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Galentine’s Day is celebrated this year on Sunday, February 13th. While not an “official” holiday, it is becoming more and more popular as a day for women to celebrate the other females in their lives. If you’ve ever watched “Parks and Recreation”, this was the name of an episode in Season 2, which had one of the highest viewer ratings. After the episode aired, Galentine’s was trending on social media and, as a result, the television-created “holiday” has taken on a life of its own. Now women all around the world have started celebrating their girlfriends and besties the day before Valentine’s Day.

This day isn’t about romance, flowers, and chocolates – it’s about honoring those other women who have been there with you through thick and thin. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a

relationship, this day is all about friendship and fun. So, what are some great ways to celebrate?

Get Together for Brunch

Many women celebrate Galentine’s Day by going to brunch with the girls, being as this was the

highlighted event in the beloved “Parks and Recreation” episode that made the day an instant tradition. Fancy it up a bit and dress the part, put on a cute dress and some heels, along with that flaming red lipstick you usually only wear when you want to go all out. Locally, we have some great places to grab brunch on a Sunday. 

Armsby Abbey has amazing chocolate chip waffles and quiche, as well as house-made Bloody Mary’s and mulled mimosas. Lock50 proudly serves some of the best crepes in Worcester and has an incredible brunch burger served on an everything bagel. For something different, Café Reyes is a hidden gem that serves Cuban style breakfast like bocadito con chorizo and panini pressed Cuban French toast. The Hangover Pub offers a hangover benedict with chipotle hollandaise and their signature “man candy” – delicious thick cut candied house-made bacon.

“I organize a grown-up tea party every year on Galentine’s. My girlfriends and I dress up, wear fascinator hats, break out the good teacups, and watch Downton Abbey while we chat about everything under the sun.” Mary T

“Me and my daughters get all dressed up and go to a cheap restaurant with my best friend and her daughter. We’ll go to Chick-fil-A or Sonic and bring a centerpiece and a tablecloth and pretend it’s a five-star restaurant. It’s hilarious.” Hillary M

Make it a Movie Night

Speaking of man candy, what better way to celebrate with the girls than over Channing Tatum’sexpertly defined abs? Local theaters are having special airings of “Magic Mike” on Galentine’s Day.

Blackstone Valley Cinema is playing it at 4 PM – so get some tickets and some popcorn and a tissue to dab the drool. Or you could go for a sappy romance like “Redeeming Love” or “West Side Story”.

A Little Gift

A card or thoughtful gift for your besties is always a nice thing. Consider an on-point phrase on a wooden sign, a really great hand lotion, or a book you think they’ll like. You can’t go wrong with an adult board game, we recommend “For the Girls”. Anything with a “Golden Girls” theme is always a great choice too, RIP Betty. You know your friends and what they’d appreciate.

“Last year for Galentine’s, my best friend got me a mug that says ‘We are best friends

because everyone else sucks’ – it was one of my favorite gifts ever. I smile every time I

use it!” Lynda K

Taste Some Wine

Get your inner wine critic on and taste some of the best wines Central Mass has to offer. Sail to Trail WineWorks in the Higgins Armory building opens at 12PM on Sundays and has wine flights for $30. Women-owned Canal District Wines in the Public Market are always happy to talk you through their wines. They even have an organized tasting scheduled for February 10th called “Pretty in Pink”. A short drive away is Nashoba Valley Winery, which serves delightful fruit wines, spirits, and beer. Worth the trek is the beautiful Hardwick Winery, which has some tasty offerings and live music on weekends.

Shop for the Right Bra…and Maybe Some Other Things

The O Shop on Richmond Ave was a “random COVID inspiration project,” says owner Stephanie Ramey. “I was inspired by something I had read and realized that there was a real need for inclusivity in bra fitting, as the majority of women fall outside of the sizing box – 90% of the women who come in are not wearing the right sized bra.”

In addition to expert fittings, bras, beautiful lingerie and robes, the store also has a section of

adult products with a focus on women. “Women tend to put themselves second in many aspects of their lives, including access to their own pleasure. Most products out there are reviewed by men, not women. We don’t need a man to advocate for how something will make us feel,” says Ramey.

Set in an old Victorian style home, this is a boutique style shop that screams classy, but is

welcoming and approachable with zero judgement. The store is designed to be a safe and cozy

space where you can feel free to ask questions of knowledgeable staff. The O Shop offers private parties with a wellness and sexuality consultant, where you can bring in some champagne. Why not go in as a group and all leave knowing what size bra you are actually supposed to be wearing, and maybe leave with a little somethin’-somethin’ for yourself?

Get Pampered

A spa day is a terrific way to relax and dish about the latest news in your respective worlds. All girls deserve a little “me” time. It’s worth the splurge, so go all out with a Girl’s Day Out package

at Tu Moda (includes a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, scalp massage, shampoo and blow dry, and a makeup touch up). Don’t want to spend a lot? Consider treating yourself to a classic mani/pedi, or you could always get a killer spray tan at Bellissima Day Spa for less than $50.  

Try Something New

Get dolled up in the cutest ski outfit and take a day trip to Mount Wachusett, try rock climbing or  yoga, take a virtual or in person cooking lesson, have fun at a paint nite…use your imagination. The possibilities are limitless!

“A few years back, my girlfriends and I went to a pole dancing fitness class.  It started off as more of a joke, but we had a great time and got a great workout.  Super fun experience!”  Mel G

However you choose to celebrate those amazing women in your life, do it with flair. It’s kind of the point!  Give thanks for those great friends and rocks in your world and enjoy every minute of it. 

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GROUPS A, C, E, and G will start at The Woo Bar.

GROUPS B, D, F, and H will start at Leo’s Ristorante.

Please head to the corresponding restaurant to pick up your drink ticket and t-shirt.

You will receive an email prior to the event with your registration location and route information. Each route will stop at approximately seven venues. Groups can move along the routes at their own pace.

Restaurant participating:

The Woo Bar & Grill

Vintage Grille

Funky Murphy’s

Redemption Rock Brewing

Pepe’s Italian Restaurant

Flying Rhino

Meraki Coffee Dessert Bar

Mexicali Cantina Grill

Meze Estiatorio

Wormtown Brewery

Victory Bar & Cigar

Beirut Bite

Leo’s Ristorante

Ralph’s Tavern

Santa attire encouraged! Remember, this event is 21+

Registrations Group A (3:00PM)

Registrations Group B (3:00PM)

Registrations Group C (3:30 PM)

Registrations Group D (3:30 PM)

Registrations Group E (4:00 PM)

Registrations Group F (4:00 PM)

Registrations Group G(4:30 PM)

Registrations Group H (4:30 PM)

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Derek Grimm serves up Very Good Beverages with local cocktail pop-ups

Jennifer Russo

Bartender and mixologist Derek Grimm is no stranger to the Worcester bar-going population.  For many years he has been serving up inventive and delicious cocktails at some of the area’s favorite establishments, including The Pint, Deadhorse Hill, and Glory Bar (where he met his wife, the former owner).  He is everything a great bartender should be – knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to experiment and take the world of cocktails forward.

“This is really the only job I’ve ever had where I can balance work life and be able to be happy at work, connecting with people and really loving what I’m doing.  I just love bartending – it’s been a great couple of decades.”

His latest venture, Very Good Beverages, was created out of a shift in career path due to COVID, and how that hit everyone so hard in the restaurant industry – not being able to get some of the same spirits and components that they would normally be able to get due to lack of staff or businesses being able to run at normal capacity.  He decided to start making his own bitters, syrups and infusions, using them to revive the ability to bring those handcrafted drinks to the masses.  His summer bitter is a lighter, more citrus forward bitter reminiscent of an Italian amaro, but with lighter hints of the warm spices for a brighter profile. 

Very Good Beverages has been offering cocktail pop up events at The Pint, boasting a curated drink menu, where he uses these elements that are created specifically with the drink in mind, rather than an all-purpose use.  For example, a lime cordial using an infusion of fresh lime juice, lime peel, sugar, and citric acid, maintaining bright fresh lime flavors instead of using a pre-purchased, super-processed bottled lime juice that doesn’t taste nearly as good. 

“Combining this infusion with gin makes one of the most fabulous gimlets on the planet.  And when you thoughtfully put together these drinks using the best ingredients and high end, artfully crafted spirits, it changes the face of them altogether,” Derek shares.

With his vast experience, Grimm is able to pull from a mental library of what flavors are going to pair well together in a drink, for example a scotch with stone fruits or honey, or gin with a rounder citrus flavor.

“Sometimes I don’t know what I am going to do, I will just play around and see what works.  I’ll start with a base idea for a cocktail and determine what the drink needs to fill in all the flavor gaps to make it a well-balanced drink.  Maybe it needs to be stirred or shaken, maybe it needs something sweet or sour, or something more bitter or savory to get it right.  For some I try to maintain the ideology of the classic cocktail but put a spin on it to make it a little different and more interesting,” says Derek.

As far as trends go, Derek believes everything is incidental and can be used where it makes sense to, without going overboard.  

“If smoking a drink makes sense and lends flavor to the drink in a meaningful way – great.  If using a top-shelf brand of vodka is better for one drink and cheaper brand is better for another – ok.  If things are being done just for the sake of it, why bother? Let the drink speak for itself,” Derek shares. 

So, what can you expect at the Very Good Beverage cocktail pop-up?  They have been very well-received so far, with great service and cocktails and a very laid-back atmosphere, with some low-key jazzy hip hop and a comfortable environment. Other than the base spirits used, Derek crafts all other elements of the drinks, so you are really in for a unique experience. A curated menu of four drinks, always priced at $12, is released 24-48 hours prior to the event on Instagram, so be sure to follow to get the latest menus. You can expect a pop-up every four-to-six months right now. 

“It’s not meant to be an event where you go and slam down six or seven drinks and then head out for the night, it’s meant to be a place where you come down and sit and that is your whole night.  It’s a chance to escape from the day to day and have a really great time with friends,” says Derek.

When he isn’t doing the cocktail pop-ups, Derek helps organize the Run the Woo competition for Worcester bartenders, which raises funds for charitable organizations that he is passionate about, such as Girls, Inc. He is also doing some mixology classes at the Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston over the summer.

Be sure to follow @verygoodbev on Instagram to see when the next Very Good Beverages pop-up will be and what’s being worked on behind the scenes!

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Making The Most Of Virtual Living


A vitual wine and cheese tasting is a great “night out” while social distancing. (Photo by Kim Dunbar)

As we approach the nearly six-month mark of living in a world plagued by a pandemic, it seems more and more likely that we won’t be getting back to normal for a while, if ever. Gone are the days (at least for now) of heading into the office for work Monday through Friday or meeting friends for dinner or drinks at a local restaurant or bar. As we begin to adapt to our new normal, here are some ways to master remote living.

In a world where quarantining and self-isolation have become necessary, feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression are increasingly common. As an introvert, quarantining was great at first (I didn’t have to make up elaborate excuses to get out of leaving the house), but after a couple of months, even I was losing my mind. It’s more important than ever to keep in touch with friends and family and maintain social connections. If social distancing isn’t possible or you’re weary of venturing out in public, try getting creative.

Gather your friends for Happy Hour… Zoom style. We are lucky to live in a world where there are multiple social media platforms. FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and House Party are all apps that virtually connect us with loved ones when a simple phone call won’t do. Just as you would pick a time to meet friends at a bar, set a date to grab a drink and meet up on Zoom. The best part: There’s no dress code, so sweatpants are completely acceptable.

Participate in a virtual event. Just as we’re finding unique ways to stay connected to our friends and family, restaurants are getting creative to stay afloat during these tough times. This summer, Hudson restaurant Kith and Kin partnered with Mullahy’s Cheese Shop to offer a four-part virtual wine and cheese tasting via Zoom. Do the same with your friends; host a virtual wine, beer, seltzer, cheese, etc. tasting or start a virtual book club. Pick a book and meet online each week to discuss. Some organizations are even still hosting virtual trivia and bingo events.

Have a virtual watch party. Can’t meet up with friends for your weekly Bachelor date? Pour a glass of wine and tune in to your favorite show or movie with phone in hand. Text your friends as you watch – but make sure everyone pauses for bathroom breaks!

In a remote world, in which your home becomes your office (or a day care or classroom), the lines between work and life can blur and your work-life balance will start to tip the scales in the wrong direction. However, there are plenty of ways to keep calm and carry on (as best one can these days, that is).

Set up a schedule and routine. Working remotely, there’s no official start and stop to the day as there is when you are going into and leaving an office. In order to keep work from overtaking your life, stick to a schedule. Keep your work hours just as you would if you were working in the office; just because your laptop is sitting there doesn’t mean you need to open it before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

Set up a home office space. For months, my office was the comfy recliner in the corner of the living room. However, it got to a point when every time I sat in the chair, even at night, I reflexively opened my laptop and felt the need to do work. Also, the horrendous posture of working in a recliner for eight or nine hours a day WILL catch up with you. Set up a home office or designated space where you can comfortably work every day. This will help keep work out of sight when you’re off the clock.

Don’t forget to take a lunch break. Being at home, you have a number of excellent opportunities to improve your health. For one, it’s easier to make your own healthy lunches. When rushed to get out the door in the mornings, it’s easy to forgo packing your lunch and grab (usually) unhealthy take-out instead. You can also use your lunch break to go for a walk, run or work out. Embrace this time at home to renew your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and get in shape.

Embrace the flexibility. When in the office, you’re usually tethered to your desk. When working remotely, you can work outside, throw in some laundry in between emails or go for a walk during a conference call (as long as you don’t need to take notes and can still pay attention to the road).

Though quarantining and remote living can certainly suck, there are still positives to be found. Getting creative and staying connected and optimistic are the only ways we’ll survive. That and wearing a mask.

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PulseBrew: Old Meets New


I kept my promise! The beer I’m writing about this month is produced at scale and can be purchased! You’re welcome!

Onward! 2020 seems to be generating a distinctive beer theme: Old meets New.

So far this year, we’ve tasted New Decade IPA by Treehouse – an homage to a decade of IPA making – and the Balance Bike #3 Braggot by 3Cross – a modern spin on a medieval monk’s brew. The trend continues with the latest craft pilsner offered by Soul Purpose Brewing, Greater Goods’ younger, rather daring sibling. The beer in question is called 2d Wave Hoppy Pilsner and is as much an ode to traditional German brewing as it is to the IPA.