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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..


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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!

Dining Etiquette Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Many of us likely feel as though we have a strong command on dining etiquette in our respective countries. However, some people may not know that these table manners vary across the world from region to region, and sometimes even within those regions. Some things that we may not even think twice about doing may be considered extremely rude or taboo in other countries. If you are hosting an international visitor or traveling abroad, it is important to keep these in mind!

Asia:

Do not use your chopsticks as a spear: Throughout Asia, it is consistently considered rude to spear your food with chopsticks instead of using them properly to pick up the food. This has to do with superstitious beliefs as usually when on pierces their food with chopsticks you are offering this food to the dead.


Other chopstick rules: There are actually many rules surrounding the use of chopsticks. For example, pointing a chopstick at someone is just as rude if not more disrespectful than pointing a finger. In addition to this, passing food directly from your chopsticks to another's is actually part of a funeral ritual in which the deceased's bones are passed between chopsticks. Also in many parts of Asia placing your chopsticks sticking straight up in your food is a gesture meant for the deceased. It is best to avoid these practices as many Asian cultures as superstitious and doing these is considered very taboo and disrespectful.

Eat the food served to you: Particularly in China and Korea, it is an honor to be served food especially what are perceived as the "best" parts of something. Even if you do not like the food, it is respectful to finish the food served to you.

Paying the bill: In China and other areas influenced by Chinese customs such as Malaysia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, bills are not typically split among diners. Instead, one person picks up the entire check. Usually a several people will put up a fight to cover the expenses, and doing so shows a sign of appreciation for relationships and is seen as polite.

Europe:

Bread: In France, bread is placed directly on the table as opposed to being placed on a bread plate. Bread is not served as an appetizer and should be consumed along with your meal. When consuming the bread, it is important to break it into pieces as opposed to biting them off.

Also, in Russia it is considered bad form to waste bread, as it is believed that when one dies all of the bread they've wasted over the years will be weighed and added to the balance that determines whether or not one is accepted into heaven.

Eating your food as it is prepared: In Portugal and Spain, it is considered an insult to the cook to alter your food by adding salt and pepper to the prepared dish.

Use your silverware: Often times in European countries, it is considered polite and normal use your utensils with what some may consider finger foods, such as pizza.

Middle East:

Don't eat with your left hand: Because the left hand is associated with using the restroom and associated bodily functions, it is considered unsanitary and rude to use your left hand to eat. Instead, eat strictly with your right hand.

Drinking coffee: In Bedouin culture, they will continue to pour you coffee once you have finished it. That is, until you shake the cup by tilting it two to three times when you hand it back. By doing this, you are signifying that you are finished.

Etiquette for eating with your hands: While it differs from country to country, generally when eating with your hands you should use your fingertips to ensure the food does not touch your palms. If you are sharing a large dish, which is common, only eat from your side of the plate. Often times diners will use bread to scoop the food, which the house owner breaks and distributes to guests.

It is important to remember that every country is different and these rules of etiquette may vary! To be safe, look up specific customs for a specific country if you are curious, however these are some general rules to follow for each region.

Everything You Need To Know About Super Bowl LI

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Its that time of year again - time for the Super Bowl!! Excitingly enough Boston's favorite football team will (again!) be playing in this year's Super Bowl, Super Bowl LI (if you're not too familiar with roman numerals LI means 50). Here is everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the big game. Go Pats!!

Who: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

What: Super Bowl LI

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

When: Saturday, February 5th @ 6:30pm

How to watch: Super Bowl LI will be televised nationally on FOX. You can also watch it online for free on FOXsports.com on your computer or tablet. Verizon users can watch it on the go with NFL Mobile

Where to Watch: With its plethora of sports bars and restaurants, Boston is an exciting place to celebrate the Super Bowl! Here you can find a list of places throughout the city hosting Super Bowl parties and offering special deals on food and drink. I personally will be watching the game from my favorite venue - my couch. If you're looking for some place less crowded or for a younger crowd, watching the game at home with family and friends may be the best option. 


Who to watch:  This will be the Patriot's ninth Super Bowl appearance and the seventh time for Belichick and Brady. Tom Brady is going for his 5th Super Bowl ring, which would make him the record holder of the most Super Bowl wings of any active quarter back in the NFL. Right now, Brady is tied for 4 wins with Joe Montana. After him, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have two rings each, and are the only other active quarter backs with more than one win. This Super Bowl will pit the No. 1 defense in the league (Pats) against the No. 1 offense in the league (Falcons) which should definitely provide for an exciting game!

What to eat: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Super Bowl is the second largest day of food consumption in America (the first is Thanksgiving). American's are estimated to buy 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, and set to consume 1.33 billion chicken wings. Several local pizza chains have Super Bowl specials that you can find here, just remember to put your order in early - they'll be busy! 

Halftime show: This year's Halftime show will be headlined  by Lady Gaga. This will be Lady Gaga's second time performing on the Super Bowl stage, after having sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 last February. The Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show is the most -watched musical event of the year, attracting more than 116.5 million viewers last year. 

If New England wins, stay tuned for the Patriots Parade in the weeks shortly after. It is tradition for the team to celebrate the big win by parading through the streets of Boston on floats with their families! 


Sources: NFL, Chicago Tribune

The Coolest Hot Chocolate In The City

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It might not (technically) be winter, but I think you'll agree that it sure does feel like it. It hasn't snowed (yet), but I've already started bundling up on my way to work. One good thing about cold weather is that its a great time to drink hot chocolate! Here are some of the best places around Boston where you can find a gourmet cup of hot cocoa...because sometimes Swiss Miss just isn't enough. 

L.A. Burdick

The "drinking chocolate" at L.A. Burdick takes hot chocolate to a whole new level. This beverage - or should I say dessert- is as thick and creamy as its name suggests. While it does come in small servings, it is definitely not lacking in flavor. The drinking chocolate is made with a high-quality chocolate with an even higher percentage of cocoa butter. If you fall in love with this cup of melted chocolate-y goodness you can buy your own bag of the mixture to prepare at home - and therefore avoid making the trek to Clarendon or Brattle Streets in the freezing Boston winter. 

Flour Bakery 

Flour Bakery's Fiery Hot Chocolate gives a new meaning to the "hot" in "hot chocolate".  This spicy twist on classic hot cocoa, made with chocolate ganache, steamed milk, chili powder and cayenne pepper, is guarantee to warm your whole body up. 

Paris Creperie 


There's no such thing a too much Nutella, right?! If you're a fan of this hazelnut spread then the Nutella Hot Chocolate at Paris Creperie should be at the top of your must drink list. This drink is a mixture of warm milk and hot melted Nutella, instead of chocolate. I could put Nutella on everything so you can bet that I'm really excited about this. Bon Appetit! 

Cafe Vittoria 


If you would prefer Italian over French, the North End's Cafe Vittoria has a delicious mug of hot cocoa for you. The cafe's "Cioccolatto Caldois" is so rich you might have to eat it with a spoon. What makes this mixture so thick? The secret ingredient is corn starch. 

Sofra Bakery and Cafe 


Maybe Middle Eastern food is more your taste? Sofra Cafe and Bakery serves a Turkish -inspired cocoa, quite unlike your typical hot chocolate. This chocolate mix is combined with sesame caramel to give the whole thing a Middle Eastern vibe.

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!

Krazy for KitKats

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I'm assuming you're familiar with the KitKat -- the milk chocolate and wafer bar you can find in just about every supermarket, gas station, and convenience store in the country. KitKat is definitely a popular chocolate in the U.S. but did you know that it is HUGE is Japan?? I had no idea until I read this article from CNN. The article is about the KitKat craze and why this chocolate is so popular in the country (it's a really interesting article so you should read it) We were so intrigued that we asked our Japanese culture consultant to give us some insight into this aspect of Japanese life.

To understand the KitKat craze in Japan it is important to understand the involvement of lucky charms in the culture. Belief in good luck charms and trinkets is strong in Japanese society. Japanese often keep a lucky charm, such as a coin, on their person during exams or important events so that they may have good fortune. KitKats became so popular because they are given as good luck charms. Why? Sort of by an unintentional coincidence. The candy's name sounds very similar to the Japanese phrase "kitto katsato", meaning "to surely win". Japanese students will receive KitKats from their parents or friends before exams as a way of saying good luck. Just how popular are KitKats?? In Japan they are sold in over 300 flavors - though not the kinds of flavors you would find in the U.S. Some notable KitKats include pumpkin pudding, green tea, shinshu apple, adzuki bean sandwhich. matcha, wasabi, purple sweet potatoes, cherry blossom, and sake (and to think I thought the white chocolate kind was adventurous). The reason for so many flavors is because of the large amount of competition within the Japanese candy business. Over 2,000 new confectionery products are released in the country each year, so KitKat must create new flavors to keep up. Colors also play a role in the creation of new flavors, as Japanese tend to prefer bright hues to ordinary ones. The different colored KitKats are more attractive to Japanese consumers than standard chocolates. KitKat in Japan goes beyond your standard chocolate bar, with products like KitKat pizza and "baking bars" designed to be cooked before eating. Since 2012m KitKat has begun to overtake major candy companies like Meji. 

KitKats are produced and displayed in Japan the way you might imagine gourmet chocolate is made here. In Japan, KitKats are sold in large stores, the way Lindt or Godiva chocolate is sold in the United States. However, despite their "gourmet" preparation, KitKats are still not viewed to be as fancy or classy like gourmet chocolate brands in America would be. For example, while it may be culturally appropriate in the U.S. to give a box of Godiva chocolates as say a housewarming gift or as an end of the year thank you to a professor, it would not be appropriate in Japan to give a KitKat as a gift in these same situations. So give a KitKat to your Japanese students before their test, but don't expect any from their parents if they come to visit. 


Did this post give you a KitKat craving?? Lucy for you, you don't have to go all the way to Japan for Matcha flavored KitKats. You can find them at most H Marts or Asian grocery stores. 

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.