East of Paris Bookstore

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Alumni Events

April 1 in Cambridge, MA
Mr. Wonderful decided to attend a series of alumni events at Harvard. We have spent the better part of the last two days listening to panel discussions about the financial crisis and other economics topics as well as lectures about the end of empire (British) and about reading the classics in an age of secularism.  
The mind is full, the body is cold [it snowed yesterday], and the stomach is empty. Time for a quick tour of restaurants in a college town.

I suggest warm up drinks at Up Stairs on the Square.  
This is an eclectic combination of sports bar, artsy hang-out, and fine restaurant want-to-be.  The walls are pink, the carpet (under the dirt) is zerba-striped, the food is bad, the drinks are good. A very short walk from our hotel it was worth trying once if not necessarily worth a return visit.

The Rialto at the Charles Hotel is popular and has a clean moderne look. The menu is unusual in that it offers a variety of items including venison, rabbit, and the delicious India-themed eggplant in saor [eggplant with chick peas, garlic yogurt, wilted greens,baby bell pepper, and raisins].
Eggplant in saor
The food and wine allowed us to accept the uneven service with a good deal of equanimity. And, since the restaurant was in the hotel, we did not have to brave the April snow.

And then there is Sandrine's Bistro ... small, warm, well-done.  The glass and ironwork of the entry are reminiscent of the belle époque Paris Metro.  The wine bottle tree in the foyer is pure fun.
Moules Marinières from Prince Edward Island were a perfect starter
and the stuffed roasted butternut squash with tempeh and vegetables was a uniquely American combination.  Dessert consisted of a drink I remember my mother ordering many years ago -- a Brandy Alexander
Finally, we have enjoyed the Charles Hotel. We've been here many times over the years and think it has gotten better as it has toned down its outdated Scandinavian Modern style. American quilts are now a leitmotif in both the public spaces and in the private rooms.

And, important for me, Wi-Fi is "free" and of good quality ... as is some of the artwork.  


  1. I would like to request a recap of the lecture on the end of empire. They didn't really think they could continue to hold on to it much after the second World War…did they?? :)

  2. The speaker made the point that the UK used various "counter-insurgency" techniques to hold on to commodity rich colonies to help extract funds to pay their huge post-WWII war debt. She focused on the end of the British Empire in Africa and Asia and on the violence associated therewith.


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