Rants & Raves

Enjoy the Brix Tapas Kitchen and Wine Cellar

by Erin Mawn

I love an excuse to go out to eat. Why? Well, partly because I hate to cook. Aside from my dislike of domestic chores, I also enjoy going out to eat because it's nice to enjoy a new and fresh atmosphere while eating great food. Who doesn't like that?

The Brix Tapas Kitchen and Wine Cellar in Chestertown provides both. The restaurant is located on High Street, which is essentially the heart of Chestertown. The interior matches the charm of Chestertown's historic buildings and brick sidewalks by featuring wood floors and exposed brick walls. (Hence, the name Brix.)

The menu at Brix is creative and features dishes such as soba noodles with spicy peanut sauce and wasabi-spiked tuna. Because of the atmosphere and the menu, Brix is probably more appropriate for an adult outing rather than a family meal. However, if your family does decide to venture to Brix, there are a couple of more kid-friendly items, such as 4 varieties of pizza. Personally, I enjoyed the calabrese pizza which has olive oil, fresh basil and tomatoes on it.

Young Adult Fiction: If I Stay

Young Adult Fiction:If I Stay by Gayle Forman(Hardcover, $16.99)

17 year old Mia is faced with some difficult choices – does she follow her true love of music and attend Juilliard this fall, even if it means she must leave behind her boyfriend and her family? These choices seem to be paramount for Mia until her family is torn apart by a tragic accident.

Told from the first person in a “flashback mode”, this is a beautiful story of growing up, being true to oneself, loving one’s family and eventually of letting go. A must read!

아메리칸 룰렛Adult Non-Fiction: Outliers – The Story of Success

Adult Non-Fiction:
Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (Hardcover, $27.99)

Outliers is Gladwell’s third book to rise on the Bestseller lists. In this book, Gladwell grapples with the question of what creates success. It is enough to be a “genius” or are there other factors involved? Gladwell divides his discussion into two parts – opportunity and legacy. He puts forth historical case examples of studies of “genius” as well as anecdotal and biographical data of notable success figures of our time. At the end of the discussion, the reader realizes that to be a “genius” is simply not enough. Nurture, opportunity, timing and other life factors contribute to one’s success (or lack thereof). An interesting read.

Adult Fiction: The Miracles of Prato

Adult Fiction:
The Miracles of Prato by Laurie Albanese & Laura Morowitz (Hardcover, $24.00)

The Miracles of Prato is set in Italy in the mid-fourteenth century. It is a story of passion and art, of scandal and the power of the Roman Catholic Church. Young Lucrezia Butti is sent to a nunnery following the death and disgrace of her father, a silk merchant. Here she must come to terms with her new life: a life of simplicity and daily routine rather than the life of riches and romance of which she had dreamed.

Lucrezia’s path crosses that of Fra Filippo Lippi, a genius with canvas. The two find themselves swept up in passion for their God and for one another. Lippi’s extravagances also find him at the mercy of some unscrupulous men. It is a tale of intrigue and of love, set beautifully against the backdrop of art and the power of the church.

Reviewed by:
Peggy Neviaser and Aly Valentine, Proprietors
Harrison Street Books
27 South Harrison Street
Easton, MD 21601
ph - 410.819.0000

Hours: Mon.- Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"Song Yet Sung" A Book for all Marylanders

by Mindie Burgoyne
Song Yet SungSong Yet SungSong Yet Sung, by James McBride, is the selection for One Maryland One Book for 2009, a program of the Maryland Humanities Council.

According to the MHC website: "One Maryland One Book is Maryland’s first and only statewide community reading project. It is designed to bring together diverse people in communities across the state through the shared experience of reading the same book and participating in book-centered discussions and other related programs at public libraries, high schools, colleges and universities, museums, bookstores, and other organizations."

As a supporter of reading and literacy, and as a native Marylander, I felt compelled to participate in the One Maryland One Book program. Currently, I have no time for pleasure reading. My full time job with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has me working extended hours - especially during this economic crisis. But, as part of my job, I spend 12 to 15 hours per week driving up and down the Eastern Shore. So I downloaded the audio version of Song Yet Sung, put the 10 hour, unabridged edition on my ipod, and began listening as I traversed the roads and scenic byways of Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline, Kent, Wicomico and Somerset Counties.

Jump Start Your Business - with Twitter!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, "What are you doing?" by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called "tweets", to your friends, or "followers." The short format allows quick communication, and the ever expanding network of "followers" opens up your circle of contacts. Twitter can be downloaded (free) from twitter.com, and accessed through the web, cell phone, and various programs (also free) such as Twhirl and Tweetdeck.

If you're shaking your head and muttering right now - I understand. I'm not one to jump into new technologies, especially those that involve me communicating with large groups of people.

Coffee Cat: What's In a Name?

By Travis Mamone

The Coffee Cat in EastonThe Coffee Cat in EastonMany of you have noticed several changes with Coffee East coffee shop in Easton, MD, especially their name. Is it Coffee East, Coffee Cat, Night Cat, or what? And will anything else change? Hopefully this will clear things up.

Coffee Cat is the café portion, where you can order lattes, sandwiches (try the chicken Panini with goat cheese!), and pastries. Night Cat is where you can see live shows every weekend from a variety of artists. It’s the same building, of course.

But why change the name? As you may or may not know, the coffee shop is now under new management. The same people who now own Coffee Cat also own Hair o’ the Dog Wine and Spirits. So to keep with the pet theme, Coffee East

Mid Shore Cake Rant

Beware the ranting woman! I've just wasted two hours of my life trying to find a bakery - on the mid-shore - where I can order a birthday cake for my daughter. She wants something specific this year - a dragon. Not the Disney Princesses, or My Little Pony, or Nascar - a dragon.

I've found exactly ONE bakery that allows you to order online - Giant Foods in Easton. They even gave pictures of the cakes - and prices. It may have taken me awhile to actually get to the appropriate page - but their site DID meet my needs. Except they have nothing even minimally resembling a dragon. Do you think Scooby-Doo would suffice - if I painted a long tail on him???

Need a Break? Try Playing Zoo Tycoon!

We were tired and cranky following Black Friday, and the rain didn't improve our mood. Finally, in desperation, Mom (that would be me) reached into the dark recesses of a drawer and brought forth an inexpensive computer game I had purchased last summer - still in its wrapper.

Zoo Tycoon had set me back almost five dollars, and my expectations were low. I tend to only buy educational products for my family (one of the side effects of homeschooling, no doubt), and I've brought home more than one lemon. This game promised to teach us business (designing & developing a zoo and making it profitable) as well as making us more aware of zoo animals and their needs. I turned it over to my offspring and collapsed onto the couch.


Zoo Tycoon

By: Kathryn Johnson

Everyone who's reading this article, you might wanna get Zoo Tycoon! My whole family has become addicted to it! You can also get Zoo Tycoon 2!

You make exhibits, Adopt animals, Hire people to fix their cages and take care of them. You even hire zoo keepers and tour guides to give your guests a tour of your zoo!

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