Friday, June 30th – The Chubby Chickpea Giving Away Free Falafel Sandwiches!

Various small plates of food from The Chubby Chickpea that is available for catering.

Tomorrow is the Friday before the 4th of July and there’s a delicious free treat in store for you! If you’re in the Canton area around lunchtime or sometime after, head over to The Chubby Chickpea food truck. It’s all about the love of the chickpea!

According to a press release, they are celebrating their seventh anniversary and will be giving away 350 orders of their signature falafel sandwiches. Find them outside Trillium Brewing Company in Canton, where they are located every Friday, from 12pm to 9pm.

We gave away 50 free falafels the day we launched in Canton Center seven years ago,” said Chubby Chickpea founder Avi Shemtov. “After seven years of delicious food and great memories, we’re giving away seven times as many falafel sandwiches here in 2017 to say thank you to our loyal customers.

I’ve never had one of their falafel sandwiches, but they sound delicious!

The falafel is fried to order, paired with house-made hummus and tahini sauce, an Israeli salad of tomato, cucumber, scallion, parsley, lemon juice, salt and black pepper, then served on imported Israeli pita pockets.

Shemtov also recently launched the TAPPED beer truck, Greater Boston’s first and only independent mobile craft beer bar. Last Saturday TAPPED hosted its first public event, a pop-up beer garden in Squantum as part of PorchFest Quincy. There must have been a lot of beer drinkers, because they sold out of all their six draft offerings in just three hours!

If you won’t be in Canton for the free sandwiches, but you’re in the Boston area, you can find the food truck each weekday at different locations, including Liberty Square, Dewey Square, Rose Kennedy Greenway and Stuart Street at Trinity Place.

If you want to know exactly when and where, follow them on Twitter!

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Image: The Chubby Chickpea

An Angel On Your Shoulder

A white flower in a vase with a hazy white aura surrounding it, giving an angelic halo effect.

Here’s looking at you Monday! I’m hoping that my guardian angel is working lots of overtime. Hopefully your angel is too.

I’m trying to start the week full of energy and positive vibes. Yoga and meditation were a big help this morning. It’s going to be a doozy on the political front here in the United States.

The Supreme Court ends their session today and may hand down a decision on Trump’s travel ban. Also, the Senate is trying to take away our health care.

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

Things happen so fast, that it’s been nearly impossible for me to keep up. Never mind make a coherent list. Even with Bill Cosby! Back in the 80s, could we have ever imagined how things would turn out with him?

Anyway, Amy Siskind is up to Week 32 of  her listing, so you can follow along there. Let’s stay strong America and hope that somehow kindness and morality can win.

And to end this post, I have two quotes, which are kind of ironic, yet rather fitting for the strange times that we are living in.

As much as their names are now synonymous with disgrace, maybe we can still take something from their words.

Once one determines that he or she has a mission in life, that’s it’s not going to be accomplished without a great deal of pain, and that the rewards in the end may not outweigh the pain –if you recognize historically that always happens, then when it comes, you survive it.   ~ Richard M. Nixon

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.   ~ Bill Cosby

Halo Top Ice Cream: It’s The Real Deal

Collage with four containers of Halo Top ice cream.

Have you tried Halo Top? It’s the low calorie ice cream that everyone is raving about.

I first heard about Halo Top a few months ago and absolutely did not believe the hype. I heard that people loved it so much and that certain flavors were so hard to find that people would buy containers in bulk and stockpile them like they may never find them again.

According to legend, and the containers, a pint of their ice cream is around 300 calories or less. How do they do it? It’s made with natural sweeteners, stevia and Erythritol.

I’ve tried diet soda with stevia and it was so horrible tasting that I couldn’t drink more than a couple of sips. I had read before that sweeteners like Erythritol can cause bloating and digestive issues, so I’ve avoided anything like it.

But I was curious. Could it be that good? Even if the taste was good, what about the texture? Would I feel badly after eating it?

One day, I was in CVS and walked past the freezer section. I noticed several Halo Top containers and figured that I’d get some and make my own informed opinion.

They are a bit expensive, but I had CVS coupons and wanted something sweet. That day I bought sea salt caramel. Since then, I’ve tried birthday cake, vanilla bean and oatmeal cookie.

Let me tell you. You can believe the hype, because now I do! I’ve loved all the flavors so far. The texture is on point and I haven’t had any digestive issues either.

The only negative comment I have is that the oatmeal cookie wasn’t really oatmeal cookie. The flavor was still great and I enjoyed it, but it was just flecks of oatmeal. There were no chunks of cookie, so it’s misnamed.

Now that it’s almost officially summer, I’m especially looking forward to trying more flavors. And I love not having to feel guilty about the calories!

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Images: Halo Top website

Recently Watched: In The Morning

A group of friends, black men and women sharing a fun brunch at a restaurant.

I love slice of life films. A day in the life of a small group of people or just a couple — like in the “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. There are often separate stories, where you don’t know how they connect. Then the six degrees of separation thing happens and the intrigue builds.

“In The Morning” has that same finite period of time thing happening as the Hawke Delpy trilogy. Yet, in many ways, “In The Morning” picks up where “Love Jones” left off twenty years ago. Except for they moved east from Chicago to New York.

Until now, “Love Jones” was my only modern reference point for a relatively quiet film, about middle class black people, living in a city, talking about the nature of love and life, with soulful background music and high intensity dramatic relationships.

I guess my age is showing! Well, it’s about time that we have a new touchstone for this genre. We have waited long enough. It’s time for more layered romantic existential films about black people. Because that’s how our lives are too.

I loved this movie. The cinematography is beautiful and reveals the pulse of a neighborhood. It’s Brooklyn, but black Brooklyn. Not the white hipster Brooklyn that most only talk about now — but the people who were there decades ago and remain. The film is about regular people just living their lives. It’s quiet and yet pulls you along for the ride.

Mostly the film centers on relationships. I was immediately absorbed into the lives of these characters and drawn into their stories. I cared about them and was angry at some of them as well.

“Why are they still together?!” “Why are they apart?”

They know each other!?” “Okay. That’s how it happened.”

I found myself thinking about the different relationships that I’ve been in. Difficult conversations that we had. And didn’t have. When you’re in close like that. Really in deep to how the characters are feeling, you can’t help but feel too.

They talk about the nature of love and relationships and everyone has a different answer. There really is no one answer to what is love, because everyone is different. People need and want different things at certain points in their lives. We all perceive things through our own personal lens too.

The film’s ruminations on love reminded me of an article called “Memory of Color” that I just read in Kinfolk. Below is an excerpt.

In 2015, the internet went into meltdown when a photo was posted on Tumblr that showed a seemingly innocuous dress. Was it a white dress with gold trim, or dark blue with black? … The dress was, in fact, blue and black; a bluish tint to the lighting had wreaked havoc with people’s perception. But along the way it revealed two interesting things: Not only can our own perception be skewed without the necessary contextual aids, but it’s possible to look at a color and experience something entirely different from a friend. Our grasp on color becomes more tenuous still when we try to recall it by memory.

Maybe like with colors, we see and feel many shades of love. And context matters. Context shapes how we see, feel and react. It’s impossible to compare one relationship to another, because we don’t see what happens behind closed doors.

There can be no real comparison when we can’t even begin to know the truth. For two people in a relationship, it’s hard to even know the truth. Time brings change and things shift. What’s true one moment, may not be in the next.

As you can tell, the film has me thinking. I first learned about the film three years ago, but wasn’t able to see it. It was being shown at a film festival in New York and was not widely available for viewing.

I’m so glad that “In The Morning” is now available on Amazon Prime, so that more people can see it. Also, if you’re in the Newark, New Jersey area, there is a free screening of the film this Thursday, June 15th, at 6:30pm.

It’s always refreshing to see a movie about black people where the characters are nuanced and real. Seeking happiness and meaning — not just surviving.

Writer, Director and Producer Nefertite Nguvu added another dimension to how we are shown in film and I cannot wait to see more of her work. The film was truly a labor of love for her. She did two Kickstarter Campaigns to come up with the funding.

I think and hope the film will garner a wide audience, because it speaks to what many of us are wondering about and seeking. I definitely recommend that you watch it if you get the chance. There are a few ways to watch online.

Now this movie has me hoping for a sequel, because I’m wondering what happens next. And a trilogy would be even sweeter.

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Image: In The Morning Trailer 2.0