Sunday, March 05, 2006

MBH's Saturday of Funness

It seems the late winter blahs are catching in our household. I think this malaise is like a winter cold you keep spreading to each other. Even our cat seems to be in the winter doldrums as evidenced by Friday when neither he nor MBH made it out of bed all day. So, seeing how the whole family was in need of a pick-me-up, I planned a "Big Day of Funness" (BDF) for Saturday.

The day started at one of our coffee shops, Darwin's Ltd. on Mt. Auburn Street in Cambridge. This used to be our normal haunt but the last several months had seen a steady decline in service, cleanliness, and quality of music (6:30am is a bit early for the latest angst ridden band to be blasting from the stereo). So, we had decamped to one of the other coffee shops in Harvard Square. Some friends had been encouraging us to come back as they reported the service, cleanliness and music was much improved and, as I had some drycleaning to drop off at our cleaners next door, we decided to give Darwin's another chance. They were right on two out of the three (the staff still doesn't seem to know what a vacuum is or how to wipe down tables) and it was good to catch up with some old friends. I don't think Darwin's will be our everyday coffee shop like it was at one time but I do think we'll come back for a visit now and again.

After leaving Darwins, we headed for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to catch the David Hockney Exhibit. We are members and as such receive four free tickets to the major exhibitions. I also recently found out that MBH is a fan of Hockney's and owns a print that is in storage. This exhibition focuses on Hockney's portraits, especially of his family and close friends. It includes a few famous prints like "Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy" and "Peter Getting Out of Nick's Pool". We both liked the works showing his mum and I especially liked his collages. After walking through the Hockney exhibition we spent another hour or so wandering through the museum. Every time we are there, we see something we haven't seen before and we enjoy sitting on various benches throughout the museum talking and laughing together.

Our next stop was the Brattle Book Shop as MBH has been on a search for a small tome of Robert Frost poetry "to carry about on his person"(his words, not mine). It seems that finding small books to keep in one's pocket is quite difficult unless one is looking for platitudes or trite. So, after a several week search, it seemed our last hope was to locate it at one of the many used bookstores in Boston. On our way to the Brattle we stopped into Peter L. Stern and Co. Fine Books. This is a gem of a store where we were allowed to look at and hold many first editions including a letter between Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle discussing the merits of tank use in WWI. Very nice shop if out of our price range. While, MBH did not find his book of poetry at the Brattle, I did find a book of poetry by A.E. Houseman as well as two guidebooks to Paris and the environs from 1914 and 1917 respectively. We wandered into Barnes and Noble on our way to an early dinner and there, MBH was able to find a smallish book of Robert Frost that met his needs.

MBH enjoys a really nice steak. As such, we have been on a mission to eat at all the steakhouses in Boston. Abe and Louies is our favourite but as we were near Faneuil Hall Marketplace, we decided to try the Kansas City Plaza III. The Plaza III is a very highly rated steakhouse that frankly wasn't that good when compared to the prices. We both had the Kansas City Strip that was smaller than we expected and over-cooked but at least enjoyed the veggies and crusty bread. But, I think we can safely say we won't be returning or really recommending the Kansas City Plaza III. There are better steakhouses in Boston.

All in all, by the time we got home in the evening we both agreed it was very enjoyable day and a nice way to forget about the Winter Blues.