Date Night Win: Picnic on the Charles

by Lisa Lombardi in

It's officially winter, and while other people are gearing up for holiday cheer and cozy fires and pretty snow, I'm filled with dread.

I've long suspected that I am, physiologically, just not built for the cold. I'm someone who gets a chill just from sitting. Inside. While wearing three layers of clothing. Every winter, I waddle around like an overstuffed sausage because the only way I can manage to leave the house is if I've armed myself with an especially thick pair of long johns under my (logically) skinny jeans.

As I type this, I'm rapidly losing feeling in my fingers and my nose is like a half-melted ice cube: cold and drippy. It was 55 and sunny today, people. This doesn't give me much hope for when the actual cold weather arrives.

All this meandering whining is to say: I'm feeling nostalgic for those blazing hot summer days.

Dock along the Charles River

Dock along the Charles River

One of the great things about living in Boston is getting the "Major City" vibe while still being in close proximity to the ocean. Like, hop-on-the-T close. Some days, however, a trip to the beach just isn't in the cards. For those days, I've found the Charles River to be a pretty solid stand-in.

This past summer, on one of the hottest, most humid days of the season, Tim and I packed a picnic and rode our bikes to the docks by the river. We spent the afternoon napping, reading, and watching the boats go by, and it was one of my favorite dates yet.

Fellow Bostonians, keep this in mind for next summer. Use it as your shining beacon of hope to help you get through this hellish period that some people are dumb enough to call "the most wonderful time of the year."

Here's what you do:


FIRST Grab your (1) bike and pack a (2) guilty pleasure book and (3) pair of shades. (I think I was actually reading something way more embarrassing at the time, probably with a pink cover and a picture of a sassy cartoon lady walking a dog.)

THEN Put a couple bottles of your preferred (4) ginger beer in your backpack (mine is the house-brewed Minuteman from Brookline Liquor Mart), along with a (5) lime, and a (6) piece of fresh ginger. If you're not the type to walk around with a knife in your pocket at all times (yes, even at weddings) like my boyfriend is, maybe grab that, too. Fill your dad's old army canteen with whatever (7) rum you have on hand (Kraken is good for this), and you are officially prepared to enjoy some riverside Dark and Stormys — the ideal beverage for watching boats as they both sail majestically and capsize hilariously.

A NOTE Alternatively, you could take the T to the Hynes Convention Center stop, get off, and walk to the Esplanade from there, but why would you want to? Riding your bike beats being crammed into small quarters with a dozen other sweaty people any day.

DON'T FORGET On the way, stop at the Super 88/Hong Kong Supermarket and purchase a couple (8) bahn mi sandwiches at the food court. The lady there is nice and says you're pretty, and the sandwiches are a steal for under $4. 

MY BOYFRIEND SAID IT WAS OKAY If you're feeling brave, cool off with intermittent jumps into the Charles. Yes, it sounds sketchy, but the river was officially cleared for swimming in 2013, when the first public community swim in more than fifty years was held. Technically, you should only swim in it on official, sanctioned days, but sometimes it's just too damn hot to follow the rules.

Date Night Win: Pie Hard

by Lisa Lombardi in ,

A little over a year ago, I successfully guilted my boyfriend into dating me. I was pretty pleased with myself until I realized that we couldn't just spend all of our time watching episodes of Project Runway or debating the pros and cons of mayonnaise (don't worry, we still do that a lot). 

So, for those of you as inexperienced with this thing called "dating" as I am, I present to you this series of awesome date ideas. First up?

One amazing movie. One delicious pie. Just the way I like it.

One amazing movie. One delicious pie. Just the way I like it.

"Lisa," some of you might be saying, "Baking pie and watching Die Hard isn't romantic." And to that, I'd ask, "But it's awesome, isn't it?"

Some of you may reply, "No." And to those, I'd ask you to kindly leave and never read my blog again.

I have very strong feelings about a handful of things in life: Listening to Journey will never not cheer me up. Moms love Michael McDonald (it's a proven fact). Bread should be its own legitimate food group. The only way time-tested action movies can be improved is by puns and baked goods.

Luckily, my boyfriend shares that last belief with me. So, for one random Friday night, we did Pie Hard: Die Hard & Buttermilk pie.

Tim's Mom's Southern Buttermilk Pie (Makes 1 pie)

2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or more, if you'd like)
1 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  1. Separate the egg whites and beat until stiff. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, and the flour. 
  4. Continue beating and slowly add the buttermilk.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture and pour into a pie shell.
  7. Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake at 425 for fifteen minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until filling is set and doesn't jiggle.
They say lightning never strikes twice...They were wrong!

They say lightning never strikes twice...They were wrong!

Valentine's Day was Pie Hard 2: Pie Harder, in which we enjoyed a viewing of Die Hard 2 paired with chicken pot pie and buttermilk pie.

This time, it's delicious.

This time, it's delicious.

Our one-year anniversary was the most ambitious effort yet: Pie Hard with a Vengeance. Die Hard 3, a variety of mini quiche, steak & ale pie, and coconut key lime pie.

It goes without saying, but don't plan on doing anything more vigorous than going to bed after celebrating in this manner. Enjoy!