Tag Archives: central sq

Moksa, Central Sq

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Moksa – 450 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Oh hi! Its been a while, I know. That’s what a new, demanding job will do to you. Don’t get me wrong, I have continued to go out and eat my way through the city, take food photos, make notes, and write up drafts, but the sitting down and cleaning them up part has been something I am struggling with. Ok, enough about me, lets talk about stuffing our faces at Moksa in Central Sq.

I was stoked (stoked? Who am I?) when Moksa opened up in Central Sq last year. Having lived in Central Sq for years its fantastic to see all these new places popping up. We paid a visit to Moksa a couple of months after they opened and were looking forward to a few cocktails and nibbles after work. It was fairly nice out so we sat outside and kept sitting there for what seemed like forever until someone came over to take our drink order. I got the Peking Sailor which is Hendricks Gin, Campari, Elderflower Vinegar, Bubbly and Cucumber (they had me at Gin and Bubbly). The drink was ok, not sure it was my favorite thing ever (I switched to wine right after) but how it was served was hilarious. I don’t think it was meant to be ironically funny but when the waitress came out with these big glasses brimming with umbrellas and tchotchkes (thanks for the spell check, BL!) I couldn’t help but blush and look around hoping no one had seen the ridiculous cocktail I was about to drink. I mean, we are two women in their 30s in Central Sq, not at Senor Frogs on Spring Break in Cancun. I understand how many may like this sort of attention but it’s just not our thing. After much giggling we moved on to the menu and waited for our waitress again.

We decided to share a few small plates starting with the Vietnamese Spring Roll with Cilantro-Lime Sauce. This dish was delivered to the wrong table but eventually found its way to us. The Spring Rolls were pretty simple, fresh and overall pretty good, probably the best thing we ordered.

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Next we got the Thai Green Papaya and Mango Salad with Peanuts, Mint & Chili Lime dressing. Unfortunately neither of us were really a fan of this one. It was a little bland and the peanuts on the soft side which didn’t add that crunch we were hoping for. Next.

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I had the highest hopes for this next dish, the Popcorn Shrimp with Spicy Remoulade. If you know me at all you know I always lean towards shrimp dishes whether they are fried, buffaloed (yes, I am making that a verb), grilled, tossed with pasta, however you want to make them I will eat them. I’m pretty much the white nerdy version of Bubba from Forrest Gump.  Anyways, popcorn shrimp is one of my favorites and adding remoulade to any fried food makes it a baller dish, I could eat that shit by the spoonful.

The remoulade was fantastic but the shrimp were super dry. They were on a small salad that added some moisture but then they sat on top of another dry bready thing. Too much breading on the shrimp which contributed to the dryness. Pass me my recockulous cocktail to get this to go down, please.

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We wrapped up the night with the Vegetarian Fried Rice with Carrots, Onion & Sake Shoyu. Totally fine but nothing to write home about.

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After dinner we sat with empty glasses for over 20 minutes before we got up and went inside to ask them if we could pay. Can we please pay? Please? We’d like to give you money. Okthanks.

Needless to say, we weren’t fans of the service or food. I’ve heard the dance club in the back is decent and recently had a friend who got the bartender to swap shoes with her so she could go in (no flip-flops allowed) which has boosted my opinion but I think I’ll be going down the road for food in the future.

How did Moksa measure up? 2 Spoons!

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India Castle, Central Sq

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Where: India Castle – 928 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
When: June 2012

With the foot still broken (seriously?) its time to try Indian food delivery. There is a place near me that I had ordered from before, pre-Five Spoons, that I did not like at all so made sure to avoid it. I was thrilled to find that India Castle, which I used to go to all the time when I lived on Harvard Street in Central Sq, delivers to my neighborhood. Let the ordering begin!

We got an order of Meat Samosas (homemade turnovers stuffed with lightly tempered and fresh minced lamb with peas) to share and then I got the Malai Kofta, my favorite Indian dish ever, which is balls of minced vegetables cooked with mild Indian spices in a tomato cream sauce. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Well, it was.

The Samosas were good but I didn’t find them to be above and beyond Samosas from a lot of other places – pretty standard but you can’t go wrong with them. The Malai Kofta, on the other hand, was amazing. The sauce was rich, with a touch of spice and cream. The vegetable balls were soft but firm bursting with Indian spices and flavors. Nice and saucy to slather on naan or polish off with rice. My only complaint would be that I want double the amount of vegetable balls but no one ever seems to give you more than two per order anyways.

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Overall, India Castle delivered hot, flavorful dinner pretty quickly considering they are a little ways away from me. The Samosas were good but the Malai Kofta was delicious, definitely better than any other place I have discovered near me. I haven’t been into the restaurant in years but I remember it being nice, service good and everything all around authentic. I’ll definitely be ordering from here again, broken foot or not.

How did India Castle measure up? 4 Spoons!

India Castle on Urbanspoon

Lord Hobo, Kendall Sq

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Where: Lord Hobo – 92 Hampshire St Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

Meg and I have been trying to get together for what seems like months but with all sorts of work related crisis coming up we had to postpone a few times. This time we managed to get on the same schedule and made a plan to go to Lord Hobo for burgers after work. I loved being able to walk there in under 10 minutes from our new offices. I even had time to head to the gym for a quick run to ease the guilt of what was bound to be a high calorie evening. Gotta love that.

I had been to Lord Hobo only once, for drinks, since they took over the B Side’s space a couple of years ago. The B Side, on the other hand, was one of my go to places for drinks and dinner.

Meg started with a beer and I went for the London 77 half based on the list of ingredients, half on the description: “Punks like pink”. The London 77 is made with Hendrick’s gin, grapefruit, St. Germain, and Prosecco. I recently learnt that the London 77 is a play off the French 75 which I am a big fan of (get it at Chez Henri next time you are there). No wonder I enjoyed it so much.

While we sipped on our drinks we started with an order of the daily Hand-cut Chips and Dip which today’s special was served with a caramelized onion and goat cheese dip. The dip was really good, like a fancied up version of the Heluva Good French Onion Dip we all hate to love. The chips were also very good – made to order, crispy and not too greasy. You truly can’t just eat one.

I had planned to get the burger, as Meg did, but then saw that it was taco night and they had Fish Tacos, which totally swayed me. I wanted to love the tacos but I was a little disappointed with the them. The flavors were all great with the zesty creamy guacamole and the rich black beans balancing it out but the fish wasn’t crispy at all. The batter thick, soft and a dull. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of fish it was as the flavored were so muted by the batter. It really needed that crunch as all the other ingredients were very soft.

20120306-210321.jpgMeg got the Lord Hobo Burger which came with Cabot cheddar and on a brioche bun with a side of fries. She said it was a very good burger, reinforcing that I made the wrong choice. I can confirm that the fries are excellent as I stole at least a dozen off of Meg’s plate throughout dinner (thanks, Meg).

For “dessert” we got another London 77 to split. It was delicious but that meant when I got home I would need to have a couple cookies for my chocolate fix. That’s ok though.

Overall, I still love the feel of Lord Hobo as its a lot like the B Side was – dark but cozy. Service was really great; our waitress was super friendly and attentive. Drinks were definitely awesome. Food… I need to give it another go as those fish tacos didn’t impress me at all but I think the food at Lord Hobo has the potential to based on the chips, dip, and fries that I did have. Great place to go to with colleagues or a group of friends after work, which I am sure I will be doing often. I hate to give it a low ranking but must until the next time.

How did Lord Hobo measure up? 3.5 Spoons!

Lord Hobo on Urbanspoon

Cuchi Cuchi, Central Sq

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Where: Cuchi Cuchi – 795 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: January, 2012

I’ve been itching to go back to Cuchi Cuchi since Libby and I were there last weekend for a drink after going to Bondir. With some plans having gone pear shaped at the last minute, I found the perfect opportunity to go last night.

Cuchi Cuchi is such a charming restaurant. The staff’s fanciful clothing (flapper dresses, feathers, pearls, and even a tutu!) matches the restaurant’s whimsical décor with stained glasses windows, overflowing vases, antique tables and jeweled lighting. And… no TV in the bar!! It has quickly gotten itself a spot up there with Upstairs on the Square and the Beehive, my favorites.

We got there about 45 minutes before our 7pm reservation and sat at the bar for cocktails. What a selection! I had a Pimm’s Cup which was great. At 7 the hostess told us they had a table for us but if we wanted to wait 20 minutes more they would have a better table. Sounds like a good deal to me. We ordered a bottle of wine, Quinta da Alorna ’08 from Portugal, at the bar while we waited.

Once we were seated at our especially nice table we pored over the menu trying to narrow down which tapas we wanted. So many options! I really, really wanted to get the Ceviche from Panama as it’s not often you see a dish from Panama on a menu in Boston (or anywhere in the US for that matter) and it reminds me of a lot of good memories as a kid. I lived in Panama for 13 years while until I moved to the US when I was 16. Ceviche reminds me of days spent out on the ocean or Gatun Lake with my family on our boat, the Eek-e-de (Originally called “The Weekender” but it lost a few letters). We would come into dock sleepy and warm from a day in the sunshine and it would be the perfect, zesty, fresh end the day. It cooled you from the inside out. Alas, the ceviche at Cuchi Cuchi was made with scallops which I am allergic to so that wasn’t going to work. I actually considered still getting it, telling myself maybe I was over my allergy but that wouldn’t have been smart.

We narrowed it down to four selections:

  • Brie en Croûte – Brie, walnuts, bacon in puff pastry
  • Fried Artichoke Hearts – filled w/ gorgonzola, pistachios & basil
  • Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale – Grilled pork rolls stuffed w/pecorino cheese, pancetta, sautéed garlic
  • Potato Croquettes

I am not sure I can even categorize the above selections from my favorite to least favorite, they were all phenomenal. The brie was a lovely combination of salty and sweet and served with green apple for a little tartness. The artichoke hearts were lightly fried with a burst of gooey cheese and basil that sort of exploded, in the best possible way, in your mouth when you bit into it. The bracioletta was a little heavier (everything else was surprisingly light considering they were deep fried or wrapped in puff pastry), heartier and nice and salty. Being in the shape of an eggroll I kept expecting a dipping sauce but clearly they were not eggrolls and they did not need a sauce, they were plenty moist but still not fatty. If I had to choose a favorite I think it may have been the potato croquettes. I love anything croquettes. They were light and fluffy on the inside while crispy and golden fried on the outside. They were served with two sauces – a creamy alfredo and a zesty marinara. I saved one for my very last bite as that’s the flavor I wanted to be left with (until dessert that is).

Our waitress had recommended the French Banana Bread Extravaganza for dinner claiming she could eat one every night for dinner but we still, ignorantly, ordered the Tiramisu instead. We immediately regretted it as it just wasn’t that good. Sensing my disappointment and seeing me put down my spoon for the first time with a dessert on the table, my dinner date quickly flagged down our waitress and ordered the French Banana Bread Extravaganza. My hero!

The French Banana Bread Extravaganza came out practically on a platter. It was huge! There was no way we could finish the entire thing. Oh wait… yes, we could. The bananas were fried and caramelized and served with ice cream and whip cream and there must have been some bread in there somewhere. I didn’t stop long enough to really get a good look. This, along with a cup of coffee, was the perfect way to end a wonderful evening and an amazing meal.

I need to go back soon. Very soon.

Now for the pièce de résistance, the French Banana Bread Extravaganza in all its glory. Try to wrap your head around that.

How did Cuchi Cuchi measure up? 4.5 Spoons (too bad for that Tiramisu or it would have been 5)!

Cuchi Cuchi on Urbanspoon

Bondir, Central Sq

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Where: Bondir – 279A Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
When: Januar, 2012

I’ve been wanting to try Bondir since it opened last year and even more so after reading that it was rated one of the top ten new restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit. I had tried to go a 20120115-105228.jpgcouple months ago but was unable to get a reservation (apparently it typically takes 3-4 weeks to get a Friday or Saturday night table – yikes). Luckily, with only a few days notice I was able to get one of their 14 tables for last Saturday night.

I got there a couple minutes early and sat in their little waiting area quickly falling in love. The decor is my current obsession – french farmhouse. I love the pale green and cream walls. I love the wood benches and bird themed cushions. I love the brick fireplace and tree trunk tables. I love the random glass globes. I love the flowery plates on the simple clean tablecloths. Basically, I want to live in Bondir.

The service was fantastic, we had our server but then there was always another staff member sneaking up to refill our water and wine glasses and clear plates. Our server 20120115-105339.jpgwent over the menu with us and explained that all menu items come in half or full portions and typically three half portions is a good size for a meal. We started with a bottle of the Pinot Noir which was very good and perfect for the “feels like 4 degrees” Boston weather out there. We were quickly brought some bread that is made in-house. The three slices we received were 9 Grain, The Sea, and Bronze Fennel Seed. The Sea slice was very unusual with nori seaweed and shrimp (as well as a few other ingredients I can’t remember).

I started the meal with the Butterball Potato and Celeriac Chowder with Roasted Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika Oil. It was creamy but not heavy and the roasted hazelnuts added a really nice crunch to it which I haven’t had in other soups. I was surprised with every bite (thanks, short term memory). Libby started with the Spice-Poached Red Beet,Baby Lettuces and Fines Herbes and Kañiwa, with Blood Orange-Pistachio Vinaigrette which looked really good.

For our entrees, I was a little stumped. There was a scallop dish that looked amazing but I am pretty convinced (although not 100% positive) that I am allergic to scallops so that wasn’t a risk I was ready to take. Not tonight anyways. There was a roasted lamb dish that looked really good as well but I thought it might be a bit heavy for me. I opted for the Keener White Corn Grits with Pan-Fried Tamworth Ham, Fresh Maine Shrimp Bisque, Cabbage, Dahlia, and Chili Vinaigrette as I love corn, ham, and shrimp. The dish was very good although it was a little heavier and fattier than I was in the mood for. I was hoping for more refined and light but I don’t think this is Bondir’s fault though, I should have known better by the description. It was really well prepared and flavorful. Libby got the Fresh Perigord Black Truffle Triticale Flour Rigatoni, Garlic Chives, and Parmigiano Reggiano after our server’s recommendation as the truffle had just arrived from France. After a little research I learnt that this particular truffle is considered to be the world’s finest black truffle available. Oh la la, I can see why the server was so excited about it! Libby said it was delicious and she would rate it a 5 out of 5. This was also the single most expensive dish I have seen on a menu. I don’t often talk about money and prices but this dish was $60 for the full portion. My wallet thanks me for not being a huge fan of truffle.

We were pretty full after two half portions but ordered the Weston Wheel cheese plate (Raw Sheep’s Milk, Woodcock Farm, Weston, Vermont with Squash Mostarda, and Pickled Concord Grapes) to balance out the meal. We debated between port and coffee and, naturally, the port won.

We left Bondir happy and full.

Leaving Bondir brought back all sorts of random memories as I lived in a house across the street on Columbia about 7 years ago. It was an old run down house (which now looks new and renovated, bravo) which we discovered had a goat buried in the back yard. I shared the place with 3 messy boys (one of which, a death metal drummer,  chased me out by making a move on me one night) that I didn’t know and my downstairs neighbor got robbed at fake gunpoint by a 13 year old just a couple blocks away. I didn’t live there long but left with more wacky memories than I know what to do with. How the neighborhood has changed!

We headed down the road for a night cap at Cuchi Cuchi. Cuchi Cuchi has been on my “must go” list for a while now and now that I have been in there I am even more eager to get there for a meal. CUTE! We sat at the bar and asked the bartender the differences between some of the Cognacs on the menu and he quickly offered a crash course on some of the different kinds. We tried 2 cognacs, a brandy, and an armagnac. He was patient in explaining the differences and clearly loved what he does. I settled on the armagnac and Libby had a brandy. He even warmed our snifters for us – charmed!20120115-105345.jpg

Great night but needless to say I did not make it to yoga the next morning.

How did Bondir measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Bondir on Urbanspoon