Monday, July 26, 2004


I mentioned Piattini in my
post about Back Bay Restaurants, but it
deserves it's own full review. In many ways, Piattini is a conceptual
cousin to tapas, or perhaps even closer to a restaurant like
Cuchi Cuchi. While they have traditional entrees,
their recommended approach is to get several small appetizer sized
dishes they call piattini.

All of the dishes I've tried there have been quite good and some are
really exceptional. They have a squash ravioli which is a bit sweet
and absolutely delicious, as well as a tasty tortellini dish. I
haven't recently sampled their entrees, but when I did in the past,
they were exceptional particularly the filet they had on a seasonal
menu on one lucky occasion. For a typical appetite I'd recommend
about 2 piattini per person, where they are large enough to share with
two, or perhaps three people, but certainly not more.

They actually call themselves a "wine cafe", but I must admit, I
haven't really sampled their wines much, but what I have had has been
quite good. Their decor is rather nice, and they have limited, but
pleasant outdoor seating, though naturally on a nice evening that
fills up quickly.

It's also worth mentioning that their sandwiches for lunch are quite
good and rather reasonably priced given they are on Newbury Street.
Overall, highly recommended, especially for dinner.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Me in the news

Back in the early days of the web, I was in the news a lot. It was
rather cool. Well, this week, due in part to the DNC here in Boston,
I'm in the news a lot again. It's still neat. Here are the mentions:

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

They Control the Colors

Years ago, someone told me that the reason why various
consumer goods seem to be color coordinated is because there exists a
group that periodically decides what the new colors will be. That
way, when you buy dish towels, they have some hope of matching your
mixer, which can match your throw rug, which can match your curtains.

Well, I finally got around to looking up this "color cabal", and it's
called the "Color Marketing
and they annually put out a list of new "Consumer Colors".
On their web site, you don't get to actually see the colors, but you
can read about "Eureka: A yellow targeted at a youthful audience",
"Oxygen: ...this breath of fresh air is an aquatic blue-green
influenced by silver", and "Orsando: Sand-inspired brown, ... you want
to wiggle your toes in it". href=>Others
have written about this group as well.

There's something very amusing about a relatively quiet industry
organization having such a dramatic impact on the color of more or
less everything.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Top of the Hub

Prior to the late 1990s, this restaurant with a view was owned by
Stouffer's and the food was correspondingly unsurprising. Sometime in
the late 90s, it changed hands and now the quality of the food matches
the quality of the view. (The "Top of the Hub" is on the 52nd floor
of the Prudential building, providing a stunning view of the Boston

This evening, we went and had an outstanding meal. We ordered the
Arugula Salad (a regular favorite), the Avocoado Soup, the Vegetarian
Lasagna and the Beef Tenderloin. As I ordered the beef, an amusing
interaction occured. I said to our server, "I'd like the Beef
Tenderloin, cooked rare." He looked at me funny and said, "How about
Medium Well?" I must have returned a rather shocked look, because he
continued: "To preserve some of the flavor". At this point I realized
he must have misheard me and I clarified that I wanted it Rare, at
which point he seemed much relieved. The meal arrived quite
deliciously rare. In fact, all of the food was wonderful. We ate
around sunset which provides a spectacular view of Boston both in the
light and in the dark, both of which are worth seeing.

As one would expect, it's a bit pricy, but not unreasonably so. They
even had a tasting menu (which we did not opt for) which included a
wide range of dishes for $65 a person or somewhat more with wine.
Overall, highly recommended.

Sunday, July 4, 2004

June 2004 Games

June was another slow month for games, with a great many other
priorities surpassing game playing. I will soon be redefining what
constitutes a "slow" month. Fortunately, I did get to play several longer games.

24 games played, 17 titles (1 new to me) over 7 sessions with 22 different people.

Hot Games for June, 2004

I am extremely fond of this game. I liked Traders of Genoa, also by Rudiger Dorn, but this is even better. It's got interesting auctions, a complex but manageable system of interlocking bits and a variety of paths to victory. It seems to be a bit north of two hours, and I hope that gets lower with experience, but I really don't usually mind.

Power Grid
I was never a huge fan of Funkenschlag, but Power Grid manages to fix the two "problems" it had: components and length. It's still not short, but it's an outstanding business game.

I'm saddened that other people don't seem to enjoy this as much as I do.

Ma Ni Ki!
It's so cute and it's good filler.

Mole Hill
This is a clever game with a good lesson in advance planning.

Electronic Catchphrase
"Vittles" is very hard to clue, if "tender" doesn't send people down the right track.

Royal Turf
Go Nougat!

San Juan
This is experiencing a greater durability than expected under a pretty heavy load of play.

Apples to Apples
Not as novel as it used to be, but still fun to pull out occasionally.

Lost Cities
Played every year from 1999 to 2004 and deserves it.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

A week ago, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11. It was very good. And, for all
the lead up hype about how it was "propaganda" and what not, I found
it very honest. Further, most of the griping reviews I've read about
it fail to cite anything in it that's actually misleading. One
article had the odd twist of claiming the movie made some (genuinely)
fallacious claims that did not actually appear in the movie. Odd.

In any case, the other comment I've heard repeatedly is that it
somehow is "not a documentary" because it has an opinion. Give me a
break. Documentaries express opinions. If a documentary were simply
a recitation of facts, who would want to go see them? A documentary
shouldn't contain lies (and F911 doesn't seem to), but presenting
those facts in support of an opinion or view strikes me as the whole
point. Fahrenheit 9/11 makes a compelling case for its opinion and is
worth seeing whether you agree with Mr. Moore's politics or not.

The final thing that struk me, having seen this movie, is how hard it
must be to be a conservative right now. I've traditionally thought of
conservative politics in terms of certain principles: fiscal
restraint, small government is good government, states rights,
Constitutional conservativism, supporting capitalism, moderate
isolationism, and an array of similar ideas. Today, there are no
major options that support these ideals. Kerry certainly represents
the more liberal view, but Bush is no better. He's dramatically
increased the size of government, exercised little fiscal restraint,
advocated Constitutional amendments to limit states' rights, gotten
involved in a very messy war and overall acted in opposition to a
great many "conservative" values. It must be hard to be a
conservative. There's something very strange about living in a world
where the president under whom the budget was balanced, under whom
welfare was reformed and under whom business most flourished was the