Tag Archives: porter sq

City Slicker Cafe, Somerville

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Where: City Slicker Cafe, 588 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143
When: June, 2012

Something very special happened to me on Memorial Day. Something very memorable. I went to the park near my house, Danehy Park, with a blanket and a book to read in the sunshine. I was walking around looking for a spot to lay my blanket, daydreaming apparently, when next thing I know I hear a unpleasant snap and am on the ground. Foot broken. Just like that. Yikes.

For the first three weeks I was restricted to crutches and told that I absolutely cannot put any weight on my right foot, even when it was all wrapped up and protected in the gorgeous walking boot they gave me. With such limited mobility I relied on dinner delivery from restaurants and my very generous friends. Here is the first of a slew of Cambridge area restaurants that deliver!

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I had a friend over dinner the day after I broke my foot and we decided to order from City Slicker Cafe as they have a good variety of sandwiches, among other things, to choose from. The delivery was quick and fries still warm by the time they arrived at my place. I was actually surprised that they were still pretty good as everyone knows that fries don’t travel. I got the California BLT which came with hickory smoked thick cut bacon topped with avocado, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo. You have a choice of a couple of types of breads but I got the Soft French bread. The bread wasn’t good, too soft and chewy and in need of toasting. But… the inside of the sandwich was very good. The creamy avocado with salty bacon and spicy mayo all went really well together. I’d order from here again (hopefully by choice and not because I can’t leave the house on my own), but would shy away from the soft french bread.

How did City Slicker Cafe measure up? 2.75 Spoons!

City Slicker Cafe on Urbanspoon

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The Elephant Walk, Porter Sq

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Where: The Elephant Walk – 2067 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140
When: April, 2012

With the Elephant Walk just a few blocks from where I live its a wonder why I haven’t been there more than once in the last 5 years. My last experience wasn’t particularly uplifting (company, not the food or service) so had to give it another go. We had just gotten one of those groupons (what are they called when they are not from Groupon?) from Google Offers for the Elephant Walk so chose to go there the same night for dinner. Of course we forgot the actual groupon so knew we would have to go back again soon. The pressure was on to like it, knowing we’d be eating there again.

We were seated quickly and the service was excellent. Our server was really knowledgeable about traditional Cambodian food as well as French. She was able to answer Libby’s questions without missing a beat (Libby having lived in Vietnam is a lot more knowledgeable about this cuisine than I am). The space is airy and open with high ceilings. It was busy but didn’t feel chaotic. We also had the added benefit of sitting next to two ladies maybe 10 years older than us who were discussing past relationships, especially one that was particularly narcissistic. I am sure we often make our dining neighbors try to eavesdrop as well.

Libby got the Amok Royal: A Cambodian signature dish – a spicy, steamed, custard-like preparation of fresh crab, shellfish and Southeast Asian catfish with coconut milk and complex Khmer seasonings; garnished with cilantro and red bell pepper. She loved it.

I got the Crevettes Amrita: Natural shrimp sautéed in a lightly sweet and spicy Cambodian satay sauce with coriander, cumin, cardamom, galangal, cinnamon, ginger, peanuts, star anise and lemongrass; with button mushroom, onion and scallion. I barely stopped to talk during dinner, it was delicious. The portions are generous and flavors worked really well together. I’ve actually since considered getting this dish for take away as I have still been thinking about it.

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Overall, the service and atmosphere were great and our meals were both delicious. The menu is extensive so you may be in trouble if you have a hard time making decisions. We did think the prices were a little steep for a the meals. Both were excellent, as I said, but we were surprised that most dishes were close to $20 for the area and ingredients.

I was also excited to find that The Elephant Walk has a bar downstairs, I had no idea! Porter Sq doesn’t have a ton of bars that I like to go to so this is on my list as places to go for a drink or two when in the neighborhood.

How did The Elephant Walk measure up? 4 Spoons!

Elephant Walk 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