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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Wuhan University Chinese Group!15-Jul-2017

Welcome Wuhan University students from China! They will be touring around Boston for two weeks w..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Academy at Harvard Square Chinese University Group!11-Jul-2017

Welcome Academy at Harvard Square university students from China! They will be attending a custo..


Best in Hospitality

Burgers in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, June 21, 2017



Boston is filled with tasty restaurants and a wide variety of cuisines, however despite the variety there's nothing better than a good old classic burger. While many burger trends have taken off  (such as ramen burgers), the burger still stands strong in its popularity. Countless restaurants offer gourmet and unique burger choices, such as Boston Burger Company with its 420 burger (think mozzarella sticks, friend mac and cheese, and onion rings all on a single burger). Besides Boston Burger Company's crazy burgers, many places offer their own unique spin on the classic American sandwich. Here are a few burger options around Boston for you to explore:


Craigie on Main

Craigie on Main has gained great popularity in recent years, well known for their brunch and the Secret Burger. The burger gained national acclaim and made Eater's 38 Essential Burgers Across the Country List as well as Thrillist's Best Burgers in America list. Each night, less than 20 of the burgers made from a custom blend of three different cuts of meat are served. While the burger is hard to come by, check out their upcoming event on July 7th to ensure you'll get a taste of this delicious creation.


Lincoln Tavern
Also known for its delicious brunch (check out their fruity pebbles pancakes), Lincoln Tavern offers the Lincoln Burger, complete with a wood-fired patty, bacon aioli, cheddar cheese and caramelized french onions. Located in South Boston, this restaurant is always busy so be sure to make reservations in advance!


The Gallows

The Gallows has received many positive reviews on its burgers, particularly the "Our Way" burger. They also offer a unique burger known as "The Mook" topped with Italian charcuterie, mozzarella, basil pesto, and balsamic aioli. Delicious!

Alden & Harlow

Alden & Harlow is a trendy and fairly new restaurant (having opened in 2014) located in Harvard Square. While they offer a unique selection of meats (check out the rabbit on the menu), they also serve a "Secret Burger" with noted limited availability. It features a crispy cheese addition, almost resembling the texture of bacon. The burger has been thoroughly analyzed and broken down by Boston Magazine here, for those of you who are wondering what exactly this "Secret Burger" entails.

 

Wild Willys

Wild Willys is more on the casual side but nonetheless absolutely delicious. They offer three grades of beef for your burger: Angus Beef, All Natural Beef, and Tender Bison. From there, there are an array of options. The "Willy Burger" is their classic burger, and nothing but plain in its flavor. Don't forget to add a side of their crispy sweet potato fries for a tasty meal! *They also offer gluten free options!

Drink

While Drink is primarily known for its unique and custom cocktails, they also offer a fine menu of must-try food items, such as a duck frankfurter. However, their burger (listed as Burger on the menu) features Wagyu beef and a thousand-island like sauce complete with pickles and cheese. 

 

R.F. O'Sullivan

Known for their thick, juicy pattys, R.F. O'Sullivan a variety of delicious and filling yet inexpensive burgers. Also ranked on the Best Burgers in American list, this Somerville burger is definitely worth a try.

Happy Eating! If you're a burger fan wanting more, check out this Boston Burger Blog for even MORE options!

In Honor of National Donut Day: Sweet Treats around Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 01, 2017

Tomorrow, June 2nd is National Donut Day! Believe it or not, this sweet holiday has some history behind it. Taking place on the first Friday of June annually, it was started by the Salvation Army in Chicago back in 1938. It began as a fundraiser for the organization, and to honor those who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.  Even today, it is still a fundraiser for the Salvation Army across the United States. These tasty treats are still served widely years later, and many stores feature specials on honor of the holiday. Here are some of the places in Boston you can grab a donut or two!



Widely known throughout Boston, this specialty donut shop is offering two unique donut flavors in honor of the holiday: Dark chocolate covered banana, and a German chocolate cake donut with black cocoa, caramel glaze, toasted coconut, and mini chips. They will also be offering their usual spring flavors. (If you ever need a cake, check out their donut cakes!)



Another specialty donut shop, Union Square Donuts is located in Somerville. Creating a special twist on chicken and waffles, the store will be offering a special donut featuring fresh brioche dough, topped with maple glaze and fried chicken skin. This will only be available on June 2nd so be sure to arrive early to try this unique treat!



Next up, Kane's Donuts! Located in the Financial District, this donut shop features monthly specialty flavors. For the month of June, look out for their  Salted Caramel, Butter Pecan, and Battle Cry Whiskey varieties! In honor of the holiday they will be offering a "Super Dozen" of donuts, which includes a dozen donuts with an additional three complimentary treats!



Finally, a national favorite, Dunkin Donuts. While specialty shops have been popping up around the city, Dunkin is still going strong with their seasonal donut and iced coffee flavors. (If you like sweet coffee, try their S'more swirl, its delicious.) On June 2nd they will be offering a free donut alongside any beverage purchase, so grab your coffee and you'll get a donut to go with it!

Enjoy the holiday and a sweet treat!

Explore Boston: Juices around the city

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, May 28, 2017


Recently, the trend of juicing has become increasingly popular due to its health benefits. Many juice stores have opened up around Boston, many with specialty juices and snack-like food items. While they don't come cheap, these are definitely worth checking out to get your healthy juice fix.

Jugos


One of the most popular and one of my person favorites is Jugos, a hole in the wall juice store located right in Back Bay station. Although the menu is in Spanish and if you're like me, have a hard time getting through it, you'll find that they serve a wide variety of juices, smoothes, acai bowls, and nut milk based beverages. On top of this, they serve sandwiches and toasts with toppings, such as the ever popular avocado toast.

Pressed


Pressed is more than just a juice store but also a cafe of sorts. Not only does pressed offer a wide variety of juices and smoothes and your typical acai bowls, they also have an extensive menu of toasts and greens.  Their avocado toast is one of my favorites, however their salads are also worth trying as well. It is located near the Charles/MGH station in Beacon Hill of Boston.

The Juice Union


Located in Somerville, the juice union prides itself on only using fresh fruits, vegetables, and plant milks, omitting any artificial sweeteners and dairy. They also offer a variety of tasty smoothies, smoothie bowls, and coffee!

Revolution Juice


Revolution Juice is located right near the Prudential Center in Back Bay. Like others, they offer vegetable and fruit juices, as well as juice cleanse options. They also offer unique meal bowls complete with items like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and various other fruits and vegetables.

The Juicery


This store offers several locations throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, however the closest one to Boston is located downtown right off of the Haymarket T stop. Along with their fruit and vegetable juices offers acai bowls, energy shots, and various other health supplements such as protein powder, flaxseed, and many more.


No matter where you are in Boston, a juice store is likely a short walk away! The juicing trend has been ever-growing recently and these delicious smoothies and juices are definitely a healthy treat that are worth a try! There are countless other stores in Boston as well, and you can find them all ranked here!

Six More Weeks of Winter

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 21, 2017


On February 2nd, once again, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means another six weeks of winter. If you and your visitor(s) are not sure what to do during these six weeks before the weather warms and flowers bloom, we have some suggestions for fun outdoor activities to take advantage of all this snow! 


Sledding or Tubing
There is a hill to go sledding in virtually every Boston neighborhood. Sledding locations in the city include places like Flagstaff Hill in Boston Common or Marine Park in Southie.
 This article lists great sledding hills all around the greater Boston area, and if you are looking to go tubing, this article provides tubing locations just a short drive from Boston. 


Skiing
You do not have to travel out of state to enjoy a ski trip with your family. Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton has 12 trails and over 60 acres of terrain for both beginnings and advanced skiers.
 This guide can help you can find other nearby mountains open for skiing this winter. Do you prefer cross country over downhill skiing? Check out The Middlesex Fells Reservation. This park has cross country trails and is located a short five miles north of Boston. 


Skating:
Boston has many opportunities for public skating. Visit
 Boston Common's Frog Pond Which hosts weekly "College Nights" featuring discounted tickets for University students. You can also take the opportunity to visit  The Boston Winter skating path at Government Center before it closes for the season on February 26th. 


Snow Shoeing
If you want an outdoor activity that requires minimal skills, you should try snow shoeing! There are many places a short distance from the greater Boston area that are great for exploring on foot.
 Gore Place in Waltham offers snow shoe rentals and features 50 acres of explore-able estate. This article has information about the top five places near Boston to take a show shoeing day trip.


After spending time in the great outdoors warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of these Boston Cafe's. what goes best with host chocolate? Warm cookies :) This list will show you the best best spots to get delicious homemade cookies in the city. Use this snowy weather as an excuse to treat your student (and yourself!) to some of the best desserts the area has to offer!

Valentine's Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

February 14th is Valentine's Day! Did you know other cultures celebrate this holiday too?? Check out some countries that have their own unique Valentine's Day celebrations and traditions.....



Australia

Australian's have a long history of gifting extravagant presents to their loved ones on Valentine's Day. This tradition began during the country's gold rush in the 1850's, when newly wealthy miners would buy elaborate valentines for their wives or girlfriends. These gifts included items such as, satin pillows, colored shells, decorated boxes, and even taxidermy hummingbirds. These gifts came to represent high society and style. Today, couple's still exchange large gifts, though with a more modern spin. A typical Australian Valentine's Day now involves less dead birds and more dinner cruises, waterfront picnics, or proclamations of love on the radio. 

 

South Africa

South Africans couples celebrate Valentine's Day similarly to couples in the U.S - they exchange small presents, such as flowers, chocolates or gifts Single South African women have a rather unique tradition where they pin the name of their love interest on their sleeve and reveal their crushes to others. 



Taiwan

Valentine’s Day in Taiwan is celebrated on February 14th, and at the Qixi festival on July 7th. On both days men purchase special bouquets for their sweethearts. One red rose symbolizes an "only love", eleven roses symbolizes a "special someone", ninety-nine roses symbolizes "forever", and one hundred and eight roses is a marriage proposal! 


Wales

Wales' equivalent to Valentine's Day is Saint Dwynwen Day on January 25th. The tradition of celebrating Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, began in the 17th century, when Welsh men gave "love spoons" to women that they loved. These wooden spoons were intricately decorated with designs of various meaning. Wheels signify support, horseshoes symbolize luck, and keys represent the key to a man’s heart.

South Korea

Celebrations of Valentine's Day in South Korea can occur from February to April. On February 14th, women will gift candy, flowers, or small gifts to men. Then on March 14th, or White Day, men will return the action by offering chocolate, flowers, and a gift to the women. On April 14th, singles may celebrate Black Day, during which they eat black bean paste noodles called jajangmyeon and mourn their single status.

How will you celebrate your Valentine's Day? You can find a few suggestions here.  Enjoy the day with family and friends! 

Source: Huffington Post 

Happy Boston Cream Pie Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Sunday (October 23rd) is National Boston Cream Pie Day, and what better way to celebrate than by enjoying this tasty dessert in the city where it was created. Fun fact: Boston cream pie has been distinguished as the official dessert of Massachusetts over Toll House Cookies and Fig Newton.  The first Boston Cream Pie originated at the Omni Parker House in downtown. The first Boston Cream Pie was originally called the Parker house "Chocolate Cream Pie" and was created and served at Parker's Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. One of the reasons the dessert became so popular (so popular that it was turned into a Betty Crocker Boxed Mix in the 1990s) was the unique use of chocolate icing. When the restaurant opened chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings, so the use of chocolate on the cream pie was a big deal. The original Boston Cream Pie recipe is still served at Omni Parker House today, and you can even try your luck at recreating at home, by following the recipe here

 

Another fun fact: Boston Cream Pie isn't actually even a pie, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream. For the best slice in Boston (in a way more casual setting than Parker's) you can try Mike's Pastry or Flour Bakery . Mike's serves their popular Boston Cream Pie whole or by the slice (it's also homemade - see picture above). Flour's well known take on the classic is made with coffee-soaked sponge cake instead of the traditional vanilla. There are many other ways to get your Boston Cream Pie fix this weekend..perhaps in cupcake or donut form? Here are some places you can get not-so-traditional versions of this traditional Boston treat. 

Boston Cream Pie Donut:  

Union Square Donuts has  a popular Boston Cream Pie Donut on the menu, made fresh daily in Somerville.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcake:

Try a Boston Cream Pie in cupcake form from Sweet Bakery in Back Bay. They are as delicious as they are adorable. 

Vegan Boston Cream Pie: 

If you're a vegan, don't worry there's pie for you too! Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge has a dairy-free versions of this famous dessert on their menu. You can't even taste the difference. 

Boston Cream Pie in a Jar?

The Tap Trail House on Union Street has this hipster version of  Boston Cream Pie on their dessert menu. Same flavors just way way cuter.

Boston Cream Pie a la cart (literally from a cart)


Want your Boston Cream Pie on the go? The Boston Cream Pie Company sells their dessert from a tricycle in the Seaport District. 

Enjoy:)

A Fluff Piece On Fluff

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Saturday was the annual "What the Fluff?" festival in Somerville. If you're a New Englander than you probably know what fluff is (think: that marshmallowy sticky spread you can only get in this part of the country) and if you're an international visitor you're probably thinking what the fluff is fluff?!? I always found it amusing to ask non-U.S residents if they know what fluff is and then have them look back at me with a blank stare. If you've never eaten fluff before do yourself a favor : go out, buy some, and eat it on bread with peanut butter (aka a fluffernutter sandwich). You can thank me later.

So why does Somerville even have a festival to celebrate a marshmallow spread? Good question. It's because in 1917 a guy named Archibald Query invented fluff right there in Union Square. Every year the city hosts a festival, complete with musical performances, games, and street vendors, to celebrate this creation.

The festival this year, themed "Fluff U: A Sweet Education" included events like fluff covered musical chairs, fluff jousting, a fluff inspired cooking competition (during which winners were given honorary degrees from the Somerville Mayor, Joe Curtatone) and more. The festival was even MCed by an Archibald Query impersonator. Basically, the whole thing is an big excuse to have fun, be weird, and eat a lot of fluff (what more could you want in an event??)

If you couldn't make the festival this year, MC (fake) Archibald Query made it known that next year is the 100th anniversary of the creation of fluff and therefore the festival will be an even bigger celebration. So big that planning for the festival will begin as early as next month. So save the date! And maybe think up some creative fluff baking ideas...

For other quirky state food fairs check out this article from National Geographic travel!

Little Italy's Big Feast

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This Friday marks the start of the three day festival, Saint Anthony's Feast, in the North End. As you might know, the North End has feasts and festivals all summer long, but Saint Anthony's is definietly the biggest and also happens to be a personal favorite of mine. Last year I attended the feast with my family and celebrated my (37.5%) Italian-ness by eating a cannoli on Endicott street. Even if you aren't Italian, or a canoli -lover like me you'll definitely still enjoy the festival - but come on, who doesn't love cannolis??

The Feast is a very lively event, drawing huge crowds that cover the historic streets of the North End. Hundreds of food vendors line the sidewalks serving every Italian plate you could think of; from caprese salads, to sausages, to lasagna, to aranchini. Pizza, calzones, calamari, ceci, torrone, cookies, pastries, and more.  National Geographic wasn't kidding when they called it "The Feast of all Feasts". Once you're full of Italian cooking you can stroll the streets listening to live musical performances or watch the giant statue of Saint Anthony be carried through the streets in an even giant-er parade. Experience food and beverage tastings, dancing, games, and crafts for kids. 

The best part about the celebration is that a lot of North end restaurants that are typically crowded (think: Mikes Pasteries, Pizzeria Regina) have stands where you can get their famous food without waiting in an endless line. Did you say Mike's Pastries without a line??? I know right, unheard of. 

I also really like going to The Feast because the atmosphere is so upbeat and the crowd is so fun. Even though I'm only like (almost) half Italian, its nice to be around a group of people who are all part of a similar history and are celebrating a common heritage. Above everything, I enjoy being surrounded by others who share my love of c̶a̶r̶b̶s̶ ̶ Italian food. So, if this post has convinced you to go, then the only remaining tough choice is deciding what to eat. 

For a full schedule of the weekends events and a brief history of Saint Anthony's Feast click here. 

A Little Taste of the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Would you eat a pickle chip? What about an octopus chip? Would you try a whiskey and haggis chip? How about a Marmite chip? Why am I even asking about chips???? Well, National Geographic recently published an article about unusual potato chip flavors around the world which I thought was very interesting. The article is an interview with Ali Payne, the vice president of global snacks innovation at PepsiCo, who explains how cultural cravings affect potato chip flavor trends. She talks about how chip flavors reflect the components of the typical foods in each region and are therefore the best way to eat like a local when traveling. 

 In other words: potato chips make great souvenirs. 

If you're familiar with the Do Us a Flavor competition (aka the thing responsible for Chicken and Waffles Lay's) then you've probably seen some pretty crazy chip flavors on the shelves. According to Ali Payne, preferences for flavors in the program are usually similar to local comfort food - which explains flavors like garlic bread or southern biscuits and gravy in the U.S. and English Breakfast in the U.K.

The part of the article that I found really interesting though was about how globalization is affecting our food - or more specifically our chips. The article explains that since people are becoming more and more exposed to different flavor around the world from travel and social media, ingredients from other countries are gaining popularity.  "A flavor like wasabi and ginger, which may have once been considered exotic in the U.S., is now a hugely popular flavor thanks to the prevalence of Japanese cuisine, and Italian red meat is now one of the most popular flavors in China." 

I also learned from this article that the U.S. has the most flavor diversity of any country (which makes sense considering the whole melting pot thing) so I was inspired to go to a local grocery store and see for myself the range of flavors that the US potato chip market has to offer. What I gathered from looking at the aisles was that the US does in fact have a wide variety of chips...actually compared to the grocery stores that I've visited in Europe, we have a wide variety of everything. So, perhaps it is true that the food in our stores reflects the diversity of our nation. If anything, it definitely reflects our culture of consumerism. 


In looking at a survey done in 2015, it appears that although we have a diverse variety of odd flavors, the most popular flavors among Americans tend to be more conservative, reflecting typical American dishes and usual food flavorings. This is not surprising given the information in the article. People prefer the types of flavors that they have grown up eating, and for Americans this means flavors like plain and (of course) BBQ. 

Red, White, and Burger

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In my travel experience, I have found that one of the best ways to learn about and experience a new culture is by trying the typical cuisine of that region or country. When traveling to the US, sampling the local food should definitely be on your "to do "list. If you're just visiting the United States you might be thinking : America has its own cuisine?? Yes, as much as we do love the food of other cultures ( ex: Mexican, Italian, Chinese) America has a few dishes that are classically American. To get you started, here is a list of a few USA favorites for Americans and tourists alike. 

What's the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about American food? The burger. A classic meal that originated in the 1800s right here in the good ol' U S of A. There is some debate as to who actually created the first hamburger but virtually no debate as to whether or not they're delicious. The popularity of the hamburger (no, not only in the US but all over the world) since its creation speaks for itself. My pick for a must try burger in Boston is Boston Burger Company on Boylston Street.When I went recently there was SO MANY different burgers on the menu it was difficult to decide on just one...but in the end I think I made the right choice (see picture above). They even have a burger topped with mozzarella sticks, fried mac and cheese, onion rings, bacon, and BBQ sauce. If that doesn't scream America then I don't know what does. 

 

The hot dog - commonly coupled with the burger- was created in the US thanks to German immigrants. While Coney Island is the original home of the hot dogs that we know and love today, Boston offers many worthwhile renditions of this American classic - and no I'm not referring to the $20 Franks at Fenway Park. Instead, I would opt for a real outdoor BBQ at Formaggio's Kitchen. Every Saturday from 11 am the restaurant hosts a BBQ outside of their Cambridge location with not only hot dogs but also smoked meat sandwiches, ribs and corn bread. The best part is Formaggio's hot dogs are all beef, not that mystery concoction of meats you sometimes find in grocery stores, so you don't have to feel bad post devouring one Saturday afternoon. Speaking of eating hot dogs on Saturdays...THIS Saturday (July 23rd) is National Hot Dog Day so go out and celebrate America's favorite cooked sausage.

A true meal is not complete without dessert, so in keeping with the spirit of all things American I urge you to try a slice of apple pie from Petsi Pies on Beacon Street in Somerville. All of the pies here are baked fresh daily with real ingredients, so you know they're good. The perfect addition to an American BBQ. I like to top mine off with Vanilla ice cream, but you can do what you want. 

Clam chowder may not be a typical dish of America in general, but it is definitely a typical dish of the New England region. There are A LOT of places in New England to get chowder, but my recommendation in the Boston area has to be the Barking Crab in Seaport. Here, the food is good and the atmosphere is even better. From the outdoor terrace you have a great view of the harbor making for an authentic New England experience.

Pair your meals with other uniquely American things, maybe? A NASCAR race? A football game? You don't even have to feel bad about eating all this food - consider it a learning experience.