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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: harvard square

imag0797We headed over to Harvard Square on Sunday afternoon for brunch. We missed the window to sit outside, and they unfortunately closed their patio.

imag0790We grabbed a corner table inside. You may know the Sinclair as a live music venue, but have you tried their food?

imag0789No donut holes, bummer. So we go with the brunch tots ($8) that come with cheese sauce and red jalapenos. They were good but a little difficult to eat with a fork.

imag0791I had the baked French toast with salted bacon fluff (whaaaaat!?!?!?!), maple syrup and fresh berries ($13).

imag0793We also had the waffle burger, grass fed beef on a buttermilk waffle bun with shallot jam, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, fried egg, and maple syrup with a side of tots ($15). One word. AMAZING. All of my favorite things wrapped up into one sandwich! It was little messy to eat, but oh so good.

imag0796And the  turkey hash ($14) with turkey, crispy potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, 2 poached eggs and five spice. Another really great, really flavorful dish. Service was ok, considering that it was the tail end of brunch. Will definitely be back again for brunch, everything on the menu looked and sounded delicious.

The Sinclair Kitchen

52 Church Street, Cambridge, MA

http://www.sinclaircambridge.com/kitchen/

The Sinclair on Urbanspoon

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IMG_2375We loved Beat Hotel so much the first time, that we decided to go back again for another meal.

IMG_2365This time, we ate before the music started for the evening.

IMG_2366The restaurant is much lighter and it has a very different feel to it.

IMG_2367We have the smoky chipotle ribs ($14) which were delicious as ever – the meat is so tender and the frozen grapes are a nice contrast.

IMG_2370We have the crispy tuna spring roll ($12) which was pretty tasty, the tuna was super fresh.

IMG_2371We ordered the Inca bowl with skirt steak: Quinoa, Kale, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Avocado, Soy Beans, Hominy, Tomato Posole, Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette ($27). A large portion of food – every bite is delicious – some really nice bold flavors here.

IMG_2372The prime hamburger with bacon and cheddar cheese ($16) was delicious – well season meat and the fries were just the way we love them, thin and crispy.

IMG_2374We also had the chicken picatta ($23) served over gnocchi. I didn’t love this dish as much as my last meal. The gnocchi was tasty, but I wasn’t wowed by the flavoring of the chicken. Again, the portion was generous, I ended up taking half of this home! The service was good tonight. We have been telling all of our friends about Beat Hotel and how it is a “must try”.

Beat Hotel

13 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

http://www.beathotel.com/

Beat Hotel on Urbanspoon

Make a reservation with Open Table.

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IMG_1054This is the second part to the “Meet Your Maker” series. See my first post about the Bon Me orange truck here.

IMG_1065Last Saturday, I tracked down the Bon Me truck in Harvard Square. They sit outside of the science center – you have to walk through Harvard yard to get there.

IMG_1072They have a great area with tables and chairs right next to where the food trucks park.

IMG_1073…and some more unconventional seating.

IMG_1074There are three picnic style tables with some cover to keep you cool on a hot day. So it was the ladies on Saturday, holding down the truck!

IMG_1055Meet Manager Phi Lang!

Thee fun facts about Phi:

  • She hasn’t gone a day without eating Bon Me since she started almost a year ago!
  • Her adopted sister Megan is also a trucker for Bon Me.
  • Her current crush is Bob Belcher. Her current hero is Tina Belcher.

When I asked what she would be doing if she wasn’t working on the Bon Me truck, she said she would be back in school, but elementary school, like Billy Madison.

Phi said that her favorite part about working on the truck is getting to know the customers. Prepping the same food every day is only fun because she knows people look forward to it!

Phi’s favorite menu item is the miso pork sandwich with jalapenos…washed down with a chocolate rice pudding! Or maybe the tea egg? Or the spicy ginger lemonade?

IMG_1067Meet Isabella Tassinari! She has been on the truck for a little over 2 months.

Thee fun things about Isabella:

  • She is graduating from BU this week! (GO TERRIERS!)
  • Her shoes are a size 2 1/2
  • She has a soft spot for obese cats (who doesn’t?!?)

If she wasn’t working on the Bon Me truck she would most likely be lounging in her bed, eating ice cream while trying to get a job working at a film festival.

The best parts about working on the truck are the meals and her coworkers, both of which are consistently awesome.

Her favorite meal? She love, love, loves the chocolate rice pudding and the deviled tea eggs – she could eat them all day long!

IMG_1095Meet Catherine Aust! She’s an environmental studies major at Northeastern.

Three fun things about Catherine:

  • She was born and raised in Alabama (but doesn’t have a southern accent).
  • She worked on an organic farm in Costa Rica for 6 months.
  • She is planning a long backpacking trip through Southeast Asia next year and is probably most excited about the food!

Q: If I didn’t work on the Bon Me truck, I would be _______

A: Homeless (gotta pay the rent somehow!)

Catherine has been working on the truck since January and says the best part about working on the truck is the fast paced work environment! She also loves working with such fresh and delicious ingredients.

Her favorite menu item is definitely a vegetarian tofu sandwich with extra, extra spicy mayo!

IMG_1082After chatting with the girls, we grab a bite to eat and relax!

IMG_1085We get a thai basil limeade (left) and an iced green tea (with no sweeteners!) – both delish on this humid day.

IMG_1087Check out the pulled pork udon noodle salad with the toasted sesame dressing! I love all the crunch in this dish – the onions, the sprouts and the pickled carrots!

IMG_1135And as a fun surprise, the Harvard alumni jazz band played a concert while we were there!

Check out all of the Bon Me food trucks! Locations on their website. And check out their Noodle Stop, open Friday nights and all day Saturday.

Bon Me

http://www.bonmetruck.com/

Bon Me on Urbanspoon

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Obama in Cambridge

The President was in Harvard Square on the one night that I have a massage appointment. They told me in advance that I wouldn’t be able to drive in – the Charles Hotel garage would be closed to the public. No problem, I hop in a cab and rush over after work…only to find that not only can cars not even get close, but you can’t cross the street because they are waiting for the President to leave. So here it is, bone chilling cold outside, the wind whipping at my face and I’m standing there, freezing, just feet away from a relaxing, much needed massage! Twenty minutes later, we are allowed to cross. I get my massage (thanks Katie for waiting!!) and I meet a friend afterwards for dinner at nearby Alden and Harlow.

IMG_3718You may know Chef Michael Scelfo from his time at Russell House Tavern just around the corner. Alden and Harlow is Scelfo’s first solo venture.

IMG_3717Located in the old Casablanca space, Alden and Harlow feels completely different.

IMG_3700The menu has many small plates meant to share.

IMG_3701Our waiter is fantastic, he helps us make some great choices. He arrives at our table with some complimentary pickled beans that are quite tasty.

IMG_3703We start with the Grilled Cauliflower Caponata ($8).

IMG_3705Washington State Mushrooms* 60˚Egg, Pine Nut Crumble ($13). I especially liked this dish, the mushrooms were cooked perfectly and I love the saltiness from the egg.

IMG_3706Pickled Verrill Farm Corn Pancakes with buttermilk yogurt, Maple, and Shishito ($12) An unexpected combination of flavors and texture, but I love it.  I enjoyed the popcorn and the crunch that it brought to the dish.

IMG_3707Secret Burger* (limited availability) Our 8oz House Creekstone Grind, Your Faith, House Made Roll ($14). The bun was delicious and the pickles really added a little something something to this burger.

IMG_3709A closer look at the inside of the burger.

IMG_3713For dessert, the smoked chocolate bread pudding with Jacobsen Salt Ice Cream ($9). It was more bread than pudding consistency wise – very smoky and quite salty.

IMG_3716I love the decor – here, the light wall behind our table.

IMG_3715We were at a high top booth across from the bar. Good vibe here, an interesting mix of people. The service was quite good – will certainly be back again to try some of the other menu options.

Alden and Harlow

40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

http://aldenharlow.com/

Alden & Harlow on Urbanspoon

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IMG_7557I had seen this in a magazine and was dying to try it out. Deodorant isn’t a very glamorous thing to talk about, but here I am. Kai comes in a variety of other products, including: candles, hand cream, perfume oils, body lotion, body scrub and shampoo. See the whole line here.

IMG_7558A translucent formula combines vitamin E, chamomile and plant extracts with natural skin-conditioning sugars to control moisture and keep you feeling dry, fresh and subtly kai-scented throughout the day. Aluminum-free and great for sensitive skin. At $24 it seems like this is expensive, but it is long lasting and you won’t be disappointed. Sometimes you just need to splurge.  Speaking of splurge, I pick mine up at Corbu Spa – where I go from time to time. My massage therapist Katie closed her private practice after years and now works here. See previous posts: Conversations with Katie, Flat Patties, Double Dutch, Za Pizza and Great Finds and Trader Joes.

IMG_7548Corbu spa is located in the Charles Hotel. Check out their Facebook page for specials. They also offer validated parking, $10 for 3 hours in the hotel garage.

IMG_7550The waiting area has big comfortable puffy chairs – very relaxing while you’re waiting for your service.

IMG_7716The locker room is clean and there are a variety of products that you can sample. Make sure to check out the steam shower while you’re here, it’s life changing. 😉

IMG_7717The locker area is a bit small, and only one person can really be there at a time and be comfortable. I try to go at non peak times – the weekends are definitely busier.

IMG_7918The rooms are dim and cozy, perfect for optimal relaxation. See their website for a full spa menu. The beds are heated and they are electric, quite relaxing actually. So stop in today and take a break from the holiday grind – or pick up a gift certificate and give the gift of relaxation this year. I am sure that all the people there are excellent, but see Katie if you are getting a massage, you will be glad you did.

Corbu Spa

5 Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA

http://corbuspa.com/

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IMG_1979I usually agree with Devra First’s reviews, but a few days ago she gave Beat Hotel 1 1/2 stars. Located in Harvard Square, Beat Hotel, inspired by the hippie movement is a new venture from the group that brought you the Beehive. Located below ground level, Beat Hotel feels a little like your friend’s basement.

IMG_1980The only thing here that feels “hippie” are the cement poles that are painted with flowers in bright colors. The purple velvet curtain behind the band feels more like your friend’s basement circa 1990 than hippie.

IMG_1986The restaurant, named after a run down hotel in Paris, is anything but – chandeliers and distressed wood give this place an upscale feel.

IMG_1981We were glad that we made a reservation, because at 8pm on a Monday night, it was crowded. Note that tables are only for patrons eating dinner, the bar area has stools and high top tables for those who are just grabbing a drink. It can get a little noisy here at times, with the band and the people trying to talk over the band.

Beat Hotel

Bruce Bears and Duke Robillard were playing the night we were at Beat Hotel. Here is what the website says about them, “Bruce currently plays keyboards with two time Grammy Award nominee Duke Robillard and the Duke Robillard Band, and can be heard on Duke’s Grammy nominated albums Guitar Groov-a-rama and Stomp! The Blues Tonight as well as many of Duke’s other albums. He has been touring internationally for 20 years, and formed the original Toni Lynn Washington Band in 1998.”

IMG_2005They have wine on tap that you can order by the glass or the half glass. I grab an Electric Sidecar ($12) Clear Creek apple brandy, fruit lab orange organic liqueur, and sour with a sugar rim. It was just what the dr ordered after a long day at work!

IMG_1987Of course we start with the butcher’s plate ($22) that comes with pates, smoked meats, cheese, pickles, and olives.

IMG_1988Here’s the other side of the plate, the pate had pistachios and was accompanied by spicy mustard and cranberry chutney. The pickles were tart and the picked onions packed a punch.

IMG_1989We ordered the chipotle bbq ribs ($14) that come 4 to a plate and are served with frozen grapes. I equate this a little to creme brulee. The best part of creme brulee is when you crack the sugar on top – the best part of the ribs is that first bite when you “crack” into the glaze. The meat is tender, it just falls off the bone and the flavor has me dreaming about this dish for days afterwards.

IMG_1992For dinner, we order the brisket ($24) that comes with sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts. This is a stick to your ribs kind of meal, the serving is enormous, and the meat has a nice smoky flavor.

IMG_1993The French Dip sandwich is the biggest sandwich we’ve seen! Our waiter jests that he has never seen anyone finish it. We take this as a challenge, but fail miserably…well, we just bring the other half home, but feel defeated.

IMG_1996The eggplant parm ($21) does not disappoint, and we take home half of this meal as well. The emphasis here is on the eggplant, not the pasta which I am a little (pleasantly) surprised at. The pasta comes in a little bit of a peppery/spicy tomato sauce and is piled high with thin layers of eggplant.

IMG_1999For dessert we had the chocolate cheesecake ($8) with home made whipped cream. It was good but not crave worthy. The cheesecake was very dense and after a filling meal, like we just had, it was probably a mistake to order dessert in the first place. We left full, but in a good way, with lunch for the next day – and walked out feeling completely satisfied. I’ve spent the days since raving to all my co-workers and friends about this place, and can’t wait to return for those ribs!

Beat Hotel

13 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

617.423.0069

http://www.beathotel.com/

Beat Hotel on Urbanspoon

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IMG_1184Co-owners Mary-Catherine Deibel and Deborah Hughes will close the doors to Upstairs on the Square on New Year’s Eve after being in business for over 30 years. I had my bridal shower in the Zebra room, so I wanted to make sure to go there at least one more time before they close up shop.

IMG_1180My mother and I headed over for an early lunch just before noon, but the place filled up quickly.

IMG_1175They’ve pulled up the carpet since we were here last, but I still love the decor of this room, it’s just fun!

IMG_1179And the view out the windows is great!

IMG_1181Tomato soup and grilled cheese ($12) for my mom, classic but still wonderful.

IMG_1182I had the mac and cheese, cavatelli pasta with cheddar cheese and toasted bread crumbs on top. ($14) I have to admit that about half way through the meal I found a small piece of plastic in my dish, hey, it happens. They whisked the dish away without another word, and offered to bring me another. We were in a rush, and I was quite full, so we just ordered dessert instead.

IMG_1183The dessert special was an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich. The chocolate sauce on the dish seemed a little odd to me, but it was pretty tasty none the less. When we got our bill, they had taken off the mac and cheese and the dessert, so we only paid for the grilled cheese. THAT is how service SHOULD be. They didn’t try to make excuses, they just covered their mistake, and that is what will make me go back again – thanks for being an upstanding restaurant! So head over before they close their doors, and check out their website to see the fun events they have going on!

Upstairs on the Square

92 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA

www.upstairsonthesquare.com

Upstairs on the Square on Urbanspoon

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IMG_1234It’s weird walking into Park, I kept having flashbacks of crazy nights at the Redline…

IMG_1219The lights are dim and this place has a good vibe the minute you walk in the door. It’s warm and inviting, a great place to meet friends and have a relaxing night out filled with great food and inventive cocktails.

IMG_1220I really like the decor, and it is a complete 360 from what used to be here. Here’s what their website says about them:

“New to Harvard Square in the spring of 2012, PARK is the neighborhood restaurant and bar of today: a vibrant destination for friends, family and acquaintances to linger over lively conversation, playful plates and thoughtful drinks. With a menu full of spirited interpretations on New American classics from Chef Mark Goldberg and an inspired selection of international spirits, wine and beer, guests feel at home in PARK’s rustic-meets-luxe subterranean space accented by soft leather couches & armchairs, bookshelves stocked with vintage titles, reclaimed wood tables, and an impressive collection of artwork and photography from the ‘60s and ‘70s.”

IMG_1222Let’s get to it! Drinks to start! The Old Cuban ($10) Barbancourt Rhum, Lime, Mint, Angostura Bitters, Cava. Delicious!! Light, and a little sweet. They have some really great cocktail choices here. And if you’re not sure what you’ll like, the waiters here are knowledgeable and can explain the flavor profiles of all the drinks you’re thinking about.

IMG_1223Some cheese to go with the bread that came to the table.

IMG_1224The Perfect Day ($10) Mezcal, Grapefruit Liqueur, Lemon, Hellfire Bitters, Lost Abbey’s Devotion Belgian Pale Ale. Has a real smokey flavor from the Mezcal.

IMG_1225The confit chicken wings as an appetizer ($9) with sambal & honey glaze were crispy, sweet with a little bit of heat! Yum!!

IMG_1226The cheese plate ($12) was pretty tasty. The only one I didn’t dig was the blue cheese, and that’s just personal preference…The fig and apricot were nice additions to the board.

IMG_1227And just to go over the top with apps, we had the lobster and crab dip ($12) which was creamy, warm and delicious. Nice flavor, great presentation.

IMG_1228For dinner, I had the pumpkin barley risotto ($17) Seared mushrooms, parmesan, watercress & apple salad. Love the presentation of the dish, there were great flavors and textures throughout this dish. And while I usually don’t do salad, the apples gave a nice sweetness to the dish. I really enjoyed this!

IMG_1230So Park has meat pies of the day ($16) and we were lucky enough to get the LAST ONE!! Today’s was a short rib with white and sweet potatoes.

IMG_1231This is a total stick to your ribs dish. I loved every bite I had of this. It had a really nice flavor profile and was very filling. The crust is almost as important as the filling, and I think they just nailed this dish!

IMG_1229We also ordered the brisket ($19) served with white bean cassoulet, and caramelized vegetables. Another great dish. We were so full after our meal but HAD to have dessert.

IMG_1233

Apple Upside-down Cake ($7) served with apple butter and cinnamon ice cream. Pretty darn delicious. The cake was light and not overly sweet and I loved the cinnamon ice cream. Great meal over all, we left feeling stuffed to the gills with delicious food. I would go back for another meal in a heartbeat!

Park

59 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

http://parkcambridge.com/

Park offers FREE PARKING Sunday–Wednesday with dinner purchase and $2 off Thursday–Saturday at the Harvard Square Parking Garage.

Park on Urbanspoon

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IMG_0702Harvard Square in the fall is a wonderful place.

HOTCR

Here’s a quick clip of the Head of the Charles Regatta that took place on October 19th and 20th of this year.

IMG_0700One of my favorite restaurants is Crema Cafe – just steps from the Harvard Square T stop. Owned by Marley Brush, she grew up in the food industry – her dad owns Felipe’s and Flat Patties. I always get the Crema Grilled Chicken with avocado and a zesty cotija cheese-corn spread, pressed on french ($7.25). It’a an awesome sandwich, bold flavors, great texture, and who doesn’t love a toasted sandwich. We throw in home made sweet potato chips for a buck fifty and order a refreshing lemonade. The line is usually pretty long, but it moves quickly. While we are eating, a girl in line tells us she is from out of town, and is it worth it to wait in line. Of course it is!

IMG_0701I’ve been dying to try their whoopie pies. Here is the banana split whoopie, banana cake, strawberry filling and chocolate inside. Quite non-traditional and certainly unique in flavor.

Crema Cafe

27 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

www.cremacambridge.com

Crema Café on Urbanspoon

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IMG_0953Located in The Garage in Harvard Square, Felipe’s will move out in March to the old Bertucci’s space when their lease is up. They will nearly double their size and offer beer and wine at their new location. Felipe’s is owned by Tom Brush, who owns the nearby Flat Patties. Tom’s daughter owns Crema Cafe which is also near by. Felipe Herrera helped establish Anna’s Taqueria before striking out on his own with Brush.

IMG_0952Felipe’s current location is a little tight on space. Service was quick and efficient – we were in and out in no time. How does it compare to Anna’s you ask? I think that they are pretty much neck and neck.

IMG_0958I love that at Felipe’s you can get a handful of corn on your burrito, at Anna’s, they don’t always have corn. The steak at Felipe’s is a bit more tender but the rice here is a little on the dry side. I dig the amount of choices that you have here as far as toppings go, but on a crowded night, I think having too many options can be a bad thing. Have you ever been to Anna’s and know what you want, and yet you get stuck behind someone who can’t decide what they want? It’s painful. They should seriously have one line for regulars and one side for newbies. I digress…Overall, for the price, Felipe’s was a good meal. My dining companion for the night actually preferred Felipe’s to Anna’s. Which is your favorite?

Felipe’s Taqueria

83 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA

http://felipestaqueria.com/harvardsq/

Felipe's Taqueria on Urbanspoon

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