Cafe Hopping Abroad

by Hayoung Chang ’18

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Over spring break, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Singapore for an HCAP conference. Obviously I was most excited about the food and especially a tradition called “cafe hopping.” Considering the fact that cafes are one of my favorite things in the world, I was eager to immerse myself in this particular foodie culture.

To explain a little bit, cafe hopping is when you take a whole morning or afternoon to visit as many cafes as possible and sample each cafe’s best dishes. So think of bar hopping, but replace the booze with brunch essentials and scrumptious desserts. I was in foodie heaven. Thrilled, I embarked on my first gustatory odyssey.

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Our first stop was a brunch cafe. I ordered a classic: the salmon eggs benedict. The combination of salmon, roe, avocado, asparagus and hollandaise sauce was genius, to say the least. My taste buds were inundated by the creamy richness of the avocado and salmon, the tart explosions of the roe and the crunchy softness of the toast. Cafe hopping stop 1: 10/10.

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The next stop was: you guessed it, another brunch cafe. With two brunches in one day, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. This time, I ordered poached eggs over a potato puree and hash browns with a side of roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus and caramelized onions. As you can see from the photo, the egg was cooked to the ideal consistency for drizzly perfection. Washing it all down with a sip of coffee, I was in a stellar mood. Another jackpot brunch. Cafe hopping stop 2: 10/10.

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Feeling pleasantly and smugly full, we headed to our last stop: a dessert cafe. Feeling ambitious, we ordered a cheesecake, brownie and an iced latte. The coffee was an ice cold relief to all the walking in the hot Singapore weather. The cheesecake and brownie were average. The consistency of both desserts were slightly too dense for me, but still a superb combination with the latte. Perhaps the bar had been raised after the two stellar brunches. But the hip atmosphere of the cafe made up for it. The murals added a lazy artistic vibe. The perfect spot for some light reading on a Sunday afternoon.

Overall, cafe hopping was a huge success. I would highly recommend to any foodie that is planning on traveling to Singapore!

Guilt-Free Cupcakes: Coming Soon to Lamont Café

By Dana Ferrante ’17

There’s nothing like going from HUDS café to HUDS café and realizing that each one, as you feared, is serving the same assortment of lackluster pastries. With the integration of Hi-Rise Bread Company items on its menu, the reopening of the Barker Café seemed promising, yet the jury is still out on whether or not the Barker Café is really worth one’s precious Board Plus.

For these, and many more reasons, I am excited to announce: there’s a new pastry on campus. Better yet, pastries.

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The Holistic’s Orange Chia Muffin with Chocolate Ganache

It’s called Feel Good Cake, and it comes in two equally tempting flavors: Chocolate and Orange Chia. Not your average cupcakes, these creations are completely guilt-free, meaning no matter if you’re gluten free, paleo, vegan, or just generally concerned about what you put into your body, you can enjoy the cupcakes without a second thought. Despite the common misconception that healthy versions of desserts never live up to original recipes, these muffins are rich, moist, and full of real flavor. Best of all, they are convenient, and will soon be available in Lamont Café, Cabot Café and Sebastian’s Café at the School of Public Health.

The masterminds behind these muffins are none other than two Harvard students. A little over a year ago, juniors Alice Han and Nina Hooper launched their company, The Holistic, in Harvard’s Innovation Lab, and have been perfecting their recipes ever since. Substituting avocado and ground chickpeas for the traditional butter and flour, Han and Hooper are committed to using organic, nutrient-dense ingredients in all of their products. Instead of sugar, the muffins are sweetened with agave nectar, meaning they are free from refined sugars, and have a lower glycemic index than normal cupcakes. In this way, Han explains, The Holistic products are also a good transition food for those with diabetes as they try to cut out foods that will raise their blood sugar too quickly. And the icing on the cake? A creamy chocolate ganache made from avocado, agave and cocoa.

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The Holistic’s Chocolate Muffin with Chocolate Ganache

Aside from being super-foodies, the duo has traveled around the world, most recently with a portable oven and suitcases packed with more ingredients than clothes, sharing their creations with people all over. Han explains, “we wanted to see how people reacted to our product,” while also trying to figure out “what makes people feel good about the food they eat.” Whether it was Dubai or Finland, Australia or Japan, Han says they spent a lot of time learning how other cultures eat healthfully and alternatively to the stereotypical American diet, with the hope of incorporating this knowledge into their future recipes.

Last year, The Holistic competed in the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Innovation Competition, making it to the second to last round with their guilt-less treats. They were also recently featured in Boston Magazine and hope to present their product to the regional division of Whole Foods later on in the semester.  In the meantime, The Holistic continues to offer catering for on campus events.

As previously mentioned, The Holistic recently approached HUDS about stocking their products, and the muffins will soon be sold in Lamont Café as part of a trial run. Based on their reception, HUDS could begin offering them at more locations on campus — now that would be a sweet deal.