Cantabridgian, that’s Me

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Bergamot

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Bergamot is the new restaurant that has opened up in the old EVOO space here in Inman Square (by The Wine & Cheese Cask and Dali). While I was sorry to see EVOO move, they are just down in Kendall Square, so not to worry… it hasn’t shut the doors. Anyway, Bergamot moved in more or less straight away and it’s been getting great reviews. Last night I had the chance to try it out and the reviews are right: it’s definitely one of the better newcomers to the Boston/Cambridge restaurant scene; right up there in my mind with TW Food and Craigie on Main — given Craigie on Main’s prices, Bergamot is downright inexpensive! (Note: Bergamot is in the $25-35 for mains range so still a little in the ‘special occasion’ category; check out the menu)

bergamot_pea-salad

After a great little amuse bouche of local crab meat wrapped in celeriac on a fresh cucumber, I had the pea-greens salad (pea shoots, scaled/shocked english peas, finely diced berkshire ham, pecorino cheese, truffle vinaigrette and the most amazing “fried egg”. I think they must have soft boiled it, carefully pealed it, then rolled it in panko crumbs and flash fried it. The center was still runny like a poached egg and when you cut into it, it combined with the dressing… lovely). My main dish was a lovely cut of halibut on new potatoes, baby carrots and a perfectly caramelized entire thick slice of vidalia onion, with a touch of herb sauce. Really, really excellent and just the right amount of food. All the desserts sounded wonderful but I was good and stayed away (very tempted but that bride’s maid dress fitting is coming up).

And you know a restaurant is good when they have the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban on the menu. Again, scotch is off limits for me presently, but it is unusual to even see it on the menu.

Playing with Shadows, Stones + Leaves, Again

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

While autumn is my favorite time of year to visit the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, spring always hold some surprises, so I ventured over there this morning. There were a lot more people than usual, and I wonder if that has anything to do with the Easter season, or if it was just because it was a sunny (albeit cold) morning. Anyway, here are a few shots from today:

Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetary
Mt Auburn Cemetary
Mt Auburn Cemetary

The rest are up here on Flickr.

Random things from my run yesterday afternoon

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

1. Harvard Square is great for reading the signs the homeless people hold to entice you to give them spare change. There are the usual “Spare Change”, “Homeless, Please help”, “Clean and Sober”, and “God Bless”. My favorites from yesterday were “I am the Marlboro Man. Can I bum a smoke or a quarter?” and “Too Ugly to Turn Tricks”, the latter being from a scrawny young 20-something and yeah, he was pretty sad looking.

2. The volume of broken umbrellas was phenomenal. I counted at least 20 before I got bored with the counting. Also, lots of sump pumps draining basements.

3. Between Inman and Harvard, along Cambridge Street, there was a steady stream of gummi bears littering the sidewalk every 6 to 10 feet, at random intervals. Then, between Porter and Inman, there was an equally steady stream of goldfish crackers on the sidewalk.

4. It’s March, yet apparently the first day of 50+ degree weather brought out all the flip-flop wearing fools. It’s March. It’s New England. Along the same lines, both Tory Row and Grafton Street pubs already were putting out the outdoor seating sections. Very optimistic of you people.

5. People in general and college students specifically still haven’t learned to share the sidewalk. I know, my own fault for running in the most congested areas in Cambridge and I should run next to the river like everyone else, but still.

Beer, Beer and More Beer

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Lord Hobo

… You know that your evening will end up in a rather drunken state when…. the first beer of the night is called “Arrogant Bastard“… [grin]

With Jean unfortunately already on a flight back to London (after a lovely day in Portsmouth, NH, where the drinking really already started, I might add), Joe and I headed to a new pub just a few short blocks (4, to be exact) away from my apartment. Lord Hobo just opened a few weeks ago, to acclaim from beer aficionados and with great food reviews as well. This evening was my introduction to it, even though I’d been to the pub in it’s previous incarnation as the B-Side Lounge.

We didn’t intend to drink through the entire beer menu (good thing, too, as the draught menu itself is at least 50 long, bottles another page or so, plus the cocktails… but I digress), but we did sample more than half a dozen each and with the exception of the Allagash piss-water that Joe had at one point, the beer definitely has some quality going. My personal favorite of the night was the Shark Attack; least favorite was the Dead Guy (not often that you can say you drank a Dead Guy and survived a Shark Attack in one evening, eh?) They even served a Munich weissbier that didn’t taste skunked. Overall, I give Lord Hobo a thumbs up.

We didn’t try the food, but it looked good.

For the record, I learned two things on Saturday night: 1. Don’t try to match a British soldier pint for pint because you will end up stumbling home, barely able to remember where you live and 2. It is likely unwise to spend the half the evening discussing one’s love life (or lack there of) with one’s best friend’s fiance. At one point (after I was already three sheets to the wind), he told me that apparently I scare people — in a good way [grin] and at another point, Joe “threatened” to find 10 single men in the bar that would like to sleep with me. Thankfully, he didn’t go round to ask anyone, because can’t say that pimping is looked upon nicely in Cambridge-town. All in good fun and we had a lot of laughs. The only thing missing was Jellybean being there, but we’ll have to go back, because their cocktail menu looked mighty nice as well… lots of drinks with bubbles (scroll down a bit for the cocktails)!

I spent Sunday on the couch watching hockey and nursing a headache. Joe spent it on his way back to London. I hope British Airways treated him kindly.

Moooooooooooooooooooooooo

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

After the Bruins game on Saturday, I treated my parents to a lovely dinner at Mooo, which, in case you couldn’t guess, is a steak restaurant. They don’t let you forget what you are eating either: the 3-meter high black and white photograph on the wall at our table was of a veal — errr, calf [grin] — with the mother moo in the background. Surprisingly, the photograph wasn’t overwhelming and of course, overall the restaurant is subtly decorated, but if you are at all squeamish about the fact that beef was once a living creature, a restaurant called Mooo might not be for you.

Anyway, I’ve been to this restaurant a few times before, always with great results, so I was happy to go again. We ate well — steak, of course, but the lobster bisque as a starter and the tuna tartar that my father had was also spectacular. It’s definitely upscale and the waitstaff treats you well. I offhandedly made the comment that we were pre-celebrating my parents wedding anniversary (more on that in a few weeks) and the waiter went out of his way to make sure that the dessert was something special. Overall, a lovely night.

If only the B’s could find their winning ways…

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Bruins game 020610

Last summer, for my father’s birthday, I gave him a “weekend in Boston” complete with a Bruins game and dinner. Of course, Heidi and Rainer are always welcome to stay with me in Boston, but I planned for this to be more of a special weekend. The Bruins played the VYR Canucks on Saturday afternoon and despite the loss (the Bruins can’t seem to find any winning ways these days!), it was a fun afternoon. While I was very guilty of “coaching from the stands” and yelling my opinions from the stands until I lost my voice back in the UMaine hockey mania days in high school, I have long given up on that, which made the fact that there were these two overly loud and overly opinionated idiots almost amusing. They were so pathetic that Heidi, Rainer and I were pretty much laughing non-stop by the end of the game. If there is an expression that I never want to hear again, it’s “Take care of the puck-handler”.

The Heard of Elephants on the Stairs

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The tenant on the top floor of the triple-decker that I live in moved out (I live on the first floor). The landlord informed the other day that they would be gutting that apartment to the studs, basically redoing it completely. What does this mean for me? Well, it means a very noisy living and working environment for the next few weeks until the new tenant moves in. Great.

What does this mean for me today particularly? Well, it’s a Sunday afternoon, the tenant finished moving out today and they decided to get a running start on the project so lots of ripping and sawing sounds. It’s a Sunday afternoon and I really wanted to take a nap. Today is one of those days that I wish they had that rule that they have in Germany about Sundays being quiet days. Sigh.

Rip, saw, slam, boards being topped out the front windows from two floors up. Repeat. Oh, and when they are actually bothering to run up and down the stairs instead of tossing stuff out the windows, they sound like a heard of elephants.

Emma’s Pizza in Kendall

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

One more quick restaurant review for the week, this time for Emma’s Pizza, the little za-joint in Kendall Square. I’ve been there before and I really try to like the place, but I am never quite sure when I leave. Their sauce is good, their crust just a little too crunchy and as Ben would say, they have a lot of “communist” pizzas — ones with broccoli or sweet potatoes or artichoke hearts. They are creative and decent pizzas, just nothing to write home about in my opinion.

That said, their pizza does fit the “ok, better than the chain places” category, so when John suggested it for lunch, I was definitely good with it. We split a Italian sausage and caramelized onion one which was just right for lunch in terms of size. And they will pour you a good Arnold Palmer from homemade lemonade and homemade iced tea, so that is good too.

A Weekend Celebration

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Food, food and more food. I think that I can say that whatever diet I was on was out the window this weekend. It was my birthday yesterday so for some reason, it turned into an eating weekend, but since that included three new (and all wonderful) restaurants, I am certainly not complaining.

Friday night, the new place was T.W. Food in Cambridge, sort of in the Huron Village area on the way out to Fresh Pond off Concord Avenue. It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere, a few other businesses nearby, but mostly in a residential area and very small. I think that there are a dozen table, maximum, very simple and white interior. Unassuming and unpretentious, but the food was absolutely amazing — French influences, super fresh and local ingredients. I had the wild mushroom risotto starter, pot au feu with short ribs, fois gras and venison sausage. Amazing! And yes, a candle came on the apple tartlette with cinnamon ice cream, even though Friday was before my birthday.

T.W. Food

Saturday night we went to Sorellina in Boston. While quite the opposite in terms of size and presentation (high ceilings, columns, everyone dressed to the nines), it was equally as good as T.W. Food in a completely different way. It was also great for people watching (usually the case when people are dressed up to impress. plus there was a couple having just a little too much fun in the sexual kind of way at the next table — avert your eyes [grin]). Here I had a to-die-for truffled lobster risotto (again with the risotto!) and a small filet mignon (which could have been better, but it was tender and cooked just perfectly). And yes, the obligatory and understated birthday candle in the chocolate budino (sort of a molten chocolate pudding in a little cast iron pan). I definitely recommend the place if you want to impress!

Sorellina

Finally, yesterday we went to the quirkiest breakfast place I have been to in a little while. It’s a retro diner slash cocktail lounge in Kendall Square called The Friendly Toast.We had thought about going to Centre Street Cafe (my favorite breakfast place, in Jamaica Plain), but it’s wildly popular for brunch so I didn’t want to wait out in the cold for an hour. Turns out the Friendly Toast had an hour long wait too, but at least we were inside at the bar, surrounded by all the Cambridge hipsters wearing their consignment shop finest. Nothing like a place that serves alcohol (and lots of it!) for breakfast along with a dish called Green Eggs and Ham (yes, Sam I am) — it’s a eggs benedict type thing, on anadama toast with a dill herb sauce instead of hollandaise. Also excellent (and good to know that there is a breakfast place open from 8 AM to 1 AM); I need to go back next time with my camera because the interior is quirky and kitschy and cool with the most amazingly grass-green walls.

The Friendly Toast

So that was my weekend of food and fun. And a great birthday weekend. Thanks to everyone (no one let me pay all weekend). Happy Birthday to me!

Sweet Caroline!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

The Winter Classic. Bruins at Fenway. The tickets that apparently the Hockey-Gods did not want me to have, despite the fact that I so very much wanted to be there. But ultimately, the game was probably better on TV anyway and the ending was the very best part. As I always say about Marco Sturm: best NHL player Dingolfing, Bavaria ever produced. It’s the German in me or something.

Anyway, the Bruins trailed 1-0 until Recchi’s goal late in the 3rd. Maybe it was the crowd doing the 7th Inning Stretch (yes, mixing sports metaphors, but it is appropriate seeing Dennis Leary led the crowd with Sweet Caroline that rejuvenated the B’s. Tied at the end of regulation, and then Sturm scored the winning goal at 1:57 of OT (thankfully no shoot-out… they are cool to watch but make me nervous). Great way to end a cool afternoon, even if I wasn’t at Fenway.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming (which today would be college bowl games on every other channel). Enough sports-babble until, well, at least The Aussie Open [grin]

And Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.