Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Budapest: Day 2

Today we strolled the main pedestrian street of the city Váci Utca. The street was generously lined with decorative storefronts, cafes, and restaurants. Over head were bridges of Christmas lights between the buildings. It was pretty cold out, so I picked up a small bottle of Unicum, an herbal Hungarian bitter, to ease the winter temperature. We went to Központi Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall) and spent hours exploring this bazaar for fresh tasty bites, drinks and hand-cafted gifts. My eyes were instantly drawn to the bold cast iron skeleton of this structure and the light that poured through it. We ate some very filling nokedli, drank Traubi and ended with a warm cabbage strudel. We made our way back towards the famous Karácsonyi Vásár (Christmas Market), a spectacle so festive that it could replenish anyone's faded holiday spirit. Like the Central Market Hall, there were so many mouth-watering choices. We settled for a warm chimney shaped cinnamon pasty called kürtőskalács that was prepared over a glowing brick oven. After taking a nap to rid us of our jetlag, we went back out and had dinner at Central Kávéház, an inviting neo-classical-with-deco-flair styled restaurant with kind service and excellent food. So far, we've only scratched at the surface but so far I love this city.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Budapest: Day 1

We arrive in the great city of Budapest with much excitement. From the airport, we take the minibus to our hotel in central Pest. After getting settled in and resting for a bit, we decide to take a late night stroll within our immediate area, near the Blaha Lujza tér and Astoria stations. The architecture is beautiful yet tells of a destressed past and constant transformation, like any Eastern European city. A lovely pastel-colored building abuts a raw facade of a former glory, chipped away stucco that exposes her brick bones. A few more steps and we're stunned by the grandeur of the New York Palace Hotel. After stopping for a quick meal consisting of donor kebabs and heavily seasoned rice, with Coca-Cola to wash it all down, we jump on the next metro train to bring us closer to the Danube. We stop at one of the city's many landmarks, Parliament, for a visual tease of what's in store for tomorrow and call it a day.

Friday, December 19, 2008


On Wednesday, I was invited along to a holiday party for Social Venture Network in New York. SVN is a group of socially conscious entrepreneurs and investors that are doing big things. Later in the day, I left for Hartford to meet-up with my good friend Rob, founder of SocialK, to drive down to New Haven to take the train to Grand Central. When we arrived in New York, we grabbed a drink at the absolutely gorgeous Campbell Apartment, waited for a friend from UBS and then took a cab to Pipa Tapas, a place of with great food and enchanting décor. I'd highly recommend this restaurant, it's excellent.

After that, we made our way uptown to the SVN party at Cafe Notte where we reconnected with our friend and fellow western MA'er, Joe Sibilia. I can't say enough about Joe, he's one of those people that leave you with energy, ideas and inspiration. He's had a big impact on how I run my business and how I want to run my business.

Never judge a book by it's cover. To the untrained eye, Joe's outfit of an off-white one-piece jumpsuit, would led you to believe he is either a Ghostbuster or coalminer. He's known to be a pioneer and trendsetter in many capacities, so take notice!

I met a bunch of incredible people and made a few new friends. At the end of the night, Joe, Rob and I said farewell to the great people of SVN and then we headed back western MA.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bean Town, Part Two

The next day, I killed time at the Boston Public Library, designed by my favorite archi-hustlers McKim, Mead, and White. There was a great exhibit of Yousuf Karsh's photography. It was also a great place to charge my dead cellphone and read up some US population statistics (did I mention I was killing time?) After that, I explored the various galleries of Newbury Street while waiting for Elizabeth to come and rescue me. I saw some nice original Warhol prints and Picasso etchings at DTR Modern Galleries. Once she arrived, we had dinner and made our way to our friend Morgan's party at Eastern Standard. Good times. I hope my new car key comes in soon...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bean Town, Part One

On Thursday, I was in Boston to meet up with a bunch of exciting entrepreneurs that wanted to have more fun and do less formal networking. This was a last minute idea of Colin Angle, genius CEO of iRobot. We all unwound at Bar 10 near the lovely Copley Square. It was a great time - such a great time that my keys must have jumped out of my pocket somewhere in the Back Bay. With no way to get home, I canceled my Friday meetings and stayed over with a new friend and called it a night.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hit Song of the Year?

Could this the hit song of the year? Maybe on my playlist. "Love Letter from Japan" by The Bird and The Bee. Their new album "Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future" comes out on my 21st birthday, January 27th, 2008.

Other wicked catchy songs, old and new, on my platlist:

- "Meat Market" by Everybody Else
Killer vibrato on catchy beach rock.

- "Ucieczka z wesołego miasteczka" by Czeslaw Spiewa
When Elizabeth sings to this... I try to sing to this in my broken faux-Slavic tongue.

- "Tango Till They're Sore" by Tom Waits
A classic by the master of song.

- "Feel the Bass" - Sa-Ra
When you throw one of Brooklyn's finest, Talib Kweli on Taz's track... you get magic.

- "Salute Your Solution" by The Raconteurs
Raconteurs for entrepreneurs. Well, not really, just tight riffs and breakdowns.

- "Ebolarama" by Every Time I Die
I have deadlines to meet - Hot Damn! Amazing music video.

- "Delivery Man" by The Cool Kids
The best thing out of Chicago since, hmmmm... Burnham and Root.

- "Freeze Up" - Operation Ivy
Who can forget about Operation Ivy?