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Snow Days

Despite all the snow and cold, I’ve been braving the elements to go out and meet up with friends. Here’s the latest in my adventures in and around the city from indulging my “inner foodie” to taking in a little bit of culture along the way. 

Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar

I received an invitation to celebrate a very good friend’s birthday at Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Somerville. It is one of my favorite places and it had been some time since I had dinner there. I couldn’t wait to go back, and, of course, see my friend. I arrived late, a little flustered and cold, but the music and the wonderful aromas embraced me as soon as I opened the door. Once I saw my friends, I felt a whole lot better and we were off to begin a night of fun and laughter. We began with a round of colorful beverages and then plundered our way through their extensive menu. We had plates of garlic shrimp, grilled Spanish sausage, grilled whole shrimp, Gorditas, which are bacon-wrapped prunes filled with goat cheese (absolutely to die for!!!), beef turnover, salt cod croquettes with coriander aioli and sautéed “meaty” mushrooms, all served with ease at our table as we polished off plate after plate. There were six of us, just in case you were wondering. We had a feast and ate like queens, and to top it off, dessert included flan, churros with warm chocolate sauce and café con leche. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect birthday celebration on such a wintry evening.

“Night Catches Us” screening at the Stuart Street Playhouse

I tend to see a lot of movies whenever I can and I was excited to see the flick “Night Catches Us.” The screening was presented by The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc., in association with The Roxbury International Film Festival, Future Boston Alliance and Night Life Executives.

The film stars Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington and takes place in Philly in 1976 several years after the Black Power/Panther movement. The soul music of the 1970s (scored by The Roots), filled the movie and amplified the feeling of rage and frustration during those times. Both Mackie and Washington gave really good performances, but they were upstaged by Jamara Griffin who played Washington’s insightful daughter Iris.

Despite the umpteenth snowstorm this season, the turnout was fabulous.

Canary Square Restaurant

I raved about the restaurant and the macaroni and cheese to my friend Dana who is a true connoisseur. She’ll ask questions like, “how long is the mac and cheese baked for,” (I don’t know), “does it have a bread crumb topping,” “how cheesy is it” and “what kind of cheese is used?”

Basically, she doesn’t play around when it comes to her comfort food. I’m glad to report that she loved the Jamaica Plain spot, as I knew she would, and word is definitely spreading about the restaurant because there was a 30-minute wait to be seated. By the time we sat down, we had already reviewed the menu and hit the waiter with our order of drinks, appetizers and entrees. We began with the Atlantic salt cod fritters (light and tasty) and the brussel sprouts and bacon — an interesting combo.

For our entrees, Dana ordered the mac and cheese and I tried the Wood Grilled 10 oz. Burger with grafton cheddar cheese, black pepper brioche and hand cut fries. And two hours later after much talking and laughing, again, I realized I ate every last bite. And even though we were full, we split the Butterscotch Bread Pudding with a scoop of maple walnut ice cream. It was worth every bite!

“Ruined” at the Huntington Theatre

I had heard a lot of great reviews about the play “Ruined,” which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to catch it before its Boston run ended. Upon arrival, I was immediately transported to what seemed like a lush and beautiful backdrop in the Congo with all the sounds of the jungle and its natural inhabitants. Yet, under all that beauty was a lot of pain, fear, anguish and devastation. “Ruined” takes place in ‘Mama Nadi’s’ canteen where she has been able to survive in the midst of the Congo civil war because of her motto to “not take sides.” We quickly learn that beer is not the only thing that Mama sells at her canteen. She also sells girls to any man who’ll leave his gun at the door and despite knowing this you can’t help but become engaged in the lives of the characters of Mama, Sophie, Professor, Salima and Josephine, so vividly brought to life by the actors.

“Ruined” depicts the emotional, psychological and physical toil of the Congo’s civil war on its people and brings to light how women are considered as simple sexual playthings, slaves and objects to be used and abused.

Yet, in spite of all this, these women still maintain some humor and hope to push through in their lives. Go see “Ruined.” It will make you think, laugh and cry.

Coming Up

Tonight (Feb. 3), Berklee’s Signature Concert Series Presents Gospel Stylist and Grammy winner Richard Smallwood at 8:15 p.m.   

Kick off the weekend with First Friday Boston this Friday, Feb. 4 at Caprice Lounge. The night features two floors and three rooms of entertainment with music by DJs Big and Luanda spinning the best in hip hop, RandB, zouk, kompa and reggae. The party kicks off at 10 p.m.

The award-winning play “Ruined” is showing now through Sunday, Feb. 6 at The Huntington Theatre in Boston.

Back by popular demand, “The Momologues:  Pink Ribbon Overdose” brings their production that mines the experience of breast cancer for laughs to The Company Theatre in Norwell on Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. It once again stars WCVB-TV5’s Newswomen Bianca de la Garza, Susan Wornick and Karen Holmes Ward, film and television actress Erica McDermott (“The Fighter”) and Ellie Fund Executive Director Julie Nations.

Scullers Jazz Club presents Lizz Wright for one night on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

If you would like me to cover or write about your event, e-mail me at