IDIOT’S GUIDE: Central Square
In my experience, most Tufts students don’t tend to venture on the Red Line past the Harvard stop (Well, maybe to go to MIT for a psych study or to visit a friend, to South Station to pick up a friend or catch a train/bus home, or to get off at Park Street or Downtown Crossing to connect to another line to get deeper into Boston…). Anyhow, not many Jumbos venture into Central Square, which is only the third stop after Davis. I asked a few friends why they thought this might be true, and all of them agreed that they just didn’t know anything about this area. So here are a couple of places in the area to get your wheels greased on visiting this little-explored part of Cambridge.
190 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139, http://flourbakery.com/
Walking into Flour, I could smell that they use good ingredients in their pastries. Ever get that feeling? There are some places where you can just smell how good the pastries will taste, and maybe this was just a mental thing, but I swear I could smell it. The atmosphere was clean and bright. Though we had to wait in line for a bit (we did go on a weekend night), there were so many options of treats to eat that we still weren’t sure what we would get when they asked for our order. Despite the fact that there was a line growing behind us, the staff was very understanding of our indecisiveness. Ultimately, we settled on the homemade Oreo based on a previous suggestion–by far the best cookie sandwich I have eaten. The chocolate cookie was rich with just the right balance of sweetness and saltiness and the cream filling was mildly sweet and silky. I can’t wait to return to try out more of their delights, but I also might just go back to get more of their homemade Oreos.
Food (taste): A
Food (presentation): B+
899 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139, http://www.tosci.com/
Toscanini’s has developed a reputation for its ice cream. It was rated Best of Boston for Ice Cream for multiple years, and the New York Times named it the best ice cream in the world. It definitely lives up to its hype. This place has a hip and modern vibe that caters to all types of people. The list of flavors will blow your mind: goat cheese brownie, Hydrox cookie (basically the hipster version of Oreos), bourbon black pepper, and varying intensities of chocolate, along with some classic staples. They’re famous for their burnt caramel flavor, but my favorite flavor was B3, a brown sugar and brown butter-flavored ice cream with brownies. I got it in a “micro-sundae” size because I had eaten a large dinner before at the Miracle of Science (read below), which meant I had a petite serving of ice cream with minimal sundae toppings. Perfect size for my condition. I had their hot fudge and whipped cream, which were superb; the hot fudge was super chocolatey without being too sweet, and the whipped cream was fresh and light. Next time I go, I know I will need to get a much larger size. A quart sounds about right.
Food (taste): A+
Food (presentation): B+
Overall: A –
1369 COFFEE HOUSE
757 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, http://www.1369coffeehouse.com/
This looks like your typical coffee shop: warm atmosphere, wooden tables and chairs filling the deep but narrow space, and a big window in the front lending natural light. But I wasn’t a huge fan of this place: the essentials were just okay. The staff was friendly enough, and the cappuccino was above average but not amazing. The blondie, though, was one of the stalest baked goods I’ve ever eaten. I couldn’t break it apart with my finger and had to use my teeth to grind some crumbs out of it. Despite good reviews of their baked goods, I was ultimately very disappointed. Not a bad place to go for a cup of Joe if you’ve got a good book to read, but I feel no need to return.
Food (taste): C
Food (presentation): B
MIRACLE OF SCIENCE
321 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, http://www.miracleofscience.us/
I visited this restaurant and bar on a Tuesday night, and we probably were the youngest and oldest people in the joint, respectively. It definitely plays up its bar vibe, with dark lighting and a loud buzz from all the people chatting. We ordered off their menu, which is quirkily displayed as a periodic table on the wall. I got a veggie burger, and my dad ordered a chicken sandwich. They disappeared within seconds. We both agreed that our food was flavorful with the right kick of spice, and that the home fries served with tomato chutney as a substitute for regular French fries and ketchup were phenomenal. (Miracle of Science also serves Toscanini’s ice cream!) If you can get a table, it’s a great place to check out with some friends.
Food (taste): B+
Food (presentation): B+