point of incorporating these hues into the tablescape.
Note how the yellow oncidium orchids, green trick dianthus, and green heleborus illuminate the dinner setting for this illustrious event. Remember, if heads of the world have flowers on their dinner tables, then you should too.
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we embrace the holidays as a way to create memories and celebrate traditions. Flowers are always a big part of your celebrations, thank you. Memorial Day is a time for celebrating.
Read on for blogger and Boston flower buyer Jon Bornstein's take on grilling versus barbecuing.
So you think you know food, huh? Pride yourself on being able to differentiate between a Rib Eye and a Porterhouse? Aioli and Au Jus? Focaccia and fiddlehead? Impressive. Now that you’ve humbled me as an American and a food buff, maybe you can answer my favorite question on the cusp of the first long weekend of the summer – what’s the difference between grilling and barbeque?
This quandary has been on my mind as we roll into Memorial Day, a time that signifies many things to those of us fortunate enough to celebrate it. Perhaps most importantly, it is a time for us to reflect upon the sacrifices of our fellow Americans who have fallen in service to our country. Memorial Day also serves as the harbinger for a number of lesser events commonly associated with the warmer New England months. Academicians and their charges view the weekend as the beginning of summer break. Cinephiles welcome it as the start of the “tent pole” popcorn flick season (although the starting date for that seems to creep back earlier and earlier each year). Food-obsessed types like myself embrace it as open season on the outdoor grill.
Not that we diehards stop working our Webers when the weather turns cold and unpleasant. Working the grill is a year-round event for us. But the most glorious time to work the smoky hot space that a full grill top creates is when the thermometer heads north of 70 degrees and the icy sweat coming off a cold bottle of beer can cut a refreshing swath across your forehead.
So I repeat – do you know the difference between grilling and barbeque? I thought I did. Well, I pretty much did. But a recent demonstration at Le Cordon Blue institute in Cambridge by one of their talented chefs/instructors brought it all home for me, so let me do the same for you, just in case your sitting there wondering why I keep asking such an obvious question.
Grilling involves cooking something (be it meat, fish, chicken, or vegetable) by applying direct heat via flame, to the foodstuff in question through a grate. The significance of this is that most of us refer to this act as barbecuing, or having a barbecue, and as you will see, it’s not.
Barbeque is the process of slowly cooking food by applying heat indirectly via burning wood. This process can take up to 18 hours, and imbues the food in question with a smoky flavor and juicy tenderness as the long cooking time breaks down the fats and other components of the meat. Barbecue is truly an American style of cooking, and the way it varies from region to region is part of what makes it special.
Wherever you happen to be chowing down on ‘cue, be it somewhere in Texas, Memphis, the Carolinas, St. Louis, or Kansas City, you will be treated to completely different styles of eats. The sauce might be based around tomato, vinegar, or mustard. You might be eating beef brisket, pork ribs, or shoulder. Your meat may even have been seasoned with a dry rub and served with sauce on the side as opposed to being slathered by sauce directly.
The previously mentioned regions of the US view barbeque in the Northeast using the same lens that we New Englanders view college sports with – sure we’ve got it, and some of it is pretty damn good, but we don’t take it nearly as seriously as the rest of the country. And for a long time, they were right. But ‘cue is trending in this part of the country, and if you don’t believe me, ask anyone who’s been to Red Eyed Pig in West Roxbury or Sweet Cheeks in the Fenway. These places are popping up all over, and people who are serious about their smoke are putting them on the map.
I’ve got a list of three long time denizens of the Boston area that I love who’ve been banging out quality ‘cue for quite some time. Any one of these three can walk you through all the styles I previously mentioned to satisfy both your intellectual curiosity and your hankering for something sweet, tender, and smoky.
1) RedBones has been a fixture in Somerville’s eclectic Davis Square since 1987. Pumping out authentic bbq of all styles including jerk, the menu covers meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian options, with numerous tasty sides and a handful of desserts to go with the two dozen microbrews on tap. Did I mention they also have a food truck?
2) Blue Ribbon Barbeque is a multi-location operation whose longevity I’m not entirely sure of, but like Redbones, they do offer a variety of regional barbeque styles for your smoky flavor cravings. They do a nice job, and they’ve got four “Best of Boston’s” to prove it.
3) The East Coast Grill & Raw Bar in Cambridge’s Inman Square is not your typical “BBQ joint. In fact, BBQ is only a small portion of the menu, with the roster being filled out by a number of deliciously inventive grilled options from both the seafood and meat families. But they do offer classic ‘cue from a couple of different regions, and for heat seekers, they are renowned for their “Hell Night”, where numerous dishes of a volcanic nature are trotted out for the brave patrons who participate. Definitely worth a stop, and I’m pretty sure once you’ve been, you’ll want to go back.
So do your patriotic duty this upcoming holiday weekend, and indulge in a truly American pastime by enjoying our native cuisine at one of the fine institutions listed above, or somewhere else you’ve been meaning to check out. And once you’ve done that, please don’t forget to report back! Did I mention this would also be a good opportunity to send flowers to someone you love?
Read Jon Bornstein's Sandwich Blog here:
Follow Me On Twitter @Zucrow
I remember going to Mass at Sacred Heart in Roslindale every Sunday as a youth and during the service the priest would always remind us what to be thankful for. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we are very thankful. We appreciate being such a special part of your lives. Your birthdays, weddings, proms, and funerals give our jobs as florists meaning. You give us a huge responsibility. You entrust us to convey your emotions. We will never take that job lightly.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. My day starts with breakfast with my boys. I head into our flower shop in Roslindale at 730am. Yes we are open for walk in customers. What better hostess gift than flowers for the table ? We close about 2pm and I head with Suzie and the boys over to my mother in law Murphy's home in West Roxbury where I feast on turkey with all the trimmings. After digesting this feast, I move onto my parents home for a spread of homemade ravioli, meatballs, sausage, lasagna and bracciole. Family, food, wine and flowers.
Thanksgiving is about spending time with family, friends and tradition. If you cannot be there, please call or even better send flowers. Start your own tradition.
Thank you for loyalty. Thank you for your referrals. Thank you for spending your hard earned money at Exotic Flowers & Lombardi Florist.