Cambridge and Somerville Local First - 2011 Coupon Book - Shift Your Shopping to Local First

A Six-Pack of Reasons to Drink Local Craft Brews

Sep 19 9:58 am

By Meghann Ackerman


The Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA (Image courtesy of

Perhaps no other drink has as wide and varied an appeal as beer. From the grimiest dive bar to the swankiest restaurants, you are sure to find some variation of barley, hops, and water on the menu.

A few tiny tweaks, not to mention the addition of fruits and other flavors, can make a big difference in taste, so it’s not surprising that small, locally-owned breweries have been popping up to cater to certain regional and niche palettes.

Unless you’re planning to become a teetotaller soon, you should give some thought to spending your drinking money on locally-brewed suds. In honor of the best way to transport beer (the six-pack), here’s a list of six reasons you should drink locally; put together with help from Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project’s Martha Holley-Paquette.


1. ” By drinking local beers, you are supporting local people who make them.”

Of course, putting money into the pockets of local folks means it’s likely to go back out into the community via…


2. Holley-Paquette explained that Pretty Things rents space locally, sells their product in local shops and eateries and makes charitable donations and supports community events.

Of course, as a local brewery grows, it may need to rent or buy a larger space, pay additional taxes and hire more people. All good things for the community they are it.


3. “You can meet us. You know who made what you’re drinking!

And, you can also make suggestions. A smaller company that is invested in the community is going to listen to its base.

4. “You can support something very small and very crazy. We are much kookier than your average beer.”

While Pretty Things’ business model is unique – brewing beer in a variety of locations – your purchase of any locally-produced suds helps to bolster the community. You’re helping a small business take off and you might be helping to support ideas that will change the industry. Who knows, maybe location-based brewing will be the next big trend.


5. “We use local businesses where possible.”

Much of the promotional material for Pretty Things comes from Somerville and Cambridge vendors. So, when you support one locally-owned business, you’re really helping out several.


6. “We’re spreading Somerville’s name wherever we go and wherever we sell beer.”

Admit it, you wouldn’t know that Narragansett was a real place if it wasn’t for the beer.


Find out for yourself what the microbrew scene is all about: Buy your Harvest Fest 2011 tickets now and get unlimited 2 oz. pours from all your favorite local breweries!

Shades of Somerville: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Jul 26 2:48 pm

- Introducing the Vibrant Vendors of Somerville’s Own -


At Somerville Local First, we not only believe in the importance of supporting locally owned businesses, but getting to know the faces behind counter as well. That is why we decided to create a new blog series that profiles various SLF members, asking a set of 10 questions that connect readers to the featured business and to the Somerville community as well.

Pretty Thing's flagship beer Jack D'Or.

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is an up and coming gypsy brewery that has established a household name for itself with their quirky, tasty beers. SLF takes a closer look at the couple who encourages you to stay pretty and drink real beer.


1. Why did you start your business?

We started it so that Dann could have a job! When we moved back from the UK, I found a science job easily, but Dann didn’t have many prospects locally in a brewery. And he’s a very passionate brewer who can’t really see himself doing anything else. We needed to find a way for him to brew and hopefully make some money towards a salary. So that’s why we decided to throw our last $9000 at starting a brewing company.

2. What brought you to Somerville?

We moved here two years ago from Cambridge. We love living in Somerville, and it quickly became the heart of our business, through interacting with local businesses and cool local people! The next step was finding affordable office/studio space for us to run our company out of, which we did, in Union Square. Now we never want to leave!

3. What is your fondest memory of doing business in Somerville?

I love seeing people in the street who know us and who’ve helped us or been helped by us. We love being involved with local groups like Groundwork Somerville, the artists at Olive Square, and Somerville Local First. But probably our absolute fondest memory is of our launch parties at The Independent in Union Square, where we have John Funke on the DJ booth and the place is packed with cool people with our beers in their hand!

4.  What gets you really excited about your business?

We are creative people at heart, and having the opportunity to create new beers with our own drawings on the labels and our own stories as their inspiration is the best job in the world.

5.  Thinking about your business, what keeps you up at night?

Oh, there’s always something. Last week it was legislation in MA, this week it’s bottle shortages at our manufacturer… All part of the fun of being a tiny new business without much experience or training!

6.  If you could have one wish come true for Somerville, what would it be?

Keeping it real and local: growing and becoming more prosperous, without selling out to big outside companies and luxury condos.

7.  Favorite motto or quote?

“Stay Pretty And Drink Real Beer”

8.  What’s the most rewarding part of running a small business?

Seeing people have fun because of something we made.

9.  What’s the most challenging part of running a small business?

Oh, all the crappy paperwork!!

10. If your business was an animal, what animal would it be and why?

A bandy legged old goat.

Going Global Locally with Ball Square Fine Wines

Jul 17 7:51 pm

So, what are you doing this Monday night? Why, you’re planning an exhilarating evening of laundry and bad television, you say? Enticing as that sounds, might we humbly suggest another option? Shake up the beginning-of-the-week routine with a taste of fine wining and dining presented by the folks over at Ball Square Fine Wines.

Ah, wining in Somerville at dusk...

As a participant in Boston’s “Rogue for Riesling” Summer Fest 2011, BSFW is joining the 31 Days of Riesling July event spree (see this article for more area events). Riesling is traditionally celebrated as a German wine, but BSFW has decided to open our eyes to the myriad of other options in what could only be called “A Global Riesling Fracas.” BSFW says:

This Monday, July 18, from 5-7pm we’ll have five select Rieslings from around the world open for a comparative taste-off. It will be an interactive tasting to demonstrate the unique typicity of each selection.

Of course, our ever-expanding Gourmet Department wanted in on the fun. They will have an assortment of gourmet hor’dourves to pair with the wines.

The event is FREE and open to all 21+ years of age


So much potential!

For more offerings from this specialty shop, check out more of their enlightening events (there’s plenty of options for craft brew and spirits lovers, too!), or get a hankering for the holiday season with last year’s gourmet pairings post by BSFW Gourmet Foods Buyer Joe Ferraro to get a taste of BSFW’s seasonal expertise.

Food, Wine, and Fun at Dave’s Fresh Pasta

Jul 11 1:38 pm

By Alison Preston

Two months ago I took a break from food and drink to relax in a hot tub at Inman Oasis, then it was onto Mass Metta Massage Therapy. Of course, my food obsession can’t be ignored for long. In my next SLF adventure, the journey went back to Davis Square, for an exploration of Dave’s Fresh Pasta, with 20% off any purchase from the specialty foods & grocers section in the SLF coupon booklet. A few months back during my visit to The Boston Shaker. I mentioned my plan to a Boston Shaker employee, and she advised to eat before going shopping or fall prey to the yumminess that is Dave’s Fresh Pasta.


Dave's: Bringing you all the finest meats and cheeses!

Dave's: Bringing you all the finest meats and cheeses!




My limited knowledge was that of fresh pasta, and I had my charge card out to buy. But upon entering, my senses were pleasantly overwhelmed by a collection of unexpected sights, sounds, and smells:

  • Fresh pasta
  • Vosges chocolate (my favorite Chicago chocolate company)
  • Homemade sauces
  • An olive selection from my wildest dreams
  • A grocery section to fulfill daily shopping needs
  • A take-out counter to order fresh sandwiches and other treats
  • A small sit down area to feast on your purchase

Dave’s is truly a one-stop shop. Ten years ago, Dave’s began as a small fresh pasta shop, and the store has expanded twice. The first expansion happened six years ago, with the second happening two years ago.

The most unexpected and exciting part of the shop? Wine. Hello! Who loves wine? Me. So after a careful selection of tomato pasta and spinach pasta, I navigated through the food towards the wine area of the store.  And of course, what goes best with pasta? Wine.


Wine, Wine, everywhere Wine

Wine, Wine, everywhere Wine

I was pleased to find the majority of the bottles within the $10 - $20 range. I hold a high appreciation for a nice (and perhaps pricey) bottle of wine, but what I appreciate more is a nice bottle of wine that my budget can afford more than once a year. The wine shop started as a small area five years ago with around 100 bottles. Flash-forward to the present, and Dave’s offers an expanded collection of 275 bottles and bi-weekly wine and cocktail events to educate the community while sipping wines and having a great time. The last wine tasting of the season is coming up on June 9th—so call 617.623.0867 to check for availability. Or if you miss the wine tasting at the store, private wine tastings are also available. Who doesn’t like a wine event at home?

I ended up with a bottle of Polluce Lazio, a red wine for only $11 (that’s even before my discount). The staff was friendly and had plenty of suggestions to make my trip a breeze. I’m excited to try my pasta and wine for a feast with my fiancé very soon—so head over to Dave’s Fresh Pasta for your own sensory inducing experience.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta is located at 81 Holland Street in Davis Square, Somerville, MA  02144. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information on daily and weekly specials and in-store events.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta: Local money spent w/ coupon: 15.96 | SLF savings: $3.04  | Total savings: $16.64


Spring Has Sprung: A Wonderful Night at the Foundry

May 10 12:47 pm

By Katie Riedman

Spring Has Sprung Networking Event

It was only 6:15 when I walked into the Foundry on Elm for Somerville Local First’s Spring Has Sprung Networking Event. And while the party had only started 15 minutes earlier, the Somerville community was already a few sample cups deep in socializing, munching, and good old fashioned networking.  At one end of the room, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project set up shop, offering guests a selection of their quirky beers.  At the other end, MS Walker highlighted an array of fine wines from the classic pinot to an adventurous zinfandel.  And in between these two sampling stations were the familiar, and not so familiar, faces of the many villen’s who made it out to celebrate. Not to mention, the delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by the Foundry’s Executive Chef.

Among the crowd floated SLF members Somerville Cleaning Company, YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City, Recover Green Roofs, Centering Touch Massage Therapy & Bodywork, Union Square Main Streets, Truly Good Design, Union Square’s Grand, and SLF Community Members—just to name a few.

As I waited in line to sample one of Pretty Thing’s unique beers, I caught up with one attendee. She had just arrived from work, and although she didn’t know many people at the event, she was eager to meet the other faces who representative and supported SLF.  Making my way through the crowd, I stopped to hello to a few of the SLF board members who introduced me to the Recover Green Roofs crew. Why did they stop by the Foundry that night? To catch up with friends, check out the venue, and support an event that brought the community together.

Social Networking

One newer SLF Member decided to check out the event in order to expand his network, connect with other members, and promote his business. A group of SLF Community Members said they attended because they’ve enjoyed previous SLF events while others attended simply to welcome in spring. Some guests came as plus ones, twos or threes, while some flew solo to sample the Foundry’s delectable dishes. A few couples were even on date night. However, by the end of the evening, the unanimous reason for attending wasn’t the delicious flatbread pizza. It was to join together and support the work of Somerville Local First.

Well after the event ended, there was a small crowd still mingling and catching up with old friends. When I asked one of the remaining guests what they thought of the event, he replied there is no better way to greet spring than by being in a room, surrounded by people who share a common goal and passion— to engage business and community leaders in building economies that are green, local and fair. With that, Somerville Local First has taken one step closer to strengthening the unique community of the ‘Ville.

Cheers to everything local! A Journey to the Boston Shaker

Mar 22 11:38 am

By Alison Preston (@themoxstopshere)

Glassware Display

Last month, I began an adventure. The challenge: use the 2011 SLF Coupon book and explore local business. As a new resident to the Boston area with the coupon book as my map, I am sure to discover fun stops around the city while supporting local business.


While turning the pages of my SLF book, I noticed a 20% coupon from The Boston Shaker. As a cocktail enthusiast, I’ll admit my skills lie with drinking more than creating. As my tastes for a Manhattan and an old fashioned have developed, so has my interest to create and understand the ingredients. From recent research I was curious about bitters, and The Boston Shaker in Davis Square was a great place to continue my quest to find out more.

This cocktail supply shop was born as Adam Lantheaume, proprietor, grew tired of not finding all the supplies for a good cocktail in one centralized location. At The Boston Shaker, you can find everything from vintage glassware that Adam discovers, to cocktail creation supplies, books, and professional grade glassware to hold your drinks.

A Variety of Shakers of Course!

I was greeted by Jessica, who was eager to help with my education. After a short introduction to the shop, I had already noted two pluses for a new enthusiast:

The shop layout always has the customer in mind. Items are displayed to be approachable for expert mixers as well as new enthusiasts.
The Boston Shaker is only stocked with items well loved by the employees. In my opinion, when love is a part of the process, you can be certain the quality is exceptional and customers will return for more.

As I stated earlier, my main interest for this trip was bitters - a staple in numerous cocktails. The Boston Shaker provides an eclectic selection of bitters with varying tastes and intentions behind each brand. I learned that bitters not only add something special to a cocktail, but also possess herbal properties and stimulate digestion. To help with my decision, we did a tasting of different products. As I learned from Jessica, bitters aren’t usually enjoyed alone, but mainly in addition to other spirits. To test, we followed these steps:

• Smell the bitters, taking in the scent at the beginning and end of a whiff. This might be the best way to test the flavor.



• For further examination, I touched my finger to a sample cup and put a small drop on my tongue to observe the taste.

Some varieties taste similar to their smell, while others are completely different. My advice when choosing? Before your visit have a particular drink or season in mind, and go from there. I decided to purchase Bitterman’s Boston Bittahs for some warm weather cocktails I plan to concoct.

With friendly faces and encouraging staff who can educate you in cocktail creation, head over to The Boston Shaker - a one of a kind stop in Somerville. With warm weather on its way, stay tuned to see where I end up next!

The Boston Shaker is located at 69 Holland Street in Somerville, MA. Follow them on Twitter for the most up-to-date information on the shop and cocktail tastings.

We’re tracking Alison’s purchsases and savings on her journey,  here’s where she’s at so far.  Two coupons and she’s almost made her investment in the book back!

The Independent: Local money spent w/ coupon: $33 (includes tip) | SLF savings: $6.00
The Boston Shaker: Local money spent w/ coupon: 14.40 | SLF savings: $3.60  | Total savings: $9.60

The 2011 Local First Coupon Book: Get up, get out, and explore local business!

Feb 28 1:13 pm

The Independent Somerville Lunch

Fresh local food for lunch? Yes, please!

One of Somerville Local First’s community bloggers Alison Preston (@themoxstopshere) was given a challenge: Grab a copy of the new Somerville and Cambridge Local First coupon book and write about where the discounts take her! This is the first of six posts chronicling her adventures in local savings. Stay tuned to the SLF blog to find out where she goes next!

As sunny days become more frequent, it’s time to get off the couch, throw on a coat and explore your neighborhoods. I’m very excited to help highlight the 2011 Somerville and Cambridge Local First Coupon Book and even if a small period of cold weather still lingers, the book inspires me to head outside. For only ten dollars, you receive over $1,000 dollars in discounts, and a chance to support local business. As a new transplant to Boston, my coupon booklet is a map and I’m the local explorer on the go. My journey is your journey, so please follow as I discover six local businesses over the next six months.

For my first exploration experience, I chose The Independent in Union Square situated at 75 Union Square in Somerville. My choice came from the simple need to eat, and the coupon offered 20% off lunch. Immediately upon my arrival I could tell my choice was right on.

Here are my top five reasons why I will be back and why you should visit The Independent:

  • The Independent offers (as they promise on the website): “a casual, comfortable neighborhood restaurant and pub located in the heart of Union Square.” The dark wood and simple decor was very inviting and cozy, as was my friendly, knowledgeable server who made me feel right at home. The space is great for a date, as well as for a drink with friends after work.
  • The fare is not your typical bar food. New chef Mark Cina creates seasonal dishes with an attention to detail while also using local, sustainable, fresh ingredients, a BIG plus in my book.
  • You must try: the Stuffed Peppadew small plate. Peppadews resemble mini red bell peppers, sweet with a hint of heat. The Independent presents them on a plate stuffed with avocado puree and jicama salsa, and the tiny bites are flavorful and a refreshing start to a meal.
  • The beer and cocktail lists are other areas that show evidence of a careful eye and attention to variety. Offering a diverse selection of beers, from regional favorites like Harpoon and Narragansett to a selection of Belgians for beer connoisseurs, I took time to choose whilst I enjoyed reading about selections I didn’t recognize. Cocktails run from standard to inventive and are graced with fresh squeezed juices and house made syrups. I can’t wait to come back when the temperatures warm to have a cocktail with the windows open.
  • When entering an eating establishment for lunch, it is so much nicer to hear selected music instead of a TV or top 40 blaring. A few big screen TVs are located by the bar, which are great for sports nights, but I offer a big thank you to The Independent for playing Radiohead instead of Britney Spears or a sports update during my meal.
The Independent Cocktail Menu

A cocktail menu that gets creative with the classics.

Even on my first visit, I felt right at home at The Independent and I will definitely be back. For an eclectic menu, friendly service, and a great drink selection, The Independent should be on your map when exploring new spots around Somerville. Stay tuned for my next post when my map of coupons leads me another Somerville gem.

Thai Tapas Tuesday: Sherry Edition

Jan 10 9:38 am

by Henry Patterson

The January Edition of our Thai Tapas Tuesday Series will feature a special guest speaker: passionate foodie and wine expert, Richard Auffrey.

His respected food blog often includes notes about a misunderstood and under-appreciated wine category, the wines popular in tapas bars across Spain which fall under the general heading of sherries. I had a drink with Richard awhile back and we joked about how Ronnarong, as a tapas bar, really should have a sherry list.

Sherry is front and center at this month's Thai Tapas Tuesday

Sherry is front and center at this month's Thai Tapas Tuesday

Richard surprised me with the assertion that sherries would pair quite well with Thai spicing. I acknowledged that I had little experience of sherries, and thought of them, frankly, as uninspired, unmemorable cheap cooking wines. Richard is a Certified Spanish Wine Educator and he quickly assured me that 1) what I had tasted was not at all representative of a great wine category, and 2) sadly, mine was a typical American experience. The idea for this dinner was born. We met a week later at Ronnarong and tasted a number of dishes so Richard could select sherries to pair and we set the date for January.

The plan includes a variety of sherry types, which Richard will explain as the dinner progresses. His selections will include a Manzanilla, an Amontillado and an Oloroso, affording attendees a broad introduction.

At our tasting lunch we decided on Thai roll tapas and three classic Thai dishes: seafood lad nah (mixed seafood with asian broccoli, wide noodles, oyster sauce), beef with Ronnarong’s red curry, and a larb (a very spicy ground chicken dish).

Thai rolls on the tasting menu

Please come and enjoy Mr. Auffrey’s sherry selections paired with Ronn’s classic Thai dishes, all for $30 (plus tax and gratuity.) Seating is limited to thirty people.  Email [email protected] to register.


Want to get a head start learning about sherry?
Here’s a link to blog posts by Richard Auffrey about sherry:

You’ll find articles with these titles:
History of Sherry (Five Parts)
Manzanilla: The Neglected Sherry (Two Parts)
Does Alvear Produce Sherry?
Sherry News
Bound for Spain: Sherry!
I Have Returned!
Ten Things I Learned About Sherry
Five More Things I Learned About Sherry
Aged Sherry: Prepare To Be Wowed
The Mystery of Palomino
Bodegas Tradición: Only Aged Sherries
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana: Manzanilla Mecca
Bodegas Harvey: Peacocks, Gators & Aged Sherry
Bodegas Sánchez Romate: Flamenco, Momo & Moscatel
Bodegas Gonzalez Byass: Apostles & Thirsty Mice
Bodegas Grupo Estevez: Music For the Flor
Sherry and Spanish Cuisine
Sherry Food Pairings: More Bellota Please
A Taste of Menton, With Sherry
Sherry Bodegas: Beware The Aliens!
Rant: Dumbing Down Wine Lists
The Veil of Flowers
Sherry Day: December 6

Harvest Fest: The Second Glass In The House & Local Designer/DJ to Manage Fashion Performance

Aug 01 2:02 pm

by Joe Grafton

We’re just over two months away from Harvest Fest 2010 and the participant list continues to add some of the best and brightest from Greater Boston.  One thing we’ve learned in our 2+ year history:  The more great people we can surround ourselves with, the more fun and success we have.  Along those lines, we are incredibly excited to announce two new partners for this years festivities.  Note:  We do expect the event to sell out,  and suggest you buy your tickets in advance.

The Second Glass to bring their love of local wine and penchant for partying to Harvest Fest 2010 and their own Wine Riot on October 22nd & 23rd.

The Second Glass is your unpretentious, badass source for baller wine information.”  Sounds like a match made in heaven, and we think it will be.  Tyler and Morgan, the founders of SG were recently featured in Inc Magazine’s 30 under 30, a list of some of the country’s best young entrepreneurs and have lots of local roots and connections.

It is also worth thanking the recent hot and sweltering weather for facilitating this bad-ass partnership.  For were it not for Tyler’s need to get out of his hot apartment and into an air conditioned office, and my response via the social interwebs that he was welcome to chill (pun intended) at the SLF office for the day, we might not be talking about this.  But a short conversation later, Tyler was emailing Morgan about the potential of running the local wine parade at Harvest Fest, and a day later it was official (entrepreneurs, social or otherwise, like to act quickly).

Finally, it’s not just about these guys rocking our wine world.  Remember, Harvest Fest is about local first and foremost.  And Tyler is excited to show our guests just what Massachusetts can do.  In discussing the format, Tyler said “Massachusetts wineries are making GREAT wine right now.  But not enough people know this“.  We have a feeling that at least 700 folks will know a lot more about it after 10/9/10.

Find the Second Glass on the web, on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Fashion Performance Manager Ari Paoletti is the Founder of Deconize Style...

...and a Basstown resident at one of Boston's best dance parites, Make It New

Last year, the fashion show at Harvest Fest featured a TON of stylized and fashion forward looks from some of our favorite local fashion shops and boutiques.  Looks from poor little rich girl, Artifaktori and Black & Blues Boutique filled the Armorywith style and beauty.

The looks were great last year...

And like most things from Harvest Fest 2009, gave the organizers some indegestion as we tried to create something spectacular,  without really knowing what we were doing.  We think the guests probably were more likely to notice the lovely looks parading up and down the runway, but this year we’re bringing in an expert to help us enjoy it too.

...and with Ari's help, they'll be even better at Harvest Fest 2010

As part of my work as Director of Operations for the 1st Annual, Together Music Festival, I got a chance to work with Ari Paoletti, a renowned local fashion designer and DJ (Volvox).  Ari managed the Get Together: a record fair, trade show and, you guessed it, fashion performance.  Watching what she coordinated that day at the Villa Victoria, I knew that we had to find a way for her to work on Harvest Fest.  A few emails and conversations later, we had ourselves a Fashion Show Manager.  With Ari in the fold, not only will the show be visually stunning, but I and the other organziers won’t have to worry about it, and might actually be able to enjoy it from the Super Supporter Box on the Mezzanine.

Note:  You can find Deconize products in our very own Grand in Union Square.

Harvest Fest: Our first brewery announced and a remarkable final act for Harvest Fest 2010

Jul 17 3:54 am

Rapscallion Brewery will be @ Harvest Fest 2010

We’re pleased to announce that Rapscallion Brewery will be at Harvest Fest.  The co-owners are great guys and big fans of and participants in the Local Movement.  And you’re likely to see them in a Somerville bar if you look hard enough.

Their slogan:  Think Local, Drink Local and we couldn’t agree more.  That’s a big part of what Harvest Fest is all about.

Aircraft Aerialists to Create Visually Stunning Finale

This idea has been kicking around for a while, but its now a reality.  At the conclusion of Harvest Fest Session II (titled Local is the Future), the Zebbler Encanti Experience will team up with Aircraft Aerial Arts (think Local Cirque du Soleil).

We’ll have aerial performances up to 20 feet in the air on the ring and silks choreographed with some of Boston’s best progressive electronic music from Encanti and 3 screens of award winning video from Zebbler…and we still have some surprises on top of that.

We really can’t wait to see this, and it may just be the only time this has ever happened in greater Boston?  So ya, this is how we do our fundraisers.

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