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Dining Review: BAR ONE & SUSHI






Hot & Now 22 PulseBrew 23 Paul Giorgio, Publisher pgiorgio@pagioinc.com Kevin La, Art Director kla@pagioinc.com Josh Lyford, Editior jlyford@pagioinc.com David Simone, Vice President, Sales dsimone@pagioinc.com


Bernie Whitemore, Ryan Cashmen, Maria Connors, Josh Lyford, Travis Duda, Jason Savio, Paul Giorgio, Rachel Shuster, Giuliano D’Orazio, and Victoriahope McAuliffe Writers FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA: TWITTER @WORCESTERPULSE • INSTAGRAM @WORCESTERPULSE • FACEBOOK.COM/THEPULSEMAGAZINE


PULSE Magazine is produced 12 times a year by Pagio Inc., 134 Gold St., Worcester, MA 01608. (508) 756-5006. Copyright 2021 All rights reserved. Pagio, Inc. does not hold itself responsible for statements made by any contributor. Statements or opinions expressed in Pulse reflect the views of the author(s) and not the official policy of the Pagio, Inc., unless so stated. Although all advertising material is expected to conform to ethical standards, acceptance does not imply endorsement by Pagio, Inc. unless so stated. Material printed in Pulse is covered by copyright. No copyright is claimed to any work of the U.S. government. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission. For information on permissions, reprints and other services, contact Pagio, Inc. Also by Pagio Inc.: Worcester Medicine, Vitality Magazine, Thepulsemag.com, Thevitalitymag.com, & TasteWorcester.com

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WINNERS OF 2020 WORCESTER MUSIC AWARDS The winners of the 2020 Worcester Music Awards were announced November 10 at an award ceremony held at El Basha Restaurant, 256 Park Ave, Worcester. The WMA’s are produced by Pulse Magazine, a Worcester based arts and entertainment monthly. According to Pulse Publisher Paul Giorgio, this was the 15th annual Worcester Music Awards and the first held post Covid. Giorgio, said that” We are celebrating those musicians who stuck it out and performed both pre and post covid in Central Massachusetts.” “Many of these musicians literally lost their lively hoods during the pandemic and we came together to celebrate the winners, but also the return of live music in Central Massachusetts.” Several groups won multiple awards. Local singer Cara Brindisi led the pack, picking up 4, M y Silent Bravery wone 2 and the Blue Light Bandits also garnered two trophies.



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8 DEC EMBE R 20 21






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INDEPENDENT ARTIST MATTHEW WADE PAYS IT FORWARD WITH MY SILENT BRAVERY JASON SAVIO Matthew Wade knows how to get it done. The singer/songwriter and Worcester native has been recording, releasing, and touring his own music independently for the past 15 years under the band name My Silent Bravery, and in that time he has amassed a large fan base and following without the help of a major label. He’s looking to continue his success with his newest album, Bigger, which was released on Dec. 3.

That need and drive to inspire others comes from a down time for Wade when he suffered a sports injury that “really altered” the course of his life and still affects him to this day. He herniated a couple of discs in his neck while working out and sought treatment, but there was “no real clear-cut path to feeling better,” he says. He turned down surgery and turned to spirituality for healing--specifically Kabbalah--and through studying that and working on himself he had an epiphany.

“I never sought out a major label deal,” says Wade, who instead releases his music under his own MWS Records. “I’ve always really enjoyed the independence of creating the type of music that I want to make and not have to really answer to anybody. I like that freedom and embrace the do-it-yourself approach.”

“I realized that what I want to do is help other people through their challenges the same way I was helped through my challenge,” he says. Wade adds that he is a firm believer in energy and karma, going back to when he got his first big break with the first song he ever wrote in high school being featured years later in the television show “One Tree Hill.” He learned how to play the guitar as part of a senior project at Bancroft School, writing the song “Side of the Road,” and ultimately that turned into many more to follow. Wade admits it was a major move out of his comfort zone at the time. Although he had always loved music, he just didn’t have the confidence as a new artist.

My Silent Bravery is all Wade. He’ll play with hired studio musicians and collaborate with producers when recording his music, but when he tours it’s usually just him performing his pop/rock music acoustically. For Bigger, he went to West Coast Customs Studios in Burbank, California, where he worked with producers Russell Ali & Sanjoy Deb. He says he’s “really happy” with the outcome, and that Bigger, his ninth studio album, features more “hip-hop oriented” beats than his previous work. Similar to his other records, the songs on Bigger sound pristine and are produced with the feel of a major label despite not being part of one. “When I put out music, I want it to be the best quality and the best music it can be, and hopefully it’s accessible to a larger audience,” he says. Before Bigger was even released, Wade had videos for many of the songs already posted online. The reggae inspired “Spark Up the Fire” racked up over 250,000 views in just over two months, and “Kiss Your Mouth” had nearly 25,000 views in six weeks. The videos are part of what Wade refers to as his effort to do what a major label would do. Being independently run and funded isn’t easy, he says, but it seems to be paying off. His social accounts are nothing to ignore either, with over 130,000 followers on Twitter and 54,000-plus on Instagram.

“In my mind it was the universe sort of rewarding me for that big risk, that big jump into (music) and I think sometimes in life when we take big risks like that the universe does reward us and we just need to be paying attention,” he says about his song being picked up for television. “It was six years later so it took some time, but it was worth the wait.” Paying it Forward From penning his first tune for a school project, to now opening for artists like Billy Idol, Daughtry, and Bryan Adams, Wade has come a long way with My Silent Bravery. But his mission has remained the same: to pay it forward and inspire others. He continues to do so, most recently by interviewing other artists on his Instagram account every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., giving them an opportunity to be showcased to a larger audience they may not otherwise have exposure to.

“It’s a big undertaking but I enjoy it and the fans seem to be enjoying it,” he says. “I just keep trying to put out better and better music that will hopefully inspire people in their life.”

As for other independent artists just starting out, Wade offers some advice. “Keep dreaming,” he says. “You have to have the dream and be passionate about what you’re doing because in the end that’s what’s going to sustain you,” he says.

The Inspirational Component

Advice for other independent artists?

For Wade, who has received numerous awards and accomplishments--such as his song “Got it Going On” off his 2017 album Willing to Try reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart--the achievement he is most proud of is his ability to spread a positive message and “hopefully change people’s lives” for the better.

“Keep working hard, get lots of feedback, surround yourself with people that believe in you, and keep dreaming—you have to have the dream and be passionate about what you’re doing because in the end that’s what’s going to sustain you. (And) you have to have a thick skin—there are going to be a lot more no’s than yeses, but you have to be ready to step up to the opportunities when the yeses come.”

“There’s an inspirational component to the music I make and that’s really important to me,” he says. “One of the things that I tell all my fans is that I hope people leave (my shows) more inspired than when they came and hopefully the music translates for them wanting to go out and accomplish their dreams.”

For more, visit: http://mysilentbravery.com/

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A lot of music has come out of the COVID pandemic that is, well, about the pandemic and the hardships it has created for many, whether it be losing a loved one, losing a job, or just dealing with the isolation of staying at home. Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, led by singer/guitarist Josh Peyton (who goes by the name Rev. Peyton), is among one of the standouts thus far with Dance Songs for Hard Times, a new and swinging country blues album that really lives up to its name. From beginning to end, Rev. Peyton--backed by his wife and washboard player, Breezy Peyton, and drummer Max Senteney--sings and plays his heart out on Dance Songs for Hard Times, a collection of songs that offers an honest and sincere look at what it has been like to live during the past year and a half. And, no, this isn’t a commercialized and gleaming “country” album; this one has all the character and grit that a country album should have. The opening song “Ways and Means” sets this underdog tone with Rev. Peyton singing from the perspective of someone who has the talent and drive, but is maybe missing that elusive it’s-all-about-who-you-know contact or financial backing. It’s a great southern blues jam that has a dirty, barnyard feel, giving it real character. “Too Cool to Dance,” a rockabilly blues number with a strong southern kick, is the album’s centerpiece, giving its listeners a good message: don’t let those special moments pass you by because they’re not guaranteed to happen again. “We may not get another chance/ Please don’t tell me you’re cool to dance,” Rev. Peyton sings. He delivers more lines that are sure to stir up some emotion, especially in “No Tellin’ When,” a tune that really captures the feeling of isolation and fear of the unknown. With a menacing, pulsing guitar line and nothing else behind him, Rev. Peyton sings, ““No tellin’ when I’ll see my mom again/No tellin’ when I’ll get to work again,” and, later, “No tellin’ when I’ll see my friends again.” What makes these songs on Dance Songs for Hard Times have such a gut punch is the vocal delivery of Rev. Peyton, who digs deep and roars out his lines with a primal urgency that demands your attention. That feeling of authenticity translates over to his impressive fingerpicking and slide work on the guitar, making for a combination that is both memorable and impactful. The mellow and melancholic “Dirty Hustlin’,’’ about someone contemplating going back to their old ways they’re not proud of so that they can make ends meet, might get lost in other instances, but Rev. Peyton sings it with such believability--and a catchy hook--that you’ll want to listen to it again and again. With Dance Songs for Hard Times, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band captures lighting in a bottle and earmarks a dark period to use as a lesson going forward. It will remind you not to take life for granted and to make the most of it in your own way, whether you’re living through a pandemic or not. For more, visit: Bigdamnband.com.

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pulse magazine...

WANTS YOU! Pulse Magazine is looking for nominees for our:

We are looking for the next generation of leaders. Do you know anyone in Central Massachusetts who is a successful entrepreneur, a community leader, a talented artist, or a mover and a shaker?




Paul Giorgio • pgiorgio@pagioinc.com Requirements: Nominees must be under the age of 40 Nominees must be from the Central Massachusetts area

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MB Lounge 508-799-4521 40 Grafton St., Worcester Wednesdays - Karaoke at 9 Thursdays - Guest Bartender Fridays - Dance Party starting at 10 Saturdays - Dance Party starting at 10 Sundays - Drinks with Matty


Electric Haze 26 Millbury St., Worcester

As COVID restrictions begin to ease and live music returns to the area’s bars and restaurants, we are excited to bring entertainment listings back to Pulse. If you’d like to be included in future listings, please email Jlyford@ pagioinc.com.

Firefly’s BBQ 508-357-8883 350 E. Main St., Marlborough DANTE’S at FIREFLY’S BBQ December 3 Gary Backstrom Band December 4 Rumor Hazit December 10 George McCann Band December 11 Tequila Bonfire December 17 Holly & the SOB’s December 18 From A to Beatles December 31 The Deloreans + New Year’s Eve Celebration

---Black and White Grille 508-885-5018 Blackandwhitegrille.com 206 North Spencer Rd., Spencer Blueprint New American Bar & Grille 978-668-5580 10 Village Sq. Westminster Boynton Restaurant & Spirits 508-756-8458 117 Highland St., Worcester Cafe Neo 774-253-6139 97 Millbury St. Worcester Karaoke. Chuck’s Steakhouse (508) 832-2553 10 Prospect Street, Auburn 3-Dec Drunkin Uncles 4-Dec Liam Coleman 10-Dec Bad Tickers 11-Dec TBD 17-Dec Josh Briggs 18-Dec Alley Kings 31-Dec Missy Maxfield Classic’s Pub 978-227-5258 285 Central St., Leominster Compass Tavern 508-304-6044 90 Harding St., Worcester Chashu Ramen + Izakaya 508-304-7183 38 Franklin St., Worcester

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Flying Rhino 508-757-1450 278 Shrewsbury St., Worcester Gardner Ale House (978) 669-0122 74 Parker St., Gardner

MCL Club 508-797-0141 Worcestermcl.org 181 Lake Ave., Worcester Michael’s Cigar Bar (508) 459-9035 1 Exchange St, Worcester Nick’s 508-753-4030 12 Millbury St. Nola Cajun Kitchen 774-261-8008 340 W. Boylston St., West Boylston One Eyed Jack’s Tiki Bar & Grill 508-459-0089 433 Park Ave., Worcester

Greater Good Imperial Brewing 508-926-8736 55 Millbrook St., Worcester

Park Grille 508-756-7995 257 Park Avenue, Worcester Tuesdays-Rock Open Jam Thursdays-Office Party

Greendale’s Pub 508-853-1350 404 W Boylston Worcester

Partner’s Pub 978-345-5051 970 South St., Fitchburg



River Styx 978-696-5176 166 Boulder Dr., Fitchburg Live on the Patio Rock Bar 774-243-7000 81 Water St., Worcester Southside Grille 978-632-1057 242 West Broadway, Gardner Sept. 17-Chris Reddy The Bull Run 978-425-4311 215 Great Road, Shirley The Comedy Attic Upstairs at Park Grill 508-756-7995 257 Park Ave. The GazBar (978) 534-6600 1045 Central St, Leominster The Mill at 185 Themill185.com 774-261-8585 185 W Boylston St., West Boylston Tryst Lounge (978) 400-7906 320 Main St, Fitchburg Vincent’s Worcester 508-752-9439 49 Suffolk St. Wachusett Brew Yard 978-874-9965 175 State Rd. E, Westminster

Grill on the Hill 508-854-1704 1929 Skyline Drive, Worcester

Patsie Duggans (508) 755-4155 49 Millbury St, Worcester, MA 01610

Halligan’s 508-832-6739 889 Southbridge St., Auburn Thursday Bike Nights

Peppercorn’s Grille & Tavern 508-752-7711 455 Park Ave., Worcester

Happy Jack’s (978) 466-3433 785 N Main St., Leominster

Purgatory Beer Co. 508-596-2194 670 Linwood Ave. Building C, Whitinsville

Woo Bar & Grill 774-243-6130 358 Shrewsbury St., Worcester

Indian Ranch 508-943-3871 Indianranch.com 200 Gore Rd., Webster

Ralph’s Diner Ralphsrockdiner.com 148 Grove St., Worcester

WooHaha Thewoohaha.com 50 Franklin St.

Legends Bar and Grille (978) 342-6500 68 Airport Rd, Fitchburg

Rascal’s Rascalsworcester.com 70 James St., Worcester Reunion Tap & Table 774-293-5501 198 Worcester St., North Grafton

Whiskey on Water 774-578-8829 97 Water St. White Eagle 508-753-9612 Whiteeagleworcester.com 116-120 Green St., Worcester

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18 OC TO BER 20 21

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BAR ONE & SUSHI 850 SOUTHBRIDGE STREET, AUBURN (774) 321-6075 WWW.BARONESUSHI.COM BERNIE WHITMORE Like many Americans, sushi wasn’t even in our vocabulary when I was growing up. Then, as it started making inroads, I wouldn’t have touched it, raw fish? Get Out! And then I tried it. Quickly adjusting to textures, the flavors were a revelation; ocean-fresh and clean, they were the essence of the sea. Now I look forward to any opportunity for sushi, especially sashimi. Therefore, I eagerly anticipated our meal at Bar One & Sushi. We found Bar One easy enough, they’re just across and a bit down the road from Ronnie’s Seafood. Located in a strip mall, we entered their vestibule that’s been furnished with a Purell dispensing station so aggressively large it served to embody a year’s worth of covid anxiety. Another step through the doorway, though, and it was a return to pre-pandemic land, a place where people packed bars and had to converse so energetically their collective volume would build to a roar. Bar One’s boxshaped dining room wasn’t really that crowded, but the parties occupying it were, let’s say, enthusiastic. We were shown to a table opposite the beverage bar whose lower ceiling line formed an alcove. Under other circumstances this may have created a cozy feeling. Instead, its acoustic signature served to focus the decibel level to a point that seemed to impair my cognitive processes. Our waiter confirmed that this is a normal occurrence. Bar One’s menu listed most sushi standards. Plus scores of variations and special sections featuring combinations. Plus an extensive offering of Chinese appetizers

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and entrées. Plus Authentic Dishes From The Orient. This is a menu with enough moving parts to set off warning signals of overreach. Maintaining quality sushi requires focus. Since we really couldn’t comfortably discuss an entrée strategy, we agreed to keep our meal order simple and started with Bar One’s Shrimp Tempura. Service at Bar One was prompt and friendly; our Shrimp Tempura was served within minutes. Four long shrimp, tails on, had been coated in tempura batter, dusted with panko crumbs and quick-fried till pale yellow. They came served over iceberg lettuce leaves and garnished with an orchid flower. Bar One’s shrimp were mild in flavor and not overwhelmed by breading or over-frying. My friend augmented his with squirts from a ketchup-red squeeze bottle labeled “DUCK SAUCE”. Our entrées included salad or soup, so I ordered a bowl of their Miso Soup. Slices of green onion floated on a mild flavored broth that contained bits of tofu. My friend’s House Salad was chopped iceberg lettuce with a slice of cucumber and grape tomato. Its ginger dressing was pale orange in color and quite mild in flavor. So far, our Bar One food experience had been solid but uninspired. That would soon change. Our entrees were dramatically arranged on what could have been stage models for Turandot. Sushi Deluxe came on a platform decorated with a sloping tropical leaf on which six slices of tuna roll had been lined up

in a column. From this, a spiral staircase of five steps ascended, each with its own duo of sushi. Bar One Sushi Bar’s chef arrayed his Sashimi Regular on a curved footbridge decorated with light sauce, flower and plastic bird bedecked with spirals of radish threads that look like spun sugar. Over this, stepping up and over the bridge were clusters of sashimi, a bowl of black-sesame-flecked sushi rice and a cluster of wasabi and ginger. And with this, Bar One had clicked from mundane to inspired. But everything hinged, of course, on the fish. And that is where freshness and quality attained. Each slice of ahi tuna, salmon, yellowtail, white tuna and red snapper had fresh-cut shine and was expertly trimmed; the mild flavors were honest and true. While I was preoccupied by my sushi experience the guests at Bar One had changed over from drinking enthusiasts to sushi diners and the volume level had descended to conversational. This marked a satisfying end to the evening. The wasabi was sinus-clearing and the crisp citrus notes from my glass of J. Lohr Vineyards’ Sauvignon Blanc contrasted with the sashimi in an intriguing alchemy-on-thetongue. For sushi lovers: the chef at Bar One & Sushi is expertly skilled and stocks quality fish. My advice for those who’ve been cloistered during the pandemic: show up after the drinking-bar crowd has departed for the evening.

THIRSTY ROBOT BREWING RACHEL SHUSTER Located at 265 Summer St. in Fitchburg, Thirsty Robot Brewing is your new favorite spot for great brews. Having just opened in August of this year, owner Bill diMario is thrilled with the support from the community so far. “Business has been great,” he says. “People had been seeing our coming soon sign for a while, driving by and asking when we were going to open. Our opening was a bit tough to predict as much of the state was locked down this year and it wasn’t clear when we could open. We were measuring what date we should open and then just decided to do it. We’ve received really great support from folks in Fitchburg and from folks traveling in to visit us.” diMario is no stranger to brewing or the science behind it. “I’ve been brewing a long time at home,” he says. “The science and engineering part of brewing naturally drew me to the process, but I also enjoy the creative side of it too. It’s something for both sides of my brain.” After years of being in high tech, diMario decided to take his passion for brewing at home and make it his primary focus. “One of the problems of brewing at home is you have to give away a lot of beer,” he says. “I’ve visited many taprooms and I always thought it seemed fun and I like interacting with people. I worked in high tech and kept doing what for a while, then decided I was tired of that and wanted to open a taproom. I had amazing support from my wife. It’s a significant commitment. In September of 2018, I decided to do it. I looked for a location, put together a business plan, started acquiring equipment etc.”

And as the story goes, COVID prolonged the process of finding the right spot, opening and bringing his dream to life. However, after some time, diMario was able to open and it’s been well worth the wait. As for the name ‘Thirsty Robot Brewing,’ that’s a nod to his high-tech days. “As a high-tech guy, I was always interested in robotics,” he says. “In your career, you realize that sometimes work can be just another cog in the wheel, and sometimes, you start to feel like a thirsty robot at the end of the day. Also, a brew house requires a lot of water – three to five barrels of water make a barrel of beer, so with all that said, the theme is rich with references that work well for us. I mean, robots are going to take over anyway – we want to be the first stop for them when that happens.” The brewery and taproom are in a building that used to be a car dealership. “We are in the back of the building and subdivided into three units,” diMario says. Upon arrival at Thirsty Robot Brewing, you’ll find a pleasant and spacious patio outside with glass windows, Adirondack chairs, 17 ft ceilings inside and more. “It’s an open floor plan with an industrial feel because it’s in an industrial building,” diMario says. “But it is also decorated with murals and robot themed artwork. I’m really proud of it. The brewery is part of the taproom. We’ve got a 10 barrel system in plain view. This represents the view we have about how it’s made – we want to show folks the process and see where the beer they are sampling is coming from and how it’s made.”

diMario has 11 beers on tap right now including a pilsner, Vienna lager, three to four dry hop New England IPAs, dry hop helles, a sour with fruit, ambers, a stout coming and more on the way. “We’ve got a wide variety of beers,” he says. “We talk and listen to customers about what they like.” The brewery also has a small kitchen serving up pub snacks and there are plans to expand that over time. “We offer pub food – hot dogs, nachos, sausages, pretzels which are our biggest seller with cheese sauce and stone ground mustard,” diMario says. “We plan to offer pizza and more pub food in the future.” Thirsty Robot Brewing has already held several events and plans to hold more to come. “We had a motorcycle showcase as our first event, a craft fair with 20 craft vendors, and hope to do that again as a pre-holiday shopping opportunity,” he says. “We do raffles, gift cards and merchandise, as well as a comedy night, with several comedians. We plan to do that again in February, and perhaps quarterly.” They also have music on weekends and try to hire local musicians, and engage with local businesses like Crunch Fitness, 978 disc golf, and more. “We want to collaborate with local businesses to help one another,” diMario says. Thirsty Robot Brewing is open Wednesday – Sunday, with Monday and Tuesday closed for brewing and cleaning. For more information, visit them at Thirstyrobotbrewing.com or find them on Instagram and Facebook.

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HOT & NOW What’s hot and happening now in the restaurant scene

PAUL GIORGIO SANTA BABY. Shrewsbury Street Santa Pub Crawl produced by Pulse Magazine will be held on Saturday December 11 from 3-5 Pm. The $25 ticket gets you a T-shirt and a beer ticket at one of the 14 participating restaurants as well as free snacks. IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN WORCESTER. A bar is planned for the former home of the Dive Bar at 34 Green St. in Worcester. The planned bar, The Sundown, had its applications for a liquor and entertainment licenses heard in early November by the Worcester License Commission The Sundown is owned by Anagrams for Everything LLC, whose manager is Sean Woods. Woods is also listed as a manager of Seven Hills Hospitality, owner of deadhorse hill restaurant on Main Street in Worcester. The Dive Bar closed in November 2019 amid the anticipation of the building of Polar Park I HAVE A TEE TIME. Tee Up Taproom, LLC located at 70 James St. in Worcester will be opening a bar and a golf simulator space... The nineteenth hole got a lot easier. You can now drink and practice playing a round of golf on some of the county’s best-known courses. NEW TAPAS BAR. Worcester based Niche hospitality has opened another Bocado Tapas Bar in Leominster They opened in the first week of November at the former site of Mezcal, also owned by them. The original Bocado opened on Worcester’s Winter Street in 2006. IN OTHER LEOMINSTER NEWS. Mai Tai’s, a Chinese restaurant has also opened in Leominster. The restaurant which also offers sushi and Asian cuisine opened at 638 North main St. IN EVEN MORE NEWS FROM THE NORTH. Logan’s Table, a pizzeria, recently opened on Central Street in one of the twin cities up north. They offer wood fired pizza. IGLOO MANIA. Spencer’s Black and White restaurant has started advertising the fact that they have outdoor igloos for dining during the cooler months. This igloo craze began when Lock 50 in the Canal District introduced the outdoor heated space a couple of years ago. IT TOOK TOO LONG. Pepe’s Pizzeria has finally opened at 179 Shrewsbury St. in Worcester, bringing a third pizza place to the street. The Italian restaurant opened in the middle of November. It may be old news but. Miss Worcester Diner has been picked by iHeart.com -- as one of the best roadside diners in the U.S. Seasonal shutdown. Cracked in Rutland has closed for the winter. The eatery located on Barre Paxton Road will reopen in March of 2022. I FEEL A DRAFT. Drafters which moved from Dudley to over the line in North Grosvenordale, CT will soon be opening a 600-person music and event space. Drafters is owned by the same people who owned Worcester’s Cove Music Hall before it was slated for demolition. EAT AT THE WOO. A Worcester restaurant has been credited as one of the best roadside diners in the U.S.LoveFood.com compiled a nationwide list of “most charming roadside diner in every state” which included Miss Worcester Diner as the top choice for Massachusetts

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Ring in the

New Year

with us!

PULSEBREW RYAN CASHMAN Back in August of 2018, I was approached by then-editor Donna Roberson about writing a beer column for The Pulse. Having worked an internship and done several freelance stories for this publication, having a regular column in which I could expose my opinions on various alcoholic beverages was a no-brainer. I accepted the offer with gusto. Over the last three and a half years, I’ve travelled around Worcester County to sample the tremendous drinking scene in our little slice of Massachusetts. It started with Purgatory Beer Co. in my old hometown of Whitinsville. The range expanded to Stone Cow in Barre, Seven Saws in Holden, Lost Towns in Hardwick, Wachusett in Westminster, 3Cross in Worcester, and Tree House in Charlton to name a few favorites. I’ve written about my preferences - lighter beers, energetic flavors, and IPA’s without too much hop - and the preferences of my family. It’s been a journey of discovering what I like - that amazing cranberry honey braggot from 3Cross - and what I don’t like - Redemption Rock’s Blackstone Irish Dry Stout.

f r i d ay, d e c . 3 1 s t D A N C E T H E N I G H T A WA Y WITH THE DELOREANS + PA R T Y FAV O R S a n d C H A M PA G N E A T MIDNIGHT!


$ 2 0 / p e r s o n ( 21+ only ) FULL DINNER MENU AVAILABLE


F I R E F LY S B B Q . C O M 3 5 0 E A S T M a i n S t R E E T, M a r l b o r o u g h |

( 5 0 8 ) 3 5 7- 8 8 8 3

The greatest part of the adventure, though, was having the opportunity, through writing, to explore the nooks and crannies of Worcester County and see just how beautiful Central Mass is. I’ve had beer overlooking bucolic fields and white steeple churches. I’ve had beer in the middle of the woods, near the sound of a cold-flowing river. I’ve had hard cider while discussing politics with a local farmer. I’ve been able to witness, firsthand, Worcester’s transformation into one of the leading cities in the Commonwealth once again. So, it is not without a fair degree of sadness that I say goodbye. After a spring and summer of selling and searching, we’ve finally settled in a small farmhouse in southwestern New Hampshire. Since I am no longer local, it makes little sense to continue where I won’t be as near to places as I once was. Also, it would feel a tad disingenuous to try and keep a foot in on the Worcester beer scene. So, my thanks to The Pulse and my editors, Donna, Sloane, and Josh. And thanks to Paul Giorgio for the opportunity to keep writing. And thank you, my readers for making this fun, and to all the past, present, and future brewers of Central Massachusetts. Keep discovering. Thanks.

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Happy Holidays 2021! As we all prepare for the holiday season to shift into full gear, many of us are preparing for hosting, delivering and, most importantly, EATING an abundance of food. I myself love trying new recipes and cooking, especially when I can share successful new recipes or even old family favorites with my friends and relatives. Since this year is still looking a little different for many of us than years past, the way that you are making and delivering food might look a little different too. Some people will have gatherings of a few close family and friends, and a bigger meal complete with appetizers, a main course, and dessert might be on your radar. Others might feel more comfortable at home, but still want to have a bit of fun, get creative, and make something special. Others might be in the mindset of meals that travel well and can be delivered to family members or friends who may not be able to travel or cook for themselves. Maybe you are a guest, and aren’t sure what to bring your hosts. Whatever your holiday looks like, we have some great tips, tricks, and recipes that will cover all of your holiday meal needs. Read on to learn more! Apps For All: For those of you who are hosting dinner at your house: You have a lot to think about. We are here to help! Anxious about what to serve whilst guests are arriving? A sure way to ease into a day of entertaining is a charcuterie board. There are so many fun variations to do, and you can make them as colorful and versatile or as simple and straightforward as you want. A few fun tips: One way to get really creative is to tape down some butcher paper on your counter to ensure that there is lots of space for eat, drink, and talk around this crowd-pleasing appetizer. Because it is disposable, you can easily lay out as many charcuterie essentials as needed, and even label the different types of cheese by writing on the butcher paper. Another tip: You should have at least three types of cheese presented on 24 D ECEM B E R 20 21

a charcuterie board. You may have more if you like, but it is not necessary. Pair with some wines for your guests to try and you are good to go! The Traveling Dinner: For you readers who are kind enough to drop off some pre-made dinners to those who need a hand this holiday season, you know that things like casseroles and parmesans are things that are great because of their ease of travel and cooking. I have personally always had Italian food on Christmas day, so eggplant parmesan is my first go-to. But this can apply to delicious pasta casseroles, green bean casseroles, and lasagnas. All you have to do is make, store in the fridge, and your friend or family member can pop it in the oven on a night that they need a meal. Most casseroles, parasans, and lasagnas can be stored with ease in the freezer as well. The Host Gift: One of the most popular things that one can bring their host or hostess is a nice bottle of wine or some other prepackaged treat. But do you know what else is fabulous? Homemade dessert that can be bagged and tied in a bow for seamless travel and beautiful presentation. I love making cookies, stacking them, and wrapping them in festive plastic tied with a pretty bow to bring over as a treat. I will often stack 4-5 cookies and place all of the bags in a bowl. It makes for a pretty presentation and helps to keep the cookies fresher longer. If you really wanted to roll up your cooking sleeves, you could even do the same thing with chocolate truffles. They are not hard to make, easily wow, and taste pretty fantastic. I hope that you have enjoyed reading some tips and tricks of the trade in cooking, baking, and hostessing for this Holiday Season! Whatever your situation, wherever you are, and whoever you are celebrating with, I would like to wish you all the best for this season as well as the season to come! Happy Cooking!


From seeds to flowers, infused gummies to beverages, glass pipes and artwork, and everything in between, The Harvest Cup celebrated the best of the best in cannabis. With guests from every walk of life, the event was colorful to say the least. Some guests came dressed to the nines, some sported their tie dye and marijuana leaf prints, and some even showed up in pajama pants. One guy had a huge gold chain on with a matching pendant that looked like a gold-dipped cannabis clump, and there was even someone completely dressed as a sasquatch. Anything went in this super relaxed and chill environment where everyone simply respected each other for having a common interest. In the center of the exhibition floor was a glass case with all the entries for the Harvest Cup, New England’s foremost trophy for cannabis growth and utilization in different categories. Attendees could get a close look at all of the submissions and the beautiful crystal trophies adorning a shelf just waiting to be handed out to the winners. Veteran WAAF radio personality, Mike Tsu (who now hosts on Pike FM), was the master of ceremonies – letting people know where to go for what and taking bets on how many misplaced phones he would need to announce for pickup. Surrounding the tent were hundreds of vendors, selling items and treats related to the hobby. Many booths had spin to wins or samples (non-THC infused) to try and swag, including my personal favorites, the honeycomb gummy from Revclinics, a lime flavored Wynk seltzer at the Resinate booth and an apple cider gummy offered by The Botanist. There was even a guessing game where you had to determine what terpenes (natural chemical compounds in cannabis) were in unmarked bottles based on scent. If you got it right, you received a gift. Many booths had flower in cases that you could look at closely and smell, and the vendors were extremely knowledgeable about their craft, easily answering questions about use, growing, deltas and various effects of the strains. It was impressive to see the equal balance of men and women-owned vendors at the event, and the slogan for Caroline’s Cannabis – Buy Weed from Women – was fantastic. In addition to the main Harvest Cup competition there was also a live and interactive rosin competition happening at the event called Uncle Stoners Squash Off, where participants could enter in a flower they grew, which was then judged by a live panel on texture, taste, aroma, look under a high-powered microscope, etc. The flower is then pressed to extract the rosin, which is also judged. The winner was Christina Eva of Badd Girl Buddz. Book signings with Benjamin Bartlett and Jeffrey Homan, writers of the Toking with the Dead comic books happened throughout the day. Sam Miserendino, author of If You Give a Bear a Bong and If You Give a Dog a Doobie, was also there signing his books.

There were many artists at the event as well including Dunkees (Daniel Militonian), well known for his psychedelic looking artwork depicting loved cartoon characters, like Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob, experiencing a good time. My favorite was an interesting take on George Jetson, Homer Simpson, and Peter Griffin in a spaceship. There were also exquisitely crafted pipes at the Green Goddess Supply Company tent (one even looked like a giraffe) and some gorgeous artwork by Serendipitous Highs. I Think I’ve Created a Monstah had the ugliest and yet cutest monster sculptures. Upstairs in the ballroom, there were lectures by expert speakers. Therapist Erin Doolittle, did a wonderful presentation on the benefits of cannabis for those who suffer from anxiety and PTSD, explaining how and why our brains protect us after trauma, but discussing the effects and ailments we experience as a result of how our body responds to this physically. She discussed how the use of cannabis can regulate these responses and provide therapeutic relief and advocated for its use. Marion McNabb, from the Cannabis Center of Excellence, discussed latest trends in cannabis research and the importance of creating educational programs around cannabis. One study revealed that a high percentage of people are using cannabis so that they can reduce dependency on prescription drugs and opioids and that the use of the plant can also assist in opioid addiction recovery. Winners were announced over the two days of the event. They were: Sativa Flower – City Slickers Genetics – Pineapple Citrus Indica Flower – House of Cultivar – Designer Runtz Savory Edibles – Nicci’s Pickles – Sweet & Spicy Pickle Slices Sweet Edibles – Northeast Alternatives – Nostalgia Bites PB&J Infused Bonbons Syrups/Sauces/Condiments – Tricann Alternatives – Tomatillo Sauce Beverages – TerpLife – Mulled Apple Cider Concentrates – TriCann Alternatives – Blackberry Kush Rosin Tinctures/Capsules – Queenie Care – FECO Capsules Topicals/Transdermals – Who is Mary Palmer – High Intensity Pain Cream CBD Flower/Extract – Northeast Alternatives – Whipped Cherry Tangie Purple Sunset Batter CBD Edibles – Northeast Alternatives – Posh Nibbles Infused Ganache Bonbons CBD Topicals/Transdermals – Who is Mary Palmer – Rose Lotion It was greatly impressive how supportive the crowd and other entrants were. Even those that didn’t win were thrilled for the people who did, really speaking for the strong community of growers and creators. The event was an excellent one and gets better year after year. We can’t wait to see what’s new in 2022.

Guest appearances didn’t stop there. Renowned puppeteer Bill Diamond, who has done a lot of work with Jim Henson, was there speaking to attendees and Wu-Tang’s Cappadonna also came by to say hello and take pictures with fans.

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Impaired or Unfair? One of the major oppositions to widespread cannabis legalization has been people estimating a rise in vehicular crashes caused by impaired drivers. However, thanks to a recent report in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, we now have real data to help understand the issue. The writer of the paper was interested in linking an uptick in accidents to ease of cannabis access and impaired drivers. However, when examining the reports from April 2015 to December 2019 in Ontario and Alberta, they found no associations with changes in traffic injuries in all drivers, including youth drivers. Up until recently, most other reports that sought to prove this point came up with inconclusive data and more questions. There are others who suggest tougher traffic laws are a contributing factor, but the bottom line is there is no drastic surge. Essentially this is one more dismissed assumption made by prohibitionists. But it’s ok. We know the road to legalization is paved by crushed rumors like these. Stuff Those Stockings! I need your help with something. If you aren’t planning to give recreational cannabis gifts and accessories out as presents this holiday season, I really need you to start. Primarily because you will be the coolest gift giver on the block. Additionally, these gestures help to normalize recreational cannabis as part of our culture and not some risque back alley item. Every year I inherently receive a bottle of wine, beer, or some other booze as a gift or in some stupid swap game. As someone that doesn’t like alcohol, every year I just pass it along. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve received cannabis gifts, with the most notable being a heart shaped candy box with 50/50 chocolates and nuggs. Obviously this isn’t a gift for everyone, but neither is the booze. Yet people still feel confident enough to add them to the Yankee Swap mix as a safe bet. So all I’m asking is to snag a couple pre-rolls or maybe a package of gummies and give Grandma the gift she’s really always wanted. Bong Water Your Plants The worlds of PlantTok and StonerTok have collided over an ageold argument. Is bong water good for plants? The TikTok Potheads are arguing that the carbon and plant matter left in the water makes a tasty drink for your houseplants. However plant purists warn against this type of watering due to all the other junk that gets in the water. They argue that the raised pH levels of the bubbler is too acidic for most plants and will harm them. With the cold and dismal months here, I’m considering fighting off the seasonal sads by adding some plants to my home. I want them to be healthy and happy, and more importantly I want to do something productive with this water. However we common folk are left to decide our own paths. Since stumbling on this idea, I’ve watched 30-40 videos of people showing off these luscious, leafy green plants that they swear have been watered daily by the bong. It’s hard to argue that the water is bad when you’re looking at a monster ficus. I know, it’s the internet. No one lies there. So I’m turning to the hive mind that is the Pulse readership. What do you do with your dirty water? How leafy are your greens? Hit me up through social. Thanks for reading and happy trails! -Travis (@hunchbacktravis)



GIULIANO D’OR AZIO When art teachers Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord met in 2015, the two bonded on their shared values surrounding art, education, and community. Today, the pair are the married duo behind Creative Hub Worcester, a nonprofit organization that offers accessible opportunities in the Arts to members of Worcester’s community. Located at the nexus of downtown and Main South, their programs center around serving and amplifying the area’s vibrant population, specifically folx who are members of marginalized communities. As one of the city’s most active and visible Arts organizations, they’re making an impact and enriching lives through art, and they have plans to continue those efforts in even bigger ways. Laura and Stacy’s relationship began as a long-distance romance, while Laura was still living and working in the North Shore area. Stacy, a resident of Worcester and long-time Art instructor in our public school system, is also a co-founder of stART on the Street festival. “I just felt extreme admiration and respect for Stacy… In awe of her” says Laura. Eventually, Laura joined Stacy in Worcester, and as their partnership blossomed, so did their vision for what would soon become Creative Hub. Currently, Creative Hub runs an arts-based after school program at their 653 Main Street Youth Arts location. Students are offered time for homework, academics, snacks, and creative/workshop time where they participate in small group activities as well as receive one-on-one instruction with their projects. The after school program is priced affordably and Mass childcare vouchers are also accepted. Check out www.creativehubworcester.org/youtharts for more information. Most recently, they’ve launched the Creative Hub Mobile Art Van, which you may have recently seen at Worcester Pride in September. Laura told me the van was designed to “go to any location to curate specific art programs for kids and adults”. The service is free for nonprofit organizations, but any individual or organization can book the Art Van for their event -- such a cool idea! The Creative Hub Exhibition Series, held at the Aurora (across the street from the Youth Arts space at 653 Main), presents local artists the opportunity to display their art at gallery-style events. In addition to curating and showcasing works from individual artists, Creative Hub also makes the exhibition space available to groups/artists looking to host a specific exhibit or show opening. When preparing to write this spotlight on Creative Hub, I asked Laura Marotta what her and Stacy’s secret was to striking a work-life balance. “You can easily lose yourself when you start a business… together or as a couple”. She said the two like to take little getaways from Worcester once in a while, and she also stressed the importance of maintaining individual hobbies and interests separate from their shared endeavors. Many of us know the difficulties of balancing life with a demanding career, but I imagine it gets harder to do as the scope and magnitude of your work expands, and over the past several years, Creative Hub has done just that. Across the parking lot from their Youth Arts space sits the future home of Creative Hub’s Community Arts Center at 2 Ionic Avenue. Formerly the site of the Ionic Ave Worcester’s Boys Club, then Boys and Girls Club, the building was built in 1914 and in use for almost 100 years. When Laura and Stacy set their sites on it, 2 Ionic Ave was threatened for demolition, and the wheels were already in motion to turn the property into a self storage facility. Creative Hub officially acquired the building in collaboration with the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, a group that helps arts organizations find and retain space. The goal is to start construction on the Community Arts Center in 2022, with hopes of opening in 2023. Laura said the purpose of the Arts Center will be “making sure all community members have a safe and reliable space to be creative”. This includes access to artist studios, rehearsal spaces, classroom/workshop space as well as venue space for live events. Personally, as a creative professional working and living in Worcester, I can’t stress enough how much our community needs something like this, particularly in a way that is affordable and accessible, and Creative Hub aims to make this a reality. If you’d like to get involved with the development of the Community Arts Center, check out www.creativehubworcester. org for more. It’s my pleasure to know Laura and Stacy both through their work with Creative Hub as well as their presence and dedication to Worcester’s LGBTQ+ Community. Their vision serves such an important ingredient in what makes a city feel alive: access to creativity for all. Their mission states “We believe that art heals. We believe that art changes lives”. I happen to agree, and if you do too, be sure to stay up to date with all that Creative Hub is doing. Get involved by attending an event or donating to support their programs. Follow them on social media (below), and check out their website (mentioned above). Keep an eye out for their Inaugural Gala, set for Spring ‘22! Facebook: www.facebook.com/creativehubworcester Instagram/Twitter: @creativehubwoo

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Happy Holidays Pulse Readers! I am so excited to present the final Style Savvy for the year 2021, which is going to be geared towards everything holiday! Whether you are traveling for the first time in a while to see family, staying at home, or having a virtual gathering, we have the top trends for this holiday season that you will want to try asap. These outfit combos will have you looking and feeling your best (and most comfortable!) Read on for the trendiest clothing and accessories for Holiday Season 2021!


1. The Wide Leg Pant: Since the apparent death of the skinny jean back in 2020 (although yours truly still boldly rocks the ‘millennial’ trend) pants of all types have seen a shift from tightly fitted and buttoned up to a more relaxed and wider leg fit. Now this does not mean that you have to go and trash all of your more fitted pants, but if you are looking for a feel more similar to the sweatpants that we have all become accustomed to wearing over the last year and a half, then going for a still formal, yet wider leg pant for your holiday occasion might indeed be the way to go. Try pairing a wide leg pant with a nice, slightly more fitted blouse to add some visual balance to your outfit. 2. Maxi Dress/Skirt: I know what you must be thinking: This is New England. In winter. Why would I wear a dress or skirt? But hear me out: A dress or skirt is going to offer the same comfort level as a pair of sweatpants with its loose and relaxed fit. With a festive maxi skirt, you can pair a comfortable oversize sweater for a polished yet warm look. For a maxi dress, an oversized, button up cardigan will offer something cozy to wear with a 90’s inspired flare.




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3. Leggings: We haven’t quite done away with all of our comfy attire from lockdown last year. A favorite that is more worn than ever, the leggings can be dressed up or more casually in so many ways. A cotton-based legging will prove to be the best material for a more special occasion. I love leggings with tall boots and an oversized sweater, but if you are staying in the holiday season, the sweater+legging combo works just as well with an amazing pair of slippers. I hope that you have enjoyed reading Style Savvy this year! Be sure to try out some of these cute and comfortable holiday trends this season! Wishing all of our readers a happy, healthy season and start to the New Year!

FINDING BALANCE: PROCESSING GRIEF JENNIFER RUSSO This has been a tough couple of months. Normally, I write in very positive terms because truly, I believe in optimism, in seeking the best in everything and that everything has a purpose…but it has been harder lately.

most of us, thinking for a time that the world revolves around us. Then, even when we realize it doesn’t, we think that we are still in control and that we can change or determine our own futures. Can we?

I don’t know if anyone has been through something similar, but in the last two months, I have lost four people that I cared for dearly. One to cancer, one to old age, one to a heart attack and one to an unknown. Personally, I’ve never experienced grief of such magnitude, all at once like this.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.

Like most when they experience loss, I find myself considering the meaning of life. Trying to process the truth of the fact that we are not immortal, we are not invincible…that time has its limits for each of us. At the same time, I think about how I have lived my life. Have I achieved what I’ve meant to and have I fulfilled my purpose? There are many ways that people process grief. Some find it helpful to cry and mourn. Some think that death is a celebration of someone moving on. Some aim to fulfill the purpose they believe that person didn’t have ample time to. Some people deny or ignore. Some get quiet and retreat into comfort. Funny as it sounds, I recently felt nostalgic and decided to re-watch Dawson’s Creek. As I was facing so much loss in my life, I got to the finale episode, where, as cheesy as the show may seem, probably has one of the most prolific quotes of all time.

Here is what I’ve come to. We are sent here or created here for one sole purpose… for each other. Our mission is ever and only to leave behind goodness and good memories for those after us. How many people did we show kindness to? How many people did we help? Did we truly live our lives fully, to our full potential, to our full and authentic selves…or did we compromise that? Because, in the end, that is really what it will come down to – how will we be remembered. The magnificent light in me honors the same magnificent light in you. Namaste.

“It’s interesting how people use that expression-- life and death. As if to imply that life is the opposite of death, but birth is the opposite of death. Life... has no opposite.” Personally, I think that the best way to grieve is to go through three critical steps: 1) acknowledge our feelings about that loss and know that it is okay to be sad, angry, shocked, or even indifferent. You are human and you’re going to be any or all these things. It’s ok. 2) Take the time to reevaluate and assess. Life truly is short, so how do you want to live it? If you aren’t doing that, how do you make it happen? Are there people you need to connect with, forgive, let go? 3) Go on. This is the hardest part, but we still need to live our lives even after the death of a loved one. We need to consider that they would have wanted us to live and do it well. We have the tendency to make life complicated. We are pretty egocentric at heart,

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