Super Hunger Brunch at the Fireplace

As part of Brookline Climate Week, Climate Action Brookline has been encouraging people to eat at Brookline restaurants that are recognized for “green” practices such as sustainable operations and menus composed of organic or locally grown food.  The Fireplace in Washington Square is certified by the Green Restaurant Association and prides itself on offering New England-grown seasonal produce.  Even better, this Saturday the restaurant was participating in the Greater Boston Food Bank’s Super Hunger Brunch with a special menu for $25.  This annual fundraiser uses the proceeds – vouchers for specific restaurants available on the website a few weeks ahead of time – to stock the food bank that provides over 500,000 meals each year.

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The waitstaff had to adjust the menu a bit for vegetarians.  The brunch cocktail, yogurt parfait and croissant stuffed with egg, cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts were delicious and a great value!

Posted in Charity, Food, Restaurants, Sustainability | 2 Comments

Allston Village Street Fair

It was back to my old stomping grounds for the 30th annual Allston Village Street Fair on Sunday.  The stretch of Harvard Ave between Brighton Ave and Cambridge St closes to traffic for this afternoon of music, street performance and food.  Thousands of people of all ages pass through vendor stalls promoting local (and not-so-local) businesses as well as non-profits, punctuated with the odd bouncy castle or food stand.  Two stages showcase Boston-area bands, singers and rappers.  The event is organized by the Parents and Community Build Group whose mission is to strengthen community and quality of life in Allston-Brighton by putting on events that bring residents together, advocating for green spaces like Ringer Park and supporting social services with local impact.

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A few used clothing shops set up stands to display samples of their inventories including Boomerangs, a non-profit supporting the Massachusetts Aids Action CommitteeCarryOn, a subsidiary of the St. Francis House, showed off a selection of their handmade bags fashioned from repurposed materials.  Most are tote or messenger style and made from reclaimed coffee or rice sacks.  Purchases will help make this venture an economically viable business owned and operated by the formerly homeless.  The Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, part of the Bulgarian Diocese, had its annual yard sale on this day.  Items were donated by the congregation and it was a sad sight.  The litmus test for what you should donate to a church fundraiser should be whether someone else would want the junk that you no longer want.  It is a shame that most of this stuff belonged in the trash and did not appear to be moving at all.

There were fewer food vendors this year than in the past which was a little disappointing, and even fewer options for a vegetarian.  Instead we ended up at the Refuge Café at the corner of Harvard and Brighton Avenues which afforded a great vantage point to watch the bands on the main stage.  When it opened a few years ago people wondered whether this place could fill the void left by the much missed Allston Café, but it seems to be doing just fine.  There are plenty of vegetarian options, local beers on tap as well as one of my favorite things, Angry Orchard Cider!  I went for the Tofu Bowl which is a satisfying dish of vegetarian chili on top of home fries with some tofu thrown in.  The eggplant fries were also a delicious novelty.

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Street performers included drummers, a Harvard marching band, salsa dancers and former America’s Got Talent contestant Snap Boogie who pulled me out of the crowd to jump over my head along with another unsuspecting victim.  There was an annoyingly long windup to the actual jump which involved him trying to hype up the crowd and get his perimeter of onlookers perfect during which I was forced to stand in the middle and wait.  While I am amazed at the feat itself, his ass did actually hit me in the back of the head!

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