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True Grounds: A perfect finals week oasis

We have reached the home stretch of the semester. In a mere four weeks, the academic year will come to a finals-laden conclusion and I will have to face the fact that my summer is still one big question mark. And the only thing more daunting than kissing a quarter of college goodbye is the amount of work separating me from the end of the academic year.

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On the bright side, spring has arrived, albeit tentatively, and the improving conditions make it easier to venture off campus even if the excursion must be work-oriented. But in my view, there are few better ways to write a paper than in a relaxed environment with good coffee on hand.

True Grounds, a coffee house on Broadway and Willow, is the perfect destination for such an undertaking. The café is a short walk from campus but is easy to overlook due to its rather lackluster exterior. However, True Grounds’ outdated storefront does not do its cozy but hip interior justice.

The shop has a surprisingly large amount of seating, including two large couches in the back. In addition to room to camp out for a couple hours (though I have a feeling the place gets pretty crowded in the spring), the café’s large windows and chill tunes create an atmosphere conducive to both being productive and unwinding with a book or conversation with a friend. An hour of free Wi-Fi is an added bonus.

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But even the cutest coffee shop would not merit a visit if it lacked good coffee. Thankfully, True Grounds is equally as stellar in the food department. The extensive drink menu boasts a wide variety of hot chocolates (“the nutella” and “almond joy” sounded particularly appealing), unconventional lattes (including “honey” and “raz mocha”), and seasonal specials (the most recent were “winter chai” and “honey harvest”). These off-the-wall options were tempting, but I settled on my comparatively mundane favorite: a soy café au lait.

I was pleased to find that True Grounds has not lost sight of the basics in its pursuit of the unconventional. My café au lait came in a big, sturdy mug and was simultaneously rich and smooth. The coffee’s understated flavor made it the ideal companion for my choice of pastry, a cinnamon chip scone. I couldn’t resist the cinnamon-sugar colossus after the barista informed me that all of the muffins and scones are made in house on the daily. And man did it live up to expectations. The crunch exterior and crumbly, cake-y interior yielded the ideal balance between muffin and cookie, afternoon snack and indulgence. The scone was quite buttery and sweet (as is to be expected of a scone) but addictive as opposed to overwhelming. I promised myself that I would save half for later – you can imagine how well that went. The combo cost $4.90, a reasonable bill considering the quality and size of my fare.

True Grounds also has a sandwich/salad menu to satiate cravings for a savory bite. Though somewhat pricier than the beverages and baked goods, these offerings seem well executed, wholesome, and tasty. I strongly recommend this charming, local spot for any occasion.

Ambiance: A  

Service: A

Food (taste): A

Food (presentation): A-

Price: $5-$10/person

Overall: A

717 Broadway

Somerville, MA 02144

(617) 591-9559

truegrounds.com

 -Alison SIkowitz

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