Monthly Archives: November 2016

Eataly Boston, Ciao Bella!


Boylston street in Boston has lots of great restaurants within the area.  While Newbury street provides more clothing stores to shop at, Boylston street is known for its restaurants.  When a new restaurant opens its doors, Boston knows how to make the event stand out in front of the crowd.  Last night I headed to the grand opening of Eataly Boston in the Prudential Center.

Eataly is a colorful Italian marketplace where you can eat, shop, and learn about Italian culture.  The company opened their first shop at Turin in January 2007.  They made their launch into the United States with a shop in New York City near the Madison Square Park on August 31st, 2010.  This opening generated large amounts of press coverage, including praises from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  More than six years after opening their first Eataly in New York City, we finally have one opened in Boston.

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Standing in line during a drizzly night, I was ready to head into the grand opening.  Over to the left of the escalators were a coffee shop and a stand selling Italian crepes.  Before stepping onto the escalator, I noticed a sign that read, “EATALY IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN EAT SHOP LEARN HIGH QUALITY FOODS”.  I haven’t ventured up to the 2nd floor yet and I was already excited for what’s to come soon.

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Heading up the escalator, I saw a huge marketplace area further down.  I sat down on one of the tables to get a better understanding of where everything was on the map.  There was individual seating nearby with posters depicting certain areas of Italy.  What was interesting was that there were plug outlets on the wall, so it’s a great place to get some work done!  After getting a better sense of where everything was on the map, I got up to start my exploration.

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To my right was a wine/beer store where you can buy the finest wine from Italy (yes, EVERY bottle was imported from Italy!).  I was hit with a funny sign that informed me that no wine glasses were allowed past the point, but there were more glasses to buy there.  There were hundreds of rows of wines to pick from, all lined up against the wall.  Moving over to the fridge area, I noticed a few rows of…craft beers!  This place had CRAFT BEERS to purchase (it was mostly Dogfish Head brand, but still!).  Wine is not really my thing and I was so glad to see some good craft beers to find here.

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Next I ventured out to look at the kitchen supplies.  There was colorful silverware lined up in a drawer.  Other supplies included bowls, cups, wine glasses, cook books, and other necessities.  One interesting book I saw was called The Chew Approved, which was based on the TV show The Chew.  Interestingly enough, Mario Batali of The Chew is part of the Eataly partnership for the restaurant (other members include Lidia and Joe Bastianich). I looked up at the top to see that many of these supplies were made by Alessi, a company in Italy known as the Italian Factory of Design.

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There was a vendor called True North Granola selling flavored granolas nearby.  True North Granola was a company based in Brattleboro, Vermont that sells organic and non-GMO flavored granola.  I’ve had granola for breakfast many times and the samples I had were really good!

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This marketplace had every kind of Italian food, including fruits and vegetables.  There were a few farm stands that sold fresh, organic fruits and veggies.  Each item was organized into sections such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, lettuces, and berries.  These were locally-sourced produce that provided lots of health benefits.

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One major thing I saw around the building were different strains of pasta (since that’s what Italy is best known for).  Every kind of pasta you could think of, from rigatoni to angel hair, was in stock.  To keep up with the latest social trends, gluten-free pasta was also available to buy as well.  There were also some unique strains that were made with wheat or quinoa.  The most unique pasta product I found?  Pasta with black squid ink and wheat germ.  I’ve never tried pasta that contained black squid ink, so this was really cool to find!

After a hearty pasta dish, you’ll want to finish with some Italian dessert.  Just like the pasta selections, every kind of cookie/chocolate could be found here.  One unique dessert I had to look at twice were chocolate covered cigars.  I looked at them for a second and thought, “oh cool, they sell cigars here!”.  It took me a few minutes to realize that they were CHOCOLATE CIGARS, not cigars to smoke.  My mind was INSTANTLY blown over this discovery.  Italy is just on a whole ‘nother level when it comes to dessert!

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Nearby the restrooms was a small kitchen area with strains of pasta.  A chef was introducing people to the cooking classes that Eataly had to offer.  These classes teach you how to prepare 2-3 meals for your family.  Classes are a bit on the pricier side, but they offer interesting lessons on cooking Italian meals.

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Before heading back home, I went into the back room for some more exploring.  There were various posters highlighting the different locations of where Eataly is in the world.  Each location had a national landmark of that area that was designed with pastas strains (the Empire State Building of NYC was covered in angel hair pasta).  Most of them first opened in Italy before establishing their presence in the United States.  One good info I caught was that an Eataly would be opening next year in Los Angeles (shout out to La-La Land!).  With that, I decided to head back home after my busy hour spent here.

Being part of the Grand Opening event of Eataly was fantastic!  I really enjoyed looking around the huge Italian marketplace.  There was so much to look at and flavorful aromas that filled the whole room.  Most Italian food can be found in Boston’s North End section, but Eataly brought a new attraction to Boylston street.

Next time I head into Boylston street, I would definitely come back to Eataly again.  Any Italian-Americans taking a trip into Boston should definitely pop into Eataly sometime.  It is well worth the trip and you’ll find so many unique products that you won’t find at the grocery stores.  Thank you Boston for opening up another unique attraction for the city!

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A Secret Category Approaches: Clue #2


Now that Thanksgiving is over, business has been open again for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  It’s only a few days after holiday and we received yet ANOTHER clue on our desk!  Another empty glass bottle was found in the office with a label that reads, “12/15/16 – ????”.  Inside the bottle was a message rolled and tied up.  We pulled out the paper and the message said, “Barbara Streisand recorded We’ve Only Just Begun on April 20th 1971”.

Well then…Barbara Streisand recorded a song on April 20th 1971.  What does this even entail?  Is Barbara Streisand a big clue to the secret category?  Why have there been 2 musicians (Freddie Mercury and Barbara Streisand) mentioned in these clues?

I think it’s best if we dive into more details about the history behind the clue itself.  Barbara Streisand has become an icon in multiple fields of entertainment within the past decades.  She is known as singer, songwriter, actress, and even a filmmaker.  Streisand is also one of the best-selling music artists of all time, selling more than 68.5 million albums in the US and 145 million records worldwide.

After diving into the music industry, Barbara started her gig as an actress with her role as Fanny Brice in Funny GirlFunny Girl is a musical set around New York City around the time World War I was happening.  Fanny Brice waits for her husband Nicky Arnstein from prison and the story moves into an extended flashback, focusing on their history together.  It is a classic play that introduced catchy songs like ‘People’ and ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’. The film landed her multiple awards including the Academy Award for Best Actress, David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actress, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

Our clue dives back into Barbara’s music career with the song We’ve Only Just Begun that she recorded on April 20th 1971.  The lyrics to the song were originally written by Paul Williams and it became a hit single by The Carpenters.  Paul Williams may have originally wrote the lyrics, but Barbara recorded her version of the tune.

Here’s the set of puzzles we have so far: Two empty bottles labeled ‘12/15/16 – ????’.  The first clue revolves around an All-Star Concert in tribute to Freddie Mercury that was held on April 20th, 1992 (more on this clue here).  Our latest clue is about Barbara Streisand recording her version of We’ve Only Just Begun for her CD on April 20th, 1971.  Two musicians, yet they create different genres of music.  Why are musicians only being mentioned in these clues?  Are there correlations between Freddie Mercury and Barbara Streisand?  Where are these clues leading us?

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In the end, we have been left with even more questions than answers about this secret category.  More clues and still no answer has been found about the mystery category.  What will the secret category focus on?  Could this drastically change the course of MakeSandcastlesNotWar as we know it?  December 15th is just a few weeks away and we are heading into the year 2017 in a month.  Things will start getting A LOT more interesting for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Stay Tuned!

Punting Thursday Night Games off the Airwaves


One of America’s popular sport during the fall/winter season is Football.  Families and friends gather around on Sunday night to watch their favorite team try to win.  Fantasy football fanatics are glued to their TV and laptop in the hopes of scoring more points in their league.  It’s one of America’s greatest pastimes when baseball season ends in October.

Football games used to air only on Sundays, but popular demands for the sport extended televised games for a few extra games.  Monday Night Football started in September 21, 1970 and became one of the highest-rated prime time programs, particularly among male viewers.  These Monday night games featured celebrity guests to “liven up” the games when it was starting.  NFL games have been airing on Thursdays for a decade now, but they could soon become a thing of the past.

The National Football League is considering ending, or at least limiting, Thursday Night Football. Their current contract with CBS and NBC runs through 2017, so certain changes to the negotiations could start in 2018.  Audiences have been tuning off from these Thursday night games because the two teams don’t have their A-game (literally!).  With both teams not giving it 100%, this leads to poor plays throughout the game and people will starting tuning out.

What’s interesting is that Thursday games weren’t a part of the NFL season until the post season race in November 2012 (when Obama was reelected for his 2nd term as president).  The first game that aired on Thursday was Thanksgiving night in 2005.  Thursday night games slowly became popular in 2012 and it started to take a serious toll on its players.

Seattle Seahawks corner-back Richard Sherman joined a number of NFL players who speaking out against Thursday Night Football.  He calls out the NFL for their hypocrisy about preaching player safety, yet sending their players into games with only four days of rest.  Sherman also tossed the complaint about playing on Thanksgiving night and having to miss a home-cooked meal with his family.  Former Houston Texans running back Adrian Foster accused the NFL of “putting every player on the football field in danger” when it came to Thursday games.

Viewership ratings have been decreasing during the 2016-2017 season, causing the NFL to look at what isn’t working with its viewers.  The NFL is faced with various options:  one of those is to eradicate Thursday Night Football completely.  Another option would be to start Thursday games at Thanksgiving and going until the season ends in January.  Decisions will need to be made in order to protect both the players health and approval rating from their audiences.

To better understand the major tolls Thursday night games take, let’s look at a typical scenario involving one NFL player.  We’ll go with Rob Gronkowski as our example (because of his awesome social media involvement!).  It’s Sunday and the Patriots play against Oakland Raiders.  The Patriots win 22-14 and their next game is on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins.  After the game, Rob Gronkowski has exactly 4 days until his next game on Thursday.  This means that Rob would have about 96 hours to rest, eat, train, hydrate, and practice to get himself prepared for his next game.  Gronk may be a young spring chicken, but all those tackles will take a serious toll on both his physical/mental health.

So we seem to have an interesting marketing problem here.  We are seeing more football games than the past decades, yet the audiences are tuning out due to their sluggish performance.  Keep in mind that sports is a part of ENTERTAINMENT and the players PERFORM this sport every week in front of a live audience.  The ironic thing is that audiences are complaining that football isn’t what it used to be.  Other problems audiences see in football are harder tackles, more rules that dubbed the NFL the ‘no-fun-league’, players taking knees during the National Anthem, mediocre half-time shows, and more time broadcasting the game.  It seems as though the NFL is spurring up this razzle-dazzle concept to fluff up their programs, but the audience isn’t buying it at all.

Thursday Night Football is just flaming the fire of a branding nightmare the NFL has been facing the past few years.  This and the increase of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (more on this exclusive subject later!) has caused serious issues among the NFL, it’s players, and their audiences.  What should the verdict be for Thursday Night Football?  Could we really do without football on Thursday?

Who knows what the future will hold for the NFL.  With more players suffering life-threatening injuries in football, the NFL really needs to think about the future of American Football the next 5-10 years.  If nothing gets sorted out, then football will become extinct in the near future.  This isn’t just about football games on Thursday nights; it’s about the teetering future of one of America’s greatest weekend pastimes.  Football helped shape America to what it is today and our country’s most important values could soon be punted off the field.

Funny Search Result on Sunday FunDay!


Hello everyone!  No news to discuss, just wanted to turn your attention to something more interesting.  Yesterday I was surfing through my blog to see the status of it so far.  Everything seemed ordinary until I looked at the ‘Search Terms’ portion.

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Someone was searching ‘jesse jackman bottom’ and seemed to have discovered my blog on Google.  So yeah, apparently someone was searching for porn and they decided to check out my site through their search.  Well…I am certainly flattered!  It’s funny what kind of audience you get when writing about certain topics.

To the man/woman who was looking for ‘jesse jackman bottom’ videos…THANK YOU for discovering my work at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Always a pleasure to find random visitors who stumbled upon my blog (whether it was intentional or accidental!).  I hope you enjoyed your night with some amazing videos of Jesse Jackman.

These pictures are dedicated to that user who stumbled onto my blog:

Hope your Saturday night was memorable one!