Last Friday, my work attended the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Annual Better Newspaper Contest at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. What a gorgeous venue; mainly the luxuriously simple bathroom with all white walls and a gray-black marble counter, and the exquisitely designed ballroom with overhead soft blue colored balconies and gold accents.
Shay and I drove into the city with sheer excitement, which arose from the various Snapchat filters that were becoming available: Newton, Auburndale, Back Bay, South Shore, etc. The Downtown Keene filter is, unfortunately, not as satisfying as the bright colors and cool fonts and images one may find in Boston.
After driving in circles to find a proper garage, we were starving, both having not eaten breakfast except for a few crumbs of a chocolate chip cherry scone.
We walked the streets of Boston’s South End to Tremont St. where we found Blackbird Doughnuts, a gourmet doughnut shop with onsite baking and mouthwatering flavors like Cold Brew Coconut, Salted Toffee, Everything Bagel, Honey Lemon Yogurt, and Cookies & Cream. TO DIE FOR!
We stuffed the doughnuts in our bags for later and ventured on, looking for a place to stuff our faces with something substantial. We passed narrow neighborhood streets of brownstone apartments and a community garden, jaywalking across quirky intersections, until our eyes fell upon a corner building with a hanging pig shaped sign with a giant bite taken out of it labeled The Butcher Shop. The word “charcuterie” popped out at us like we were turning the corner and seeing Disney World for the first time. A platter of meats and cheeses? Endless bread and butter? In a cute little spot on the corner? It was simply a no-brainer. We were in Boston for the day and were more than happy to treat ourselves.
Also, it was 2 p.m. and we’d been in the car for two hours. Anything sounded good at that point.
We delightedly stepped into the rustic, brick exposed full service wine bar and butcher shop and picked a seat by the windows. A large wooden cutting table was set in the back; the most amazing cutting board I have ever seen, bigger than a dining table. Good God, how dreamy!
A butcher stood behind it slicing meat (someone who looked extremely familiar to me and who I later found out went to my high school), while a glass refrigerator behind him displayed hanging meats, tubes of salami, bowls of pickled rainbow vegetables, olives, sausage ragu, pot pies, fried chicken, and more.
We may have caught the bartender off guard a bit as we took our time with the menu, asking which cheese we should pair with which meat, and if we could replace the pâtés with extra meats.
Just two New Hampshire girls taking on Boston. What a show!
We ended up ordering the petite charcuterie: a neat wooden platter of sopressata picante (my favorite), prosciutto, mortadella, rosette de lyon, petit jesus, finocchiono, pickled red onion vegetables, pickles, and a dollop of seedy mustard.
We also ordered a hard, Spanish cheese and a soft, Italian goat cheese, and were given a plate of crusty bread with butter and raw honey.
Around 4:30 we headed back to the hotel to check in, peruse the newspapers on display from other towns among ours, and find our co-workers. Around 6, the awards ceremony started. We were recognized for about 27 awards, among categories such as news, photography, design, advertising, events and publications. Shay went home with a 2nd place award for Best Ad Designer!
ELF received Living Page or Section (1st) and Best News Niche Publication (3rd)!
There were many other awards throughout the company.
After the awards, I drove home. Mom made me a steak and cheese omelette and Kaitlyn slept over. It was, oddly, a relaxing beginning to a rather stressful upcoming week.