Boston’s brunch and books

Though I’ve sworn off books in favor of my Kindle, there’s still something electrifying about an indy bookstore. Throw food into the mix, of course, and the experience can be blissful. On my recent trip to Boston, I sought out Trident Booksellers & Cafe for this reason. The Newbury Street establishment is home to a rare bookstore-and-restaurant combination, Trident, where you can peruse the aisles for something to read before grabbing a table or sitting down at the counter to read it while you munch on a meal. It’s a regular spot for me when I pass through Boston and is a great alternative to the major brunch destinations in the city, especially Sonsie across the street.

Despite the simplicity of the concept – a bunch of tables and a kitchen occupying part of a bookstore – the menu is extensive. Consisting of several pages of dishes, it moves well past diner fare and into the interesting and ultimately creative. It took me seconds to decide I’d have the apple and brie omelette (to tell the truth, it was one of the first things on the menu, and I didn’t bother looking any further), and had to order the “mega tots.”


I’m generally not a fan of “tater tots.” They remind me of the depths to which your grocery store’s freezer section can sink, offering up fare you feared while waiting in the elementary school lunch line. Thankfully, Trident’s menu includes descriptions. This side dish consists of three incredibly large “tots,” really comprised of excellent hash browns. In the middle, you’ll find gooey cheese which melts once you cut into the creation. They are very large and rather filling, even for someone with an appetite like mine. Order it for the table, and you’ll have the experience without leaving grub behind.

Trident offers outside seating, so you can take in the sounds of Boston and a bit of fresh air while you savor your experience, and there’s free wi-fi through the café, so you can turn your meal into productive time – if that’s what you prefer.

My only gripe about Trident was that the service could have been a bit quicker and more attentive. When I arrived, most of the tables were empty, but the restaurant filled quickly, which made the situation a bit worse. The staff was friendly, and my food came out promptly. Ordering took a while, though, and getting some water (well into my meal) chewed up a bit of time. And none of this was of a magnitude that would keep me from returning – it’s just something to keep in mind before you go.

On your next trip up to Boston, skip the usual brunch haunts and pick up a meal at Trident. It’s the sort of unique spot that can make a meal one of the most memorable parts of your getaway.

Hit the bookstore, buy a local author – Souvenir tip

Hit up a local bookstore for a good, unique souvenir.

Many self-published authors sell their books through the local storefront and many of those books are based in the area in which they live. The souvenir is not only unique, but it’s entertaining and lacks the gaudiness that many souvenirs display.

Plus, you may get smarter about your destination, which makes any trip more satisfying.

Five things to do in Orlando (except … that)

This is the only time you’ll see the expression “theme park” in this post. Orlando has a lot to offer outside that. So, if you’re headed down there for a convention or a family trip, keep these other attractions in mind, and explore the depth this city has to offer. Plan ahead, and you can avoid the “Mouse” trap!

  1. Make a glass, buy some art: Go to Keila Glassworks, and look for the guy with the dredlocks down to his ass. Check out his art: it’s stunning. Charley Keila, the genius behind the place, offers glassblowing classes, so ou can get a taste of the act of creation.
  2. Stay in an “art” hotel: Pass on the major chains, and stay at the EO Inn. Don’t sweat the fact that it doesn’t have a restaurant; that’ll force you to get out and find a place.
  3. Drink at a bookstore: Urban Think! has a bar in the bookstore. Grab a book (I suggest Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, the latest by Michael Lewis), and chill for a bit at the bar.
  4. Try to fly: Strap on a harness, climb a ladder and let the wind whip through your hair. Grand Lakes Orlando has zip lines that stretch for tk meters.
  5. Leave: Get out to Winter Park, and see the upscale side of the Orlando area. Cruise the lakes on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, and then wander along tk-street. Stop for a glass of wine at one of the wine bars that dot the sidewalk.



UNESCO names Amsterdam new World Book Capital

Book lovers and aficionados: if Amsterdam wasn’t on your travel plans before, you might want to add it. On April 23, UNESCO named Amsterdam the World Book Capital. The city will hold the title until April 2009, and in that time hopes to inspire dialog and spark debate about the freedom of expression.

Here are some of the World Book Capital’s upcoming events that just might be of interest:

May 18: Amsterdam International Literary Festival. With over 1,000 stalls this is Europe’s largest book market held in the streets of Amsterdam.

April 23 – June 23: Amsterdam in Words. An exhibition with portraits of 60 authors and quotes from their work that relates to a street, park or site in the city.

June 1 – September 8: Poetry in the Park. Two days of poetry in ten of Amsterdam’s parks, beginning with Vondelpark and ending with Westerpark.

I guess it’s time to hit the Amsterdam books.

One for the Road: Journey Overload

My December 1st gift to you, dear readers, is a plethora of journey-related reading to welcome the new month. Instead of suggesting just one book today, I’ll start off the month with a whole bunch. So many of the links I come across on a daily basis simply disappear into the web’s oblivion…but not these special gems. In an attempt to connect wanderers with words, here is a collection of links that can take you places:

First up, a variety of travel-minded Lit Lists: a collection of books that celebrate the the spirit of Scotland, and five best books about journeys of discovery, and exploration.

A pseudo Seuss book, There’s a Map on My Lap, is mentioned at a wonderful new blog I discovered called Cartophila. (I can’t quite recall how I arrived at the URL, but no maps were used :)

And also for the kiddies: Wind the World Over, a unique book about two siblings who travel the world learning about how different cultures use wind as a resource.

The Written Nerd reviews Gentleman of the Road, and shares this favorite snippit from the book, which I love as well: “All adventure happens in that damned and magical space, wherever it may be found or chanced upon, which least resembles one’s home.”

And a bonus for future travels: from Bozeman to Milan, more bookstores to get lost in. Happy reading…wherever you are!