- The B-Side
- 🥫💅 Soup season got a major glow up
🥫💅 Soup season got a major glow up
Plus: ⛸️ Free Frog Pond skating!
Happy Friday, Boston!
🏃 Love running and freebies? The Boston Run Show this weekend is basically a runner’s high in the flesh, i.e., lots of sneakers, shopping, and expert speakers. And since they’re a partner, you can go for FREE with code BSIDE.
👀 What’s on tap today:
New low-income T fares
Reparations’ next steps
Penguin on the loose?
What A Soup? What a meal!
Video and gif: Gia Orsino
We’re back for another edition of B-Side Certified, where we ask readers what new restaurant they want our two cents on. So, we headed to What A Soup, a new spot near Central Square specializing in Thai Boat Noodle Soup.
Here’s what we thought:
🪑The space is cozy, small but not packed. On a busy day, things have the potential to get a little squishy, but on a snowy night (like when we went), it was perfect: cozy, comfortable, well decorated, and a little quirky. The vibe is somewhere in between fast-casual and traditional sit-down, and the service was friendly, but brisk.
🥟 They’re all about soup, but the apps and desserts stole the show. Especially the pork belly skewers, which were melt-in-your-mouth good, and had a garlicky, savory depth of flavor that delighted our taste buds. Plus: Our dessert, a sweet, creamy Thai tea custard served with buttery-yet-light milk bread for dipping, was a total home-run. My friend summed it up best: “I can’t not smile while eating this.” It was completely unique and the perfect finale to the meal.
🍜 But the soup and noodles were nothing to sniff at. We tried two noodle dishes, the $45 “what a signature” Wagyu beef bowl (in the name of journalism!) and their regular-price pork ball boat noodle soup. The broth in both dishes was the standout, and it was obvious a lot of thought and love went into concocting them. While the bowls didn’t knock our socks off like the apps and dessert did, we still really enjoyed them. But as for the $45 Wagyu bowl, in our opinion, it wasn’t worth the splurge (especially since the portion of Wagyu itself is relatively small).
💰 Your dollar goes a long way here … Especially if you skip the $45 Wagyu bowl. All of the other noodle bowls run between $14 and $18, and the apps and desserts are around $10. And with the obvious care that goes into the flavor and quality of each dish, we’d say it’s totally worth the money.
😋 Come here for elevated noodles and standout add-ons. The food is delish and the offerings are unique and high quality for the price point. Is it worth a schlep across the river? Maybe not for a one-off meal. But if it’s a cold day and you’re in the area, this spot is 100% worth your while.
✅ The verdict? B-Side certified. Check out their soft opening menu here.
🚗 For those of you who live (or have lived) in Boston proper: Do you/did you have a car?
Let us know below!
Teens Speak Live!
💬 B-Side is a proud media partner of: The Boston Globe's Teen Speak Live on January 29th. This special interactive event, designed for teenagers, parents, and teachers, will focus on the stories, questions, fears and curiosities of local students, and will be moderated by The Boston Globe's Deputy Ideas Editor, Kelly Horan. This event is inspired by TEENS SPEAK, a special initiative from The Boston Globe Ideas Team.
Quick & dirty headlines
Image courtesy of: Patricia Mcdonnell
🚇 The MBTA’s next stop: Transit equity. The MBTA officially proposed a new low-income fare program, which would provide riders aged 26 to 64 who earn up to 200% of the federal poverty line with a 50% discount on transit fares (including the commuter rail). If approved, the changes are expected to phase in by this spring or summer. Plus: Alongside the news, the MBTA announced the phasing out of paper CharlieTickets, and expanding the weekend $10 commuter rail pass to include federal holidays.
🎓 No college degree, no problem. Gov. Maura Healey signed an executive order scrapping the majority of minimum education requirements for jobs in state agencies, except when deemed absolutely necessary. Translation: If you don’t have a college degree, you’ll still be considered for the job (most of the time). Healey sees the move as a step toward transitioning Mass. to a “skills-based” economy, which will both broaden and diversify applicant pools, and make it easier for employers to fill open positions.
✊🏿 Boston’s reparations task force is ready to rock. The city officially chose two research teams to work with its reparations task force to study what reparations might look like for the descendants of slavery in Boston. The teams plan to look into Boston’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the effects of slavery’s legacy in some of Boston’s institutions. This is a big step forward for the task force, which has been slow going due to competing visions. But they’ve gotta act fast: They have until the end of the year to recommend a reparations program.
📚 Brighton bookworms, rejoice! After closing for renovation for over three years, the Faneuil branch of the Boston Public Library in Brighton has officially reopened. The $14 million glow-up includes almost 5,000 extra square feet, a brand-new children’s room, community center, and a ritzy entrance, bringing the small but mighty community hub up to date. We gotta shout out the team of volunteers and librarians who rallied together to keep events and programming going even without a building over the last three years. You’re real ones!
THINGS TO DO
Image courtesy of: Friends of the Public Garden
Pssst! To celebrate Dry January, all our things to do listings this month will be alcohol-free. Cheers!
⛸️ Hit the rink for free. Grab free cocoa, rentals, and ice time at Frog Pond this Sunday. The only catch is slots are limited, and you have to show up 30 mins before your desired time to claim your tickets.
🍫 Come hungry to Harvard Square. It’s the best weekend ever for chocolate lovers in Boston because Chocolate Weekend is back on Brattle Plaza starting today through Sunday.
🍕 Pizza your own pie. Head to Castle Island Brewing Co. on Sunday to assemble your pie with pizza chefs from Bardo’s Pizza Bar, who will cook your masterpiece right in front of you.
🤠 Make your mechanical bull debut. Or your triumphant return! In any case, Park-9 is throwing Country Fest weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Come for BBQ, country music, and the bull (only on-site Saturday).
🧧 Begin your Lunar New Year prep. The holiday isn’t till Feb. 10, but the BPL is hosting a workshop on Saturday where you can make your own hongbao, the traditional red envelope used for gifts on Lunar New Year.
— Written by Claire Nicholas
🎉 Want more things to do recommendations? Refer five friends to unlock four bonus items. For those who already have, enjoy below.
🧘Stretch it out (wallet not required). Artemis Yoga is hosting an open house on Saturday with an afternoon of free yoga. Make sure to sign up in advance!
👑 Put the drag in dragon. Summer Shack Boston has invited drag queen Neon Calypso to host a Pokémon Drag Brunch on Saturday afternoon. See your favorite Pokémon and trainers take the stage.
😭 Say yes and … goodbye. Improv Boston’s National Touring Company will take the stage one final time tonight at The Rockwell before shutting down for good. We <3 you, IB.
😋 Double fist churros and hot chocolate. Egleston Square Main Street is putting on its 3rd annual night of churros and chocolate on Saturday, where you can enjoy exactly what the event’s name suggests.
ONE LAST THING
A penguin on the loose?
Illustration: Gia Orsino.
If you saw this bird floating in Boston harbor this week, you’d be forgiven for thinking the aquarium might be short a penguin.
As it turns out, all of the aquarium’s penguins are currently accounted for, and it seems that there are several penguin-look alike birds that have been known to visit Boston in the winter. In fact, this isn’t the first time these penguin imposters caused an uproar.
Anyway, the bird in question is (apparently) a thick-billed murre. Who knew!
— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario
🐧 Thanks for reading! It may not be a penguin, but that little guy still came here all the way from the Arctic! No small feat!
🚇 The results are in: If B-Siders had access to Healey’s $58 billion budget, we might just have a functioning T. 47% of readers voted that the MBTA would be their top budget priority. One reader said: “Burn it down and start anew.”