Archive for November, 2010

Gimme Some Matzo Ball Soup!

November 30, 2010

Today’s feature neighborhood at CoupMe is Brookline, and other than the beautiful houses, antique shops and community feel the town gives off, the first thing that comes to mind for us is some good ol’ Matzo Ball Soup. That’s right…hot, tasty homemade Matzo Ball Soup. You can’t deny that Brookline is home to some of the best Jewish delis in the Boston area, serving up food that simply hits the spot…every single time. That’s why CoupMe made it a point to do a little research and guide you to all the best delis in town. Enjoy, and eat up!

Rubin’s Kosher Deli: Rubin’s has been one of CoupMe’s favorites for some time now. Located right on Harvard St., it’s convenient and easy to get to. Famous for its “New York style deli” feel, nothing beats their hot pastrami sandwiches, homemade soups (yes, they have Matzo Ball) and out-of-this-world deli platters. Oh, and did we mention with today’s CoupMe you can score $25 worth of food at everyone’s favorite deli for only $10.

Zaftigs Delicatessen: Zaftigs wants to be your “Jewish mother,” so let them. I think you’ll like what you see (and eat) once you step inside. But you definitely won’t find your traditional eats here. In fact, Zaftigs is famous for its original, non-Kosher dishes like their cheddar-apple omelets and banana stuffed French Toast. In fact, they serve breakfast all day long, and won’t judge you the least bit if you want breakfast for dinner. Told you Zaftigs is anything but ordinary! But don’t worry, they also serve up the traditional potato pancakes, Noodle Kugel and stuffed cabbages.

Michael’s Deli: Known as “The Corned Beef King,” this New York Deli is a must in Brookline. If you’re a sucker for corned beef, this is your kind of place. Order the “Corned Beef Reuben” topped with Swiss cheese, Sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on Pumpernickel. Another favorite is “Michael’s Choice” with roast beef and beef brisket with Horseradish sauce on toasted bread of choice.

Kupel’s Bakery: Take a stroll down Harvard Street and you’ll be graced by Kupel’s Bakery, a kosher bakery voted “the Best Bagels in Boston.” This is definitely the place to buy all your bagels from Whole Wheat Raisin to Onion Sesame. Top your bagels with a variety of their cream cheese selection including garlic & herb, dill, honey walnut and veggie. If pastries make your heart melt, you must check out their special pastry menu with a variety of danishes, strudel, and muffins.


Southie’s Irish Pub Scene

November 29, 2010

If you are familiar with the movie The Boondock Saints, you’ll notice most of the movie was set in today’s feature neighborhood: South Boston. But South Boston, formerly known as “Dorchester Neck”, has come a long way from those days and is now referred to as simply “Southie.” One thing remains true though: Southie hands down has the best Irish pub scene in the Boston area, and CoupMe is here to guide you to all the right spots.

The Farragut House: Known as “South Boston’s Favorite Irish Pub,” you can’t go wrong with this place. Take a trip to Ireland without hopping on a plane, and spend the night dancing, making a fool out of yourself on the karaoke stage, downing nachos and then soaking everything down with some good beer. One Yelper described this Southie gem a “diamond in the rough.”

Croke Park/Whitey’s: This Irish dive bar is known for it’s very affordable drinks, friendly bartenders, and fun crowd. Oh, and did we mention they serve popcorn on the house? That’s all I need to hear to want to drop what I’m doing and head on over to Whitey’s to wind down. Play some pool, put some money in the juke box, order a few beers and see where the night takes you.

Shenannigan’s: Just the name alone makes this place fun! You’ll find this pub in the heart of Southie, through the doors of a classic Bostonian brick townhouse. Here you can get the experience of a true Irish pub, with a classy and inviting feel. Dive into some Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas or a juicy burger and then hit up their large (and snazzy) drink selection. Irish Grasshopper, anyone? That is, Baily’s Irish cream, Green Creme de Menthe and milk.

Murphy’s Law: If you are just looking to let loose and have a good time with your friends, Murphy’s Law is the place for you. Not to mention the bar was featured in a scene in the 2007 crime-drama mystery Gone Baby Gone. Yes, Morgan Freeman and Casey Affleck have set foot in this bar. You know you want to grab a drink here now, don’t lie!

So as you can see, Southie is the place to go for a good time, a good drink and a good story. Check out today’s CoupMe deals to see what else is going on in this buzzing neighborhood.

Even The Grinch Has to Admit It’s The Holiday Season Now

November 25, 2010

Oh, I’m sorry, were you in the middle of your last bite of Thanksgiving day turkey? Perhaps you’re enjoying one of those leftover sandwiches where you smash together all of the ingredients of Thanksgiving dinner and think about how much better it is now that the relatives have left and you can eat without 8,000 questions about your career goals/dating life/plans to bless your parents with grandchildren. Well enjoy it while it lasts, because you can no longer deny it: it’s officially the holiday season. You can no longer huff and puff about the holiday decorations in the stores and the fact that the mall Santa still appears to have a summer tan. You can’t run from the multitude of stations playing all Christmas music all the time. (There are three if you have regular radio here in Boston, five if you have XM. In case you were wondering, I’ve been listening for weeks.)

And with the holiday spirit comes rampant consumerism. It’s gift-buying time, and this year you’ve only got three weekends to shop. So to kick off your Black Friday madness, CoupMe has a whole weekend of holiday specials. The deals we’re featuring this weekend are amazing gifts for your parents, friends, and yourself (keep an eye out for our house cleaning deal–you know you’ll need someone to wipe the egg nog off the floor the day after your Christmas party!). And you won’t even have to wait in line for hours (or days, like this crazy lady). Nope, just buy the deal before midnight, and get your list checked off from the comfort of your computer.

We should mention that when you buy a CoupMe, the certificate only states the value, not the actual price. So your giftees will have no idea how much you saved getting them a massage or a nice dinner out–they’ll just be grateful. Great gifts are running all weekend, and keep an eye on CoupMe throughout the next month for more fab gift ideas. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our regions. You can take care of everyone from your grandmother in Hartford to your aunt up in Vermont with CoupMe deals.

But on the off-chance that you can’t buy CoupMes for everyone, here are some of our tips for getting through the holiday giving season without giving yourself a migraine.

  • Give a Gift That Gives Back: Spending copious amounts of cash on sweaters from the GAP can often bring us into a state of guilt-ridden anxiety. While part of the point of giving a gift is to revel in the plain old frivolity of giving and getting things that you can’t afford, justify or need, you can ease that guilt by buying through sites that donate money to a cause when you purchase. Looking for sports tickets or a unique gift? Check out BiddingForGood, an online charity auction site where the proceeds go to a cause. Or sign up at iGive to give money to a cause while you shop online.
  • Give an Experience: Some years, instead of giving gifts to one another, my friends decide to go out for a group dinner at a restaurant we have all been dying to try–and that’s out of our normal price range. We go out and have a fantastic meal, splitting the bill. There are quite a few of us, so the amount we’d spend on gifts is still probably less than the price of one fancy meal together. And we so rarely get everyone together at the same time that it’s a great excuse to catch up–much better than dropping off gifts at one another’s doors during a rushed holiday season.
  • Stay Out of the Mall: There’s a huge Buy Local movement in this country right now, and for good reason. Local buying means that you’re funneling more of your money back into the community. But beyond that local shops give you gifts that you might not otherwise have thought of, and staff there are always more willing to chat about your gift-giving needs and go the extra mile to find the perfect thing. Plus, you get to skip the parking situation at the mall, which is always a plus. If that’s not enough convincing, check to see if your town has a holiday stroll or similar event, where stores are open late, serving snacks and hot chocolate, and the sales are on.
  • Fit it In: OK, fine, despite all of our warnings, there’s always that one person you have to face the Christmas crowds for. So when you go to the mall, try to make it about something else. Head there at 4:30, and plan to meet a friend for dinner at 6 in a nearby restaurant. Limit the time you’ll spend aimlessly wandering the mall and give yourself a reward in the process.

Of course, despite the best intentions, some of you will be wandering the mall on Christmas Eve, empty-handed and panicked. And for that, we only have one recommendation. Make sure your travel mug is full of spiked egg nog, and good luck. Your Own Personal Assistant

November 24, 2010

Lately, as I’ve been trudging in the door as I finally arrive home at 8, 9, or 10 o’clock at night, dropping my bag with coffee mug, laptop, gym clothes, and whatever else I’ve got in tow, I’ve been known to grudgingly state “I need to hire a personal assistant.” Running to and from jobs, squeezing in time to work out, walking the dog, bribing roommates to walk the dog, and finding there’s still last-minute work to be done after all that is done for the day is getting a bit overwhelming, to say the least. I haven’t even thought about holiday shopping!

Sheesh. The benefits of my fictional assistant would be obvious: this handy gal (or guy!) would run out to shop for that new pair of jeans I need, handle all of my grocery shopping, pick up dog food when I’m chained to my desk at work, and maybe even hang my outdoor Christmas lights. Anything my little, crazed, over-worked heart desires!

Well, I’m not sure about you, but I can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant– yet. I’ve also found asking friends in college to do it as an unpaid internship unsuccessful. Buuuut, I have been lucky enough to stumble upon the über-cool Boston-based startup TaskRabbit! Hmm…maybe my problems are solved!

The way TaskRabbit works is they’ve built this community of people from college students to stay-at-home moms to young professionals who work on flexible schedules to serve as “Runners.” They’ve all be screened and background checked, and they choose to have new tasks emailed to them or sent to their mobile phones.
When someone (like myself) is in need of some extra help, s/he hops on the site and inputs the information about what is needed: someone with a van to grab a bookshelf secured on Craigslist, or someone who’s organized to hang some closet racks and sort through piles of your clothes. This opens a dialogue between you, the Sender, and any Runners who have seen your task and want to bid on the job.

It’s really that easy! You can accept or decline any Runner’s offer, and then work out the details with him/her directly on when and how your task will be completed. The site handles paying the Runner; you use a credit card or paypal to put credits into your account, and TaskRabbit pays your Runner after s/he has completed the task.

Sound like a no brainer? That’s because it is. The service is just like having your very own personal assistant– but here, you’ve got the luxury of finding someone with the specific skill set you need for the job at hand. Hey, it’s even not to late to try and hire someone to cook that Thanksgiving turkey for you!

Today’s CoupMe deal is offering this useful service with even more incentive: $19 gets you $40 worth of credits to use on any tasks you please! With a maximum purchase of 10 vouchers, that’s a whole lot of work you just got yourself out of!

Back Bay Dining

November 23, 2010

There’s just something about the cold winter months that makes dining out so much more enticing. Maybe it’s that migrating indoors in my tiny apartment is getting old, or that I’m simply getting sick of the same boring meals day after day. But come November, I want out. And you have to admit, there’s nothing better than getting dressed up and having someone cook you a delicious meal…while you sit there and do absolutely nothing.

And as you know, today’s CoupMe feature is Boston’s Back Bay, which is famous for its upscale scene, packed with the city’s hottest bars, retail stores, nightlife and most importantly tasty restaurants. Popular destinations include Newbury Street, Copley Place and of course everyone’s favorite shopping outlet, The Prudential Center. But you can’t deny that the diverse dining scene is what tends to draw people back to this classy neighborhood week after week. Not sure where to dine next time you hip up the Back Bay? CoupMe’s got you covered with our simple guidebook, perfect for any and all personalities and taste buds.

If Italian Food is The Way to Your Heart->Da Vinci Ristorante: Da Vinci is one of CoupMe’s personal favorite Italian restaurants. Not only is the interior classy and beautiful, but the food is out of this world. Best part about it? You get to skip all the hustle bustle of the North End. Be sure to check out this season’s favorites like Pumpkin and Sage Agnolotti, Masala Ravioli and Grilled Swordfish.

If You’re All About the Scene->Top of The Hub If you ask CoupMe’s founder Jared, he’ll tell you that there’s no other place for a romantic date than the Top of the Hub. While the food and drinks are pretty good (yet extremely expensive) we like it for the scene. There’s no where else you can wine, dine and see views of the entire city, Cape Cod and even New Hampshire on a clear day. The nightly jazz and late night menu now available is definitely a plus in our books as well! So forget about the three course meal, and head on up to the roof top for a drink or two to impress your next date, or at least get some good pics.

If You’re a Sucker for Sushi->Duozo: Next time you get that inevitable sushi craving, hit up Duozo before you settle for some store-bought crap. With its modern decor and dimmed lighting, Duozo is the perfect spot for a date night or post-work dinner alike. Dig into one of their Special Rolls like the Boston Roll with lobster, lettuce, tomato, asparagus and spicy mayo or stick with a classic, like my personal favorite: the Spicy Tuna Roll. Oh, and don’t forget to check out their exceptional wine and sake menu.

If You Live For Hip ‘n’ Trendy->Towne: Right next to Hynes Convention Center, you’ll stumble upon this brand new restaurant everyone has been raving about. Known for its chic interior and fun, seasonal menu, this restaurant has it all. If you’re in the mood for a light lunch, share a wood grilled pizza with some friends or coworkers. On the hungrier side? Go for a savory plate of Lamb Chops, Lobster or Beef Short Ribs.

For The Snazzy Girl’s Night Out-> Match: Throw on your cutest Little Black Dress and head on over to Match with your ladies! Nothing beats trendy decor, delicious martinis and $5 filet mignons. Who said you need to be in a relationship to go on a fabulous date?

To Spice it Up With Some Indian Cuisine->India Samraat: Head on over to Mass Ave. for some upscale Indian food. Spice it up with dishes like Chicken Vindaloo, Shrimp Masala, and Vegetable Mix Curry. With today’s CoupMe, you’ll pay only $10 for $20 worth of food at one of Back Bay’s finest.

Unique Dates in Beacon Hill

November 22, 2010

Today’s neighborhood feature is Beacon Hill, highlighting one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods. If you’ve ever walked around in this quaint neighborhood, you’ll find it’s filled with upscale dining, antique shops and a swarm of young professionals left and right. It’s no doubt Beacon Hill is filled with lots of goodies, but for those looking for something a little out-of-the-box this holiday season (hint: perfect for dates), CoupMe is here to help!

Go on a Walking Tour…a Chocolate One That is! Boston Chocolate Tours runs a 2.5 hour walking tour every Sunday in Beacon Hill. One of the feature stops is Beacon Hill Chocolates, and along the tour you’ll sample plenty of chocolate from chocolate fondue to chocolate soup. Yep, you heard that right. Told you this tour is anything but ordinary. So snag a date and head over for a tasty tour of a lifetime. Visit their website for tickets and schedules and check out the video here.

Spread the Joy: On December 4th and 5th, Beacon Hill holds “Decorating Days,” where the community comes together to decorate the neighborhood for the holidays. Grab a friend or fly solo, and head on over to help make the town pretty! Volunteers meet at 10 a.m. on Saturday at 141 Cambridge St. and Sunday at noon next to Savenor’s. Oh, and just a little tip: if you find yourself single around the holidays, two couples have met at this event and  winded up getting married. Wink. Wink. See more upcoming events in Beacon Hill here.

Go Old Fashioned: Take a tour of the Nichols House Museum, one of the last few Beacon Hill townhouses open to the public. Here you’ll learn about what it was like to live as a typical family in the 19th and 20th centuries in the historic Beacon Hill, and you’ll see everything from oriental rugs to old wooden furniture throughout the house. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and is only a $5 admission. Not to shabby for a cheap, interesting and educational date!

Discover New England With CoupMe

November 19, 2010

CoupMe is all about New England. We bring you deals from all six New England states–thirty deals a week, in fact. If you’re looking for awesome things to do around the region, whether it’s in your hometown or a gas tank away, we always have the answer.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our partnership with All Things New England, New England’s own online magazine and resource guide. They have lots of amazing articles on businesses, places and trips around the area, and ways for you to make the best of your time in New England. Here on the CoupMe blog, we’re pairing with All Things New England to present Discover All Things New England Friday. Every other Friday we’ll be brining you an original article about the best of New England from our friends at the site. Today’s is particularly timely: get in the spirit with Christmas at Gillette Castle in Connecticut!

With the holidays upon us, get into the festive spirit with a trip to Gillette Castle in East Haddam, Connecticut for this years Christmas At The Castle event. The castle is just about an hours ride south of Hartford and is a fun and inexpensive way to spend time with family or friends. Parents, you should definitely put this on your fun things to do with kids list.

Each holiday season, local residents come together to decorate an excessively massive, live tree with antique-like ornaments donated from the townsfolk. Last years tree was 18 feet tall. Can you imagine stringing the lights on that thing? The entire castle is truly a wonder to see and is beautifully decorated in a traditional Victorian theme of evergreen swags, poinsettias, swirling ribbons and bows. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming as you are greeted by volunteers eager to share bits of Gillette history with you. Holiday hymns are sung and performed by local choirs and instrumentalist that can be heard echoing down corridors and hallways as the castle seemingly comes alive in the spirit of Christmas.

Gillette Castle is a 24 room medieval style mansion built in 1919 by Connecticut native, William Gillette, an actor/playwright, best known for his portrayal of Conan Doyle’s, Detective Sherlock Holmes. Gillette was an interesting man, to say the least, and was often noted for his ingenuity and eccentricity. His decision to design and supervise the makings of a medieval style, steel frame, field stone fortress modeled after the ruins of a German castle on the Rhine came as no surprise to friends and associates. After all, he needed something to busy himself with while in semi-retirement.

Check out the rest of this article over at All Things New England.

Porter Square: What Cambridge Calls Home

November 18, 2010

Residents of Cambridge and Somerville alike call Porter Square home. The square’s namesake is the now-extinct Porter’s Hotel, where the kitchen’s specialty was a cut of steak aptly named the porterhouse after the building’s proprietor. This bustling area formerly used the Porter rail area to transport cattle through an underground tunnel, the Walden Street Cattle Pass, beginning in 1857, and the structure has been restored and still exists today. We haven’t seen any cows wandering into Anna’s Taqueria though!

As the Red Line was built out through Porter to its current end at Alewife in 1984, Porter also received its most iconic gift: Susumu Shingu’s kinetic sculpture, Gift of the Wind, which stands 46 feet tall at the entrance to the neighborhood’s T stop.

Well-known points of interest in Porter include Lesley University, who shares classroom space with a delightful building housing retail shops such as City Sports, restaurants including Sapporo Ramen and the newly opened branch of Tavern in the Square. Other popular spots include the beer lover’s paradise Cambridge Common alongside the local music aficionado’s stomping ground the Lizard Lounge, and a slew of trendy gift, vintage, and coffee shops. 

Porter’s got that iconic T stop, is super biker friendly, and also boasts ample street parking– so there’s no chance getting there will be difficult no matter your mode of transportation! Pop on over and try out today’s deals in the neighborhood: a keratin treatment at funky M Salon and 3 sessions at Acupuncture Together! If you need to zoom over to another part of the city, snag today’s iCar feature, where you can pick up an energy efficient vehicle at the intersection of Elm and Cherry Streets and head anywhere you need to go with $50 in driving credits!

4 Out-of-the-norm things to do in Faneuil Hall

November 17, 2010

If you’re from Boston, you without a doubt are familiar with the greatness that is Faneuil Hall. Whether you go for its unbeatable shopping, endless dining options or buzzing nightlife, Faneuil Hall is the place to be. But besides doing all the touristy things, why not think a little outside the box next time you take a trip to good ol’ Faneuil? 

1. Roam Quincy Market simply for the free samples: Guilty as charged. Sometimes when my stomach is growling I hit up Quincy Market for the endless, perfectly-portioned free samples. Forget long lines and tough decisions! Simply have it all. Homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, melt-in-your-mouth desserts, and savory clam chowda…for free? How can one resist? 

2. Act Like You’re a Freshman in College Again: Drink up, dress a little, er, less classy than usual, dance a little crazy and take it back to college! While many people think of Faneuil Hall as a “college” or “touristy” area, it actually has quite the nightlife with some of the best bars in town like Sissy K’s, Ned Devine’s, and Kitty O’Shea’s. And with today’s CoupMe, you can snag quite the deal at Kitty O’Shea’s here, giving you yet another reason to go back to being a college kid! 

3. Host a Tree Lighting Pre-Party: Make brunch for your girlfriends (think: scrambled eggs, pumpkin pancakes and waffles) then head over to watch this year’s 26th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 20. Here you’ll witness the lighting of New England’s tallest tree with over 25,000 sparkling, pretty lights, along with lots of fun entertainment!

4. Make Fun of the Live Entertainment: I honestly don’t know why there are always hundreds of people gathered around watching clowns in stilts and comedians that can’t even make the audience laugh. But I have to admit: it is quite entertaining, even if you are laughing at them and not with them. If you’re bored, grab a coffee and enjoy the show…they are usually so terrible that they’re funny! And hey, at least it’s something to do and allows you to take a break from all that money you’ve been spending. 

What are your favorite things to do around Faneuil Hall? Got any tips for us? Please share!

Oh the Places You’ll Go…in Newton and Chestnut Hill!

November 16, 2010

Newton, formerly known as Cambridge Village and Newton, was originally founded in 1630, being part of the “new towne” (see where it gets its name?).  Currently, Newton – aka “The Garden City” – is home to 13 different villages/areas : Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls, Newtonville, Nonantum, Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Waban and West Newton. While all of these areas are great for both their residents and other visitors vis-a-vis things to do, today we’re pointing our some of our favorite places around Chestnut Hill, since many of our staff members currently hail from the area.

Home to Boston College, Chestnut Hill can feel very collegiate in areas and upscale in others. Right on Route 9 are both the Chestnut Hill and Atrium Malls, which both feature many elegant shops such as Bloomingdale’s, Brooks Brothers, Apple and Barney’s New York. For delicious eats, the Atrium has a Cheesecake Factory location that pleases our taste buds on a consistent basis, and further down Route 9 is one of Boston’s best kept secrets – Oishii Sushi Bar. Also right along Route 9 are Capital Grille and the Met Bar & Grill – both terrific places to meet up for after work drinks or to take that significant other for a nice night out.

After you’re done eating and shopping and you’re looking for places to visit during the day, Boston College’s campus is worth the trip for sightseeing. Not far down the road is Heartbreak Hill, where many marathon dreams have crashed and many other memories were born. In fact, Boston Marathon participants run through a significant portion of Newton – down Route 16 and then Commonwealth Avenue – before entering into their final stretch into Boston. Walking this path has been fun for many of us in the past. Chestnut Hill is also home to The Country Club, one of the country’s oldest country clubs and home to many PGA tour events in the past, including the famous U.S. Ryder Cup victory in 1999.

While conducting your walking tour through Chestnut Hill, you might bump into several Boston sports personalities, who all call the area home. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, Terry Francona, manager of the Red Sox and Theo Epstein, General Manager of the Red Sox, all reside in Chestnut Hill.

Also, if you’re without a car, Chestnut Hill is very MBTA-friendly, as the B, C and D lines on the Green Line all run through parts of the section.

So today, show your appreciation for Chestnut Hill as well the other sections of Newton with our CoupMe deals. Today, $20 gets you $40 worth of services at Odessa Shoe Repair, voted one of Boston’s Best by The Improper Bostonian in 2009. Hungry? $4 gets you $8 worth of pizza, pasta dishes and other delicious food at Parrot Pizza right on Route 16! Lastly, you can also get 5 classes at Energize Fitness Studio for just $20. Enjoy your experiences in the New Towne! (Sounds like a Ben Affleck movie, right?)

~ Seth, CoupMe