Tag Archives: harvard square

Zinneken’s, Harvard Sq

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Where: Zinneken’s – 1154 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge 02138
When: May, 2012

Twas the day before Memorial day and I was drunk. It was an accident.

The day started at 11am with manicures at a little place in Porter Square. I was grateful that they had Miami Beat, the color I had already on my toes. After that we walked down to Harvard Square and sat outside at the Legal Seafood’s for oysters, salads, and gin and tonics. It was absolutely gorgeous out and one round quickly turned into three rounds. We eventually headed to Dorchester for a friend’s BBQ. There we ate some more, listened to some piano and singing, met lots of new people, and shared some wine. During the BBQ, waffles was brought up consistently so, as the sun went down, we decided we needed to head back to Harvard Sq on a search for waffles.

We waltzed into Zinneken’s and excited looked over the menu, finally settling on the Dame Blanche. The Dame Blanche is a waffle with whipped cream and Belgian chocolate. I eagerly cut the waffle in half before I got to take a photo so you will just need to imagine it as a whole. The waffle was hot and fresh; chocolate warm and gooey; cream light and sweet. It was just as I remembered them from my short visit to Belgium a few years ago.

This waffle was the perfect end to the night. Except we didn’t stop there…

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Overall, from what I remember, the staff were very nice, decor simple and clean, and waffles amazing. I’ll have to go back and take my time enjoying my waffle instead of just inhaling it.

How did Zinneken’s measure up? 4 Spoons!

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Upstairs on the Square, Harvard Sq

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Where: Upstairs on the Square91 Winthrop Street Cambridge, MA 02138
When: November, 2011 – Thanksgiving Day

Even though my non-American family and I didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving, its a tradition I would very much like to take on as my own. I love that its about family, friends, being thankful and – food! I also love how its one of the few that isn’t about gifts.

I have never baked, roasted, or fried a turkey and for two people it was a bit much so my dad and I spent Thanksgiving lunch at Upstairs in the Square. I refuse to call it dinner if it takes place before 6pm.

I love Upstairs on the Square, its probably my favorite restaurant. I love the pink and gold and whimsy of it all. It feels like you are there for a special occasion every time and yet its comfortable enough where you can go in jeans and not feel out of place. Sophisticated but not stuffy.

For Thanksgiving it was the same menu for both floors, where usually the top floor is a little pricier and fancier. I made a note with my reservation that I would like to sit upstairs in the soiree room so was very happy they could accommodate that. I mean, you might as well get the best seat in the house if you can, right?

The menu was prix fixe so for $68 you had a choice of starter, entree and dessert. The first option on the starter menu was New England Crab Cakes with Citrus and Old Bay Aioli and Mache. Done. If a menu has crab cakes the likelihood that I will keep looking decreases about 98%. The crab cakes were really good, lots of crab and with the citrus they didn’t feel too heavy (isn’t it amazing how citrus makes everything feel lighter?). My dad got the Smoked Salmon Tartar on Buttered Bread Toast Points which was also really good and a light starter. The meal then came with an Autumn Salad with Local Apples, Farmhouse Cheddar, and Cider Vinaigrette – I love the tartness of the apples with the sweetness of the vinaigrette and saltiness of the cheese.

We both then got the Sage-Rubbed Pork Loin with Sweet Potato Gratin, Garlicky Swiss Chard and Apple Butter (poorly photographed here on the right). This dish was incredible. The pork was cooked perfectly and went perfectly with a bit of the chard and apple butter. The flavors all worked really well together and the portions were very generous. I would definitely get this again if they had it on their regular menu.

For dessert my dad had the Trio of Pies: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan with a Chantilly Whipped Cream. I had thought this would be a small bite-sized pie of each but it was literally three big slices of pie. It was a little much (a lot much really) but they were all very good. We both agreed that the pecan was our favorite of the three. But my dessert,… I can still taste it. It was amazing. Caramelized Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding. It was so rich and chocolaty but you just got this little undertone of banana with each bite which just made it taste even more chocolaty. I wasn’t planning on eating the whole thing but next thing I new I was handing my empty plate to my dad so I could try his pies. “Gourmand!”, as my cousin would say.

We rounded out the meal with a couple of coffees and talked about how this would be a nice Thanksgiving tradition. I agreed that until I have more than one person to cook for this makes the most sense although I most likely would not be able to pick up the bill next time as that was a hearty share of my rent.

We walked home, arm in arm, in the chilly autumn-going-on-winter air thankful for the warmth in our bellies and hearts from an afternoon spent with good food, wine, and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

How did Upstairs on the Square measure up? 5  Spoons!

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Maharaja, Harvard Sq

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Where: Maharaja – 57 JFK Street Cambridge, MA 02138
When: September, 2011

I came to the Majaraja after mysteriously finding a Groupon in my wallet. I’m not sure how it got there as I had never heard of this new restaurant before but I assume I must have bought it on impulse and just didn’t remember. Or they have a fantastic marketing team that slips these things into people’s wallets, who knows.

Love the atmosphere of this place. Lots of heavy carved wood and gold accents. Goblets and details and gold trimmed plates, cutlery, etc. Reasonably priced but you feel a bit like royalty there.

Alyssa recommended we start Aloo Papri Chaat which I had never had before. I don’t know how to describe this other than an Indian savory version of Muddy Buddies (aka Puppy Chow). It was a crunchy and salty and sweet. I wasn’t sure I was in love with it but I couldn’t seem to stop eating it, much like Muddy Buddies.

For an entree I had the Malai Kofta which was delicious. Nutty and creamy, one of the better ones I have had.

Only downside? Well, they didn’t have their liquor license yet!! They have it now though so don’t let that deter you

How did The Maharaja measure up? 3.5 Spoons!