Tag Archives: harvard sq

Cambridge Common, Harvard Sq

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Where: Cambridge Common– 1667 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138
When: September 2012

I used to be a brunch person going almost every weekend -t was my Sunday equivalent of church. I would roll out of bed, put on my Sunday worst (sweatshirt, sneaks, ponytail) and head down to Sound Bites around the corner for something delicious and typically greasy. This would usually be followed by a few hours on the sofa watching mind numbing tv as I was too full to do anything else. Why did I stop, right?

Well, I moved to a different part of town but I still jump at the chance to go out for brunch so was thrilled when a friend was in town at the last minute and suggested meeting up on Sunday morning. In shorts, tees and ponytails we headed to Cambridge Common to check out their brunch menu. We sat outside in the sunshine which was just perfect. They had me at Breakfast B.L.T.

The Breakfast B.L.T. comes with applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, avocado, baby spinach, and tomato with chipotle mayo on multi-grain toast and is served with home fries and fresh fruit. The combination of the salty bacon and egg with the buttery avocado and spicy mayo is out of this world. It’s a good sized sandwich but doesn’t leave you feeling like you just ate a whole cow. The home fries were good as well – nice and crispy.

Overall, service was good and we got plenty of coffee refills (perhaps too many even). We were happy to able to sit outside as its a little dark indoors (great for nighttime though). Food was crave worthy. I’ll be back, as I always am.

How did Cambridge Common measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

First Printer, Harvard Sq

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Where: First Printer – 15 Dunster St. Cambridge, MA 02138
When: April 2012

The name “First Printer” still sounds a little odd too me as a restaurant name but I suppose it makes sense as this new restaurant is on Dunster Street which is apparently where the first printer was ever housed.

We walked in and waited to be seated while the somewhat frazzled hostess tried to find someone to help the gentleman waiting ahead of us. The atmosphere is pretty cool with a “printer” theme, booths (my fav), and large bar.

We both started with the Sparking Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Chardonnay – Veuve du Vernay Brut which was different (sparkling!) and refreshing. A perfect summer drink even though its not quite summer.

For starters I got the raw Cape Cod Oysters with Caves de Pomerol Mignonette. The oysters, although small, were very good as was the mignonette. I am always surprised by how expensive oysters are though – I need to seek out some cheap but good oyster bars in Boston (note to self).

Alyssa got the Brie en Croute which came with apricot brown sugar jam, toasted almonds, house made pickles, and baguette crisps. I had a piece of the brie which was really good – I loved the apricot brown sugar jam. Alyssa liked it as well and said the little jar of pickles was good too although I couldn’t bring myself to try them (I’m not a cheese and pickle person). Another time.

For our meals we both got soups and shared a side of Braised Baby Spinach, Rainbow Swiss Chard and Broccoli Rabe. I got the First Printer Clam Chowder and Alyssa got the Guinness Beef Stew. The greens were fine although pretty watery and nothing to write home about. Both soups were really disappointing though. They tasted as though they were made a couple days earlier and had just been sitting in big pots over a water bath. The texture of the clam chowder was really unappealing and it wasn’t particularly flavorful. Alyssa didn’t get halfway through her stew saying she wouldn’t have ordered it if she had known it would be like this. Sad.

Overall, I was disappointed with dinner but enjoyed the atmosphere and would go back for drinks. I’d like to try a couple other things on their menu as perhaps soups were a mistake.

How did First Printer measure up? 2 Spoons!

First Printer Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Clover Food Lab, Harvard Sq

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Where: Clover Food Lab – 7 Holyoke St., Cambridge MA 02138
When: March, 2012

Who hasn’t heard of Clover Food Lab? Their food trucks have been popping up everywhere in Boston and Cambridge. I’d been wanting to try their food since participating in their 5k in December (on one of the coldest days of the year, might I add).

Reading the reviews on Yelp everyone raved about the Chickpea Fritters, Egg and Eggplant Sandwich, and French Fries with Rosemary so I knew where I had to start.

Libby and I went to Clover Food Lab in Harvard Square before heading to The Hawthorne for drinks on Friday night. We were looking for cheap and cheerful and we got it. We ordered the same thing – the Chickpea Fritter Sandwich – and then split an order of French Fries with Rosemary.

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The Chickpea Fritter Sandwich was much bigger than I expected for a mere $5. Check out this long list of delicious ingredients: homemade hummus, israeli salad (tomato and cucumber salad with Za’atar and fresh lemon juice), sliced pickles, homemade chickpea fritters, pickled veggies (carrots, red cabbage, and red onions), all topped with tahini mixed with lemon juice and served in a who,e wheat pita.

Whoa, did you guys get all that? Holy delicious list of healthy stuff I want to feed my body. When I got the sandwich I had a moment of panic as I really hate tahini and saw it on top but it was actually really mild as it was diluted with lemon juice – thank goodness. I really loved the sandwich, everything worked really well together. I loved the layers of flavor – well done!

We split the French Fries with Rosemary which had the right favors but were almost soggy tasting.  They were made then and there (I know as I had to wait for them) but they were soft and borderline stale tasting. Not sure what was up with that as they had gotten rave reviews. Sad.

20120310-105450.jpgThey had some great looking whoopie pies that we planned on getting for dessert but we were too full after those big ol’ sandwiches, which was a very good thing.

Overall, Clover Food Lab is casual and a great place to go for a quick bite with friends. They only have counter service which is fine but I sort of felt as though I was being yelled at or in trouble as it was hard to hear them calling my name which was a little anxiety provoking. The sandwiches were delicious but I’ll have to pass on the fries in the future. Maybe I’ll get a whoopie pie instead. I’d definitely go back for the sandwich alone.

How did Clover Food Lab measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Clover on Urbanspoon

Chez Henri, Harvard Sq

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Where: Chez Henri – One Shepard Street Cambridge, MA
When: February, 2012

Chez Henri – one of the reasons I was so excited to move to my neighborhood. Whether for dinner or drinks at the bar, I love this place. Its the kind of place that manages to match your mood, whatever that might be. I’ve been to sit at the bar in jeans and boots and I feel right at home then I’ve been more dressed up for dinner and also feel totally in place. Its kind of like home.

The cocktails are great with my favorite being the75 Rue Germain – “An elegant update of the French 75: Cava, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, and Lemon Juice”. I could drink a half dozen of these. (not really)

A few weeks ago one of those coupony / deal websites (Groupon, Yipit, Gilt City, TravelZoo Deals, Boston Deals, I can’t keep them all straight) came out with an offer for Chez Henri. 2 starters, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert for $55. What a steal!! My only regret is having only bought one. If I had the chance I would go back and buy as many as they would allow.

Libby and I started with the following two starters: Ceviche Mixta with Mango-Lime Mojo & Avocado, which she had recently had and recommended, and the Island Creek Oysters on the ½ Shell with Champagne Mignonette, which has officially made me an oyster lover. We knew with starters, entrees, and dessert we had to start with something on the lighter side so these starters were perfect. The ceviche was well prepared, light, fresh and served with salty plantain chips which I thought was a nice contrast to the citrus of the dish. The oysters totally wooed me. Until this meal I could have an oyster here or there but I now dream of Chez Henri oysters. I don’t know much about oysters as I am a newbie in this arena but they went down like little magic. I loved the champagne mignonette as well, I could put that stuff on everything. There was a night earlier this week where I actually thought about heading to the bar for oysters and a cocktail on my own. I’m not ruling that out for another time.

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For dinner I had the Cod Loin with Lobster-Orange Saffron Cream, Baby Vegetables and Buttered Yukon Potatoes.I wish I could remember what Libby got (I was a little too enthralled with my own meal) but just look at her plate – its like a painting! Beautiful. She was really happy with her dish..

As for mine, I loved it. The cod was thick and light and just melted in your mouth. Everything was buttery and creamy, just the way I like it. Very satisfying. I could have used a loaf of bread to dip into all that lovely sauce.

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Libby insisted that she didn’t have room for dessert but since we had this deal and it came with a dessert I couldn’t pass it up. I mean… that would have been wasteful. I ordered the Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. The bread pudding was warm, soft and spongy; the caramel sauce was warm, sweet and salty; the vanilla ice cream cold, sweet and clean.The flavor and texture paired so well together. I managed to take one for the team and polish the dessert off on my own. You’re welcome.

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The service, as always, was excellent. The atmosphere is cozy, refined, but unpretentious. The food is phenomenal. I’d come back in a heartbeat (perhaps even this week for my oyster fix) and would recommend it for everything from a late night bite, a romantic dinner, or out with friends. This is one of my favorites.

How did Chez Henri measure up? 5 Spoons!

Chez Henri on Urbanspoon

Temple Bar, Harvard / Porter Sq

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Where: Temple Bar – 1688 Mass Ave Cambridge, MA 02138
When: December, 2011

With my mother in town for the holidays I thought it would be fun to take her out with one of my friends. After narrowing it down to a few places we settled on Temple Bar between Harvard and Porter Squares.

I had been to Temple Bar three other times with very different experiences (food has been great each time) so why not add a fourth. The first time was about 8 years ago to meet a group of friends for drinks and apps. I remember feeling out of my element and terrified by the prices with my very barely livable salary. I sipped on one drink for about 3 hours and made sure not to touch the food (how sad). The second time was about 4 years ago on a date where we mistakenly ate copious amounts of fondue and homemade potato chips with a goat cheese dip. At the time, as vegetarians, we thought it was a genius idea but quickly regretted it. Obviously. The third time was the summer of 2010 when Daniela and I took the now Mrs. Woulfe out for a bachelorette brunch. I had the BLT which was delicious.

You know when you remember what you ate somewhere up to 4 years ago it’s gotta be good (although feeling like I might die of cheese overdose isn’t the best reason for remembering).

So this fourth visit was bound to be another memorable experience.

We ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir which was bold and warm and just right to cut through my sniffles and the chill from the rainy weather outside.

My mother was thrilled to see bavette as she hadn’t seen that on a restaurant menu in the US before. Have I mentioned that my maternal grandparents’ business in Paris is a meat distribution company? They know their meat. When googling bavette I found out that its another name for flank steak which my mum will be happy to learn as that’s fairly common here. Sad to think that a language barrier has been keeping her away from a cut of steak all these years!

So mum got the Grilled Brandt Farm Bavette Steak with Twice Baked Truffled Parmesan Potato, Summer Tomato Salad, and Mojo Vinaigrette which she raved about it. I, as usual, couldn’t decide between two dishes so my friend got one and I got the other. I got the Slow-Braised Boneless Beef Shortrib with Horseradish Mashed Potato, and Crispy Shallots and he got the Grilled 14oz Porterhouse Cut Pork Chop with Vermont Cheddar Stone Ground Grit Cake, Braised Greens, and Grilled Peach Tasso Piperade. After tasting our own we offered each other a bite and both liked the others’ better so we swapped (or he knew which I preferred and was being chivalrous). The pork chop was really juicy and tender and the peach piperade really complimented the saltiness of it. I preferred the horseradish mashed potatoes that came with the short ribs (so creamy and good) as the cheddar stone ground grit cake I got was a little dry.

For dessert we split the Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding with Ginger Caramel, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Oh my. The ginger was really good in it, adding a little spice, balancing out the ridiculously amount of caramel we drizzled on to it. It went perfectly with a cup of bold coffee to round out the evening.

 

How did Temple Bar measure up? 4 Spoons!

Temple Bar on Urbanspoon